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Clash of Titan Wings in Tennessee
by Andrew Force, Future150 (2:30 PM CT, Mon November 24, 2014)
Hughes helped with defense and passing.
Hughes helped with defense and passing.
Andrew Force
Andrew Force:

Future150 National Analyst. Covering High and Middle School basketball.

Nashville, TN (Future150) -- Wings from Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) and University School-Jackson (USJ) met Saturday evening in Nashville, Tennessee.  Braxton Blackwell and his CPA Lions welcomed Clayton Hughes and the USJ Bruins. 

Blackwell’s bouncy post moves dispatched of USJ, 76-58. 

Blackwell led all scorers and was supported by CPA Class of 2019 freshman Tyger Campbell’s 15 points, 10 assists, and seven steals.

Ranked #40 in the nation, Blackwell trudged through an uneven first half.  Both CPA and USJ came out in zone defense, so Blackwell’s slashing was tempered a touch.  USJ shifted from a 2-3 to a 1-2-2 zone with Hughes out high.  The 6’5” Hughes has great length and broke up the halfcourt ball movement a couple times.

“We knew they had shooters,” said Hughes.  “We were trying to run them off the three point line."

Blackwell registered 10 points at the break.  He missed his only three outside shots, but was unstoppable each time he reached the paint.  After the break Blackwell effectively took over the contest.  He patiently dribbled into the sputtering zone.  Converting around the rim has never been a problem for the agile Blackwell.  He poked home a couple beauties. 

Campbell was a difficult mark.  He hopped around the arc looking for open teammates.  Numerous times Campbell surged into the lane and kicked to open shooters.  Most of CPA's early scoring came from adept assists by Campbell.  The squad has several excellent outside shooters and he wisely fed them as the defense collapsed.

Hughes Involves Teammates

Early in the game Hughes (Future150 #115) was missing his jumpers.  Ordinarily, an explosive scorer capable of hitting from outside or banging down on weary heads inside, Hughes missed his first seven shots. 

“I wouldn’t say it really got in my head much,” said Hughes.  “Last year that would have been one thing for me, but this year I have kind of grown up.  Even if I am missing my shots that is one to grow on.  I can fix my shot when I get back home.  We played tough.  That was a good team.”

Though he was not hitting shots, Hughes contributed all across the boxscore.  He had many rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and a steal. 

Somehow Hughes sprinted back to block a breakaway layup from the weakside.

“Where did he come from?” murmured a stunned fan.

The stellar wing initiated good ball movement.

“For instance, this game I wasn’t making my shot,” said Hughes.  “I relied on my team.  They stepped up.  That is fine with me if we are in the game.”

Hughes knocked down three triples in the second halff, but Blackwell's relentless penetration helped CPA pull away.

Collegiate Observers

Five college basketball coaches witnessed the matchup.

Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings, VU Assistant Coach Adam Cohen, and VU Assistant Coach Derrick Jones walked in prior to the game.  They sat midcourt, halfway up the opposing bleachers from the team benches. 

Ole Miss sent their newest hire, Assistant Coach Todd Abernethy.  Coach Abernethy ascended from Recruiting Development to assistant just last week.  Previously his duties were predominately on campus in nature.  Abernethy played for Ole Miss from 2004-2007.

After the game Coach Abernethy and Ole Miss formerly offered Campbell a scholarship.  He won’t graduate high school for 4.5 years, but he already has two colleges willing to educate him for free.

“Ole Miss officially offered last night after the game,” said Campbell’s father Tony Sunday.  “Coach (Drew) Maddux called us today and I guess the Ole Miss coach told Coach Drew.”

Campbell moved to the Nashville region this summer.  He attended Vanderbilt’s Elite Camp and was comparable to the top point guards.  For a Class of 2019 player to be equal to any elite Class of 2015 player is absurd.  Still Campbell has the tools.

“He has an offer from Western Kentucky when he was in 7th grade,” said Tony Campbell.  “He got a letter from UNC last week and also got one from Stanford, Iowa, and Cal.”

The Campbell family has not visited the campus of Ole Miss just yet, so the SEC recruiting process has just begun for them.

Coach Abernethy was also observing Hughes, who has had an Ole Miss offer since July.  Hughes has taken an unofficial visit to Oxford, Mississippi for a football game.

“I have been on Virginia..UVA’s campus, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Alabama, Western Kentucky, and also Tennessee and Vanderbilt,” said Hughes.  “I liked UVA a lot.  I love Coach Tony Bennett.  He is a great guy.  And then their campus is just gorgeous.”

According to Hughes his six offers are Middle Tennessee, Alabama State, Western Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and South Alabama.

“I am still in communication with a bunch of other coaches,” said Hughes.  “Just right now I am just really enjoying the process of recruiting and seeing what schools are best for me.”


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