By MARCUS HELTON
The 2016 Governor’s Challenge attracted 101 teams from nine states to Maryland’s Eastern Shore for four days of high-quality competition.
The sheer scale of the event gave us an opportunity to catch up with several top players - and a few overlooked prospects - to get updates on their respective recruitments.
IMMANUEL QUICKLEY, JOHN CARROLL (MD) 2018 GUARD
The most high-profile player in the event, Quickley [pictured] didn’t disappoint in his lone appearance. He notched 16 points, 4 assists and 4 steals in a 48-42 win over Sidwell Friends while working his way back from an early-season ankle injury. He started slow before taking control of the game in the second half.
“It feels better - not all the way 100 percent, but it’s getting better just getting back into the flow,” he said. “It’s been good just getting back into the game of basketball.”
Quickley recently cut his list of potential colleges to eight schools - Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, Providence, Virginia and Washington - and said he doesn’t foresee further additions or subtractions any time soon.
“I don’t really put too much pressure on myself. I just continue to work on my game and continue to get better because that’s really what it’s all about - just being the best player I can be. So, I don’t put too much pressure on rankings and stuff, but I’m just looking to get better individually and as a team, and hopefully win a championship.”
MONTEZ MATHIS, JOHN CARROLL (MD) 2018 GUARD
Mathis has thrived in his return to the area - he spent his freshman year at Mount Carmel before transferring to Oak Hill (Va.) - notching several 30-point games this season.
“I feel as though I’ve been playing like I should be: up to my potential,” Mathis said. “We had a couple of early losses, but now that we’ve got Immanuel back I feel like we should be good moving forward.”
Mathis said he’s most recently heard from Indiana, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall and West Virginia. He said he’ll most likely begin cutting his list after the summer.
DARIUS DANGERFIELD, HARFORD TECH (MD) 2017 GUARD
The 5-foot-8 Dangerfield [pictured] has been a prolific scorer at Hartford Tech, crossing the 1,000-point mark early in his junior season.
That offensive prowess was on display in Salisbury, as Dangerfield averaged 27 points per game in two victories to lead the Cobras to the Session 2, Bracket 6 championship. He finished with 27 points and 9 rebounds in the title game.
Dangerfield currently holds a partial Division II offer from Millersville (Pa.), but the bulk of his recruitment has come at the D-3 level. He said the four schools he’s currently in contact with are Marymount (Va.) and a trio of Pennsylvania schools: Cabrini, Eastern and Lycoming.
“I’m going to wait more until April and see what comes along, especially after this tournament,” he said. “I’m going to make sure I visit all the schools and see how all the money is going to flow.”
Dangerfield is able to make lays in the halfcourt and in transition, and seldom ever seems out of control. He’s already built low and dribbles the ball even lower, making him tough for opposing defenders to stay in front of. He showed his skillset by blowing past the rest of the field to win the M&T Bank Skills Challenge during Session 2.
“One thing I bring to a program is I control the ball well,” he said. “I feel I can take over the game when it’s really needed – as in if we’re down by two or up by 10 – just controlling the ball and just making sure you secure out a game. Also I make free throws - it always comes down to that - and also I can attack and dish really well. I get to the paint and set other people up for open jump shots and open lay-ups.”
TESHAUN HIGHTOWER, MT. ZION PREP (MD) 2017 GUARD
Hightower has great size for a point guard at 6-foot-5, and showed a nice ability to create for himself and others while averaging 13.7 points and 4.7 assists per game in three Mt. Zion wins.
The Georgia native has emerged as one of the top 2017 point guards still available, with schools such as Auburn, Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah and Western Kentucky all reaching out this season. Hightower has announced he’ll commit on Valentine’s Day.
“[The prep year has] helped me a lot,” he said. “It’s helped me grow as a person, team-wise, knowing where to put people on the court. It’s helped me become a real point guard, for real. … I’m a long, 6-5 point guard. I can defend, I can make plays without the ball, with the ball.”
ISAIAH WHALEY, MT. ZION PREP (MD) 2017 FORWARD
Whaley attends a post graduate program but is still a high school senior; the experience has helped take his recruitment to another level. He currently holds offers from Charlotte, Georgia, Memphis, Providence, Seton Hall, Towson and Virginia Tech, among others.
“It’s helped me figure out my game,” Whaley said. “I’ve gotten better, ‘cause I used to stretch and used stay out on the 3-point line, but now I’ve gotten a little bigger and stronger and I’m working inside more.”
Whaley’s versatility was on full display in Salisbury, as he posted 16.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 2 steals per game. He finished with 6 blocks in a win over Euro Lions Prep.
Whaley said he plans to make his college decision in April.
QUINTON DRAYTON, BOWIE (MD) 2017 GUARD
The 6-foot-4 Towson commit [pictured] guided the Bulldogs to a pair of victories over Olympic (NC) and Battlefield (Va.) while averaging a team-high 19.5 points per game.
Drayton's game isn't flashy; he simply makes plays on both ends of the court and has a knack for doing so exactly when his team needs. Against Battlefield he scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half to help the Bulldogs blow the game open. Bowie will look to Drayton to lead the way as they look to make a run in the top-heavy Prince George's County 4A League.
GEORGE ANDERSON, SEED (DC) 2017 GUARD
Anderson dropped 36 points to carry the shorthanded Falcons - they travelled with just five players - to an opening win over Colonel Richardson.
SEED was a late addition to the event, and had several players out of town for the holiday break. They were forced to start two freshmen, but Anderson was able to more than capably pick up the slack. He went 16-of-19 from the free throw line.
“I had to go out and lead by example. We don’t have too many scorers, so i had to just lead the team basically.”
Anderson followed that up with 18 points in a 69-63 Bracket Championship loss to Harford Tech. He averaged 27 points and 5.5 steals per game for the event.
“I was hoping it was going to be a good day for me. At first I was missing, but when [my shot] wasn’t falling, I just attacked the rack. But then I hit shots when it mattered the most.”
Anderson said he has drawn D-3 interest so far, and is worth a look for programs in need of scoring on the perimeter.
JUSTIN ROUTE, CAPITOL CHRISTIAN (MD) 2017 GUARD
The Bowie State commit average 18.7 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and a block per game for the Warriors, who won all three of their contests.
“This prep year just basically gave me a chance to develop my body, get stronger and work on my mindset,” he said. “It helped my learn how my game is and just get comfortable.”
TYLER FOSTER, MIDDLEBURG (VA) 2017 GUARD
The 6-foot-6 Foster [pictured] averaged 23.5 points per game as the Dragons earned a split, downing Charlotte Basketball Academy and falling to Legacy Charter.
Middleburg gave up an early lead before edging CBA in overtime, with Foster hitting the jumper to put them comfortably ahead. He finished with 26 points.
“I’m confident when I shoot, so I wasn’t surprised, but it felt good to get a little cushion when me and my teammates needed it,” he said.
A one-time Georgetown commit, Foster said the schools he’s hearing from most seriously are Drexel, George Mason and James Madison. He hasn’t set a timetable for committing.
“As the season goes you never know what can happen,” he said. “I’m just trying to play. I’m just seeing how it comes.”
JAMAL WASHINGTON, POTOMAC (VA) 2017 GUARD
Washington averaged 14.7 points and 3 steals per game for Potomac, which went 2-1. Washington is a physical guard with good strength and body control, and keeps defenders off-balance with his ability to score from mid-range and beyond the arc.
Washington is currently attracting Division II and Division III interest, with Shepherd, Virginia Wesleyan and Wilmington the three schools who have been in contact the most. He said he is also considering a prep year.
NOTES: Niagara was in to see Cesar Chavez (DC) 2017 guard Keleaf Tate, who they have already offered. Tate has picked up interest from UMBC, per Chavez coach Malcolm Battle. … Battle also said Division II Virginia is coming hard after Chavez 2017 guard Jacob Long. … Battlefield (Va.) 2017 guard Joe Davis had a breakout summer, and is picking up Division II and D-III interest. … Friends (Md.) 2017 guard Ross Jones boasts a Navy offer, but should be on the radar for any low-to-mid DI program looking for a steady and effective lead guard. Won't wow you with speed or size but consistently makes winning plays ... Several Division III programs are interested in CH Flowers 2017 forward Demarcus Demonia, who could boost his stock to D-2 level with a prep year. He’s a very intriguing 6-foot-5 wing who hasn’t played a ton of varsity ball and is coming off a good summer. ... Potomac (Va.) 2017 point guard Ely Camp is one of the most undervalued point guards in this class. Listed at 5-foot-10 with good strength and very impressive at shifting gears. Showed a nice lefy shooting stroke and knocked down shots from 3-point range and runners in the lane.
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