The DIAA quarterfinals were held on the campus of the University of Delaware at their on campus facility known simply as 'The Bob' on Saturday March 2nd'and these were some of the standouts on the day.

O'Koye Parker 6'3' '18 Caravel Academy ' Parker came out in this game on fire banging in 4 first half treys enroute to 20 1st'half points and every one of them was needed as Caravel withstood a late shooting slump and a strong 4th'qtr comeback by William Penn HS to eke out a 58-56 win sending the Buccaneers to the semi's. Parker finished with 29pts 4 treys 3asts as he played decoy quite a bit in half number 2 moving well without the ball and capitalizing on the few good looks he had to lead his squad to the win. His offensive skills are evident when you watch him play but more refinement is needed as he plays upright too often and doesn't always keep his head up but the tools are there and a year of Prep School could help raise the level of his recruitment into the low D-1 sphere. Defensively he uses his reach to disrupt passing lanes but needs to get more engaged physically especially as a rebounder since he has the eye to lock onto the ball. At this point in time Parker is known more as a scorer but with continued hard work I believe he can turn himself into a more well rounded player in the future.

Jordan Brown 5'10' '19 St. Elizabeth School ' Listed at a generous 5'10' Brown who seems closer to 5'8' was a whirling dervish of activity throughout this contest in leading St. E's to a 66-49 win over Glasgow HS in semi #2. He finished with 18pts including a couple acrobatic reverse layups that electrified the crowd and pumped up his teammates. Brown loves to take chances but with his speed and handle he can really keep a defense off kilter. He also contributed 5asts as his constant motion opened up passing lanes and he delivered the goods with crisp passes that were on the money for easy scores. Brown hit 2 treys among his 18pts and went 6-6 at the stripe plus he managed 5reb despite being the smallest guy on the floor most of the time. Defensively he was a pest using his quickness to cut off driving lanes for Glasgow's guard heavy lineup or forcing them to pick up their dribble in bad spots on the floor. As St. E's moves into the semi's they'll continue to need strong play from the diminutive Brown but I think he's up for the task.

Caleb Matthews 6'4' '18 Smyrna HS ' The defending state champs (like Kentucky Delaware crowns one state champ) lost a 7 footer to transfer before the season but they compensated just fine with the shooting skills of Matthews and the strong interior play of a couple Juniors to put themselves in a position to repeat. In their matchup with Sussex Tech they looked as efficient as I've seen them in my previous viewings as they jumped out to leads of 20-6 after one and 45-14 at the half and cruised home 74-53 to advance to'next Thursday'night's semi's. Matthews hit 7-10 from distance with 6 of his treys coming in half number 1 as he seemingly could not miss. He has a nice form on his jumper with good balance and unlike in his Soph or Jr. years he doesn't launch shots unless he lines them up first. He also happens to be an excellent passer and isn't inhibited from making the extra pass if it benefits the team. Defensively I hear the arguments about foot speed and lateral quickness but this kid makes an effort to engage at that end and uses his 6'4' frame to play angles and force opponents to either pick up their dribble or pass it off. He still has work to do at that end and I'm hearing that Prep School could be an option.

Jaymeir Garnett 6'4' '19 Smyrna HS ' A first look at Garnett and you think edge rusher in football but this young man can really play the hoop game. He played strong interior defense helping to limit Sussex Tech to a 6-26 shooting output in the 1st'half as the Eagles built up their huge lead. He finished with 13pts 11reb while also dishing 4asts in a well rounded outing that helped propel them to the semi's. Garnett has a nice looking stroke in his own right and while he didn't display it on this night he was still instrumental in the Smyrna win. Often times the offense runs thru him because he has good hands and a good passing game to kick to open shooters. Plus with his solid frame he can seal off his opponents inside for strong thru contact layups. If you think he's only effective on the block you'd be wrong as he has a soft touch on midrange elbow jumpers as well as hitting an occasional three. For Smyrna getting a strong effort from Garnett is pretty much in the game plan every night and generally speaking he usually delivers.

Nalik Veasley-Johnson 6'6' '19 Smyrna HS ' When you lose a 7 footer as Smyrna did you usually adjust your game plan a bit to compensate but for the Eagles that really wasn't necessary as Veasley-Johnson stepped into the breach and performed rather well each time I set eyes on him. In this quarterfinal matchup he and Garnett were huge reasons for Sussex Tech's shooting woes and Nalik also handled himself well on the offensive side too. He delivered a 14pts 13reb 3blks outing that solidified him as a viable option when defenses key on Matthews and Garnett. His footwork around the basket is improving and he is becoming more confident that he can score thru contact the next logical step is to try and increase his shooting range. He shot 6-10 at the line and that certainly can improve as he continues his development moving forward. I see some upside in this young man and will monitor his progress this spring and summer.

Nnanna Njoku 6'8' '21 Sanford School ' When you think Sanford School you generally think Soph stud Jyare Davis but on this night in a low scoring defensive struggle won by Sanford over Salesianum School 42-36 it was Njoku who stood out. I first saw him last summer running with Team Final-Delaware 16's and was quite impressed with his low post moxie and dexterity and nothing that happened at 'The Bob' on this night changed my mind. He led all scorers with 14pts on 5-7 FG 4-5 FT while grabbing 5reb. On defense he had 1 block but his presence in the paint altered quite a few shots by the Sallies. This young man is a must watch over the next few years as he oozes potential and it would have been fun to see what he could do with more touches in this particular contest.

Jyare Davis 6'6' '20 Sanford School ' Watching Davis move around the floor on this night I couldn't help noticing his seeming penchant for hanging on the perimeter instead of his usual athletic forays to the basket or stop on a dime pull up jumpers. At the conclusion of the game he still had 12pts 5reb 2blks but he shot just 4-12 FG and just 1-5 from the arc and 3-5 FT which is very unlike him. You can say he had an off night cause everybody has them but he seemed to lack any explosion when he jumped and at times I noticed some hesitation when he caught a pass in space. Since the game I've been told that he has a foot issue that simply needs rest which will come when Sanford's season comes to a close but first they take on Smyrna in the semi's.

Nathan Thomas 6'4' '18 St. Elizabeth School ' Thomas is an undersized forward who doubles as a productive inside player to Jordan Brown's frenetic perimeter game and it seems to work for these guys as Thomas put up a workmanlike 13pts 10reb in their win over Glasgow. I've always had a thing for pluggers who do all the dirty work and for the most part go unappreciated by most basketball fans. He's not super quick but he boxes out with a wide stance then gets the rebound like a drunk guy getting a free beer. He sets pretty good screens and moves well around the painted area. On defense he uses his strength to try and contain his opponent as opposed to trying to slack off and give him too much room to operate. Players like Thomas who fill their roles with gusto and do it well are invaluable to a teams success and this young man not only does it well but is quite productive as a potential double double guy every night. This wraps up our coverage of the DIAA quarterfinals from 'The Bob'.