Sunday, September 27, 2009
Last night many top players from not only the Philadelphia area, but the country, descended upon Cherry Hill East High School for the annual Gym Rats Midnight Madness event. Hawk Hill Hardwood was on site to check out some of the big names participating. In this first installment, we will talk the Philly area products. Tomorrow we will report on some of the national names such as Syracuse commit Fab Melo, Cezar Guerrero, LaQuinton Ross, and North Jersey super-soph Kyle Anderson.
Malcolm Gilbert (Class of 2011, undecided, picture above): When you first look at Malcolm, the first thing that you notice, beside his height, is his ridiculous wingspan. Malcolm stands a legitimate 6'10 with what looks like some room to grow. In the All American game Gilbert faced a daunting task- guarding one of the top 3 centers in the whole 2010 class in Fab Melo. Melo is a 7 footer with an offensive repertoire that has NBA written all over it. With that being said, Malcolm did a very respectable job. In the opening minutes of the game, Malcolm had a highlight reel dunk over Melo that sent the building into an uproar. He finished the game with roughly 18 points, all of which came on dunks. Malcolm runs the floor very well and is basically a goalie around the basket. He has athleticism that allows him to react quickly on both the offensive and defensive ends. While Malcolm, at this point, does not appear to have great hands, he is an extremely talented defensive player who has the tools to become a more-than-adequate offensive player. One of the biggest needs in the 2011 class for the Hawks is a talented center. Malcolm Gilbert certainly fits that bill and is receiving interest from the Hawks. It should be an interesting recruitment to follow. Malcolm was co-MVP for the Red Team alongside LaQuinton Ross.
Tony Chenault-(Class of 2010, Wake Forest): Tony won MVP honors at last year's Midnight Madness event, and from the get-go appeared determined to repeat. And repeat he did. Tony and Fab Melo were co-MVP's for the White Team. Although Tony has dropped significantly in the national rankings over the past couple years, when his jumper is falling like it was tonight, he is still a legitimate, big-time high major talent. Tony not only led the Red Team in scoring with around 28 points, but he did so efficiently. I didn't keep track of shots taken and shots made, but Tony was certainly making many more than he was missing. At one point in the first half, he absolutely took it to Memphis high school junior Bobby Parks Jr. Parks, a talented player in his own respect, looked like he wanted no part of Tony. On 5 or 6 straight possessions, Tony either took Parks off the dribble to the basket or pulled up and shot over him. Again, when Tony is on like he was tonight, he is a very dangerous player. And one that is certainly capable of contributing in the ACC.
Shaq Duncan- (Class of 2010, Niagara): This was the second time I've seen Duncan, and from what I can tell, he is a significant signing for Niagara. Standing around 6'8, Duncan is as thin as he is athletic. As he continues to put weight on, there is no reason to think he can't be a major factor in the MAAC. Duncan runs the floor very well and did not look at all out of place on the court with many top 100 players. Most of his points came off of dunks, but the same could be said for nearly every players in this run-and-gun style of play. A style of play where layups were met with groans from the crowd. While he may not quite live up to either of his namesakes, Niagara fans should be excited about this signing and the 4 years of basketball that you'll get out of him.
Savon Goodman- (Class of 2012, Undecided): When I arrived at Cherry Hill East and first looked at the rosters, this is one of the names that instantly jumped out at me. Goodman is generally considered one of the best prospects on the East Coast in the Class of 2012. About 4 minutes into his first game I could understand why. Goodman, who played in both the Junior All-American Game and the All-American game, won MVP honors in the Junior game. Savon is in that 6'4-6'6 range and only a sophomore, so there is time for him to grow. The first things about his game that you notice is his athleticism and general understanding of the game. He plays with a very calm and level-headed demeanor, just like his Academy of the New Church teammate Malcolm Gilbert (talk about a scary frontcourt when you have both of those guys alongside top 5 junior Roc Christmas). He showed an above-average handle, and ability to take the ball hard to the basket, and great athleticism. In this particular game, his jump-shot wasn't falling, but I know that is supposed to be one of his assets. He was dominant in the Junior All-American game with his jump shot a little off. The thought of him with a jump shot is scary for anyone that has to go up against ANC this year.
A couple other quick notes:
Roc Christmas was in the house but not playing. I don't know if he was scheduled to play and hurt or just there to watch his high school teammates Malcolm Gilbert and Savon Goodman.
Former SJU assistant coach and current New Jersey Nets assistant Doug Overton was there since his son was playing in one of the afternoon games.