Monday, April 8, 2013
Best performers from 2013 NHSI
By Paul Biancardi
NORTH BETHESDA, Md. -- Since its inception in 2009, the National High School Invitational has featured several outstanding players and loaded teams. This past weekend’s event proved to be the best field and boasted an amazing collection of talent as 16 ESPN 100 recruits were in attendance.
Dakari Johnson, C, Montverde Academy (Fla.) From the opening tip of the first day though the final buzzer of the championship game, Johnson dominated the action on both ends of the floor and made his presence felt inside the painted area. Whether it was his scoring, rebounding or interior defense, Johnson’s play was impactful and one of the biggest reasons Montverde captured the NHSI championship. He finished averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds while protecting the rim with his shot blocking and willingness to sacrifice his body. This true center has made progress in each season and continues to be hungry for success. Kentucky fans will love his gentleness off the floor and his focus on it.
Best Point Guard
Tyler Ennis, PG, St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) There is no wasted motion in Ennis’ game and he is always under control during the action. Ennis can be a scorer or a facilitator and he’s smart enough to recognize which mode to go into for his team to succeed. Statistically, he was terrific as he led the entire event in three game scoring at 18 points a contest. He went 16-of-18 (89 percent) from the free throw line, posted 10 thefts and handed out 3.7 assists a contest. His durability is remarkable, he played 30 minutes a game and played the second half of the title game after sustaining a shoulder injury, showing enormous toughness. He was the biggest reason the Gray Bees were a possession away from grabbing the title, and Syracuse’s future is bright with Ennis at the point.
Florida-bound PG Kasey Hill delivered a clutch performance in the NHSI title game.
Best in Crunch Time
Kasey Hill, PG, Montverde Academy (Fla.) His play was up and down during the three game stretch but that may have been due to a knee injury he suffered at the McDonald’s All American practice and a calf muscle strain he sustained on the first day of the event. When Montverde made its comeback in the second half of the championship game, Hill played his best basketball. He netted a team-high 19 points and made several timely shots, stepped up to make pressure free throws and created for others. The biggest assist of his high school career came with less than 10 seconds to play as he pushed the ball with his blazing speed and kicked it out to junior Jalyn Patterson for the game-winning shot.
Jordan Mickey, PF, Prime Prep (Texas) Mickey has made enormous strides over his career and saved some of his best play for the biggest stage. In two games, he averaged 20 points, 10 boards and 5 blocks against two of the nation’s top teams in Blanche Ely and Montverde. He is comfortable and confident as he does his best work inside the lane, scoring with jumpers and drives from the high-post area. He also displayed a dangerous jump hook, a nice up-and-under move with his back to the basket was a beast on the offensive glass. Mickey was effective in ball screen action along with ESPN 60 PG Emmanuel Mudiay as he would roll to the rim or pop and space out for a jumper. Look for this hard–working big to contribute as a freshman at LSU.
Best Midrange Game
Ishmail Wainright, F, Montrose Christian (Md.) Wainright only had a chance to play one game, but he really made it count as he went for 21 points against then-No. 1 Findlay Prep team. Most of his attempts and makes were in the midrange – an area many recruits struggle to make shots. He will start his drives at the 3-point line and pull-up inside the arc and near the painted area for a smooth make. Blessed with a college-ready body, versatility to defend anyone, and the ability to involve others, the rare Wainright will be a key recruit for Baylor.
Ben Simmons, PF, Montverde Academy (Fla.) When you watch this Australian sophomore compete, it doesn’t take long to figure out he is special. What makes him standout is his advanced instincts and physical tools, which he uses to effect the game in various ways His legs are bouncy and he has a quick second jump. Simmons’ skill to make jumpers and handle the ball are noticeable for a 6-foot-8 frontcourt player. Where he really stands out is in his ability to understand the game. He quickly sees and finds the open man with peripheral vision ,touch and accuracy. Expect his recruiting to blow up now as college coaches will be following him this spring and summer.
Biggest X factor
Jonathan Williams, SG, St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) With a talented team like St. Benedict’s, guys like Williams often are overlooked. Williams is simply a catalyst on offense once he steps foot on the floor, thriving in the transition game and looking to maintain an uptempo game throughout. He brings the ball up the floor and can facilitate or finish the break going strong to the basket. You don’t want him defending you as he gets under opponents tight and low and moves his feet rapidly to beat the player to the spot.
Mike Young, F, St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) Young was so efficient and effective with his moves, scoring from the elbows or using a dribble or two to beat other bigs off the bounce. When he planted himself deep in the lane, he scored on offensive rebounds putbacks or a strong post move. Young is a consistent rebounder, always running the floor for easy transition baskets. The Pitt commit scored with pace throughout the event, averaging 15 points but the number that jumps out the most was his 58 percent shooting from the field. His commitment to the defensive glass allowed Benedict’s to run.
Best 3-point Shooter
D'Angelo Russell, SG, Montverde Academy (Fla.) This ESPN 60 guard led the event in 3-point field goals made (8) and attempted (18) and finished shooting 44 percent from behind the arc. Russell was on fire from everywhere on the floor, tallying 16 points to lead all underclassman. He scores from all three levels and simplifies the action with his quick decision-making. His range and accuracy are major weapons as he heads into the offseason. His most recent list of schools includes: UNC, Ohio State, Michigan State, Memphis, Louisville, NC State, Georgetown, Nebraska, LSU and Indiana.
Nigel Williams–Goss, PG, Findlay Prep (Nev.) Williams–Goss almost led his team back to the championship for the third time in four years, scoring 23 points a game. He is competitive and confident as he tried to do everything to make his team win. He defended well and was masterful finding open teammate at the right moment. This is all you need to know about this guy, his team came into the NHSI 34-0 with everything to lose and left no excuses when they lost. Lorenzo Romar has his point guard of the future in Williams-Goss.
Sam Logwood, F, La Lumiere (Ind.) Longwood is an athletic wing with a quick first step as he drives past defenders. His vertical and body control allow him to finish in the lane with defenders around him. His jumper works from distance but needs to gain a consistency to it. Longwood played good overall defense and netted 16 points in the opener against St. Benedict’s. He will be heavily monitored this spring and summer.
Rokas Gustys, F, Oak Hill Academy (Va.) The big-bodied junior from Lithuania is not afraid of contact or hitting the floor. In his one game against Montverde, he collected 11 rebounds and dived for loose balls and made hustle plays to gain the possession. If Gustys could not grab a rebound, he would tap it back to a teammate keep it alive and he sacrificed his body in taking charges. He lists Dennis Rodman as his favorite player and with his penchant for rebounding, it makes perfect sense.