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.

More Scouting From The Frank Spencer Classic

December 28, 2008

Frank Spencer Classic

Thanks again to James Blackburn for turning in these scouting reports for Saturday’s action of the Frank Spencer Classic prep basketball action in Winston-Salem, NC.

The championship games are Monday.

Scouting Report: Mt. Tabor vs. Ashe

Mt. Tabor proved to be too much for Ashe to handle defeating Ashe 64- 50 to advance to the championship game Monday night versus West Forsyth.

In my opinion this game featured the best guard and the post player in the Frank Spencer Classic in C.J. Harris (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2009) for Mt. Tabor and Tommy Spagnolo (PF/C, 6’7″, 2009) for Ashe. Mt. Tabor used an effective 2-3 zone with Harris and Josh Hicks at the perimeter disrupting Ashe County’s offense. This game featured several D-I commits.

C.J. Harris – Mt. Tabor (committed to Wake Forest) – C.J. had another great game, scoring 25 points and dishing out a few nice assist. He is smart, active on defense, and has the prettiest jumper in the tournament. He took whatever the defense gave him. If his defender played up on him he would drive around him and often finish with the foul. If his defender played off on him, he would hit the jumper, either from the 3-point line or the midrange.

Josh Hicks – Mt. Tabor (reportedly uncommitted) – smart player, plays on both ends of the court. Well rounded offensive game. Finished with 8 points.

Tommy Spagnolo– Ashe (committed to Radford) – Tommy struggled offensively this game and played limited minutes due to foul trouble. Tommy still played solid defense, blocking several shots and altering others, and rebounded the ball well on the defensive end. He has good form on his jumper. Tommy has a tendency to go towards the baseline when operating in the post and this sometimes gets him in trouble because he gets trapped. He again attracted double teams and is smart enough to know when to turn away from the double team and shoot or find the open man on a pass. Tommy finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

Tatum Lemly – Ashe- (SG, 6’0″, 2009) Tatum is very active on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. His offensive game is not the prettiest, but it is effective. He can score the ball in numerous ways from shooting the 3 to taking the ball to the basket strong. Needs to improve ball handling skills. Tatum finished with 18 points.

Scouting Report: West Forsyth vs. Reynolds

West Forsyth defeated Reynolds in the first game of the nightcap 67-58 to earn a berth in the Frank Spencer championship game on Monday night. The teams were tied at half time at 28 apiece, but the second half belonged to West. Reynolds hurt themselves by giving up too many offensive rebounds and turning the ball over in the second half. Several players are getting D-I attention for both teams.

Allan Jones –West Forsyth (SF/PF, 6’5″, 2009) – Can take it to the basket strong, athletic, good shot blocker, solid post moves, needs to improve jumper and ball handling skills. Allan finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds while being guarded by another D-I post player in Will Carpenter most of the game. Elon, Gardner Webb, and several D-II schools have expressed interest.

Ricky Brown – West Forsyth (SG, 6’3″, 2011) – Ricky is a great shooter and is active on the glass and defense. Ricky is a kid that you should keep an eye on; he has potential being only a sophomore. He finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds.

Will Carpenter – Reynolds (SF/PF, 6’6″, 2009) – Will is a good strong defender that can block shots and moves his feet well. He is good shooter for his size with 3-point range. He finished with 17 points. Schools that have taken a notice of Will are Lenoir Ryne, Air Force, and Winthrop.

Kendall Wicks – Reynolds (SG, 6’1″, 2010) – Great shooter who gets good elevation on his jump shot. He can shoot 3’s and midrange jumpers and possess the ability to create his own shot. He has a quick first step which he uses to get to the basket and finish. He needs to improve decision making and ball handling skills. Has potential. He finished with 17 points. Wright State, Elon, and UNCW have looked at him.

Photo Credit: Winston-Salem Journal, Bruce Chapman
Original Photo Link

Scouting the Frank: More From Frank Spencer

December 27, 2008

James Blackburn was able to scout some games at the Frank Spencer Classic, and provided the following scouting notes for the match up between North Forsyth and Ashe County. Ashe features Tommy Spagnolo (PF/C, 6’7″, 2009) a Raford commit who had an excellent game:

Ashe vs. North Forsyth Scouting Notes

Number 4 seed Ashe County defeated North Forsyth in the quarterfinal game tonight 59-56. Ashe controlled the game from the start weaving through North’s defense and press for layups and open shots. There were several players who stood out for both teams.

Tommy Spagnolo (PF/C, 6’7″, 2009) scored 19 pts, grabbed 21 rebounds, and blocked 5 shots while controlling the middle for Ashe. Tommy is a strong/physical force that plays good D, contesting every shot, and rebounds exceptionally well on both ends of the court, boxing out on every shot. He is a great shot blocker, blocking shots from the weak side as well as his own mans shot. He hustles and runs the floor. He has a consistent jumper with a range of 18 ft. in. He is unguardalbe within 4 ft. of the basket, using size and good post moves to score. He has good feet and hands and passes well out of double and triple teams which he often attracts.

Kameko Wells (SG/SF, 6’4″, 2009) for North is a smart player who possesses good basketball IQ. He is long and lanky and uses his length to get to the basket easily and finish. He has good ball handling skills for a 2 guard. He has good form on his Jumper and gets good elevation off the ground when he shoots. He finished with 13 pts.

Jairus Simms (PG, 6’1″, 2009) finished with 23 pts and 10 rebounds for North. He has great ball handling skills and changes speeds and directions well to get to the basket at will. He has excellent court vision and can create for other players after breaking his man down. He is a true scorer who can get his points in many ways; floaters, mid range jump shots, layups, and 3 pointers.

Scouting Report: Mt. Tabor vs. Parkland

December 27, 2008

Frank Spencer Classic Tickets

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.

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.

The Flip Camera

December 15, 2008

This camera, is, apparently, pretty awesome and I am going to see if it works for sports video (a lot of less expensive video cameras do not do an acceptable job for the speed of a basketball game).

theFlip Ultra

After hearing so many people raving about this camera, I’m going to snag one and try it out at some basketball games soon. I first saw some video online that was shot in San Diego and I was actually stunned at the quality. Then I saw a couple more online videos shot with the Flip.

Then, the kicker: someone I knew had a flip and loved it. I really like the idea of this little camera I can take with me to basketball games and pickup games to get some quick video. Let me know if you have one and whether you like it / don’t like it.

I really want to get a slim camera like this because I don’t like lugging a full video camera everywhere (and some places it causes problems). I also like how it can download quickly right to the laptop, so I envision being able to shoot some hoops video in a gym or a game and pop it online in a minute or two. I might try it out at the Frank Spencer Classic if I can, which starts this week.

Taran Buie vs. Tobias Harris

Two potential ACC recruits battled it out over the weekend and here is a rundown of the match up between Tobias Harris (PF, 6’7″, 2010) and Taran Buie (PG/SG, 6’0″, 2010). Buie scored 24 points in the win, and is being recruited by Maryland and Georgia Tech (and just about everyone else in the ACC), while Harris is also being recruited by Maryland as well as Wake Forest.