Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jabari Parker vs. Cliff Alexander: 2012 Pontiac Holiday Tournament!!!

Jabari Parker Class of 2013 - Cliff Alexander Class of 2014

Written by: Prospect-Central

It's definitely debatable, but the City of Chicago might be producing the best high school basketball players in the country.  While that's obviously just an opinion, there's no debating who Chicago's biggest star is; Jabari Parker.  The recent Duke commit is currently the #2 player in the Class of 2013, and while he was sidelined with a foot injury in July, the senior's slowly rounding into shape and looking to regain his tittle as the best basketball player in high school.

Another future star from the Chi is without question Cliff Alexander.  Currently the #4 player in the Class of 2014, Alexander has started his junior year with a bang.  Even though Currie High School is off to a rough start this season, Cliff Alexander has been as good as advertised and could make a serious push at becoming the top player in his class.

Today the two players faced each other for the first time this year when Simeon Career Academy took on Currie High School from the prestigious Pontiac Holiday Tournament.  It was an excellent game and both players performed well, but Cliff Alexander definitely had the fresher legs.  Cliff finished the game with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Parker had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.

While Simeon was the favorite going in, it was actually an up-and-down battle that ultimately came down to the final few possessions.  When it was all said and done, the scoreboard read 62-57, but who won the game???   Before you watch Jabari and Cliff play against each other in the NBA, watch them battle it out in high school, LIVE, from the 2012 Pontiac Holiday Tournament. * Below is the entire game between Jabari Parker & Simeon Career Academy vs. Cliff Alexander & Currie High School (12/29/12) followed by six additional games of Simeon & Currie from the 2012 Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

2012 Pontiac Holiday Tournament Bonus Games

Simeon Career Academy vs. West Aurora (12/29/12)

Simeon Career Academy vs. Bloomington High (12/28/12)

Simeon Career Academy vs. United Township (12/27/12)

Currie High School vs. Warren Township (12/29/12)

Currie High School vs. Joliet West (12/28/12)

Currie High School vs. Plainfield North (12/27/12)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

SETH JONES: Potential 2013 NHL Top 3 Draft Pick & Popeye Jones Son!!!


Written by: Jeff Z. Klein & Prospect-Central

If Popeye Jones played in the NHL, I have to think his position would've probably been goalie.  After all, goalies wear masks :)  Popeye may not have been the most aesthetically appealing person, but he still played eleven years in the NBA, and not many people can say that.  While he was an average NBA player, his 18-year old son Seth Jones looks to be anything but average.  There is one catch however.  Seth Jones's skills are on the ice, not the hardwood.

Potential 2013 NHL top 3 draft pick Seth Jones
If you follow hockey, which you probably don't considering you're reading this article (lol), you already know that the 6-foot-4 defenseman has been a terrorizing force in every junior league he's played in and is on the verge of becoming a top 3 pick in the 2013 NHL draft.  To tell you the truth, calling Seth Jones a top 3 pick might actually be understatement.  If you ask any NHL general manger, Jones will more than likely be the 2nd player selected in this years draft, behind only the electrifying Nathan MacKinnon.

For those of you interested in the future landscape of the NHL, here's a quick breakdown of what it looks like.  As I stated before, MacKinnon and Jones will probably battle it out for the #1 pick come June, and both of them are considered franchise changing players. Moving forward to the 2014 NHL Draft, 16-year old Sam Reinhart looks to be the early favorite for the top pick, and considering his father Paul Reinhart had an outstanding eleven year career in the league, I wouldn't be surprised if he follows suit.

The 2015 NHL Draft might have the best player out of all of them though. Connor McDavid is projected as the #1 overall pick that year, and the 15-year old has already signed a multimillion dollar endorsement deal with Reebok, making him the youngest spokesman in the history of the company.  What Seth Jones will be able to do for hockey however, none of these players can accomplish.

Not only is Seth Jones a future star in the NHL, he's obviously African-American.  In a sport that's predominately white (to say the least), Jones has a chance to do for hockey what Tiger Woods did for golf.  I'm not saying the black community will all of a sudden trade in their Jordan's for ice skates, but if he lives up to his potential, Jones might truly be a game changer as far as marketability is concerned.

Popeye & Seth Jones have a lot to smile about
In 95 years of existence, there has only been 71 players with black African descent to play in the NHL.  As far as African-American players are concerned, there's been fewer than a dozen.  Despite these staggering statistics, black players have and continue to hold their own in the National Hockey League.  Here's a quick synopsis of black players in the NHL.

In January of 1958, Willie O'Ree became the first black player in the NHL when he was signed by the Boston Bruins.  O'Ree is basically the Jackie Robinson of hockey and broke down barriers few thought were possible.

Opinions may vary, but the greatest black player of all-time is probably Grant Fuhr, albeit he was a goaltender.  Fuhr's certainly the most decorated anyways.  He won 5 Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers during the 80's, and in 2003 became the first black player inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame.

As far as skilled players are concerned, there's no question Jarome Iginla is the most exciting black player the NHL has ever seen.  Iginla was a 6-time All-Star with the Calgary Flames and he's their all-time leading scorer as well.  My favorite black player of all-time though, none other than the enforcer himself, Donald Brashear!!!  Put it this way, if you take the toughest player to ever come out of the NBA, Brashear would absolutely wipe the floor with him.

As good as all of these players were, Seth Jones appears to be in class by himself. Considering the NHL's lack of American stars as well as black stars, Jones has a chance to be one of those rare athletes that can bridge the gap between race and countries alike.  He certainly has some big skates to fill though, but if he can live up to the hype, Seth Jones just might become the most transcendent player in the history of hockey. * Below is an article written by Jeff Z. Klein from the New York Times, going into more detail about the rising hockey star with N.B.A. DNA Seth Jones.
Seth Jones probably should have wound up a basketball player. He is tall, with a great vertical leap, and his father is Popeye Jones, who played 11 years in the N.B.A. and is now an assistant coach with the Nets.

USA's new hockey star Seth Jones
But instead, Seth Jones, 18, is projected to be a top pick in the 2013 N.H.L. draft and may be on his way to becoming hockey’s first African-American star.

“I’d be shocked myself if I heard a story like that,” Jones said, when asked if people are surprised by the combination of a basketball father and a hockey son. “Me and my two brothers all play hockey, so it was weird, I guess, that none of us played basketball.”

Jones, a 6-foot-4 defenseman with slick skating and puck-possession skills, seems to have a can’t-miss label sewn onto his hockey sweater. He will help lead the United States team at the world junior championships in Russia next week, even though he is the youngest player on the roster. He was on the team for last year’s tournament as a 17-year-old, but an injury sidelined him just before it started.

Now in his first year with the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League, Jones has 28 points in 31 games, third among rookies, and a plus-27 mark, fourth among all players. On the ice he is a commanding presence, a hard hitter. But more often he is the rare defenseman who can control a game’s tempo with his stickhandling and passing — a “full-package defenseman,” in the words of Phil Housley, the United States coach.

Probably not what anyone expected from a son of Popeye Jones.

“No one wants to live in their father’s footsteps,” Seth Jones said this week when the United States team held a three-day training camp at the Rangers’ practice rink in Greenburgh, N.Y., before heading to Europe. “I think the time will come when I stop getting those questions and everyone knows the story. That’s just my family and my background and part of my life.”

Jacob Trouba, another defenseman on the national team, said: “He’s always been Popeye’s son. Now he’s turning into Seth Jones; he’s not Popeye’s kid anymore. He’s making his own name.”

Jones may not have followed in his father’s footsteps, but the stops in Popeye Jones’s career played a large role in Seth’s hockey development.

Seth Jones is 6-foot-4, before hockey skates
Popeye became a hockey fan while playing in Dallas. He arrived in 1993, the year the Stars moved to Dallas from Minnesota. Seth was born outside Dallas the next year. After Popeye was traded to Toronto in 1996, the Jones family was steeped in the game through constant exposure to Don Cherry and “Hockey Night in Canada.”

“When I was a guy growing up, the only sports offered to me in a small town in Tennessee were basketball, football and baseball,” Popeye said.

Seth’s path to hockey started in Denver when his father was playing for the Nuggets in 1999-2000, and his older brother, Justin, wanted to play roller hockey with his school friends. Seth, who was about 5, got a pair of in-line skates, too. When the weather turned cold, they received ice skates and hockey gear, but only played pickup games with other children.

Then one day at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Popeye bumped into Joe Sakic, the Colorado Avalanche captain and future Hall of Famer.

“I don’t think he knew who I was, but I knew who Joe was, and I stopped him and introduced myself and said, ‘My kids want to play hockey, and I really don’t know anything about it,’ ” said Popeye, who is 6-8. “He looked at how big I was and said: ‘Make sure they know how to skate. I’m sure they’ll be good athletes.”

Seth took skating lessons with a figure-skating instructor for a year, but what sealed hockey for him was sitting rinkside with Justin and his younger brother, Caleb, when the Avalanche won Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup finals.

“Seeing the Cup in person was just unbelievable,” Seth said.

He went on to star on youth teams when the family returned to Dallas and at the elite United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., winning gold medals at the 2011 and 2012 World U18 Championship. (Caleb, 16, has been invited to the program’s 2013 tryouts.)

Seth Jones better get used to photo shoots
The N.H.L., mired in a lockout and struggling to renew fan interest, would probably welcome the marketing potential of a young African-American star, especially if Jones were to play, say, in Brooklyn when the Islanders move there in 2015.

Seth, whose mother, Amy, is white, said he would prefer that race not be part of the conversation when it comes to his hockey career.

“I don’t want to be looked at as an African-American, you know?” he said. “I want to be looked at as someone who has good character, and people know me for the person I am, not my color.”

Still, he said he understood why people asked about race. “Anytime I or anyone can help to get kids into the sport of hockey — or any sport, as a matter of fact — it’s huge,” he said.

But he added that being that kind of role model “can put a lot of weight on your shoulders.”

Jones said he had never encountered a problem because of his race, on or off the ice. Racially charged incidents on North American rinks have become increasingly rare. Growing up in 1980s Boston, Mike Grier, who retired last season after a 14-season career with four N.H.L. teams, recalled hearing occasional racial slurs from opponents and parents.

Still, there is the occasional incident. Last year, Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, a black Canadian, was taunted by a fan who threw a banana on the ice at a preseason game in London, Ontario. The fan was turned in by other fans and prosecuted.

In the playoffs, Washington’s Joel Ward, also a black Canadian, eliminated the defending champion Bruins with a Game 7 overtime goal, unleashing a torrent of racist comments on social media.

As Simmonds observed after his incident, “When you’re a black man playing in a predominantly white man’s sport, you’ve got to come to expect things like that.”

The NHL better get used to Seth Jones
Still, Jones said he had not experienced anything of that nature, and his basketball connections might prove to be the more unusual part of his background.

Basketball and hockey do not often overlap. Alex Ovechkin is one of the few N.H.L. players with a basketball background; his mother starred for the Soviet national team. Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash played hockey while growing up in Canada.

Jones acknowledged that the two sports did not have much in common, but said he learned from watching basketball players.

“The persons I watched closely were Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd,” he said, recalling when his father was an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks. “You’d see Dirk back there behind the scenes taking jump shots before and after games, before and after practices. It just taught me to keep working hard when no ones’s watching, and the person you are behind the scenes is your true self.”

Seth never played organized basketball, but some of Popeye’s basketball DNA seems to have rubbed off.

“We played basketball in Ann Arbor a lot the last couple years, and he’s got a lot of talent,” said Brady Skjei, a United States teammate who spent two years with Jones at the National Team Development Program. “Great hands, a soft stroke, a terrific shot.”

Jones said: “I actually am pretty good at basketball, I have to admit. I have a nice two-way game, I think.”

Popeye and Seth disagreed over which of them would win a game of one-on-one basketball. But Popeye, who was chosen in the second round of the N.B.A. draft, figured Seth would top him in draft position.

“He’s passed his dad, and that’s pretty cool,” Popeye said. Original Article.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

JULIAN NEWMAN: Class of 2020 Fifth Grader Playing HS Varsity Ball!!!

JULIAN NEWMAN: Class of 2020

Written by: Prospect-Central

I first started playing the game of basketball in 5th grade.  I had nice handles, solid vision, and a wet jumper. By no means was I a basketball prodigy, but I'd like to think I had a little bit of game.  Could I have played high school varsity basketball when I was in 5th grade?  Two words, two syllables, HELL NO!!!  Then again, I wasn't a 4-foot, 5-inch point guard named Julian Newman.

As you can well imagine, a 5th grader playing varsity basketball is kind of a big deal, and in today's world of social media, Julian Newman's story is spreading across the internet at an alarming rate.  Before you question the legality of the situation, let me explain how Florida high school athletics work.

The Florida High School Athletic Association is the governing body of Florida high school sports, but considering Julian plays for a tiny independent school (Downey Christian) outside the realm of the FHSAA's jurisdiction, everything is apparently kosher.  The only catch is he can't repeat a grade, or exceed four years of high school participation once he enters the 9th grade.

5th grader Julian Newman slicing through the D!!!
The boys basketball team at Downey Christian High School in Orlando, Florida will not be winning any national championships anytime soon, but that certainly shouldn't diminish Julian's accomplishments by any stretch of the imagination.  Not only is the 5th grader the starting point guard for Downey Christian, he's actually one of the best players on the team.

Jamie Newman is the head coach for Downey Christian and even though Julian is his son, that's not the reason why he's on the team.  According to Mr. Newman, Julian has been playing against older competition since he was three-years old, and he even dropped 91 points against middle school competition a couple months ago.  This led Mr. Newman to believe his son was ready to take his game to the next level, and judging by the 5th grader's statistics, I think he may be right.

In his first three games of varsity basketball, Julian Newman is averaging 12.7 ppg, 4.3 spg, and a team-leading 11.0 apg.  Those are more than respectable numbers for any high school basketball player, let alone a 5th grader.  Obviously it's too early to determine what type of player Julian Newman will become, but he clearly seems headed in the right direction.

Even though the Class of 2020 sounds more like a science fiction movie as opposed to the date when 5th grader's graduate high school, it still doesn't hurt to start paying attention to some of these baller's now.  Besides Julian, there are some other 5th grader's starting to make name's for themselves as well.  One player in particular to take a mental note of for the future, 5-foot, 10-inch Ohio native Shamar Marrow.  Without going into too much detail, the lefty has tremendous size and athleticism for his age, and has a chance to be a special player down the road.

Julian Newman certainly appears to be one of the better players in his class, but there's a lot of time before he graduates high school, and as we all know anything can happen between now and then.  Hopefully this is just the tip of the iceberg for the eleven-year old, but even if these are his glory days on the high school hardwood, at least he's going out in style!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

High School Football: Class of 2013 Top 10 Seniors per Position (Offense)


Click Names for Videos!!!
(1) Max Browne / 6'5'' 215 / Sammamish, WA / USC
(2) Shane Morris / 6'3'' 190 / Warren, MI / Michigan
(3) Christian Hackenburg / 6'4'' 215 / Fork Union, PA / Penn State
(4) Kevin Olsen / 6'3'' 195 / Wayne, NJ / Miami (FL)
(5) Cooper Bateman / 6'3'' 205 / Salt Lake City, UT / Alabama
(6) Ryan Burns / 6'4'' 220 / Asburn, VA / Stanford
(7) Asiantii Woulard / 6'3'' 205 / Winter Park, FL / UCLA
(8) Tyrone Swoopes / 6'5'' 220 / Whitewright, TX / Texas
(9) Brice Ramsey / 6'3'' 200 / Kingsland, GA / Georgia
(10) Cody Thomas / 6'5'' 210 / Colleyville, TX / Oklahoma


Click Names for Videos!!!
(1) Thomas Tyner / 6'0'' 205 / Aloha, OR / Oregon
(2) Greg Bryant / 5'11'' 200 / Delray Beach, FL / Notre Dame
(3) Kelvin Taylor / 5'11'' 215 / Belle Glade, FL / Florida
(4) Derrick Green / 6'0'' 220 / Richmond, VA / Michigan
(5) Ty Issac / 6'3'' 215 / Joliet, IL / USC
(6) Altee Tenpenny / 6'0'' 215 / North Little Rock, AR / Alabama
(7) Keith Ford / 5'11'' 200 / Cypress, TX / Oklahoma
(8) Tyren Jones / 5'9'' 200 / Marietta, GA / Alabama
(9) Justin Davis / 6'1'' 200 / Stockton, CA / USC
(10) Ezekiel Elliot / 6'0'' 220 / St. Louis, MO / Ohio State


Click Names for Videos!!!
(1) Laquon Treadwell / 6'3'' 195 / Crete, IL / Ole Miss
(2) Robbie Rhodes / 6'1'' 190 / Fort Worth, TX / Baylor
(3) Robert Foster / 6'3'' 190 / Monaca, PA / Alabama
(4) Ahmad Fulwood / 6'4'' 200 / Jacksonville, FL / Florida
(5) Derrick Griffin / 6'7'' 230 / Rosenberg, TX / Miami (FL)
(6) Stacy Coley / 6'1'' 175 / Oakland Park, FL / Miami (FL)
(7) Marquez North / 6'3'' 210 / Charlotte, NC / Tennessee
(8) James Quick / 6'1'' 180 / Louisville, KY / Louisville
(9) Steven Mitchell / 5'11'' 175 / Mission Hills, CA / USC
(10) Demorea Stringfellow / 6'3'' 205 / Moreno Valley, CA / Washington

O.J. HOWARD: Alabama

Click Names for Videos!!!
(1) O.J. Howard / 6'6'' 225 / Prattville, AL / Alabama
(2) Adam Breneman / 6'5'' 230 / Camp Hill, PA / Penn State
(3) Hunter Henry / 6'6'' 240 / Little Rock, AR / Arkansas
(4) DeSean Smith / 6'4'' 225 / Lake Charles, LA / LSU
(5) Marcus Baugh / 6'4'' 230 / Riverside, CA / Ohio State
(6) Jake Butt / 6'6'' 230 / Pickerington, OH / Michigan
(7) Standish Dobard / 6'5'' 245 / New Orleans, LA / Miami (FL)
(8) Josh McNeil / 6'5'' 235 / Durham, NC / Alabama
(9) Mike Heureman / 6'4'' 220 / Naples, FL / Notre Dame
(10) Durham Smythe / 6'6'' 230 / Belton, TX / Texas


Click Names for Videos!!!
(1) Ricky Seals-Jones WR/TE / 6'5'' 230 / Sealy, TX / Texas A&M
(2) Derrick Henry RB/FB / 6'3'' 245 / Yulee, FL / Alabama
(3) ArDarius Stewart DB/WR / 6'1'' 190 / Birmingham, AL / Alabama
(4) Kendell Beckwith DE / 6'3'' 225 / Jackson, LA / LSU
(5) Jalin Marshall WR / 5'11'' 195 / Middletown, OH / Ohio State
(6) Dontre Wilson RB / 5'10'' 175 / DeSoto, TX / Oregon
(7) Max Redfield CB/SS / 6'2'' 195 / Mission Viejo, CA / Notre Dame
(8) Tyree Robinson WR/SS / 6'4'' 200 / San Diego, CA / Oregon
(9) Cornelius Elder RB/DB / 5'10'' 175 / Nashville, TN / Miami (FL)
(10) Tyrell Robinson OLB/SS / 6'4'' 210 / San Diego, CA / Oregon


Click Names for Videos!!!
(1) Laremy Tunsil OT / 6'6'' 295 / Lake City, FL / Ole Miss
(2) Kent Perkins OT / 6'5'' 300 / Dallas, TX / Texas
(3) Dorian Johnson OT / 6'6'' 285 / Belle Vernon, PA / Pittsburgh
(4) Darius James OC / 6'5'' 320 / Killeen, TX / Texas
(5) Patrick Kugler OG / 6'4'' 275 / Wxford, PA / Michigan
(6) Ethan Pocic OT / 6'7'' 295 / Lemont, IL / LSU
(7) Jake Raulerson OT / 6'5'' 265 / Celina, TX / Texas
(8) Kyle Bosch OG / 6'5'' 310 / Wheaton, IL / Michigan
(9) David Dawson OG / 6'4'' 280 / Detroit, MI / Michigan
(10) Grant Hill OG / 6'5'' 320 / Huntsville, AL / Alabama

Prospect-Central's Class of 2013 Top 10 Defensive Players per Position

Class of 2013 HS Football Rankings
247 Sports
Max Preps