Thursday, December 31, 2009
Hawk Hill Hardwood was on hand for one of the most anticipated high school basketball games of the early 2009-2010 season last night. Plymouth Whitemarsh used lots of ball pressure and big-time performances from Jaylen Bond and CJ Aiken to beat ANC 57-46 at Gwynedd Mercy College. Today we will look at the performances of Plymouth Whitemarsh's CJ Aiken, Jaylen Bond, and Whis Grant. All three had impressive performances in front of a packed house that included a number of college coaches. Hawk head man Phil Martelli was in the stands for the game, along with Rutgers head coach Fred Hill, ex-Penn coach Glen Miller, and La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini.
CJ Aiken- Going into the game, CJ knew that he was going to have his hands full against a frontcourt that starts a 6'11 center, a 6'9 power forward, and a 6'5 small forward. CJ set the tone for the game early, on a beautiful alley-oop way above the rim. CJ dunked his way to a game-high 21 points and MVP honors for the Colonials. The word used to describe Aiken for the past couple years has been upside, and that word still is fitting. That being said, Aiken demonstrated a level of toughness and intensity that I haven't seen from him in the past. There were a number of jaw-dropping plays during the course of the game that showcased his unbelievable athletic ability. Aiken plays above the rim, and that was no difference in this game. In addition to the athletic ability, CJ has terrific hands, catching everything thrown in his general direction throughout the game. In the final minutes, when ANC pressed the Colonials, CJ was used on the inbounds passes to help break the press. High school bigmen are prone to turnovers, but that was not an issue in this game. CJ also had a number of beautiful assists during the game. PW won the game by double-digits, but it was much closer than that early in the 4th quarter. Aiken battled foul trouble in the second half, and ANC made their comeback with CJ on the bench, which is a telling fact. Aiken is headed to Hawk Hill next year. Head coach Phil Martelli had to be impressed with what he saw from his future frontcourt player.
Jaylen Bond- Bond (pictured above) showed again tonight why he is being courted by a number of Big East schools. The 6'7 Bond had 12 points for the Colonials and pulled down a number of important rebounds. Bond did have his hands full with ANC's Savon Goodman, who I will be writing about tomorrow. In the opening frame, Bond had a dunk that displayed his athleticism. On a fast break, Bond got the ball only a couple feet from the hoop, caught it, and in the same motion, went under and over the rim with an electrifying jam. Bond, like Aiken, gets off the floor in a hurry. Jaylen plays in the post for Plymouth-Whitemarsh. If he wants to play at the Big East level, he will probably have to move out to the wing. While he didn't demonstrate that ability tonight, it is something that he will have time to continue to work on. I doubt there was a college coach in the house last night that doesn't want Jaylen on their team in two years.
Whis Grant- While Aiken and Bond get most of the attention and notoriety for the Colonials, Grants plays a vital role for the team. In fact, it was the guard play from the Colonials last night that led to the win. Grant is the engine behind that backcourt. The 6 foot senior applied terrific ball pressure all evening, resulting in a number of turnovers for the ANC guards. Despite struggling from the free throw line, Whis was the third double-digit scorer for the Colonials, scoring 11 points. Grant is quick, strong, and plays very tough defense. Aiken and Bond are the big names for the Colonials, but without Whis, it is unlikely the two would put up the numbers they do. Whis did a great job feeding his bigs last night, both in the post and above the rim.
Plymouth-Whitemarsh is a tremendously talented team led by the three players above. Tomorrow we will look at Academy of the New Church's Savon Goodman, Roc Christmas, and Malcolm Gilbert.
Photo courtesy of Scout.com