KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Over the years, the Hy-Vee Shootout presented by Metro Sports has become the premier showcase of Kansas City area basketball. With a format that features the best teams from the Kansas side of the metro versus those from the Missouri side, state and city bragging rights are on the line. Over the past few years the Shootout has extended its reach a little bit and that allowed 2012 five-star Perry Ellis and his talented Wichita (Kan.) Heights team to make an appearance and dominate at Avila College on Saturday.
Hy-Vee Shootout Standouts
Perry Ellis, PF, Wichita Heights- The development of the 6-foot-8 junior five-star has been impressive to watch. After starting off as a shy freshman, he's turned into an aggressive junior with a well-developed all-around game. His playing time was limited to just six minutes in the first half after he picked up two early charging calls, but he dominated the second half.
A fine athlete who runs the floor like a sprinter, Ellis has really improved his skills facing the basket and should be considered a combo forward at this point. He's got a good-looking jumper, but what's really impressive is his ability to catch, face from 15-20 feet and attack the basket full speed off of the dribble going to his right or left. He rebounds, shares the ball and is becoming a bit more of a vocal leader. He finished with 23 points and eight rebounds while going a perfect 10-of-10 from the field.
Ishmail Wainright, SF, Raytown South- The four-star sophomore is a long-armed, 6-foot-5 wing, Wainright is learning to become more aggressive on the offensive end and is a load when he attacks the paint with purpose. He's a fabulous passer, can defend multiple positions and his demeanor doesn't change from play to play. His jumper remains a work in progress, but he did manage to bank in a three with 20 seconds to go that gave his team a lead before they fell on a last-second tip to Kansas City (Kan.) Sumner. He finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Clayton Custer, PG, Blue Valley Northwest- The freshman point guard didn't take the floor until the final game of the day, but he was worth the wait. A six-footer with an advanced feel for the game, he was in total control of the action and his team was clearly better and more organized when he was on the floor. He can knock down shots and takes care of the ball. In fact, he's yet to turn the ball over through the first three games of his high school career.
David Kravish and Tory Miller, PF/C, Lee's Summit North- Headed into the season, the slender 6-foot-9 Cal signee, Kravish, and burly 6-foot-7 sophomore Miller figured to be the best interior combo in Kansas City. However, they hadn't played together much through the early part of the season. Facing a huge deficit against Topeka (Kan.) Hayden in the second half, LSN finally put the duo on the floor together for an extended time and the result was a big come from behind overtime win. Kravish is a skill guy who can run the floor and commands respect from the perimeter while Miller is a long-armed bruiser on the interior who can step out and make some shots. The duo combined for 25 points, 19 rebound and five blocks while totally controlling the lane.
More Hy-Vee notables
Evan Wessel, SG/PG, Wichita Heights- A standout on the football field as well, the future Wichita State Shocker is an outstanding compliment to Perry Ellis. He can run the point, is a terrific playmaker for others and has a knack for scoring between five and 15 feet off of the dribble. With his shaggy hair and physical style, he's the kind of guy who opposing fans could grow to hate while at the same time wishing he played for them. He was good for 15 points, four rebounds and five assists.
Benny Parker, PG, Sumner Academy- If one judged the game solely by the junior point guard's line in the box score (4-17 FG, six turnovers to three assists) they would assume the 5-foot-8 point guard struggled. While he did struggle with his jumper, Parker still managed to lead his team with incredible effort, tough defense and by keeping his guys together in a tight ballgame. He's a sparkplug with tremendous quickness and excellent strength.
Jalen Norman, SF, Nixa- A natural small forward, the 6-foot-4 sophomore has to play the five for his high school team. Despite giving up a ton of size, he battled with Perry Ellis on both ends of the floor. An energy guy who is always on the move, he's a high level athlete with developing perimeter skills. He finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and a pair of assists.
Travis Jorgenson, PG, Columbia Rock Bridge- The 5-foot-11 height that the sophomore gets listed at is a bit generous but that doesn't take away from his high skill level. A terrific ball-handler, he almost always puts the ball in the hands of the exact right teammate and he usually gives it to them in scoring position. He changes speeds, operates the pick and roll like a vet and has good quickness. His jumper is coming around. Much of what level he gets recruited on could depend on whether or not he grows more and how much strength he can add over the next few years.
Denton Koon, SF, Liberty- Princeton has nabbed themselves a nice player in the 6-foot-6 senior. Because of his size, he plays inside and out for his high school team but projects as a wing in college. He's comfortable driving to his right or left, can shoot with some range, is a fine athlete and has a motor that runs at a high rate. He finished with 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and five blocks during a 21 point win.
Final notes and observations
Raytown South junior shooting guard Earl Peterson is a near ridiculous leaper who can explode off the floor for big dunks and surprising offensive rebounds at 6-foot-3. The pencil thin wing can also knock down jumpers and make plays for others. At times, though, he seems to get caught up looking to make the spectacular play when the simple one will do. … Perry Ellis and Evan Wessel will get most of the headlines for Wichita Heights, but junior shooting guard Terrance Moore is developing into a division one prospect himself. A quick six-footer, he's a slashing and attacking off guard with a tremendous first step. Had 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. … Jalen Norman isn't the only sophomore at Nixa (Mo.) with division one potential. Shooting guard Austin Ruder is a 6-foot-2 shooter with a crisp stroke, toughness and deep range. …
Next year, Maize (Kan.) High senior Derek Lee will play tight end at North Dakota State. Should he want to, he could probably find a walk-on spot on the hoops team as well as a tough, sharp shooting 6-foot-5 forward. He was huge in Maize's big win over Grandview (Mo.) High. … An available senior point guard, Grandview (Mo.) High star R.J. Leverette has heard some from Tennessee-Martin and San Francisco but should be hearing from more schools. A quick, 5-foot-11 southpaw, he struggled some from the field but is a hard worker with a good jumper and upside. … Grandview also features a trio of freshman in wing Jawan Emery (Leverette's little younger brother), combo guard Tyrone Taylor and big man Nelson Nweke. Emery had to sit with a concussion while Taylor is a quick lefty scorer and Nweke is a solid rebounder with size. …