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Lehigh Valley Hoop Group Showcase Ė Blair vs. St. Patís
Friday, 30 January 2009

By Bill Martin
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This past Sunday I took a drive up to Parkland High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania to watch a number of talented teams participate in the Lehigh Valley Hoop Group Showcase.

I missed the first contest between Emmaus High School and Bethlehem Catholic but caught the remaining three games of the day.

In the first game nationally ranked St. Patrick’s of New Jersey took on a very talented Blair Academy team.

St. Patrick’s proved to be too much for Blair in this one.  They pulled away early in the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 66-49 victory.

Here are the player evaluations from the first game I took in.

St. Patrick’s

Paris Bennett (2009, 6-6 SF) committed to George Mason
This was not a huge game offensively for Paris as he only finished with 8 points.  He was not very aggressive offensively and really just took what the defense gave him not forcing anything.  All of his points were scored right around the hoop but he did drive past his man for at least two of his buckets.  I only recall him taking one shot from the perimeter, which he missed from behind the arc.  Defensively Paris did a great job denying the ball into the post and he was also strong on the boards.  Where he really excelled in this game was with his passing.  He showed the ability to drive and kick out, pass from the perimeter into the post and he hit a cutter in stride with a bounce pass.  Paris was also a vocal leader on the court.

Michael Gilchrist (2011, 6-6 SF/PF)
Gilchrist was named the games MVP and deservedly so as he did a little bit of everything for his team.  He also was tied with teammate Kyrie Irving as the game’s leading scorer with 17.  Gilchrist was a beast on the boards and was able to score off put backs.  He also showed the ability to shoot from outside and even hit a shot from behind the arc.  Defensively he blocked 4 shots and altered a number of others.

Kyrie Irving (2010, 6-1 PG)
Kyrie started out by hitting two deep jump shots, one from behind the arc and the other with his foot on the line.  After missing a couple he began to attack the hoop more with excellent results.  On two separate occasions he was fouled while driving and got the bucket to fall.  Throughout the game Kyrie did a great job of getting himself to the line and once there he converted on all 8 of his attempts. 

Blair Academy

Chris Matagrano (2009, 6-8 PF) committed to New Hampshire
Matagrano is a big, strong post player who runs the court well for a kid his size.  He also appears to have a very reliable set of hands, as he seemed to catch every pass thrown to him very cleanly.  That being said he really did not have much impact on this game and he only scored 4 points.  3 of his points came on one play, when he cut to the hoop caught a pass, was fouled as he hit a lay up and hit the ensuing free throw.  His only other point was on a 1 for 2 performance from the free throw line.  With his size you would expect him to do very well on the boards but he was severely out rebounded by both Michael Gilchrist and Paris Bennett.  He should have used his size much more to his advantage.

Lionel Gomis (2011, 6-8 PF)
While Lionel did not get a ton of minutes in this game, his youth and size at least warranted a mention.  He did block a shot and was able to score four points.  One of his baskets was scored on a short drive along the baseline that he banked in off the glass.  The other half of his points were scored on a short one-handed shot over his defender in the post.  Lionel does need to get stronger and get better positioning for rebounds.  As a 2011 prospect you have to like Lionel’s potential, because he has great length and he also runs the court well.  He has a long way to go but is someone to keep an eye on.

Hakeem Harris (2010, 6-0 PG)
Hakeem had an up and down game in this one.  He showed the ability to dribble his way out of trouble but also turned the ball over quite a few times trying to do just that.  Early in the game he hit a tough layup high off the glass in traffic but did not have another field goal for the rest of the game.  He made a couple other nice drives including a beautiful spin move but just could not convert.  Hakeem also took a few perimeter shots but failed to hit any of them.  He did manage to get himself to the charity stripe and proceeded to knock down 6 of his 9 attempts.

Last Updated ( Friday, 13 March 2009 )
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