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.

Triad Pro-Am Rundown, Wake Forest incoming frosh

July 18, 2008

Rusty Larue, the former Wake Forest and Chicago Bulls guard, put together a summer league of professionals and amateurs three years ago, and it’s still going strong. The talent level in the Triad Pro-Am is pretty high; NBA All-Star Chris Paul played in two games before jumping a plane to Vegas to work out with the Olympic team this week.

The big draw of the night is usually the Wake Forest recruits and players; in the first game I watched, James Johnson scored 40, leading his team over Harvey Hale’s squad. Johnson was unstoppable, slashing to the basket for dunks or layups, or pulling up and nailing threes.

Coach Gaudio talks with Mike Drum and yes, that’s James Johnson in the background.

There aren’t a lot of high school players who play in the Triad Pro-Am, but all three Wake Forest incoming recruits were in action, including McDonald’s All American Al-Farouq Aminu, Ty Walker and Tony Woods.

Tony Woods

The first incoming Wake player to take the floor was Tony Woods (C, 6’10”, 2008). Woods looks every bit of 6’10” and then some. However, I’ve seen him play better. He seemed winded quickly, and despite some nice moves here and there, often seemed tentative with the ball. I’m not sure if it was because of Coach Deano Gaudio standing a few feet under the basket, but whatever the reason, Woods showed only a few glimpses of the aggressive finisher I’ve seen in other games. That being said, Woods is that rare commodity in college basketball, a legit center. There is no 3 or 4 to his game, he is a back to the basket player, with size and bulk to bang in the paint.

Ty Walker

Walker is not the big body that Woods is; while Woods looked bigger than his listed 6’10”, Walker looked smaller than his listed 7 feet, but I saw the games in different gyms. Walker runs the court like a forward, looking more like a 4 than a 5. He and Ish Smith arrived late to their game and I did not get to see them play as much. Walker did not get many touches, but seemed to get pushed out of the action in the halfcourt sets.

Al-Farouq Aminu

The big draw of the night was Chris Paul, but the second biggest was no doubt Aminu. Aminu is exactly what I’ve seen before; a future NBA 3 who never sees a shot he doesn’t like. The thing is, he looks and handles the ball like a legit 3 but he can shoot like a 2, with that perfect fluid shot that barely touches net as it slips through. He did have a nice slashing spin move to the basket a couple of times. He can get off his own shot, and he handled the ball well even against PG Ish Smith. However, I think his strengths are finding the seams in the d for jumpers or layups. This kid is big time.

Other notes

James Johnson is a stud. Of all the players I saw, he was the best, even better than Aminu.

The player who had everybody scrambling for their roster sheet was Jamal Durham, a 6’6″ player for Winston-Salem State. In a game where Wake star Jeff Teague showed his unbelievable quickness, Durham looked really good.

Chris Paul doesn’t mind walking around the parking lot in his nice white socks.

LD Williams loves to play above the rim.

Lees-McRae incoming freshman Kyle Boardman is a pure PF who surprised me with his outside shot. He plays strong with the ball and although he is not a high flyer, he can bang in the paint. Speaking of Lees-McRae, current LM PG Jesse Hoots was one of the better PGs that played in the Triad Pro Am.

While we’re talking about Lees-McRae, which is in Banner Elk, NC, they just picked up Juco player Vlady Nikolov, a 6’1″ guard.

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.

Wake Forest in good shape with Tristan Spurlock

June 15, 2008

courtesy has a report that not only does Tristan Spurlock (6’6″, SF, 2009) still list Wake Forest as one of his options, but that they are “in good shape” with him:

Spurlock now claims offers from Clemson, Wake Forest, Georgetown, N.C.State, Virginia, and Florida State. Although Spurlock has a long list of suitors already, Wake Forest is still in the running. “Wake is in good shape with me,” he said. “I am still very interested in Wake and I plan on visiting them this summer. The only visit I have set in stone right now is to Virginia this weekend.”

So there is a good chance that Spurlock will be playing his college ball in the ACC.

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, 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 Harris is a good, solid player who plays a lot of PG during his AAU stints with the CP3 All-Stars.

Dominic Cheek on ACC Schools

April 17, 2008

New Jersey shooting guard Dominic Cheek talks about his recruiting in this interview at North Star Basketball. Cheek is actively being recruited by several schools in the ACC, but he has always been a fan of UNC:

NB: What are some of the schools?
DC: Villanova, Texas, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Florida, Marquette, Kansas, it’s just . . . a lot of colleges.

NB: What are you looking for in a school?
DC: Great academics and a great coach that can get me to the next level.

NB: Is there a school that growing up you’ve always wanted to play for, that you always dreamed of playing for?
DC: Oh yeah, it was North Carolina, [that was] my school really, [while] growing up.

However, Cheek points out that he does not have a clear leader at this point.

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