Thursday Takeaways: Top Defender in Oklahoma?
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A pair of games at Norman high school on Thursday shined a light on high school prospects from all classes in Oklahoma, and even a couple youngsters getting the opportunity to compete against older compeition. Including one senior making the…
A pair of games at Norman high school on Thursday shined a light on high school prospects from all classes in Oklahoma, and even a couple youngsters getting the opportunity to compete against older compeition. Including one senior making the case for being the best defender in the state.
One of the top players in Oklahoma, Combs-Pierce did not disappoint from the opening tip. He opened the game with a rim rattling slam and would follow it up with three more dunks in the first quarter. Including a smooth, reverse alley oop. He made the game look easy on the offensive end, comfortably knocking down threes and getting to his spots in the mid-range. The senior isn’t limited to the impacting on the offensive end either, as he’s arguably the top defender in Oklahoma. One of the few players in the state who can actually guard 1-5. His long arms can pick the pockets of guards, while also being an empathic shotblocker at the rim. It’s unbelievable more D1 programs aren’t interested in Combs-Pierce and if his jumper has improved from the summer (on Thursday night it looked like it had), he’s the perfect fit for modern basketball.
Brown was another two-way standout from the games on Thursday. The lefty made his offensive living knifing through the defense, with a combination of gliding by opponents or hesitation moves to create space. With his acrobatic finishing package, he’s quickly looking like one of the most dynamic drivers in the state. He also was a tone setter on the defensive end, as his combination of light on his feet bounce and impeccable timing had him playing around the rim, blocking and altering shots all afternoon. When Brown plays this hard on both ends of the court, he has the ceiling to be one of the better 2025 guards in Oklahoma.
It’s a was a quality shooting performance from the top shooter in Oklahoma. As always, his shot looked automatic when his feet were set in catch and shoot situations. And his off the dribble and shooting while uncomfortable abilities are improving. Late in the first he caught a pass while moving away from the basket. In one fluid motion he turned to face the hoop and let it fire, with the ball barely touching the net on the way through. It was the type of big time shot to end a quarter that translates to the next level. Dixon has also developed a reliable side hop and step back three to gain separation to often hit on DEEP three pointers. His range often extends to the NBA line and even deeper.
A current drawback to his game, is even though his handle is improving and he’s getting strong, he’s often reliant on transition looks or his teammates to create looks for him. Which means there’s still some stretches where his impact is muted. This also translates to the defensive end, where he runs hot and cold. There’s times he looks like he could cause real havoc causing with ball pressure, while other times he drifts away.
The elite shooting ability Dixon provides will get his foot in the door in the next level. Now it’s about continuing to apply pressure in other aspects of his game.
After struggling in an opening night viewing last week, this was a quality, aggressive performance from the junior combo guard. On the defensive end he uses his quickness and instincts to seemingly stay on opposing ball handlers as a second layer of skin. He occasionally uses his hands to force turnovers but most often relied on his footwork to turn them and make life uncomfortable. His offensive game in this contest was more about getting to the rim, where he’s shifty at navigating traffic. And while his jumper wasn’t fouling, he did hit one particularly nice and tough mid-range shot. Leonard and his previously mentioned teammate Brown hold the key to a successful season with impactful play on both ends of the court.
Adamson has a great handle, which allowed him to often handle the waves of ball pressure thrown at him. At the basket he’s a sneaky finisher, as he can often angle release points or hang in the air just long enough to avoid shot blockers. His jumper is smooth in the mid-range, with three pointers mixed in. The senior is trending toward being more of a two guard, as passing and floor vision is an area where improvement is needed.
The sophomore was a sparkplug off the bench, with a controlled game for a younger player. When called upon to hit open threes, he buried them on the night. He looked to push in transition or off rebounds, often being rewarded with transition points (including punching a slam on the break), and in general played an efficient brand of basketball. One instance of great hustle came when be blocked a shot on the perimeter, dove into the bench to save the loose ball, which led to a transition opportunity for his teammates. Versatile and efficient on the night, the younger Combs-Pierce is a sophomore to keep tabs on.
Throughout this fall, Douglass has looked like a big time future prospect. He’s often stepped seamlessly into the role of pulling the strings for his older teammates, while also still finding the correct spots to attack himself. Douglass can stop on a dime in the mid-range or use hesitation moves and body control to get shots at the rim. For a youngster with his scoring skills, it’s very impressive how willing he is to make the right play. Pitching it ahead in transition. Kicking it out on drives. They all add up and are testament to his great basketball awareness at a young age. Big things are likely to come from the 405 youngster.
Tight handles and a great jumper allows the youngster to navigate the court against older prospects. Everything he does is under control and he rarely looks bothered playing against bigger competition. In general he has good passing instincts, as he’ll rifle a great no look pass out of seemingly nowhere. But there are times when understandable he’ll force a poor pass due to the size and speed of the game. Or get too deep amongst the trees and not have a way out. Still, what the shifty, composed youngster is doing as a scorer and creator is exceptional given his grade level and the level of competition he’s playing against.
The senior stepped up in the second half of Putnam City North’s victory. He knocked down multiple clutch three-pointers that helped his Panthers maintain and build their fourth quarter lead, as North would earn their first victory of the young season. Riley’s ability to stretch the floor will be crucial to help create driving lines for their dynamic guards, and if left opened he proved he can make the defense pay.