Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday Night Donofrio Recap: Part One

On Wednesday night, a packed Fellowship House in Conshohocken watched on as the I-3 All-Stars and Team Bucks County won their quarterfinal games at the Donofrio Classic. Due to NCAA rules, Division 1 coaches are forbidden from attending the games at Donofrio, but that doesn't mean that there weren't a number of familiar faces in the gym. DIck "Hoops" Weiss, Tom Konchalski, and Allan Rubin were among the media that I recognized, while recently hired Holy Family coach R.C. Kehoe was also there alongside Bill Phillips and Donnie Carr.

The night's first game pitted the I-3 All-Stars against Players Teaching Players. I-3 starred former Pitt signee Jaylen Bond, highly-regarded senior forward Amile Jefferson, Clemson-commit Devin Coleman, Academy of the New Church junior wing Marcus Gilbert, and sophomore guard Karron Davis among others. On the other side of the ball, PTP featured West Virginia-bound senior forward Aaron Brown, Vaux sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan, Math, Civics, and Sciences sophomore wing Jeremiah Worthem, Roman Catholic freshman guard Shep Garner, Penn Wood senior Darian Barnes, and Chester sophomore Rondae Jefferson among others. Ultimately, I-3 took the game 90-86, but it wasn't without a fight.

For I-3, the three biggest names on the court were Academy of the New Church teammates Dev Coleman and Amile Jefferson and former Plymouth-Whitemarsh star Jaylen Bond. While he didn't put up the biggest numbers in the game, Bond definitely provided the highlight-reel moments of the night. On the break, Jaylen received a through-the-legs pass from unsigned senior guard Joey Gripper that he threw down with authority. Bond had at least two other crowd-pleasing dunks as well, with one coming off an off-the-backboard pass, again from Gripper. Originally signed with Pitt, Bond is now going the prep school route, reclassifying into the 2012 class, and reopening his recruitment.

Despite what really was impressive defense from Chester's Rondae Jefferson, Amile Jefferson was able to score both inside and out. Although his jumper wasn't the best I've seen from him, Amile still did score 19 points to pace the winning team. Amile scored on a number of post moves down low, got to the line, and played physically on the boards. Coleman, who is headed to Clemson next year, played a very composed game considering how physical and scrappy it got. Coleman displayed his lightning-fast first step and also his ability to lead a break, scoring on one particularly impressive coast-to-coast drive in traffic. Coleman too finished with 19 points.

Two players on I-3 that also impressed, despite not having quite the name recognition yet are Marcus Gilbert and Karron Davis. Gilbert, the younger brother of 6'11 Malcolm Gilbert who is headed to Pitt next year, showed that he too can play. This was my first time seeing Marcus since last winter, and his game has progressed significantly in that time. Marcus, while not being nearly as tall as his brother, showed that he can grab rebounds among the bigs. Marcus also got himself to the line at least 5 or 6 times and displayed what was easily the best free-throw form in the game. While not the most athletic player on the court, Gilbert is deceptively quick and very smart around the basket. He used that intelligence to out-rebound players that had at least 4 inches on him and to also finish around the basket around them. Marcus is a player whose recruitment remains somewhat under the radar but will be worth monitoring this summer, as his game really has matured and progressed.

Karron Davis, a sophomore at Friends' Central, is accustomed to playing with Amile and Devin, and he looked right at home on the court Wednesday night. Davis had 15 points and more than held his own on the court despite being an underclassmen. Karron is very strong, both physically and with the ball. He possesses a great handle, quickness, and very good decision-making skills. The Philly area is loaded in the sophomore class with high-upside guards, and Davis is definitely on that list. He hit jumpers, drove with power to the basket, and played with great confidence. As he continues to grow and mature, he is a player that has significant upside and is a name that you're bound to hear quite a bit about.

Check back later today for a write-up on the Players Teaching Players team and the night's second game.

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