The King of the Bluegrass has been the stage for a number of big time performances over the years and this year was kicked off with a huge effort from Noel Johnson, who is ranked No. 28 by Scout.com.
The talented wing got hot and kept it up for four quarters against a scrappy Ballard team. When the final numbers were tallied up, he finished with 46 points, which ranks third all time in the events history.
To go with Johnson’s big time effort, we also saw solid performances from Scotty Hopson, Wesley Witherspoon and Brandon Moore.
Scotty Hopson, SF, University Heights – At times it can be frustrating watching University Heights play because they have one of the best players in the country, but his teammates fail to get him the ball. Hopson stormed out of the gate with a quick 9 points off a three and a handful of jumpers, but after his 9-point 5-rebound first quarter he stopped getting the ball.
There were actually 10 straight possessions where he didn’t get a touch in the half court offense. In the second and third quarters he only took two shots each. With the fourth quarter underway, U.H. put him on the ball, which allowed him to create for himself and for teammates. He finished 6-for-16 from the field and scored 18 points. He also tossed out 5 assists, snagged 12 rebounds and notched 6 steals.
Tyshawn Edmondson, SG/PG, University Heights – We’ve written about him a few times in the past and every time we see him we like him just a little bit more. The 6-foot-3 guard is a nice athlete with a solid mid-range game. He attacked the basket today and finished with 13 points.
Aaron Morris, SF, Madison Central – Schools in need of a big shooter, should take a look at this 6-foot-6 wing prospect. Against Trinity he buried a bunch of three-pointers on his way to 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting. He didn’t prove that he could score off the bounce, but he’s certainly a very good spot up shooter equipped with a body that can be bulked up.
Wesley Witherspoon, SF, Berkmar – His first half against Holy Cross was just average, but he turned it up in the second session and started showing his full game. The 6-foot-8 wing attacked the rim, created for teammates and made athletic finishes around the basket. Witherspoon is one of the most sought after wings left in the 2008 class and he showed why on Wednesday. He finished with 22 points and 9 boards.
Witherspoon Goes For 22
Brandon Moore, PF, Holy Cross – The Arkansas signee showed some improvement since the summer. We liked how active he was against Berkmar, as he swatted shots and hit the boards. He’s also extremely mobile for his size and runs the floor looking to score. Moore scored 17 and grabbed 9 rebounds.
Noel Johnson, SG, Fayette County – The signature performance of the day came from Johnson, as he exploded for a career high 46 points on 16-for-26 shooting, including 4-for-6 from three. He was terrific all game and showed off an impressive mid-range game that was full of 15-foot pull up jumpers and sweet floaters on the baseline.
The 6-foot-7 wing is also a big time athlete that hits the glass on both ends. He recorded 10 boards in Fayette County’s win. Although he scored a ton of points and in a variety of ways, it was the shot that he caught in mid-air that sent the capacity crowd into frenzy. Johnson is already well known around the circuit, but he just reintroduced himself in a big way.
Chad Jackson, PG, Rose Hill – The 6-foot-4 guard ran exclusively at the point guard spot today and he handled that role pretty well. He went for 22 points, including 9 in the overtime period. In a sloppy game, Jackson was the one that got Rose Hill settled down and willed them to victory over Oldham County. We like his athleticism and ability to attack the basket.
Tony Kimbro, SF, Manual – Already Kimbro’s been talked about as one of the better freshman in the country, and while those expectation may be a little too high, he is certainly a promising prospect. At 6-foot-4, Kimbro is an above average athlete that looked more active, especially on the defensive end, than last time we saw him. He finished 5-for-10 from the field for 14 points. He also grabbed 7 rebounds.
C.J. Penny, of Anderson County, is a solid looking junior prospect. He put up 21 points on 10-for-17 shooting and also snagged 8 rebounds. Fairdale sophomore Quintrel Thomas showed a nice slashing game. He put up big numbers against the Hillwood Hilltoppers. He finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds. Josh Stroud, a freshman at Fairdale, had a nice game as well and scored 10 points.
Noel Johnson talked some about his recruitment after his big game. He said he has scholarships from a bunch of schools, but his top five consisted of Southern California, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Memphis and Ohio State. When pressed on a leader he mentioned the Cardinals and said he would visit their campus while in Louisville.
Aaron Morris’ coach Allen Fedlhaus said that he has scholarship offers from Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, Morehead State and IUPUI. We expect more calls to flow in if he continues to shoot the ball like he did on Wednesday.
College coaches weren’t allowed to be out today, but with tomorrow being open we expect they’ll be out in full force. Remember coaches have a limit on how many times they can watch prospects play during the season and going to tournament only counts against one appearance.
We spotted a handful of former players in the building. Scooter McCray (Louisville), Scott Padgett (Kentucky) and Brian Thornton (Xavier) were all in the building. We also spotted some recent local stars Jeff Brooks, who starts for Penn State, was seen and as was New Hampton prep guard Twanny Beckham.
Manual 72, Anderson County 66
Male 72, Henry Clay 52
Fairdale 83, Hillwood 43
Madison Central 60, Trinity 57
University Heights 65, Adair County 63
Rose Hill 54, Oldham County 51
Fayette County 80, Ballard 67
Holy Cross 60, Berkmar 54