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November 19, 2005

National Prep Tip-Off Showcase kicks off

BARRINGTON, R.I. - The first day of the National Prep Tip-Off Showcase at St. Andrew's School is in the books and one of the event's top match-ups - Hargrave against Notre Dame Prep - was won by the guys that don't get the pub. Hargrave was able to get the day's top performance from their stud Vernon Macklin.

Macklin shines in Hargrave loss to Notre Dame Prep

Coming into the first day of action, the one must see game was between Hargrave Military and Notre Dame Prep, two of the most talent-laden teams in the country.

Individually, nobody had a better day than future Georgetown Hoya Vernon Macklin. The Portsmouth, Va., native went for 17 points and 17 rebounds in a 79-63 loss to Notre Dame Prep. The super freak athlete is a question mark player only because you just never know what he's going to do. He's so incredibly quick off the floor, he grabs the offense board and scores before any of the defenders around him know it.

As good as Macklin was, the lesser-known players for Notre Dame Prep came up big when it's stars had a hard time of making it happen.

Lamonte Ulmer was the spark the team needed in the first half. The 6-foot-6 bouncy forward from Hamden, Conn., is quick of the floor and opens the break with his shot-blocking ability.

"He plays with so much energy. There wasn't anyone on the court tonight that did," Notre Dame Prep head coach Bill Barton said. "He's a good player. I'm still trying to figure out why all of these coaches aren't looking at him."

Perhaps they are now. Ulmer said he's hearing from Rhode Island, Maine and St. Bonaventure but he had coaches inquiring after his 15 point performance.

Northeastern signee Robert Mitchell added 14 points on seven of 11 shooting from the floor. The 6-foot-5 wing was relentless with his drives to the basket and scored at will inside. He was the spark off the bench that helped Notre Dame keep the lead that they needed.

Leading Notre Dame Prep in scoring was Marquette Lazar Hayward's 18 points. He also pulled down 11 rebounds. After a slow start, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard got a spark when he picked up some dunks on the baseline and was able to get his points around the iron.

Florida signee Marreese Speights was one of the highlights of the game. The Sunshine State native went to work against the big Notre Dame Prep frontline. Offensively, he's got an array of post moves and crafty footwork to match but too often, he'd freeze once he got to the point the wanted. His baby hook with both hands was also impressive.

Speights finished with 14 hard-earned points on a poor seven on 20 shooting and also secured 12 rebounds. He's still a work in progress but the progress he's been making big strides since moving to Hargrave.

Hargrave shot a dismal 27 of 92 from the floor. Making a large contribution to that horrendous stat was the trio of Stefan Welsh (signed with Arkansas), Armon Bassett (signed with Indiana) and Tyler Smith (looking at Arkansas, Iowa, Pitt and others). They combined for 12 of 50 and one of 15 from downtown. Bassett seemed to force the issue too often while Welsh just took bad shot after bad shot. Smith did finish with 14 points but struggled to find any rhythm with his jumper.

Notre Dame's Paul Harris was awfully quiet in the victory. The future Syracuse stud had nine points, six rebounds and five assists, living to his "do it all" motto but Harris will need to do it a lot more for Notre Dame to have a sensational season.

A heavier and more methodical Derrick Caracter showed up for the big game instead of playing like a guy who could have sent a message that he was ready to prove himself as one of the elite players in the class of 2006. Instead, the Louisville commitment played like a guy who was going through the motions to the tune of six points, three rebounds and four fouls in just 11 minutes of action.

Mike Davis was able to pick up the slack inside and had nine blocks to match his eight points. The former Pitt commitment remains open in his recruitment and hearing from Southern Cal, who was on hand in the crowd, Connecticut, Louisville and Pitt still in the picture.

Patterson School rebounds all over Bridgton Academy

Despite 29 turnovers, Patterson (N.C.) School was able to pick up a 88-70 victory over Bridgton (Me.) Academy. Perhaps their 59-26 rebounding advantage had something to do with it.

Even on an off night, Davon Jefferson went for 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win. With at least a half dozen NBA teams in the crowd, Jefferson didn't show off the game he's capable of. Jefferson started strong but seem to settle with jumpers away from the basket. He's steadily improving his handle and perimeter game but his mind-boggling athleticism and body control are his strong points. He's not afraid to go to them early and often.

D.C. area native Bobby Maze wants to be the next Allen Iverson. He's got the tats, he's got No. 3 on his jersey, he's got the arm sleeve, he's got the speed and the scorer's mentality to boot. This blink-and-you'll-miss-him guard loves to play the transition game. He ended with 14 points on six of seven shooting. He's a mid-major prospect based on his size and scorer's mentality but he'd be a great mid-major next spring. He's got a list that includes Clemson, Georgetown, Hofstra and George Washington.

Oral Roberts have a good one coming next year in guard Jeremy Hazell. The 6-foot-4 guard from the Bronx is a heady, no-nonsense scorer that should help out ORU from day one.

Bridgton was able to get a solid performance from Qa'rraan Calhoun, a 2006 St. John's signee, and Keaton Grant, one of the top 2006 uncommitted guards in the country. Calhoun, a 6-foot-7 small forward, has a nice skill set and should be a major contributor next year for the Red Storm. Grant is a strong bodied guard that can score in a variety of ways. He's got a short list of Boston College, Providence and Virginia Tech.

Legendary prep coaches kick showcase off strong

Fork Union head coach Fletcher Arritt and St. Thomas More head coach Jere Quinn combine for over 1,400 wins between the two and as expected, the two matched each other very well in their strategies. St. Thomas More was able to pick up the win thanks in large part to the three-point shooting of future Siena College guard Edwin Ubiles.

Ubiles's only three pointer of the game came under a minute as he helped seal the victory for St. Thomas More. The 6-foot-4 guard finished with a team-high 17 points on eight of 13 from the field. He sunk a three-pointer with less than 10 seconds to play to help seal the victory. Ubiles is a major steal for the Siena program. He's an active player on both sides of the floor and seemed to come up with big play after big play.

Future Villanova forward Antonio Pena had an honest day's work with 14 points and 12 rebounds. He struggled shooting the ball but managed to do enough of the dirty work to help his team to victory.

Odds & Ends

Our Savior New American junior forward Teeng Akol is every bit of 6-foot-11 and the Sudan native has some impressive hops to match. Still very much raw, he's a guy that can find his way to the Big East or a high-major conference. Schools are putting him on the must-watch list this season.

Baltimore native Ricky Harris had a day one high of 30 points. The 6-foot guard has a number of mid-majors looking at him but had the strong contingency of high-majors in the crowd asking who he was.

Hofstra got a good one in 6-foot-10 big man Greg Washington. The Winchendon post put in 11 points and 13 rebounds in the night's work.

Wincendon guard Kashif Watson, a San Diego State signee, did not make the trip. Word is he tore some ligaments in his knee and will be out for an unspecified amount of time.

On tap for Saturday

9:30 a.m. - Our Savior New American (N.Y.) vs. Boys to Men (Ill.)
11:10 a.m. - Worcester Academy (Mass.) vs. Hargrave Military Academy (Va.)
12:50 p.m. - Bridgton Academy (Maine) vs. Massanutten (Woodstock, Va.)
2:30 p.m. - South Kent School (Conn.) vs. Fork Union Military Academy (Va.)
4:10 p.m. - St. Thomas More (Conn.) vs. Laurinburg Institute (N.C.)
5:50 p.m. - Brewster Academy (N.H.) vs. Philly Lutheran (Pa.)
7:30 p.m. - Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) vs. Patterson School (N.C.)
9:10 p.m. - New Hampton School (N.H.) vs. Champlain St. Lambert (Canada)


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