I was able to catch the late game of the Frank Spencer Classic, featuring #1 seed and returning champ Mt. Tabor against Parkland. Mt. Tabor’s best known player is C.J. Harris (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2009), who has committed to Wake Forest.
Mt. Tabor uses three big, smart guards to pressure the perimeter and this worked against Parkland repeatedly, who had trouble getting into a flex offense before it was disrupted by the Mt. Tabor guards. Mt. Tabor’s guards are led by C.J. Harris, Mike Grace (PG, 6’0″, 2009), who is committed to Yale, and Josh Hicks (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2009).
Wake fans will be glad that C.J. Harris game is still the consistent, steady and smart play that is a coach’s dream and should add balance and poise to the Demon Deacons. One thing I’ve always liked about Harris’ game is that he doesn’t make silly mistakes, and in this game he was able to put the ball on the floor several times and drive through traffic for a bucket, a dish to a teammate or a trip to the free throw line. Harris is exceptional from the free throw line and the form on his shot is excellent. I originally wondered if he had the speed to play in the ACC, but I think his calm demeanor is deceptive, as he consistently outmaneuvered smaller guards with his ball handling.
The player who impressed me the most in this game was Josh Hicks. While all three guards for Mt. Tabor have a good release on their shot, and all three are strong defenders, Hicks was exceptional in moving his feet to cut off passing lanes, create traps and generate turnovers. He has a good offensive game and although I do not see him as a pure PG or SG, I think he can play either position well. He, like Harris, can also slash to the hoop.
Mike Grace is the player whose game is the most pure point guard of the three, also with a good release on his shot and defensive awareness. All three guards for Mt. Tabor play well together and generate a lot of turnovers out the perimeter which turn into fast break points.
For Parkland, I was disappointed with the team’s overall cohesion, but I did notice Antonio Robinson (SG/SF, 6’2″, 2011), a player with a fluid offensive game and potential. Although Parkland’s lack of size forced Robinson to play some in the paint, he looks to me like he could really have potential as a shooting guard, he has an easy stroke and can handle the ball. I think he will need to bulk up some as well as improve his shot’s consistency, as his release can be a little flat at times. Terrance Surratt (PF, 6’4″, 2010) has an offensive lineman’s build but has great timing on rebounds and blocks, but foul trouble limited his play down the stretch. Flashes of offense from Dontre Barrett (SG, 5’8″, 2009) and nice court vision from Mykjuan Truesdale (PG/SG, 5’9″, 2009) weren’t enough to overcome the dominance of Mt. Tabor’s guards.