Experience Over Youth in Mt. Zion Win
It was proven versus potential on Saturday night in Stockbridge, Georgia as the loaded Mt. Zion (NC) squad traveled down I-85 to play start up program Community Christian School (GA). The 400 or so people that packed the tiny gym were treated to seeing over a dozen Division I prospects in action. RivalsHoops was front and center for the action.
On paper, the game was lopsided from the beginning as Mt. Zion brought nine Division I prospects to the Peach State. But to their credit, CCS has their fare share of promising players, boasting a number of talented underclassmen. And the youthful group wasn’t going to go down easy. In the end, Mt. Zion was able to use their experience and skill to put the youthful Knights away by a score of 84-68.
Here are our notes from the game:
Glen Dandridge, the No. 105 player on the Rivals150, was unstoppable as he scored a team high 21 points in limited minutes. The Missouri bound shooter connected on eight of 11 shooting, including four of five from behind the three-point arc. Nearly all of his long-range shots were just that. He hit three NBA range shots.
Brandon Rush, the No. 7 player on the Rivals75 for the class of 2005, was his usual self by scoring high – very high – above the rim. He finished the night with 13 points and seven rebounds. We were impressed with his ball handling and outside touch. Each time we see him, he continues to polish his overall skills.
Unsigned senior Shawn Taggart played very strong, scoring 16 points and pulled down a team high eight rebounds. The 6-foot-11 center ran the floor well and had a couple of impressive blocks. We will have a full-length feature story on him in the coming days.
The senior trio of Roy Bright, Albert Weber and Tasheed Carr, all had their strong moments combing for 24 points. Bright had a difficult time scoring inside against the young frontline but did convert on a couple of long balls. Carr set up teammates nicely and ended with a game high seven assists. His playmaking ability will be a strong asset to Iowa State next season.
The star of the game may have been the youngest player in the books. Community Christian eighth grader Olu Ashaolu scored a game high 24 points. To the surprise of nearly everyone in the gym, Ashaolu tried to pull off the dunk of year. The 6-foot-6 youngster was one on one with Rush on the baseline and went high above the rim and cocked back for the one handed dunk. Rush went up for the block but Ashaolu powered through only to have it clank off the back iron. The young Nigerian native is a very physical rebounder that loves to attack the basket on both ends of the floor. He is years above his peers. We’ve seen Ashaolu several times and always walk away more impressed. He has a very bright future and continues to get better and better.
Tyrone Bramble continues to show that he is amongst the top playmakers in the Southeast, even as a freshman. The 5-foot-7 floor general is quick, smart and disciplined. He has mastered the art of being the leader both by action and words. The Toronto native scored 14 points, including two NBA range threes. He penetrates to the bucket and finds the open man when the defense collapses. He ended the game with six assists. Expect big things out of Bramble on the AAU circuit with Team Georgia.
Solomon Tat, the No. 32 player on the Rivals50 for the class of 2006, had his biggest measuring stick of the year when he faced off against Rush, Roy Bright and Dandridge. 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and a sprained ankle later, he proved that he could hang with the big boys. Had he not went down to injury in the third quarter, the outcome may have been closer than the final score indicated. Tat is one of the most physically blessed players in the sophomore class and he knows how to use it to his advantage by getting to the rim as often as possible. He has also improved as a shooter and perimeter defender. The sky is the limit for Tat.