Cortesia, Shabazz shine at City of Palms

Sometimes you lose track of guys. At the 2010 National Prep Showcase, I graded out Anthony Cortesia (Venezuela/Montverde) as a potential high-major player.

“Venezuelan kid has ball skills; moves well, doesn’t finish yet, wingspan and jumper will come.”

That evaluation is from the time he spent last year at Lee Academy. Frankly, I lost track of this kid. He often goes by Anthony Perez (which he’s listed in my book) and after Tuesday night’s game he said he answers to a lot of names including Anthony Perez-Cortesia (Cor-T-see-ya). When he signed with Ole Miss I failed to put the pieces together. Needless to say, after watching him twice here and talking with John Stovall who is also here watching, this guy is going to be in our ESPNU 100 the next time around.

In a loss to Grace Prep, Cortesia couldn’t throw it in the nearby ocean (2-for-13) but coach Kevin Boyle couldn’t take him out either. Cortesia’s length (not strength) helped keep Jordan Mickey and Isaiah Austin from running wild inside. Plus, he guarded smaller players on the perimeter and rebounded with authority. Mix in a few blocked shots and you got a glimpse of the package. He could be a guy you see in the Hoop Summit next April.

However, in light of recent events that transpired in college basketball, it was Cortesia’s composure that made an impression. Mickey inadvertently closelined him on a rebound and sent him directly to the floor. Cortesia didn’t say a word, picked himself up and didn’t react. That’s toughness. Real toughness from a kid who signed with Andy Kennedy, a noted tough guy. Seems like a natural fit to me.

Muhammad makes his point

On Monday night, Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) scored 42 points on 14-of-29 shooting and zero rebounds in the first half. His team lost, and frankly, it was hard to watch. Muhammad was all over the place and so was his team. James Naismith didn’t design the game to be played the way they did that night. Shot selection was atrocious and execution even worse. The No. 1 player had quite a line but his post-game tweet told the story: “This feeling is the worse you can ever have!!!!”

Well, the feeling didn’t last very long because against Miller Grove, Muhammad was spectacular. The senior had 28 points (11-18 FGs), 15 rebounds, three assists and a block. When Georgia-bound forward Brandon Morris (Lithonia, Ga./Miller Grove) rejected him at the rim, Muhammad had an answer. Shabazz shot back with three dunks and continued to put Gorman on his back.

This game is about how you handle adversity. He had 42 points and didn’t play well. Now, that’s hard to believe but he knew it wasn’t a good game and it bothered him. Relegated to the loser’s bracket, he came out determined to win over the crowd. Mission accomplished. Textbook bounce back against a good opponent.

Duke, UNLV and UCLA were front and center on Tuesday night and they had no problem figuring out who their top target was. Neither did the capacity crowd.

Doyle Rules for Verot

There weren’t many people in the gym but the ones who were there got a chance to see the continued gradual improvement of Ricky Doyle (Ft. Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot). The 6-7 2014 power forward is the son of a former Detroit Piston.

Doyle looks like a typical Boston College, Penn State four man. He’s got that Bill Curley/Jack Cooley-esque body. BC and Penn State, according to his coach Matt Hertig, are recruiting him; others will begin to after this event.

Doyle just turned 16 so he’s relatively young for his class. If there’s one thing about bigs that Michigan’s John Beilein has taught America, it’s that young bigs are worth building a file on.

City of Palms quick reads

  • Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski must have felt a little helpless. There he was courtside watching the two most important spring Duke targets in the same game. Tony Parker and Muhammad matched against each other, both of them holding the Blue Devils at arms length. So close, yet so far away.

  • Patricio Garino (Montverde, Fla./Montverde) is headed to George Washington next year. He’s a bit of an under-the-radar prospect. GW assistant coach Kevin Sutton coached him last year before getting a college job. Figures Sutton would have it figured out before anyone else and positioned the Colonials to make a nice move with his signing.