Help us, Rapheal Davis!
Thursday night in Indianapolis the future of Purdue basketball took the floor on the Westside against Trader's Point Christian Academy. It was a different experience for me. After attending hundreds of high school basketball games over the years this was the first time I saw two non-IHSAA teams play. Rapheal Davis and Jay Simpson (with future mortal enemy Hanner Perea) drew such a big crowd the game was moved to Covenant Christian High School. John Wadas was there, as was regular reader and recruiting FanPost guru Oldboiler52, JustAJ from Crimson Quarry, and Bill Carmody to look at a couple of Trader's Point player that will be headed to Northwestern.
It was a good game to see Rapheal and Jay because they were playing against some competition they'll be facing over the next few years. Perea, of course, is going to Indiana. Alex Olah and Milos Kostic are each headed to Northwestern over the next two years, while Mislav Brzoja could join them as a late 2012 signee. Brzoja was a very impressive player that is a late bloomer and could fit very well for the Wildcats.
LaLumiere earned a come-from-behind 65-49 win, and one of our boys did very well. Davis finished with a game-high 30 points.
Rapheal Davis - 6'5" Guard-Forward - Davis started very slowly with only two points. He missed his first five shots, all after getting to the rim with ease. John and I were starting to get a little concerned, but things started to click in the second quarter. He had nine points by halftime after only two in the first quarter, then a huge second half as LaLumiere outscored Trader's Point 38-18 in the final 16 minutes. Davis had 21 of those 38. Davis is a scorer, plain and simple. He attacks the rim, and that's exactly what we need.
What's exciting about Davis is that he does not rely on his jump shot. I only saw him take three jumpers: a three-pointer that he missed and a couple of 16-foot pull-ups. He hit one of the 16 footers. The rest of the time he got to the rim with impunity against a team that had a lot of height. Olah is a 7-footer, while Kostic is 6'8" Brzoja is a savvy 6'5" guard that was impressive inside as well as outside. Davis got through them all. He finished 10 of 17 from the floor and, more importantly 10 of 14 from the line. So, yay that he can hit his free throws once he drives!
Davis had Kelsey Barlow's build, but is a much more effective scorer once he gets to the rim. He also moves very well without the basketball, as one of his buckets came on a very sweet backdoor cut. Davis showed his versatility with five rebounds against a team with good size. Not only did TPCA have good size, but Davis had to get rebounds with several of his own teammates playing as bigs. Simpson and Perea are bigs, as is Obij Aget (headed to New Mexico) and intriguing sophomore Johnathan Wilkins (more on him later).
I didn't get to see much of Davis' defense, but he should fit in quite well in that department. I don't think he is as polished as Barlow defensively, but he's an effective defender that has quick hands and can disrupt passing lanes.
I was mostly excited by his offensive game. We could use it right now because he is not afraid to attack the rim. He also does not settle for threes. He took one all night long. I think he can hit the occasional three to keep defenses honest, but he'll get his points going to the basket.
Jay Simpson - 6'10" Forward - This was my first time seeing Simpson. I saw Davis last summer at the junior/senior all-star game at Kokomo, where he was still recovering from minor knee surgery. Simpson had a relatively quite night with two points on one of six shooting and two rebounds. That kind of bothers me. I can live with the lack of offense because they didn't look for him. In fact, his one basket was a nice back to the basket classic big man's drop step, something that we severely lack this year.
He didn't get his first rebound until there were five minutes left, however. He was doing some decent grunt work defensively. Olah finished with 14 and 8 against a mix of Perea, Simpson, Wilkins, and Aget. Kostic was relatively quiet as well.
What's troubling is that Perea and Simpson will play similar positions in college, but Perea is light years more athletic. In fact, I would describe Perea as an athletic freak. He had eight points and 12 rebounds mostly on his freakish athleticism. His arms are each about 14 feet long and he has such vertical that a 10 foot rim is practically an insult to him. Perea still lacks polish, but as John and I discussed, even if he plays the Dallas Lauderdale Memorial Set Picks, Rebound, And Dunk role for four years he'll be a force.
It was troubling that Simpson was quiet. He's a good player, but not the sheer athletic specimen hat Perea is. It may have just been an off night for him too. With us he'll be asked to play a different role because he was primarily a center instead of a forward like he'll be in college. I think he can pair well with Hammons on the low block, but I want to see him rebound better and assert himself. There is still time for him though.
Johnathan Wilkins - 6'10" Center - I wanted to discuss Wilkins because he was the only sophomore on LaLumiere's varsity roster, but he saw a decent amount of playing time. Oldboiler and John also stated he is drawing some interest from coach Painter for the 2014 class. He had no points and no rebounds in this one, but he did play in tandem with Aget, Simpson, and Perea down low. His brother, John Wilkins, is playing this season at Illinois State. I can't find his list of offers, but it is still early and he is a player to keep an eye on. Given that we already have Sandi Marcius, Davis, and Simpson from LaLumiere, Wilkins could be next in the pipeline.
Overall, I think we should be excited. Davis could be an effective scorer for us right now and he is used to being asked to fill it up. Simpson may have more of a run-rebound-defend role at first, but rumor has it that he has a nice jumper. I think he took one fade away tonight, so you really didn't get to see it. If anything, he gives us a true power forward we can pair with a center be it Hammons, Marcius, or Travis Carroll next year. Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson will likely compete for his minutes.
As for Wilkins, it's a tough call. I really didn't get to see much of him to make an informed judgment. I do know Olah will likely be an effective player for Northwestern next year. I'd bet on it at the Lucky Stud Casino.