By: Jim Halley, USA TODAY High School Sports | January 14, 2018
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — When you can run a pick-and-roll with two 7-footers in the post, you’re going to give any high school you play trouble.
That’s the quandary opponents of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) face when the Pilots put 7-2 senior Bol Bol and 7-3 senior Connor Vanover in the lane.
The Pilots defeated Immaculate Conception (Montclair, N.J.) 91-47 Sunday at the Spalding Hoophall Classic. Bol led the Pilots (21-2) with 31 points, three blocks and countless shots altered in only 23 minutes. He made 14 of 17 shots from the floor. Vanover had eight rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes.
When those two sat, the Pilots still had 6-9 Nathan Mensah in the post. Bol is particularly dangerous because his arsenal includes a nice outside shot in addition to the potenial to dunk nearly every time downcourt.
“It’s just very, very, special to have two 7-footers on the floor together, especially with Bol,” Vanover said. “He’s very talented and can do a lot of different things. I think it’s very difficult for defenses to guard two 7-footers, especially with one who can shoot and one who can pretty much do everything.”
Bol, an Oregon signee and the oldest son of Manute Bol, the late NBA player, had eight dunks. Those included his final two points of the night, when he was hacked with no call yet finished with authority and then smiled in the direction of the college coaches in attendance.
“I thought I was fouled honestly and I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Bol said. “I just went up, thinking I would get a foul called. I was just happy to make it.”
At his height, Bol was already a defensive threat when he was a freshman, but since then, he’s added a versatile repertoire. When he’s shooting well from the outside, there’s virtually little opponents can do for fear of allowing him to go inside.
Findlay Prep coach Paul Washington said the pairing of the 7-footers isn’t just for shock and awe value.
“For us, it’s just rotations, whenever I see a need,” he said. “I try to mix it up. They’re both the same body type. Sometimes, I will mix them up with a bruiser type. I think they do a good job of man-to-man, contesting threes. As long as they play good defense and block shots, I’ll leave them in there.”
Jalen Carey had 16 points to lead the Lions (8-3).
Bol and Edwards each had 11 points to pace Findlay Prep in the first half. Raejon Figures hit two free throws early in the second quarter to put Immaculate Conception up 23-21. From there, the defenses tightened and no one scored for nearly six minutes, before the Pilots went off on a 14-0 run to end the half, punctuated by a fast break dunk by Reggie Chaney.
2018 Spalding Hoophall Classic, Bol Bol, Connor Vanover, Findlay College Prep, Immaculate Conception High (Montclair NJ), jalen carey, reggie chaney, Super 25 boys basketball rankings, Hoophall Classic