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December 9, 2012
HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- After spending Friday at one WCAC school watching the Gonzaga DC Classic, Saturday brought a move to another WCAC campus as DeMatha hosted the National Hoops Festival. Headlining the day was an appearance by the nation's No. 1 player, Andrew Wiggins. There was a matchup of Tobacco Road-bound centers, Oak Hill fell for the first time in almost 60 games and junior Dion Wiley had a big day.
No rush for Wiggins
Expectations for Wiggins are huge every time he takes the floor. The nation's No. 1 player in the class of 2013 knows it, too.
Saturday, the 6-foot-7 wing from Huntington (W.V.) Prep showed glimpses of what he can do. Wiggins has set the bar so high that a stat-stuffing 21-point, 11-rebound, four-assist and four-steal effort seemed almost pedestrian by his lofty standards.
As usual, Wiggins used his big-time spin move and great basketball instincts to make things happen. He got into the lane, played above the rim and was the best defensive player on the floor as Huntington overcame a slow start and grinding pace to knock off Upper Marlboro (Md.) Riverdale Baptist. There were physical play and trash talk, but Wiggins stuck to the plan.
"I don't let it affect me," Wiggins said. "I just try to play my game. It doesn't really faze me."
During the week Wiggins took his first official visit, and he spoke about his trip to Florida State. He said it was a good visit and that he did the usual meeting of potential teammates, touring campus and eating dinner with the staff. However, one part of the visit involving his father and mother and their legacy at FSU stuck out to him.
"The halftime show at the game," Wiggins said. "It was a tribute to my mom and dad, and that was good. My mom and dad liked it."
Leonard Hamilton and his staff have been very consistent in pushing the chance for Wiggins to follow in the footsteps of his parents, who played basketball (dad) and ran track (mom) with great success in Tallahassee.
For now, though, Wiggins said he's open and that he hasn't set any other visits and isn't likely to do so until the spring. He also said again that he's open to schools outside the perceived leaders of the Seminoles and Kentucky.
"It was always opened up," Wiggins said of his recruitment. "Just everyone thought that just that, since my parents went to Florida State, I would go there. The other people thought, since Kentucky has all the No. 1 players, I would go to school there."
Wiley has big day
In front of a packed house of fans and coaches, Oxon Hill (Md.) Potomac star Dion Wiley validated his national ranking. The nation's No. 58 player in the class of 2014, Wiley was terrific in a 26-point, eight-rebound, two-assist and two-steal effort in a win over St. John's College.
Standing about 6-foot-4, Wiley is a strong two guard who is out there to get buckets. He has one of the quickest triggers in the class of 2014, deep range, and he doesn't need much space to get it off. His strength allows him to play at the rim, and he's a sneaky leaper who has get up and go when he needs it to finish in traffic.
At times the four-star wing's ball handling is a little shaky, and he has to develop more of a midrange game, but there's no question he's a high-major scorer. Wiley said Georgetown, Virginia and Maryland are making the most early noise with his recruitment, while others including Virginia Tech and Miami are in the hunt.
Youth prevails as Paul VI knocks off Oak Hill
It had been quite some time since Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill tasted defeat. Saturday, its 56-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of a tough, young and well-coached Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI squad.
The win didn't come easily for Paul VI. In a grinding game that featured more combined turnovers (41) than made baskets (39), it strung together just enough free throws and big shots down the stretch to prevail 56-54 in double overtime.
Early on, it was 6-foot-6 sophomore power forward Marcus Derrickson getting the work done. A talented kid with a smooth jumper, Derrickson got into the lane and scored with physicality and skill before stepping out to bury a couple of good-looking 3-pointers. Foul trouble limited him to 16 minutes, but he was effective in totaling 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Late in the game, it was another sophomore big man, Quadree Smith, who took over. A wide-bodied 6-foot-7 post player, Smith dominated the glass during both overtime sessions and hit some late free throws after struggling at the line. He grabbed 19 boards and added 13 points.
Sophomore point guard Kevin Dorsey didn't have a great day shooting, but he showed tremendous explosiveness off of the dribble and is as good an on-the-ball defender as you will find. His defense was tenacious and set a tone for his teammates. Finally, freshman shooting guard Tyler Scanlon made key jumpers. A 3 from just left of the top of the 3-point-line in the second overtime helped to seal the victory, and he avoided negative plays.
Final Saturday notesEspecially because top-30 senior shooting guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes was sitting due to injury, Wiggins didn't have a lot of perimeter help from his Huntington Prep teammates. But, Arkansas-bound senior Moses Kingsley and Baylor-bound Dominic Woodson stepped up to help out on the interior. Kingsley avoided foul trouble, scored opportunistically around the rim and came up with big rebounds on the offensive end. In relatively limited minutes, Woodson played strong around the rim, hit some short jumpers and was a factor on the glass.
It looks like George Washington has landed a nice player in 6-foot point guard Nigel Johnson from Riverdale Baptist. Johnson is extremely quick, has a ton of confidence in his jumper from deep and will attack the hoop. He's a bit on the streaky side, but his aggression and athleticism should allow him to slide off the ball and play at the two if GW wants to go small and quick.
Making a big splash during his first appearance on a national stage, freshman point guard Randall Brodie of Oxon Hill is one to watch. A 6-foot-2 southpaw, Brodie is slippery off the dribble, laterally quick and makes a lot happen off the dribble. He can be a little loose with his handle, but he can score and looked like a potential high-major target in his 19-point outing.
St. John's College High School in D.C. is loaded with a class of solid juniors. On Saturday, point guard Darian Anderson stood out during a tough loss to Potomac. A long and quick 6-foot-1 guard, Anderson shared ball-handling duties and played some off the ball. He has good quickness, makes shots from deep and is a potential hound on the defensive end.
It took time for Troy Williams to get going, but the 6-foot-6 wing played his best ball late in the game and into overtime while scoring 14 points. His jumper wasn't falling, but he was active around the rim and five of his team-high nine rebounds were of the offensive variety. His greatest asset is his ability to get into the lane and use his length and athleticism to save or end possessions on the glass.
Before Williams helped a little late, unsigned senior shooting guard R.J. Curington was pretty much the Oak Hill offense. The 6-foot-3 Curington is a dangerous spot-up shooter who has loads of confidence and plays a role similar to the one Jordan Adams did last year at Oak Hill. While he made six of his first nine shots and looked like he would be off to a monster game, Curington cooled to finish 8-for-19 from the field and score 21 points to go with eight rebounds. He can fill it from deep, but his shot selection is going to be key.
Thanks to a miracle, and likely after the buzzer, 3-pointer from junior guard Trey Foster in the right corner, Charlotte (N.C.) West Charlotte knocked off DeMatha 62-59 on its home court. A quick and fearless little guard, Foster finished with 20 points and five assists. He will be on some Division I radars.
While Foster ended up the hero, the game was supposed to be a look ahead to future Tobacco Road battles between North Carolina-bound Kennedy Meeks of West Charlotte and N.C. State-bound BeeJay Anya from DeMatha.
At the end of the game, their stats didn't look bad. Meeks finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Anya had 14 and 13. However, the matchup never really materialized and neither big man was particularly dominant or looked particularly interested in dominating early. Meeks had a small flurry in the third quarter but otherwise battled foul trouble and wasn't overly involved on offense. Anya ran with much more purpose in the second half and was aggressive once Meeks picked up his foul troubles.