They stumbled out of the gate as their nearly four hour, 230-mile trip from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, MD was hampered by traffic jams and rain causing them to arrive 15 minutes late and forfeit their opener. Despite that ominous beginning the eight players who made the trip rebounded in impressive fashion going into full throttle mode for the championship bracket on Sunday winning all four games handily while cruising to the Norfolk State University Team Camp championship. St. Frances 2020 point guard Adrian “Ace” Baldwin showed off his impressive passing skills and ball handling wizardry and Virginia Beach, VA product 6’7 2019 Bass Diop dominated the glass and scored seemingly at will as the visitors rebounded after a 2-2 pool play record (including the forfeit loss). The only loss on the court for St. Frances came at the hands of Hampton Roads power Lake Taylor High School, a 57-42 loss on Saturday afternoon when Titans stars 6’6 2018 Dereon Seabron and 6’2 2018 Joe Bryant led a typically scrappy Lake Taylor effort. St. Frances returned the favor in the bracket semi final winning 62-52 thanks to balanced scoring led by the hot shooting of 6’3 2018 wing Elijah Epps. The powerfully built Epps mixed in long jumpers and quick, crafty drives to the rim to lead St Frances in a win that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate. St. Frances’ championship game opponent was the upstart Maury Commodores in their first action under new head coach and local basketball star Brandon Plummer. The 29 year old Plummer was an assistant at Maury last season and replaced longtime Maury Head Coach Jack Baker who retired after 41 years and 746 wins. Plummer, who played at rival Booker T Washington High School in Norfolk where he helped lead the Bookers to the 2006 Virginia High School League State Championship before playing collegiately at Wingate, Virginia State and Norfolk State, has instilled confidence and enthusiasm in a young program led by college prospects Chase Coleman (5’10 2019) and Bryan Phillips (6’1 2019). The Commodores won three out of four pool games including an upset of highly regarded Landstown High School who returns many of the key pieces from last season’s Virginia High School League Group 6A State Semifinalist.
Maury also avenged their lone loss in the semi final when they held off a late Western Branch rally to win 54-45. Western Branch won the pool play meeting between the two earlier in the day 39-29.
In the semi final win Maury used balanced scoring to build a 12 point lead with 6:26 left only to see Western Branch rally. 6’5 2018 DJ Driscoll began to dominate inside and 5’10 2018 Micah Dixon turned up the defensive pressure forcing several turnovers as Western Branch cut the Maury lead to six. The dagger came just before the running clock ticked inside the 1:00 mark when 6’4 rising sophomore Clarence Rupert continued his solid camp performance with a three pointer from the left wing to help Maury hold on for 54-45 win and a championship game appearance, it would be the third straight game for Maury without benefit of a break! In the championship game St. Frances used three Ace Baldwin three pointers and plenty of Bass Diop rebounds and scores to jump to a 24-14 halftime lead. St Frances built the lead to 40-22 with 9:26 left as 6’7 2021 Detwon Montague began to assert himself on the glass while mixing in short jumpers. Maury got a strong second half effort from 6’3 2019 All Conference wing Matt Mensia and sharpshooter Jason Price but could not get untracked. St Frances went on to win it 59-42 capping off an impressive stretch of convincing Sunday wins.
Here are the results from the Norfolk State University Team Camp
Friday, August 11:
Maury 56, Landstown 53 (OT)
Western Branch 46, Green Run 38
Woodrow Wilson 42, Booker T. Washington 35
Hampton Christian 54, Princess Anne 34
Lake Taylor 47, Indian River 36
Saturday, August 12:
Maury 42, Princess Anne 28
Landstown 39, Thurgood Marshall (NY) 25
Western Branch 38, Hampton Christian 34
Lake Taylor 48, Booker T. Washington 29
Green Run 41, Indian River 37
Landstown 40, Princess Anne 25
Maury 71, Norview 46
Western Branch 39, Maury 29
St. Frances (MD) 50, Woodrow Wilson 16
Thurgood Marshall (NY) 42, Norview 38
Booker T. Washington 47, Green Run 42
Indian River 47, Hampton Christian 30
Western Branch 42, Norview 36
Lake Taylor 57, St. Frances (MD) 42
Thurgood Marshall (NY) 42, Princess Anne 34
Maury 52, Woodrow Wilson 40
Norview 41, Indian River 35
Booker T. Washington 36, Hampton Christian 35
Thurgood Marshall (NY) 42, Woodrow Wilson 40
St. Frances (MD) 44, Green Run 40
Lake Taylor 56, Landstown 53
Sunday, August 13:
Princess Anne 47, Wilson 45
St. Frances (MD) 29, Thurgood Marshall (NY) 15
Landstown 37, Norview 34
Green Run 32, Indian River 30
Hampton Christian 38, Booker T. Washington 25
Lake Taylor 49, Princess Anne 25
St. Frances (MD) 60, Landstown 44
Western Branch 34, Green Run 30
Maury 54, Hampton Christian 30
St. Frances (MD) 62, Lake Taylor 52
Maury 54, Western Branch 45
St. Frances (MD) 59, Maury 42
Norfolk State University Team Camp top performers:
Ace Baldwin (6’0 2020 St Frances Academy) Ace is a special talent and game changing floor general. His IQ, crafty playmaking skills and tight handle allows him to dominate games not only as a scorer but as a player who makes others around him better. He is also a crafty defensive player who impacts games on the defensive end of the floor. Ace holds offers from UCONN, Miami, Kansas State, Drexel and Denver while also drawing interest from Florida State, LSU, Temple, Tulane, and Tulsa.
Bass Diop (6’6 2019 St Frances Academy) Bass has become a dominant post on both ends of the floor as is one of the states more productive rebounders while also being an inside/outside offensive threat. Bass has an impressive array of back to the basket moves while also having the ability to knock down the jumper with three point range and score off the bounce. He runs the floor and has a seemingly endless amount of energy. A summer under the tutelage of former UVA star Donald Hand has helped Bass improve his offensive repertoire and he has evolved into a mid major prospect currently holding an offer from Hampton University.
Detwan Montague (6’7 2021 St Frances Academy) A true rim protector and shot blocking giant, Detwan Montague is an exciting prospect. He has a great motor and is an excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor. He is quick off his feet and bouncy, a very good repeat jumper. He has quick feet and excellent defensive footwork and is capable of defending the paint while also defending away from the paint. He has a nice touch around the rim and can finish with both hands.
Elijah Epps (6’3 2018 St Frances Academy) Elijah is instant offense and scores in a variety of ways. A strong bodied, quick guard can get to the rim and also knock down the jumper. He is a very good rebounding guard and played solid, high motor defense all weekend.
Chase Coleman (5’10 2019 Maury High School) Chase is an extremely quick, high IQ playmaker who has the ability to get where he wants to on the floor. He knows his personnel and he knows where everyone is on the floor at all times. He has a very good mid range jumper, the ability to change speeds and the explosiveness to get to the rim. Chase has a nonstop motor and brings great energy on both ends of the floor. He is a very good defender, quick and active.
Jason Price (6’0 2019 Maury High School) Jason is a threat everywhere on the floor as he can hit the jumper with very good consistency and range and can score attacking the rim. He is tough and very athletic, capable of defending either guard or forward position. His effort all weekend long was crucial in Maury’s success as he was a consistent go to guy offensively but also defended at a high level.
Matt Mensia (6’4 2019 Maury High School) Matt is a physical and crafty scorer! He scores from all levels and combines a physical frame with good quickness. He is a very good rebounder while also being a solid perimeter defender. He stays around the basketball and puts in work on both ends of the floor. Matt was really impressive as he plays much bigger than 6’4. He cleans up the glass offensively and his effort around the rim defensively provided the guard heavy Commodores a strong interior presence.
Clarence Rupert (6’4 2020 Maury High School) Clarence was one of the biggest surprises of the event. A transfer from Granby HS, Rupert shot the ball well and was active on both ends of the floor. He has a 6’6+ wingspan and a smooth shooting stroke with three point range. Clarence has very good skills and is a consistent shot maker who can also put it on the floor and get to the rim. I’m really impressed with his upside; he’s a player to keep an eye on!
Mike Christmas (6’5 2019 Landstown High School) One day after the event Christmas announced what had been rumored all weekend long that he was transferring to Huntington Prep in West Virginia. Look for his stock to climb as he gets more exposure. Mike is coming off a strong summer with Boo Williams EYBL 16U and earned a late summer spot on the EYBL 17U team that was nationally ranked. Christmas has a strong 6’5 frame and was one of the 757’s top prospects. He is a high percentage shooter who can also absorb contact and finish at the rim. Mike rebounds at a high level and is a capable perimeter defender. He has a very promising basketball future.
Kamilo Evans (6’0 2018 Landstown High School) Milo is a spark plug! He is a reliable playmaker with very good quickness and can get to the rim and score. He makes great cuts and gets open and can knock down the jumper with good consistency. Milo can play either guard position and is a solid defender.
DJ Driscoll (6’5 2018 Western Branch High School) DJ continued his solid play over the summer and is becoming a better finisher around the rim. He rebounds relentlessly and is especially active on the offensive end as he beats people to rebounds and just out jumps people. He displayed the ability to catch the ball in the high post and knock down the shot with very good consistency or make the drive to the rim where he is a punishing finisher!
Micah Dixon (5’10 2018 Western Branch High School) Micah has developed into a solid floor general for Western Branch running their offense, getting the ball to his scorers and playing solid defense. He handles the ball well and dribbles with purpose, mostly a distributor but can score the mid range jumper and get to the rim. His defense has been especially impressive as he locks down opposing point guards and is rarely out of place defensively. He is quick to traps and double teams, tips a lot of passes and is a hustle guy on the defensive end.
Dereon Seabron (6’6 2018 Lake Taylor High School) Dereon did it all for the Titans. He was very good at the point guard position both distributing the ball and scoring. He gets to the rim at will and is automatic in the paint and at the free throw line. Dereon rebounds, defends all five positions and can take over a game at any time. Big time prospect!
Joe Bryant (6’2 2018 Lake Taylor High School) Joe is a strong, sneaky quick guard who can handle, shoot it and get teammates involved. Playing in front of a Norfolk State coaching staff that has already extended him an offer, Joe proved every bit worthy of their confidence as he turned in dominating performances in each game.
Tim Montgomery (5’11 2019 Princess Anne High School) Back where his high school career began after two seasons at Atlantic Shores, Montgomery was quick to make his presence felt. He elevates the level of play for the team as he is a skilled guard who can score and move the ball around but brings a veteran type floor leader to a young group. Tim can score at all levels and did a good job setting his teammates up for good looks at the rim using his dribble. They play at a higher level when he is on the floor.
Ashley James (6’3 2019 Green Run High School) AJ impacts both ends of the floor as he is a basket attacking guard who always keeps pressure on the defense. He is a good finisher and has the ability to get into the paint. A scrappy defender and high energy player, James sets the tone for the Stallions and played well leading a young team.
Shawn Sanders (6’4 2018 Green Run High School) Shawn is a physical wing who can overpower defenders yet is a shifty playmaker with good quickness and the ability to navigate his way to the rim and score. He is a high volume rebounder with very good mobility and bounce. Much of the Stallions success this coming season will depend on Sanders’ play as he is their most productive rebounder in addition to being one of the top scoring options.
Jamaal Madison (5’8 2020 Norview High School) Jamaal is a quick, high IQ playmaker who not only brings great energy to both ends of the floor; he brings a toughness and confidence rare in players so young on the varsity stage. He is tough to stay in front of and is a threat to get to the rim or find open cutters while in attack mode. An excellent passer with vision and an uncanny ability to find open teammates, Madison took over games in spurts at the team camp. He’s the kind of point guard players love to have because if you run the floor he will find you. He is also a high motor, lock down defender!
Jahn Hines (6’1 2020 Norview High School) Jahn can fill it up from anywhere on the floor and with deep range! He works to get open and catches the ball ready to make a play. Very good mechanics! Jahn has become a more versatile scorer now with improved ability to create his own shot off the bounce and hit the pull up jumper. He will be one of the areas better scorers in the coming years.
Kenneth Hodges (6’7 2020 Indian River High School) Kenneth just continues to get more and more dominant with every event. He has the wingspan of a 6’11 and is an active and strong rim protector. One of the area’s best shot blockers! Kenneth has become a strong finisher with a nice touch at the rim but won’t hesitate to dunk on a defender. He can face up and hit the jumper and is becoming more of a threat to ably put the ball on the floor and attack the basket from the high post or the extended short corner. His upside is tremendous!
Lorenzo Gatling (5’10 2018 Indian River High School) Lorenzo is a hardnosed competitor who brings great energy on both ends of the floor. He is a crafty basket attacking type guard who can get to the rim almost at will. Lorenzo keeps defenders honest with the ability to hit the occasional three pointer. He is a lock down defender and the undisputed tone setter for Indian River.
Keyontae Stephenson (6’3 2018 Indian River) I become more and more of a Keyontae Stephenson fan every time I watch him play. He is an extremely athletic and long wing with explosive quickness who competes at a high level. Keyontae is a very good scorer on the move, an excellent finisher who punishes defenders at the rim. He rebounds at a high level and guards every position. He is solid on ball where his long arms and quick hands allow him to stifle opposing ball handlers and tip a lot of passes. He is fast becoming an impact player!
Blanton Mitchell (6’2 2018 Wilson High School) BJ came out of nowhere last season and had multiple double figure scoring games including a 30 point jewel against eventual state champion Norcom. He can shoot the basketball and score from multiple levels but he has a knack for getting loose balls and rebounds and cashing in. BJ plays hard every possession is efficient with his touches and can put points on the board in a hurry.
Lamont Edmonds (6’5 2018 Booker T Washington High School) Lamont is a very good shooter with range and can really fill it up from deep. He has a strong frame and good size and is very active which allows him to increase his touches and thus his productivity. Lamont rebounds the basketball and defends multiple positions. He is the Bookers leading returning scorer and should enjoy another big season in 2017-18.
Darrell Johnson (6’5 2019 Booker T Washington) Darrell’s length and defensive effort are impressive. He is always moving and his quickness and length allows him to erase team defensive miscues as he patrols the paint area playing excellent position defense and quickly gets to closeouts or help. He can defend the wing as well and his defensive body of work shows his high IQ and versatility. Darrell can hit the jumper but is most effective driving to the rim where he is unfazed by contact and finishes at a high rate. He should draw the attention of college coaches this season!
Tag(s): Event/Tourney Coverage