• Jared Exler

High School Standouts 2021 Season: Report #3

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

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Mike Murray 6’7 Power Forward 2021 (Neshaminy HS): Murray had a very strong second half after picking up two early fouls in the game to help Neshaminy beat Bensalem. Mixed up his offensive production well between posting up and making plays off the dribble. Had a nice score off a spin move near the left baseline in the first half when posting up, in addition to drawing a shooting foul in the second half from backing his defender down. Murray’s ball skills are very intriguing for a player his size. Had a smooth finish off a spin move in the second half when driving from the foul line. Also had a play where he caught the ball at halfcourt when Neshaminy was advancing the ball against pressure, taking it all the way for a floater from five feet away. Murray used a nice step through move in transition when driving down the lane to score an and-1 in the second half as well. Finished the contest with 16 points. Defensively, Murray did a better job in the second half of protecting the rim without fouling. He played the majority of the half without picking up anymore fouls. Also made a solid impact on the glass when boxing out to have seven rebounds in the game.

James Ashford 6’1 Shooting Guard 2021 (Bensalem HS): Ashford did everything he could to give Bensalem a chance till the very end in their loss against Neshaminy. Ashford had three three-pointers in the game. Had a trey from the top of the key coming off a dribble handoff in the first half. Also had two critical threes late in the game to keep his team in it. Ashford drained a spot up trey from the right wing to put Bensalem within four with 1:35 left, in addition to a desperation three from the top of the key off the bounce which put his team down one with 2.6 seconds left. He had his mid-range game going as well, hitting a pair of pull-ups in the paint in addition to using a soft floater to score early in the game. Ashford used finger rolls well when driving to the hoop on a coast to coast layup in the first half off a steal, and a drive in the fourth quarter from the top of the key finishing with his left hand. Ashford had 26 points in the contest. He was also outstanding rebounding the ball on the offensive glass. Had five offensive rebounds, helping get himself and team extra scoring opportunities. In the first quarter, Ashford had two offensive rebounds, with one resulting in an and-1 on his putback and finishing the other one with a five foot jumper. Gave Bensalem an opportunity to tie the game with 10 seconds left down three, rebounding his own miss from the foul line to kick it out to a teammate for an open trey that was just off the mark. Ashford made a good effort as well when getting switched on to Neshaminy’s forwards, making it difficult for them to get the ball despite giving up multiple inches.

Jackson Hicke 6’4 Wing 2023 (Radnor HS): Hicke showed the ability to score both inside and out during Radnor’s win over Springfield. Hit a pair of three-pointers in the game. His first one was on a spot up attempt from the left wing. Hicke’s other trey came from the top of the key, where he moved from the foul line against Springfield’s zone to find the open spot. Also showcased his mid-range game. Had a smooth pull-up from the left elbow in the first half, in addition to hitting a 12 footer off a spin move. Hicke has a floater game in his arsenal as well. In overtime, he split a double team from the left wing to score a floater from eight feet, and also hit another one from the left baseline on a drop-off in the lane from a teammate. Had 20 points in the contest. Hicke did a good job defensively of boxing out opponents and aggressively going for the ball on rebounds. Corralled six boards. Also made a nice effort using his size and length to contest opponents shots and force them into lower percentage attempts.

Cole Rhoades 6’1 Shooting Guard 2021 (Springfield HS): Rhoades did a very good job of putting pressure on Radnor with his ability to get to the rim during Springfield’s close loss. Drew shooting fouls on three different occasions when driving from the wings. Showed he can be counted on as a free throw shooter as well, going 8-10 in the contest. Rhoades also showed good touch on a runner off the glass during the second half in addition to in the overtime session, corralling an offensive rebound in the mid-post to finish a right hand layup. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time which he exhibited on his two offensive rebounds, as well as finishing a layup under the basket off a teammate’s tipped three-pointer. Rhoades finished with 16 points in the game.

Robert Wright 5’10 Point Guard 2024 (Neumann-Goretti HS): Neumann-Goretti is known for their outstanding guard play and look to have another one on the rise in Wright. He only played 12 minutes in Neumann-Goretti’s win over LaSalle, but he did more than make the most of them. Wright has an explosive first step with a shifty handle, making it very difficult for opponents to keep him out of the lane. Had a nice drive in the first half using a spin move to finish with his left hand, in addition to using a half-cross with his left hand to score a floater in the second half. Showed he was not afraid of the moment late in the game, using a left to right crossover from the top of the key to hit the game winning layup at the buzzer. Had nine points in the contest. Wright also made an impact defensively. He is very quick laterally which makes opponents have to work hard to get dribble penetration on him. Wright has good instincts on this end as well, which he showed by coming out of nowhere to pick off an opponent's outlet pass in the second half for a steal.

Horace Simmons 6’6 Wing 2023 (LaSalle College HS): Simmons looks ready to take a leap this year for LaSalle. Scored 26 points with six three-pointers in LaSalle’s last second loss to Neumann-Goretti. Has very good form on his shot, to go with solid positional size which makes it difficult for opponents to contest his attempts from long range. On Simmons first three, he drilled the shot from the left corner with his defender giving him very little space. Also hit a deep trey from the top of the key when an opponent gave him too much space. Simmons forces defenders to have to stay at home on him more often than not because of his potent shooting ability. While his most consistent form of offense comes on three-pointers, he also shows upside in spurts with driving to the hoop. Had a nice drive from the top of the key in the second half to draw a shooting foul. Simmons is a good athlete, who will become even more difficult to defend if he can improve his ball handling to make more plays off the dribble. Showed his athleticism on a nice two hand dunk in transition during the first half. Defensively, Simmons is difficult to shoot over the top of with his height and leaping ability. Also does a good job of not giving up on this end, even if his matchup gets by him. He recovered nicely on a play in the second half when he blocked an opponent’s shot at the rim after getting beat off the dribble. Simmons contributed on the glass for LaSalle as well, showing good intuition of where the ball was going to come off the rim. Had four rebounds in the contest.

Ryan Riotto 5’10 Point Guard 2021 (Bishop Shanahan HS): Riotto was instrumental in Bishop Shanahan’s comeback win over West Chester East in the fourth quarter. Did a good job of not fretting about missing shots early on and coming up clutch when his team needed him. Scored all nine of his points in the final period. Had a smooth trey from the top of the key after coming off a screen from the foul line early in the fourth quarter. Shortly after his first three-pointer, Riotto drew a shooting foul on a pull-up jumper from eight feet. Had a nice shot fake from the right wing, getting to the rim with under a minute left to draw another shooting foul and nail both at the line. Gave his team the lead with one second left on a trey from the right corner. Showed good basketball IQ by passing to his teammate, to then find the open spot in the corner and get the ball right back for a quality look.

Kieran Hefferan 6’0 Shooting Guard 2021 (West Chester East HS): Hefferan did a good job playing within the flow of West Chester East’s offense and not forcing anything in their close loss to Bishop Shanahan. Hit two treys in the third quarter to give West Chester East momentum. Hefferan’s first trey came near the right corner on a drive and kick from his teammate, with his other made three coming from the top of the key after he used a screen from the foul line to get open. Also had a pair of offensive rebounds which led to him getting fouled and making two free throws as well as scoring on a putback. Hefferan finished with 10 points in the game. Hefferan does his best to not be a liability on the defensive end by giving very good effort when guarding on the ball, and consistently being in the right spots when one pass away or coming over from the help side.

Copyright © 2021 Jared Exler, All rights reserved.

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