Phenom Hoops was at it again, checking on talent around the state. Tuesday night, we took in Northwood again, as they welcomed in Wakefield coaches by Garrett Stevens. An interesting matchup, as 2024 Drake Powell certainly had the attention of many but you can’t look past the experience on Wakefield’s roster.
Early, it was Northwood that had it rolling on both ends. They were getting out on defense and making it tough for Wakefield to find any easy shots, while Powell and Frederico Whitaker had the offense going, eventually getting out to a double-digit lead in the first. Then, in the second quarter, Powell had to leave the game due to an injury and would miss the rest of the second quarter, as Wakefield started to climb back in and eventually take their first lead around the four-minute mark. Whitaker though put his team on his back and attacked offensively, scoring six big points in the quarter to help Northwood hold a 23-17 halftime lead.
Third quarter, Powell would eventually return to the court but Wakefield started to showcase their depth and experience, as players like Ellija Preddy and company started to find some rhythm. Once tied at 27 around the three-minute mark, that is when Wakefield continued to put the pedal down and attack. It eventually allowed them to secure their first double-digit lead around the 6:45 mark in the fourth quarter.
Northwood would get it down to as many as five late in the final minutes but Wakefield was able to secure the game from the line late and earn a hard-fought 48-40 win on the road.
Wakefield: 6 – 11 – 17 – 14: 48
Northwood: 12 – 11 – 4 – 13: 40
Wakefield: Elija Preddy 14 points/ Javorius Neyland 10/ Zach Weed 7
Northwood: Drake Powell 12 points/ Frederico Whitaker Jr. 16
- 2024 Drake Powell is proving to be the real deal. From what I’ve seen and once again (even in a limited number of minutes due to injury), Powell is a strong talent in the class of 2024. The 6’6 prospect can be used in so many ways with his ball-handling, his size, his length, and his versatility. Powell’s mid-range can be deadly, showing off his smooth jumper over defenders. But he also can guard multiple positions, create turnovers with his wingspan, and work down low or from the perimeter. He is a special talent that is going to be rising up the ranks for many.
- I’m going to tell you now… Watch out for the Wolverines of Wakefield. Coach Stevens has done a terrific job in turning this program around and this year, they look strong once again. They have a ton of depth and experience, and play with a team-first mentality. Wakefield is scrappy, they compete, and they don’t just have one player leading the way; they can easily go 10-12 deep. This is a team to really keep an eye on in the middle of the state.
- Jr. Ellija Preddy really stepped up for his team, as the 6’0 guard scored in a variety of ways. He was able to create off the dribble, step outside, and was part of the team that got out in transition when possible. He has had a strong start to the season, averaging 15.0ppg so far. I also liked Sr. Javorius Neyland’s activity, especially on the boards. Was the second-leading scorer but was very active and helped against the size for Northwood.
Though Powell gets the attention, there were a few other players that caught our eyes. Soph. Frederico Whitaker Jr. is a 2024 prospect to really watch. Quick guard, gets downhill, creates well with his dribble, and can be a nice balance of point guard and scoring guard on the floor. Stepped up when needed and was able to get to the line consistently but also knock down shots from outside, when he wasn’t helping run the show and finding his teammates. Also, 2023 Max Frazier caught my eye. He is a long 6’8, mobile forward that can score the ball around the basket, get on the boards, step out if needed, and be a rim-protector. A new name to keep an eye on for sure.