December 10, 2012

Jordan on point at FamJuice Classic in Philly

PHILADELPHIA- After spending Friday and Saturday in and around the nation's capital, Rivals.com moved up I-95 to the City of Brotherly Love. On the campus of Philadelphia University, the Kyle Lowry FamJuice Classic tipped off with a slate of three games. Seniors Rysheed Jordan, Brandon Austin and Steve Vasturia all showed well while powerful St. Benedict's laid a beatdown.

Jordan Rules

Ranked No. 29 nationally in the 2013 Rivals150, Rysheed Jordan is the top uncommitted point guard in the country. The 6-foot-4 senior at Philadelphia (Pa.) Vaux isn't just trying to make a decision, he's trying to play his way back to five-star status and into the McDonald's All-American game.

Sunday, the four-star floor general was the man during Vaux's win over Middletown (Del.) St. Andrew's, scoring a game high 22 points.

Early on, Jordan came out and banged home a pair of three-pointers. After that, early foul trouble slowed him down a little, but not too much. Blessed with a great first step and terrific size, Jordan got by defenders at will and made his way into the lane to cause problems for St. Andrew's. Jordan was also his team's best rebounder, and then late when it was winning time, he shifted into closer mode and made things happen.

There are times he is a little loose with his handle, and he's prone to leaving his feet before passing on drives. But make no mistake, Jordan is a playmaker.

"I always feel like I can get to the rim," said Jordan. "I've got size and quickness. I feel better about my all-around game now."

A week ago, Jordan took an official visit to UCLA. He says the decision between the Bruins and his other two finalists -- Temple and St. John's -- is becoming more and more difficult.

"I feel like I could make up my mind at anytime," said Jordan. "I could wake up tomorrow and want to make a decision.

"I've seen everything I need to see, I just need to pick."

Bentil finding his comfort zone

Even though he had a fine outing on a personal level, four-star junior power forward Ben Bentil didn't like the feel of a loss to Jordan and Vaux. Still, there was plenty positive to find in the St. Andrew's standout's 28-point outing.

A well-built kid who runs extremely well, Bentil is quick and decisive in everything that he does. There's no hesitation when he decides to make a play, and it usually involves him going strong to the rim. He gets off the floor quickly and is very good about going strong to the rim with two hands for scores and jams. He's equally good about going up to secure rebounds at their highest point with two hands.

When he can't get a rebound, he's good about tapping it to keep the ball alive for his team, he can make medium-range jumpers and he's got great feet. At 6-feet-8 and 225 pounds, Bentil is perhaps America's most imposing forward on the soccer field, and he can thank his time on the pitch for his footwork.

"I feel like the footwork helps me," Bentil said. "I played soccer before basketball, and it's been good for me."

In the past, Bentil has reported offers from the likes of Cincinnati, La Salle, Penn State, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Joseph's, Temple, Villanova and others with interest from N.C. State, Texas, Notre Dame and many others. For now, though, Bentil indicated that he's not worrying at all about schools and declined to name any favorites or programs that stand out at the moment.

St. Joe's did dispatch head coach Phil Martelli and an assistant to watch him play on Sunday. Also spotted in the crowd were assistants from Syracuse, Rutgers, Delaware, Drexel and St. John's.

Austin and Vasturia make their cases

The matchup between Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep and Philadelphia St. Joseph's lived up to expectations. Featuring two of Philly's top five ranked high school teams, Imhotep pulled away late to win a dogfight.

Also featured in the game were two of the city's premier players. Four-star Providence-bound wing Brandon Austin led Imhotep with 25 points while three-star Notre Dame signee Steve Vasturia pumped in 26.

Ranked No. 74 in the 2013 Rivals150, Austin could be in line for a move up the rankings. Sunday night, he cemented that thought. An uncanny ball-handler for a lengthy 6-foot-6 wing, Austin is capable of playing all three perimeter spots on the high school level and will be very versatile on the college level. He is still quite thin, and his lack of strength could hold him back some early, but outside of that he's pretty complete. In addition to his ball handling, Austin is a top-level athlete with quickness and has developed into a jump shooter who commands respect. Particularly dangerous is his ability to hit step-back jumpers going right or left.

On the other hand, the 6-foot-5 Vasturia currently sits outside of the Rivals150. That's not likely to be the case when final rankings are done in April, and the Fighting Irish signee is a good candidate to enter the rankings as a four-star when things get re-shuffled. He's one of the nation's best jump shooters, and it's almost an upset when he misses an open look, but he's not a one-trick pony. Vasturia is a competitor, a highly alert passer and commands enough respect off the dribble that defenders can't crowd him too closely.

Final Philly notes

New Jersey power St. Benedict's overwhelmed the Haverford School early and often. After going up 27 at the half, St. Ben's held Haverford to just seven second-half points and cruised to a 71-24 win. With everybody playing equal minutes and not heavily tested, it wasn't exactly the best situation for evaluating the players from the New Jersey power. Leading the way, though, was four-star sophomore point guard Isaiah Briscoe who scored 13 points on strong drives to the rim. The 2015 star shares ball-handling duties with Syracuse signee Tyler Ennis and does it well. As for Ennis, he picked up two quick fouls and wasn't really needed to do much. Keep an eye on the Gray Bees freshman big man Rodney Miller down the road. He's a bit generously listed at 6-foot-11, but he is tall and lengthy. He's also rail thin, but he's got plenty of time to grow into that body and already shows some good instincts.

Bentil is far from a one man show for St. Andrew's. He got a lot of help on Sunday from 2014 combo guard Austin Tilghman. A strong and tough junior backcourt player, Tilghman played a well-rounded and complete game. When he was given open jumpers, he knocked them home out to 20 feet. When there were driving lanes, he saw them and got to the rim. If there wasn't anything there, he backed the ball out and restarted the offense. The 6-foot-1 Tilghman isn't at all flashy, but he's very solid, and he's a kid that can be easily trusted by his coaches. According to Tilghman, he's got an offer from La Salle, interest from most of the A-10 and early nibbles from Villanova, Temple, Syracuse and Notre Dame.




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