FT. MYERS, Fla. - The City of Palms Classic cruised through the quarterfinals round on Monday. Villanova commitment James Bell, however, was on anything but cruise control as he led his Montverde (Fla.) Academy squad to a convincing win.
Montverde Academy (Fla.) 62, Westchester (Calif.) 47 Quarterfinals
James Bell (2010, Montverde Academy, Villanova commitment)
23 points, 7-13 from the field, 5-8 from the arc, 4-4 from the line, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 turnovers 0 blocks, 1 steal in 30 minutes
Bell showed patience early on in the game, letting his offense come to him. The approach paid off as Bell quickly heated up once he got his opportunities. His three-point stroke was on, and you could see his confidence grow as the game went on. An athletic scorer and defender, Bell will definitely find his niche in a winning formula at Villanova.
Jamail Jones (2010, Montverde Academy, Marquette commitment)
12 points, 4-12 shooting, 0-5 from the arc, 4-5 from the line, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 2 blocks, 0 steals in 28 minutes
Physical and active, Jones struggled with his deep ball, but he finished inside and crashed the boards for a game-high 10 rebounds.
Jordin Mayes (2010, Westchester)
15 points, 3-10 from the field, 1-5 from the arc, 8-8 from the line, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, 0 blocks, 1 steals in 22 minutes
Mayes' squad was overmatched, but he did manage a team-high 15 points and did a solid job handling the basketball.
Winter Park (Fla.) 73, Milton (Ga.) 64 Quarterfinals
Austin Rivers (2011, Winter Park, Florida soft commitment)
21 points, 7-22 from the field, 1-6 from the arc, 6-8 from the line, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 block, 2 steals in 32 minutes
Rivers came out of the gates scorching, putting up 16 points in the first half and gaining control of the game for his team. Once Winter Parker got an early lead, Milton unsuccessfully played catch-up the rest of the game. Rivers scored a number of impressive baskets off of explosive moves to the basket going both right and left. In the second half, Rivers didn't score until three minutes left in the game, but Rivers' supporting class was up to the challenge.
Brett Comer (2011, Winter Park, Florida Atlantic commitment)
22 points, 8-12 from the field, 2-3 from the arc, 4-5 from the line, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 turnover, 0 blocks, 3 steals in 29 minutes
Winter Park doesn't win without the steady and inspired play of Comer. When the defense focused too much on Rivers, he knifed to the basket. When there was an open scorer, he found him.
Robert Lovaglio (2010, Winter Park)
16 points, 5-8 from the field, 2-2 from the arc, 4-4 from the line, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 0 blocks, 2 steals in 32 minutes
Lovaglio muscled and hustled his way to making critical play after critical play for Winter Park.
Julian Royal (2011, Milton)
24 points, 10-16 from the field, 1-3 from the arc, 3-5 from the line, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 1 steal in 32 minutes
Royal played the most inspired basketball on the Milton squad. He showed a physical side to his game that is not always there. He was the game's leading rebounder and scored against contact.
Shannon Scott (2011, Milton, Ohio State commitment)
18 points, 6-20 from the field, 2-4 from the arc, 4-4 from the line, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 turnovers, 0 blocks, 2 steals in 30 minutes
Scott's two steals were impressive backcourt pickpockets (one against Rivers) which led to baskets. Offensively, he passed well throughout the game and scored early on but struggled to make shots after his initial start.
Dai-jon Parker (2011, Milton)
8 points, 3-16 from the field, 1-5 from the arc, 1-2 from the line, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 block, 1 steal in 32 minutes
For the most part, he did a great job defending Rivers. Offensively, however, he struggled mightily. On numerous occasions Parker had ultra-athletic drives to the basket but failed to control himself on the finishes and flipped up wild shot attempts. The tools are there for Parker to be a tremendous combo guard. The trick will be for him not to let his athleticism overwhelm his ability to play the game.
St. Benedict's (N.J.) 71, St. Francis (Md.) 52 Quarterfinals
Myck Kabongo (2011, St. Benedict's, Texas commitment)
19 points, 5-8 from the field, 2-3 from the arc, 7-10 from the line, 0 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 turnovers, 0 blocks, 4 steals in 29 minutes
Kabongo controlled the game with his quickness and court savvy. The biggest improvement in his game is the development of his outside shooting. He looks more comfortable shooting the ball and is getting better arc on his shot.
Jean-Paul Kambola (2010, St. Benedict's)
10 points, 5-7 from the field, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 turnovers, 7 blocks, 1 steal in 21 minutes
Kambola will never be a high-level scorer, but his effort on the boards and as a defender is admirable. He finished when he had opportunities, avoided turnovers and controlled the paint defensively with his seven blocks.
Aaron Brown (2010, St. Benedict's)
17 points, 5-8 from the field, 2-4 from the arc, 5-8 from the line, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 1 steal in 22 minutes
More physically advanced than his opposition, Brown contributed in a variety of ways for St. Benedict's.
Mike Poole (2010, St. Benedict's)
10 points, 5-12 from the field, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, 0 blocks, 1 steal in 26 minutes
Poole put his athleticism to use, slashing for scores and hitting the boards. He also contributed with his passing.
Sidiki Johnson (2011, St. Benedict's, Arizona commitment)
4 points, 1-4 from the field, 2-3 from the line, 8 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 turnover, 1 block, 2 steals in 15 minutes
Johnson did not play much of a role for St. Benedict's on the offensive end, but he was effective on both the defensive and offensive boards.
Dante Holmes (2010, St. Francis)
19 points, 7-17 from the field, 1-5 from the arc, 4-6 from the line, 9 rebounds, 0 assists, 6 turnovers, 0 blocks, 2 steals in 28 minutes
Built to be a scorer at the mid-major level, Holmes started out strong, but then the heavy defensive attention from St. Benedict's wings slowed him down.
Sam Cassell Jr. (2011, St. Francis)
13 points, 5-11 from the field, 3-6 from the arc, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 0 turnovers, 0 blocks, 1 steal in 21 minutes
With the defense focused on Holmes, Cassell took advantage of his open looks. The son of NBA player Sam Cassell has a nice shooting stroke, but he needs more physical strength to contribute more than just his shooting.
Findlay Prep (Nev.) 87, Dunbar (Fla.) 50 Consolation
Jabari Brown (2011, Findlay Prep)
24 points, 9-14 from the field, 3-7 from the arc, 3-7 from the line, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 0 blocks, 0 steals in 20 minutes
Brown isn't an explosive athlete, but he plays with great strength around the rim and finishes against contact. He also has a great stroke from behind the arc. At a good 6 feet 4 and 200 pounds, Brown is one of the better wing scoring threats in the class.
Thomas Laerke (2011, Findlay Prep)
17 points, 5-8 from the field, 4-5 from the arc, 3-3 from the line, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 0 turnovers, 0 blocks, 0 steals in 21 minutes
In his first action for Findlay since arriving about a month ago from Denmark, Laerke made a big splash with his shooting ability. The Findlay coaching staff termed him a "phenomenal shooter."
Tristan Thompson (2010, Findlay Prep, Texas commitment)
8 points, 3-7 from the field, 2-5 from the line, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 0 blocks, 1 steal in 24 minutes
Thompson was solid for Findlay, who didn't need him to take over the game.
Cory Joseph (2010, Findlay Prep)
6 points, 2-6 from the field, 1-4 from three, 1-2 from the line, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 2 steals in 28 minutes
Joseph looked for his shot early, but once the game was in hand, he deferred.
Nick Johnson (2011, Findlay Prep)
6 points, 2-3 from the field, 0-1 from the arc, 2-2 from the line, 1 rebound, 5 assists, 0 turnovers, 2 blocks, 3 steals in 14 minutes
With Brown on a scoring binge, Johnson played the role of a distributor and let his shots come to him.
Godwin Okonji (2010, Findlay Prep)
12 points, 5-9 from the field, 2-6 from the line, 12 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 turnovers, 0 blocks, 0 steals in 22 minutes
Okonji was the most physical player on the court. He chased down rebounds and took advantage of his scoring opportunities.
Sagemont (Fla.) 56, Dudley (N.C.) 44 Consolation
Will Sheehey (2010, Sagemont, Indiana commitment)
17 points, 8-13 from the field, 0-2 from the arc, 1-3 from the line, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 turnovers, 0 blocks, 1 steal in 18 minutes
Sheehey impressed with his athletic and hard-nosed play. He did a great job defensively on P.J. Hairston, rebounded with authority and scored on slashing drives to the basket. His outside shot needs work, but nonetheless, he will certainly contribute in the other aspects of the game.
Fabricio de Melo (2010, Sagemont, Syracuse commitment)
17 points, 8-14 from the field, 1-5 from the line, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 block, 0 steals in 21 minutes
de Melo simply overpowered the smaller Dudley squad. His teammates got him the ball, and he finished. He also had some nifty scores on face-up drives to the basket. His conditioning looked good. Now de Melo needs to work on his midrange shooting.
P.J. Hairston (2011, Dudley, North Carolina commitment)
18 points, 5-19 from the field, 3-11 from the arc, 5-7 from the line, 8 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 turnovers, 4 blocks, 1 steal in 21 minutes
Hairston missed his early jumpers, and seemed out of kilter the rest of the game. At times he forced contested, long-range shots, and then he would pass up open jumpers and force the ball to the basket. He did play a physical game around the basket, using his leaping ability to make plays in traffic.
De La Salle (Ill.) 57, Bartow (Fla.) 40 Consolation
Mike Shaw (2011, De La Salle)
12 points, 4-8 from the field, 2-3 from the arc, 2-2 from the line, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, 6 turnovers, 0 blocks, 2 steals in 22 minutes
The positive part of Shaw's performance was that he shot the ball well from the outside and made some nice passes when he wasn't dribbling the basketball. The negative part of Shaw's performance is that something bad happened most every time he put the ball on the floor. It's not that Shaw can't handle the ball some. The problem is that he tries to make plays off the dribble that he just is ready to make, at least at this point in his career. Nonetheless, Shaw is an attractive power forward prospect with solid athleticism and skill.
Alex Foster (2013, De La Salle)
6 points, 1-4 from the field, 4-5 from the line, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 3 blocks, 0 steals in 17 minutes
An extremely promising freshman prospect, Foster is a long, 6-foot-7 lefty who moves well. He loves to use his right hand as a finisher and passer. In fact, he showed great court awareness as a passer and made some high-level dishes with his right hand. As a rebounder and shot blocker, he played with a high activity level.
Mike Shaw reiterated that he is wide open in his recruitment and is still a package deal with travel team teammate Wayne Blackshear. Shaw plans to visit Michigan State, Florida and USC this spring. He did note that Illinois, Texas and Florida are three schools that are vigorously pursuing him. Assistants from Florida and Texas were in the gym today.
2012 five-star prospect Winston Shepard said that he is in the most recruiting contact with Texas.
Jabari Brown has offers from Washington, UNLV, California, Wake Forest and Arizona. He plans to visit Arizona, Wake Forest and Washington in the spring and conceded that they are three of his top schools.
Cory Joseph has visited all five of his top schools but still doesn't have it figured out. He plans to work on deciding on a school when he can visit with his mother over Christmas break. Joseph is down to Villanova, UConn, Minnesota, Texas and UNLV. There is no time table for a decision, and Joseph said he will make the call as soon as he is 100 percent certain of his decision.
Nick Johnson has his recruitment on hold during the season, but he did rattle off the top of his head offers from Arizona State, Arizona, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Wake Forest, Oregon State and Virginia Tech.