High-SchoolNorth-Carolina: Boys Basketball

Purvis' Perspective: The perfect ending

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
11:22
AM ET
Rodney PurvisScott Kurtz/ESPNHSESPNHS Student Blogger: Rodney Purvis
Rodney Purvis | Senior | Shooting Guard | Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.)

Purvis Blog 1 | Purvis Blog 2 | Purvis Blog 3 | Purvis Blog 4 | Purvis Blog 5 | Purvis Blog 6 | Purvis Blog 7 | ESPNHS - North Carolina

Rodney Purvis is the No. 5 shooting guard in the ESPNU 100. A senior at Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), Purvis ended one of the hottest recruitments of the summer in late September by picking North Carolina State. He's agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access to his life and chronicle his thoughts in a monthly blog.

Hey what’s going on everybody, it’s your boy Rodney Purvis back with another blog. I know it’s been a long time since my last blog but things have been pretty busy lately.

I just got back from the Jordan Brand Classic last weekend and that was a great time just getting the chance to hang out with all my bros like Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad. I’ve known them for a long time now and we all knew that this would be the last time we’d all be together for a while so we just bugged out and had a good time all week.

We got a chance to tour the ESPNU studio in Charlotte and that was real cool too. I met Jimmy Dykes and Dino Gaudio and both of them are really knowledgeable and gave us some great advice.

Of course we got a chance to see Shabazz and Nerlens (Noel) commit. That was my first time being in a studio and watching someone commit so that was different. I know both of them are gonna do big things at UCLA and Kentucky.

It was a blessing to be able to win co-MVP of the (Jordan Brand Classic). That’s what I wanted coming in to the game because my mom bought so many tickets and my family had a big section so I wanted to give them a good show.

It was the perfect way to end my high school career, I just wish we could’ve won the game!

But I had a great time down there in Charlotte all week.

Of course by now everyone knows that my bro C.J. Leslie is gonna be back with the Pack next year. That’s obviously big for us and I’m just glad because we’re really close. I’ve known him forever.

We made it pretty far this season, but I know that we’ll be able to go even further next season. Coach (Mark) Gottfried didn’t recruit any of those players on that team last year and to get them all to buy in to what he was doing was really impressive to me. I’ve already bought in and I know everyone else feels the same way too.

The sky is the limit for us.

I’m still hoping we can get another guy or two. I’m talking to Amile Jefferson and even Tony Parker, even though we’re late in the game.

You never know what those guys are gonna do though. I don’t crowd them. I give them their space and let them make their own decision.

But I always tell them that I’ll support wherever they go. I do feel pretty strongly about our chances with Amile though.

I also want to say something to younger group that’s coming up behind me: Don’t worry about rankings. Don’t pay attention to them at all. Good or bad. That won’t make or break you. That’s just someone’s opinion and it honestly doesn’t even matter. College coaches aren’t worried about that stuff. They just want good players. So work on your game and don’t worry about stuff like that.

Now that the season’s over I’m just trying to develop stronger discipline headed into college. I’m focusing on my books and my training. I get up at 5 a.m. every day and train. I want to be as prepared as possible for my first year.

OK guys I’m gonna head out now, but I appreciate you guys checking out my blog.

Take care.

Don't forget to follow Rodney Purvis on Twitter: @RPurvis_5

Montrose Christian rolls past Ravenscroft

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
7:19
PM ET
video

BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 2 seed Montrose Christian’s (Rockville, Md.) 64-48 win over No. 7 seed Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) in the quarterfinals of the National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep Thursday:

Overview: Montrose Christian, ranked No. 9 in the POWERADE Fab 50, caught fire early, draining three 3-pointers in the first quarter to claim an early 16-7 lead. Montrose forward Justin Anderson had two of his own and ramped up the defensive pressure to help the Mustangs force eight turnovers and keep the Ravens at bay for much of the first half.

Montrose shot 60 percent from the 3-point line in the first half. Then Mustangs went on a 9-0 run midway through the third that devastated Ravenscroft.

The Ravens started forcing tough, contested threes and folding under the Mustangs’ intense defensive pressure.

“We had to get our rhythm back because we hadn’t played in a long time,” said Montrose coach Stu Vetter. “But these guys are strong and they really battled. Our defensive intensity was the difference in the game. We picked up our momentum defensively and that’s what got it done.”

Turning Point: Up just 36-32 midway through the third quarter, Montrose forward Ishmail Wainright caught Yuri Togashi’s missed three off the rim and flushed it with authority, sending the Montrose-heavy crowd into a frenzy. On the next play, the Mustangs forced a turnover and found Anderson in the right corner for the three. Then, after another Ravenscroft turnover, Togashi threw Anderson an alley-oop in transition.

That sequence of events seemed to take the Ravens’ heart.

“Their physicality hurt us,” Ravenscroft coach Kevin Billerman said. “We’d cut it to four, but then they went on that explosion and that made it really tough for us.”

Key Player: Anderson was a matchup problem for the Ravens all night. When they sagged off he drained threes and when they pushed up on him he drove the lane and made plays. Anderson finished with 21 points, four rebounds and three assists.

“Justin’s one of the best players in the country,” Vetter said. “I’ve coached a lot of great players and he’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached. I think a lot of people have overlooked him as far as McDonald’s and Jordan All-American games. He’s one of the best players in the country without question.”

Ravenscroft guard Anton Gill drained two 3-pointers in the loss, tying the Ravenscroft record for career 3-pointers at 106, which had been held by Corwin Davis, who starred at Ravenscroft from 1997-2001.

Key Stat: The Ravens shot just 4 of 21 (19 percent) from the 3-point line in their loss. During the regular season they shot 34 percent and broke a school record for 3-pointers made with 138. The old record was 130.

“We haven’t played a game in 32 days,” Billerman said. “We’ve only had seven practices over that time so that’s rough. We had good looks, but we just couldn’t get them to fall.”

Up Next: The Mustangs will face No. 3 seed Montverde (Fla.) Friday (11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2) in the semifinals. Montverde, ranked No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50, knocked off La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 62-54 Thursday in the quarterfinals.

“They’re a great team,” Wainright said of Montverde. “They really play hard, and I’m looking forward to playing against them.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

NHSI preview: Ravenscroft

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
10:46
PM ET
Team: No. 7 seed Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.)
Record, FAB 50 Rank: 31-3, NR (No. 19 in the Southeast)
Head Coach: Kevin Billerman (12th year at school, 279-70 career record

Key Players:

Madison Jones
Jones initiates the Ravens’ offense and brings a gritty, tough element that becomes infectious as the game progresses. Jones averages 16.5 points, 6.5 assists and 3.4 steals per game and serves as the team’s vocal leader on the floor. “He’s a true point guard and he just controls our team in all areas,” Billerman said. “He’s a great leader.”

Anton Gill
Gill is a freak of an athlete and, at 6-foot-4, will have one of the best high-wire acts at the NHSI. Gill, a Louisville commit, averages 18.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. When the Ravens are in need of a bucket to break a scoring drought, Gill is the player whose number Billerman typically calls.

Marcus Bryan
Bryan, a 6-foot-8 center, is the Ravens’ low post presence and averages 14.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Bryan is versatile enough to step out and consistently knock down the 17-footer, making him a tough draw for most opposing big men.

Road to NHSI:

Ravenscroft knocked off North Carolina powerhouse Christ School (Arden, N.C.) twice in convincing fashion and also won the High School OT Holiday Invitational in December. In that tournament the Ravens knocked off Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.) and United Faith (Charlotte, N.C.). Ravenscroft also knocked off Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) to claim the state title.

“We beat all of the top private school teams in our state,” Billerman said. “The guys really stepped up and met every challenge.”

Inside Scoop:

The Ravens lockup defensively and are almost always hounding the opposition with a suffocating man-to-man set. Offensively, the Ravens remain in attack mode at all times whether it’s pushing the ball up the court in transition or running one of the 16 plays in the halfcourt set.

“With Anton and Madison scoring a lot of points, obviously, we shoot a lot of jump shots,” Billerman said. “Both of them are very smart players and they pick their spots well.”

The Ravens average 71 points per game.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Findlay Prep gets No. 1 seed for NHSI

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
11:36
PM ET
ESPNHS has announced the seedings for the eight boys' teams that will compete in the fourth annual ESPNHS National High School Invitational.

The year's event, which features six POWERADE FAB 50-ranked teams, will be March 29-31 at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Md. The championship game is set for 2 p.m. ET March 31 on ESPN.

As expected, two-time NHSI champion Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) was awarded the top seed and will face No. 8 seed Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) March 29. Coolidge (29-7) will have its hands full with the No. 2 team in the country. In three years, only Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) has played the top seed in the No. 1 versus No. 8 game down to the wire, and that came in 2010 when Montrose lost to Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) by two points.

This year, FAB 50 No. 9 Montrose Christian (20-2) snagged the second seed and opens the tournament with seventh-seeded Ravenscroft (Ravenscroft, N.C.). The North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 3A champions come in with a 31-3 mark, but they didn't venture too far from home this season and are decided underdogs against the defending NHSI champions.

Returning from last year's championship team is emotional leader Justin Anderson, a Virginia recruit, and Michael Carrera, who averaged a record 12.7 rebounds in Montrose Christian's three victories. Stu Vetter's club has to show its backcourt is capable without reigning tourney MVP Tyrone Johnson (now at Villanova), but Ravenscroft has even more to prove. The last two years, the NCISAA entrant has been routed in its opener.

After missing last year's event because of key early season losses, No. 12 Montverde Academy is back in the fold as the third seed. Kevin Sutton coached the team in 2010 when they advanced to the finals, but this year the 21-3 Mustangs have a new coach in Kevin Boyle. He turned St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) into a national power but his program never had the opportunity to compete at the NHSI.

Boyle now gets the opportunity against No. 6 seed La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), a newcomer on the national scene with a big and talented roster. Montverde not only faces the challenge of a hungry 25-2 team ranked No. 23, they also face the challenge of idle time. Montverde had not played another high school since Feb. 4.

One team that certainly won't have any problems with idle time is fourth seed St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.), which competed in the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational last weekend. Gray Bees lost only their second game of the season (33-2) to eventual tournament champion DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) in the semifinals.

Had St. Benedict's won that tournament without its point guard (Tyler Ennis) and sixth man (Jordan Forehand), there's a strong possibility they would have been seeded second. They only dropped five spots in the FAB 50 to No. 15 (two spots behind DeMatha) and will open the NHSI against fifth-seeded Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.), the FHSAA Class 7A state champ ranked No. 16. If Ennis and Forehand are not healthy for St. Benedict's, they could have trouble stopping the backcourt of Ely, which has proven its scoring ability in big games this season.

If St. Benedict's situation is any indication, this could be the most balanced NHSI field yet. Findlay Prep wants another crack at La Lumiere to avenge its only loss, but in order for that to occur both teams have to advance to the championship game. If history is any indication, La Lumiere might have a good shot at the semifinals (where defending champion Montrose Christian could be waiting) since the No. 6 seed has won in the opening round the past two years.

"You play 30 games for a seeding, but when the ball goes up, everyone is 0-0," said Findlay Prep coach Michael Peck. "We're blessed to be able to participate, as these games give the competing teams some closure."

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN
After games on Sunday, March 11

An upset, comeback and dynasty. That's what we're left with after crowning the state champions this past weekend at the Dean Dome.

In Class 4A, defending champ West Charlotte's bid at a repeat fell short against an undersized but upstart New Hanover squad. Kadeem Allen, who transferred from Laney this year, was huge with 21 points and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter that have the Wildcats the lead for good.

In Class 3A, Hickory couldn't hold on to its early lead against Rocky Mount, which surged ahead for the title. The Gryphons were led by double-doubles from Dante Battle (20 points, 16 boards) and Terrill Hilliard (21 points, 11 rebounds).

In Class 2A, Kinston conjured up talk of a dynasty by winning its eighth title overall and third crown in the last five years. Cuthberston nearly pushed the game to overtime, but a last-second 3-pointer missed, giving the Vikings a 58-55 win.

That'll do it for the North Carolina basketball rankings in what was an eventful season. Stay tuned for NICSAA 3A champ Ravenscroft in the ESPNHS NHSI tournament starting March 31 in Maryland.

Here are the final rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. New Hanover (Wilmington) 30-1 (3)
Wildcats knocked off defending 4A champ West Charlotte to win the crown behind game MVP Kadeem Allen's 21 points.

2. Ravenscroft 31-3 (2)
Ravens were selected to play in the ESPNHS NHSI tournament in Maryland on March 28-31.

3. West Charlotte 27-6 (1)
Lions couldn't repeat as 4A champs, falling to New Hanover despite getting 14 points and 21 rebounds from Kennedy Meeks.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina hoops rankings.

N.C. Week 13 hoops rankings: West Charlotte eyes repeat crown

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
1:31
PM ET
After games on Sunday, March 4.

Six days after his team's season ended abruptly, Olympic coach Ty Baumgardner was still searching for answers. In December, the Trojans had beaten West Charlotte in a close battle. All year, the Trojans boasted the state's most talented squad, featuring the likes of super junior Allerik Freeman and Clemson commit Josh Smith. But on Feb. 28, a one-point lead in the third quarter morphed into a 21-point loss to the same West Charlotte team in the Class 4A regional semifinals.

"We had it close there in the third quarter and then we just committed turnover after turnover after turnover," said Baumgardner, whose team also finished 28-2 and lost in the regional semis last year. "We were never able to recover."

Meanwhile, the defending champ Lions, now ranked No. 48 in the POWERADE FAB 50, look more than recovered from their early-season inconsistency, beating Olympic and then Davie County to earn their 17th straight win and reclaim a spot in the 4A title, this time against a surging New Hanover squad. Coach Baronton Terry called last season's championship run a matter of "peaking at the right time," and it appears 2012 could bring the same.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. West Charlotte 27-5 (2)
The defending champ Lions knocked off Olympic before downing Davie to win their 17th straight game and set up a Class 4A final against New Hanover.

2. Ravenscroft 31-3 (3)
Ravens had their greatest season in school history, winning a record 31 wins and the NCISAA 3A title. Future is bright with super junior Anton Gill returning next year.

3. New Hanover (Wilmington) 29-1 (5)
Thomas Johnson dropped 29 points to lead Wildcats to Class 4A title matchup with top-ranked West Charlotte on Saturday.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina hoops rankings.

N.C. Week 12 hoops rankings: Ravenscroft ends Christ School's reign

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
4:25
PM ET
After games on Sunday, Feb. 26.

In some ways, Ravenscroft has looked a lot like UConn did during last year's NCAA postseason. Like UConn, Ravenscroft had a one-two punch of youth and experience in junior Anton Gill and senior Madison Jones. Like UConn, the Ravens had to knock off several giants along the way, like five-time defending champ Christ School and a solid Greensboro Day squad. And like UConn, the Ravens put it all together to secure the NCISAA 3A crown and a school-record 31 victories.

On the public school scene, another contest a March Madness feel takes place Tuesday when top-ranked Olympic faces defending 4A champ West Charlotte in the 4A regional semifinals. Olympic, the No. 30 squad in the POWERADE FAB 50, won their sole regular-season meeting by three points and has arguably the most talented team in the state, but the Lions appear to be peaking at the right time behind big man Kennedy Meeks and scoring threat Mike Brown. Should be a good one.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Olympic (Charlotte) 28-1 (1)
Trojans face off Tuesday against defending 4A champ West Charlotte after downing the Lions earlier this season. A win would put Olympic in its first regional final.

2. West Charlotte 26-5 (2)
The Lions' quest for a repeat 4A title will be challenged greatly on Tuesday when they face top-ranked Olympic, a team they lost to by three points earlier this season.

3. Ravenscroft 31-3 (7)
Ravens put together quite the run at season's end, blowing past five-time defending champ Christ School before beating Greensboro Day to win the NCISAA 3A crown and set a school record for wins in a season.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina hoops rankings.
Here are this week's high school boys’ basketball Players of the Week. One player is chosen from each region of the country. No player will be chosen more than once during a season.

(After games of Sunday, Feb. 19)

EAST

Kris Dunn, New London (Conn.)
The 6-foot-3 senior point guard and McDonald's All-American reached the 2,000-point career milestone with 29 points in three quarters of play during an 89-54 victory over Woodstock Academy (Woodstock, Conn.). It was the 14th-straight win for the 18-2 record Whalers. The Providence recruit, who averages 33 points per game, was coming off a quadruple-double in his last game a week earlier. He had 32 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists and 10 steals in an 88-67 win over Stonington (Pawcatuck, Conn.). Dunn was featured in the holiday issue of ESPNHS Magazine's Connecticut edition.

SOUTHEAST

Elijah Wilson, Laney (Wilmington, N.C.)
Scoring 42 points to tie a school record has a bit more meaning at Laney than just about any other school in America because it’s a record that was set in 1980 by NBA legend Michael Jordan. Wilson, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, accomplished his feat in helping the Buccaneers defeat New Bern (N.C.) 68-62 last week in a four-overtime thriller. One of the top scorers in his region of the state all season, he gave a commitment to College of Charleston after the historic game.

MIDWEST

Victor Vincz, Eastern Hancock (Charlottesville, Ind.)
The 5-foot-10 junior guard scored a school record 52 points in a 92-91 shootout victory over host Monroe (Alexandria, Ind.) and its 5-foot-10 senior guard Mitch Yeagly, who also set a school record in the same game with 51 points. Vincz connected on 7-of-8 shots on 3-point attempts (also was 17-of-25 from the floor and cashed 11-of-12 free throws) in the thriller. Vincz converted 8-of-8 free throws in the final minutes. Yeagly, meanwhile, made 15-of-25 shot attempts and 17-of-19 free throws.

MIDLANDS

Cornell Johnston, Ladue (St. Louis)
The 5-foot-6 sophomore guard has filled up the stat sheet in helping his team adjust to being without 6-foot-8 center Austin DaGue due to an injury. One week after he scored 34 and 35 points in a pair of games, Johnston made 6-of-8 shots from 3-point land and had 29 points in a 77-58 triumph against Mehlville (St. Louis). In the same game, Johnston also handed out 10 assists and had five steals. Johnston started as a freshman on the varsity last year and was a second-team all-conference choice.

WEST

Durrell McDonald, Green Valley (Las Vegas)
Back on Jan. 4, Green Valley was 4-11 and going nowhere fast. But with McDonald leading the charge, the Gators have gone 13-1 since. After a 70-63 victory last weekend over Foothill (Henderson, Nev.), they are headed to the Class 4A state tournament. McDonald poured in 32 points in the win and for the season is averaging 21.2 points with 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. The 6-foot-2 senior guard will play next season at DePaul.

NC Week 11 hoops rankings: Harding hands Olympic its first loss

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
5:33
PM ET
After games on Sunday, Feb. 19

The first two games (one of which went to overtime) were decided by a combined four points, so even though Olympic entered Friday's MEGA-7 tournament final against Harding undefeated at 25-0 and unbeaten in its last 52 conference games, nothing was guaranteed.

Sure enough, the third time proved to be the charm for the Rams, who knocked off Olympic 61-55 in overtime behind Jarvis Haywood's 26 points. The win is a huge momentum boost for Harding as it enters the 3A playoffs as well as a huge motivation tool for Olympic, which remains the favorite in 4A and falls to No. 34 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

With the playoffs beginning this week, several other teams enter red hot, including Ravenscroft. The Ravens have won 11 straight, including a victory against No. 5 Christ School, and are riding Anton Gill's impressive recent play.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Olympic (Charlotte) 25-1 (1)
Trojans' bid for an undefeated season ended in an overtime loss to Harding in the MEGA-7 tournament final. But Olympic hangs on to the top spot entering the Class 4A playoffs since they beat Harding twice this year.

2. West Charlotte 23-5 (3)
Lions stretched their win streak to 13 games by beating Mallard Creek for the I-MECK title.

3. Harding (Charlotte) 22-4 (7)
The third time was the charm for the Rams, who knocked off top-ranked and previously undefeated Olympic in the MEGA-7 tournament championship.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina hoops rankings.

Purvis' Perspective: Jordan Brand bound

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
5:42
PM ET
Rodney PurvisScott Kurtz/ESPNHSESPNHS Student Blogger: Rodney Purvis
Rodney Purvis | Senior | Shooting Guard | Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.)

Purvis Blog 1 | Purvis Blog 2 | Purvis Blog 3 | Purvis Blog 4 | Purvis Blog 5 | Purvis Blog 6 | Purvis Blog 7 | ESPNHS - North Carolina

Rodney Purvis is the No. 6 shooting guard in the ESPNU 100. Purvis, a senior at Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), ended one of the hottest recruitments of the summer in late September by picking North Carolina State. He's agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access to his life and chronicle his thoughts in a monthly blog.

What’s up world.

It’s your boy Rodney Purvis again, and as you probably already know by now I’m a Jordan Brand All-American! I’m really excited about making this game because it’s been a dream of mine for a long time now.

My bro John Wall played in this game and my bro Dezmine Wells did, too. When I told them about making the game they both said that they were proud of me and that they wanted to see me do my thing.

I’m honored and blessed to be a part of this game. Michael Jordan is the greatest so I’m looking forward to meeting him.

I was at school when I got the text from one of the Nike guys saying that I was picked for the game. I was so excited for the rest of the day I couldn’t even think straight.

I was shocked. I’ve never been the type of player to think I automatically will be given things because I’ve always had to work for it. I just thanked him and called my mom immediately. Of course she was excited too.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the guys down there at Jordan. I haven’t really seen most of the guys since the summer in AAU. I know we’ll have a good time together.

My bros Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad are coming so I already know we’re gonna be buggin’ out the whole time.

I know that a lot of people will come out to watch the game and I’m hoping a lot of N.C. State fans can make the game too. I would love to see guys who have played in this game in the past like John and Kemba Walker come back and watch us. That would be cool.

I don’t really have any expectations about stats or anything like that. I just want to make an impact on the game and leave my mark.

That’s it.

As always, thanks for reading my blog and check back soon for my next entry.

Take care y’all.

Don't forget to follow Rodney Purvis on Twitter: @RPurvis_5

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