The match-up between the Texas Titans and the Georgia Stars was between two teams going in different directions. The Texas Titans are now an impressive 8-1 after the second session of the EYBL while the Georgia Stars are a dismal 1-8.
The Texas Titans enjoyed a balanced attack with Duke verbal Matthew Jones was sensational with 24 points while 6’9 Julius Randle had an impressive double-double. Randle had 14 points and 14 rebounds. 6’9 Damian Jones finished with 10 points and made a great impression with his play while PG Marquan Botley played an outstanding overall game with 11 points.
While the Georgia Stars received balance scoring with 6’4 Donte Clark chipping in 15 points, Jalen Lindsey added 11 as did reserve Kyle Doyle. Unfortunately, the Stars needed a stronger effort out of 6’10 Jarquez Smith and he struggled to find his shot in the game we watched.
6’4 2013 SG Matthew Jones (Texas Titans) the best word to describe his game is smooth and clearly was one of the top shooters this past weekend. While he excels in the catch and shoot situation, we were equally impressed with his ability to shoot directly off the dribble drive. He has excellent elevation and lift on his jumper. He is advanced in reading the screen and roll and carefully picking his opportunities to know down perimeter shots. Jones finished with 24 points going an efficient 9-14 from the field (3-5 from the 3 point line) and 3-3 from the FT line. He is under-rated as a passer and made some nifty push passes off the dribble leading the post on the pick and roll situation. He was active on the boards and grabbed 5 rebounds. This was our first impression of Jones and he is the perfect fit for Coach K’s system at Duke.
6’9 2013 PF Julius Randle (Texas Titans) clearly is the most skilled and gifted player for his size in the 2013 class. His blend of skill, fundamentals and athleticism at 6’9 makes him one difficult player to defend, especially with his advanced ability to put the ball on the floor. He can easily take his man off the dribble, but is nearly impossible to defend on the interior. His footwork in the post is outstanding and we love his patience on the block. His unique body control with constant pump fakes is constantly getting the defender off their feet. Outside of the countless pump fakes utilized, he has one of the best “up and under” moves at any level. That move is powerful, quick and effective! Randle enjoyed a double-double of 14 and 14. He went 5-10 from the floor and 4-6 from the FT line. His anticipation and aggressive rebounding makes him one of the country’s best rebounders. Defensively, we were equally impressed with his fundamentals and IQ. He was active on defense and played the screens like a pro. He hedged and rarely allowed the opposing team to run the pick and roll effectively.
6’9 2013 PF Damian Jones (Texas Titans) was basically an unknown coming into this event. He scored 10 points going 3-9 from the field and 4-4 from the FT line. The long and athletic PF has a quick first step and a definite bounce to his step. His favorite move on the interior was faking one way and turning back the opposite for the big time 5-10 jump shoot shot. More importantly, he was advanced in setting both the traditional screen and had been well schooled in setting the “flat screen.” Whether he was setting the traditional or flat screen, Jones rolled correctly each and every time with his hands in position to catch the pass. While this seems immaterial, very few players know how to properly pick and roll. When Jones rolled back to the ball, he securely got his hip and posterior on the opposing player. As Jones continued to grow physically and hit the weight room, he will soon become a priority for high major schools. Defensively, he was active in the post blocking or altering shots by the opposing team. He is a real diamond in the rough!
5’9 2013 PG Marquan Botley (Texas Titans) is another player that is flying completely under the radar. Against the Georgia Stars, he was simply a model of consistency. He tallied 11 points going 5-6 from the floor (1-3 from the 3 point line) In addition, he dished out 4 assists and grabbed 4 rebounds; not a bad day at the office! (Not to mention only committing one turnover for the game) IMO, these are stat lines that are worth reporting and this young man executed the offense with authority and patience. He should see his recruitment pick up from his performance this weekend.
6’10 2013 PF Jarquez Smith (Georgia Stars) simply had an off game against the Texas Titans. He finished with 7 points going 2-12 from the field (1-6 from the 3 point line) and went 2-2 from the FT line. There is no question; Smith is a matchup problem for opposing teams with his ability to stretch the defense. Smith prefers to live on the perimeter rather than posting up on the interior which is understandable with his 180 pound frame and the matchup against Jones and Randle was not in his advantage. Jones and Randle both have the mobility to guard him 20 feet from the basket and when Smith decided to take them down low, he had a tough time finishing. The Georgia Stars needed a big time effort from him and unfortunately he was not at the top of this game against the Titans.
6’4 2013 WG Donte Clark (Georgia Stars) we have been touting Clark in the Phenom Hoop Report over the past month and we really like his blend of athleticism, skill and overall understanding of the game. He finished with 15 points going 3-10 from the floor (2-4 from the 3 point line) and 7-7 from the FT line. He does have excellent range and his jab step and pull up from the 3 point line was borderline crazy. Clark was off in his midrange pull which is usually his strong suit, but he constantly gave maximum effort and got to the FT line often. While Clark is forced to play PG position, his strongest position is at the scoring guard position. He feels more comfortable and confident being in an attack mode from the wing position. He is truly one of the more athletic players for his size/position and is easily a top 100 player nationally. Look for his stock to continue to rise!