City of Palms: Evans' Thursday Notebook
FORT MYERS, FL. – A full day of hoops at the City of Palms Classic brought solid play from Iowa State and Maryland recruits. However, things begin and end with the two-way dominance of Scottie Barnes and the Davis brothers flying under the radar.
DAVIS BROTHERS DO DOUBLE DUTY
The La Crosse Central High bunch is one that is based off of fundamentally sound ball play but also the blue-collared ethos that has become the foundation for the more successful Midwest programs. Terrance Thompson more than held his own as the 6-foot-7 junior looks the part of a solid MAC or Atlantic 10 type of producer at the next level. He finished with 16 rebounds while attempting just five shots, displaying his mindset as a ballplayer: complete the dirty work and let his teammates take care of the rest.
That they did and more specifically, it was the Davis brothers that really put things over the top. Beginning with Jordan Davis who sometimes gets overshadowed by his sibling, the junior’s willingness to make the right play and put others before himself should not be swept under the rug. His stat line might not have been as eye-popping as his brother’s but 13 points, four rebounds and four steals seems to be the norm for the dual-sport athlete that holds offers from Green Bay, Milwaukee and UNLV.
Jonathan Davis is the more of the scorer which he did at a high level as he finished with 33 point while missing just four of his 18 shots from the floor. There are not many better mid-range scorers in America but it is his toughness and ability to play through contact that really sets him apart. Northern Iowa and Wisconsin are two additional offers that he carries along with those that his brother holds, though Iowa, Minnesota and Virginia have shown additional interest.
SCOTTIE BARNES MAKE HIS STATEMENT
How good was Scottie Barnes? ‘Good’ would be a disservice to all that he accomplished on Thursday despite coming up short in the end by front rimming the game-tying foul shot with just seconds remaining. Without Barnes, University School never would have had a chance. Down 18 points in the second half, Barnes threw his team on his back and nearly pulled out the win as his impact on the game was felt on both ends.
A shaky jump shot has been his undoing in the past but the strides that he has made with it cannot be understated. He knocked down three straight perimeter pull-ups all while providing vise grip defense in checking every position on the floor on various possessions down the stretch.
Barnes is elite in every manner and on the biggest of stages, he shined the brightest. The top ranking in the 2020 class is going to be a fun one to track for years to come but in two games thus far, Barnes has averaged 17 points, 9.5 rebounds and six assists. Barnes’ argument for number one is getting stronger by the day as the best of the best continue to prioritize.
MARYLAND'S HIDDEN WEAPON
Donta Scott has become a nationally acclaimed prospect not for his shot making or ball skills but rather because of his motor and hard-playing mentality. That might be changing and for the better as Scott knocked down three perimeter jumpers on Friday all while making the right play with the ball whenever pressure was applied. Still best as a monster of a small ball power forward, Scott was the reason behind his Imhotep Charter team’s upset win over University School. A Philly tough forward that can fill a variety of holes and on both ends, Scott continues to raise his ceiling as a basketball prospect which bodes well for his future at Maryland.
MORE JOY TO COME FOR HAWKINS
Joyful Hawkins will be an often-discussed name throughout the Peach State in the coming years and not just because of his colorful first name. The 6-foot-7 forward from Brunswick High School made a few moves that made you sit back and assess just how good he could really be. Sure, he does have to get stronger and show that he has the desire to mix it up within the interior. However, guys with his size, fluidity and 15-to-18 foot shot making at his age are difficult to find. Georgia has already offered and before long, if all goes right, don’t be surprised to see many of the local ACC and SEC programs do just the same.
ANOTHER GIANT PLAYMAKER FOR THE CYCLONES
Iowa State has become known for jumbo playmakers in the mold of Georges Niang, Nick Weiler-Babb and Talen Horton-Tucker over the years. While he is not within such of a realm as a passer, it was intriguing to see three-star commit Luke Anderson handle it on Thursday, displaying the wherewithal and the ball skills to lead the break, run some half-court offense and also make the accurate pass on the go. In the best shape that he has been in within the past year or so, Anderson is a fairly tough and multi-dimensional power forward that should chip in somewhere along the way next season. The Cyclones dispatched an assistant to see him in Florida and should feel more than comfortable for what is headed their way.
ROBINSON A GOOD ONE FOR THE MIDS
The need for a steady guard that can run the show is a must for a program, that is if they want any chance at March glory. He might not be the sexy athlete or the prolific scorer but there is a room somewhere for Khalil Robinson. The Gray Collegiate product wasn’t able to push his team over the top but 11 points and 11 assists is a rock-solid stat line that is more of the norm with Robinson than a high mark outing. Thus far, he holds offers from Howard, Princeton and The Citadel but as more programs come to the understanding of just how sturdy he is and that there is an additional need for a playmaking agent on their roster for next season, don’t be surprised to see a litany of low and mid-level programs jump into the picture for the facilitating guard.