From the Sidelines

Phenom National High School Showcase

Day 2 – Standouts

Day 2 of the Phenom National High School Showcase kicked off Veterans Day, 11 November 2017. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would like to thank those who have served, those who are currently serving, and the family members who help make it possible to serve our country. I send a special thanks to all the players, coaches, and fans for their kind words and creating a truly enjoyable basketball atmosphere.

Just scanning the list of teams, it was obvious that this tournament was jam packed with talented players and they did not disappoint. I appreciate the passion, intensity, and skill of the players and teams. Every team I saw competed well and competed hard. While many of the players in this tournament are deserving of mention, from the bleachers the following caught my eye by how they competed and carried themselves on the court:

*** stats are unofficial ***

6'0' 2018 Chris Martin (Liberty Heights HS, Charlotte NC) Team Charlotte

Game 1- day 2 pitted Liberty Heights against Northwood Temple Academy. From the tip it became apparent the Chris Martin was a special player. Mr. Martin, a strong bodied guard, was able to get to the rack at will. He used his strength to touch paint and displayed the ability to finish through contact; drew multiple And 1 attempts. He distributed the rock and finish shots equally as well with both hands. Off the ball he moved well and showcased a very efficient dribble pull-up. Most impressive is that plays like he knows who is as a player; gotta love that! He is offensively patient and picks the correct time to attack. Martin scored at all levels. He understands and has a great feel for the game. With the ball in hand, he dictated the pace of the game. Defender after defender came at him with pressure and hard fouls and his stable demeanor never changed nor did he complain. He let his game speak for him. Defensively, he is tough and provides a lot of on ball pressure as well as being to proper helpside position. In victory, Mr. Martin dropped 18 pts/5 assist. By the way, just sprinkle a few rebounds and steals into that stat line. Buy now.

6'0' 2019 John Michael Wright (Northwood Temple Academy, Fayetteville NC) Flight 22

John Michael Wright is an uber aggressive guard. It's easy to equate aggressive with being out of control; not true in this case. He aggressively plays under control. Offensively, he put so much pressure on the defense that I found myself sympathizing with players guarding him. Kids do what you let them do and grown men do what they want to do. Wright is a grown man who attacked the rim whenever he wanted. He finished the day 10-14 from the line. He is a more than capable jump shooter with an explosive first step and great body control. This combination was on full display with his dribble pull-up. On more than a few occasions, he blew by his defender, stopped on a dime, elevated and knocked down the mid-range jumper. If that isn't enough, he also shoots the 3 ball well. He is a downhill scorer that also got his teammates involved. His ability to penetrate opened the corners up for his teammates. Wright picked up multiple assist in that fashion. He has long arms for his size that aided him defensively. He played both sides of the court with equal passion and intensity. He was another player who let his game do the talking. Even in loss, Mr. Wright dropped 23 pts and was one of the bright spots on day 2. Buy now.

6'1' 2018 Chris Barnette (Ravenscroft HS, Raleigh NC) NC Runnin' Rebels

Ooh-wee! Yee-haw! He really like that! Chris Barnette had me using slang from all walks of life. I didn't know if I was country or hip-hop. I had to dig into my mental rolodex (old folk word) to find educated words to describe how this young player played the game. He was the cynosure (look it up) of the Ravenscroft vs Trinity Christian School (TCS) game. Today, I wanted to put my computer down and cheer. Barnette knows who he is as a player and what he needs to do as leader. He has all the tools and the demeanor that is needed in a PG. He quietly competed with a chip on his shoulder. In the half,' he was offensively patient and set up his teammates. Barnette had 7 dimes in the first half. He is very strong with ball and changes speed excellently. The pace of the game is what he chooses. The pressure never rattled him as he was in complete control of the game. He is a vocal PG; only talking to his teammates. He just gets it. In the second half, TCS was poised to get back in the game but Mr. Barnette exploded during the period. He knocked down 3 quick treys and finished the 2nd half with 13 pts. He always received the ball in the triple threat position and demonstrated elite level court vision. He strongly finished with both hands through contact. He is crafty and defensively uses angles well. In victory, Mr. Barnette finished the 20 pts / 12 assists along with 5 rebs. He is an excellent shooter, leader, scorer, and competitor. Buy now.

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