The big man’s team won, and he sent the higher-ranked, higher-hyped, Briarwood (N.Y.) Archbishop Molloy, to its Fort Myers, Fla., hotel with the goal of regrouping.
Molloy junior point guard Cole Anthony, son of former NBA point guard Greg Anthony, and 7-foot-2 senior teammate Moses Brown, one of the best guard-post combinations in the nation, combined for 35 points but lost 75-64 to Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School in the Classic’s first round at Florida SouthWestern State College’s Suncoast Credit Union Arena.
University School’s Vernon Carey Jr., the 6-9, 245-pound son of former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Vernon Carey Sr., scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds in leading his team to victory while handing Molloy (2-1) its first loss of the season.
Carey is being recruited by Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky and Miami among others. Per Andrew Slater of 247, Carey said that Duke and Michigan State assistant Dane Fife would watch his next game, and that he planned to visit Duke and North Carolina during the John Wall Holiday Invitational Dec. 27-30 in North Carolina.
Anthony, Brown and Carey played in front of a trio of Division I college coaches, as North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton and Wake Forest’s Danny Manning sat courtside.
Duke assistant Nate James and Kentucky assistant Tony Barbee were on hand as well.
James watched Anthony, Hamilton watched Brown, and Brown was trying to get Barbee to watch him.
“When the coaches come in, you’ve got to push it,” said Brown, who scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots. “I can’t just come in here and do nothing. I don’t want them to waste their time.”
Brown has made official visits to UCLA, Florida State and Maryland but is hoping to capture interest from Duke and Kentucky heading into the spring signing period in 2018. Especially Kentucky, Molloy coach Mike McCleary said.
“With Moses, he’s going to stick with one of the schools he has visited,” McCleary said. “He would like to hear from Kentucky. I don’t know whether or not that will happen.”
As for Anthony’s recruitment, so many college coaches have contacted him directly – likely getting the number from his famous and connected father – that McCleary could hardly keep track.
Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Georgetown, Oregon and Miami are among those in the mix for Anthony. A Georgetown assistant also attended the game.
Anthony said he did not want to comment on his recruitment. Nor did he care too much about his distinction as the top junior point guard in the country.
“On the court, the rankings do not mean anything,” Anthony said. “At the end of the day, if you can’t put the ball in the basket, the other team’s going to win.”
Said Brown: “It doesn’t matter what it says on paper. You’ve got to do your thing on the court. The basketball comes first.”
McCleary said his marquee duo did a good job of managing the attention.
“They handle it well,” McCleary said. “I should say that relatively. They are things that 17, 18-year-old kids will do when they get lots of attention. And they get lots of attention. But they’re good kids. They’re both receptive to coaching….They both show humility.”
Carey and Brown provided an intriguing matchup for the crowd of about 3,000 fans.
“I’m always looking forward to playing bigger opponents,” Brown said. “As far as him being a big body on me, I like being physical. When you’re playing against a big player like Vernon, every time you touch it, it’s a one-on-one. I like that.”
Cole and Brown talked about regrouping and preparing for their next effort, in the consolation bracket at 1:45 p.m. Thursday against the Orlando Oak Ridge-Richmond (Va.) John Marshall loser.
“This is my first time at City of Palms,” Brown said. “Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to come down here to this tournament and show up and get a ‘W.’ We didn’t do that today, but we’re going to get right back out there on Thursday.”Follow David on Twitter Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And like ZAGS on Facebook