HAMPTON, Va. - The Boo Williams Invitational kicked off Friday night in the brand new Boo Williams Sportsplex. The Houston Hoops pulled off a win over the Mean Streets, and guard Tommy Mason-Griffin commented on how the coaching carousel has affected his recruitment.
Mason, who scored 17 points against Mean Streets, is no longer headed to LSU.
"I feel like it is the right move for me to open up my recruitment," Mason told Rivals.com. "John Brady and Butch Pierre are the reasons I committed to LSU. Now neither of them are going to be there."
Although he is not limited to these schools, the short list for Mason includes Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. He said all four are actively recruiting him and have offered.
The eye opener for the Houston Hoops squad, however, was 6-foot-7 power forward Augustine Rubit. The big man scored 17 points as well and hauled down a load of rebounds. A wide presence in the post, Rubit also has a long wing span and finishes with a soft touch. Although he is not the most explosive athlete, he has great hands and good footwork and can score on an array of back to the basket moves.
Jamaal Fenton had some timely scores for the Hoops, finishing with 14 points.
Memphis on my mind
Two of the most talented prospects at the Invitational both have Memphis as their leaders at this point. Speedy point guard John Wall is one of them.
"Memphis is on top," said Wall when asked about his recruitment. "Coach Calipari called my dad the other day, and I spoke recently with Coach Kellog. He said they want me to come down and see the campus and meet Derrick Rose. They feel I have a lot of similarities to him. That is a great compliment, but I'm not letting it go to my head. I want to stay humble."
Playing with a new cast of characters with the South Carolina Ravens, Wall never quite found his groove although he raced his way to 23 points and got to the line 12 times in a loss to the New York Gauchos, who got 29 points from 2010 standout Doron Lamb.
One of Wall's teammates this weekend, Karron Johnson is also quite high on the Tigers.
"Memphis is number one," said Johnson. "I like their style of play-up and down the court. Plus my best friend Shawn Taggart is on the team. We grew up in the same neighborhood."
After Memphis, listed Seton Hall, Virginia, Georgetown, LSU, Miami and USC as schools of interest and also claimed offers from all of them.
Johnson played limited minutes in his first run with the Ravens but was effective when on the court, using his explosive athleticism and ball skills to make plays.
For elite shooting guard Xavier Henry, Memphis sits at the top of his list along with Kansas. He also noted that UCLA and Texas are now on his list along with North Carolina.
Henry was sensational in the first half of his game before spraining his ankle. In less than half the game, he pumped in 17 points on an array scoring moves. The lefty's stroke looked impeccable.
Big man getting it together
Athletes First's Daniel Orton has always been an intriguing prospect, but now it looks like he has turned the corner into becoming a top notch player. Looking much trimmer and more athletic, Orton had some impressive plays with his back to the basket, which has been one of the weaknesses of his game. In one flurry, he scored on an impressive move to his left shoulder and then countered it later with a left hand jump hook. Always having been a good passer and defender, Orton could be looking at a move up the rankings with his trimmer physique and added offense.
Tough night for Kentucky duo
This wasn't the start that the revamped Team Texas squad was looking for. In a disappointing loss to Chicago Express, GJ Vilarino managed eight points on 1-12 shooting from the field, and K.C. Ross-Miller scored only two points on 0-2 shooting from the field.
Roger Franklin carried the load for Team Texas, scoring 28 points on 12-21 shooting from the field and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Ferrakohn Hall had to sit out most of the high school season after transferring to Memphis White Station, but it was obvious on Friday night that he has been in the gym practicing. Hall looked quite comfortable with the ball, slashing for a team high 20 points in the YOMCA's disappointing one point loss to the SYF Players. Athletic and long, Hall is the type of combo forward coveted by up tempo teams.
Hall listed Tennessee, Memphis, Florida and Kentucky as his top four schools while noting that it is still an open list. According to Hall, Tennessee and Memphis have both offered while Kentucky is talking about offering. Holding back Hall's recruitment are concerns about his academics, but Hall said his work has improved since transferring and he is certain he will qualify.
Hall's inside partner Reginald Buckner has officially jumped onto the national scene with his impressive play Friday night. Every bit as athletic, if not more, as Hall, Buckner blocked three shots as an ever present defensive threat around the basket. Looking good with the ball in his hands, he also scored nine points on only four shot attempts with his new travel team.
Buckner listed Memphis, Tennessee (offer), Ole Miss, Arizona (offer), Kentucky, Missouri (offer) and UTEP (offer).
The YOMCA's top prospect Leslie McDonald never cranked it into a dominating mode, but he did have his moments, scoring 16 points on 7-13 shooting.
North Carolina State commitment Scott Wood led SYF with 21 points on 7-13 shooting. An intriguing scorer, Wood's points should translate to the ACC provided he develops some muscle mass on his thin frame and tightens up the release on his jumper.
Speaking of thin frames
Ryan Kelly is another intriguing prospect in need of some physical development, but there is no denying his skilled face up game. Most impressive was the way he put the ball on the floor to create space for his accurate jumper.
Boo Williams rundown
Once again with a loaded squad, Boo Williams ran roughshod over Team Stat. Kendall Marshall did a typical great job running the show. Whether feeding the post with either hand or making creative shots off the drive, Marshall always impresses with his feel for the game.
Tristan Spurlock, however, was the biggest eye catcher on the Boo Williams squad. At a healthy 6-foot-7, Spurlock looked great shooting the ball from behind the arc and showed physical toughness rebounding the ball. He also had an impressive possession when he took the ball coast to coast and dropped it off to a trailing teammate for an easy score.
2010 prospect Andre Dawkins was impressive off the bench for Boo Williams. A prototypical shooting guard with size, Dawkins has a feel for using screens without the ball to go along with a quick release on his jumper. Not necessarily an explosive athlete, Dawkins is a good athlete who plays with a controlled pace.