#OTRHoopsReport: 2014 Rewind – Jan. 5, 2015
2014 was a big year for Malik Beasley of St. Francis HS. He established himself as an ELITE scorer this summer for the Georgia Stars. Photo cred – Jon Lopez/Nike
With 2014 in the books, it is time to look back at some of the high points of the year. Our OTRHoopsReport.com team has crisscrossed the country following the top talent in the country. Along the way we have documented the year’s best storylines and performances. Here is a look back on the year.
Best single game Performance HS Game:
We have been fortunate to be in attendance at some of the nation’s best events in the past 12 months. That includes the Marshall County Hoop Fest, the High School Hoops Festival in DC, the Hoop Hall Classic, the City of Palms Classic and the Nike Extravanganza at Mater Dei HS. Through it all we have seen classic performances such as Stanley Johnson and Jahlil Okafor go head to head and Karl Towns Jr. win the dunk contest at the Hoop Hall.
However, what will remain as the most memorable will be Ben Simmons takeover of a match-up versus St. Francis in the quarter-finals of the City of Palms. Kobi Simmons and Malik Beasley had taken control of the game with their play in the second half. Watching Simmons take over the game in the final two minutes will remain as a signature moment for Simmons. The future LSU forward exuded supreme confidence on the floor and dominated every aspect of the game from the paint to the arc on this night. He would score the final six points of the game finishing with an impressive stat line of 37 points and 18 rebounds while winning the game for his team. — Jonathan Hemingway
High School Hoops Festival featured some of the top players in the country. Sunday afternoon North Carolina guard Dennis Smith Jr. of Trinity High School put on a remarkable shooting display. Smith scored 19 of his teams 25 first half points, while shooting 8-10 from the floor and 3-5 from behind the arc. This 6-foot-4 guard was clicking on all cylinders, knocking down jump shots, finishing in traffic and forcing turnovers on the defensive end of the floor. Smith finished the game with 35 points and 3 rebounds. – Shun Williams
Best single game Performance on the Travel Circuit
Malik Newman entered the EYBL circuit with the reputation of the nation’s best scoring guard. We had the chance to make that judgment for ourselves at the Boo Williams facility in Hampton, Va., in May of this year. Newman more than lived up to the hype as he dropped 36 points versus King James Shooting Stars. He hit shots all over the floor and was simply un-guardable either at the arc or on the interior. The 5-star shooting guard puts us in the mind of Montae Ellis who currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks. — Jonathan Hemingway
Dwayne Bacon was out to make a mission this summer to show that he is one of the nation’s top players. Our staff had a chance to see Bacon first hand this summer at the Nike Memorial Day Classic in Suwanee, Georgia. Bacon definitely did not disappoint as he scored 36 points on a talented Atlanta Xpress team helping the Showtime Ballers advance to the next round. Bacon is a multi-skilled forward who can put the ball on the floor to attack the rim or spot up for knock-down jump shots out to the 3-point arc. –Shun Williams
Who made the biggest leap?
Malik Beasley came into the calendar year of 2014 as a solid complementary player for the St. Francis Knights. He leaves the year as one of the nation’s best guard scorers. After a summer on the EYBL circuit with the Georgia Stars, Beasley proved himself as a guard who can score against the best in the country. Playing alongside of class of 2016 guard Kobi Simmons at St. Francis, Beasley consistently puts up points in a variety of ways. His midrange pull-up game is mean and his 3-point jumper has gained consistency. However, his finishing ability in transition will always gain the attention of the crowd. His performances at the City of Palms Classic solidified our opinion that Beasley is in the top ten at his position nationally. — Jonathan Hemingway
Jawun Evans was relatively unknown on the national level entering the 2014 calendar season. After a busy summer splitting time between Team Texas Elite and the SC Raptors Elite, Evans has been tabbed as one of the nation’s top point guards. Shortly after the start of his junior season, Evans moved from South Carolina to Texas where he attends Kimball High School in Dallas. This 5-foot-10 lead guard was able to carrier the Knights to a 21-4 recorded claiming the Texas 4A State Title. During the summer Evans proved he belonged amongst the conversation of elite guards after going head to head against the top guards in the country in the Nike EYBL and also carrying the SC Raptors Elite to an outstanding recorded of 50-3. –Shun Williams
Which college program made the largest impact on the recruiting trail?
I like what Vanderbilt has done this year by signing three out of state players that fill immediate needs along the frontline. Coach Kevin Stallings gets three players all within the top 100 of the BrandonClayScouting.com ELITE 100 who all project to make an impact after stepping on campus this fall. 6-11 center Djery Baptiste anchors the class with his legitmate paint presence. Although his offensive skill still could improve, his shot blocking and rebounding skills are much needed for the Commodores in SEC play. Small Forward Joseph Toye will be an exciting prospect for the Commodores. The 6-7 athlete made strides with his skill this year and is showing to be a legit scorer for his Whitney Young high school team this year. He is becoming a go-to scoring option on the wing. Add in 6-8 power forward Samir Sehic and the Commodores have a ready-made frontline for conference play. Sehic is the consummate glue player who can do the dirty work on the defensive end. However, his value is accentuated by the skill that he has out of the high post. He can hit the open jumper and pass effectively to cutting teammates. — Jonathan Hemingway
Texas A&M made the biggest splash on the recruiting trail this year by grabbing three players within the top of the BrandonClayScouting.com Elite 100. Center Tyler Davis (No. 26) has the physical tools and size to dominate the low block for the Aggies for years to come. Elijah Thomas (No. 31) is a space eater in the post who can carve out position on the block. DJ Hogg (No. 38) will create mismatch problems with his ability to stretch the defensive with his shooting and ball skills. Lastly the Aggies added guard Admon Gilder of Dallas, Texas, who is a knock down shooter off the catch or dribble. Let’s not forget that earlier this year the Aggies picked up the services of Houston transfer Danuel House who was granted a waiver to become eligible immediately. –Shun Williams
Exposure & Showcase Opportunities
Coverage – Georgia Challenge Headliners
Coverage – Elite Basketball Academy All-American Camp
Coverage – CoachHemi.com Fall Workout
Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. He is also the publisher of CoachHemi.com. He has been involved in the community since 1996 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on twitter @JLHemingwayPSB