Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Keeping Tabs: Devoe Dominating

PJS Note: Periodically over the remainder of the basketball season I will post updates of Tubby Smith's incoming five-man 2008 class. The group has been ranked as high as 10th nationally and it is part of the hopefully golden future of Minnesota basketball.

Canadian super prep Devoe Joseph (pictured) put up a team-high 27 points Monday night for his Pickering High Trojans, leading them to a 94-48 throttling of their opponent in the first round of the provincial boys high school playoffs.

Prior to the first tip, the Toronto Sun took a look at what to expect in the Ontario high school tournament. Our boy Devoe was prominently featured. Here's a snippet.

Pickering is led by phenom senior Devoe Joseph, a combo guard who received attention from major U.S. Division 1 schools. He saw visits by coaches from Virginia Tech, Texas, Vanderbilt, Illinois, St. John's, Kansas and USC before accepting a full scholarship to play for the University of Minnesota this fall.

While Pickering doesn't keep official stats for its games, Gordensky estimates Joseph puts up 25 points, six or seven assists and a couple of steals per contest. He lit up d'Youville for a season-high 42 points on Dec. 14.

"He is incredibly athletic and he has unlimited (shooting) range," said Gordensky of the 6-foot-3 Joseph. "He also runs the point for us sometimes because he is such a smart player."

The Gophers are going to need someone next season to pick up some of the scoring slack. With Dan Coleman, Spencer Tollackson and Lawrence McKenzie moving on, Joseph will be a key newcomer when it comes to filling the basket. If the Gophers sign another point guard, I expect Devoe to play a lot of shooting guard. If not, expect Al Nolen and Devoe to share time at the point similar to how McKenzie and Nolen do now.

Devron Bostick: Quite the accomplishment for this young man. For the second consecutive season, Bostsick has been named the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and Region 24 tournament player of the year. This Belleville News Democrat article suggests that Bostick persevered this season despite some up and down play. Here's a snippet:

Bostick is averaging 18 points for a Blue Storm team that is 26-4 and seeded first in the Region 24 Tournament.

"There was a time a few weeks ago when I didn't think he was going to do anything because Devron wasn't playing well and he was having a few problems. We even benched him for a half in two of our games," Blue Storm coach Jay Harrington said. "I'm really proud that he was able to get through that tough time and finish as strong as he has."

Bostick, who will attend the University of Minnesota next fall, enjoyed his stellar sophomore season despite being heavily guarded.

"It's been a different season because every game he's been a marked man. He's been the guy teams have tried to stop," Harrington said of Bostick. "He's been beaten on, pushed and shoved all year and even though its been difficult for him, I think he's become more comfortable with the fact that he's been a decoy.

"Sometimes when you are the one people are trying to stop, you have to learn to let your teammates take charge. Devron has done that."

It sounds like a year of maturation for Bostick. It should bode well for him when he arrives in Minnesota that he's learned how to deal with ups and downs and tough, physical play. If he's a potential NBA player as has been reported, he'll get significant attention from superior defenders once he arrives in the Big Ten.

Ralph Sampson III: The Duluth, GA product had 18 points, but his Northview team couldn't upend the heavily favored team from Norcross, the two time state champions, in a state quarterfinal last weekend. According tot he Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sampson came into the game averaging seven blocks per contest but tallied just one in the season-ending loss.

Verdell Jones: According to a thread on an Illini message board, Tubby Smith made the trip to Illinois recently to (presumably) catch point guard Verdell Jones in action. At this point, Jones is not part of the five-player class that will suit up next season, but Tubby is still looking at a handful of players (a couple point guards and a big man) for the incoming class. The Gophers seem to be in the driver's seat for Jones' services. But he also has basketball heavyweights Kentucky and Tennessee after him. Jones is a 3-star, 6'4" point guard who is said to have good ball handling skills, vision, and a good set shot from the outside. Jones' value has went up in part because there is a dearth of point guard talent left unsigned at this point. For a couple reasons--Minnesota's own point guard issues and just to steal a recruit from Kentucky is fun--it'd be great to get Jones to sign on.


lonebadger said...

Joseph is playing against hockey players. I'll bet their courts have a red line running across the middle. Canadian basketball teams don't even keep stats? Yeah, we think he scores like 40 a game and has range all the way out to the blue line! Should be easy to tell how he'll do in the Big Ten. Well he should be good against the zone trap anyway.

Friend Of Tubby said...

Joseph excelled against the WORLD'S best players in the FIBA 19 & Under tourney last summer.

Leading scorer in that event.

PJS said...

I'm pretty sure you're joking, lb, but under that rationale, Dirk Nowitzki and other European stars couldn't be good at basketball because soccer is the most popular sport across the pond.

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