#OTRHoopsReport: What We Learned at the Chick-Fil-A Classic – December 23, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C., – Now in its’ 13th year of running, the Chick-Fil-A Classic has developed into one of the nation’s premier high school tournaments. Names like Josh Smith, Mason Plumlee and Steph Curry are littered in the tournament’s history since 2002. This year was no different as future McDonald’s All-Americans and Naismith Trophy Player of the Year nominees competed at Richland Northeast High School last weekend. Here are the major takeaways from this year’s Chick-Fil-A Classic.
What We Learned from the 2015 Chick-Fil-A Classic
Stop Questioning Seventh Woods
The UNC bound point guard was an internet sensation at an early age. His incredible leaping ability and jaw dropping dunks put him on the map as a 5-star recruit several years ago. Recently, questions have arose from observers about Woods’ ability to man the point guard position and even his IQ. After leading Hammond to an American Division Championship on Tuesday evening, those murmurs should be silenced. With Roy Williams sitting courtside, Woods scored 25 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 5 assists in a win over upstart Greenforest Academy. More importantly was the way he controlled the game as a lead guard. He facilitated the action and even helped teammate Michael Turner score 20 points on 5-6 shooting from the arc. Woods proved he is an elite athlete who can handle lead guard responsibilities.
— Jonathan Hemingway (@JLHemingwayPSB) December 23, 2015
Oak Hill’s Guards are TOUGH
In a game that is increasingly becoming more guard-centric, coach Steve Smith has a trio…check that….a quartet of elite level guards. On this night, junior guard Ty-Shon Alexander would hold the hot hand scoring 28 points on 6-8 shooting from the arc. The Creighton bound shooting guard earned Most Valuable Player honors after Oak Hill’s overtime win against Huntington Prep. Yet the argument could be made that the most important player on the court in the game’s deciding minutes was junior point guard Matt Coleman who chipped in 23 points and 5 assists in the win. Coleman is clearly the lead play-maker for Oak Hill and put his teammates in positions to score. The win would not have been possible had it not been for the return of the hometown hero, Devontae Shuler. Shuler a 6-3 guard who was from nearby Irmo transferred to Oak Hill this year. His tough defense all night long helped keep Huntington Prep out of rhythm and provided an emotional spark. Although Lindell Wigginton played limited minutes in this one, he should not be overlooked as instrumental in Oak Hill’s future success.
— Jonathan Hemingway (@JLHemingwayPSB) December 23, 2015
Miles Bridges was the Best Player on the Court Tuesday Night
The Michigan State signee is making a case as a top five player in the class with his consistent production for coach Arkell Bruce this season. Bridges had the crowd in the palm of his hands with his second half performance versus Oak Hill. His team found themselves down over 15 points in the first half, yet Bridges found a way to bring them back in the second half. His blending of power dunks over defenders in the lane and a silky smooth touch with his jumper are hard to replicate. Huntington Prep would exchange leads in the game’s final minutes much because of Bridges’ 24 second half points. Only a turned ankle would slow Bridges in the overtime period. Oak Hill would run away with the win, but Bridges would finish 35 points on 14-23 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. He made believers out of everyone in attendance on Saturday night.
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South Florida is Going to Love Troy Baxter
The 6-9 forward caught the Twitter world afire with a monster dunk in earlier rounds of the tournament. His Oldsmar Christian team was within grasping distance of beating Huntington Prep in overtime in the tournament’s semifinals. Nevertheless, Baxter made a name for himself as one of the tournament’s premier performers. His athleticism allows him to defend and rebound with some of the best in the country. However, his surprising perimeter skill set should point to early college production next season. He showed range on his jumper and even the ability to create space with the step-back jumper.
— SLYTHESPORTSGUY (@slythesportsguy) December 22, 2015
Penn State Scored Big in the Class of 2016
Roman Catholic features a trio of Penn State signees that include forward Lamar Stevens, Tony Carr and Nazeer Bostick. That trio led an impressive comeback win on Tuesday afternoon and solidified our opinion that the Nitney Lions will add prospects who project to give quality contributions in Big Ten Conference play in the future. On this day, Tony Carr was the most impressive scoring 20 points on 6-12 shooting while dishing out three assists from the point guard position. Stevens earned All-Tournament honors albeit struggling from the field against Arlington Country Day. Nazeer Bostick came up with clutch buckets in the game’s final minutes to help complete the comeback for Roman Catholic.
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Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. Hemingway serves on the Board of Selectors for the Naismith Trophy. 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
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