Slam Dunk: Day One

<b>LEWES, Del. –</b> Sophomore Derrick Caracter helped Scotch Plains land a hard-fought OT victory at the Slam Dunk To The Beach. A number of underclassmen looked good the first day after Christmas.

Day One Scoreboard
Mount Vernon 64, Chester 47
Scotch Plains 73, Amityville 72 (OT)
Germantown Academy 68, Life Center 54
Our Savior 74, Penn Charter 52
Laurinburg 91, Marriott Charter 60
Bullis 52, Parkland 48
2004 Checklist

Tello Palacios, F, Our Savior: He came out with a lot of energy in the first half and raced out of the gate for 15 points. He cooled down in the second half as he didn't hunt his offense (finished with 23). Palacios, in previous games this season, had demonstrated an improved jumper, but didn't score a bucket outside of 5 feet in this one.

Longar Longar, C, Laurinburg: The future OU center had 22 points and 75% of them had to be dunks. He's the best prospect on the Laurinburg roster and the Sooners have themselves a guy more than capable of blocking shots. Again, his offense is starting to come around and he's more aggressive each time out.

Sean Singletary, PG, Penn Charter: The Quakers came out flat and Singletary wound up going 0-for-8 in the first half. He would finish with 10 points but it was a struggle for the entire Penn Charter team as they looked to be in a post-Christmas Day funk.

Aleks Maric, PF, Life Center: He went down with a hyper-extended knee in the second quarter and it was downhill from there for Life Center which blew a double-digit lead once he went to the bench to ice the knee. Maric was hustling and being his active self in the paint prior to the injury. Super addition for Nebraska.

Keith Benjamin, SG, Mount Vernon: He didn't start the game (reason unknown) but he made the most of his 22 minutes once he got in there. Benjamin smoothly scored 19 points. He really has command of jumper. He won't force 3s and is confident and comfortable shooting from a number of spots on the floor.

Benny Songondo, PF, Laurinburg: He's on his way back from a serious knee injury and his minutes are being monitored. In 9 minutes of action Friday night, he scored 5 points – including a 3 – and had four boards. He sports an extremely cumbersome knee brace and walks with a limp. Could need a red shirt because of strength but he's got some face up talent.

2005 Checklist

Brian Grimes, F, Germantown Academy: There's no doubt he was the reason for GA's win over Life Center. Grimes scored 26 points to go with 13 rebounds. He works inside to the perimeter where he's got a reliable mid-range jumper. At his size (6-5) he's got to bring energy and he did just that.

2006 Checklist

Derrick Caracter, PF, Scotch Plains: The monster took over in overtime. It took Scotch Plains the better part of four quarters to find a way to get him the ball, but they did in overtime and no less than three times he backed his man down and scored in the post. He's got a little bit of everything in his game – power and some finesse. 29 points and 16 rebounds later, Scotch Plains had the win.

Lance Thomas, F, Scotch Plains: It wasn't the statistics – 13 points and 12 rebounds – that made him look good, it was his presence on the floor. Thomas hasn't settled into a position yet but he thinks and feels the game well in a proportioned 6-7 athletic frame. He's a high-major prospect.

Darrin Govens, PG, Chester: He's a year away from really catching people's eyes. He's a long 6-2 and can make shots on the perimeter. No one finished for him (zero assists) so his numbers weren't great but he's a talented kid. He'll wind up with a long framed body like another former Philly guard named Mustafa.

AROUND THE GYM

LEWES, Del. – Amityville guard A.J. Price won't be playing at the Slam Dunk. Read about Price in our News & Notes section and also hear about the performances of a handful of others in our Scout's Seat.

News & Notes

Top 25 guard A.J. Price of Amityville is still suspended from an incident at school and did not make the trip. No one was more disappointed to hear the news than Dr. Phillips guard Jason Rich who had been anxiously anticipating the challenge. … Delaware Sharpshooters AAU coach Duane Coverdale says that Eric Boateng will return to the States Jan. 2 where he'll have an evaluation to check the status of his broken 5th metatarsal. …

On the wire: look for Giles County junior small Tyler Smith to officially visit UCLA and Kansas in the spring, among a host of others, this according to a source close to the family. … Virginia Tech assistant Eric Skeeters watched Tello Palacios along with Baylor assistant Jerome Tang. Baylor is definitely in the mix and it looks like the Hokies are giving it a try too. …

Germantown's Ryan Ayers likes Duke, Maryland, Notre Dame, Virginia and Villanova. Ayers, the son of the 76ers head coach, said UVa, Villanova and Maryland have offered. … Villanova sent assistant Fred Hill out to watch a number of underclassmen, specifically Kent Tribbett of Chester. …

Scout's Seat

Brian Grimes isn't quite a small forward and he's not big enough to be a PF. Still, he'll defend the post hard, hustles and outworks guys on the glass. … Life Center had 29 turnovers against Germantown Academy. … Our Savior's Kevin Mormin looked for his shot more than we've seen in the past. He had a hook shot go down today; not bad for a 7-1 junior. …

Tello Palacios plays at the top of Our Savior's zone. They like to leak him out in transition to get him some easy hoops. … Penn Charter's Rob Kurz was a non-factor against a very tall Our Savior frontline. He finished 5-for-16 with just four rebounds. He did, however, make both of 3-point attempts. …

Jerome Habel gets more out of his 6-8 body than most kids bigger than him. He's long, blocks a ton of shots and nabs tough, traffic rebounds. Schools have been hesitant to go hard after him but from what we've seen on the court the last two years, he's high-major. … Sub-six-foot Amityville PG P.J. Smith is fast. He's also smart. Because he's small he's developed a floater he uses efficiently. …

Joe McCray of Laurinburg is a fine shooter – despite struggling through a 2-for-16 from 3 – and that's how college teams will play him at Nebraska next season until he shows he can go by someone off the bounce or uses a head fake to get a shot on the perimeter. He had 22 points but it took 29 shots. … Marriott Charter's Anthony Ivory, coming off some shin splint injuries, wore a pair of sleeves over both splints. Ivory is heavy right now and might need a red shirt season at Providence. …

Longar Longar does something that is tough to teach: he finishes everything with a dunk when he can. It sounds simple but it makes good players look even better. … Amityville senior PF Craig Stewart led his team with 23 points and 13 boards. … Mount Vernon's Keith Benjamin has what every guard should aspire to carry in his arsenal: a mid-range game. …

Mount Vernon senior PF Dexter Gray (6-5ish) remains unsigned. He's one of those guys a mid-major program wouldn't mind plugging into the lineup. It'll be interesting to see how he plays the rest of the event because he has a chance to do open some eyes. Started with a 10 and 10 effort against Chester. … Mount Vernon sophomore Jonathan Mitchell started the game by going to work on the blocks and finished an efficient 7-for-10 for 14 points. …


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