Saturday, April 16, 2011

Donofrio Recap: Part Two

Yesterday I gave you part one of my recap of Wednesday night's Donofrio game between I-3 and Players Teaching Players, looking at the I-3 roster. Today we will look at a couple players from the PTP team, including Vaux sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan, Math, Civics, and Sciences sophomore wing Jeremiah Worthem, WVU-bound senior wing Aaron Brown, Roman Catholic freshman Shep Garner, Chester sophomore Rondae Jefferson, and Penn Wood senior forward Darian Barnes.

Wednesday night was my first time seeing Vaux sophomore Rysheed Jordan, who I had been hearing great things about all winter. Well, he certainly met, and even surpassed, my expectations. Jordan plays a very composed, smooth game for a sophomore. Standing right around 6'4, with great length, Jordan looked to me like someone who projects as a point guard with size and shooting ability at the college level. Jordan is already getting significant college interest from Philadelphia colleges Temple, Saint Joseph's, Drexel, and others. On Wednesday, Jordan showed off a smooth stroke from downtown, connecting on at least four 3-pointers. He was able to get into the paint with relative ease and handle the ball against I-3's pressure. Jordan played an unselfish game as well, at one point dishing the ball off to a teammate on a break where he could have easily taken it himself for a slam. From my seat, Jordan was one of the stand-out performers in the gym Wednesday, and that is saying something considering the talent level there.

For a little over three quarters, Shep Garner, a freshman at Roman Catholic, played a relatively non-descript game. However, during the fourth quarter, he stepped up and showed why, even as only a freshman, he is building quite a reputation for himself. During the final stretch, Garner buried NBA three after NBA three. Most came from the same spot on the left wing about four or five feet behind the three-point line. Shep's late-game flurry closed a sizable I-3 lead down to a one-possession game. When the final buzzer sounded, Shep found himself PTP's second-leading scorer, behind Jordan, with 17 points.

Rondae Jefferson, a sophomore wing out of Chester high, has seen his stock shoot through the roof in just the past week alone. After turning in an impressive performance at last weekend's EYBL Hampton AAU event, Jefferson caught the eye of nearly all the major recruiting sites in attendance. ESPN already has Jefferson ranked in the top 100 in his class, and that ranking is sure to go nowhere but up. Jefferson, like Rysheed Jordan, did not disappoint. He showed an ability, as he has all year long, to be a versatile, multiple-position player. He can handle the ball and play some point, play off the ball on the wing, and even play rock-solid defense in the post. For much of the night, he was matched up again Amile Jefferson, and really held his own against the highly-regarded Friends' Central forward. One of the night's highlight's came when Rondae blocked an Amile dunk attempt. Although he is earning a national reputation and some hype, Rondae did not let that affect his play. He played an intense, defensive-minded, clean game on Wednesday. Look for Rondae to be just another in a long line of Chester players making noise in college basketball in just a few years.

6'8 Penn Wood senior Darian Barnes did what he does best on Wednesday. He blocked shots, altered shots, scored around the basket, and showed that he can shoot the ball a bit from the wing. Barnes is still very lean, but has a ridiculous wingspan and a versatile game, being able to play both forward spots. Despite lacking some of the muscle of guys he was going against like Jaylen Bond, he competed relentlessly on the boards. I'll be very interested in seeing what path Barnes takes next year, whether it's college or a prep year. His upside is still very high.

Neither Aaron Brown or Jeremiah Worthem played their best on Wednesday. Worthem, coming off a fantsastic PIAA playoff run that earned him scholarship offers from Saint Joseph's, Temple, Drexel, and interest from Pitt and some others, struggled on Wednesday. As terrific as he was in the state championship game against Lincoln Park (PA), he was unable to find his jumper Wednesday. The same goes for Penn Wood's Aaron Brown. I have seen Aaron numerous times over the past two years, and he was not his typical self Wednesday. Part of that may have been early foul trouble that didn't allow him to really get into the flow of the game.

Donofrio continues next week with semis on the 18th and the championship game at 7:30 on the 19th.

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