Posted On: 02/28/18 10:55 PM
On paper, the Hazel Park-Troy game wasn’t likely to be competitive with the Vikings beating Troy by nearly 20 just one month ago. But the great thing about basketball is that games are played on the hardwood rather than paper. This was a hard fought, entertaining game where both teams flexed their offensive power in what turned out to be a great contest. Hazel Park would lead the contest from beginning to end, but never took a double digit lead. Troy is a really good matchup for the Vikings and gave them all they could handle. In the end the Hazel Park guards were a bit too quick on the perimeter for the Colts and that was the difference in the game.
Here are five items that stick out in the aftermath:
The 6’5 wing/forward has been a revelation this year and his outing against Troy was more confirmation for me of just how valuable Adams is. Khari dropped 22 points and displayed a very versatile game. Offensively he was able to create off the dribble and blow by defenders with sudden change of direction dribbles before finishing at the rim. Always a terror in transition, Adams ran the floor extremely well and converted as a wing man. He was also relentless on the glass, using quick twitch jumping ability to simply high-point contested rebounds before going back up. While his offensive game is slept on, defense is where Khari is approaching elite status. A tremendous athlete with a great frame, Adams can literally check all 5 positions on most nights. Tuesday evening was no different, as he blocked several shots and was superb protecting the rim. On the perimter, Hazel Park switched everything and didn’t miss a beat with Khari moves better than most guards and stayed in front of the opposition all night. In a pace and space era of basketball, Khari’s versatility on D is critical. While he won’t be able to check PGs or Centers every game at the next level, Adams has the look of a guy that stops the best opposition’s best player more often than not. Khari isn’t a well-known prospect just yet, but I’m extremely confident he’s going to be an impact player at a small college next year.
The Troy guard had one of the better performances I’ve viewed from a freshman this season, finishing with 12 points and 3 assists. In the second half Brody put it all together as both a scorer and a playmaker. First, he was able to freeze a defender with a sudden crossover before getting into the paint, hitting the helpside defender with a pass fake and knocking down the 8 foot floater. A few moments later Parker received the ball in the right corner and gave a good shot fake to attack a hard closeout, drawing a helpside defender before completing a dumpoff assist to Danny Sully in a beautiful possession. To close out the third quarter the frosh once again received the ball in the right corner and this time he let it fly as the defender closed soft for fear of getting blown by……….nothing by net. I’ve watched Parker 3 times since he returned from a hand injury in January, and each time he’s looked more comfortable and if Tuesday is a sign of things to come next year the OAA is in trouble for 2018-2019.
Can’t say enough about the Hazel Park head man, as he has his Viking squad hitting on all cylinders heading down the home stretch. Take a look at the remainder of top ten teams in Class A and nearly all of them have a Division I prospect on the roster. While Coach Barret has a plethora of good prospects, he does not have a single player on his roster that currently holds a Division I offer. The Vikings also have a lack of size, with only 1 player on the roster at least 6’4. But none of that matters because HP is a well-oiled machines capable of winning games with multiple styles and schemes. And it all starts with the leadership from the top. I’d be hard pressed to find a better candidate for coach of the year.
This game was played at a very good pace, with neither team stalling or running offense without purpose. It was a very enjoyable game and I didn’t really realize how much of a difference it makes until the late stages of the third quarter. While I don’t think a 24 second clock is a great idea at the HS level, perhaps a 35 second shot clock incentivizes coaches and players to be more assertive and creative with their passes, cuts, and shot selection. In the long run it will help develop individual players and bring a better quality of basketball across the board.
We all known about the tremendous trio of East English Village, the Ann Arbor Skyline splash brothers, the poised guards from Clarkston and the high-octane backcourt for the Trojans of Henry Ford……………..but its time to admit that the trio of Carl Bow, Devin Pettus and David Hearns is on that level as well. All three seniors are interchangeable parts, as each can dribble, pass and shoot. It makes game planning for the opposition nearly impossible, as all three guards play both on and off-ball at various points in the game. While Pettus is the smallest of the group, he is arguably the best in transition as he plays with tempo at all times. Add in a lethal shot from distance and he’s a load. Bow is a high-major caliber athlete that has taken massive steps as a shooter in the last year. Hearns is the prototype combo-guard at the HS level, able to break defenders down off the bounce while also being able to space the floor as a corner shooter. The HP guard group is a bit slept on and I think its time we give them their due.