NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The National Prep Showcase had its share of buzzer beaters and barn burners this past weekend as the big winners coming away with victories in both games were Hargrave Military Academy (Va.), New Hampton Prep (N.H.), Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.), St. Thomas More School (Conn.), South Kent School (Conn.) and Winchendon School (Mass.).
From a prospect standpoint, a pair of young underclassmen made their mark and a breakout player emerged.
By the time the event was over (20 games later between 23 top prep school teams), Sunday’s last-second thrillers ended up being the talk of the event.
NATIONAL PREP SHOWCASE SCOREBOARD
St. Thomas More (Conn.) 90, Lee Academy (Maine) 69
Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) 87, Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) 80
South Kent School (Conn.) 105, Evelyn Mack Academy (N.C.) 96
Winchendon School (Mass.) 90, Massanutten Military Academy (Va.) 54
Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Mass.) 58, Proctor Academy (N.H.) 40
Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) 72, Fork Union Military Academy (Va.) 45
Lee Academy (Maine) 91, Massanutten Military Academy (Va.) 74
St. Thomas More (Conn.) 78, Fork Union Military Academy (Va.) 67
Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) 80, Bridgton Academy (Maine) 57
Winchendon School (Mass.) 79, Evelyn Mack Academy (N.C.) 77
New Hampton Prep (N.H.) 79, NIA Prep (N.J.) 70
Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) 75, Champlain St. Lambert (Montreal) 67
Brewster Academy (N.H.) 84, Worcester Academy (Mass.) 79
Maine Central Institute (Maine) 81, Kiski School (Pa.) 44
NIA Prep (N.J.) 103, Brewster Academy (N.H.) 99 (OT)
Bridgton Academy (Maine) 71, Tilton School (N.H.) 70
Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) 69, Maine Central Institute (Maine) 54
South Kent School (Conn.) 76, Champlain St. Lambert (Montreal) 75
New Hampton Prep (N.H.) 90, Kiski School (Pa.) 46
Blair Academy (N.J.) 78, St. Andrew’s School (R.I.) 67
After forcing a turnover with 1.3 seconds left and out of timeouts, Nemanja Djurisic slipped a screen for a lay-up feed from Danny Lawhorn on South Kent’s quick-thinking inbounds play under the hoop that put them past Champlain St. Lambert of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. South Kent’s J.J. Moore (signed with Pittsburgh) and Champlain’s Yann Carter each scored 27 points in the 76-75 finish.
Bridgton Academy of Maine and Tilton School of New Hampshire faced off in a matchup of league winners from Class A and Class B in last year’s New England Prep School Athletic Conference. Gerard Coleman (25 points/Providence signee) and Georges Niang (22 points) returned from that Tilton team but were rocked by a buzzer-beater from half court by DaShaun Wiggins (17 points/Seton Hall commitment), giving Bridgton the 71-70 victory. Wiggins carried the team with big baskets down the stretch along with a key jump-hook inside by big man Ron Blossomgame, while Alex Harris led Bridgton in scoring with 24 points.
And in the game that just wouldn’t end, Brewster Academy was edged out, 103-99, by a scrappy NIA Prep team that came from behind and forced overtime behind Rameel Johnson's 30 points on 13-16 from the field.
It was a tale of two days for Brewster’s Will Barton (No. 3 in MaxPreps Top 100/Memphis signee), finishing 1 of 8 from the field with four points in a turnover-filled game by both teams. The night prior, Barton had 14 points on 7 of 14 shooting and flashed his versatility passing the ball and defending in an 84-79 win over Worcester Academy.
The annual matchup between rival powers Hargrave Military Academy and Notre Dame Prep didn't disappoint as it opened the tournament with a bang. Lorenzo Brown (North Carolina State signee) will be the player to remember from this year’s duel as he posted a complete 20-point, 10-rebound and five-assist line to lead the way in Hargrave’s 87-80 victory.
And if there was a breakout player, with no question it was Calvin Newell of Evelyn Mack Academy. A native of Wilmington, Pa., Mack claims offers from Niagara and Binghamton with interest from Charlotte and Nebraska.
Despite losses in both games, his recruitment will pick up after gutsy showings by he and his team that saw him score 28 points against South Kent and 37 points against Winchendon.
Also of note was one of the nation’s top prospects ‘returning’ in his team’s first game of the year. St. Thomas More sophomore Andre Drummond played his first games back from a foot injury that sidelined him since the beginning of the school year. The 6-11 big man posted posted modest numbers in roughly 10 minutes of play in each of the team’s two wins.
Lorenzo Brown (Hargrave/North Carolina State) – Floor general led his team to pair of victories over Notre Dame Prep and Bridgton Academy. Made plays in the pick-and-roll, had some forced turnovers at times but also got to the rim and consistently finished. Went for the coveted line of 20 points, 10 rebonds and five assists against Notre Dame and played light minutes in team’s blowout over Bridgton. Originally Class of 2009, he will contend for All-Freshman honors in the ACC after the extra year of prep.
Mardracus Wade (Hargrave/Arkansas) – Posted 15 points against Notre Dame Prep playing off Brown in the backcourt. One of the top lockdown guards in his class, refs had a quick whistle for his defense against Bridgton.
JJ Moore (South Kent/Pittsburgh) – Growing prospect was showing his bread-and-butter with 50 percent from 3-point range (8 of 15) and a number of north-south drives for dunks. Big weekend of two wins with 27 and 28 points in each.
Russ Smith (South Kent/Louisville) – The scoring guard delivered in his type of game fresh off making his college decision last week. A huge dunk in transition lifted team’s momentum and led to him hitting for 25 points in 106-95 win over Evelyn Mack Academy.
Hector Harold (Northfield Mount Hermon/Pepperdine) – One of country’s secrets going from California to Northeast, helped lead a rout in team’s win over Fork Union then opened up where he left off last year with a big 32-point game.
Majok Majok (Northfield Mount Hermon) – Available big men are limited for the Spring Signing Period and Majok is one of the best of them left. Fought through foul trouble to post nine points and seven rebounds in close win versus MCI but it was his shot contesting and stops on defensive end down the stretch that were his selling points.
Brady Heslip (New Hampton/Boston College) – Shots weren’t dropping Saturday but Sunday they were for one of the top shooters in the class. Canadian hit 4 of 6 from deep in first half to trigger team’s rout, bouncing back from a 5 of 15 night from beyond the arc that still led five players in double figures (19 points) against NIA Prep.
Evan Smotrycz (New Hampton/Michigan) – Another dropping them in from behind the arc, scored 15 points in team’s win over NIA Prep. Shooter with size teams with Heslip and really opened the floor up for team’s bigs to operate, as well as he himself making a conscious effort on the offensive boards. Solid all-around outing.
Bryon Allen and Dominique Langston (St. Thomas More) – Both more drivers than shooters or distributors, the pair held their worth as a backcourt to contend with in team’s two victories. Combined for 36 and 32 points with limited services of their inside presence Drummond.
Khem Birch (2012/Winchendon) – Young combo forward made several big plays down the stretch to win team’s game against Mack Academy. A finish in transition, a block on defense leading to a run out, and a stick-back through contact inside for an and-one marked a star showing in the final three minutes. Tracking as one of the early best in his class between summer and weekend here.
Naadir Tharpe (2011/Brewster Academy) – Against NIA Prep, true point guard tried his best to keep team in it and made the most amount of effective plays in the second half of a game with brutal execution by both teams. Finished with 16 points and five assists and ran the show in the win against Worcester Academy the night prior.
Ron Giplaye (Notre Dame Prep/Providence) – Rebounding machine with silent toughness did damage in the highlighted matchup against Hargrave, working for a 10 and 10 double-double despite the loss and coming back with 16 and 12 in the win over Champlain.
Gerard Coleman (Tilton/Providence) – His team was one of the few to only play one game and he made the most of it. Signature moment all came in less than 60 seconds when he turned it over, did his best LeBron impression and chased down the thief for a shot-block on the fast break, then dropped in a 3-pointer from the wing on an isolation late in the shot clock. The team’s go-ahead basket down the stretch came on a set run for him that resulted in a drive-and-dish to an open big. Last year saw a slasher from the wing/rocket in transition/perimeter defender. Here he was all that and more. Progression skill-wise combined with chance to build confidence in leadership role could poise for a big turn as prospect.
Ricardo Ledo (2012/St. Andrew’s) – Too much to handle for Blair Academy. He had the green light (10-23 FG, 3-9 3PT, 4-5 FT) and scored 27 points in a close loss where his team needed his production after Michael Carter-Williams left injured. Numbers aside, the big wing showed a ton of promise being so raw.
MORE TO NOTE
Not to be overlooked on a deep team, Hargrave’s Shawn Kemp (Auburn), David Chadwick (Rice) and Colton Christian (Tulane) also showed flashes in the two wins...Winchendon’s crew of top talent is buying in as a unit and all chipping in. Devon Saddler (Delaware) and Anthony Ireland (Loyola Marymount) may have stepped up the most but Markus Kennedy (Villanova), Eric Ferguson (Georgia Southern), Marvin Dominique (Hofstra), James Stukes and Akeem Williams will all have big games this year. This group will be challenge for the NEPSAC Championship if the cohesive unit continues its ways….Unsigned backcourt players Jarvis Davis (Hargrave) and Lamont Samuell (Notre Dame Prep) had big efforts, with Davis going for 15 points in both of the ‘Grave’s wins and Samuell posting a 24-point game in the two teams’ matchup. Ashton Khan (Brewster Academy) was another guard with a solid weekend showing. Khan scored 23 points in the overtime loss to NIA Prep and had 11 in the win against Brewster Academy, and could have had more considering his low free throw numbers (3-13)….Blair Academy’s Ryan Lubreski smoked it for 22 points in the first half of the win.
OUT OF ACTION
Isaiah Epps (Hargrave Military Academy/Pittsburgh) and Tahj Tate (Evelyn Mack Academy) played Friday but not Saturday per coaches’ decisions…Jesse Morgan (Seton Hall) is no longer at South Kent…Daryl Traynham was dismissed from Maine Central Institute…Michael Carter-Williams (2011/St. Andrew’s/Syracuse) left the game with what was thought to be a hip flexor. He was carted out and taken to the hospital…Matt Brown (Northfield Mount Hermon/Harvard) is out with a broken hand…Tyler Olander (2011/Worcester Academy) has a broken thumb… Grandy Glaze (2011/Proctor Academy) sat out sick …Richard Peters (2012/Brewster Academy/Oklahoma) wasn’t with the team.