Final Scouting Report From The Frank Spencer

December 30, 2008

The final round of the Frank Spencer Classic features two games, the battle for third place and and the title game.

The first game featured Ashe County against R.J. Reynolds. Ashe is led by big man Tommy Spagnolo (PF, 6’7″, 2009), a Radford commit. Spagnolo was the best pure post player in the tournament, and already has the build of a collegiate athlete. He is a paint player, with a good array of moves around the basket. In this game, he was careful not to get trapped on the baseline and the RJR defenders had a lot of trouble stopping him inside. He also finished several times after contact, and he has a lot of control on his shots around the basket.

At first, Reynolds doubled him as soon as he touched the ball in the post, and then the Ashe guards stopped going inside for a while to avoid the double team. Spagnolo still scored double digit points in the first half, mostly by grabbing offensive rebounds and scoring putback shots. He establishes position in the paint well, sealing his man and boxing out well. Spagnolo finished with 20 points for the night. He is extremely good from about 12 feet in, even putting the ball on the floor a couple of times and slashing to get better looks.

Spagnolo was guarded most of the night by Matt Kunz (SF, 6’7″, 2009), a player who is playing out of position in the paint, being more of a forward than a post player. Kunz was active, had three steals and at least four blocks in the game, but was forced to play post most of the game and had to sit for extended minutes due to foul trouble. Kunz was a player who looked like he has promise if he could be consistent from mid range and become a slashing forward.

The prominent player for R.J. Reynolds is Will Carpenter (SF, 6’6″ 2009), a player who ended up making the all-tournament team. Carpenter did not score until the second half, but showed flashes of strong play in the second half, getting active and even bringing the ball up on the break.

Kunz and Carpenter are playing the post in high school but in my opinion should be scouted as forwards. They look more like players who can face the basket.

A player of interest is Alex Greven (SG, 6’3″, 2009), who hit a couple of threes early for R.J. Reynolds and even though he wasn’t playing point, he was usually defending the point. He has excellent defensive skills and a good release on his shot.

The game was back and forth with Reynolds leading 18-15 at the half.

During the second half, Ashe took at 37-29 lead at one point, but Reynolds tried to neutralize the inside power of Spagnolo by moving Kunz to the high post and feeding Carpenter under the basket. This worked enough that Ashe moved Spagnolo back to the low post, but Reynolds managed to cut the lead 37-35 with transition points and the interior passing.

With 1:29 left to go and leading 37-35, Ashe called a timeout. Matt Kunz fired a terrific interior assist to tie the game 37-37. Ashe missed a shot on their next possession, and as Alex Greven was making a back door cut to the basket, Spagnolo was forced to foul him, and he fouled out of the game. Greven hit one free throw and RJR went on to win, 38-37.

Championship Game: Mount Tabor vs. West Forsyth

Mount Tabor came in wanting to defend their Frank Spencer Classic title from a year ago, and being led by a trio of star guards in C.J. Harris (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2009), Mike Grace (PG, 6’0″, 2009) and Josh Hicks (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2009).

This game was tight in the opening quarter, but Mt. Tabor, led by explosive games from Mike Grace and Josh Hicks, pulled away with a run at the end of the first half and West Forsyth never recovered. Mt. Tabor won 73-54 in a bit of a blowout, so I’ll just rundown some of the player notes:

C.J. Harris (Mt. Tabor) – Still under control, had some nice slashing moves and a sick spin move inside to get shots off. Not a huge scoring night for him, but it wasn’t needed. A big guard who plays with a lot of poise, was named to the All-Tournament team.

Josh Hicks (Mt. Tabor) – A player I was again impressed with, fast, good handle, excellent scorer and defender.

Mike Grace (Mt. Tabor) – A terrific game where he showcased his ability to pull up in transition and hit the mid range jumper or three pointer. He absolutely has a solid mid range game, can finish and is a pure PG.

Turner Simpson (SG, 6’3″, 2009), (Mt. Tabor) – A very active shooting guard who gets a lot of minutes and plays tenacious defense. He finds holes in the defense and works the backdoor cut effectively.

Chrishawn Rhyne (PG, 5’11”, 2009) (West Forsyth), speedy ballhandler who can defend and score. Finishes in traffic, athletic.

Tabarris Hamilton (SG, 6’2″, 2011) (West Forsyth), showed flashes of offensive ability as a sophomore, will be one to keep an eye on.

Allan Jones (SF, 6’5″, 2009) (West Forsyth), a strong player with a good first step but had trouble finishing. Made the All-Tournament team. Needs to work on his mid range shooting and free throw consistency, his shot comes off a little flat on release. Could be tough to stop offensively with a little work on his jumper; he’s the kind of player who, if played close, might put the ball on the floor and slash past the defender. Relies too much on his strength to score around the basket, and at his size will need to improve his forward skills.

Tyler Alberts (SF/PF, 6’6″, 2010) (West Forsyth), runs the floor well and is active on defense. Had a little trouble catching interior passes at times, managed to seal his man in the post but did not use the drop step to get a shot off. Has good size and had some good moments. Needs to be more active in the paint at times, has potential.


Familar Foes at the Frank

December 29, 2008

Today’s Frank Spencer championship features two team familiar with one another, Mount Tabor and West Forsyth.

As Wake fans know, Mount Tabor is led by commit C.J. Harris (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2009) and is the returning Frank Spencer Classic champion.

The Spartans (10-1) and the Titans (10-0) will tip off at approximately 8:30, after the third-place game between Reynolds and Ashe County (7 p.m.)

Mount Tabor beat West in last year’s Spencer final in what was the first of four meetings between the Central Piedmont 4-A Conference rivals.

Coach Mike Pennington of West said that he was glad to get a one-day break between Saturday’s semifinals and tonight’s championship to give him a chance to work on defending Mount Tabor’s guards C.J. Harris, Mike Grace and Josh Hicks.


Weekend Basketball – Frank Spencer Classic

December 24, 2008

This weekend is the conclusion of the Frank Spencer tournament in Winston-Salem, which includes Mount Tabor High School, whose star players are C.J. Harris (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2009), a Wake Forest commit, and Mike Grace (PG, 6’0″, 2009), who has committed to Yale, and along with Josh Hicks (SG, 6’2″, 2009), are the defending Spencer Champs and are still the team to beat this year.

Here’s a preview write up on the tournament:

“We have finally got some time to practice without preparing for a game,” Muse said. “We have had three of the hardest practices of the year – the day after the Page game and Monday and Tuesday of this week. We worked on our fundamentals – shooting, passing, dribbling and footwork as well as a great deal of conditioning to be ready to play on a college size court.

Meanwhile, at the City of Palms Classic title was won in a UNC basketball recruit studded affair, with Travis and David Wear (PF,6’9″,2009) going against UNC commit Dexter Strickland (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2009) and St. Patrick. Mater Dei is ranked #1 in the country in some polls. In other City of Palms action, future Tar Heel John Henson scored a triple double with 22 points, 12 rebound and 10 blocks. I’ve always been very, very impressed with Henson’s game and think he’s got an NBA paycheck in his future, as long as he can build his frame up to withstand the contact. Playing in the ACC will help.


Terrell to Wake Forest, Taylor goes with Pitt

July 15, 2008

J.T. Terrell (SG, 6’3″, 2010) ended his recruitment by announcing that he wants to be a Demon Deacon. Wake Forest basketball recruiting has had a good month, after getting C.J. Harris a couple of weeks ago.

Meanwhile, as expected, Dante Taylor (PF, 6’8″, 2009) passed on Maryland to take an offer from Pittsburgh. This is disappointing although all signs pointed toward the Panthers, especially after reports had recently talked up Dante’s stellar play.


C.J. Harris commits to Wake Forest

July 1, 2008

C.J. Harris (PG/SG,6’2″, 2009) a smart, solid guard out of hometown Winston-Salem, has committed to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Harris is a big guard who makes the right decisions and should be a great get for Wake.


C.J. Harris cuts his list to three

June 26, 2008

C.J. Harris (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2009) has cut his official list of schools to three. From his high school coach Andy Muse:

“CJ Harris has informed me that he will play in the ACC and that all other schools are off of his list. At the present time VA Tech, Clemson and Wake Forest are still in a dead heat in CJ’s mind.”

A special thanks to Coach Muse for the confirmation.


Lute Olsen on Negedu: ‘Lack of coachability’

June 13, 2008


image courtesy Brewster Academy

Lute Olsen has really let loose on Emmanuel Negedu (6’7″, PF, 2008 ), the biggest available player who’s visting Indiana, Memphis, Tennesee and Georgia Tech this week.

Lute has offered some statements that most coaches of his stature would never say about Negedu and why he was perfectly fine with giving the highly ranked prospect his LOI:

“It was not hard. There were some things that came out about his coachability – or his lack of coachability. It was a very easy release,” Olson said.
Negedu, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, asked out after meeting with Olson last month.

Arizona granted his release a couple of days later, allowing Negedu, rated the nation’s 40th-best player by Rivals.com, to play for another school in the 2008-09 season.
“I wanted him to have to sweat a little bit to understand that you make a commitment, you should be a person of your word. But in the end, there was no way in the world I would have had him here,” Olson said.

“Just some things had come out from all-star situations and such. The word was, you better hope you don’t have to deal with them.”

Negedu was interviewed by WREG-TV in Memphis in the airport and he was a lot more politically correct than Coach Olsen. He is careful not to tip his hand, but he says that he likes to bang in the paint and play an up tempo game. He also says he will likely make a decision sometime next week.

However, on a side note, Olsen addresses the rumor that Brandon Jennings, our #1 ranked player for 2008, had not qualified:

“He’s been admitted here. If there were anything, it would be from a test standpoint, but everything else is fine.”

C.J. Harris gets an offer from Wake Forest

C.J. Harris (6’2″, SG, 2009) has gotten an offer from hometown Wake Forest, according to Rivals.com. Harris is a good, solid player who plays a lot of PG during his AAU stints with the CP3 All-Stars.