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Day one of the ESPN NHSI: News, notes, analysis

From star performances to highlight reel plays, day one of the ESPN RISE National High School Invitation (NHSI) had it all. The four quarterfinal games featured the most talented players and high school teams in the country and didn’t disappoint. Lets take a look at the news, notes, stats and performances from day one.

Standout Performers

Anthony Bennett (Findlay Prep)- Class of 2012 power forward Anthony Bennett had one of the best, if not the best, performances all day. The Findlay Prep (Nevada) big man recorded 23 points and 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action in a 79-44 route against Coolidge High School (Washington, D.C.). He shot 14-for-17 from the free throw line and was simply a man among boys. He used his size and strength to muscle defenders around in the paint and showed a nice shooting touch when he stepped back and knocked down a three-pointer. He also did a great job of boxing out. Findlay Prep did a terrific job of recognizing their size advantage against Coolidge and just let Bennett go to work inside.

Justin Anderson (Montrose Christian)- Class of 2012 small forward Justin Anderson (Virginia) was clearly the best player on the court in Montrose Christian’s (Maryland) 64-48 victory over Ravenscroft High School (North Carolina). He tallied 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field, 4-for-9 shooting from behind the arc and 3-for-3 shooting from the free throw line. He also threw in four rebounds and three assists. Anderson is the leader of this Montrose Christian team and hit several big shots as well as throw down some thunderous slams. He brings the passion and the energy every game and this contest was no different. He displayed an improve shooting stroke that has more arc on it and finished beautifully through contact. A couple of things he needs to work on are to not fall in love with the three-pointer and go away from driving to the basket and to develop better use of going right (he’s left-handed). He proved tonight that he’s one of the most underrated players of the country and that he’s a top-25 prospect.

Clide Geffrard (Blanche Ely)- Class of 2012 small forward Clide Geffrard had the best performance on his Blanche Ely High School (Florida) team in a 67-61 loss to St. Benedict’s Prep (New Jersey). He put up 18 points on an efficient 7-for-11 shooting in addition to seven rebounds and three assists. He had a stellar first half in which he recorded 14 points but St. Benedict’s was then able to key in on him. However, he did a good job of scoring around the basket and displayed a solid jumper. He also wasn’t afraid of contact and sliced his way through the St. Benedict’s defense. He was 4-for-5 from the free throw line and was able to keep getting to the basket.

Kasey Hill (Montverde Academy)- Class of 2013 point guard Kasey Hill (Florida) led Montverde Academy (Florida) to a 62-54 victory over La Lumiere (Indiana) in the opening game of the tournament. Hill recorded 19 points, six assists and three steals while shooting 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Although he shot poorly from the field, he did a terrific job getting to the basket on a consistent basis and when he didn’t finish the play off himself he would dish it to a big man waiting for the easy deuce. He displayed a quick first step and was able to finish with both hands. He used a nice side-step in the lane multiple times and looked to be a good ball-handler although he could tighten it up. He’s the key moving forward for this Montverde squad and if he knocks down his mid-range jumpers like he usually does, he’ll be very tough to stop.

Isaiah Watkins (St. Benedict’s)- Class of 2013 power forward Isaiah Watkins recorded the only double-double in St. Benedict’s 67-61 comeback victory over Blanche Ely High School (Florida). The big man tallied 14 points and 14 rebounds and was a huge presence in the paint. He worked hard, fighting and scrapping on the offensive glass and finished with nine offensive rebounds. He did a good job of finishing down low and displayed impressive foot speed. Watkins has pretty good strength too although he could add a little more muscle. He earned seven rebounds and a steal in the second half as St. Benedict’s overcame a 40-32 halftime deficit and outscored Blanche Ely 35-21 in 16 minutes of play.

Rapheal Davis (La Lumiere)- Class of 2012 shooting guard Rapheal Davis (Purdue) was among the top scorers in the first day of the NHSI as he recorded 17 points in La Lumiere’s (Indiana) loss to Montverde Academy (Florida). He also tallied nine rebounds and shot 9-for-13 from the free throw line. Davis was strong with the ball all day long as we welcome contact and was able to finish through it. He was one of the most physical guards in the quarterfinals and although he is strong, he was also quick enough to consistently get in the lane.

Khalen Cumberlander (Coolidge)- Class of 2012 shooting guard Khalen Cumberlander (Central Connecticut State) was the leading scorer for Coolidge High School (Washington, D.C.) in their 79-44 loss to Findlay Prep (Nevada) with 13 points. He was the only player to reach double-digit points against a tough Findlay Prep defense who make a concentrated effort to limit him. Cumberlander showed good speed in getting to the basket and was able to finish with both hands around the rim. He managed 11 of his 13 points in the first half in which he shot 4-for-7 from the field and 3-for-4 from the charity stripe before he was slowed down by the Findlay Prep defense.

Anton Gill (Ravenscroft)- Class of 2013 shooting guard Anton Gill (Louisville) led his team with points and assists as his Ravenscroft (North Carolina) squad fell to Montrose Christian (Maryland), 64-48. He recorded 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals as he impacted the game in a variety of ways. Gill displayed a nice stroke and was a good finisher around the basket. He also was quick on defense and showed some power. He tallied five of his assists in the first half and scored nine of his 17 points in the second half on 4-for-10 shooting from the field.

Statistical Leaders:

Points

Rebounds

Assists

Anthony Bennett: 23

Michel Enanga: 15

Benji Bell: 7

Justin Anderson: 21

Isaiah Watkins: 14

Kasey Hill: 6

Kasey Hill: 19

Michael Carrera: 14

Anton Gill: 6

Clide Geffrard: 18

Anthony Bennett: 10

Madison Jones: 5

Rapheal Davis: 17

Hanner Perea: 10

Isaiah Briscoe: 4

Melvin Johnson: 17

Winston Shepard: 9

Tyler Ennis: 4

Game Breakdowns

#3 Montverde Academy: 62, #6 La Lumiere: 54

Thoughts: Montverde’s back court of class of 2013 point guard Kasey Hill (Florida) and class of 2012 shooting guard Michael Frazier (Florida) combined for 35 points and was simply too much for La Lumiere to handle. Kevin Boyle‘s squad did a great job of pressing which threw La Lumiere out of sync. Even when La Lumiere did break the press, they didn’t make Montverde pay on the back-end and in the half court they didn’t execute their sets at all. Montverde did a great job of being physical and their ability to knock down free throws proved to be important as they shot 17-for-24.

Key Player: Hill was the standout in this game and although he didn’t shoot well from the floor he scored a game-high 19 points and added six assists and three steals. He was able to consistently get in the lane where he would either finish or dish it off to a big man.

Key Stat: Good defense was key for Montverde and that they forced 19 La Lumiere turnovers and recorded seven blocks is an indication of how much Montverde threw La Lumiere off. Montverde was able to get multiple lay-ups off easy steals when they pressed La Lumiere and threw them off-balance.

Player Evaluations: Michael Frazier (Montverde)- Frazier was cold for the majority of the game behind the three-point line as he shot just 2-for-7 from beyond the arc. However, what was impressive was Frazier’s ability to not allow his poor shooting affect the rest of the game, which allowed him to record seven rebounds and be a quality defender. He has good confidence and we know Frazier is a good shooter so we aren’t worried about his 5-for-14 performance from the field today.

Hanner Perea (La Lumiere)- Perea showed off his incredible athleticism a couple times but he also displayed how raw he is and how he still has a good amount of room to develop. He did a good job of crashing the boards and got what points he could, allowing him to tally a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. Perea was quiet for nearly the entire game and didn’t do anything in particular to impress.

Quotable: La Lumiere head coach Alan Huss on Kasey Hill: “He broke us down late in the game especially; he split a couple of traps. He’s obviously really talented; it’s hard to prepare for a guy like that when there are only one or two other guys in the country that are that quick and that fast.”

Montverde head coach Kevin Boyle on class of 2012 shooting guard Michel Enanga: “When he gets on the court, he puts stats up. It’s not always taking long threes or driving and dunking but he had 11 points and 15 rebounds. He did a tremendous job and he had a couple big put backs… to give us a little more cushion. He just played a great game.”

Team Stats:

Teams

1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

Montverde

12

16

11

25

La Lumiere

6

13

10

23

In Paint

Off TO’s

2nd Chance

Fast Break

Bench

 26

15

16

10

15

 32

12

18

10

9

Field Goal %

Three Point %

Free Throw %

 20-60 (33.3%)

5-16 (31.3%)

17-24 (70.8%)

 20-62 (32.3%)

3-17 (17.6%)

11-19 (57.9%)

#2 Montrose Christian: 64, #7 Ravenscroft: 48

Thoughts: Ravenscroft was able to keep the game close in the first half but Montrose Christian outscored them 16-9 to open up a 14-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Montrose’s front court was spectacular for them as class of 2012 small forward Justin Anderson (Virginia) recorded a game-high 21 points and three assists, class of 2013 small forward Ishmail Wainright tallied 15 points and seven rebounds and class of 2012 power forward Michael Carrera put up nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Anderson and Wainright had multiple highlight reel plays and one Anderson dunk was number five on Sports Center’s Top Ten Plays of the Day.

Key Player: Anderson was the best player on the court, no question about it. He shot 7-for-13 from the field including 4-for-9 from the three-point line and scored in both transition and the half court set as well as both inside and out. He was the leader for this Montrose team and provides them with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. He also plays good defense and is reliable to come up with a play when you need it.

Key Stat: Field goal percentage was the biggest disparity between the two teams as Montrose knocked down 44% of their shots whereas Ravenscroft made under 35% of their shots. Ravenscroft attempted more shots than Montrose (52-50) but weren’t able to do anything with the open looks they got. Ravenscroft also shot 19% from the three-point line and 57% from beyond the arc.

Player Evaluations: Ishmail Wainright (Montrose Christian): Class of 2013 small forward Ishmail Wainright displayed how versatile he is by doing a lot of things well. One play in particular that showed this was when he boxed out, grabbed the defensive rebound then went coast-to-coast for the bucket at the other end. He is a good athlete who can throw down some electrifying dunks, including a couple of put-back jams he had against Ravenscroft.

Madison Jones (Ravenscroft): Jones’ effectiveness was hurt a little bit by foul trouble. He wasn’t able to be as aggressive as he would have liked but he did play intelligently and he had very good anticipation on the defensive end of the court. He has good ball-handling skills and was quick on defense although his shooting stroke wasn’t very impressive.

Quotable: Ravenscroft head coach Kevin Billerman on Montrose Christian’s strength: “Their physicality hurt us. They’re not only fairly tall, but they’re very strong and physical. They’re ability to offensive rebound hurt us the entire game. They are big and physical. They must have a heck of a weight program.”

Ravenscroft class of 2012 point guard Madison Jones on participating in the NHSI: “It was a privilege. A lot of teams don’t get to come and play in something like this on ESPN. We were very excited and were really glad to play in this. It’s a privilege and we worked very hard everyday getting prepared for this and we’re happy.”

Ravenscroft class of 2013 shooting guard Anton Gill (Louisville) on the Kentucky-Louisville match-up in the final four: “We got them this time. The first game up in Rupp Arena — that wasn’t important to us, we weren’t healthy. We’re ready this time — I got my Louisville gear in my bag that I’m going to put on to watch the game.”

Montrose Christian head coach Stu Vetter on class of 2012 small forward Justin Anderson (Virginia) being underrated: “I think Justin Anderson is one of the best players in the country. A lot of people have made a lot of mistakes  picking these McDonald’s All-American teams [and] Jordan All-American teams. I’ve coached a lot of great players and he’s one of them. He’s as good an athlete as has ever played at Montrose or any of the other schools that I’ve been at and now he has the basketball skills to go with it. Many people have overlooked him in this area, a lot of people have overlooked him nationally and it’s unfortunate but he’s one of the best players in the country without question.”

Anderson on not earning some individual accolades: “Me trying to take something away from somebody else that may be in a McDonald’s game or Jordan game, that’s selfish on my end because then I’m basically saying they didn’t deserve it. I think whoever got selected deserved it and I don’t want to take anything from what they did in the gym.”

Team Stats:

Teams

1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

Montrose

16

17

16

15

Ravenscroft

7

17

9

13

In Paint

Off TO’s

2nd Chance

Fast Break

Bench

 30

10

15

12

9

 26

12

 9

14

6

Field Goal %

Three Point %

Free Throw %

22-50 (44%)

7-16 (43.8%)

13-20 (65%)

18-52 (34.6%)

4-21 (19%)

8-14 (57.1%)

#4 St. Benedict’s: 67, #5 Blanche Ely: 61

Thoughts: St. Benedict’s had an impressive turnaround in the second half as they were able to overcome a 40-32 halftime deficit and outscore Blanche Ely, 35-21, in 16 minutes of play. They have a terrific back court consisting of class of 2013 point guard Tyler Ennis, class of 2015 point guard Isaiah Briscoe and class of 2012 shooting guard Melvin Johnson (Miami). The trio combined for 42 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and six steals. Class of 2013 power forward Isaiah Watkins also had an impressive outing, recording 14 points and 14 rebounds. For Blanche Ely, class of 2012 small forward Clide Geffrard tallied 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists while class of class of 2012 shooting guard Benji Bell recorded nine points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Key Player: Watkins was the most productive player on the court in St. Benedict’s quarterfinal win over Blanche Ely. His double-double was the only one of the game and he was more efficient from the field than almost everyone else on his team. He pulled down nine offensive rebounds and was an inside presence on both ends of the court.

Key Stat: Blanche Ely got crushed on the boards and in points in the paint as St. Benedict’s outscored them by a margin of 46 to 30 on the interior while also holding a 19-7 edge in second chance points thanks to their offensive rebounds. St. Benedict’s had a terrific comeback and rebounding and transition points definitely helped them.

Player Evaluations: Tyler Ennis (St. Benedict’s)- The class of 2013 floor general was impressive all night long as he displayed good ball-handling skills (also showed the ability to use his left hand often) and the ability to consistently get in the lane. He can finish around the rim with either hand and is an excellent slasher. He has good range on his perimeter shot and is a good passer and smooth with the ball.

Isaiah Briscoe (St. Benedict’s)- Briscoe was a treat to watch, especially since he’s only a freshman. He has a nice spin move, is an effective ball-handler and has a good shooting stroke. He also has good vision and has the ability to constantly get in the lane. He’s able to finish with either hand, too.

Melvin Johnson (St. Benedict’s)- Johnson, known as a tremendous shooter, didn’t shoot well at all in the quarterfinal match-up. However, he didn’t let that shake his confidence and he’s able to handle the ball pretty well. He a good vision and great range on his perimeter jump shot. Check out what his opposing head coach had to say about him after the game.

Quotable: Blanche Ely head coach Melvin Randall on defending St. Benedict’s back court: “It’s always tough [when you have to guard] guards like St. Benedict’s has. Sometimes I just wanted to check myself in to see if I could stop them. They’re great guards.”

Coach Randall on St. Benedict’s class of 2012 shooting guard Melvin Johnson (Miami): “I think he’s going to do well for Miami. Nice body, very strong guard, quick, not too much rattles him.”

Team Stats:

Teams

1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

St. Benedict’s

16

16

18

17

Blanche Ely

16

24

7

14

In Paint

Off TO’s

2nd Chance

Fast Break

Bench

46

16

19

20

15

 30

13

7

10

5

Field Goal %

Three Point %

Free Throw %

22-66 (39.4%)

3-15 (20%)

12-22 (54.5%)

23-53 (43.4)

4-18 (22.2%)

11-14 (78.6%)

#1 Findlay Prep: 79, #8 Coolidge: 44

Thoughts: Findlay Prep was simply too much for Coolidge to handle. Findlay is a team with at least four top-50 prospects including two McDonald’s All-Americans, class of 2012 power forwards Brandon Ashley (Arizona) and Anthony Bennett. Findlay had too much size and talent as they were bringing a seven-footer off the bench as well as multiple mid to high major prospects. Class of 2012 point guard Dominic Artis (Oregon) and class of 2012 small forward Winston Shepard (San Diego State) were effective for Findlay on both the perimeter and the inside as they both helped in the rebounding effort.

Key Player: Bennett was clearly the best player on the court, and may have had the best performance all day. He was a man among boys and was simply too big and too strong for Coolidge. He was terrific from the free-throw line, making 14-for-17 from the charity stripe. He recorded 23 points and 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action and all after getting little rest since he played in the McDonald’s All-American game the night before.

Key Stat: Two things immediately jump out at you from the stat sheet: the rebounding margin and points in the paint. Findlay outscored Coolidge 40-22 on the inside and out-rebounded them 60-29. Findlay pulled down 20 offensive rebounds and shot 31-for-43 from the free-throw line, good for 72.1%.

Player Evaluations: Dominic Artis (Findlay Prep): The Oregon commit displayed a terrific jumper and showed everyone his quickness and speed. He crashed the boards and has really good leaping ability. He consistently gets into the lane and has an effective mid-range jumper. Artis has quick hands on defense and is a good ball-handler.

Brandon Ashley (Findlay Prep): Ashley worked well inside and did a very good job utilizing his size advantage over a smaller Coolidge team. He displayed a hook over both shoulder and was able to finish around the bucket with both hands.

Winston Shepard (Findlay Prep): Shepard showed off his length and athleticism and was effective in crashing the boards. He is a versatile player who can bring the ball up the court and then post up and is able to finish around the rim with either hand.

Nigel Williams-Goss (Findlay Prep): Williams-Goss played fantastic defense and was excellent in staying in front of his man. He has good vision and is a quality passer and has impressive stop-and-go quickness. He has great range on his perimeter jump shot, too.

Quotable: Coolidge head coach Vaughn Jones on participating in the NHSI and their season: “It was an opportunity of a lifetime to participate in something like this. We won a school-record 29 wins, we won our championship, we beat Montrose Christian and some other good teams.”

Findlay Prep head coach Michael Peck on his reaction to class of 2012 power forwards Anthony Bennett and Brandon Ashley‘s production after little rest from the McDonald’s All-American game the night before: “I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I think the AAU circuit and our travel schedule year-in and year-out and what we’ve gone through this year [doesn’t make it unusual]. I’m not shocked because I know what’s in them.”

Coach Peck after returning to the NHSI after being upset in the first round last year: “I don’t know if it was a sick joke or what but we got the same locker room we were in last year, I thought that was funny, so whoever did that ha ha. It’s good because you want to face your demons, so to speak.”

Team Stats:

Teams

1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

Findlay

18

25

19

17

Coolidge

12

13

11

8

In Paint

Off TO’s

2nd Chance

Fast Break

Bench

 40

11

13

16

38

 22

5

2

10

14

Field Goal %

Three Point %

Free Throw %

23-54 (42.6%)

2-12 (16.7%)

31-43 (72.1%)

 16-64 (25%)

4-24 (16.7%)

8-15 (53.3%)

Recruiting Tidbits

  • Wake Forest has come into class of 2012 point guard Madison Jones’ recruitment late after losing three transfers. He recently took an unofficial visit and narrowed his list down to Wake Forest, Seton Hall and Richmond. He says he’ll most likely make a decision when he gets back home and that Wake Forest is a good fit.
  • Class of 2012 power forward Anthony Bennett wants to start taking visits after the Jordan Brand Classic to all five of his final schools — Kentucky, Florida, Washington, Oregon and UNLV — may decide in early May.
  • Syracuse and Arizona lead for class of 2013 point guard Tyler Ennis because he says those are the two schools he’s visited.

A Look Ahead

#2 Montrose Christian (Maryland) vs. #3 Montverde Academy (Florida), 11:30am
Key Players: SF Justin Anderson (Montrose), PG Kasey Hill (Montverde)

The first semifinal match-up features two different style teams. Montverde loves to push the pace whereas Montrose Christian will look to slow down the pace. Class of 2012 shooting guard Michael Frazier (Florida) may be the key in this game because if he’s struggling from beyond the arc like he did in Montverde’s quarterfinal game, they’ll be in trouble. Montrose has the size advantage and will look to get class of 2012 small forward Justin Anderson (Virginia) involved early to get him some touches around the basket. Montverde will also have to slow down class of 2013 small forward Ishmail Wainright and class of 2012 power forward Michael Carrera, which won’t be an easy task. However, it will be interesting to see how Montrose responds to Montverde’s press because Montrose only plays one good ball-handler at a time usually.

Montverde head coach Kevin Boyle on Montrose Christian: “[Head] coach [Stu] Vetter does a terrific job and they’re going to be really prepared. He’s going to try to make it as 44-40 as he can so we’ll try to speed it up a little if we can. We’ll try to get it to 55 or 60 and get them a little uncomfortable.”

Projected Winner: Montrose Christian

#1 Findlay Prep vs. #4 St. Benedict’s (New Jersey), 1:30pm
Key Players: PF Anthony Bennett (Findlay), SG Melvin Johnson (St. Benedict’s) 

As they showed in their quarterfinal game, Findlay is absolutely loaded with talent all over the court. They’re going to have a size advantage over St. Benedict’s but, as Findlay Prep head coach Michael Peck points out below, St. Benedict’s is going to try and spread Findlay out. It will also be interesting to see how class of 2013 power forward Isaiah Watkins matches up with either class of 2012 power forward Anthony Bennett or Brandon Ashley, whichever guy he guards and guards him. Something else that will be fun to watch is the point guard battle between class of 2012 point guard Dominic Artis (Oregon) and class of 2013 point guard Tyler Ennis. Both are quick and like to penetrate so it will be interesting to see who gets the upper hand.

Findlay Prep head coach Michael Peck on St. Benedict’s: “[They’re] tough. After watching most of that Ely game I think they were kind of little zombyish in the first half and then they went in at half time and whatever [head coach] Mark [Taylor] did, he stirred the nest and he got them awake and up and energetic. They came out a different team. They overcame a 13-point deficit I think and won by five so that’s an 18-point turnaround. In a 16 minute half, that’s doing something so their guys played hard and they space you out and have guys that can dribble-drive and shoot it. They’re a tough match-up… defense is going to win and that’s what you gotta do, you gotta guard.”

Projected Winner: Findlay Prep

2 comments on “Day one of the ESPN NHSI: News, notes, analysis

  1. […] ESPN NHSI Coverage • Championship | Stats • Photo Gallery | Quotes • Day One | […]

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