WASHINGTON, D.C.- One of the better eight-team tournaments in the country, the 2011 Gonzaga D.C. Classic tipped off in the Carmody Center on the campus of Gonzaga College High on Friday. Fittingly, recent North Carolina pledge -- and current Gonzaga point guard -- Nate Britt was at the top of the heap on Friday as he posted 30 points and six assists in a win.
Britt's offensive aggression leads Gonzaga
Given that he's already ranked No. 11 overall in the class of 2013 Rivals150, one would expect Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga star junior Nate Britt to look good on the floor. The recent North Carolina commit was all of that and then some on Friday.
From the opening tip when he raced his team down the floor and fed a man for an easy bucket, Britt was playing at a different tempo than just about everybody else. The opponents from Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic were game as well. They applied full-court pressure and looked to make Britt work defensively. It didn't really matter.
While still slight of build, the 6-foot-1 Britt has found a new level of explosiveness off the dribble and best of all, he's adept at making rapid-fire decisions while playing at near breakneck speed. He blended looking for his own offense while creating for others and showed off a retooled jumper as he made 12-of-19 form the field to score his 30 points.
Davis leads pack of performers
Britt wasn't the only guy doing damage on Friday. Central Catholic senior guard Lincoln Davis led a group of several other standouts. At about 6-1 or 6-2, Davis is an extremely athletic and wiry off guard who can knock down some shots. His ball-handling is a little shaky at times, but he's explosive in high ball screen situations and gets to the rim in a hurry. He was a relative unknown headed into the tournament but picked a great day to play well and schools like Boston College, Boston and Robert Morris who had the early drop on him are about to get some company.
Washington (D.C.) Sidwell Friends was mostly led by the talented perimeter duo of Penn-bound senior point guard Jamal Lewis and four-star junior wing Josh Hart. Lewis is steady, has good strength and will score some when needed in the lane. The 6-foot-5 Hart, is jacked. He's a strong wing who plays with a high level of physicality and is a playmaker out of the high post. He finds cutters, drives aggressively to the rim and is one of the best rebounding wings in the class of 2013. He mentioned offers from N.C. State, Georgetown, VCU, UMass, Penn State, Xavier and Penn. The Hoyas and Wolfpack both had coaches in to watch.
Gonzaga is also aided greatly by junior forward Kris Jenkins. At about 6-5 or 6-6, Jenkins marries power and skill together. He's very crafty around the bucket, competes and can knock down a jumper as well. In less minutes, Gonzaga freshman shooting guard Franklin Howard was also impressive. He's got deep range, a crisp release and lots of length to his 6-foot-3 frame.
Outside of Penn-bound senior guard Tony Hicks -- a combo guard who can score -- Chicago (Ill.) St. Rita is a young team. But, they are a talented young team. Maybe most impressive of all is 2015 shooting guard Charles Matthews. At about 6-foot-4, Matthews is a lengthy wing with ball skills, athleticism and a good-looking jump shot. He already handles pretty proficiently and will be a playmaker for others down the road. His recruitment looks like one with a chance to take place at a high level.
Also at St. Rita is sophomore small forward Victor Law. The 6-foot-6 wing also plays a lot on the frontline for St. Rita but he has good ball skills. In particular he likes to operate near the top of the key and shake defenders with aggressive one or two dribble moves into pull-up jumpers. He's a pretty good athlete as well.
Bel Air (Md.) John Carroll suffered a tough overtime loss to Weston (Fla.) Sagement. JC features senior wing Jarred Jones. The 6-foot-6 Jones hit a tough step-back three to send the game to overtime and showed ability to get to the rim via the dribble. If he can finish more consistently, he'll help somebody out as a spring signee. Jones has a couple of young teammates to keep an eye on. 5-10 combo guard Kamau Stokes is wired to score and can make jumpers and has kind of a Myles Mack'ish way about him. Freshman Justin Jenifer has a big reputation. The lefty is little, quick and can score it some as well.
Sagemont wing Egor Koulechov was the day's high scorer with a 31-point effort. The 6-foot-5 wing has good strength for a junior, can shoot with range and doesn't mind getting into the paint and mixing it up a bit. Teammate Jordan Cooper, a sophomore wing, is one to watch in the class of 2014.
Ja'Quan Newton of Philadelphia (Pa.) Neumann-Goretti is a physical combo guard. The 2014 product will take you to the rim, uses his body to dish out some punishment and he plays pretty fast. His jumper looks to be something that he can use to his advantage and Newton looks like a high major prospect. Sophomore teammate Troy Harper a 6-foot-1 shooting guard isn't bad himself.
There was a strong showing of college coaches on Friday. We spotted coaches from Maryland, Rutgers, Georgetown, N.C. State, UMBC, LaSalle, Delaware, Boston College, Boston, Towson, Robert Morris, Penn, George Mason, Rice, Hofstra, Columbia, Drexel and North Florida in the crowd.