Posted On: 01/29/18 9:33 AM

The 5th Annual Nathan McCurry Classic at John Hardin high school featured a loaded field with quality games. The third game of the day featured the Crimson of DuPont Manual taking on the Hawks of LaRue County. The game was tightly contested throughout and ended when Manual missed a 3 from the corner that would have sent the contest to overtime. Here are some quick reactions from the game.

1. LaRue County is huge for a Kentucky High School team. Sophomore Mark Goode is 6’7, Sophomore Branco Balingate is 6’8, Anthony Adkins and Warner Bryan are 6’5 and Dailliss Cox is 6’4 but has missed the last week with a concussion. That type of size is extremely rare for a Kentucky team and can be overwhelming at times. They used that size to make a big, long zone defense that caused problems for Manual all afternoon.

2. Eli Roberts has huge potential. Roberts is a sophomore starter for the Crimson. He stands about 6’7 and passes every eye test imaginable. He looks impressive when he walks in the gym. He catches your eye in the layup line. He shows flashes of perimeter skill that would make a division I college coach drool. But then he disappears for long stretches of the game. Roberts is averaging 10.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore but he should probably average double those numbers. Eli Roberts has the potential to be a top 5 player in the 2020 class. If he can reach that potential, Manual can be really good for the next 2 years.

3. Mark Goode is the best pure post player in 2020. The sophomore looks to have grown to about 6’7 and is supremely polished around the rim with his back to the basket. Goode is also an exceptional 2 handed rebounder. The only hindrance for Goode is a lack of foot speed, especially laterally. Unfortunately, LaRue plays a lot of zone so we didn’t get to see him guard much. The big fella also threw several nice outlets against full court pressure. Goode is one to track in the next couple of years. He could be a fringe D1 player.

4. This was a difficult game to enjoy. Between seemingly inept 5th region referees and one of the sloppier games I’ve seen in the past couple of years, this game looked more like an 8 AM game on Sunday at an AAU tournament in May. There were multiple sequences where one team would turn it over then the opponent would turn around it throw it out of bounds. Both teams were in the double bonus early in the 4th quarter and neither team was exactly lighting it up at the free throw line. Overall, this game was more of a grind to watch than a joy.

5. LaRue is my pick to win the 5th Region….but not until 2019. This team returns almost all of their major contributors and I’m really intrigued by freshman point guard Jeremiah Belton. Interested to see his development over the next 6 months or so as he grows into the point guard spot both literally and skills wise. With Goode, Adkins, Balingate, Bryan, Cox and Belton all returning next season, LaRue will be tough to match-up with for any school in Kentucky. Hopefully next year, coach Childress will allow them to run a little and not be such a half court team.