It was the battle of big men Sunday afternoon at Blake Arena during the fourth day of the Spalding Hoophall Classic. Two of the nation’s top recruits battled down low in the post as Kaleb Tarczewski led his St. Mark’s School squad past Amile Jefferson’s Friends Central 67-57.
Tarczewski, a seven-foot center, has committed to Arizona after establishing himself as the No. 6 player in the Class of 2012 according to ESPN and showed the Blake Arena crowd the damage he could do underneath the basket finishing with 22 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
The senior demonstrated fluidness moving around the key setting high screens for teammates or posting up down low on the block. It is evident Tarczewski’s (220 pounds) strengths lie in his height and athleticism.
“It was tough for the other team today. They didnt have to much size,” Tarczewski said. “Amile was the only person down there and was kind of most of their team offensively so you kind of tell he didnt want to get into to much foul trouble.”
“Our team just really looked for me in the post and I just tried to attack,” he added.
In the second quarter Tarczewski gave Jefferson a taste of his athleticism when he used a quick spin move to separate himself from the power forward and then threw down a two-handed slam, shaking the rim at Blake Arena in front of a series of college scouts and coaches.
“I’ve played with Amile before and I know he is a really good basketball player so I wanted to go after him and get him into foul trouble,” Tarczewski said.
The naturally gifted center also showed good defensive poise when he made a solid play on a driving Jefferson in the second quarter. Yet, the leader of the Phoenix came right back down the lane on the Friend’s Central offensive possession.
Jefferson, a six-foot-nine-inch forward/center, is ranked No. 24 by ESPN for the Class of 2012 but is one of the highly covetted seniors still available in this year’s recruiting class. Duke has emerged as a late player for the Philadelphia native who has also received interest from Villanova.
Playing in front of college coaches and scouts Jefferson finished with 14 points and five rebounds but appeared timid towards driving to the rim with the seven footer manning the post.
“He’s up there with all of them,” Jefferson said. “He has great hands, is really strong and uses his body really well,” Jefferson said.
So who do you give the edge to following this big men showdown?
On Sunday it was Tarczewski, but much will change when these two hit the college ranks and it is possible Jefferson will surpass the St. Mark’s star.
Both players need to continue to develop and hit the weight room, benefits of joining a top collegiate program.
If Tarczewski can develop a more “nasty” playing style and become more aggressive his potential may just soar.
Justin Felisko may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org