Posted On: 12/20/17 6:00 AM
In their first of two games this season, Toledo St. John’s protected home floor against Lima Senior last night, 68-44. The Titans remained undefeated at 3-0 while Lima Senior is now 4-3.
Lima Senior head coach Quincey Simpson told us before the game that five of his rotation players were held out of last night’s games because of injuries or the flu. The Spartans were able to hang tough in the first half with scrappy defense, but St. John’s buried them in the third quarter to take command.
SJJ’s roster is full of collegiate level talent, and they’ll dominate our list of Ten Best performers.
MVP: Vincent Williams (SJJ)
Williams, a VCU signee and #5 prospect in the 2018 class, took over in the second half. Playing with his back to the basket in the midrange, Williams used his blend of quickness and strength to spin off defenders for chances at the rim. The 6’5” hybrid is a gifted passer, often attacking the Lima defense as SJJ’s primary ball-handler. He’s an extension of the coach on the floor who impacted the game on defense too…
Best defensive performance: Vincent Williams (SJJ)
Williams was a game-changer with his full-court pressure defense. He pestered the Lima inbound passer by jumping the first pass and getting a couple easy baskets. Against Jaleel King, Williams used his strong chest and quick hands to make him uncomfortable in the second half. SJJ’s disadvantage tonight was height, yet Williams compensated by being the aggressor on the glass.
Best offensive performance: Houston King (SJJ)
King, a 6’4” unsigned senior guard, set the tone early in the second half by hitting a pull-up jumper after a hesitation move and drilling a deep triple. His in-between game includes secondary moves and a jumper with a high release. Consistency with the 3-point shot is what Division I coaches want to see from King, and he wasn’t great from out there. However, the threat of his catch-and-shoot ability opens up those elbow pull-ups.
Top sixth man: Ryan Christie (SJJ)
Not entirely sure why Christie doesn’t start, as the 6’1” senior point guard was fantastic tonight. It was first-time-long-time for us watching him, as he sat out a lot of games for transferring regulations. Now, Christie is a different player, as he obviously spent a lot of his free time in the weight room. Once a shooting specialist, Christie now bullies small guards on his way to the basket with a strong upper body. He’s still a high-IQ player that delivered it to the open man consistently.
Christie holds an Urbana offer and plenty of Division III options currently. He looked surely capable of a scholarship tonight.
Top underclassman: Dimitri Mistopoulos (SJJ)
Although Mistopoulos is regarded more highly as a football prospect, his athleticism and effort is key for St. John’s. The 5’10” combo guard’s speed allows him to draw charges, get deflections, and scoot into the lane for tough finishes. He plays extremely hard, doesn’t make too many mistakes, and is trusted with the ball by the seniors. Mistopoulos is the point guard of the future.
X-factor: Jatsiel Colon (Lima)
It was my first time watching the 6’8” post player and his athleticism surprised me. The senior is very light on his feet, allowing him to leap high for rebounds and move around the paint smoothly. If Colon would’ve finished high-percentage shots tonight, Lima may have stuck around, which is why he’s the x-factor. Colon was the Spartans advantage because of his size and athleticism, however he lacks touch around the rim and wasn’t able to stay out of foul trouble.
Underrated performer: Payton Moyer (SJJ)
Moyer didn’t do anything special tonight. But the constant threat of his 3-point jumper kept the defense honest, opening lanes up for Christie and Williams. Moyer, a 6’0” junior, will likely end up at the Division III level as a specialist.
Best intangibles: Jaleel King (Lima)
King is another football prospect to crack our list. The 6’4” wing had a very strong first half, as he was able to contain Vincent Williams and made plays on the break. King brought energy to the team by beating SJJ down the floor for put-backs in transition. He also provided a sense of calmness with his confidence against Williams early.
Honorable mention: Elijah Kimmons (SJJ)
Kimmons is an interesting 6’3”-6’4” sophomore who surprisingly played in the post tonight. In the grassroots season, he played the wing for C2K Elite. It’s been hard to get a grip on what type of player he’ll end up being. Regardless, defense has been the constant. He played tough in limited minutes against Colon, using his length to contest shots. Kimmons caught in the paint and was quick enough to dart around Colon for a basket. In his role for SJJ, he reminded me of less strong version of Lunden McDay from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary on the defensive end. If Kimmons doesn’t develop as a ball-handler, he’ll be able to impact the game with effort, length, and athleticism.
Our takeaway: The future is bright for SJJ
We came into the game knowing that St. John’s is the favorite for the District Championship and maybe the region. Nothing has changed there, so let’s move onto something new.
St. John’s is going to be good even after graduating Williams, King, and Christie this spring. Their sophomores (Mistopoulos and Kimmons) show promise already. Jaedyn McKinstry was in street clothes tonight, but he’s another future contributor in that 2020 class. Also, freshman guard Braydon Lichtenberg is already seeing big minutes for this team. He’s a shooting specialist right now but has the feel and athleticism to develop beyond. Also, 6’2” guard Thomas Zsiros is another freshman to watch out for. He’s a very physically mature player who looked strong in the JV game. Zsiros has good vision and a decent two-foot floater.