Wednesday, December 30, 2009
FSU-bound combo guard impressing
By Mike LaPlante
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The most anticipated game from Day 2 of our coverage of the GSK Holiday Invitational was Kinston (N.C.), featuring UNC-bound Reggie Bullock, versus Walton (Marietta, Ga.) led by NC State pledge Ryan Harrow. It was Harrow's world in the first half as the under-the weather sniper dropped 23 points (4 of 5 from behind the 3-point line), but his team was still down 41-36 at the break. Harrow couldn't make it out of the locker room after halftime until 2 minutes were gone in the 3rd quarter; he gave his best effort, but had to leave 2 minutes later after nearly collapsing with exhaustion and was taken to the hospital to get IV fluids. Without their go-to-guy the Walton players had a choice to give in or fight and they chose the latter. They played inspired basketball and grittily erased two double-digit deficits taking the lead once and tying it up again in the final minute of play before losing 90-87 on three Bullock (who finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds) free-throws within the last 10 seconds of regulation.
Ian Miller, SG (6-2, 180)
2010, Charlotte, N.C./United Faith, signed with Florida State
With a 20-point explosion in the first half of the GSK Holiday Invitational (he finished with 32), Miller showed everyone in attendance why Leonard Hamilton can't wait to get this kid in his program. He is a superior athlete with a great motor who dominates on both sides of the ball. The future Seminole has made great strides at the point guard position and is solid at the balancing act of running a team while assuming scoring responsibilities. With his ability to defend on the ball, he will have the opportunity to be a Tony Douglas-type point guard in the ACC. He is a thoroughbred who excels in transition with his speed up the floor and his explosiveness around the basket; he gets to the rim in a blink of an eye and can bring the thunder when he finishes. He has a nice stroke from behind the 3-point arc and can get in the zone, putting together some impressive hot streaks that result in scoring binges. As he continues to develop in the point guard position, his ability to impact the FSU program as a freshman will improve.
Jerome Seagears, PG (6-3, 175)
2011, District of Columbia/Flora MacDonald
Seagears is a dynamic point guard who consistently produced against solid competition. He scored 26 impressive points in a tightly contested loss to United Faith Christian. He is a long, athletic leader with good size that gets it down the floor in a hurry and is great at finding a seam to attack the basket. He is nearly impossible to stop in the open floor. He can go strong with either hand and is great at adjusting and changing direction in an instant. He showed a nice stroke from deep and makes his free throws like a good point guard is supposed to do. He is a good defender who can extend pressure up the floor while containing the ball. A competitor that hates to lose, he plays with a high level of intensity and brings it for 32 minutes each time he takes the floor. He needs to improve at drawing the defense and finding an open teammate, but he showed that he should be able to make the adjustment.
One to watch
T.J. Warren, SF (6-6, 200)
Warren, whose father starred at NC State, didn't have his best game on this day, but he still showed his future potential. He is a young wing player with an advanced game and has a nice feel for scoring. He is a decent athlete in regards to running and jumping (not going to wow you), but knows how to use his body like a savvy veteran creating off the dribble from the wing. He moves well without the ball and utilizes screens to free himself; after the catch he has a great shot fake and drive. He has a knack for drawing contact and has a nice touch from the free-throw line. He can knock down a shot from the perimeter, but is going to need to rework his release to become a more consistent shooter from the 3-point line. He is still in the beginning stages of his development and should blossom into a solid high major prospect for the ACC schools to fight over.
• Apex High School's 6-7 senior Weston Murphy is making a case for some solid Ivy/Patriot League level recruitment. The hard-working power forward with a slew of Division III offers had a 29-point, 8-rebound effort in a 75-68 win against Greenfield's Brian Richardson (South Carolina) and Jeremy Jeffers (Drake). He followed that up with 22 points and 6 boards against the very athletic Word of God team featuring high flyer C.J. Leslie.
• Wake Forest-bound shooting guard J.T. Terrell is M.I.A. for the entire tournament while serving a 4-game suspension for throwing a punch in a game before Christmas.
• A name to remember for the future is West Charlotte's 6-7, 230 pound freshman Kennedy Meeks. The big fella has good feet and a soft touch around the basket; on his first touch, he showed a little dip to the baseline/ drop-step middle jump hook that was sweet.
• Forsyth Country Day's 5-10 sophomore Tyler Lewis thrilled the crowd for the second day in a row by scoring 27 points and dishing 8 assists in an 86-75 loss to West Charlotte. The deceptive point guard is a gifted passer that is always a crowd favorite with his creative play.
Mike LaPlante has spent nearly 20 years coaching college basketball. Most recently, he was the head coach at Jacksonville State University.