Today’s Penn State football news features a look at quarterback Michael O’Connor’s place among the nation’s impact transfers and the Nittany Lions’ interest in rising three-star safety Najee Clayton. While official scholarship offers haven’t yet arrived in droves, Clayton is being pursued by a number of FBS programs, including the Nittany Lions. Clayton’s senior taped caused “a stir,” according to 247sports.com’s Steve Wiltfong. The 6-3, 215-pounder spent his first three seasons at Paramus (N.J.) Catholic as a wide receiver, but made a natural move to safety this season.
High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian junior big man Harry Giles has used this week at the Culligan City of Palms Classic to prove to the world that he and his surgically repaired left knee are doing just fine. Giles missed his entire sophomore season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, medial-collateral ligament and his meniscus while playing on the United States U-16 National Team in Uruguay in the summer of 2013. Both Giles and Trojans coach Keith Gatlin said Tuesday that Giles is 100 percent and feels no ill effects from the injury. Giles also proved that on the court on Tuesday has he scored 24 points — 14 of which came on seven dunks — and grabbed 12 rebounds in his team’s 51-47 victory over Louisville (Ky.) Trinity in the third-place game at Bishop Verot.
But during the second half of Saturday’s matchup with then-No. 3 National Christian at the Kruel Classic in Florida, doubt toyed with the minds of the Mustangs as they stared at a 14-point deficit. “Our coaches told us they were playing like men and we were playing like boys,” Mustangs sophomore Jamir Moultrie said. “We just had to pick it up and play like we knew how.” Moultrie led the charge, scoring 23 of his 33 points in the second half (including 20 straight at one point) to lead the Mustangs to a 75-71 victory and position them to win the championship at the round-robin tournament, which they did Monday.
Alpharetta (Ga.)-St. Francis 77, Fairfax (Va.)-Paul VI 60. Late in the fourth period, the Knights hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions to put the game out of reach. The triples came during a run, in which St. Francis scored 16 points in just over two minutes. Kobi Simmons, ScoutHoops’ No. 8 junior in the nation, led the Knights with 26 points. Forward Kaiser Gates had 22 points and pulled down eight rebounds. The Knights shot 55 percent from the field. Paul VI’s V.J. King, HoopScoop’s No. 7 junior, led all players in scoring with 27 points and in rebounds, with 11. The Panthers had trouble hitting 3-pointers, making just three of 16, and missing all five attempts in the first half.
Breein Tyree stars for St. Joseph’s boys basketball team in Metuchen, N.J. He also happens to have some serious hops, to the degree that he can flat out jump over defenders. Case in point: This wild slam against South Brunswick in St. Joe’s 53-34 victory. It was a great dunk, and truly overpowering. No question. Now let’s see how it holds up when interspersed in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Sounds fun, right?
Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) guard Franklin Howard could afford to smile Monday night. One finally went the Panthers’ way in a 57-56 overtime defeat of No. 6 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) in a fifth-place semifinal at the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.. Howard had 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and five consecutive points early in the overtime period on a three-pointer and two free throws, so even though he missed two free throws that would have made things easier later in the period, it was all good. “I’m just glad we got over that hump,” Howard said.
Tyler Ennis didn’t play at all on Saturday afternoon when the Phoenix Suns visited the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. About 100 miles South, his brother Dylan Ennis played 32 minutes in Villanova’s 82-77 OT win over Syracuse in Philadelphia. It was an odd moment, to be sure. If Tyler were in the college game (where his parents went to support Dylan), he surely would have been a factor.