I’m usually the type of person who counts down the days until the weekend, but there’s something different about this weekend that has me even more excited for it to get here than usual.
And no, it’s not because this little guy is going to be making a trip to the Coliseum Saturday afternoon.
Some of the nation’s top high school basketball players will be heading to Morgantown from all over the East coast this weekend to take part in the 2012 Mountaineer Shootout at University High School.
I will be covering it for the second year in a row, and after getting to see what it was like last season, I can’t wait to get back to cover it again starting Friday night. Last year, prestigious programs like Oak Hill Academy (VA) made the trip to Morgantown and players like Quinn Cook (freshman PG at Duke), Omar Calhoun (will be playing at UConn next season) and current West Virginia freshman point guard Gary Browne – among many more – took part in the festivities a year ago.
With schools like Huntington Prep (WV) and the Tilton School (NH) coming to town, this year’s Shootout will have no shortage of talent, that’s for sure.
So let’s take a look at the schedule and some of the top players who will be taking the court at UHS this weekend.
Friday, Jan. 20
4:30 p.m. – St. Mary’s Ryken (MD) vs. South Shore (NY)
6 p.m. – Bishop Kearney (NY) vs. Huntington Prep (WV)
8 p.m. – Tilton School (NH) vs. Villa Angela-St. Joseph (OH)
9:30 p.m. – Withrow (OH) vs. Arlington Country Day (FL)
Saturday, Jan. 21
11 a.m. – Bishop Kearney (NY) vs. University (WV)
12:30 p.m. – St. Mary’s Ryken (MD) vs. Magnolia (WV)
6:30 p.m. – Withrow (OH) vs. Morgantown (WV)
8 – Villa Angela-St. Joseph (OH) vs. Huntington Prep (WV)
9:30 p.m. – Tilton School (NH) vs. Arlington Country Day (FL)
TOP FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH (all rankings come from ESPNU.com)
The highest-rated recruit of West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins’ next recruiting class, Macon will be in Morgantown this weekend.
His coach at Huntington, Rob Fulford, coached junior forward Deniz Kilicli (as well as Noah Cottrill) in high school at Mountain State Academy in Beckley, W.Va. and called Macon a mix of Kilicli and WVU senior Kevin Jones. At 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, Macon runs the floor well for a big guy and is an extremely athletic post player that the Mountaineers will be able to use next season when it loses Jones to graduation.
Macon has already signed his National Letter of Intent to play at WVU next year.
Huntington Prep (WV) F Andrew Wiggins (No. 1 prospect in 2014 class, considering Florida State & Kentucky)
It’s not very often that you get to say you’re going to get to watch the best player in the country.
But that’s exactly what fans might get to say when they watch Huntington Prep (WV) sophomore forward Andrew Wiggins play this weekend.
As I said, he’s ONLY A SOPHOMORE, but he has already been touted as the next big superstar in high school basketball and has been called “the Canadian LeBron James.”
That’s pretty high praise for a kid who will be turning 17 in about a month.
Wiggins has an incredibly smooth offensive game and can get to the rim just about whenever he wants to. When he gets into the paint, just wish defenders good luck trying to stop him.
I could go on, but I’ll just let the tape talk for me.
Tilton School (NH) C Nerlens Noel (No. 2 prospect in 2013 class, considering UConn, Georgetown, Kentucky, Kansas and Florida)
And Wiggins won’t be the only player in Morgantown this weekend ranked in the top five of his recruiting class.
The Tilton School (NH) will bring in an extremely talented team led by junior center Nerlens Noel. Standing at 6-foot-10 with a remarkable 7-foot-3 wingspan, Noel is one of the most feared shot blockers in the country and has the ability to alter any shot.
While he’s a game changer on the defensive end of the floor, his offensive game has gotten better since the AAU circuit and he’s extremely fun to watch play.
Tilton School (NH) G Wayne Selden (No. 10 prospect in 2014 class, considering WEST VIRGINIA, Kentucky, UConn, Pitt, Missouri)
Noel’s Tipton School teammate Wayne Selden is a player Mountaineer fans should definitely keep an eye on this weekend.
The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard has an offer from West Virginia and, although he’s just a sophomore, might be the most talented guard to take the floor at University High.
He can slash, get to the rim with ease and shoot it really well from the perimeter. He’d really be a good fit in a WVU uniform in a couple years for Bob Huggins. With Selden and Noel, the Tipton School’s two games this weekend (much like Huntington Prep’s) are definitely must-see basketball.
Arlington Country Day (FL) G Torian Graham (No. 38 prospect in 2012 class, considering North Carolina St., Xavier, Villanova, Baylor, Arizona)
Graham is the highest-rated recruit in the senior class who will be here this weekend and he plays alongside of fellow senior Jordan Goodman (considering Georgetown, Rutgers, West Virginia, Kansas State and Texas Tech).
He’s an athletic guard who has started to become more and more of a scorer as his high school career as gone on.
The form on his jumper is a little unorthodox but it works and for a smaller guard (6-foot-4), he can play above the rim.
OTHERS TO WATCH:
Arlington Country Day (FL): F Junior Etou
Bishop Kearney (NY): C Chinoso Obokoh
Huntington Prep (WV): G Javontae Hawkins, F Negus Webster-Chan, F Stefan Jankovic, G Xavier Rathan-Mayes
Morgantown (WV): F Nathan Adrian
South Shore (NY): F Shamiek Shephard, G Terrence Samuel, G Doudmy Saint Hilaire
Tilton School (NH): F Georges Niang, C Goodluck Okonoboh
Withrow (OH): F Devin Williams