RALEIGH, N.C. – It’s not that Broughton High School (Raleigh, N.C.) point guard D.J. Thomas had the game circled on his calendar, but he was very aware that he and the Capitals were facing Downey Christian School (Orlando, Fla.) and its viral sensation of a point guard Julian Newman.
While the capacity crowd came to see Newman, they undoubtedly left talking about Thomas, who scored 30 points, handed out six assists and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Capitals past Downey 93-58 Thursday night.
Broughton beat Downey by 20 in the event last year.
“A lot of people made a big deal about the matchup, but we just focused on us,” Thomas said. “He gets a lot of hype; I don’t understand the hype, but I knew the best thing I could do was focus on me.”
The comparisons are understandable; both players hover right around 5-foot-7, with similar quickness and scoring ability.
Still, Thomas was more aggressive defensively, coming away with five steals in the win.
Newman came into Thursday’s game averaging 37 points and seven assists a game, but only managed 15 points on 3-of-20 from the field and 1-of-12 from three in the loss.
The Capitals doubled Newman off ball screens and forced him to get the ball out of his hands with defensive pressure.
“He’s easy to guard when he’s just dribbling around,” Thomas said of Newman. “He gets a little trickier when he starts moving more. I just came into the game wanting to get the win and we did. It’s cool that we won the way we did because people know him and all that, but tomorrow we’ll just move on and keep getting better.”
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