Boston High School: Damion Lee

St. Thomas More's Lee commits to Drexel

April, 1, 2011
Citing a source, ESPNU is reporting that St. Thomas More post-graduate forward Damion Lee has verbally committed to Drexel University today.

Lee, a native of Owings Mills, Md., was a key part of a strong run this year by the Chancellors, who lost in the NEPSAC Class AAA semifinals but bounced back the following week to take the National Prep Championship.

The 6-foot-4 Lee joins Worcester Academy's Tavon Allen among the New England post-graduates to commit to the Dragons.

New Hampton knocks off STM in AAA semi's

March, 5, 2011

BEVERLY, Mass. -- Nick Paulos came off a back screen, dribbled once and let it fly from a few steps inside the three-point line, at the top of the key. Then he pumped his fist, and let out a shout.

And then a few seconds later, after St. Thomas More's Adam Jones missed a potential game-tying three at the buzzer, Paulos exhaled. Amidst all the hype behind Brewster Academy's loaded starting five, and STM's prized 2012 center Andre Drummond, it's Paulos and his hot-handed New Hampton teammates that are punching their tickets to the NEPSAC Class AAA finals against an unheralded Maine Central Institute squad. New Hampton downed STM, 59-56, in the nightcap of tonight's Class AAA finals at Endicott College's Post Center.

The Huskies (21-11) will face MCI for the championship Sunday at 5 p.m., at the Post Center. The two teams split their regular-season series.

"I'm glad I could make it, and help us go to the the championship, you know," smiled Paulos, a UNC Greensboro-bound post-graduate who finished with 16 points (including four 3-pointers) and seven rebounds. "I'm pretty excited."

Paulos' winning shot came off an inbounds pass with 22.5 ticks left in regulation, the his team holding a 57-56 lead over the Chancellors (27-7), and just seven seconds left on the shot clock. St. Thomas More had two more chances at the other end, the first one an errant Damion Lee three-point attempt out of a timeout called with 13.9 seconds to go. Fairfield-bound senior Adam Jones pounced on the loose board, calling another timeout with 4.3 seconds to set up another try.

Out of that, Jones got a great look at the top of the key, pumped once and fired up a flat shot that clanked off the rim as time expired.

In this uncharacteristically low-scoring affair, the Huskies didn't allow a field goal in the last 2:11 to seal this.

"We just talked about guarding their stuff, which we've seen," head coach Peter Hutchins said of those final minutes. "We've played them twice now, [STM head coach] Jere [Quinn] does a great job...the last couple possessions, we were switching alot. When you have the lead like that, you're just trying not to give it away."

Meanwhile, the Huskies had to account for STM's 6-foot-10, 275-pound, Amare-like figure in the middle, No. 1 Class of 2012 recruit Drummond. The junior dominated the glass in the first half, with 12 of his game-high 15 rebounds, but struggled from the field by going 3 for 12. In the second half, he didn't register a point.

Credit Hutchins' game plan, which called for double-teams, sometimes triple-teams, in the post; and for the Huskies to deny a second touch for Drummond in a possession, forcing the hand of shooters like Lee, Jones, Roy Mabrey and Indiana Faithfull. Suffice it to say the Chancellors struggled from the perimeter, negating a relatively mistake-free evening.

"When you look at us statistically, we have two turnovers the first 30 minutes of the game," Quinn said. "And our third came within the last two minutes. Our team has always played everyone difficult and tough. Of our seven losses, five have been by three points or less. So on a day like today when we're not making shots, the kids competed. And that's all you can ask for."

Jordan Laguerre led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds for New Hampton, while Lee (16 points) and Jones (11) reached double-figures for the Chancellors.

Hoophall: Hargrave takes care of St. Thomas More

January, 16, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- With its assembly of speed, power and Division-I commits, Hargrave Military Academy ran onto the Blake Arena floor and rarely stopped Sunday against St. Thomas More.

“They gave us a punch in the mouth,” center Andre Drummond said.

Then Drummond got one of his own.

Shaking off a knock to his recently repaired teeth, the 6-foot-11 dynamo shined in spurts at the 10th annual Hoophall Classic, but neither he nor the rest of the Chancellors had enough answers against a loaded Hargrave roster in a 78-58 loss on the Springfield College campus.

Drummond -- ranked first atop the Class of 2012 by ESPN and several other scouting outlets -- finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. He dazzled with a series of athletic plays and swats, and as easily the tallest player on the floor, controlled the boards when he wanted to.

But St. Thomas More never led, and it never crept to within closer than seven points in the second half as the Tigers -- behind Xavier-bound Dez Wells (20 points) and Virginia Tech commit C.J. Barksdale (16) -- pressured and dunked the Chancellors into submission.

“They certainly played tougher than us, they certainly played stronger than us, they were more physical than us,” said St. Thomas More coach Jere Quinn, whose team returned from holiday break on Monday. “I thought we would be ready to play. But we didn’t do our offense. We’re a team that usually likes to shoot 20, 25 3s. We didn’t get them off (settling for 13 attempts, hitting two).

“I’m stunned,” he later added. “I thought we’d play better.”

St. Thomas More appeared to find its footing after trailing, 25-14, at one point. But it took a scare for Drummond to do so.

The center, who lost a teeth in a game in mid-December, left briefly midway through the first half Sunday after he was hit in the mouth. He was doubled over for a few moments after taking a shot to the teeth in the offensive end, and returned to the bench holding his jersey over his mouth, though he didn’t require medical examination.

“It kind of shook me a little bit,” he said. “Just a sharp pain.”

It didn’t last long. Reinserting the mouth guard he’s worn since the Dec. 11 game in which he was elbowed -- sending an eye tooth flying across the gym floor -- Drummond was back in Sunday after only 1:17. He quickly took command, throwing home an alley-oop dunk to spark a 13-6 stretch that got the Chancellors within two, 33-31, with 2:20 to play in the half.

In that stretch, he also displayed his athleticism, dodging an attempted steal at mid-court with a behind-the-back dribble. Moments later, he took a pass near the 3-point line, and after his defender fell, dribbled in for a one-handed slam.

But as he has throughout Drummond’s year-and-a-half at the Oakdale-based prep school, Quinn has tried to coax Drummond into being more assertive and more specifically, demanding of the ball.

Even as Hargrave (Chatham, Va.) closed the first half on a 6-0 run and opened the second on a 15-6 spurt, Quinn was still calling for it, at one point late in the game yelling to Drummond, “Act like you want the ball.”

“When I demand the ball … I think I can be very good,” Drummond said. “But my weaknesses are I can get a little lazy on defense and offense. I need to get better at [not] doing that.

“I’m more a team player,” he continued. “I’d like to see my teammates score more than I do. That’s just the mentality that I have.”

Quinn applauds Drummond’s demeanor, calling him an “absolutely fantastic person,” but games like Sunday could have been a showcase for him with no one within three inches of him on Hargrave. The audience was littered with college coaches, most notably Kentucky’s John Calipari. One of Drummond’s most avid suitors, UConn, was represented by assistant coach and former NBA player, Kevin Ollie.

“I think Andre has the potential to be more dominant as a player. [But] I think Andre has to want to be more dominant as a player,” Quinn said. “And he fails to recognize his size and strength. He was by far the biggest kid on the court. I thought he could have been a more dominant presence on the baseline. … I don’t know how many times he just tries to let things happen. I would like him to ask for it.”

Still, Hargrave naturally made Drummond a focus, trying to “smother” him when he was backed in on the baseline, Wells said. The Tigers were certainly aware of him on the other end, too. After Drummond blocked a Wells jump shot into the Tigers’ bench on what could have been a goaltending call, Hargrave’s next few lay-up attempts in Drummond’s area flew high off the glass, the shooters clearly aware of the center’s big hand.

“He’s got a target on his back,” Quinn said of Drummond.

Hargrave gradually added to its lead in the second before Wells completely sunk St. Thomas More with back-to-back dunks.

Dribbling through the right side of the lane with 9:43 to play, the 6-foot-5 guard elevated before slamming in a violent one-handed dunk that made the arena come alive. But even before the murmurs in the stands could quiet, Wells again drew ‘oohs,’ this time grabbing a pass on the right wing and taking one dribble before throwing home another one-hander. Just four points, yes, but in the span of roughly a minute, Wells emphatically pushed the Tigers’ near 20 points, where it rarely teetered from in the final eight and a half minutes.

P.J. Hairston, a North Carolina commit, added 14 points, and Marquis Rankin, another future Virginia Tech player, added nine for Hargrave. Damion Lee was the only other Chancellor in double figures with 15 points.

St. Thomas More plays again Monday against nationally ranked Quality Education Academy (Winston-Salem, N.C.) in the Big Apple Classic. The Chancellors will stay in Springfield on Sunday night before heading south starting at 8 a.m., Monday.

“The good thing about basketball is you don’t have to wait a week [to play again],” Quinn said.

There’s another side to the short turnaround. St. Thomas More couldn’t even get a full practice in Saturday because the school was re-finishing the gym floor.
  • Despite being the only non-post graduate student on Quinn’s post-grad team, Drummond said that isn’t a reason he sometimes steers from asking for the ball. But the disparity can create some funny moments for the 17-year-old. “Sometimes when I give guys advice, I feel kind of weird because they’re 19, 20 and I’m only 17 years old,“ he said. “So it is kind of weird.”
  • Adam Jones, a Fairfield commit, finished with two points and two rebounds in 22 minutes for St. Thomas More.
  • Amid a sea of other prep schools’ Nike or Reebok-sponsored gear in Springfield this weekend, Quinn found humor in the Chancellors’ simple blue knit hats with ‘St. Thomas More’ book-ended by two basketballs on the front. “You notice we’ve got the best ski caps out there,” he said.
DaJuan Coleman put forth one of the most impressive performances of the Hoophall weekend in Jamesville-Dewitt (N.Y.) High School’s 76-64 victory over Webster Groves (St. Louis, Mo.), compiling 23 points and 20 rebounds.

The bruising 6-foot-10 center shot 8-of-11 from the field while adding a team-high five assists, juxtaposing hard moves in the post with end-to-end rushes in the open court with relative ease. Paired with Tyler Cavanaugh (26 points) in the block, he helped offset the play of Rayshawn Simmons (21 points) in a intense game from start to finish.

And no, Coleman is not the son of a former NBA star of similar name and stature.

National Prep Showcase: Day 1 notes

November, 19, 2010
The ninth annual National Prep Showcase began on Friday at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut. The event, which is considered to be one of the premier post-graduate showcases in the nation, featured seven games on day one with over 75 college coaches on hand to scout the prospects.

The day began with Northfield Mount Hermon scoring a 80-73 win over Fork Union Military Academy from Virginia behind a 23 point performance from Seton Hall signee Aaron Cosby. Notre Dame Prep followed suit to make Massachusetts 2-0 in the second game with a 75-66 win over Fishburne Military Academy. Khem Birch led the way for the Crusaders with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks while Myles Davis scored 19 points on four of six shooting from three-point line. New England suffered its first loss when Westwind Prep (Arizona) knocked off Bridgton Academy behind 30 points from John Green, who is committed to UC Santa Barbara.

The day’s most entertaining game was a shootout between Hargrave Military Academy and the South Kent School which saw Hargrave come away with a 115-105 victory. North Carolina bound shooting guard P.J. Hairston drilled six threes and 29 points for the winners while Ricardo Ledo scored a game high 30 for the Cardinals. Two local New England natives locked up next with St. Thomas More defeating Lee Academy 82-57. Damion Lee scored a game high 19 points for the Chancellors. The sixth game of the day saw Winchendon fall to Princeton Day Academy of Maryland by a 67-63 margin.

Top three Performers of the Day:
Ricardo Ledo, South Kent (CT)
Stat Line:
30 pts (11-26 FG, 3-13 3pt, 5-8 FT), 4 rebs (3 off), 2 assts/1 to
Evaluation: Ledo has incredible talent. At 6-foot-6 he has the size and explosiveness to eventually play the game at the highest level. He is tremendously talented with the ball in his hands and able to create his own shots at virtually anytime. Because the game comes so easily for him, he plays with almost an unintentional complacency which causes him to settle for contested jumpers instead of attacking his defender like he is capable of. As he continues to mature and become more efficient with his attack, the sky is the limit for his development.

Myles Davis, Notre Dame Prep (MA)
Stat Line:
19 pts (6-12 FG, 4-6 3pt, 3-3 FT), 4 reb (0 off), 4 asts/1 to
Evaluation: Davis is as pure of a shooter as you will find and he proved it by making the defense pay every time he was allowed to set his feet. He has historically played off the ball but did a very nice job of running the point today, handling the ball against pressure and making good decisions. Davis also showed a compact dribble pull-up game in the mid-range area and, although he isn’t an especially quick on the ball defender, rotated very efficiently from the weak-side.

Kareem Canty, Bridgton Academy (ME)
Stat Line:
23 pts (8-18 FG, 3-4 3pt, 4-4 FT), 5 reb (1 off), 4 asts/5 to
Evaluation: Canty is a scoring guard who is extremely shifty with the ball in his hands. While he is at his best going north to south he is also able to keep defenders on their heels in the half-court with constant use of inside-out dribbles. Canty’s Achilles heel has always been his perimeter jumper so the fact that he made shots consistently tonight made him virtually un-guardable. The only knock on his performance was some inconsistency in his decision making, both in terms of shot selection and over-pounding his dribble.