Commentary

Bigs McAdoo, Harris shine

Originally Published: December 23, 2009
By Mike LaPlante | Scouts Inc.

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- As always, tournament director Gary Fulmer does a terrific job putting together a competitive field of teams with a slant towards players who have signed or committed to area SEC and ACC schools. 2011 North Carolina pledge James McAdoo (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Christian) was the most talented player on display at the 2009 Chick-fil-a Classic, which featured outstanding play from some of the nation's most talented forwards.

In the Classic II Bracket Championship Game, Christ School (N.C.) defeated Charlotte Christian 60 -57 in a game that came down to the last possession. Junior forward Tony Kimbro led the Greenies with a 17-point, 70-rebound effort to overcome a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) night from 2011 South Carolina commit Anthony Gill.

The Classic I Bracket final featured a North-South matchup as Atlanta's Westlake High School, led by Clemson-bound tournament MVP Marcus Thornton's 13-point, 8-rebound effort, fought off New York City's Rice High School.

Standouts

James McAdoo, PF (6-8, 210)
2011, Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Christian, committed to North Carolina

McAdoo is an elite basketball player who is very intelligent and efficient on the court. He has a high skill level in the low post where he understands angles and positioning, but he showed he can also play facing up; he could easily transition into a wing player as develops his ballhandling and shooting skills away from the basket. He has a great feel for the game and consistently puts himself in position to make plays for his team that lead to winning. He shoots a high percentage around the basket and showed he is comfortable using either hand to finish. This long strider gets down the floor in a hurry and is able beat his man down the floor in transition for an easy layup or offensive-rebounding opportunity. He displayed good defensive instincts off the ball by anticipating in the passing lane. This resulted in a few breakaway dunks that got his team going. He also uses he length and superior timing to block shots coming from the help-side off the floor. McAdoo is always a pleasure to watch; he plays the game like it should be played giving an honest effort and putting the team first.

[+] EnlargeDamontre Harris
Andrew Shurtleff for ESPN.comDamontre Harris could be contribute from Day 1 in Columbia.

Damontre Harris, PF/C (6-9, 210)
2010, Fayetteville, N.C./Trinity Christian, signed with South Carolina
Although Harris did not post gaudy numbers during this tournament, he showed enough to prove that he has as much upside as any player in the 2010 class. He is an extremely long athlete who is steadily developing an offensive game to go along with his dominating defensive abilities. He needs to get stronger around the basket through contact, but should blossom at South Carolina when he gets on a consistent strength program and his body starts to add weight. He will impact the Gamecocks immediately with his outstanding shot-blocking capability -- he reminds me a lot of Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado because he alters more shots than he blocks -- he can use either hand to contest the shot. He runs the floor like a deer and puts pressure on the opposing post player in transition. He showed the ability to knock down a face-up jumper from 15-17 feet and also has a good feel passing out of the high post.

Kadeem Jack, PF, (6-8, 210)
2010, New York/Rice
Jack is a competitive forward who brings energy to the floor and sparks his team with hustle plays. He is a good-looking prospect who is more of an athlete than basketball player at the moment. He showed some very good instincts around the rim. He consistently runs the floor in transition, is a heat seeker when it comes to offensive rebounding -- he had 9 offensive boards in one game -- and defends his position. The quick jumper with long arms and good feet needs to continue to develop his offensive skills as he hurries in the low post, which led to turnovers (he had 9 of those in one game also). He is an athletic and active post who should see his recruitment pick up, during the late signing period as there is always a premium on quality bigs come April. It is rumored that prep school might be an option, but this developing forward will garner a lot of attention as the season progresses.

Marcus Thornton, PF (6-7, 215)
2010, Atlanta/Westlake, committed to Clemson

Thornton is a 'tweener whose approach to the game is pretty simple: play your tail off for 32 minutes and see what happens. He should fit in perfectly in Oliver Purnell's pressing system at Clemson as a forward who can guard multiple positions, attacks the glass and plays with a high level of energy. He does a lot of the dirty work that doesn't always show up in the box score, but leads to wins for his team. Most of his offense is out of transition or in the paint area where he does a good job of attacking the basket and finishing or drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line. His perimeter jump shot is inconsistent, but he can play facing up and is good enough off the dribble to get to the basket or create for a teammate. This kid's motor runs; he has a chance to be a very good defender who is willing to dive for loose balls, take charges and fight for every inch in the low post.

Anthony Gill, PF, (6-7, 215)
2011, Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian, committed to South Carolina

Gill's game may not be flashy, but the kid produces. The future Gamecock is a steady low-post player; he is fundamentally sound and understands how to play to his strengths. He understands how to post his defender and demand the ball; once he catches, he seeks contact and gets himself to the free-throw line at a good clip, but he needs to become a higher percentage shooter from the charity strip as he left a lot of money on the table shooting in the 40 percent range. He is a good passer out of the post versus double-teams and sees cutters to the basket from the mid-post area. He can play facing up and is skilled enough to put the ball on the deck for two or three dribbles to get to the rim. Although he doesn't get to a lot of balls outside of his area; he has good hands and uses his body to rebound his position effectively. He has a strong body, plays good positional defense in the low post and contests everything while being a surprisingly good shot blocker.

Surprise player

Worth Smith, SF (6-5, 185)
2011, Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian

Smith is a long, active athlete who passes the look test. His game subtly grows on you; he consistently gets to the ball and makes plays that catch your eye. He showed that he can knock down the open 3 or put it on the floor and get it to the basket. He can help break pressure as a secondary ballhandler and is a good open-floor ballhandler. He is an unselfish player who looks to make plays for his teammates. He has good lateral quickness that allows him to cover a lot of ground defensively. With his length, he could easily become a lockdown defender for a college program. He needs to gain strength as gets knocked off balance too easily, but he has good body control and is a good finisher in transition.

One to watch

Braxton Ogbueze, PG (6-0, 175)
2012, Charlotte, N.C./Vance

Ogbueze, who is a high-character guy, is a tough smart point guard with an advanced game for a player his age. He has a mature body for a sophomore and is already able to sweep through a defender to the basket and finish through contact. He moves well without the ball and is patient letting his offense come to him. He has a nice compact stroke and can make an open 3. He is good at showing shot and blowing by his defender then finishing at the rim; he also showed a floater when going to the basket and shooting over a big coming to help. He has a nice feel for drawing a defender a pitching it to a shooter with good accuracy and timing. He is deceptively ball quick and showed a couple high-level moves to the basket in traffic. He has a good stroke from the free-throw line consistently knocking down shots throughout the weekend.

Notes

• A name to remember on the gridiron is 6-6, 245-pound sophomore Adolphus Washington (Cincinnati/Taft). He is an impressive specimen with great hands and an aggressive mentality. He is good enough on the hardwood to garner some Division I looks, but he is said to be a high level football prospect who has already generated national interest.

• Lexington (Ky.) Catholic, which missed its first game of the tournament because of travel problems due to weather conditions, was led by sophomore point guard Jaylen Beckham. He has great ball quickness and dropped 28 points in their final game. Senior big man Tanner Peurach has solid fundamentals and will make a contribution to a division I program that values skill level.

• Dreher (Columbia, S.C.) 6-4 shooting guard Chris Brown, who won the most outstanding player for the Classic II bracket, should generate some scholarship offers with his play during the tournament. He consistently shot it well from behind the 3-point arc while leading all scorers averaging 25 points per game over the three game span.

• Charlotte Christian's Virginia bound senior Akil Mitchell, Anthony Gill and 6-5 junior wing Worth Smith combine to give the Knights three players that are difficult for most high school teams to matchup with.

• Vance High School's 6-1 junior Marquis Rankin and Braxton Ogbueze form a talented backcourt that should give the Cougars a chance to win with solid guard play each night they take the floor.

• Host school Richland Northeast was led by talented 6-3 sophomore shooting guard Travis Hammond and developing post player 6-7 senior Jarred Guest.

• The deepest team in the tournament was Christ School out of Ashville, N.C. It featured at least seven Division I prospects in South Carolina bound senior point guard Eric Smith, Elon signees Lucas Troutman and Sebastian Koch and juniors Marshall Plumlee, Damarcus Harrison, Tony Kimbro and Trevonte Dixon.

• With only two games under their belt prior to the tournament, Rice High School (New York, NY) led by 6-7 Kansas State signee Shane Southwell, Kadeem Jack and 6-5 junior wing Jermaine Sanders made it to the finals against Westlake (Ga.) High School.

Mike LaPlante has spent nearly 20 years coaching college basketball. Most recently, he was the head coach at Jacksonville State University.