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Home arrow Event Coverage arrow Lehigh Valley Early January Hoops
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Lehigh Valley Early January Hoops
Monday, 21 January 2013
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Lyndon Ewing
By Brian Crownover
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After everyone has had their fill of holiday tournaments and other out of conference games, January rolls around and it is conference season time.  
 
Recruit Recon was on hand for plenty of early league games as well as a few interesting out of conference match ups around the Lehigh Valley area.  

Scores
 
Wilson 51 Notre Dame-Green Pond 40
William Allen 56 Bethlehem Catholic 41
Liberty 48 William Allen 40
Allentown Central Catholic 71 Bangor 63
Pius X 81 Lincoln Leadership 51
 
Here is a look at some of the action and how the top players performed in early January. 
 
 
 

Pius X

Lyndon Ewing (2014, 6-6 PF)
The Pius X Royals have a talented team led by two players with NBA bloodlines.  One of those is big man Lyndon Ewing.  He was impressive in their blowout win the other night.  The big man showed a nice skill set, with the ability to play on the inside or the outside.  He displayed good hands and footwork in the low block.  He has soft touch and a pretty good feel around the rim.  He’ll get even better at finishing inside if he gets stronger.  Lyndon’s most impressive play was one where he caught a one handed pass with his left hand in the post, quickly spun back to the right and finished through contact with a foul.  

Perhaps equally as impressive as his inside game was his ability to drive it from the foul line area.  He’s quick off the bounce from that range and can get to the rim, making him a difficult player to guard.  He was good at using the glass on those drives.  Lyndon is an undersized forward, so shows more from the perimeter like that could greatly elevate his stock.  He didn’t show a jump shot and that is something that could help his game even more.  He was a monster on the boards and flashed his athletic ability on the defensive end with a block.  Lyndon got to the foul line often and wasn’t able to convert at a high rate.  That is another area that he could look to improve upon.  He looks to be a prospect with a bright future though.  Lyndon finished the game with 17 points and 11 rebounds by our count.  He’ll be fun to track at Pius X could make a run in the state playoffs.

Eric Marbury (2015, 5-10 PG)
The second player from the Royals didn’t disappoint either.  The young floor general already looks to be one of the best point guards around.  Not surprisingly, Marbury has a quick handle and the ability to change directions in a hurry.  He can get just about anywhere on the floor with his dribble.  Eric was at his best when he pushed up the floor and finished in transition.  His quickness caused a lot of trouble on the defensive end as well as he picked up a number of steals.  He showed a smooth shot from the perimeter as he buried three shots from beyond the arc.  He is a small lead guard and from time to time had some trouble missing around the bigs.  Eric also did a good job of running the offense and taking care of the basketball.  The youngster finished the blowout win with 19 points for Pius X.

Anthony Holmes (2014, 5-8 PG)
Pius X’s speed causes a lot of problems.  Anthony is another small, but quick guard who is a blur in the open court.  The lefty played well in transition, had a couple nice drives to the hoop, including one with a finger roll finish.  Anthony converted a runner in the lane.  His speed also created a lot of steals on the defensive end.  He showed the ability to hit the three point shot, but his form wasn’t the best.


Allentown Central Catholic

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (2014, 6-4 PG/SG)
We could really headline with Muhammad-Ali every time we write an article.  He is just that much better than anyone else in the Lehigh Valley area and among the best players in the state.  It is hard to believe that a junior that was selected to the all-state team in each of his first two years could do any better, but Abdur-Rahkman has stepped his game up to another level this year.  He has put this Central Catholic team on his back and carried them to a #3 Class 3A state ranking.

Abdur-Rahkman still goes through stretches where he is quiet and disappears from games as was evident by the fact that he scored zero points in the first half of each of his two contests last week.  He still finished those games with 25 and 28 points.  In the Bangor game, part of that was due to his lack of aggressive play and part of that was due to foul trouble.  He settled for jumpers too much and they weren’t falling either.

Early on in the second half of the contest with his team down and looking like they’d be upset, Abdur-Rahkman demanded the ball and took over.  He can just flat out score the ball from anywhere.  He scored his first points on a pull up jumper and was then fouled and converted his next two points from the free throw line.  

The play that really seemed to spark him and his team’s comeback was a steal and dunk in the open court.  He’s shown even more athletic ability this year as he has a number of slam dunks to his credit.  After the dunk, it was a typically unstoppable scoring barrage for Muhammad-Ali.  He scored in a variety of ways from that point on.  He hit a two more pull up jumpers, including one from three point range.  He hit a runner in the lane, converted a couple more steals into lay-ups, hit another three pointer and even managed to show some unselfish plays with a couple nice passes.

Abdur-Rahkman can get anywhere that he wants to on the court with his quick handle.  He’s always had a smooth shot and the ability to pull up from anywhere on the court, but his outside game was streaky in the past.  Now, he’s become a lot more consistent in that area and that has brought his game up to another level.

After zero first half points and even finding his team down 12 points in the 3rd quarter, Abdur-Rahkman finished with 28 second half points and an 8 point win.  While he was quiet in the early going, some of the opposing fans were yelling “number 5, you are not that good.”  Twenty-eight points later and the best they could come up with was “you’re no Bill McCaffery,” referring to the former Central Catholic star who was a former McDonald’s All-American.  He may not be at that level, but he sure is an outstanding player who is making a name for himself.
  
Jean Lee Baez (2014, 6-5 PF)
With Abdur-Rahkman struggling in the first half, Baez had a solid half on the inside.  He had several nice finishes on the interior.  He’s good at getting deep positioning and converting.  He scored on a nice post hook.  Baez attacked the boards on both ends.  He is capable of putting it on the floor for a couple dribbles as he did on one drive and finish.  He does get fouled a lot and needs to improve at the line.  Baez finished the first half with 11 points.  He was mostly as spectator to Abdur-Rahkman’s second half show, but he did grab some key rebounds and converted another bucket to finish with 13 points.


Wilson

Phil Pierfy (2015, 6-5 SF/PF)
The Wilson versus Notre Dame-Green Pond game was a clash of two of the area’s better big men.  Phil has quickly established himself as one of the area’s best sophomores.  The Warriors’ forward is a skilled combo player.  He showed off his versatility in this contest.  He opened up the game by showing off his range as he nailed an open three pointer.  Phil then had a nice drive to the hoop, although he wasn’t able to convert.  Although he’s not super quick, he is a sound ball handler.  He had a beautiful drive to the left and then crossed back over and finished on the right side.  

Phil is good on the interior as well.  He converted a couple putbacks and is a solid finisher.  He had a good game on the boards on both ends of the floor.  He isn’t very athletic, just a good, all around skilled forward.  Phil’s development is one of the big reasons that Wilson is one of the best teams in the Colonial League.  It will be interesting to see where he goes from here.  He is already a matchup problem at this level, but if he grows a few more inches, he’ll become very dangerous at the next level.  If he doesn’t grow, he’ll have to improve even more on the perimeter.  Phil is on his way to becoming a good player.  He finished the contest with 12 points and 11 rebounds by our count.


Bethlehem Catholic

Matt Husek (2013, 6-10 C) committed to Holy Cross
The Holy Cross commit is the best big man in the Lehigh Valley area.  Unfortunately, we caught him on an off night.  Matt missed two easy shots early on and never seemed to really get going.  He did score on a nice short hook shot, an easy lay-in, and a putback.  He has nice footwork and a good feel in the low block; he just struggled to convert on this night.  One area that would greatly help his game at the next level is if he adds strength.  Matt was the tallest player on the court by far and used that to his advantage on the boards.  He does run the floor fairly well for a player of his size.  He isn’t all that athletic, but he used good timing to block a shot.  The first time we saw him was as a sophomore and about the only thing we could say about Matt was that he was big.  He’s improved a great deal since then, even though he didn’t show a lot of it on this night.

Freddie Simmons (2015, 6-2 PG/SG)
Freddie was suspended for the first quarter of this contest and never did get into rhythm.  He is one of the more talented youngsters in the area, but unfortunately this was a forgettable game for him and the Golden Hawks.  He does have a quick first step and gets to the rim in a hurry.  He struggled to convert though when he did get to the hoop.  He missed a handful of shots near the rim.  Freddie seemed to play too fast and rush things in this contest.  His jumper was off too.  He did have a nice pass to a team in this game and he does possess good size for the guard position.  He also rebounds the ball quite well for his position.  Freddie also didn’t look like he could change directions very well.  He often went straight ahead.  One time, he just plowed over the defender and ended up being called for an offensive foul.  This young player does have talent and will have better days than he did in this one.  Hopefully, he can learn from the game and grow as a player.


Liberty

Greg Noack (2013, 6-6 SF/PF) committed to Monmouth
This Monmouth commit didn’t have his best outing in the win over Allen.  The skilled forward had a beautiful reverse lay-up in the post.  Greg also converted on a putback and was at his best clearing rebounds in this game (particularly defensively).  He moves well without the ball and plays with a good basketball IQ.  He made a beautiful pass from the high post to a cutter.  Greg also drew some fouls and hit his final four free throws after missing his first two.  He does a good job of keeping the ball high when he touches it on the inside.  Unfortunately, his touches were limited in this contest.  He would benefit by adding strength as he progresses to the next level.  Greg didn’t have his best game, but he still wound up with 8 points and 10 rebounds and more importantly, his hurricanes came away with the victory.


William Allen

Isaiah Palmer (2014, 6-4 SF/PF)
Early on in the year, Isaiah has shown himself to be a good player for the Canaries.  The crafty lefty does a lot of things well.  He is undersized, but most comfortable in the post.  He has a great feel around the basket and is a very good finisher.  He puts nice touch on the ball.  He has a real nose for rebounding the ball.  The issue for him on the inside is that he is undersized and not very strong.  As he progresses to the next level, he needs to show more of his perimeter game.  He did that more in the loss to Liberty than he did in the victory over Bethlehem Catholic.  In the Liberty contest, Isaiah buried a three pointer early.  He had a couple nice drives to the basket, including and finish through contact.  He is fluid with the ball in his hands.  If he can just show his perimeter skills more often, he will get more college looks.  Isaiah is a very productive player right now that has the potential for a double double every night.  He had 11 points and 9 rebounds in the Liberty game and 13 points in the Bethlehem Catholic contest.

Zay Jennings (2016, 5-10 PG/SG)
Zay has already established himself as the best freshman in the Lehigh Valley.  The young point guard is developing more and more into a main cog for the Canaries with every passing game.  He started his first contest of the year last week after being a dangerous role player off of the bench in the early going.  Zay possesses a smooth stroke from deep and is already one of the better three point shooters in the Lehigh Valley Conference.  He plays mature beyond his years and has a smart floor game.  He doesn’t force the action and he lets the game come to him.  Zay picks his spots and does his damage when asked to.  He’s a good ball handler who has shown the ability to attack off the dribble as well.  If anything, he probably doesn’t do that enough and could be a bit more aggressive on the offensive end.  He will set up his teammates too.  Zay is a small guard, but that isn’t unexpected for a freshman.  Certainly if he grows as expected, he’ll be that much more dangerous for the opposition.  He is already a good player for a balanced William Allen squad.  


Notre Dame Green Pond

Vincent Eze (2014, 6-8 PF)
This big man had a decent outing with 8 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks.  Right now, Vincent is more of a player with potential than anything.  He is far from a finished product.  His rebounding and shot blocking ability are far ahead of his offensive game.  He’s pretty athletic and has good timing when he blocks shots.  He plays hard and hustles up and down the court.  Vincent doesn’t do anything particularly well on the offensive end.  At times, he’ll look good, as he did when he buried a 12 foot face up jumper.  Later on though, he overshot the ball and airballed a jumper from the same area.  Vincent made another nice play with a short drive and fall away jumper.  He just seemed to struggle with knowing how much to put on his shot and that causes him to have trouble converting consistently.  His hands are great and his footwork is solid.  He does need to get stronger.  Vincent has some natural skills that you can’t teach.  The big man just needs to improve offensively to go from being a decent big man to a dominant one.
 

Bangor

Alex Colton (2013, 6-4 SF/PF)
Alex is one of the top scorers in the area and he clearly showed why on this day.  The talented combo forward may be flying a bit under the radar.  Bangor was looking for a big upset and Alex came up huge as the Slaters got out to a big lead.  He showed his versatility by sandwiching a nice turnaround jumper in the post in between a pair of three pointers.  He found himself wide open throughout the contest and Alex scorched the net to the tune of 6 three pointers.  He’s not super quick, but he showed the ability to put it on the floor and get by his man.  He had a couple nice drives and finishes.  He scored again on a post hook shot.  He had a nice pass to a teammate too Alex had 28 points through three quarters, but then seemed like he might’ve lost his legs a bit in the final period as his shot stopped falling.  He has good size for his position but isn’t all that athletic.  Alex just has a good understanding of the game and the ability to get the ball in the hoop from just about anywhere on the court.  In a game that featured the Lehigh Valley’s best player, Alex was the leading scorer with 33 points.
Last Updated ( Monday, 21 January 2013 )
 
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