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Tracking Future Nittany Lion Ballers - 12.18.2012

Tom Pennington

In what will be a semi-regular feature this season, BSD checks in on Pat Chambers' future ballers and how they're performing for their respective high schools. Any eye-witness game reports throughout the season are welcome! Email me and we'll get your observations on the front page of BSD!

2013 Class

Geno Thorpe - 6'3" Combo Guard - Shaler Area HS - Pittsburgh, PA
Team Record - 4-1
Stats - 31.8 Pts/Game

Geno had an adventurous start to his senior school year. His original plan was to spend his last year of high school with his father down in Florida. He transferred out of Shaler Area high school and enrolled at West Oaks Academy near Orlando. Near the end of September, however, Geno announced that he was ready to move back home to Pittsburgh. There was some questions regarding his eligibility after the mid-year transfer, but Thorpe was cleared to compete with his old Shaler team by the PIAA.

Coming into this year, Geno had lost all of his running mates from last year's team that made it to the PIAA quarterfinals. Despite his young, inexperienced teammates, Thorpe has had a very strong start to his senior campaign. He is shouldering the scoring load for the Titans, including two 40+ point performances, and has scored 51.1% of Shaler's points so far. How long Geno can keep up this pace will likely determine how well Shaler competes this season.

Julian Moore - 6'9" Center - Germantown Academy - Fort Washington, PA
Team Record - 4-4
Stats - 15.8 Pts/Game

Moore's Germantown Academy team is one of the favorites to not only win the Philadelphia's Inter-Academic League, but to make a run at the championship of the Pennsylvania Independent School Basketball Tournament. Playing alongside some future college basketball players, including Lafayette commit Nick Lindler, Moore continues to adjust to his new position down low. A late growth spurt forced him from the wing down to the low block.

The Patriots have struggled at the start, but they've also been playing quality competition. They started the season off with a 22-point win over former PSU target Davon Reed and Princeton Day Academy (Moore had 21 and 8). Then they went down to Washington DC to play Josh Hart's Sidwell Friends among others at the Gonzaga DC Classic. They lost to Sidwell in a close contest (Moore with 16) and went 1-2 overall on their trip to DC. So far, they've played 8 games in 15 days, which seems just a bit excessive for a high school team.

Graham Woodward - 5'11" Point Guard - Edina HS - Edina, MN
Team Record - 1-4
Stats - 26.8 Pts/Game

Chambers' future point guard with Minnesota Swagger also has some future D-1 teammates (Illinois State commit Reggie Lynch). His Edina squad had high expectations coming into the year starting the season #2 in Minnesota Class 4A. But after losing their first four games, they have fallen out of the rankings. You can never tell efficiency from high school stats, but it seems hard to blame Woodward for his team's struggles, as he's averaging 26.8 PPG (42% of his team's points).

They got on the right side of the W/L column last Friday with a 70-62 over a talented Blake team, previously ranked #3 in Class 3A. The game was streamed online and can be viewed again here. Woodward had a very good performance, leading his team in scoring (24 points on 16 shots), but also getting his teammates involved (9 assists). He effectively controlled the ball for all 38 minutes (he came out just twice for about 10 seconds) of the game.

Payton Banks - 6'6" Small Forward - Orange Lutheran HS - Orange, CA
Team Record - 6-0
Stats - 20.0 Pts/Game

Entering this season, Banks had the responsibility of replacing his school's all-time scorer in Gabe York, who is now a freshman at Arizona. So far he seems to be doing a pretty good job. Payton has been the target of great praise from his coach for how well he's handled the new leadership role.

Orange Lutheran defended their championship at the Kickoff Classic by defeating Canyon, 72-53. Banks scored 29 points in the victory and was named tournament MVP. However, for any sort of postseason glory this season, the Lancers will have many stiff tests, including nationally-ranked Mater Dei.

2014 Class

Isaiah Washington - 6'3" Combo Guard - Williamsport Area HS - Williamsport, PA
Team Record - 5-0
Stats - 15.0 Pts/Game

The Port returned four starters from their state playoff squad last year that was just a bucket away from the PIAA round of 16. Jahad Thomas was an all-state performer last season, while Chris Kinley has earned a scholarship from Ed DeChellis at Navy. They started the year at #7 in AAAA, according to the Patriot-News.

Williamsport won the William-Penn Tip Off tournament in York after defeating Reading and York in back-to-back games and haven't been challenged since. With a better supporting cast, Isaiah isn't scoring nearly as much as some of PSU's other recruits, but he doesn't have to for the Millionaires. He just needs to keep doing this: