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Posted On: 11/9/18 2:56 PM
Key words: gritty, bold play; off-the-dribble shooting, ball-handling, floor leadership
In the past few days, I’ve been thinking about what I saw at the Elite 14 Showcase in Wichita Falls last weekend. Choosing my MVP from the showcase has been a cause for plenty of its own deliberation. I was able to After careful thought and retroactive analyzation as well as video study, I’ve decided that of the slate of players I was able to see, Trey Phipps (6’0” 2020 Booker T. Washington PG) was the most deserving of receiving my MVP.
I’ve written plenty about Phipps and his performance at the Elite 14. Of course, if you’ve followed his early career at BTW, you know that he can compete at a high level and, at times, take over a game. However, I saw a new Trey Phipps this weekend that I’m not sure Oklahoma is quite ready for. He did plenty of the old things he’s always done, except more consistently, and with the accompaniment of new skills as well. I realize my job is to show you, not tell you, so I have some highlights from BTW’s matchup with Duncanville (TX).
First and foremost, I wouldn’t do Phipps’s play any justice without mentioning his shooting abilities. Great shooters are found across gyms in every corner of the State of Oklahoma, but I believe he’s on his way to being one of the best to do it. His lack of fear combined with a relentless competitive fire is rare among guys his size. Plenty of guys can catch fire and hit 4 or 5 in a quarter, but how many guys can do it in 6 or 7 of every 8 quarters? His ability to shoot has always been his biggest asset, but now it seems he’s really figured out his mechanics and requires so much defensive dedication that his presence, in a way, accounts for multiple guys. He has a ridiculously-quick release that cannot be understated.
His leadership appears to have developed in the offseason. He’s always been an IQ, court general type of guard, but now it’s even more present. He has an intelligent supporting cast who I certainly don’t mean to discredit, but Phipps’s presence and leadership elevate the play of everybody on the floor wearing an orange jersey. His recognition and vision have continued to get better the more touches he’s had. I believe that his head is what makes his shooting so potent. At this point, he’s versed enough to recognize the tendencies of different defenses and take advantage of them with his release.
I’ll be curious to see the impact Phipps will have this year at the 6A level. The Tulsa commit averaged 18 PPG in his sophomore season. I expect that number to be higher. Furthermore, I believe he has the potential to average a double-double in this year. I think he’s ready to take Oklahoma 6A basketball by storm in his junior season.