Duke bound Gary Trent one of many stars at Marshall County Hoopfest
BENTON, Kent. -- Friday night at the Marshall County delivered as Duke bound five Gary Trent Jr. of Napa (Calif.) Prolific Prep was the man in a headlining duel between bigtime guards. Trent went off for 36 in a win and a potential future teammate, four-star point guard Matt Coleman, indicated he's close to a decision. That and much more in a rundown from Marshall County.
TRENT GOES BIG IN GUARD DUEL
The marquee matchup of the night was between Napa (Calif.) Prolific Prep and Chattanooga (Tenn.) Hamilton Heights because of a terrific backcourt matchup. Prolific Prep features five-star Duke commit Gary Trent Jr. and four-star Xavier commit Paul Scruggs while Hamilton Heights countered with Virginia Tech and Kentucky bound four-stars Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Shai Alexander.
Between the four of them they scored 92 points but it was Trent who went the biggest netting 36 in Prolific's 72-62 win.
Maybe the most physically tough guard in the senior class, Trent ranks No. 13 overall in 2017 and looks like a fully mature college senior. He also knows how to use that strength. All night long he bullied defenders on his way to the rim and he finished through contact. What's so good about Trent is there is no wasted motion or energy, he attacks the spots he wants to get to and absolutely wore Hamilton Heights out from the mid range. His backcourt partner Scruggs wasn't bad either. The combo guard got to the rim several times and finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists. He looks like an instant impact player at Xavier.
For Hamilton Heights, Alexander-Walker looked like an instant impact guy for Buzz Williams at Virginia Tech and perhaps a future All-ACC type performer. He made five three-pointers and finished with 23 points and four rebounds. His jumper is true but it's his ability to create for himself that justifies his No. 35 overall ranking. We'll discuss his teammate Shai Alexander more below.
KENTUCKY COMMIT ALEXANDER SHOWS UPSIDE
Normally, when somebody commits to Kentucky we've got a pretty good idea of what they are getting. While point guard Shai Alexander ranks No. 53 overall in the class of 2017, the lanky 6-foot-4 floor general from Canada who plays at Hamilton Heights is a bit of a mystery.
Friday night, he became a little less mysterious and looked a lot more like a very nice pickup for John Calipari and the Wildcats.
Though he's skinny, you have to love Alexander's size and length. He's a rangy ball handler who is equally comfortable going right or left and he really gets to his spots. Alexander was getting deep into the lane all night long against Prolific Prep and he did it with hesitation dribbles, stop and goes, changes of pace and didn't rely on athleticism. He also sees the floor well and looks like he will be a plus defender once he adds strength because he moves his feet very well.
The main area to focus on for Alexander will be his jump shot. He's not afraid to shoot, but has some work to do with his mechanics and making it a smoother and more fluid release that takes advantage of his size. When he adds that. he's going to be awfully dangerous.
All in all, it was an impressive 21 point, six rebound and two assist effort.
FOUR-STAR COLEMAN WITH DECISION DATE IN MIND, MORE NOTES
The No. 32 ranked player in 2017, four-star point guard Matt Coleman of Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill says he's close to a decision. Coleman told Rivals.com that he hopes to be ready to announce between Duke, Stanford and Texas during Oak Hill's nationally televised game on Dec. 15th. If he's not ready then, the date will be January 16th (another televised Oak Hill game)
Speaking of Oak Hill, the traditional power is loaded again. In addition to Coleman they have five-star forward Billy Preston and four-star guards Lindell Wigginton, Ty-Shon Alexander and Devontae Shuler. The Kansas bound Preston looks like a grown man and an upper level college player with the work he's done in the weight room. He's a force on the glass and has added some explosion. Playing in front of future head coach Steve Prohm, the Iowa State bound Wigginton helped turn things into a laugher early with a big first half. He's a tough, compact scorer who will play the one and the two in Ames. Shuler and Alexander are both snipers from deep but the Ole Miss bound Shuler was better getting to the rim while the Creighton bound Alexander was knocking in the deep shots Friday night. Additionally, Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy was on hand to see Oak Hill's four-star junior center David McCormack.
Phoenix (Ariz.) Hillcrest Prep was without 2017's No. 1 prospect DeAndre Ayton who is home in the Bahamas tending to a family situation but they still handled the Tech Academy from Canada. Senior wings Shamiel Stevenson has visited USC but said that he's basically wiped the slate clean and is looking to see who is interested. Indiana and Arizona State are among those who have inquired. Another senior wing, 6-foot-5 Alfred Hollins looks comfortable as well. He listed offers from California, Virginia Tech, LSU, Colorado, San Jose State, New Mexico State and Washington State to go along with interest from Indiana, Florida State, Oklahoma and Michigan. He said that IU and Virginia Tech stand out as schools he would like to visit. Finally keep an eye on sophomore Josh Green who looks like Hillcrest's best wing prospect. A 6-foot-5 two guard from Australia, he went for 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists and looks to have a very bright future. His brother Jay Green, recently signed with UNLV as a 2017 prospect.
The numbers didn't show up big in the box score, but Rivals150 junior Nathan Mensah's efforts on the interior for Prolific Prep were clear to the eye. He set tough screens, protected the rim and helped ignite break opportunities. He's pushing 6-foot-10 with good mobility and has San Diego State and Oregon among others involved.
A class of 2019 prospect to keep an eye on is Dekeyvan Tandy of Hopkinsville (Kent.) University Heights. A speedy athlete and willing jump shooter, he's got some guts to his game and looks like he will develop into a high scoring two guard. He's already been to Louisville unofficially.
There is another Maker to keep an eye on. Makur Maker of Tech Academy is a cousin of well known Thon Maker and Matur Maker. After spending his freshman year in the Los Angeles area, the 6-foot-10 forward has moved to Canada and reclassified to 2020. He's very skinny but has tremendous length, is bouncy around the rim and shows promise as a shot blocker who can run the floor.
Finally, Alabama bound four-star John Petty did the majority of his damage around the rim. He was able to use his size and length to get position and teammates dumped the ball over the top so he could catch and score at point blank range. He finished with a double double of 12 points and 10 rebounds plus three assists but also had seven turnovers in Jemison's win over University Heights.