I made the trip down to Charlotte tonight to watch J.T. Terrell and his West Charlotte Lions take on a very good Lake Norman team. LNHS is ranked 2nd in the Charlotte area according to the Charlotte Observer Power Poll while West Charlotte comes in at 10th.
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J.T. Terrell got off to a fast start against the Wildcats, hitting his first two shots and knocking down five free throws on his way to a 14 point opening quarter. Although he was not connecting from deep, he used his mid-range game and some craftiness around the basket to tally the points. This trend continued in the 2nd quarter, as he was perfect from the line again and made a couple baskets inside the arc to finish the half with 22 points.
However, things were not going well for West Charlotte, as they could not stop Lake Norman big man Paul Larsen (Mercer commit) from scoring inside and the guards from nailing threes. The Wildcats got an early double digit lead and did not surrender it for the remainder of the game, although West Charlotte managed to cut the lead to six on a few occasions. The final score was Lake Norman 89 - West Charlotte 78 and Larsen ended up with 30+ points in the paint.
As you probably assumed, Terrell's second half was not as explosive. He had a few threes that rimmed in-and-out and was visibly frustrated on both ends of the floor. He was bothered by various Lake Norman defenders who bodied him up and refused to give him any space. This led to poor shot selection, lazy defense and a seat on the bench for six consecutive minutes in the third and fourth quarters. J.T. ended the game with 27 points on 7 of 20 shooting and 2 of 10 from deep.
Wake fans who have followed Terrell's high school career are aware of his propensity to shoot (and often make) very difficult and questionable shots. As he gets to the next level with multiple teammates who are just as capable as himself, he will obviously have to reign in his shot selection a bit. If you have ever seen J.R. Smith play for the Denver Nuggets, it is safe to say that J.T. Terrell is the high school version of Smith: Excellent shooter, unlimited range, can handle the ball well, jumps out of the gym, and takes every shot possible. The majority of work that Coach Gaudio and staff will have to put in is on the defensive end (effort and technique) as well as taking the right shot. Obviously, J.T. has been told this plenty of times and hopefully will come to Wake Forest with the attitude to improve these aspects.
One thing that I noticed about Terrell that surprised me a bit was his ability to make very difficult shots on drives in the lane. He has tremendously long arms for his size (6'9 wingspan measured this summer), and often shoots acrobatic shots on his way down to avoid getting blocked. His knack for connecting on these impossible shots bodes well for his ability to finish in the lane against much larger opponents next season in the ACC.
Be sure to check BSD often for reports on our 2010 recruits for the remainder of the season! These tidbits are often found in the daily Deacon Link Dump.