Make no mistake about it, the talent at The St. James NIBC Invitational was as good as we are going to get in the patchwork season of 2020-2021 prep hoops. Even with such a wild schedule of events, this platform brought together some of the best teams we have in scholastic basketball. The stars, to no one’s surprise, shined.
Let’s take a deeper look at our Top Overall Performers. Here is Part I.
If you saw any of the Sunrise Christian win over IMG in what was arguably the best game of the weekend at The St. James NIBC Invitational, you saw the best point guard in America’s 2021 high school class. He was awesome. Simply put, awesome. And the Memphis, TN native was awesome all week long for one of the best teams in America.
He was so good, in fact, that we had to update our national rankings right after. In a season where we don’t have a lot of apples to apples competition, this was the best setting to see the best teams. Chandler played like an All-American. The future Tennessee Vol posted crazy numbers in this version of high school hoops bubbleville. He averaged 13.3 points, hit 10 of 21 shots from three, sank nearly 90 percent from the foul line and led the event in assists (6.4 per game) and steals (3.6 per game).
No big deal.
The best prospect on the best team on the best stage of the year. Can’t write up it much better than that. Duren makes it look all too easy. That’s been the book on him for the last couple of years.
He was the top scoring big man in the event, posting 15.9 points a contest over the seven game stretch and shot 46 of 73 from the field (63%). He led the NIBC Invitational in rebounds at 11.1 a contest and was second overall in blocked shots with 2.6 a game.
He literally snatched shots, and hope, right out of the air. Duren makes the game look so easy all the while being the scariest guy on the floor each game out.
There is an infectious energy to Bates that carries over to his teammates. He wants it. And he wants it in the big game. It shows.
The future Texas guard was a catalyst in his team’s championship run back in the fall at the loaded Border League. In the primetime game against Montverde, pairing the top two teams in America against each other in the annual tussle, Bates was the IMG alpha dog.
We saw Bates take his game up a notch and kept his club in the mix. For the course of three games, Bates scored 16.7 points a game (20-34 FG/ 58.8%) and was a dead-eye shooter (7-14 from 3). Longhorn fans should be giddy for a player like Bates coming to town. He’s the guy you need when the Horns go to Lawrence, KS and Waco, TX.
What a great showing from the Charlotte, NC native. The sophomore was one of the best passers in the event, posting 5.4 a game over the course of seven contests. He also was the true iron man of the event playing nearly 31 minutes a game throughout the showcase. Foster’s play warranted to such on-court trust from the coaching staff. His decision-making was terrific, especially for a sophomore. The big guard is never rushed and never rattled. His confidence came from the simplicity of his game and his offense came with patience.
The history of good guards who have come from the Steve Smith school of point guarding is quite long. Foster is clearly next.