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December 10, 2008A few high school freshmen had noteworthy debuts, a couple of shooting guards are lighting up the scoreboard, and National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer has a couple of observations from the Davidson-West Virginia game - and more - in his midweek report.
The biggest news this week is sophomore sensation Anthony Wroten Jr. being ruled ineligible to attend Garfield High School. The decision, which is being thoroughly documented by the Seattle media, has no bearing on Wroten's recruitment. He is one of the best prospects in the country regardless of class. The decision does, however, set him back academically and ruins his basketball season.
Wonder what it is like to have the coach of the defending national champion at your first high school game? Perry Ellis knows. Kansas coach Bill Self sat courtside as Ellis scored nine points, grabbed 10 rebounds and made some pivotal plays down the stretch to secure a win for his Wichita (Kan.) Heights team on Saturday night. Then on Tuesday, Ellis went for 18 points and 15 rebounds in another win.
Point guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera of Indianapolis North Central High School made quite a splash in the opening game of his high school career. In a blowout win over Indianapolis Pike High School and renowned sophomore point guard Marquis Teague, Smith-Rivera put up 17 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists.
Casey Prather, the No. 30-ranked prospect in the class of 2010, has the attention of North Carolina. The coaching staff has called both his high school coach and travel team coach recently and will make a trip to watch him play soon. Tuesday night an assistant coach from Wake Forest watched Prather put up 35 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and three blocks.
Ohio State fans can expect great things from Jared Sullinger. His physical style of play is frightening, and now he has added a dribble game to his attack. Against versatile defender Ferrakohn Hall at the Marshall County Hoopfest last weekend, Sullinger controlled the fourth quarter − not only in the paint but also out at half court. Columbus (Ohio) Northland went into a spread offense and Sullinger not only controlled the ball but also rumbled into the paint for positive play after positive play. A power player who might not go over a defender, Sullinger is well equipped to go through a defender and then finish with a soft touch.
Talk about being on a roll. How about 50 points, then 28 points against Memphis signee Nolan Dennis's team and then 40 points in the next game. That is the kind of roll that Utah signee Marshall Henderson has been on lately. On the year he has hit 48 3-pointers in 11 games and is averaging 26.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists for his 10-1 team.
Here is another shooting guard on a roll. Vanderbilt signee John Jenkins, the No. 37-ranked prospect in the Rivals150, scored 57 points Tuesday night. On the year he is averaging 44.6 points per game.
Elite prospect Harrison Barnes put up 20 points Tuesday night in front of UNC coach Roy Williams and an assistant from UConn.
Reginald Buckner, Rivals.com's most versatile player entering the SEC next year, lived up to the billing Tuesday night with a triple-double in a 24-point win. The Ole Miss signee scored 21 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked 10 shots. Buckner also got a lot of help from 2011 combo guard Joe Northington who had 18 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Arkansas, Missouri and Ole Miss are tracking Northington.
Five-star 2010 prospect Roscoe Smith put up 27 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks in a win Tuesday night.
THE COLLEGE GAME
West Virginia freshman Devin Ebanks was hot and cold in a Tuesday night loss to Davidson. Ebanks only managed two points in the first half. He was too cute with his game, playing a finesse style and settling for jumpers and avoiding contact around the basket. The second half, however, was a different story. Ebanks attacked the basket with a physical edge that resulted in 11 second-half points and 10 second-half rebounds. A highly skilled player with length, Ebanks does not have a game predicated on athleticism. He has to bring a grind-it-out mentality to the court where he seeks physical contact in order to be successful. He found that formula in the second half.
Let's stop the talk about whether Stephen Curry can be successful in the NBA. We are looking at a small Reggie Miller with a point guard handle. Despite his off shooting Tuesday night against West Virginia, Curry was exceptional defensively, passed the heck out of the ball and basically impacted every possession in the game. In the last five minutes he resurrected his shooting touch and won the game for Davidson. He's a lottery pick in my opinion.