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Day 1 of CRC: Josh Sharkey & Jalen Brunson
by Jason Morrow, Future150 (5:08 PM CT, Sat January 3, 2015)
Jalen Brunson going for 48 was the top performance on Friday
Jalen Brunson going for 48 was the top performance on Friday
Jason Morrow
Jason Morrow:

Future150 National Editor/ Midwest Recruiting. Covering high and middle school basketball. OH,IN and IL.

WHEELING, WV (Future150) -- As the new year kicks into full gear, so does the action on the hardwood. In Wheeling, WV for Friday and Saturday is the Cancer Research Classic, and Day One certainly did not disappoint. Without further adieu, here's the players who stood out:

Jalen Brunson (2015/Stevenson): While Tatum and his Chaminade team won the game, the Villanova-commit Brunson ever so slightly won the affection of the crowd in Wheeling on Friday. Going for a tournament-record 48 points, Brunson did a little bit of everything for his Stevenson team, and was fairly efficient as well, shooting 16-of-26 from the floor and 6-of-13 from beyond the arc. The scoring record was well in hand by midway through the third quarter, as he totaled 33 points through the first 19 minutes of action, knocking down back-to-back triples early in the frame to surpass fellow Chicago-native Jahlil Okafor, who had 33 points in a 2012 win over Neumann-Goretti.

Josh Sharkey (2016/Archbishop John Carroll): As the MVP of Friday’s second game, Sharkey led his squad to the win over La Lumiere with 26 points and five assists. Standing at 5-foot-10, the junior was extremely tough to defend in the half-court, slipping by defenders on his way to the rim. His ability to create offense from wherever on the court was the difference as his John Carroll squad held off a vicious charge from Jalen Coleman and La Lumiere.

Mario Kegler (2016/Arlington Country Day): Just taking a look at Arlington Country Day’s Mario Kegler, one may think he is more of just back-to-the-basket type player that uses his physicality to score on defenders. That is not, and was not the case on Friday, as the junior was extremely deadly from beyond the arc, knocking down shots with consistency. With his 6-foot-7, 230-pound frame, Kegler can also score at the rim when he has to. His motor and drive to score from outside combined with his agility on the defensive end make him a special player that will only continue to dominate.

Issac Humphries (2016/La Lumiere): In only his third game on American soil, the seven-foot Australian showed flashes of his game in their game on Friday. Despite the loss to Archbishop John Carroll, the junior has a very smooth post game for someone of his stature and size. As he continues to grow into his body, there is no doubt he is a top-tier recruit that will be able to have his pick of top schools. Per Ben Roberts of NextCats, Kentucky assistant Barry Rohrssen was in to watch him today as well.

Jayson Tatum (2016/Chaminade): If one needed evidence to argue that Jayson Tatum is the best player in the 2016 class, they would have to look no further than Friday’s performance at the CRC. The junior validated any claims of the former today with his performance, scoring 39 points and 14 rebounds as his Chaminade squad earned their first win outside of Missouri today over one of Illinois’ best teams in Stevenson. Tatum’s mid-range game was on display, using his excellent footwork to create separation from defenders, leading to open jump shots.

Brian Parker Jr. (2015/Cleveland VASJ): Helping lead his Villa Angela-St. Joesph squad to a comeback victory was point guard and Marist-commit Brian Parker Jr. The senior had 18 points and was the game’s MVP, and he did a little bit of everything to earn that title, attacking into the paint with great force and also using his high basketball IQ to always make the right decision. His ability to feed top-10 player Carlton Bragg while also getting his own numbers makes VASJ a threat yet again in Cleveland come tournament time.

Ben Simmons (2015/Montverde): There will be no shortage of coverage on LSU-signee Ben Simmons this weekend or any weekend of the basketball season, but what the future Tiger continues to do is impressive enough to note. Helping his team to the century mark in a win over Whitney Young, Simmons was a perfect 11-for-11 from the field, 2-for-2 from the stripe with six assists and five rebounds. Throw in just one turnover over 19 minutes of action, and you have one of the best performances of the CRC so far. The 6-foot-8 Simmons moves well with or without the ball, and his ball-handling and decision-making skills are very consistent, down to a science almost. Montverde has only lost once on the year, and Simmons will hope to keep it that way as they play VJ King and Paul VI on Saturday night at the CRC.

Lucas Williamson (2017/Whitney Young): Despite being outmatched against powerhouse Montverde Academy, the sophomore Williamson shined late in the game for the Dolphins, scoring 17 of his team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter. Williamson was able to bring a bright spot to Whitney Young when they needed it, and the 6-foot-4 forward also knocked down two triples in a big 30-15 fourth quarter that will likely give the Dolphins some momentum heading into their game against Huntington Prep on Saturday.


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