The Prep Tour begins every year with a trip to Hargrave Military Academy. It’s an easy trip to book because it yields the same results year in and year out: good players.
Kevin Keatts, a one-time Marshall assistant and long-time coach for the Tigers, has seen his share of talent run through the small town of Chatham, Va. Back in the day, Korleone Young and David West rocked the rims. Last year, Keatts coached Maurice Creek (Indiana), Fred Riley (Massachusetts) and Deshawn Painter (North Carolina State).
This year’s edition features a plethora of backcourt talent highlighted by Lorenzo Brown. The native or Roswell, Ga., was supposed to start in Sidney Lowe’s backcourt this year but didn’t qualify. Instead, he’s getting buckets at Hargrave. He’s the team’s top scoring threat and frankly, he’s making it look effortless this fall. When we watched him, the Pack had assistant Larry Harris in attendance.
Brown is wired up to score. The next step is establishing himself as a leader in the backcourt and making the complete transition to the point, should he elect to go that route.
Brown is just one of three high-major backcourt players on the roster.
“It’ll be a fun bunch to coach,” Keatts said. “We can do a variety of things. We’ve got the talent and variety to run, jump and press.”
Aside from Brown, Pittsburgh’s Isaiah Epps and Arkansas commit Mardracus Wade give Keatts reason to be excited. Epps, a lefty, is the perimeter threat of the trio and has the ability to neutralize defenses with his stroke. He’ll play a lot of point and serves as the team captain.
Wade remains one of the top defensive guards we’ve seen in the Class of 2010. Both Epps and Wade are big time energy givers and fit the Tigers style extremely well.
Inside, Keatts will count on last year’s Alabama pledge Shawn Kemp. If Hargrave is going to establish a pivot man, Kemp is the likely first option. When presented chances near the bucket, he can finish. He’ll spend the year developing his go-to-move.
Dominique Ferguson, one of the most talented forwards in 2010, will be the perimeter oriented big man. Ferguson’s stroke looked excellent the day we were on campus. Florida International coach Isiah Thomas spent the day in Chatham before heading up to the Hall of Fame induction.
Helping Kemp is Charlotte native David Chadwick, a former Washington State signee. Chadwick was injured when we attended a workout but brings a hybrid face-up style to the attack.
So far, the surprise of the fall has been Colton Christian. A 6-foot-6 plus power forward, he’s the type of guy you hear mid-majors requesting year round. A big motor, Christian stuck mid-range jumpers during the workout. He’s a native of the West Coast and he sports solid grades. Could be a nice sleeper recruit.
Jarvis Davis will come off the bench and give Keatts a backcourt changeup. He committed to Louisiana Tech last year and brings speed and a get by gear. Forwards J.J. Mann and Troy King (Navy) will eat up frontcourt and swing minutes for the Tigers.
Other team members: SF Hunter Foley, PG Carlton Pride, SG Justine Howe, PG Omari Minor.