The Breakdown: Booker T. Washington vs Nathan Hale

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Posted On: 02/8/18 10:05 PM

After the slow start the Hornets got the ball rolling with superb defense leading to easy baskets against Tulsa Hale. Booker T. Washington was one point shy of 100 ousting Hale, 99-66. Get the breakdown along with the keys to Booker T. Washington making a run at the Gold Ball in Class 5A. Plus get what has impressed Prep Hoops the most about the Hornets over the season.

Slow Start

Booker T. Washington got off to a slow start on Thursday night against Nathan Hale. Coming off a big win on Tuesday night against #1 Tulsa Memorial the Hornets took a little bit to get in sync against top 15 squad Nathan Hale. The Hornets found their rhythm driving to the basket and running in transition. Defense led to easy baskets on the offensive end.

The Key

At the start of the season Jaycson Bereal was clearly frustrated with his role offensively. First year head coach Conley Phipps did a great job of adjusting throughout the season until he found the perfect fit for Bereal and for the team. It is evident Bereal has found his niche with the Hornets. I believe if Booker T. Washington is going to win the state championship it will be with Jaycson Bereal as the key starting the engine for the Hornets. Bereal is bringing strong play to the floor on both ends and is getting the ball in great spots on the floor that are allowing him to thrive attacking the basket. The athleticism of Bereal is off the charts. What allows him to be one of the best in the state at driving the basketball is his height, length and athleticism. Bereal is still maturing on the court and learning the game. It was not long ago he was set to be a standout wide receiver on the gridiron. Bereal is starting to tap into his great potential he has on the court. Boise State is getting a great athlete that has shown strong signs of improvement throughout this season. If Bereal can continue the level of play he has been at throughout the second third of the season the Hornets will have a great opportunity to end the year with a ring.

The Hornets are growing up

Another testament to the great coaching job Conley Phipps is doing at Booker T. Washington is the Hornets are making high basketball IQ decisions on the court. Earlier in the season Booker T. Washington jacked up a ton of three-point shots with their two standout 2020 Guards Bryce Thompson and Trey Phipps. Both Thompson and Phipps have an outstanding three-point shot however there were times they could have pursed a higher percentage shot. It appears Thompson and Phipps are continue to advance their knowledge of the game as they are making all of the right plays with the ball in their hands. It makes Booker T. Washington really hard to guard when they are taking high percentage shots.

The Scouting Report

RaQuan Elliot has been a hot topic in the 2018 Oklahoma Class with his performances this year at Nathan Hale. After having seen him play against five quality opponents I am comfortable with saying Prep Hoops projects him to the NCAA Division II to JUCO level. He is a Point Guard with a good handle of the basketball, solid vision, an above average jumper and is slightly above average at getting to the hoop off the dribble with a floater in his repertoire. He struggles when teams face guard or make him a priority. There were times when Booker T. Washington took him completely out of the game as he stood about 40 feet from the basket. Due to teams guarding him as the #1 option, Elliot at times forces low percentage shots. The upside with Elliot at the JUCO level is he would have two years to hone his skills and would not be the go to option, which would take some pressure off of him. At the NCAA Division II level Elliot could be an impact guy for four years at the Point Guard spot and even slide over as combo guard and play at the two guard spot with his ability to shoot the basketball from deep. Elliot will have options to pick from with a Pitt State and Connors State offers in his back pocket already. He certainly has game and is one of the best-unsigned Oklahoma players left for JUCO’s and NCAA Division II programs to go after in the 2018 Class.

Stingy Defense

Booker T. Washington played great defense against Nathan Hale on Thursday. They limited their lead scorer RaQuan Elliot by face guarding him, throwing double teams at him and making him play off the ball. The Hornets having the ability to shut down a high level scorer bodes well for them in the playoffs as they will see a lot of teams that are led by talented guards. Elisha Brantly 2018 Guard is great in the role as the lockdown defender for Booker T. Washington. If I was at the NCAA Division II, JUCO or NAIA level I would take a look at Brantley as a good glue guy that unites the team with defense, toughness and constant effort.

 

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