Amauro "Amar" Austin is
a headliner among our trusty observers. He is not to be confused with Ruben Amaro,
the Phillies' general manager. Like "Huck" Palmer,
Amauro is a West Catholic graduate. He will make reports on games he sees.
PUBLIC LEAGUE DIVISION C
Lincoln 76, Robeson 70
I caught this make up game action and I was glad I did. Its always good to catch some good small college prospects in the Pub as often times they dazzle once they get to the next level. Lincoln is a decent club for sure primarily because of their guard play. The backcourt tandem of soph PG Blair Bowes and sr WG Raymond Fred are quietly one of the League's Best. Bowes, who started as a Freshman, plays like a veteran. He has quick hands/feet and a decent shooting stroke while being a pass first type point guard. Today he went for 18 points (2 treys, 4-5 at the line). Fred is one of my new favorite players in the city. He can/will penetrate against anyone but surprisingly also has a feathery stroke from deep which makes him almost unguardable at this level. Oh and he's death and taxes at the line (13-14). Overall RF scored 29 points, pulled 9 boards and dished 3 assists. Sr. SF Akquil Harrington played a great 3rd wheel here: 11p, 7r, 4s. Jr. G Ishmael Marshall plucked 3 steals & 6-5 sr. C Zyhir Baker-Elam, the only Railsplitter with height/strength, pulled 8 boards. Robeson is a senior laden club who could make a little noise in AA. Sturdy 6-4 sr. SF Jihaad Fluellen is highly skilled and somewhat cerebral. He had a crazy day, though, packing 18 of his 25 in a helter skelter 4th quarter. He also pulled 5 boards and dished 4 assists. Sr. CG LeRon Epps, who's a known sniper, bagged 14 points here. Sr. F Maurice Smith banged his way to 12 points and 15 boards. 6-5 sr C Malik Harris-King had 8 & 8.
AAsNotes: Lincoln's Fred, who would make Ted's all hairy legs team (ha ha ha), plays for keeps. There should NEVER be a game where he gets to the line less than 8 times because he's such a hard guy for defenders to keep in front. He would be a terror at the D3 level but will probably need JC . . . Blair Bowes is making nice progress from freshman to sophomore year physically (taller & stronger) and game improvement. BB checks in as one of the City's top young players . . . Robeson's Fluellen should be seeing widespread D3 interest. He was the most complete basketball player on the floor here . . . Finally, I hope that Lincoln's great facility is used more often in February and March by the D12 higher ups. Its my favorite gym in the city.
McDevitt 54, SJ Prep 53
Unfortunately, this report will just be Notes on what I saw because Mr. Bonehead (Me.. ha ha ha) ran out of pages in my score book and left my backup book behind. So here's what I saw: This was a signature win for the Lancers and Coach Jack Rutter over a Prep team that was undefeated for the 1st month of the season.. 6-5 sr SF Tyrell Long is in high demand from a plethora of D2s and getting sniffs from some low level Is and it'll be interesting to see how it all ends up. Long has quite an interesting skill set as he plays with constant high energy, good athleticism and is a crafty finisher with both hands around the basket. He has newly added a reliable spot up jumper even from three to his arsenal, which could intrigue the 1s even more. SJPs super jr Wing 6-4 Chris Clover went for 29 points here. Included were 3 big-boy treys to keep the Hawks in it down the stretch. But there were some lulls where I felt he could have been even more authoritative, which would have resulted in the W here in my opinion. Three more buckets would have gotten Prep a 5 point W. Overall though Clover is the most complete offensive player in the city. Yes I just said that. CCs skill set is rather impressive. Prep's two sr wing snipers, Kyle Thompson (lefty) and Tom Fox (righty), will have better days.. I'm sure both are seeing widespread D3 attention. McDevitt did this without its own wing sniper in sr. Amin Taylor, who's out for 2 weeks with a hand injury. His absence made this W that much more fulfilling.
PUBLIC LEAGUE A
MCS 63, PET 52
Life as it goes in Pub Division A presents a stern test each time out and this one was no different. A hard earned win was achieved by MCS after basically trailing until the 4th quarter. Its best player and in my opinion the League's top player was 6-4 jr. CG Samir Doughty, who pretty much cruised to 20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals. Doughty pretty much did whatever he wanted when be wanted and in the second half I thought he should have shot the ball even more. 6-9 jr C Michael Watkins (Penn state) only had 3 points but snatched 10 boards, swatted 3 shots and had more alters of shots than a tailor. I also love how when he gets a rebound he immediately looks to make a long outlet pass which is one of the greatest skills for a big man. The bookend 6-5 soph SF pair of the strong/skilled Turquin "Buhda" Mott (10P) & the springy Nazeer Bostic (5p, 4r, top flight on ball defense even on small guards). Mott had 0 rebounds and that just can't happen at this or any level with a guy that goes 6-5, 215. The bookend jr PG tandem of Tyrese Hester (11P, 4-4 at the line to close out the game) and Donavan Barnes (8P, 5S) was key here as they were beyond steady. Barnes, playing in his 1st game of the season after a transfer issue from Strawberry Mansion was resolved, will be a key factor for the MEs. The Chargers played well for 3 quarters and have nothing to be ashamed of. They are kind of a mixed bag right now with only two of their top 9 back from last year. The other 7 all transferred in. I expect them to be a real threat in a month. Much is expected from the inside/outside combo of 6-6 sr PF James Suber (Bartram, 9p, 6r) and jr CG Devante Truitt (Washington, 10p, 2s).Both are good players and vets of the Pub wars. Three guards are also capable of having big scoring games in sr point Larenz Thurman (Wilmington Friends, 8p, 5r, 4s), jr combo Jihad Barnes (Girard College, 11p, 4a, 2s) & jr point Zakee Shakur (holdover, 11p, key bench sniping/ball handling).
AAsNotes: MCS has the most college recruitable talent in the league (maybe city?). The question is, will that translate into its first Pub title??? Time will soon tell, folks . . . Watch for PET 6-5 soph F Nysir Marshburn to emerge as the season goes. He already competes like crazy . . . This one was played at Philly U in front of a crowd of maybe 200+. Looking at the venue, I'd love to see the Pub use it for its Quarters and Semis if possible as it's a great place to watch a game.
PUBLIC LEAGUE DIVISION A
Happy Holidays and hello everyone. I'm writing here sharing my thoughts on what I've seen the the newly created Super Division in the Public League. I saw the first two big games: both home games for King, both close wins over MCS (65-62) & Imhotep (59-54). First and foremost I must apologize for not being able to do individual reports on these games but as everyone knows the mailman works extra hard the week before Christmas so just now I've been able to catch my breath. Please forgive me. Secondly, I'd like to commend Pub Hoops Chairman Ben Dubin for making this happen. Both of these games were intensely played before overflow crowds which made for a February feel not mid-December. I just wish the games were post Football season so that more coverage was possible. In all honesty this Division is more than capable of producing all 4 state champions because of the high level competition night in and out. It'll make for great preparation. King won both games by very slim margins with different heroes emerging in both contests. The Cougars have a strong top 9, all of which would start anywhere else. The King big three are srs SF Greg Bennett (holdover) & 6-8 PF-C Jahmir Taylor (Del Val) and jr G Sammy Foreman (Vaux). Against MCS, Foreman went for 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists & 4 steals. Taylor was the alpha dog against 'Tep and its strong front line with 14P, 10R & 3B. The defending Champion Panthers once again have a strong 10 sprinkled mainly with underclassmen. Jr/Sr Sean Lloyd (Eligibility Status TBD), an all-time, go-forward type, grinded for 19 points. The second most impressive Panther was freshman PG Daron Russell, who's already as quick with the ball as you'll ever see and also already has that "Philly Guard" competitive fire that reminded me a lot of a guy named Kyle Lowry around the same stage. Right now MCS is relying on 7 guys, two of which may be the top prospects in the League in jrs 6-4 CG Samir Doughty (Comm Tech) and 6-9 C Michael Watkins (Bartram, Penn State). The MEs best option here was sr WG Lou Myers (Norfolk State) with a hard earned 22 points.. This should be a fun year....
AAsNOTES: Constitution, PET & Frankford will also join this mix and all three are formidable. Con High is undefeated right now as they test themselves tonight at a National level Tournament in Vegas . . . PET has many talented transfers that should gel as one over the next few weeks and be a force in January . . . Frankford also has an interesting mix of holdovers and transfers which will make them a tough out in time, especially when visits are made to Oxford Ave. . . . Many legends were on hand at King both nights. The biggest, long-time NBAer Cuttino "Cat" Mobley is a long time buddy of King coach Sean Colson (also played in NBA). His son Cuttino Jr. is one of the top middle schoolers in the city.
PUBLIC LEAGUE DIVISION C
Olney 62, Northeast 40
In December I always try to get out to see teams that I may not see much during the meat of the regular season and in the midst of that year after year I seem to uncover a sleeper or two. This trip to Cottman and Algon was no different. Olney may prove to.a dangerous club in 4A as they have a strong senior-laden club from top to bottom. The leaders of the pack are quick-footed PG Shakeem Stevens and slim 6-6 WG-SF Tyheem Monroe. Starting with Stevens the Trojans have one of the better PG prospects in the city. He's quick as heck, a magician with the ball and a very good jump shooter. Here he mixed 14 points, 9 assists & 4 steals and these numbers will probably be around his norms for the season. Monroe is as intriguing a prospect as you'll see: tall/gangly yet unbelievably coordinated and even better highly skilled. He simply went for 26 points (20 before halftime) on 10-18 shooting (2 treys) & 4-of-6 at the line while also pulling down 10 boards. It doesn't stop there with Trojans as they own a cadre of role player types who simply do their job. Srs F Daquan Wilkerson & 6-6 PF-C Paulil Campbell evenly split 14 boards while two Jrs lent a huge spark off the bench with defense and hustle in athletic 6-4 F Kadir Chisholm (Football star) & feisty G Ryheem Parker. Northeast will live and die with Jr PG Elmange Watson (14 pts, 7 rebounds, 3 steals), who's ultra competitive and hangs his hat on down-and-dirty defense. I'd like to see him trust his teammates a little more as here he had no assists but there's no denying his inner fire. On two occasions he cleanly plucked the ball handling wizard Stevens. The second best Viking was burly sr C William Okrafo-Smart (Football fame) who banged inside for 7P & 7R.
AAs NOTES: NEs Watson is an intriguing prospect. He briefly transferred to PET this fall before returning to NE where he'd surely have a bigger role. SMART MOVE, KID! I hope to see more kids make such good decisions. Remember guys: You can't get better watching the game from the bench . . . Stevens and Monroe are the Pub's version of Westbrook and Durant.. They could make believers out of opponents really quick.. Pub 4A looks to be a 5 team race: #1 King, and then Olney, Central, Frankford and Washington jockeying for position just behind . . . Finally, last weekend I saw another emerging prospect in Central 6-7 PF-C prospect Chris Bing and his improvement was eye-popping: jump hooks over both shoulders, layups with both hands, medium range jumper, putting it on the floor, game-long eye of the tiger, and most important of all the look of a guy having big-time fun. His progress bears serious watching even for those at the low to mid D-I level . . . And the trail shall continue . . .