Player Introductions Part I Part II
Tonight's Red/White scrimmage game was the first chance Toppers fans have had to see the newest Hilltoppers and they did not disappoint. The four freshly minted Hilltoppers are Jr. Japeth Aguilar, Fr. Steffphon Pettigrew, Fr. B.J. Frazier and last but certainly not least Deeeeeeeee J. Magley!
Japeth was thought to perhaps sit out tonight's game with a foot injury but he quickly put that rumor to rest with eye popping dunks during warm-ups that brought ooooohs and ahhhhhhs from the crowd.
B.J. also showed the form that won him dunk contests last year. The 6' 7" freshman had the crowd's attention with his highflying dunks. With the rim rattling warm-ups out of the way, the two teams faced off for a 20 minutes scrimmage.
While Head Coach Darren Horn watched from the scorers table, the results of his most recent recruiting class kept wowing the crowd. D.J. Magley showed why he was the buzz of the summer pickup games with nifty moves inside that put the red team up early. By my count, he only missed one shot and netted six. His twelve points led all scorers tonight. Playing all twenty minutes (I could be mistaken on that but not by much) D.J showed off his inside offensive and passing skills and never seemed to run out of gas. Magley's "leave it all on the court" effort and skills will make going inside a real option this season. Last years weakness may be this year's strength.
A.J. Slaughter got to showcase his point guard skills tonight and he made the most of his chance. Running the point for the red team, much of the contest, his court awareness and passing lifted the Red team to a commanding lead at midpoint. A spectacular ally oop to C. Lee got the crowd on its feet. Lee is such a smooth player. No sign of any lingering injury from last year, he is in top "C. Lee" form.
However, the White Team made a charge, no quit in them. With Japeth on a breakaway dunk and some deadeye 3-point shooting by the freshmen duo of Pettigrew and Frazier, the White team cut the lead to just four with 5:24 left. The Red team responded with a bucket inside by Magley and the Red team quickly pulled away to a 36 - 25 lead with 2:34 left. When the buzzer sounded, the Red team was the victors 43-33.
Tonight's notes: I was delighted to see A'Darius Pegues walking about signing autographs and I talked with him briefly. He has had surgery on his knee and was already walking on it, a bit slow, but without crutches. The coaches I talked to were unsure if he would be able to medical redshirt this year. Every Topper fan wishes him a fast and full recovery.
OMV did not play tonight but trotted out for introductions and look fit and ready to go next week.
J. Evans sprained his ankle two days ago but dressed and hobbled out to a big hand from the crowd.
Matt Maresca gets better every year. Tonight he was really battling inside and got some nice rebounds and put backs. He will see more minutes this year than last.
B.J Frazier played nice defense on C. Lee out on the perimeter. B.J. is an outstanding athlete and his all around play tonight opened some eyes tonight. Welcome to the Hill Mr. Frazier.
Ty Rogers played on the white squad despite a virus; Ty is a team player even if the team is just playing a scrimmage.
Several recruits attended and one young player looked like a certain 6' 7" player from Tennessee. Since I could not get a confirmation, I will not give his name.
There was a very nice crowd out to support the Hilltoppers. Total attendance was not announced but I would estimate around 2,500 were in the stands.
Do not forget to give to the Danny Rumph charities. If you did not get to contribute tonight, you can call the basketball office and they will instruct you on how you can donate to this worthy cause.
There will be a scrimmage photo gallery available soon!