Guard Trystan Pratapas finds a home at Georgetown Prep
After spending the early years of his childhood just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, Georgetown Prep guard Trystan Pratapas, then 11 years old, and his family moved to Toronto when his father took a job there. Pratapas spent the next three years in Toronto playing for AAU team CIA Bounce, which has produced the likes of Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anthony Bennett.
His father, Chris, coached in the CIA Bounce program and saw Canadians moving to the United States for better basketball opportunities, so the Pratapas family moved back across the border.
He spent his freshman season at John Carroll School in Bel Air, 20 miles north of Baltimore, but it just wasn’t the correct fit for the 6-foot-4 guard, so late last summer, Pratapas decided to transfer to Georgetown Prep after visiting several area private schools.
The sharpshooting guard has adjusted well to playing under Coach Herb Krusen, and is averaging a team-high 18.2 points per game through five games.
“Having Anthony Bennett close out on you on the perimeter can only make you better,” said Chris Pratapas of his son’s short stint with CIA Bounce. “I always played Trystan up to make him better. He started playing at a young age and has always been able to shoot it.”
Krusen and Pratapas’s father both spent time at Wake Forest making the transition a tad easier for the sophomore lefty. Krusen was an assistant coach at Wake Forest during his 17-year college coaching career and Pratapas’ father was a quarterback at Wake Forest in the late 80s.
According to Krusen, Pratapas is the best shooter he’s had the opportunity to have under his tutelage on the college or high school level in 30-plus years of coaching.
“He spends a lot of time in the gym and he started at a young age with his dad,” Krusen said. “He’s got a beautiful form, a beautiful arc and it comes off his hands the same pretty much every time. The kid gets a lot of shots up.”
Chris Pratapas watched shooting videos of Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Larry Bird to teach his son the proper shooting techniques growing up. Today, the left-handed sophomore has one of the sweetest strokes you will ever see and is receiving interest from Illinois, Loyola (Md.) and Bucknell after spending the summer with the D.C. Blue Devils.
He gets 350 shots every day, even on days he practices, but the young guard knows he has areas of his game to improve on to play on the next level.
“I have to get better defensively, in my ball handling and creating off the dribble,” Pratapas said. “If I’m just a set shooter, guys can key on me and make me put it on the floor. I have to continue to work on my ball handling.”
As the season pace begins to pick up, Pratapas said he’s found a permanent home at the Bethesda school.
“I love this school a lot, I’m planning on staying here the next three years.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 6
The number of three-pointers Georgetown Prep guard Trystan Pratapas has knocked down in two separate games. He hit four three-pointers in a 67-63 win over Good Counsel and poured in a season-high 28 points.
-- Towson senior left tackle Eric Pike (Duval) earned Football Championship Series all-America honors and will captain the Tigers in a third-round matchup against Eastern Illinois on Friday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2
-- This weekend the Robinson Rams wrestling team, which has two state titles in three years, will take the national stage at the Walsh Iron Man national tournament in Ohio.
-- Defending NVSHL ice hockey champions Briar Woods got a much needed addition in the net after losing a goalie to graduation and another to a move.
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
With the snow and postponements hopefully behind us, watch the video below for a tutorial in submitting top plays for the 2013-14 basketball season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
In arguably the biggest boys basketball matchup of the young season the No. 1 Paul VI boys travel to the District to face No. 2 St. John’s in a battle of WCAC powers. Expect this game to reach capacity, so get there early. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.
Former DuVal lineman Eric Pike leading Towson to best season ever
Towson senior left tackle Eric Pike is known for turning around defenders rushing the Tigers’ pocket, clearing room for runners and protecting his quarterback. The 6-foot-5, 298-pounder is good at it: so good, in fact, that he was named a 2013 Football Championship Series all-America for the ease with which he changes defenders’ courses.
He’s also got a knack for turning his teams around. As a junior offensive and defensive lineman at DuVal in 2007, Pike led the Tigers to their first playoff appearance of the century. DuVal went 6-4 in Pike’s senior season, back-to-back winning seasons for a team that hadn’t won a game the year before his arrival.
Pike says he still keeps in contact with DuVal Coach Dameon Powell, whose Tigers have evolved into a consistent contender. Powell’s gotten to watch Pike help turn around another Tiger team -- Towson’s -- which he will captain in a second-round playoff game against second-seeded Eastern Illinois (12-1) at 8 pm Friday on ESPN2. The seventh-seeded Tigers, who received a first-round bye, won their first playoff game in 29 years when they beat Fordham 48-28 in last week’s second-round game.
“It’s been a complete 360 [since I got here],” Pike said. “The team’s gotten better: more of a family, the coaching staff is great. The strength and conditioning coach has done a great job of growing us, getting us stronger. And everybody’s sold on winning.”
As the Towson program’s grown around him, Pike says he’s made major strides, as well. Known for a relentless work ethic, Pike won the team’s first ever Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year award for his work during his redshirt freshman season in 2009. Now a captain, Pike credits Towson offensive line coach John Donatelli with not only bringing him to Towson, but molding him into an NFL draft prospect during his five years at the school.
When he was a college-hopeful at a camp at Maryland, Pike said Donatelli, the longest tenured coach on Towson’s staff, took him aside to show him a few new techniques. Pike tried them and saw immediate improvement. That growth continued under Donatelli at Towson, where Pike emerged as a four-year starter. He’s never missed a game.
“I learned the game. The game speeds up a whole lot in the transition from high school to college football,” Pike said. “My football IQ has gone up tremendously: knowing defenses, knowing what they’re able to do now I know what to look at when I’m evaluating film, to give an advantage and know what’s going to happen post-snap from what’s going on pre-snap. Coach [Donatelli] has done a great job of teaching us how to read defenses, our lineman assignments, and technique.”
Pike isn’t the only former Tiger on Donatelli’s offensive line. His high school teammate Randall Harris also plays for the Tigers, and both were first-team All-CAA selections in 2012 and 2013.
“It’s great just having somebody I’ve known for a long time, somebody I can trust who I know has my back,” Pike said of Harris. “Going to college is a big step in a person’s life, and being able to do it with a teammate again, to have another couple seasons together, it was a great opportunity.”
“We’ve both been competing against each other since DuVal,” Pike added. “To be able to compete against each other, doing the same thing, still competing against each other to be the best, we definitely push each other to bring out the best in us.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 3
The number of games Towson won in Pike’s first two seasons (redshirt freshman season included) at the school. The Tigers have won 11 and counting this season, and 27 over the past three seasons.
-- DeMatha linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley orally committed to Purdue over the weekend, choosing the Boilermakers over Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and others.
-- The Stuart girls basketball team snapped an 82-game losing streak Saturday.
-- Tuesday’s winter weather postponed a full evening’s worth of DMV basketball games. Here’s our list of rescheduled dates.
-- Quince Orchard defensive back Kyle Gregory chose Monmouth after his visit this weekend, the third Cougar in three years to become a Hawk.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
The No. 7 Bullis girls’ basketball team, with its talent-loaded roster, has gotten off to a rough start with losses to Good Counsel and Carroll. The Bulldogs look to grab their first win Wednesday night at 6 p.m. when they host Stone Ridge.
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
In case you missed it, here are highlights of Northwest’s 4A state championship win over Eric Pike’s old Prince George’s 4A rival Suitland Friday at M&T Bank Stadium
DeMatha linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley commits to Purdue
Ja’Whaun Bentley orally committed to Purdue on Saturday, becoming the fifth DeMatha senior to pledge to a Football Bowl Subdivision program. The senior linebacker made his decision during an official visit to the Purdue campus this past weekend.
“I believe that Purdue is a ‘fire waiting to explode’ and I want to be a part of that,” Bentley said via text on Monday night. “I believe Coach [Darrell] Hazell and his staff going into their second year are putting the pieces in place to make a huge run.”
With offers from Maryland, Virginia, Iowa, Syracuse, Rutgers and West Virginia, among others, Bentley said he narrowed his list down to Syracuse and Purdue before choosing the Boilermakers.
In Bentley, Purdue is getting an aggressive playmaker at 6-foot-3, 249 pounds, a sound tackler and an evolving defender who continues to get better with each year. After earning All-Met honors as a junior following a knee injury, Bentley racked up 113 tackles, including 26 for loss, four sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown in helping lead the Stags to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title.
“Number one, he brings leadership to the program,” DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks said. “I know he’ll only be a freshman next year but he’s mature well beyond his years, and if anyone can make an impact on a program immediately, it’s Ja’Whaun. He’s just a phenomenal player. He’s physical and has a knack for the football.”
Bentley had initially narrowed his list of suitors to Maryland and Iowa back in September, but the linebacker said some of his interests changed, leading him to re-open his recruitment. During the next month, Purdue entered the picture and relentlessly pursued Bentley to join a program that looks to improve upon this season’s 1-11 mark. On Saturday, following a tour of the campus and facilities with his family and after chowing down on a large cookie that had “Boiler Up” written in yellow-and-black frosting, Bentley reciprocated Purdue’s interest with a commitment.
“Everyone believes in the mission and what needs to be accomplished,” Bentley said.
Bentley will join DeMatha teammates Mark Allen (Penn State), Deonte Holden (N.C. State), Cameron Phillips (Virginia Tech), Jarriel Jordan (Richmond), Chris Jones (Wisconsin) and Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year Taiwan Deal (Wisconsin) in the Football Bowl Subdivision ranks next fall.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 3
Quince Orchard players that have committed to Monmouth in the last three years following Kyle Gregory’s decision to commit to the Hawks on Saturday.
-With one week left in the season, check out the latest Top 20 football rankings.
-Click here to see how the local football teams stack up this week in our coaches’ poll.
-Check out Kent Babb’s fascinating piece on the stories behind each of the 78 Heisman Trophy winners.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
For the second straight day, area high schools are closed due to the looming winter storm. With a handful of basketball games scheduled for Tuesday, stay tuned to AllMetSports.com and your school’s athletics page for rescheduling updates.
Quince Orchard DB Kyle Gregory commits to Monmouth; RB Kevin Joppy picks up first offer
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Gregory, who was one of the most productive defensive player this fall for the Cougars, verbally committed to the Hawks after taking his official visit this weekend. He becomes the third Quince Orchard player in three years to pledge to Monmouth, following in the footsteps of defensive lineman Darnell Leslie (2011) and receiver Matt Choi (2012).
“Just the comfort of having Matt Choi and Darnell there, I was just really comfortable around the guys around people there in general,” said Gregory, who also considered Stony Brook, Toledo and Richmond. “Their program is really on the rise. They’re about to move into a new stadium next year and they’ll be moving to the Big South next year. They just have a lot of things going on.
Gregory will have an opportunity to play early, he said, and will be asked to play safety. He was the Cougars’ second-leading tackler this fall with 67 stops, and added four interceptions and 14 passes defended. Quince Orchard finished 10-2 and lost to eventual state champion Northwest in the Maryland 4A West Region final last month.
Gregory’s teammate, running back Kevin Joppy, also had a breakthrough on the recruiting front last week. Joppy earned his first scholarship offer from Toledo on Wednesday, he said, a move that left him “shocked.”
“I wasn’t even expecting it at all,” Joppy said.
The Rockets, who have a well-known recruiting presence in the Washington area, had been tracking Joppy before he had transferred from Seneca Valley to Quince Orchard last summer. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Joppy rushed for 1,132 yards and 20 touchdowns this fall, averaging 7.2 yards per carry. He also caught 12 passes for 150 yards.
Joppy has attracted much interest over the past year, including from North Carolina State, Pittsburgh and Temple, but a scholarship had failed to materialize until after the season. This could lead to more opportunities, Joppy said, but he is excited about what Toledo has to offer.
“It took a while to get my first offer,”said Joppy, who will take his official visit in January 17. “It’s just a good feeling. Like I know, if that’s my only offer, that’s where I’m going to take it. It’s just exciting.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 195
Total yards for Centreville quarterback Scott Walter, who threw three touchdown passes to help the Wildcats to a 35-14 win over Westfield in the Virginia 6A North region title game Saturday.
-- Here’s a nice story from Post sports reporter Brandon Parker on the trials of Centreville’s Isaac Samuel, who has overcome a lot of personal hardship on his way to helping the Wildcats this postseason.
-- Support poured in from far and wide prior to the game, but Patuxent fell just a little bit short in a 17-3 loss to Middletown in the 2A title game this weekend.
-- In a wild, vindicating performance, Briar Woods came up with a two-point conversion stop late to preserve a 27-25 win over North Stafford in the Virginia 5A North region title game.
PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND
VIDEOS FROM THE WEEKEND
What to Watch:
Watch out for the icy patch! With most area schools closed or delaying openings today, most of Monday’s athletic contests have already been cancelled. If you’re home, stay warm, and if you’re out on the sidewalks and roads today, watch your step.
Paul VI’s Kevin Dorsey serves as floor general
(H/t YouTube user tagsgf)
Perhaps no Paul VI player’s growth was as vital as Kevin Dorsey’s evolution this past offseason. As point guard of one of the deepest and most talented basketball teams in the area, Dorsey is charged with keeping his teammates involved and finding them in the right spots.
On one hand, Dorsey is the envy of many point guards, with Division I recruits Marcus Derrickson and Quadree Smith in the post, athletic swingmen Joshua Reaves and Evan Taylor filling the lanes and rising stars Curtis Jones and Tyler Scanlon in their spots. But with so many teammates to keep involved and on the same page, Dorsey’s task is a tall one.
So for every drill he went through and shot he put up in the gym to improve his skills over the summer, just as important were his conversations with Panthers Coach Glenn Farello, Team Takeover Coach Keith Stevens and former Virginia star Cory Alexander, where he gathered insight on how to be an effective leader.
“They all know the game, and I just took in everything about being more vocal and knowing the different ways to lead,” Dorsey said. “We lost some tough games last year and we want to grow from that, so as the point guard, I’m trying to lead and do everything I can to put us in a position to win and be successful.”
Dorsey’s growth was evident during a big summer that yielded offers from Virginia Tech, VCU, Florida Gulf Coast, UMass., Old Dominion and Creighton, among others, and saw him demonstrate an elevated confidence in his ability to serve as conductor for the top-ranked Panthers.
What’s more, Dorsey has improved his outside shot, providing him another weapon to go with his deft ball handling skills and speed that allows him to beat opponents off the dribble.
When the 5-foot-10 junior knocked down not one, but two game-winning jump shots on consecutive nights in Paul VI’s run to the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions title last season, Dorsey served as the unexpected hero during a season when he admittedly surprised himself and his coaches with his solid play after seeing limited minutes as a freshman during Paul VI’s 2011-12 WCAC title run.
Knowing that he very well could be called upon again to hit the big shot, Dorsey said he put up at least 1,000 shots in most weeks during the offseason, working on his mechanics and rhythm off the dribble.
“I think my coaches and teammates always believed in me but with us being so young last year and coming off the WCAC title, I think people thought we couldn’t handle it all,” Dorsey said. “But we’ve been together for a while now and we know no matter what, we can do big things out on the court.”
That much is clear through Paul VI’s first two games. In blowout wins against Takoma Academy and Good Counsel, the Panthers averaged 96 points per game, with Dorsey contributing 13 points in each contest and opening the door for 13 different players to score.
Next week brings two major tests for the Panthers, as they travel to No. 2 St. John’s on Thursday for a big WCAC matchup before matching up with No. 4 Montrose Christian two days later in the Nike Hoops Festival.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 3
Positions at which Northwest senior Joshua Gills has started for the Jaguars this season, playing a big role in their run to Friday’s Maryland 4A state title game.
-Basketball season officially got underway this week and of course, we’ve got you covered with preview material at AllMetSports.com.
-Speaking of D.C. football, defending champ Friendship Collegiate and H.D. Woodson will meet Friday in the DCSAA Class AA title game.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEKEND
Maryland state football championships at M&T Bank Stadium
-No. 7 Northwest battles No. 4 Suitland for the 4A crown at 7:30 p.m. Friday
-No. 5 Patuxent takes on Middleton in the 2A championship at 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Virginia region championships
-No. 2 Centreville hosts rival and No. 6 Westfield in the 6A North region title game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
-In the 5A North region championship at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Champe, No. 3 Briar Woods matches up with North Stafford, which handed the Falcons their lone loss this season.
-In the 3A, surprise semifinalist Loudoun Valley looks to keep its playoff run going when it hosts Northside on Saturday in Purcellville at 2 p.m.
DMVElite Tip-Off Classic at CH Flowers on Saturday and Sunday
The tournament highlights several basketball events this weekend to jumpstart the hoops season. Saturday night includes a contest between No. 17 DeMatha and No. 19 DuVal while Sunday features games with No. 10 Clinton Christian, No. 20 Capitol Christian, No. 12 Theodore Roosevelt and National Christian.Click here for the full schedule.