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December 9, 2007

Saturday at the Hoopfest

DRAFFENVILLE, Ky.-Saturday was a long day of strong basketball at the Marshall Co. Hoop Hoopfest. Brandon Jennings scored a ton for Oak Hill, Scotty Hopson commented on his recruitment.

University Heights Academy, Ky. 56, Lafayette, Mo. 50

University Heights stormed out to a 35-13 halftime lead largely behind the star power of Scotty Hopson. Playing a lackadaisical second half, University Heights let Lafayette slowly back into the game in the second half. Down the stretch Lafayette cut the lead to 53-50 behind some hot three-point shooting with two coming from Tyler Griffey. A traditional three-point play by University Heights closed the game.

Scotty Hopson (2008 prospect) 24 points on 9 of 22 shooting, 3 of 6 from three, 3 of 5 from the line, 6 rebounds, 2 assists

What a talented but yet frustrating player. Hopson is a gliding athlete who has the potential to make any type of shot and make most any play on the court. Yet, his effort and body language leave a lot to be desired. From hanging his head when his teammates shoot instead of rebounding to completely disappearing on defense, Hopson could win the support of a lot more fans if he simply improved his body language and showed a little more leadership. Nonetheless, Hopson is a future pro, and a very good pro assuming he does mature, and a prospect most any college coach would covet.

As for his recruitment, Hopson said that Tennessee, Louisville and Kentucky have been in contact with him and have offered scholarships. He also said it was his understanding that Indiana, Georgia and Georgia Tech had contacted his high school coach. Hopson also had these comments on his situation.

"I'm just weighing my options," said Hopson. "Signing is a big decision, and I want to make sure I make the right decision.

"I want to play in an up tempo system and get up and down the floor. That is the way I like to play. I'm also looking for a coach who knows how to develop pros and how much T.V. exposure the team gets."

Bruce Pearl was on hand to watch Hopson as was Cincinnati, who is also considered a contender for Hopson's services.

Tyler Griffey (2009 prospect) 21 points on 7 of 11 shooting, 2 of 2 from three, 5 of 7 from the line, 5 rebounds, 3 assists

Here are the positives: Griffey can shoot the ball and has a good mind for the game. On the negative side, Griffey doesn't have the quickness to play the wing. If he builds up his body and develops more of a mean streak, he can be a skilled four man at the high level. Hopson was a very difficult match up for him because of the difference in athletic ability. Griffey is better suited to defend in the post, but again, he will need to develop into more off a grinding player who can also step out and make threes.

Oak Hill Academy, Va. 83, Hales Franciscan, Ill. 62

Hales Franciscan hung around for three quarters, but eventually the transition play of game MVP Brandon Jennings and interior size of Oak Hill broke open the game.

Brandon Jennings (2008 prospect) 36 points on 13 of 23 shooting, 0 of 5 from three, 10 of 10 from the line, 1 rebound, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers

Jennings speed was too much for Hales Franciscan as he relied on is big men to clean up the glass and hit him streaking the other way. Other than his ten free throws, Jennings got the rest of his points in transition on acrobatic finishes. In the half court he failed to hit a jumper against the box and one defense of Hales Franciscan.

Keith Gallon (2009 prospect) 13 points on 5 of 5 shooting, 3 of 3 from the line, 10 rebounds, 2 assists

"Tiny" hasn't gotten any tinier since the summer and that is a concern. But the big man dunked with authority and executed one of his patented baseline spin moves for a three-point play. And when he gets his hands on the ball, the ball is his.

Glenn Bryant (2009 prospect) 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting, 2 of 2 from the line, 8 rebounds

Swarming all over the court, Bryant brought the interior energy for Oak Hill. Not necessarily a polished offensive player, Bryant plays within himself and does all the things that a team needs from their energy man.

Donell Cooper (2009 prospect) 26 points on 10 of 17 shooting, 6 of 9 from three, 5 rebounds, 3 assists

Cooper had a big game for Hales Franciscan while seniors Matthew Humphrey and Josh Crittle. Humphrey shot only 2 of 11 from the field and 3 of 8 from the line. Crittle managed 4 of 11 from the field and 5 rebounds. Cooper on the other hand, shot the ball with confidence from start to finish and was scrappy on the boards. Only 5-foot-9 and slight of build, Cooper has the heart and skills to play at the high major level. The question is whether or not he will develop the body to get it done.

Whitney Young, Ill. 75, Scott Co., Ky. 72

Some tough calls and clutch three-pointers by A.J. Rompza and game MVP Julian Kenner erased the lead of Scott Co. in the final two minutes of the game.

Chris Colvin (2009 prospect) 7 points on 3 of 8 shooting, 0 of 1 from three, 1 of 5 from the line, 1 rebound, 2 assists

A physical combo guard, Colvin stands out as a high major prospect on a talented and deep Whitney Young team. He struggled with his shooting against Scott Co., but handled the ball with strength and got into the lane.

Anthony Johnson (2010 prospect) 11 points on 5 of 10 shooting, 1 of 2 from three, 4 rebounds

A sophomore on a loaded team, Johnson played limited minutes for Whitney Young. When Johnson was in the game, however, he was productive and stood out as an outstanding prospect. A lanky athlete, Young is smooth with the basketball and loaded with potential.

Richie Phares (2009 prospect) 21 points on 10 of 11 shooting, 1 of 2 from the line, 8 rebounds

A nice looking mid-major prospect, Phares has touch on his shot, knows how to play and competes.

Findlay Prep, Nev. 68, Wheeler, Ga. 54

Findlay Prep sprinted out to a 41-17 half time lead against a shell shocked Wheeler squad. No one could get much of anything going for Wheeler as DeAndre Liggins and game MVP Jorge Gutierrez dominated the action.

DeAndre Liggins 8 points on 3 of 5 shooting, 0 of 1 from three, 2 of 3 from the line, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, 1 turnover

Liggins did a spectacular job handling the ball and orchestrating the Findlay attack. His strength with the ball and court vision is top notch. Liggins will never be much of a scorer, and actually that is part of his value as a facilitator, but his shot is looking better. His field goals actually came on long two-pointers just inside the arc. His defense both on the ball and off the ball is impressive as well. He can be a dominant defensive rebounder for stretches of the game and has a knack for making plays from the helpside position.

Jorge Gutierrez 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting, 8 of 10 from the line, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers

A quality mid-major, and perhaps better, shooting guard prospect, Gutierrez is a relentless competitor who plays with strength. Although he plays well below the rim, he matched Wheeler center Richard Howell's game high rebound total and had a number of physical finishes in the lane. He is also a capable enough ball handler to play some spells at the point guard position. Not necessarily a big scorer, but Gutierrez is definitely a player.

Curtis Dennis 15 points

Don't have Dennis' full stat line, but he deserves mentioning for his impressive play as a wing scorer. The New Mexico bound prospect knocked down threes off the catch and took the ball to the basket with strength.

Marshall Co., Ky. 60, Rose Hill, Ky. 44

Marshall Co. came up with an emotional win in front of the hometown crowd in the absence of head coach Gus Gillespie. Just a week ago Gillespie's seven year old son Gunner was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. T-shirts in support of Gunner were scattered amongst the crowd, worn by several teams in warm ups and were even worn by the Rose Hill coaching staff during the game.

It was a grinding game in which the solid play of game MVP Scott McKentry led Marshall Co. to a break away win down the stretch.

Chad Jackson (2010 prospect) 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting, 1 of 1 from three, 5 of 9 from the line, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers

Jackson has the makings of being one of the better combo guard prospects in the class of 2010. An athletic 6-foot-4, he was the by far the best rebounder on the court and was able to create his shot when he wanted. Explosive going both directions, he can also finish proficiently with either hand. One of his most impressive plays of the game was when he took the ball from one lane into the other lane at the end of the half against full court pressure with only 3.7 seconds on the clock. Also a good defender, the one catch in his game appears to be his outside shot. He did hit his one three-point attempt at the end of the game, but he was reluctant to shoot from behind the arc throughout the game and was a little shaky at the line. But he is a shot maker, and I expect his jumper to improve throughout his career.

Dakotah Euton (2010 prospect) 9 points on 2 of 17 shooting, 1 of 8 from three, 4 of 7 from the line, 8 rebounds, 1 block, 3 turnovers

It wasn't the best night for Euton. The vast majority of his shots came up well short of the cylinder, including his power shots. To his credit, he played with effort till the end.

White Station, Tenn. 51, Pinckneyville, Ill. 45

A disciplined and senior laden Pinckneyville gave White Station a run for it money, but a couple three-pointers by game MVP Joe Jackson in the fourth quarter turned the game in White Station's favor.

Joe Jackson (2010 prospect) 17 points on 5 of 16 shooting, 3 of 7 from three, 4 of 6 from the line, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal, 5 turnovers

Not a great night for the ultra-talented combo guard, but Jackson did make two game winning plays midway through the fourth quarter. With his team down five, Jackson hit back to back threes off the dribble to put White Station up for good. With a tendency to try to make the athletic and difficult play on the court, Jackson was facing an experienced and well coached team that often made him pay for forcing the play. Nonetheless, all the positive things Rivals.com has written about Jackson still hold true for the elite prospect.

Marvin Williams (2011 prospect) 16 points on 6 of 7 shooting, 4 of 4 from the line, 9 rebounds

Clearly still developing at 6-foot-6 and with tremendously long arms, Williams was the dominant player in the first half of the game scoring 14 of his 16 points. He has sure hands, seeks out the ball off the glass and takes the ball up through traffic with strength although he is not an explosive athlete. He also looked very comfortable shooting his free throws. Remember the name because Williams looks to be a definite high major prospect.

Andre Hollins (2011 prospect) 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting, 0 of 1 from three, 2 of 2 from the line, 3 rebounds

Another good looking freshman prospect for White Station, Hollins is a physically strong 6-foot-2 shooting guard who played with composure beyond his age.

Kyle Cassity (2008 prospect) 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting, 1 of 5 from the arc, 1 of 3 from the line, 7 rebounds and a number of steals, assists and various hustle plays

Maybe Cassity is a mid-major prospect, but if that is the case, he needs to be on a mid-major team that beats high majors. One thing is for sure, Cassity is being under recruited with offers from only Misssouri-Kansas City and Arkansas State.

At 6-foot-5, Cassity is a wiry athlete who handled the ball under pressure for Pinckneyville and made plays when they needed them. He finished with both hands around the basket, shot the pull up jumper with confidence and although he only made 1 of 5 threes, his misses were of the in and out variety. His court savvy and vision was quite impressive, and even more impressive was the fact that Cassity dislocated his thumb early in the game defending Jackson, had the thumb popped back into place and was then quickly back on the court playing in obvious pain.

Lexington Catholic 67, Simeon, Ill. 56

Lexington Catholic dominated this one from the beginning behind the inspired play of game MVP Taylor Stewart.

Taylor Stewart (2008 prospect) 29 points on 10 of 15 shooting, 9 of 11 from the line, 5 rebounds

What a solid player. Stewart spent a lot of the game handling the ball against Simeon's pressure and made tough shots off the dribble. He played with strength and composure and was definitely the best player on the court during his game. Air Force is definitely getting a good one.

Stan Simpson (2008 prospect) 20 points on 6 of 9 shooting, 8 of 9 from the line, 7 rebounds, a handful of blocks

Simpson showed flashes on the defensive end blocking shots and had a couple nice finishes on the offensive end. Still very much in the process of developing, he has a chance to help Illinois down the road once he develops a better feel for the game and an ability to sustain effort.


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