By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com
The first few sessions are in the books for the 2011 Hy-Vee Shootout.
Here’s a round-up of thoughts, many of which will be associated with Kansas City, Kan., basketball since the city was on display Thursday night.
• Dominique Wilson has most of the rust off. Wilson, who had not played any varsity basketball in around 18 months, took a little while to get going – and that’s naturally the case. It’s tougher for 6’9” guys to get into game-shape simply because of the long legs and so on. After an up-and-down start, I think Wilson is set to display why I’ve given him a lot of love this year. Wilson had 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks in about three-fourths worth of a game against Raytown. He has 20 blocks in four full games this year for the Wildcats and is a great defender inside, causing steals and deflections. While it’s fair to say Raytown is down in basketball this year, the man holding Wilson and the man Wilson was defending is very solid. Trent Richardson is a gamer and one of the best in Missouri. Richardson had just nine points. Victory, Dominique.
• Deandre King for Washington is now the new #1 on my list of 2013 basketball prospects from KCK. King’s 12 points, 4 assists and 2 steals may not be flashy. King, however, was a difference both offensively and defensively. King is a good enough defender to play man defense and in the zone Washington used, his ability is even better. That big frame and long arms makes Washington’s zone tougher. King created havoc at times defensively and he’s put his name out there as one of the top three or four defenders in KCK. King will only get better over the next few months and next year, he will be a stud.
• Deon Tripp is my #2 player from the class of 2013. And yes, I know other juniors on Sumner’s roster have outscored this year. But Tripp is a more all-around player. He can create a shot, get inside and force the issue. I like his defense and he can lead an offense, though he doesn’t have to with Benny Parker on that team. Tripp may not pass the stats test immediately, but he passes the eye-test of talent. He has it.
• The “big win” continues to escape Harmon. While Eudora is 4-1 right now, it’s probably not the best thing to say a victory against them is the best win you have when Blue Valley Northwest, Lee’s Summit North and Emporia on your schedule. While I picked Lee’s Summit North to defeat Harmon Thursday night, I didn’t anticipate them building a 21-point lead on them at one point. That speaks to how well the Broncos are, but it’s also a bit of a disappointment. Last year, Harmon was 3-7 against teams with winning records. They are 2-3 this season, though again one of those wins is against a 1A program from Bishop Seabury. As much talent as Harmon has, their inability to get a major scalp in the form of an upset is why I think Sumner Academy and Washington are more of a “favorite” to win league than them. It’s not that they are losing to better teams. It’s the fact that outside of a stretch against Emporia, the opposition has picked apart Harmon’s defense consistently.
• Sumner Academy’s Benny Parker and Harmon’s Branden Roark both need a “Robin” who consistently has their back. It’s either feast or famine so far with Sabre forward Marcus Allen. It’s been mostly famine for Roark’s supporting cast. Mike Carson has good ability, but his production should be higher. No player has had to do more for their teams this year than what Parker has done for Sumner Academy, Roark has for Harmon and Adrian Goodlow for Wyandotte. Those three guys need help badly.
• Lee’s Summit West, top to bottom, might be the best team in the metro. The trifecta of guards Shaquille Harrison, Nathan Jackson, Monte Harrison and big man Trevor Gregory present a scary lineup of balance and talent. Each of those guys made huge contributions to their victory over Sumner Academy Thursday night. Monte Harrison took over that game late and he’s just a sophomore. The younger guys on that team are stepping up and that’s dangerous for the opposition. The Titans have four players who can go on game-changing streaks. That’s not bad.
• Shawnee Mission East delivers big win. I picked Ruskin to win this game simply because of quality of schedule. It turns out that 20 point loss to Shawnee Mission South wasn’t that big of a deal. The Lancers dominated Ruskin in one of the bigger upsets so far, 64-46.
• With their victory against Blue Valley Southwest, Liberty North has six wins on the season. They had all of eight last year in their initial season. Liberty North beat BVSW by 15 points.
• Lee’s Summit North’s Will Harrington had quite the stat line against the Hawks. Harrington’s 19 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists were very close to a triple-double. Harrington is a candidate for all-metro and his performance against Harmon was awesome.