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2013 Lighthouse Classic: Saturday Recap
by Garrett Tucker, Future150 (1:27 PM CT, Tue December 3, 2013)
McNeal, Hicks & Barford were great for Jackson South Side.
McNeal, Hicks & Barford were great for Jackson South Side.
Garrett Tucker
Garrett Tucker:

Future150 Southeast Analyst. Covering high school basketball across the Southeast.

Corinth, MS (Future150) -- Saturday at the Lighthouse Classic brought some more great action to the table, as well as a pleasant surprise.

The usual suspects on White Station’s stacked squad showed they are a legit team nationally this season, but a surprising Jackson South Side squad showed they have the ability to knock off the Memphis team.

And last but not least, a recent Australian import may be one of the most intriguing players in the Southeast.

Here are the players that stood out:

Chris Chiozza, 2014 PG, White Station: In the matchup of the day, Chiozza got White Station off to a terrific start against DeSoto, as he had 5 of his team’s first 9 points. The Florida-commit was a blur on the court with hardly any DeSoto players stopping him in transition. Per the usual, the 5-foot-11 point guard excelled at getting in the lane and scoring for himself or dishing to others. He also caused problems for the other team on the defensive side of the ball.

Johnny Crnogorac, 2014 C, Marshall Academy: The biggest surprise of the weekend (literally) was Australian 7-footer Johnny Crnogorac. The skilled Australian showed off an intriguing skill-set, as he can dribble and shoot, including extending his range out to the three-point line. He also was on triple-double watch the entire game, but finished with 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 blocks while fighting foul trouble. Crnogorac has great hands and feet and he is mobile for his size. The Australian import has been in the states less than a month, but before long, he could be a big name in the Southeast.

Leron Black, 2014 SF, White Station: With Illinois assistant Jamall Walker in attendance, Leron Black showed his dominance in a 16 point, 10 rebound outing. The future Illini player patrolled the inside, as he finished around the rim for dunks constantly. He also converted on a couple of three-pointers and mid-range jump shots to show his versatility. He was awarded game MVP.

Chris McNeal, 2015 PG, South Side: Another point guard to have an impressive day on Saturday was Chris McNeal. The 5-foot-11 point guard did an outstanding job of getting to the rim against a talented Corinth team, who is the No. 1 team in Mississippi’s 4A. He used his lethal first step to beat his defenders off the dribble and the rest was history. His quickness and athleticism to causeed havoc on the defensive end of the floor. McNeal has several mid-major offers, but Baylor and Cincinnati are the latest high-majors to show interest.

Brandon Sampson, 2015 SG, Madison Prep: Sampson followed up a disappointing game on Friday with a competitive fight against Wenonah. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard is wired to score the basketball, and he understands how to do it in a variety of ways. Sampson did a nice job of getting to the rim, but he also showed a nice shot from behind the arch. Mississippi State had an assistant there to see him, but his college list extends much longer.

Justin Coleman, 2014 PG, Wenonah: There aren’t too many players quicker than Justin Coleman. The Alabama signee used his quickness to his advantage, as most defenders failed to keep him in front of them. He made plays throughout the game, leading to his 23 points and a handful of assists. He didn’t shoot the ball as good as usual, but many were impressed with his long range shooting. Expect him to be quite the sparkplug and scorer for Alabama.

Devin Booker, 2014 SG, Moss Point: Devin Booker had another very tough game against an athletic Southwind team, but he showed some flashes of the scorer and shooter he is. In a sequence of three possessions, the Kentucky signee crossed over an opposing player and made him fall and lead to an NBA three, followed with another long-range three, and finished with a fade-away from the corner. He is fighting double-teams so far, but once he has other players to relieve the pressure off him, he will be a dangerous threat.

Marcus Watson, 2015 PG, Moss Point: Watson is another fast-paced point guard that excels at getting to the rim, and he did it very well against Southwind. The 6-foot point guard played under pressure the entire weekend, as he faced double-teams and traps in the full-court. Despite the pressure, Watson did a great job of getting out of trouble and controlling the game.

Jaylen Barford, 2014 SG, South Side: Another impressive surprise was the play of Jaylen Barford. At 6-foot-4, his play resembled a lot of Emmanuel Mudiay. He used his combination of strength and athleticism to get to the rim at will. Barford is ahead of many of the players his age because of his ability to score the basketball. His shooting needs to be more consistent, but he also showed some flashes of hitting the 3.

Cedric McGinnis, 2014 PG, Wenonah: Justin Coleman gets most of the limelight and respectfully so, but his complement and friend Cedric McGinnis has developed into quite the player as well. Known as more of a defensive stopper, McGinnis finished with 14 points in a win. He also did a quality job of slowing down Brandon Sampson in the final stages of the game. Expect McGinnis’ recruitment to heat up after the season ends.

Marques Bolden, 2016 C, DeSoto: DeSoto has a solid group of talented players, but the most intriguing may be a sophomore by the name of Marques Bolden. The 6-foot-9 center already has all the makings of a high-major talent, and his potential to get better is even more evident. He already has shown good footwork and some post moves around the goal, but once he masters a mid-range shot and other options to extend his game, he will be one of the best big men in Dallas.


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