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January 19, 2009

Monday at the Hoophall

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.-The Spalding Hoophall Classic finished Monday with a flurry of four national games. The No. 2 ranked prospect in the Rivals150 DeMarcus Cousins was the most impressive prospect of the day, and after his game he shed some light on his recruitment.

LeFlore (Ala.) 67, Lincoln (N.Y.) 54

DeMarcus Cousins (LeFlore) 17 points on 4-13 shooting, 0-2 from three, 9-13 from the line, 20 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 2 assists, 3 turnovers in 27 minutes

His shots weren't falling like usual, but Cousins dominated the game on the defensive end with his large presence and his rebounding. Cousins also passed the ball in a Kevin Love-like fashion despite only two assists showing up on the official stats.

After the game, Cousins provided some insight into his recruitment. He gave Rivals.com a school list consisting of Memphis, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Kansas State and Virginia Tech. Having committed to UAB prior to his senior season, Cousins has a full slate of official visits at his disposal. Three of those visits are spoken for by Memphis, North Carolina State and Kansas State.

"I wouldn't say those three schools are my favorites," said Cousins. "But they are the schools I have the best relationship with right now."

North Carolina State had an assistant at the game, and Memphis head coach John Calipari was on hand with one of his assistants.

And although he was once on the verge of signing with UAB, the Blazers are no longer an option for Cousins, with or without Mike Davis as head coach after UAB refused a contractual agreement to allow Cousins out of his Letter of Intent if Davis were to leave.

"UAB is out of the picture, but I'm still down with Mike Davis," he said. "It's a bad situation down there, and nothing is going to change. Even if Coach Davis is there, I'm not going there."

Lance Stephenson (Lincoln) 24 points on 9-18 shooting, 0-2 from three, 6-11 from the line, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 turnovers in 28 minutes

It was rough going for in the first half for Stephenson, but in the second half he found his dribble offensive game. He was never, however, able to muster up enough offense to turn the tables for his team.

Stephenson also commented on his recruitment after the game, saying he is considering Kansas, St. John's, Memphis and USC. After the season Stephenson wants to visit all four of these schools and is in the process of identifying a fifth school to visit as well. He named Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Georgetown as schools that are vying for that fifth spot.

James Padgett (Lincoln, signed with Maryland) 17 points on 8-16 shooting, 1-5 from the line, 12 rebounds, 1 block, 1 assist in 27 minutes

Padgett played a strong game for Lincoln, registering a double/double against the best big man in the country.

St. Benedict's Prep (N.J.) 77, Wheeler (Ga.) 67

Tristan Thompson (St. Benedict's Prep, committed to Texas) 20 points on 7-13 shooting, 6-11 from the line, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, 6 turnovers in 28 minutes

Thompson led his team in scoring with aggressive play around the basket. He has a lethal second jump and does a great job retrieving his own misses and chasing down balls outside his area.

Lamar Patterson (St. Benedict's Prep, signed with Pittsburgh) 19 points on 8014 shooting, 0-1 from three, 3-4 from the line, 13 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 assists, 4 turnovers in 20 minutes

Patterson was very productive playing a power game in the lane. He has a feel for using his body, and should be successful in Pittsburgh's style of play.

Tamir Jackson (St. Benedict's Prep, signed with Rice) 17 points on 6-13 shooting, 3-8 from three, 2-5 from the line, 1 rebound, 2 steals, 1 assist, 4 turnovers in 31 minutes

Jackson took advantage of Kabongo's drive and kick ability and also got out in transition for some opportunistic buckets.

Ari Stewart (Wheeler, signed with Wake Forest) 13 points on 6-10 shooting, 1-3 from three, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 1 assist, 4 turnovers in 29 minutes

Stewart didn't get a whole lot of touches, but was productive with his opportunities on the court. Love his baseline game and feel he has a great future at Wake Forest.

Richard Howell (Wheeler, signed with North Carolina State) 16 points on 5-11 shooting, 1-1 from three, 5-6 from the line, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 assists, 5 turnovers in 22 minutes

Howell played with more aggression than he did at the City of Palms in December. Strongly believe he can find a niche as a blue collar player at North Carolina State.

Phil Taylor (Wheeler) 18 points on 7-18 shooting, 1-5 from three, 3-6 from the line, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 assists, 3 turnovers in 31 minutes

Taylor played a good game, but still would like to see him try to create shots for his talented forwards more than for himself.

Mater Dei (Calif.) 86, Whitney Young (Ill.) 61

Travis Wear (Mater Dei, signed with North Carolina) 24 points on 12-15 shooting, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers in 27 minutes

Travis and his twin brother David looked great. After the City of Palms, I felt that David was playing with more confidence than Travis, but that was not the case Monday. Travis ran the floor well and was precise with the ball in his hands.

David Wear (Mater Dei, signed with North Carolina) 18 points on 8-12 shooting, 0-1 from three, 2-3 from the line, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 assists, 2 turnovers in 27 minutes

Despite the mismatches in the first half when Mater Dei played man-to-man, I loved the perimeter defense of David. Always strong on the boards, David is a reliable scorer in the post and always strong on the boards.

Gary Franklin (Mater Dei, committed to USC) 18 points on 5-8 shooting, 4-6 from three, 4-6 from the line, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 6 assists, 2 turnovers in 27 minutes

Franklin's game is really growing on me. He is making sound decisions with the ball, and I love the way he can make a difficult three-pointer. Without a doubt, he is a Pac-10 level starting point guard.

Andy Brown (Mater Dei, signed with Stanford) 11 points on 4-8 shooting, 3-4 from three, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 5 steals, 6 assists in 26 minutes

Talk about a guy who knows how to play. You can count on Brown to knock down open threes, and what is not to like about five steals and six assists without a turnover.

Tyler Lamb (Mater Dei, committed to UCLA) 5 points on 2-8 shooting, 1-1 from three, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 6 assists, 2 turnovers in 25 minutes

Lamb didn't have his strongest game scoring wise, but he defended as always and was strong on the boards. He, along with his whole team, also had an impressive assist/turnover ratio.

Chris Colvin (Whitney Young, signed with Iowa State) 18 points on 5-10 shooting, 1-3 from three, 7-8 from the line, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists, 5 turnovers in 27 minutes

Colvin was great against the man to man defense in the first half. Mater Dei's 1-3-1 zone in the second half game everyone from Whitney Young fits, including Colvin. Not convinced he can run a team on a regular basis as a point guard, but he is a talented power scoring guard.

Anthony Johnson (Whitney Young, committed to Purdue) 16 points on 4-13 shooting, 1-7 from three, 7-7 from the line, 3 rebounds 1 assist, 3 turnovers in 26 minutes

Getting stronger will be the key for Johnson's success as a future Boilermaker.

Marcus Jordan (Whitney Young) 12 points on 5-10 shooting, 1-4 from three, 1-1 from the line, 5 rebounds, 2 steals in 25 minutes

Jordan made some impressive plays in the open court. It will be important for him to find a school at the right level that plays a transition game.

Ahmad Starks (Whitney Young, committed to Oregon State) 10 points on 4-12 shooting, 2-7 from three, 3 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 assist, 3 turnovers in 24 minutes

Starks did a nice job of maintaining his aggression and energy throughout the game even though his lack of size was an issue.

St. Anthony (N.J.) 58, Putnam City (Okla.) 50

Devon Collier (St. Anthony) 19 points on 7-14 shooting, 1-2 from three, 4-8 from the line, 10 rebounds, 2assists, 1 turnover in 25 minutes

A transfer to St. Anthony, Collier had a big outing in his first game with his new team. A 6-foot-7 wiry four-man, Collier ran the floor and finished with both hands, handled the ball against pressure and was the games top rebounder.

Collier, who runs with the New Heights program on the travel circuit, already has the attention of college coaches. The 2010 four-star prospect already has offers from St. John's, Villanova and Fordham, and is also considering Providence, Seton Hall, Syracuse and Virginia.

Dominic Cheek (St. Anthony, committed to Villanova) 6 points on 2-5 shooting, 1-2 from three, 1-2 from the line, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist, 3 turnovers in 29 minutes

Cheek didn't force the issue, but he didn't make a lot of plays either. After a three-pointer early in the game, Cheek only had one other field goal. His best plays were on the glass, and he did do a solid job inbounding the ball against the Putnam City press.

Xavier Henry (Putnam City, signed with Memphis) 24 points on 5-19 shooting, 4-15 from three, 10-13 from the line, 7 rebounds, 1 block, 2 steals, 1 assist, 3 turnovers in 29 minutes

Henry faced a box and one in the first quarter before picking up his second foul on a charge call and spending the rest of the quarter on the bench. In the second quarter Henry faced a man to man defense and didn't fare much better, scoring only four points by intermission. In the second half against St. Anthony's extended zone, Henry made some jumpers, but came up short on the majority of his shots. Primarily just standing on the wing, Henry only made one shot inside the arc, but did get to the foul line 13 times by taking the ball to the basket in transition. Henry came into the game averaging 29 points per game over his last four games after returning to the court January 6 after breaking his cheek bone in a car wreck.

Kyle Hardrick (Putnam City, signed with Oklahoma) 8 points on 2-2 shooting, 4-5 from the line, 7 rebounds, 1 block, 2 assists, 3 turnovers in 21 minutes

Hardrick struggled with foul trouble and never really impacted the game on either end of the court.


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