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Sam Masten (L) of Rock Canyon pictured with BYU great Jimmer Fredette after a summer workout at D1 Basketball with Chauncey Billups and Nick Graham

Masten notches career high 27 points in route of Smoky Hill

Rock Canyon notched a 74 – 47 blowout victory to open the 2016 half of their season over Smoky Hill. The matchup featured two of Colorado’s top young players in Sam Masten of Rock Canyon and Kenny Foster of Smoky Hill. Masten a sophomore is averaging just under 16 points, while Foster is just a freshman, but averages an impressive 21 points per game. 
Foster is a 6’4 wing that is already one of the top perimeter scores in the state. He gets most of his work done off the bounce. He makes a living in the mid-range area using his superior leaping ability to elevate over defenders to get into his picture perfect jumper. “Big Sam” Masten is a play making point guard that has a superior handle, he’s very shifty, he uses his superior vision and passing to create for others, and he has a surplus of finishes with both hands. 
Masten used his experience as a full time varsity starter last year to lead Rock Canyon. He finished with a career high 27 points to go along with 7 assists. Foster, who struggled from the field finished with 12 points. Rock Canyon will play Tuesday at Fort Collins while Smoky Hill will face Aurora Central, Eaglecrest and Cherokee Trail this week.
IMG_6198-2Harrell and Buckmelter lead East to statement win over ThunderRidge
It was the tale of two zones. ThunderRidge played a zone, which protected the paint and conceded perimeter passes and jump shots, while East’s zone was an aggressive match up zone that pressured the ball to disrupt the offensive rhythm of ThunderRidge.
East behind its pressure matchup zone prevailed. ThunderRidge kept it close through out and even had it’s chances to take the lead late, but East was the better team and outplayed the Grizzles all game.
Trailing 43 – 40 going into 4th quarter ThunderRidge decided to come out in a man-to-man defense, after playing a zone for the majority of the game. As soon as they made the switch East exploited their inability to guard penetration and quickly drew 3 fouls on ThunderRidge. The game remained close until the final buzzer, but East held on to the end by making a living at the free throw line along with the playmaking of their senior guards, Deron Harrell and Jack Buckmelter. Harrell, who may be the best slashing perimeter player in Colorado finished with 17 points, while Buckmelter led the Angels with 19.
East is quietly solidifying themselves as one of the state’s best. If we learned anything from last season, it was don’t ever sleep on Denver East. Despite losing a talented quartet, which included: Dominique Collier, Javon Griffin, Ronnie Harrell and Tyree Robinson; East still managed to advance all the way to the Final Four. This year they lost their Gatorade player of the year in Brian Carey, but yet again they are positioning themselves to be one of the states most dangerous teams come March. “I like our team. We are a work in progress; the team you see today is not the team you will see in March. Come tournament time they’ll be ready,” said head coach Rudy Carey.
Buckmelter much improved – Buckmelter spent his first two seasons at Colorado Academy before transferring to Denver East for his junior year. When he first made the jump to 5A he struggled with the speed of the game. Jack has come along way and has developed into a very productive 5A guard. On the year Jack is averaging 14 points.
Harrell ’s paint production – As mentioned earlier Deron Harrell is one of the top slashers in the state. Despite being a 6’3 guard Harrell makes a living finishing around the rim and is most comfortable in the paint. His ability to create easy baskets around the rim provides East with a go to player when they need clutch baskets late in the game. It was Harrell who consistently finished in the 4th quarter in traffic, or drew fouls on ThunderRidge defenders with hard drives to the basket.
ThunderRidge has to be better containing penetration – Last year ThunderRidge had a paint protector in 6’10 center Zach Pirog. Pirog is now a freshman at Nebraska-Omaha, which means ThunderRidge is going to have to be better at containing penetration to make up for the absence of Pirogs ability to alter and block shots.
Against East their inability to contain was exposed and they have to be much better moving forward, and they have to improve quick as they have a huge mid week showdown with Rangeview. Rangeview is loaded with penetrating guards that are more than capable of breaking down defenders and attacking the paint.

Brevin Brimble (M) pictured with Nick Graham (L) and Chauncey Billups (R) after a guard workout on New Years Day.

Brevin Brimble torches Lincoln for 30 points 

Hard work pays off! While many players took New Year’s Day off, Brevin Brimble and his father JJ made the drive from Colorado Springs to Denver to train with Chauncey Billups and some of the top players in the state on New Years morning. 
After a great workout with some of the states top guards Brimble drew the praises of Billups. Billups empowered Brimble to be more aggressive on the offensive end. Billups told Brimble that “he had the complete package.” “You can shoot with range, play in the pick and roll, tough, vocal, high IQ, a surplus of finishes, can kick or dump (passes).” He then told Brimble that “he needed to be more aggressive,” because he’s from Colorado. “You need to go out there and kill, because if not they will sleep on you. We get overlooked in Colorado, anything less than being special every time you play isn’t good enough.”
Brimble has a lot of intangible attributes that make him a good player, and we can add listening to that list. Brimble heard Billups loud and clear and responded with 30 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds last night in a victory over Lincoln.
Games of Note Week of 1/4/16
by Dave Matthews 
Tuesday Games of Note
-Aurora Central at Smoky Hill

–Overland at Regis

–Rock Canyon at Fort Collins

–Mountain Vista at Rocky Mountain

–D’Evelyn at Thomas Jefferson

–Pinnacle at Sheridan

–Sterling at Platte Valley

–Pueblo Central at Kent Denver
Wednesday Games of Note
–Smoky Hill at Eaglecrest

–Arapahoe at Grandview

–Cherry Creek at Cherokee Trail

–Lakewood at Chatfield

–ThunderRidge at Rangeview

–Falcon at Vista Ridge

–Lewis-Palmer at Sand Creek

–Golden at Conifer

–Saint Mary’s at Colorado Academy
Thursday Games of Note
–Lincoln at Broomfield

–Chaparral at Denver East

–Highlands Ranch at Aurora Central

–Sierra at Mesa Ridge

–Faith Christian at Pinnacle
Friday Games of Note
–Eaglecrest at Overland

–Aurora Central at ThunderRidge

–George Washington at Legend

–Fossil Ridge at Monarch

–Fort Collins at Boulder

–Mountain Vista at Fountain-Fort Carson

–Arvada West at Dakota Ridge

–Pueblo Central at Ponderosa

–Air Academy at Sand Creek

–Lewis-Palmer at Vista Ridge

–Valor Christian at Golden

–Green Mountain at Evergreen
–Denver South at Pueblo East

–Brush at Eaton
Saturday Games of Note
-Rangeview at Cherokee Trail
–Thomas Jefferson at Highlands Ranch
–Fossil Ridge at Regis

–Greeley Central at Greeley West
–Pueblo West at Rampart

–Kent Denver at Manitou Springs

–Alamosa at Lutheran
–Holy Family at Machebeuf
 IMG_3879About the Blogger: Nick Graham is the director of basketball for Chauncey Billups D1 Basketball in Highlands
Ranch. Graham, who played collegiately at Washington State University trains basketball players of all ages and skill levels including many of the states top high school and collegiate players along with NBA players as well. In addition, Nick travels the country working with some of the nations top prep players. Along with leading D1 Basketball Training nationally, he also works with Spalding and many of the top trainers in the country including Johnny “Handle Life” Stephene. Through his partnership with Spalding Nick will travel to the 2016 NBA All Star game to provide youth players in the Toronto community with NBA All star training along with Stephene. Also, Nick and Stephene will lead regional All American camps this summer with D1 Basketball, Spalding and NBA players Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony amongst others. Nick’s passion is assisting Chauncey Billups in mentoring, developing and celebrating the young players and coaches along with educating and empowering parents of basketball players all over Colorado.

Follow Nick on Twitter @DreamLiveBall & on Instagram @DreamLiveBallNick  

Find out more about Chauncey Billups Basketball Training with Nick Graham @ D1sportsbball.com/Denver