WHEELING, Wv. -- We spent the second day of the 2016 calendar year at perhaps the best event in the nation. The hospitality at the Cancer Research Classic is second to none, as is the talent. Doc Merrick is one of the most fun event directors around, always trying to figure out what he can do better. The basketball was great and the sellout crowd made for a great atmosphere. Here's what we saw:
Wheeling Central (WV) 75-74 over Archbishop Wood (PA)
Taylor Allderdice (PA) 62-48 over Wheeling Park (WV)
Gonzaga (DC) 71-70 over Neumann-Goretti (PA)
API (TX) 105-71 over Westtown (PA)
Montverde Academy (FL) 74-71 over DeMatha (DC)
Chaminade (MO) 84-83 over Huntington Prep (WV)
La Lumiere (IN) 59-57 over Wheeler (GA)
Tyree Pickron – 2018 SG – Archbishop Wood
We had heard some good things about Pickron heading into the event and he certainly did not disappoint at times. He is a volume scoring off-guard who excels at getting to the rim. He tried to take over late in the game, and ended up finishing with 20 points all on a variety of drives to the hole. He will be a big recruit out of Phily in the years to come
Chase Harler – 2016 G – Wheeling Central Catholic – WVU Signee
Chase was flat out the best player on the court for the first game of this year’s Cancer Research Classic. Buckets came with ease once he got into a groove and this was the best performance we have seen from him in some time. He scored in every way: jumpers, tough takes to the rim, and converted at the line, finishing with a game-high 38 points. It might take some time but he will earn his way onto the court at WVU over the next couple years.
Elijah Bell – 2016 SG – Wheeling Park
He might not wow you but when Elijah can stay out of foul trouble, he can go. His jumpshot has improved majorly from this time last year and his athleticism makes him go. He does all the little things that coaches like and is a good on-ball defender too. The long and lanky guard is being recruited for football but we wouldn’t mind seeing him take a step onto the hardwood next year.
James Jackson – 2016 PG – Taylor Allderdice
Known to the common fan as a big football recruit out of Pittsburgh, this kid can flat out play. He took over the game in the second half, scoring a ton of points and showing his great feel for the game. If he weren’t already a Toledo football commit (according to the internet) he would definitely be a D1 college guard. He finished with 22 points and was very impressive throughout.
Quade Green – 2017 PG – Neumann-Goretti
Quade was good, really good, through 3 quarters of the game and played a decent 4th in which he didn’t command the offense like he did early on. But let’s not get it twisted, we saw a side of Quade today that we hadn’t seen before as he distributed the rock on his way to an event record 13 assists. Neumann-Goretti came up short but its clear why Quade is a high-level recruit and a nationally ranked point guard.
Trevon Duval – 2017 PG – API (TX)
Throughout the last 12 months, we thought Trevon Duval was great but not “number 1 in his class” great. On Saturday we finally saw it. He literally did whatever he wanted on the court, showing off insane vision and unstoppable takes to the rim. He is incredibly explosive and is likely to make a lot of money playing the game of basketball down the road. He finished with 25 points and 6 assists and took home game MVP.
Mohamed Bamba – 2017 C – Westtown (PA)
The best combination of potential and production in the 2017 class nationally belongs to Mohamed Bamba. The 7-footer with the 7’8 wingspan is a sight you have to see. He is very coordinated for how big he is and very skilled as well. At one point, Bamba reached down and snagged a low bounce pass and in one motion brought it all the way to the cup without slowing down. He is a monster shot blocker and is trending upwards, even as a top 5 prospect in the nation.
Billy Preston – 2017 F – API (TX)
The 6’8 forward might currently be the hardest player to guard in the nation. No matter who or how you defend him he produces. He is a threat to score on the inside and outside. While his jumper isn’t great from 3, is still incredibly skilled. He plays on a loaded team so the scoring isn’t there each and every night, but he has all the tools to be a big time college player and perhaps more.
Bruno Fernando – 2016 C – Montverde (FL)
The fastest rising prospect in the nation did not disappoint on this day. He is a monster in the paint and almost everything he does on the court is a result of pure power. He gets a lot of his points on rim shaking dunks but can still power his way to the bucket in the post. He is developing incredibly fast and should see his recruitment pick up majorly as the season goes on.
Simi Shittu – 2018 PF – Montverde (FL)
An elite level rebounder and defender, Simi was the best player on the floor for Montverde in their big win over DeMatha. He patrolled the paint on both ends of the court, registering sick dunks and blocks to go along with his 7 boards. He finished with 21, most of them coming in the second half in clutch moments. He was very impressive in our first live viewing and should hold steady as a top 10 2018 prospect.
Markelle Fultz – 2016 PG – DeMatha (MD) – Washington Signee
For a large period of the game, it seemed inevitable that Markelle would get some help. It took until the second half but he got to show off his distributing skills but there’s no doubt he was the best player on the floor today, even in the loss. He scored 31 points and looked absolutely unstoppable going to the rim. He refused to let DeMatha get too far behind and willed the team in the game at times. Although they fell short, his competitive spirit was in full effect.
Jayson Tatum – 2016 SF – Chaminade (MO) – Duke Signee
We underappreciate just how good Jayson Tatum really is. His skill level is incredibly high and he gets buckets easier than anyone in the nation right now. When his game is going to the max, there’s not even a question that his shots are going in. Whether its faders, contested jumpers, or something else his scoring arsenal is crazy. He was, quite frankly, unstoppable and finished with 46 points and was named game MVP.
Miles Bridges – 2016 F – Huntington Prep (WV) – Michigan State signee
Who else but Miles could help lead Huntington Prep on a wicked comeback and forcing overtime in a game that seemed all but over? He was unstoppable in the second half, going into full beast mode on drives to the rim while showing off a smooth passing game as well. At times there have been questions about Miles overall game but he passed them all with flying colors today in a battle with Jayson Tatum. He lost the battle but finished with 27 points.
Jeremiah Tilmon - 2017 C - La Lumiere (IN)
La Lumiere wasn't really hitting on all cylinders last night, grinding out a close win on a game winner by Jeremiah. He was phenomenal however, scoring almost every time he touched the ball and being a beast in the paint. His hands are great and he understands how to effectively use his body to carve out space. He is an elite level player who produces at a high level as well, what more could you ask for?