ST. LOUIS - The Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout was held Thursday at the Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University. The event supports a very worthy cause and ended with a bang as five-star senior guard Brad Beal's St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade squad needed his 44 points as it knocked off Butler bound Roosevelt Jones and O'Fallon (Ill.) High 82-77 in the event's nightcap.
Beal taking his game to new heights
There are few players in the country who can match Chaminade star senior Brad Beal when it comes to an overall body of work. The 6-foot-4 Florida signee has a state title, a couple of gold medals while leading Team USA in scoring and numerous summer crowns earned with the St. Louis Eagles. On top of that, he's ranked No. 7 overall in the 2011 Rivals150.
But, on Thursday, Beal proved that he can still take his game to another level as he showed off a balanced game that is nearly unmatched. Beal effortlessly blended skill, aggressiveness, strength and athleticism on both ends of the floor as he played in attack mode.
Wearing a pair of pink shoes to show his support for the event, Beal came out and displayed improved quickness and explosion off the dribble as he attacked the rim -- right or left -- at will. Once defenders were on their heels, Beal pulled the string on one deep jumper after another en route to a monster 44 points (13-23 FG, 4-5 3PT, 14-17 FT), eight rebounds, six blocks and three steals.
He seems to be a guy that people forget about when talking about the top kids in the class, but he is as complete a prospect as there is in the class of 2011.
More Coaches vs. Cancer notables
Ricardo Gathers, PF, Riverside Academy- The chiseled 6-foot-7 junior power forward got off to a slow start. But, after his coach had been ejected the four-star big man took over in the paint as Riverside erased a double-digit, fourth quarter deficit and earned a tough overtime victory. After roaming some, Gathers went into the post where his strength and athleticism were too much. He authored the event's most impressive play when he finished a coast-to-coast drive with a monstrous two-handed jam. For the afternoon Gathers was good for 23 points and 18 rebounds to go with a pair of blocks and three assists.
Roosevelt Jones, SF, O'Fallon- With his future head coach watching, the 6-foot-4 Butler signee did everything he could to keep O'Fallon in it. He did his best to make Beal work for his offense while providing plenty of offense of his own. It's hard to give him an exact position and he's one of those guys that you just have to let out of the box and deploy as a player. He's strong, plays with intense effort and is very versatile. He played everywhere from point guard to power forward in a 24-point, eight-rebound and five-assist outing.
Willie Wiley, PF, Springfield- Unfortunately, the 6-foot-6 junior was saddled with foul trouble all day. However, the thin, run-and-jump athlete showed that he can motor up and down the floor, score out to the free throw line and make things happen with his length and quickness. He needs strength and a go-to offensive move, but the 2012 prospect shows promise.
Zelvin Smith, SG, Riverside Academy- As Gathers stalled out of the gate, the strong junior shooting guard kept his team afloat with his deep shooting. He's got a pretty crisp jumper and can take some contact at the rim.
Christian Thomas, SF/PF, Clayton- A hard playing and athletic senior combo forward, Thomas flirted with a triple double. Well-built and athletic, he attacks the glass on both ends of the floor, runs to the rim in transition and has a little floater off the dribble. He's not a great jump shooter, but he's a max effort guy and even though his team went down, it wasn't for lack of effort from Thomas, who finished with 27 points, 19 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
Ishmail Wainright, SF, Raytown South- The 2013 small forward had been relatively quiet but when Nebraska signee Corey Hilliard went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter, the four-star prospect stepped up. Wainright used his impossibly long arms and broad shoulders to dominate on the glass and willed his way to the free throw line by attacking the rim. Once at the free throw line, he made several key free throws down the stretch during a 15-point, 13-rebound, three-assist and four-block effort.
Final coaches vs. Cancer notes
Brad Beal wasn't without help on Thursday night. His team made 10-of-18 three-pointers and senior Luke Baumgarner produced one of the shots of the year with his 75-foot, buzzer-beating heave before halftime. Also big was sophomore reserve shooting guard Andy Kleinlein, who made 4-of-5 threes while scoring 14 points in 18 miutes. ... SIU-Edwardsville is getting a guy who should be able to help out in athletic 6-foot-5 combo forward Charles Joy of O'Fallon. He gets on the glass, finishes in transition and plays a physical game. ... He's just a little guy at about 5-foot-8, but Springfield (Ill.) senior point guard Mark Gilchrese is a tough customer. His strong, fearless style was easy to appreciate as he notched team highs in points (28), rebounds (7), assists (6) and steals (5). ... Riverside Academy features several nice-looking young prospects. The 6-foot-5 twins, Trevin Woods and Trevon Woods, show a lot of potential as lanky wings from 2014 while eighth grader Charvon Julien more than held his own at the point. ...
Raytown (Mo.) South junior shooting guard Earl Peterson is a natural scorer. A lengthy and very athletic 6-foot-2 off-guard, he loves to slash to the rim and is a streaky jump shooter. As he adds strength and consistency to his game, his recruitment could start to take off at the mid-major level. ... Perhaps the biggest shot of the game for Raytown South came from senior Nodie Newton, who canned a heavily contested three to give Ray South a one-point lead with just under two minutes to go. Newton finished with 11 points, five assists and three steals. ... Troy Buchanan junior guard Derek Deters has a chance to develop into a D-I player. He can shoot it a bit, handles pretty well and gets others involved. He was good for 18 points, five rebounds and three assists in Troy's 50-44 loss to Raytown South.