Julius Randle wins MVP, gets revenge

Revenge is sweet

The City of Palms championship went to Prestonwood Christian after it dismantled Grace Prep 62-42. Less than a week ago, Grace Prep defeated the same team on ESPNU. Prestonwood was led by tournament MVP Julius Randle and dynamic freshman Mickey Mitchell. Prestonwood also received a strong effort from Kansas-bound C Zach Peters.

German power forward is nice

The last time the German team from Urspringschule was in Florida, I made a mistake and gave them a cursory watch. It was my mistake in that they weren’t evaluated properly. This time around, that mistake was not repeated. They have at least five Division I players but their team didn’t show well here. Individually though, the pieces were on display.

The guy that came away the winner was Kalidou Diouf, a 2013 center. This kid is a rock solid post player and once he knocked down a few jumpers the light bulb went off. This guy is a mid-to-high fence sitter for sure. Not everyone will like him because he’s a below-the-rim guy. On the other hand, he’s a punishing finisher with a high motor. You can never have enough of these guys.

The last time around, I whiffed on Bright (though he didn’t play well at this year’s City of Palms). That mistake won’t be made with this guy. He’s in our database and we’ll follow him as much as you can follow a guy overseas. It’ll be interesting to see which programs follow up and which ones paid attention while he was in the States.

For seniors the clock is ticking

If you’re a senior with aspirations of playing college basketball, finishing the month of December is paramount to achieving your goals. College staffs are out on the trial in force. The prevalence of holiday events from now through Jan. 1 affords them a chance to see a variety of players in one setting.

Unfortunately, many prospects don’t realize the chance that’s in front of them until it’s too late. These are the facts: if you’re an unsigned senior not in the ESPNU 100, you are competing for a scholarship. You’re not entitled to one, but you are entitled and afforded the chance to compete for one. Borderline players are a dime a dozen. Think about that the next time you don’t finish a play or make it past half court. That loose ball that’s flailing at your feet? Dive for it. For many, it’s now or never in terms of making that final impression.

The college coaches sitting in the stands are fatigued. They’re on the road, away from their families and teams and they know that after Jan. 1, the conference season will be upon them. That means they won’t be able to see as many players because they’ll switch their focus to where it needs to be: their own players.

These next few days in December are loaded with opportunities. Each program still looking for a senior has its eyes on multiple recruits. They want to be impressed. Not everyone is Shabazz Muhammad; the rest of the pack has something to prove. Plenty of good players won’t get scholarships; the supply of recruits exceeds the demand and coaches are picky. The wise ones make sure they give that last scholarship to the player who can best help them win and keep their jobs.

If you’re a player, give yourself a gift this holiday season. The next time you take the court, look around and notice the eyeballs on you. After that, make sure your effort exceeds your own expectations. That’s the beauty of the season. It’s in your hands.