FORT MYERS, FL - The beauty of events like these are the matchups that lead to signature performances like the one we saw from 2020 PG Sharife Cooper. Matched-up against future 2018 All-American Jahvon Quinerly from Hudson Catholic. Cooper was special in McEachern's overtime win, including the winning three at the buzzer. Cooper was simply too much to handle no matter where he was on the court. After a brief altercation with Louis King and Quinerly, he calmly hit three 3's in four possessions. He sliced and diced through the Hudson defense, first against Quinerly, then with Luther Muhammad giving it a shot....same result. Coopers ability to get into the lane with his crafty handles and getting fouled, created foul trouble for Hudson, going 16-20 from.the line, eventually fouling out both King and Muhammad. For those that haven't seen him play it was certainly a coming out for the sophomore guard.
Vernon Carey Jr has a special skill set for a power player, he can create offense off the dribble. Going against Moses Brown, he was able to pull the 7-footer away from the basket and beat him off the dribble with fin fishing drives. Carey is powerful inside with high level bounce, ran the floor and showed his soft touch around the lane.
Jahvon Quinerly ran into a force when matched against Cooper but he was good as well. He has a mastery of the floater game that is rare at the high school level and like Cooper, is tough on ball screens. He did his best to get the win for Hudson with a team high 28 points but it wasn't enough for the win.
Scottie Barnes willed his team to victory against Mater Dei. With University down and things looking bleak, Barnes turned up. He wanted the ball in crunch time and he delivered on both ends. His ability to draw help in the lane allowed his teammates to get put backs when he wasnt finishing the play. He seemingly went after every loose ball, rebound and just wreaked havoc against the boys from Cali. Tonight's match-up against McEachern should be special.
Jordan McCabe was a fan favorite with his nifty passes and deep three's. It's easy to get lost in his exciting brand of play but the kid does know how to play. He really understands how to use the dribble to move the defense and create passing angles for one of his crowd pleasing passes. His team came up short but his effort was certainly not the reason, scoring 33 points in the loss.
Fitting in to a team that has been together for a while takes time but if Tuesday was any indication, James Wiseman has officially made that turn. He is a classic face five with trail three shooting ability, nice jump hook and mid-post game. He showed all that on Tuesday. Wiseman is good on the glass, runs the floor as well as any 7-footer in amateur basketball and a rim protector.
The other 7-footer that you can throw into that category of running the floor is Molloy senior Moses Brown. I was impressed with his ability to consistently make catches and finish on the run. He aggressively posted up and showed a sweeping hook, off the left block. His presence on defense is intimidating with his shot blocking ability. He had a tough defensive assignment Carey's ability to create off the dribble but he never lacked in effort.
Isaac Okoro, playing with a bad ankle was still able to help his team win its first two games with his defensive intensity. Okra is a rare breed among young players that relish playing on the defensive end as much as the offensive end. He was instrumental in holding Luther Muhammad scoreless in the second half as well as disrupting Scottie Lewis, who had three points until late in the second half of Monday's game. Okoro still found time to score, averaging 16 points through two games, but it was his defense that did the talking.
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