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December 20, 2008

City of Palms: Day two

FORT MYERS, FLA.- On paper, Duncanville (Texas) High was supposed to beat Winter Park (Fla.) High, but on the court it turned out differently Friday at the City of Palms Classic. Behind the superior play of Austin Rivers, Winter Park led throughout the game for a five-point win.

Austin Rivers- (26 points on 9-16 shooting, 3-7 from three, 5-9 from the line, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 3 turnovers in 32 minutes)

The elite 2011 prospect simply controlled this game from start to finish with his heady and skilled play. Rivers also has a healthy dose of slippery athleticism which catches defenders off guard. Rivers scored on explosive drives to the basket, tough threes off the dribble and crafty backcourts. None of the defenders Duncanville threw at the Florida commitment had any success, and Rivers did an outstanding job defending Shawn Williams, holding the Texas signee to 4-11 shooting.

2009 Performers

Lance Stephenson- (37 points on 15-26 shooting, 0-3 from three, 7-13 from the line, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 1 assist, 1 turnover in 26 minutes)

With assistants from Kansas and USC in the stands, Stephenson was on top of his game against Memphis Briarcrest. From the moment they walk into the gym, it is clear that this team is Stephenson's team. Stephenson started out cold but quickly caught fire and physically imposed his will on the game. His midrange game was on target in the first half, and then in the second half he went to work in the low post.

Just as important as Stephenson's impressiveness physically, he is presently playing with a mental focus that calls for a move up the rankings.

Leslie McDonald- (24 points on 8-15 shooting, 2-3 from three, 6-8 from the line, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 5 turnovers in 28 minutes)

Even against an off-and-on diamond and one defense, McDonald efficiently put up 24 points. He just didn't have the physical strength to match Stephenson. Nonetheless, McDonald is solidifying himself as a player who has the blend of athleticism, skill and basketball IQ to play an important role on a championship team.

David Wear- (14 points on 6-10 shooting, 2-2 from the line, 10 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist, 2 turnovers in 22 minutes)

Wear started out the game with a couple impressive left handed jump hooks. He played with pose and strength while also snapping off a couple of impressive outlet passes.

Kenny Boynton- (43 points on 16-28 shooting, 7-11 from three, 4-9 from the line, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover in 27 minutes)

Boynton bounced back from a disappointing game against Word of God for a big game against Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar.

Noel Johnson- (18 points on 7-23 shooting, 3-13 from three, 1-3 from the line, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 turnovers in 28 minutes)

The game was just a little too fast and chaotic in the first half for Johnson to find any sort of rhythm early. In fact as a team, Fayette Co. (Ga.) only shot 4-30 in the first half against Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. In the second half, when the game slowed down and then the subs came into the game Johnson shot a better percentage.

Rodney McGruder- (25 points on 9-14 shooting, 1-2 from three, 4-8 from the line, 11 rebounds, 6 steals, 1 assist, 7 turnovers in 26 minutes)

McGruder's stat line gives you a pretty good idea about his game. Ball handling isn't his strength, but he hawks the ball both off the glass and as a scrappy defender. As a scorer he is best inside the arc.

Wally Judge- (13 points on 6-11 shooting, 1-4 from the line, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 assist, 5 turnovers in 18 minutes)

Judge is a work in progress whose game needs further development, but the tools are there and I expect him to blossom in college.

2010 Performers

Tyler Lamb- (13 points on 6-12 shooting, 1-3 from three, 8 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists, 3 turnovers in 22 minutes)

The UCLA commitment looked impressive defending Noel Johnson while also collecting six steals. He also was strong on the boards and effective in transition.

Gary Franklin- (13 points on 5-14 shooting, 3-7 from three, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers in 24 minutes)

Franklin, a USC commitment, did a nice job running the point for Mater Dei. Typically a better off the dribble three-point shooter, Franklin shot the ball well off the catch from behind the arc.

Perry Jones- (8 points on 4-7 shooting, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 3 turnovers in 27 minutes)

Early in the game before Duncanville fell behind, Jones got some touches inside and scored with a nice looking jump hook. He is comfortable with the ball and can finish with touch, but does not have a power game yet which can get him to the free throw line. Absolutely love what this big guy could be down the road.

Adam Jones- (11 points on 4-6 shooting, 3-4 from the line, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist in 31 points)

Jones held his own against Duncanville as the only big man on the court for Winter Park. He scored with a couple different post moves, didn't turn the ball over and stabilized the middle against a much bigger Duncanville frontline.

Fairfield, Delaware and Stetson have offered the 6-foot-6 2010 power forward, and he is also hearing from Miami.

Dwayne Polee- (12 points on 4-8 shooting, 4-5 from the line, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers in 26 minutes)

The athletic 2010 USC commitment is still learning to play, but he had some positive plays in Westchester's close win. Besides making hustle plays and hitting some second half buckets, Polee did a nice job inbounding the ball down the stretch.

Winter Park (Fla.) 69, Duncanville (Texas) 64

Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage 87, Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar 67

Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day 56, Fort Myers (Fla.) 46

Los Angeles Westchester 69, Orlando Olympia 66

New York Lincoln 70, Memphis Briarcrest 55


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