Pharaohs shine in national showcase basketball

Pharaohs shine in national showcase basketball
November 19
00:00 2015
Above: Photo by Craig T. Greenlee- Pharaohs guard Jaylan McGill (12) plays tight defense against Justice Kithcart of Virginia Episcopal School.

At the start of this week, Quality Education Academy (QEA) was perfect at 5-0. But more impressive is how well it has performed against the elite.

Most recently, the Pharaohs showed their mettle in winning both of their games at the Phenom National High School Showcase held last weekend at Forsyth Country Day. The showcase is an annual, two-day event that features many of the nation’s premier programs.

This basketball extravaganza attracts a large number of college scouts. This year, there were 16 players who had already given verbal commitments to play at high-level Division I schools such as Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, West Virginia and Arizona State. 

“This team is getting better with each game,” said Coach Issac Pitts of QEA. “I liked our resiliency and how we handled whatever opponents threw at us.” 

QEA had its best outing of the weekend in a 53-50 comeback win over Hill Academy of Canada in the second game played last Saturday. In the opener, the Pharaohs beat Virginia Episcopal, 70-48.

In a relatively low-scoring contest against Hill, QEA got balanced offense with three players scoring in double figures. Deshawn Corprew led the way with 17 points and Jaylan McGill was next with 12. Marsellis Purvis contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds and Renathan Ona Embo handed out 12 assists, in spite of being saddled with foul problems. 

Down by 12 points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Pharaohs bounced back with plenty of help from Corprew and back-up McGill, who took over at point guard when starter Ona Embo was whistled for his fourth foul in the third quarter.

The Pharaohs, who are at their best when playing up-tempo, were forced to make adjustments and operate from half-court sets because of Hill’s zone. “That game was a test,” said Pitts. “ We turned up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter and forced some turnovers, which led to a lot of open 3s for us.”

The leading scorers for Hill Academy were UNLV commit Justin Jackson (13 points) and Justin Andrews (11 points).

In the opener, QEA went up 18-6 at the end of the first quarter and maintained a double-digits lead for the rest of the contest. Corprew finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 5 steals and McGill came off the bench to score 11 points in 14 minutes

QEA’s depth and overall quickness offset the production of Virginia Episcopal’s Sacha Killeya-Jones, a highly regarded recruit who signed with Kentucky last week. Killeya-Jones more than lived up to advanced billing as marquee player with 17 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Justice Kithcart, who has committed to Pitt, scored a team-high 20 points.

Corprew rescinds commitment

Corprew announced last weekend that he’s had a change of heart about his verbal commitment to Arkansas-Little Rock. The 6-foot-5 senior who initially committed in September, wants to further explore his options. Even so, that doesn’t mean that A-LR is out of the recruiting picture.

“I didn’t take my visit, so I think I made the decision too early,” he said. So, I’ll take all of my (recruiting) visits and see what they have to offer. They (Arkansas-Little Rock) are still on my list, so I’ll visit there, too.”

Aside from Arkansas-Little Rock, the schools that have expressed interest in Corprew include: Washington State, Fresno State, Kansas State and Florida State. Corprew has not set a timetable for when he’ll make a final decision.

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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