The inaugural Battle at the Rock was an instant success. Great venue, great teams, great hospitality, but most of all great action on the basketball court. There was no shortage of talent and high level play. Now, let’s take a closer look at the standouts on opening day.
Gray Collegiate Starting Five
This was my first time watching Gray Collegiate, but came away completely impressed. Five players scored in double digits with 6’3 unsigned senior Jalil Robinson leading the way with 23 points and eight rebounds. In addition, Tommy Bruner (15 points), Khalil Robinson (12 points), Jalen Deloach (13 points), and Chase McDuffie (14 points) all contributed to the impressive win over Northwood Temple. It’s been a while that we have seen such a well balanced team on both ends of the court compete. We were impressed with the unselfishness, team play and over togetherness displayed by Gray Collegiate. This is what team basketball is all about!
6’5 2019 Josh Nickelberry (Northwood Temple)
Simply put, Josh Nickelberry is one of the country’s most elite scorers. As the old saying goes, he is a “walking bucket.” In the game vs. Gray Collegiate, Nickelberry finished with a game high 32 points going 10-18 from the floor, 5-9 from the 3-point line, and 7-11 from the free throw line. No matter the setting, Nickelberry draws the toughest defensive assignments and going against Gray Collegiate, he was going against one of the better defensive teams in the region. That being said, Nickelberry has the unique ability to create space and has outstanding range, not to mention score with the best of them.
6’3 2019 Deuce Dean (York Prep )
Deuce Dean gave it all he had against Porter Gaud and Josiah James. Dean finished with a game high 31 points going 8-14 from the floor, 3-7 from the 3-point line, and 12-14 from the free throw line. We’re talking about a strong, efficient and fundamentally sound point guard that plays well within the system. While Dean finished with 31 points, he didn’t force the action and at times was too unselfish. One may ask how can one score 31 points and still be unselfish, but this indeed was the case. Dean may not be the flashiest players on the court, but one thing is for certain, he gets the job done and that’s exactly what you expect out of your floor general.
6’7 2019 Josiah James (Porter Gaud)
Josiah James is the epitome of a team player. He has the ability and can dominate the game at any point, any time, but James decides he is best at making others better! While his statistics will not wow you off your feet, it’s simply his presence on the court that separates him from his peers. James already sports an NBA ready frame and in our opinion still doesn’t realize how good he can be. The sky’s the limit, but he may be one of the most grounded and humble high level prospects we have covered in quite some time.
6’5 2020 Jaden Springer (IMG Academy)
The game comes so easy to Jaden Springer. The physically mature, athletic and explosive guard is one of the most complete players in the country. In the game vs. United Faith, Springer had a game high and efficient 20 points. He went 7-10 from the floor, 6-6 from the free throw line, collected seven rebounds, dished out five assists and had five steals. This is vintage Jaden Springer. More importantly, he is vastly underrated as a facilitator. Springer has excellent court vision and is a willing passer and great teammate.
Be sure to check out Coach Rick’s Fab Five for Day 2 https://www.phenomhoopreport.com/2018/12/02/coach-ricks-fab-5-battle-at-the-rock-day-2/
Be sure to check out Coach Rick’s Stock Riser for the Battle at the Rock https://www.phenomhoopreport.com/2018/12/02/battle-at-the-rock-stock-risers/