Monday, March 22, 2010

Arthur Hill v. Mt. Pleseant Class A Regional Final Recap

SAGINAW -- Arthur Hill’s boy’s basketball team is looking very good right now, and it’s for one reason -- and that reason isn’t star PG Maurice Jones. The Arthur Hill team’s complementary players accept their roles and don’t try to play outside of their boundaries. It’s a trait most high school teams, as well as college and pro teams lack. The Lumberjacks get it, and now they are in Class A's final eight teams.

You could tell the Lumberjacks were ready for action by the way they came out of the gates last Wednesday against Mt. Pleasant. Kwincy Tucker, an athletic 6’4 wing, who is also the younger brother of former Arthur Hill All-American Darquavis Tucker, scored 7 of The Hill’s first 9 points. He capped it off with a big time alley-oop, and also had two long jumpers from both wings. Arthur Hill’s pressure also had the Oilers intimidated. It seemed as they picked up two 10-second violations and struggled to get the ball over half-court, when they did, 6’9 Soph Jordan Hare was there to block their shots. On the good side, the Oilers were only down 15-9 after one quarter, mainly because of Trey Zeigler attacking the basket and scoring.

To start the second, Trey threw down a downright nasty slam over the top of Hare, cutting the lead to 15-11 for the Lumberjacks. Once again the little things came back to bite the Lumbjeracks as they didn’t box Jordan Hare out, and he scored 4 of the next 6 points, one off a slam. After that kids like Dell Simon, Tyler Dwyer, Chandler Young, and Wesley Wilson, all contributed. To end the half the score was 32-21.

During the first half, Maurice Jones, effortlessly created for his teammates, in a way, quite frankly only he can do. In the second half he made it clear he was taking over, and pretty much dominated scoring and dishing throughout the rest of the game. Once Pookie put his mind to taking over the game, he did, and the rest is history. Pookie tossed three straight alley-oops to Jordan Hare to make the Lumberjacks lead 53-36 and the Oilers never threatened again.

GAME SYNOPSIS: Mt. Pleasant had a great season, and Trey Zeigler did all he could, but in the end the Lumberjacks are just more talented, and the Oilers didn’t have the horses to compete. After the first few minutes of the game this was evident.

V.I.P. IN THE HOUSE - Central Michigan head coach Ernie Zeigler was in the house to watch his son, Trey play. Not to be deterred, Providence head assistant coach Chris Davis was also in the house to see Zeigler and Mt. Pleasant point guard Matt Strickland, who Providence has also offered, and according to reports Providence has also offered Jordan Hare. An assistant coach from South Alabama was also there… he was scheduled for a in-home visit Thursday with former Arthur Hill big man Antoine Lundy, who has evolved to a Juco standout, and came to watch the game while in town.

PROSPECTS: Maurice Jones, 5’6, PG, Saginaw Arthur Hill - The USC commit was the top player on the floor all night Wednesday. At 5’6, Pookie is just a flat out warrior. When watching Arthur Hill play his leadership skills and basketball IQ is apparent, and at the end of the day you know the Lumberjacks are his team. He’s a flat out amazing high school player, and there is nothing else to really say about him, he usually dominates every time he hits the floor. He’s one of the best players from Saginaw in the last decade, and finished the night with 16 points and 11 assists unofficially.

Jordan Hare, 6’9, Soph, PF, Saginaw Arthur Hill- He will be in the conversation of the best sophomore in the state and rightfully so, because no player in his class possesses the physical gifts that he does. It’s the skills and mental aspect of the game that right now he is lacking. Right now he scores off of put-backs and alleys, which isn’t a bad thing, but for him to take the next step from prospect to elite player, he will need to establish a back to the basket game as well as a jump-shot. His main positives on the offensive end at this stage are he plays within himself. As I stated earlier, he isn’t the most polished scoring threat on the low block, and he doesn’t try to be, he rebounds, and basically gets hustle baskets right now. From a rebounding and defensive aspect, he’s very good right now, and absolutely ridiculous potential wise, as he is stupid long, and he’s not very strong, so he can get even better in these areas. High majors should definitely recruit him and he’s a Top 5 prospect in 2012 in Michigan, without a doubt.

Trey Zeigler, 6’5, Wing, Mt. Pleasant- The most positive thing I noticed about Trey Wednesday, is he doesn’t give up. In a game where lots of players have immense physical capabilities and talent, the kids with the right mentality are the ones who succeed the highest. Trey could have easily given up on his teammates and quit, but he fought all night long, and kept attacking, albeit sometimes unsuccessful but the effort was there. He also didn’t stop attacking when he was struggling from the free-throw line. He was very good on the glass, and basically unstoppable when he tried to get to the rack. He is a good, not great athlete, and showed this with his second quarter slam on Hare. His jump shot is a bit shaky, but he’s pretty good from mid-range. His ball handling skills are up to par and he is also a willing passer. The only glaring negative from this game was his free-throw shooting, absolutely dreadful, but something I expect to change in time. He finished the night with 20 points and 9 boards. Great career.

Matt Strickland, 6’1, PG, Mt. Pleasant- How important of a recruit is Trey Zeigler to the Providence Friars? The offered Matt Strickland to get him. Strickland is by no means a Big East player, and that’s not a knock on him, as he’s a very good high school point guard who’s extremely poised, and to be honest there are very few players in America every year who have Big East conference ability. Strickland is the cousin of Zeigler. One thing can be said about Strickland, the Oilers don’t go on that 15 game win streak or make it to the regional final without him. Yes, he’s a player. He’s a very good passer, who always keeps his head up, and makes the right plays the majority of the time. He has a decent long ball, and a high bball IQ. He is also pretty long for a PG, and I always like lefty players no matter the position. Great season for the California transfer.

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