The first ever Battle of the Classes held at the University of South Carolina turned out to be a fun day of basketball for the fans in attendance. The event paired twelve players from North Carolinas sophomore, junior, and senior classes against the respective South Carolina classes. The talent level of those participating was impressive, with the majority of the participants being division I recruits. On paper, the state of North Carolina had a significant advantage with roughly ten or more high major recruits in each of the 2010 and 2011 classes (2012 too early to tell) and their rosters at the event reflected the great depth and talent in the state. South Carolina which doesn’t nearly have the talent or depth as their neighboring state to the North came out and played hard and showcased them nicely, despite losing the first 2 games of the day.
2012 Game: This may have been the best game of the day and was a dog fight through the first half, before North Carolina took a comfortable lead in the second half and won by 10.
Julius Hamilton (West Charlotte HS) – Hamilton a 6’3” 215lb guard bullied around smaller players all game and was a key factor for NC. He displayed a nice release on his jumper and converted foul shots at a high percentage. The powerful guard did a great job at getting in the lane and finishing with both hands, while drawing fouls.
Montrezl Harrell (N Edgecombe Magnet HS) – Harrell is a 6’6” 200lb PF who really made his mark on the game with tremendous energy. He was able to control the paint all game long, even against bigger players; his long arms, strength, and quick reflexes allow him to play a couple inches taller than his actual height. Harrell who runs the floor very well, has excellent timing blocking shots and throwing down follow up jams. He even displayed some perimeter skills (ball handling and solid mid range jumper) which indicate a move to the wing may be in his future.
Tyler Lewis (Forsyth Country Day) – Lewis a 5’10” PG looked like he was a senior playing with the sophomores, his decision making, and ability to dictate the pace of the game sets him apart from most PGs his age. He displayed a potent jumper to boot.
Others of note:
TJ Warren (Riverside HS) – The 6’6” wing may have the most upside out of all players in the 2012 game.
Madison Jones (Ravenscroft School) – The talented young PG was hurt in warm-ups and was unable to play in the game.
Jasen Eddie (Cannon School) – Probably sick of being called Jarrell’s little brother (Virginia Tech Commit), Jasen rebounded the ball extremely well for a guard and hit 7 of 8 key free throws down the stretch run.
Jordan Roper (Irmo HS) – The lefty displayed a smooth overall game with a solid stroke.
Dee Brooks (Spring Valley HS) – The small 5’8” PG is explosive, strong, and makes plays.
Brandon Jones (Wilson HS) – The 6’5” wing displayed great range with impressive size for his position.
Greg Wilson (N Myrtle Beach HS) – Wilson, a 6’3” guard is strong with the ball and penetrated well using his body.
2011 Game: The Junior game was lopsided from the start, as the NC squad took a big lead early and never let up.
Bernard Sullivan (North Mecklenburg HS) – Sullivan (6’7” PF) may deserve to double up as the MVP of this game as well. Bernard was extremely active all game long, rebounding well in traffic, leading fast breaks, and overall showing a much improved game from his sophomore season. His constant effort underneath was invaluable to the team.
PJ Hairston (Dudley HS) and Damien Leonard (JL Mann HS) – The 6’5” and 6’4” shooting guards both displayed deep, deep range and the ability to get off their shot when needed. They are also both very creative around the hoop finishing with both hands in traffic. Leonard struggled early and then got it going in the second half. Hairston despite some missed opportunities played a tremendous defensive game and made some big shots.
Marquis Rankin (Vance HS) – Marquis a 6’1” point guard, like Tyler Lewis in the previous game dictated the tempo and ran the team extremely well. However, Rankin ran the team at a fast up and down style which the SC team could not keep up with. He shot the ball, very well, showcased his explosion to the hoop and may be one of the best 2011 PG’s in the country.
Other Players of note:
Anthony Gill (Charlotte Christian) – A well built 6’8” face up PF, looks like he is ready to take a big step forward in his junior year!
Bishop Daniels (Word of God) – The 6’2” combo guard hurt his ankle and was removed from the game, unable to continue. Before the injury he displayed his world class athleticism.
Jervon Pressley (Waddell HS) – Pressley a 6’8” PF/C has a great motor, strong build, and is a super interior defender. He like Gill is ready to make a giant leap forward.
Tyler Poole (Hickory HS) – The 6’6” Mississippi commit put on an extremely impressive shooting display as he captured the 3 point contest crown.
2010 Game: Despite the huge advantage NC had on paper, SC played them even before I had to leave and it was shaping up to be a hard fought match. Although with the extreme talent NC had, it could have changed at any moment.
Players of note:
Justin Cheek (Ardrey Kell HS) – The 6’2” guard displayed a consistent stroke and impressive athleticism.
Demon Brooks (Hopewell HS) – The undersize PF (6’6”) looks like he has worked on his outside game a lot over the summer and showed some decent face up skills. Low majors should take notice.
Torry Craig (Great Falls HS) – The 6’6” wing displayed impressive athleticism, capturing the dunk contest crown as well as a solid outside shot.
Ian Miller (United Faith Christian Academy) and JT Terrell (West Charlotte HS) – Both 6’3” guards should have immediate impacts at the next level, with their explosion and shot making ability. Miller is heading to Florida State and Terrell Wake Forest.
Corey Raley-Ross (Harding HS) – The 6’3” combo guard had to leave the game due to an ankle injury but was able to return.