December Wrap Up
Gonzaga DC Classic: Is an 8 team tourney played in Gonzaga’s Carmody Center that brings in a few out of area teams to mix in with some DC/Baltimore squads. These were some of the standouts from the opening night of the DC Classic:
6’9 ’18 Blake Preston
This Liberty recruit was instrumental in leading the Knights to a 62-58 win over St. Vincent Pallotti (MD) not so much with his 13pts but rather his 17rebounds and 4 blocked shots which limited the Panthers to one shot or an altered one on numerous occasions. Preston isn’t the most mobile big man around and certainly not the most athletic but he has a nose for the ball a college ready body and very good technique to gain position to seal off his opponent and he gets just enough lift to block shots when defending the paint. His footwork around the hole isn’t bad either and he makes the most of his offensive opportunities to get buckets even when they’re contested. In one sequence he blocked a shot got down the floor for a layup then ran back down court contesting the next shot and getting the rebound after the miss all in heavy traffic with arms flailing about trying to grab at the ball which I found impressive. With steady development at the next level I believe Liberty has gotten themselves a nice player to anchor the paint for the next 4 years.
6’5 ‘18 Myles Dread (Gonzaga College HS, DC)
Dread a Penn St. signee has really developed as a go to player for this DC powerhouse program. When I first saw him as a freshman you could see he had talent but early on it appeared he would be that glue type guy getting all the dirty jobs and none of the limelight. Well that suited him just fine as over these last few years he has continued to improve and he has become a leader on this team such as handling the basketball in crunch time, taking big time shots and making them while still going down low and mixing it up with the bigs to grab a pivotal board or get a huge defensive stop. He also has stepped up even more to guide the young Eagles since the unfortunate loss of another senior leader Notre Dame signee Prentiss Hubb (knee injury). In Gonzaga’s 73-58 win over St. Maria Goretti Dread put up 20pts 6 treys 8reb 3stls while playing very good defense against explosive Jr. RJ Blakney (19pts 2 treys 3asts) forcing him into some bad shots or combined with timely double teams making him give up the ball. He is the consummate team player and I believe he will be a fine addition to the Nittany Lions.
6’7 ’20 Terrance Williams (Gonzaga College HS, DC)
One year ago at this event I first laid eyes on this young man and I was duly impressed. In every subsequent viewing of him he’s done nothing to alter my perception of him as a HM recruit with a huge upside. In the win over Goretti Williams had 22pts 3 treys 8reb and even managed to dish 2asts while engaging on the defensive end in Gonzaga’s efforts to thwart RJ Blakney from having a monster night. He has shown nice touch on his perimeter jumper out the arc and beyond but I was really impressed with his willingness to play on the block more and battle inside for tough finishes and rebounds something he didn’t do a lot of as a freshman which speaks to his desire to improve as a player. His handle was a bit loose in the past but he seems to have put in the work to improve on that facet of his game and he had but one turnover in the contest on an errant pass which I’m sure was pleasing to Coach Turner. As he continues to expand his skill set I look forward to watching him assume more of a leadership role as guys like Dread and Hubb move on to the next phase of their careers. For now I can just sit back and watch his development and ponder how far can he go.
6’6 ’19 Seth Lundy (Roman Catholic HS, PA)
I’ve heard on many occasions that a good PG can make a player look better than he is but I say that you still have to make the plays that your PG sets you up for and that is what makes a player really good. Lundy just happens to play with a really good one in Lynn Greer III and while he does get set up quite often he still has to make those plays because most opponents gear up to stop this highly athletic wing player. For Lundy he appears to have accepted his role as a scorer whom opponents have to stop with pride as in the last 8 months he has shredded in my mind the image of his being soft and reluctant to engage inside the paint or defensively. I go back to the Villanova team camp where he literally took a beating that would have regular people put in jail for assault and yet he kept getting back up and jumping right into the fray as if nothing had happened and I realized that Lundy was now ready to be viewed as a player to be wary of. He has great range and form on his perimeter jumper with a quick first step to get by opponents if they close out. His handle is more than adequate and he runs the floor really well with an explosive first jump going to the rim. He finishes well in traffic and he rebounds the ball with this new found toughness that is invaluable to his teams success. In Romans 76-60 win over Riverdale Baptist School (MD) he had 21pts 2 treys 12reb and converting a few of those feeds from his good PG to boot.
6’0 ’18 Jontai Williams (Cardinal Hayes HS, NY)
Having seen Williams in the past I thought of him as a D-II steal who could run the show as your PG and shoot it a little with some toughness thrown in as a pesky defender who drives you nuts. On this night however he opened my eyes with that NY moxie and swagger that earns them that coveted D-I look. In an exciting 67-65 win for Hayes over Woodrow Wilson HS (DC) Williams led them with 16pts 5 treys 4asts and 3stls while playing with extreme confidence and a take no prisoners mentality. Entering the 4th quarter down 4 he took charge keeping his team composed and focused on the task at hand. He showed a nice stroke with good ball rotation with a quick and measured release, his ballhandling is superb as he gets real low and it’s next to impossible to strip the ball from him and his court vision and passing were improvements over my last viewing of him in the spring. Defensively he uses his quickness to keep his opponents off balance and he can pick your pocket if you get careless with the rock. After his performance on this night I would definitely put him as a sleeper in NYC and someone to keep an eye on.