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December 21, 2013
City of Palms: Reaves takes off
FORT MEYERS, Fla. -- With a roster as loaded with talent as Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI's, they seemingly have different players step up every game. In an impressive 62-46 win over Wheeler (Ga.), it was junior wing Josh Reaves stepping up and leading the way.
"We got after it on the defensive end and made them turn the ball over," said Reaves. "After that, I just got out and ran the break and scored in transition."
Reaves finished the game with an efficient 22 points making nine of his 11 shots from the field and went two for three from behind the arc. Coming into City of Palms, the 6-foot-4 wing had only been averaging 2.3 points per game, but that hasn't kept the college coaches from noticing his talent.
Game of the tourney
In a game featuring four future power conference players, including five-star junior foward Ben Simmons, Montverde Academy (Fl.) held off Lincoln (N.Y.) in overtime before a packed gym at Bishop Verot High School in the 2013 City of Palms Classic.
After stealing the show on Thursday with his 31 points and 13 rebounds, Simmons came back down to earth against Lincoln. The LSU commit started the game slow with only five first-half points, but made some key plays down the stretch with his shot-blocking and rebounding before finishing with around 20 points. Simmons received help from his teammates, particularly fellow future LSU Tiger Jalyn Patterson and California signee Ahmaad Rorie. Patterson hit floater in traffic to tie the game and force overtime with less than five seconds left in regulation, and Rorie took over in overtime knocking down clutch free throws mixed in with some nice drives to the rim.
Seton Hall signee Isaiah Whitehead and junior forward Desi Rodriguez both had outstanding games for Lincoln. Both finished with 23 points and worked for every one of them. Whitehead hit several contested jumpers and converted on tough drives to the rim. Rodriguez, a physical 6-foot-5 forward, was the recipient of several nice passes from Whitehead and other Lincoln guards and did the dirty work around the rim.
Brewster gets big game from Graham
Oldsmar (Fla.) Christian hung around with Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy for a half, but Brewster's talent overwhelmed Oldsmar in the second half in large part due to the play of point guard Devonte Graham.
In a 73-43 victory, Graham posted an impressive stat line of 15 points, 11 assists and only 1 turnover. Georgetown signee Isaac Copeland and Oklahoma State signee Jared Terrell were on the receiving end of many of those 11 assists, getting out in transition. The 6-foot-2 guard has great size, strength and quickness for a point guard and is in complete control of his team as the floor general.
Graham signed with Appalachian State as a member of the Mountaineers' 2013 class, but decided to take a year of prep school instead of enrolling in college this season. Graham has yet to be released from his scholarship by Appalachian State, meaning he'll either have to go to a junior college next year or enroll at a different school, sit out a year, and go forward with only three years of eligibility if he doesn't stick with Appalachian State. Regardless, he's a no-brainer high-major point guard and will have a successful college career wherever he ends up.
Fans sticking around at Bishop Verot until after 10 p.m. hoping to see Duke signee Jahlil Okafor were disappointed when the referees hit the five-star prospect with two questionable early fouls. Okafor battled foul trouble most of the night, but showed fans flashes of why he was such a hot commodity before picking the Blue Devils. He had a couple impressive dunks and was a force in the paint in Chicago Whitney Young's comeback win over Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent St. Mary.
St. Vincent St. Mary took the tough loss, but senior guard Jalen Hudson came to play for the Irish. He scored all 13 points as SVSM led 13-4 after the first quarter and he finished with a game-high 28 points. The future Virginia Tech Hokie connected on six 3-pointers and made some nice plays off the bounce. He'll help right away in Blacksburg.
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco sophomore wing Vance Jackson had another strong outing in an afternoon victory over Decatur (Ga.) Greenforest Christian. He pumped in 22 points, 18 of which came on six 3-pointers.
Greenforest Christian lost each of their past two games, but the future is bright for head coach David Jones. His back-court of junior Justin Ravenel and sophomore John Ogwuche combined for 34 points and 7 assists in Friday's loss to St. John Bosco. Sophomore Precious Ayah, a 6-foot-7 post that chipped in 13 points and 9 rebounds, also has a bright future ahead of him.
Unsigned senior forward Melvin Swift from Yates (Tx.) had a strong outing in a last-second win over Milton (Ga). Strong and athletic, the 6-foot-7 Texas native scored at will in the post and looks comfortable playing inside or outside.
Milton sophomore post Chris Lewis, son of former NFL star Mo Lewis, will be one to watch going forward. At 6-foot-8 and around 210 lbs., Lewis continues to develop as a low-post player and knocked down a couple 15-foot jumpers. Battling foul trouble, Lewis managed to finish with 15 points.
Five-star junior post Daniel Giddens has a way of affecting games without scoring much. He blocked 10 shots and grabbed nine rebounds on Friday afternoon. He could be scary down the road if his offense catches up to his defense.
It was a good day for Georgetown fans. Signee Isaac Copeland recorded 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in a blowout win over Oldsmar Christian. Paul VI's Marcus Derrickson will be a member of the Hoyas' 2015 class and was terrific against Wheeler. He showed three-point range on his jumper and can use his big body to score inside. In the final game of the night, signee Paul White looked the part of a quality Big East player. His versatility in the front-court, like Derrickson, will fit well in John Thompson III's system.
Lourawls Nairn, also known as "Tum Tum," will be a fun player to watch at Michigan State. The 5-foot-10 lead guard knows one speed and that's full speed. He routinely gets to the rim and can finish in traffic. He's also a capable distributor as evidenced by his seven assists to go along with his 16 points.