WHEELING, W.Va. — Here are five things we learned at the Cancer Research Classic.
1. Prime Prep is for real
Prime Prep (Dallas) hasn’t been shy about telling anyone who will listen that it deserves to not only be ranked in the Super 25 but in the upper echelon.
After its 59-46 win over No. 3 Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) in the Cancer Research Classic Friday, Prime Prep (14-0) certainly seems to have backed up its claim.
Prime Prep jumped on the Express early and never relented. It answered every one of Huntington Prep’s mini-runs with runs of its own.
“We don’t get rattled because we’re a complete team,” said Prime Prep point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, a junior who scored 18 points in route to being named MVP of Friday’s game. “We can hurt you in a lot of different ways so you can’t just key in on one thing. Now that we’re eligible to be ranked, I think we’re definitely top five.”
Hard to argue with that.
2. Wills is underrated
Mercersburg (Mercersburg, Pa.) combo guard Dre Wills went 12 of 19 from the field and scored 26 points, swapped five steals and snagged four rebounds to lead the Storm past Wheeling Central (Wheeling, W.Va.), 58-41, Friday at the CRC.
MORE: Super 25 Rankings
Wills had three Sportscenter-worthy posterizing dunks that sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy each time.
After the game a handful of recruiting analysts at the CRC scurried to try and find Wills in their rankings to no avail.
3. Okafor can’t be stopped.
Whitney Young (Chicago) center Jahlil Okafor may very well be the best back-to-the-basket big man in the country, regardless of class. Okafor dropped 32 points and 11 rebounds in the No. 14 Dolphins’ 78-49 win over No. 25 Neumann Goretti (Philadelphia) Saturday.
Okafor is averaging 30 points and 10 rebounds this season.
“I approach every game the same way and that’s to dominate,” said Okafor, who is ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 60. “I just don’t feel like anyone can stop me. That’s my mentality and that’s helped me.”
4. Parker is getting back to form.
Sure, No. 9 Simeon (Chicago) got bounced by 29 by No. 2 Montverde (Montverde, Fla.) Saturday at the CRC, but, in proper perspective, the Wolverines aren’t as bad off as the lopsided loss seems. Star forward Jabari Parker, a Duke commit who is ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 100, is only operating at 80 percent since returning last month after being sidelined nursing a broken foot for months.
Parker posted 17 points and 13 rebounds in the loss and said he’s still focused on getting back to 100 percent.
“That’s all I concentrate on,” Parker said. “I’m not there yet, but I’ll get there.”
When he does get back to 100 percent, it’s likely that his teammates, who struggled against Montverde’s pressure and quickness, will raise their level of play.
Simeon will be a scary draw in a couple of weeks.
5. Montverde could run the table.
Don’t tell Montverde coach Kevin Boyle that his Eagles have the talent to finish the season undefeated.
“We’re not focused on that,” Boyle said. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.”
Boyle did admit that, coming in to the season, the Eagles’ goals were to win a national title and finish without any losses. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) did it last season, finishing the year 44-0.
But Boyle worried that his team would “think too much about being perfect and get stiff.”
That prompted Boyle to tweak the goal a bit.
“Now I tell them the goal is to dominate,” Boyle said. “We don’t want to win; we want to win by a lot. Our goal is to be one of the best team’s ever assembled. It gets their minds off simply winning. We’d love to be undefeated, but we’re not consumed by that. We will have played the most competitive schedule in the country when it’s all said and done so we’ll see what happens.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSATODAY.