Posted On: 12/30/17 1:35 PM
This was an intriguing game as a very youthful Country Day team squared up with a more experienced, but shorthanded Novi squad. Early on DCD shooting guard Dylan Sandhu forced Novi to come out of its 2-3 zone, hitting 3 triples in the first four minutes of the game. Novi hit a few triples of its own, but was pounding the ball inside to keep things close as they faced a 19-15 deficit after quarter one. The Yellowjacket backcourt was hitting on all cylinders, as Julian Roper and Wendell Green both had several strong drives to the basket in the 2nd stanza to give DCD a 36-26 lead at the half. The third quarter and beyond was the Wendell Green show, as the Wildcats simply had no answer for the talented sophomore. Green would go for 21 points and 6 assists in the second half alone, and Country Day would cruise to a dominant victory.
As we look toward the future for both teams, here are five items that stick out in the aftermath.
The 2020 Country Day floor general was amazing against Novi, finishing with 32 points and 8 assists in a superb performance. In the first half, Green got it done in semi transition, hitting defenders with hesitations before accelerating and finishing at the rim. The second half though, is when the full arsenal was on display. Wendell started off hitting a triple, completed the and 1 after finishing through contact, found a teammate in stride off a cross screen for an assist, threw a Lonzo Ball like hit ahead in transition to Julian Roper for a layup………….and then the real show began. Early in the 4th quarter, the shifty PG would knock down three straight triples that had the crowd buzzing. The first was a walkup three in semi transition from 26 feet. He followed that up with a defensive rebound before putting on the burners and burying a triple from the top of the key. The last and perhaps most impressive of the bunch, saw Green receive the ball in the right corner where he jab stepped baseline to get a bit of separation before rising up and finding nothing but net.
Wendell is going to average 20+ points and 5+ assists this season, in what should be a respectable year for DCD as they gain experience for a youthful bunch. Green will be able to hit such lofty numbers for two reasons, talent and opportunity. He has a good handle, changes directions wells and plays at different speeds. Wendell is extremely difficult to contain off the dribble because he consistently keeps his defender off balance. While he’s only 5’10, he’s a plus finisher that can absorb contact at times and is comfortable using his off hand. Throw in the fact that he can shoot off the dribble from both distance and midrange, and he’s just a skilled scorer. Did I mention he has good vision and is a plus playmaker……….he checks that box as well. Coach Bray also has the luxury of sliding Green off-ball, as he can space the floor with a good looking stroke from distance off the catch. Nearly as important as the talent level, the sophomore has the ball in his hands 80% of DCD possessions. That sort of high usage is indicative of a ‘green light’ player, the type of prospect the coach trusts with the ball. Rough translation is that Wendell is playing with extreme confidence via the same from his head coach.
The Oakland University commit had a big night vs. Country Day, going for 22 points and 3 assists. And while his High School career is winding down, he has star potential at the next level. Maddox has an elite physical profile for a collegiate combo-guard, checking in at 6’5 with a college ready frame and good athleticism. In terms of skillset, Traveon has a solid handle, can change direction with the ball and is a good finisher with either hand that displays great body control. As a shooter, he’s very comfortable with his midrange game off the dribble. What I really like is his vision though, he has some PG qualities where he consistently finds teammates for easy layups once the helpside defense arrives to cut off his driving lane.
We look for Traveon to be an instant impact piece for Oakland, as he’s already college ready in terms of size, athletic ability and physicality. He should be able to get into the paint and finish while showing spurts of his playmaking ability as a freshman. After a few years of development and improving his perimeter shot off the catch, Maddox has the feel of an all-conference level player that can slide to either guard position.
The 2018 shooting guard was the best shooter in the gym by a wide margin during Day 1 of the Motor City Roundball Classic, going 6-7 from distance and finishing with 23 points. Dylan put on a shooting exhibition, spraying triples from the corners and the top of the key in the first half and single-handedly forced Novi to abandon their 2-3 zone. He also attacked a closeout once and got to the free throw line and added a tip in on the offensive glass.
Sandhu has one of the best looking strokes in the state, with a high release point, no extra motion, great arch and nice rotation. He has solid size at 6’2 and can be a zone buster that spaces the floor. He may be the best shooter in the state with his feet set, he’s that good. Small colleges should be all over the senior sharpshooter from Detroit Country Day.
Novi received a lump of coal under the tree with a blowout loss to Detroit Country Day, but the real presents are coming in just a few weeks. Wildcat head coach Brandon Sinawi couldn’t be happier, as his team is set to receive senior Trendon Hankerson back from injury and 6’9 big man Tariq Woody will be eligible coming off a transfer from Plymouth.
The addition of those two will transform Novi from a team sitting at 1-5 to the instant favorites in the KLAA-Gold. Hankerson is a 6’2 combo guard that scores at all 3 levels currently holding a handful of Division II offers.. While Woody is a skilled big man that can score with his back to the basket, clean up the glass and provide rim protection who also holds offers at the DII level. Those two, in addition to the aforementioned Traveon Maddox and 2019 guard Jiovanni Miles, give the Wildcats a starting lineup that should dominate the KLAA and can compete with anyone in the state.
The 6’2 Country Day guard didn’t have a huge game, but did make a solid contribution versus Novi with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in limited playing time due to early foul trouble. Roper is one of the most versatile prospects in the state, as he can play 4 positions on offense………..and he’s only a freshman. He’s excellent on-ball, with one of the best pull-up jumpers around and phenomenal vision and playmaking ability. Julian has superb strength for an underclassmen, as he absorbs contact and maintains his dribble without getting shaky with the ball or knocked off his spot, and consistently finishes. He also puts that strength to good use on the block, taking advantage of smaller guards when he backs them down before finishing at the rim. Roper is good in transition where he runs the floor well and shows some explosion when finishing. He digs in on the defensive end, using good instincts to get deflections and moves his feet well. As soon as next year, Julian is going to be one of the best prospects in the state regardless of class. He has the tools and skillset of a 20 points, 8 rebound, 4 assist, 3 steal per game player.