National Hoops Festival: Preston stands out
HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- Six five-star prospects took the floor on the first
day of the National Hoops Festival at DeMatha High just outside of Washington,
D.C. They were sure to deliver as Dallas API's Terrance Ferguson and
Billy Preston had the crowd buzzing in their win over local five-star
V.J. King of Paul VI in an epic high school game.
I was impressed with...
The day's featured game was a battle between Dallas (Texas) Prime Prep and
Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI. Featuring five-star senior shooting guard
Terrance Ferguson and 2017's No. 2 and No. 6 ranked players in point guard Trevon Duval and combo forward Billy Preston, the Bulldogs presented the
perfect foil for the locals who were led by Louisville bound five-star
wing V.J. King.
A back and forth affair the entire way through, the game wasn't decided until
the final buzzer when API's Baylor bound four-star forward Mark Vital slammed home Preston's missed layup attempt for a 70-69 win.
In what is an early candidate for high school game of the year, all of the big
timers made plays. Committed to Alabama, Ferguson was on fire from deep
and made some slick finishes at the hoop to finish with 27 points. At 6-foot-9,
Preston showed off his ability to handle the ball, shoot with some range and
cause problems around the rim in a 25 point, 12 rebound and two assist effort.
From the point, Duval was able to shed a bad start by making a pair of
ridiculous dribble drives late in the game when his team needed them the most.
On the other side, King deserves a lot of credit for his will to compete. After
Ferguson completely blanketed him defensively in the first half, King scored 18
of his 26 and added six rebounds in the second half. He used ball screens to get
into the paint and scored however his team needed him to.
I was surprised by...
It wasn't just V.J. King who had big moments in a loss for Paul VI. 2018 wing
Ranked No. 135 in the 2016 Rivals150, Manigault used his size and ability to eat
space in the lane to grab 10 rebounds and hold off defenders so to score 15
points around the rim. Maybe next up to be a star at Paul VI, Slater is really
one to keep an eye on. An athletic southpaw with 6-foot-5 size and a crisp
jumper, he oozes potential and had 17 points that included four deep three
pointers. Slater has already been offered a scholarship by Virginia Tech and
Maryland is watching closely.
I really like the 2017 combo Upper Marlboro (Md.) Wise has in small forward Darron
Barnes and shooting guard Michael Speight. Barnes is a power wing
who converts in the lane and on medium range jumpers. He could conceivably play
some as a three or a four and has a great motor. Though he didn't have as good a
game as Barnes, Speight has big upside as well. He's long, athletic, can shoot
with some range and does enough with the dribble that he could almost be viewed
as a combo guard. USC, Xavier, James Madison and Towson have all
KentuckyClick Other thoughts...Here to view this Link. signee
Sacha Killeya-Jones continued his outstanding senior season. After a quiet first
half, the 6-foot-10 power forward at Lynchburg (Va.) Virginia Episcopal scored
19 of his 25 points and grabbed nine of his 13 rebounds in the second half and
overtime. Making one baseline jumper after another and finishing with
athleticism he also made eight of his last nine shots. His five-star status
appears to be pretty safe.
Ranked No. 54 in the class of 2017,
6-foot-5 wing Naji Marshall is actually a senior at Greenbelt (Md.)
Eleanor Roosevelt but he's going to do a year of prep school before making his
way to college putting him in 2017. A grinder who plays with physicality, he
looks like one of those guys who ends up a very valuable upper classmen because
of his well rounded all around game and toughness. He defends, can handle a bit
and is a good passer. He had 21 points, three rebounds and a pair of assists in
Roosevelt's loss to Bowie (Md.) Bishop McNamara. Virginia Tech and VCU
Three-star junior Jamir MoultrieClick have offered while Georgetown has had him on campus this season.Here to view this Link. is a scorer first, second and last. A six-footer with quickness,
he is one of those smallish two guards who can put up points fast, almost in
Eddie House type fashion. His jumper wasn't falling with regularity from deep on
Saturday but he got to the rim, made his free throws and hit a few key shots
late to score 20 points in Bishop McNamara's win over Eleanor Roosevelt.
Joseph's, James Madison, USC and Towson to go along with interest from
Currently ranked No. 21 in the
class of 2018, 6-foot-6 swingman Isaiah Mucius status is based largely
on long term potential. He wasn't hugely productive for St. James (Md.) but the
plays he made tended to be of the eye-popping variety. The safe bet here is that
he turns into a very versatile wing once he adds some strength and consistency.
Syracuse are involved.
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