I had planned on attending the first two days of this event. My partner, who's just as avid a Husky fan as I am a Coug, wanted to watch all the Pac-10 tourney games to catch his Huskies that evening so I decided to skip the two-hour drive each way on Thursday and take in the Coug / Ucla game on the tube instead.
I arrived at the Tacoma Dome early Wednesday morning and got floor level seats behind the basket at the corner where the boys enter and leave the court. The first game was the one I wanted to see the most, #6 Shadle Park / #1 Franklin.
Anthony Brown, 6-5, PG/SG Coug recruit plays for Shadle and they quickly fell behind 14-2. I had faint hope for a Shadle comeback because in the 4A tourney Gonzaga Prep fell behind Decatur in their first game 17-2 and came back to win by six. It wasn't to be, they ended up losing to Franklin by 25.
Had Shadle beaten Rogers to get the #1 seed out of their district, they would have gotten a much easier draw in Columbia River later in the evening, who happen to be in tonight's Championship game against Franklin. River has a 6-10 kid, Steven Bjornstad, who's going to Nevada, but Shadle would have matched up a little better with them, I think. Not saying they win, but it wouldn't have been a 25 point loss either.
Also, there's just something about having to play the first game of the tourney at 9am in the morning that doesn't bring out the best in most kids. Just my opinion on that, but it's a long trip from Spokane (even though they traveled to Tacoma on Tuesday), they have to play in a spacious venue, and it's just not conducive to great shooting performances. It affects lots of teams. Most of the teams in the field are a short drive from the Dome and get the luxury of mom's home cooking and also get to sleep in their own beds. Advantage Franklin.
Anthony Brown is a special talent, even though he didn't really show it against the Quakers. Franklin is blessed with a very deep, athletic team and is led by a Louisville recruit, PG Peyton Siva. He's surrounded by more talent than Brown was. I'm not saying that the other Shadle kids are chopped liver, but you notice the difference in the overall talent level. I thought Anthony might have been the best athlete I saw during both the 3A and 4A tournaments. There were a bunch of good ones, I'm totally biased, but it's not far from the truth at all. If you put him on any number of other teams, they would easily compete for a championship. Simple as that.
Here's my opinion of Anthony Brown. At 6-5, he has the body of an NBA player, lean and very defined even though he's still maturing. He's long and a lefty, like Capers. He's probably not done growing. He handles the ball well, has a nice stroke and can get to the rim anytime he wants. He plays solid D. I project him as a possible 4-year starter and the sky's the limit, depending on how bad he wants it. He possesses all the tools.
BTW - Andre Barrington and Travis Long are both lefties too and are Wazzu FB recruits that played for State Champ Federal Way and #4 Gonzaga Prep in the 4A tournament. I notice things like that because I'm a lefty and Tony recruits lots of them.
I don't know what Tony's plans are, but it looks to me that Anthony should be penciled in for some serious PT next season. I've heard nothing but positives about PG Xavier Thames out California, that he's our future at the point, and he's ready to play right away. Anthony can't be far behind. The rest of the Pac-10 is going to have serious problems matching up with us at the guard position for years to come.
I believe he's at least the equal of Klay at this point in their careers. I see a lot of similarities. Anthony will need to develop a better outside shot. He is already a better option than anything I saw off of our bench this season.
One last comment. I always try to see how kids coming into our programs interact with their teammates, their demeanor, IQ on the court, and other intangibles. Without being able to quantify it, I thought Anthony Brown excelled in those areas as well.
Other notes - Alex Schrempf, Sr., 6-5, SF, Bellevue is the do everything son of Detlef Schrempf. A fun kid to watch. He was Bellevue's leading scorer the first night, scoring something like 28 points and only missed twice from the field. Nate Sikma is a sophomore that didn't get off the bench for them but have heard good stuff about him and his future.
I saw Steven Bjornstad, the 6-10 kid from Columbia River of Vancouver, play the first night. He's headed to Nevada. They beat Rogers of Spokane in a close one by six and was trying to figure out if he'd be able to play at Wazzu. Offensively he'd be fine, but not sure he'd get strong enough for the rigors of the Pac-10. He's pretty athletic for a big guy but kind needs to fill out a bit. I liked what I saw.
I could go on and on but will spare everyone. If anyone has a comment or question I would be more than happy to respond. There was so much else to report on. It's a great experience for any of you that haven't been to one of these events. I love watching HS kids compete. That's it from Mr. Longwinded. Go Cougs!!!