HYATTSVILLE, Md. – There was plenty of excitement on the opening day of the Team Takeover High School Hoops Festival. Andrew Wiggins, the nation’s No. 1 player was in the building and he drew a capacity crowd. However, the biggest excitement came in the nightcap as No. 18 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) knocked off No. 6 Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) in double-overtime.
Rare show of prospect force
The Oak Hill-Paul VI game was loaded with talent. Spanning high-major talent to low-major prospects, an argument could be made that at any moment in the game 10 Division I prospects were on the floor.
Oak Hill had the most top-end talent, including three ESPN 100 players. Despite the abundance of talent, it’s clear this team has not meshed yet. It lacks a major post presence but does feature three wings, two of which – Sindarius Thornwell and Troy Williams – attack the rim aggressively. The team’s third wing, guard R.J. Currington, is the team’s perimeter marksmen. Currington, who did not sign early, went for 20 points (8-for-18) for Oak Hill. He’s a jump shooter who takes a lot of shots, which may surprise first timers considering the company he’s keeping. Against Paul VI, he made four of his first five jumpers. Currington would be an elite level mid-major player. Scorers of his ilk, given the lack of available talent, will have more options in the spring.
Paul VI was a much younger, maybe hungrier team than last year and looked like a squad with something to prove after top player Stanford Robinson transferred to Findlay Prep. Sophomore forward Marcus Derrickson was strong out of the gate, displaying range unique for a post. Against Oak Hill, it was his skill and touch inside the arc that made a difference. Speaking of making a difference, sophomore point guard Kevin Dorsey held up well against the Warriors. He defends; plays with energy and his quickness will carry him a long way.
Dion Wiley has top three, embraces the moment
There’s a burgeoning high-major recruit in the D.C. area, and he’s about to go national. Junior shooting guard Dion Wiley (Oxon Hills, Md./Potomac) can score. There’s little doubt about that. He dropped 24 in Saturday’s game including 3-of-9 from deep. At this stage of his junior season, Wiley said his top three includes Virginia, Georgetown and Maryland. Each will pursue him ardently. Wiley has size and a scorer’s game and there’s room for him to get better. He’ll settle for a 3-pointer too often and neglects the middle area of the floor. If that area of his game comes along, look out. Potomac’s a good team and their best player is a small dose of structure away from continuing his ascent up the charts.
ACC centers collide, kind of
It looked fantastic on paper: ESPN’s No. 2 and No. 3 overall centers, head-to-head in a packed venue. Two future ACC rivals, Kennedy Meeks (North Carolina) and BeeJay Anya (NC State) squared off as DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) faced West Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.). The stage was set, the place was packed but the end result didn’t match the advance billing. The teams essentially played hot potato, the bigs didn’t get involved enough and the matchup failed to entice. The pace of the game was going as such that the interior matchup didn’t have a chance.
Anya won the second half of this matchup. During the third quarter he sent Meeks in jeopardy, drawing a pair of fouls and once powering through his foe. When you factor in the fouls in the middle, can you really blame the guards for not feeding the posts more? Maybe the big fellas for not trading more paint in the lane? Either way, a chance to watch two of the highest rated guys at their position yielded little new information. The final numbers were tipped Anya’s favor: 14 points and 13 rebounds. Meeks had 11 points and 10 boards. Anya touched it more and did more with his chances, especially in the second half. NC State head coach Mark Gottfried brought his entire staff to watch Anya.