Commentary

Barnes to play for a national audience

Originally Published: December 17, 2009
By Christopher Lawlor | Scouts Inc.

The Old Spice High School Showcase continues Thursday with an ESPN doubleheader. Top-ranked Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) plays Northland (Columbus, Ohio) at 7 p.m. ET, followed by Waukegan (Ill.) at Ames (Iowa).

Sullinger
RIKU + ANNA\ESPN RISE MagazineThe Buckeye State's Jared Sullinger will stay at home and play for Ohio State.

The nation's top-rated forward Jared Sullinger scored 17 points Tuesday in Northland's 69-43 victory over crosstown rivals Brookhaven. Findlay's point guard Cory Joseph, the No. 20 prospect, had 15 points and 12 rebounds against Christian Life Center (Humble, Texas) on Tuesday. Marko Petrovic, an unsigned senior forward, had 26 points, canning 8 of 11 shots.

Joseph averages 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists while clicking on 52 percent of his 3-point shots. Center Tristan Thompson, a Texas recruit, adds 17 points and 10 boards per game.

It's a team effort, says Findlay assistant Todd Simon.

"We've never big number guys so this is new to us, especially since some of these guys get only 15 to 20 minutes [per game]."

The nightcap tips at 9 p.m., featuring the nation's top-rated senior, North Carolina-bound forward Harrison Barnes of Ames, from Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum. Waukegan's 6-7 Jereme Richmond, No. 17 in the ESPNU 100, has signed with Illinois. Richmond contributed nine points, 13 boards and three blocks in a 54-44 win over Maine South Tuesday.

Game officials say ticket sales are brisk, with Hilton's lower bowl nearly sold out.

"It will be an electric atmosphere; people in Ames are really embracing this night and chance to have their school play on ESPN," said Rashid Ghazi of Paragon Marketing, who arranges games for ESPN.

The No. 24 Ames Little Cyclones are 3-0, behind Barnes (24.3 points, 7.7 rebounds) and 6-7 forward Doug McDermott, a Northern Iowa recruit.

Waukegan (6-2), which advanced to Illinois' large-classification (4A) final last year, relies on three double digit scorers -- Richmond (21.4 points), 6-1 senior Quan Conner (11.8) and 5-11 senior Aaron Johnson (14.9). Coach Ron Ashlaw's Bulldogs have reliable four-year starter Mike Springs (8.1 points, three assists) manning the point. The 5-10 Springs has interest from several schools, including Toledo, Illinois State and North Dakota State.

ESPNU will supplement the game schedule weekly with, ESPNU Recruiting Insider, which evaluates the top high school basketball recruits and their classes Wednesdays at 6 p.m.

Christopher Lawlor

High School Basketball
Christopher Lawlor has covered high school sports for more than 20 years, most recently with USA TODAY, where he was the head preps writer responsible for national high school rankings in football, baseball and boys and girls basketball. He also ran the Gatorade national player of the year program for nine years.