Letters of Interest: Trayvaughn Newell runs the show for Coolidge

February 13, 2013

Coolidge senior point guard Trayvaughn Newell, left, has the Colts back on track following Tuesday’s upset of No. 2 Theodore Roosevelt. (Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

Moments after the final buzzer sounded on Coolidge’s 64-46 win against No. 2 Theodore Roosevelt, Colts Coach Vaughn Jones slipped on a gleaming white jacket that read “2012 DCIAA champs.” In a Roosevelt gym still buzzing from the upset that had just transpired, Jones’s subtle move served as a reminder that despite the Rough Riders’ 21-1 mark, the DCIAA title still ran through Coolidge.

A major reason for that, as well as the Colts’ proficiency during Tuesday’s dominant win is senior Trayvaughn Newell. The 5-foot-11 point guard is one of my favorite players to watch this season simply because of his court vision and willingness to share the ball. Crisp passes float off his fingers and into the hands of streaking Coolidge players in transition and in half-court sets. Newell’s poise with the rock helps the Colts maximize their wealth of weapons led by forward David Kadiri and swingman Kory Cooley.

“Tray is our glue kid; he makes everything come together for us,” Jones said. “He defends well and he facilitates our offense very well.”

Once the Colts got rolling in the second half Tuesday, it made me think of the Lakers’ Showtime days back in the 1980s. Not that Coolidge is at the level of those NBA title teams, but with the way Newell was finding his teammates in the right spots, I’m sure his fellow Colts felt like Magic Johnson’s sidekicks, who said they always kept their hands ready on the break because there was always a chance Magic would find them.

Jones said that Newell has earned interest from UNC Greensboro and several Division II schools, including CIAA programs. A Bowie State scout in attendance at Tuesday’s game likely took notice of the Colts’ point man, too.

Though Newell’s pass-first mentality is almost to a fault (he passed up a few open looks for tougher transition passes), his court vision is something that any college program could use in its uptempo offense. Thanks to Newell, Cooley was able to break out of a recent slump with 19 points (14 came in the second half) and the Colts are back in the discussion as one of the area’s top teams after a tough stretch.

“It’s all about playing smart,” Newell said. “This win is very big. I feel as though we’re turning the corner at the right time.”

In Tuesday’s other action:

  • Samir Kaveeshwar drained a three-pointer with 2.5 seconds left to lift Whitman past Blair, 48-47, and give the Vikings their second straight win following a three-game skid.
  • Sam Worman also came up big just before the buzzer for Flint Hill. The sophomore capped the Huskies’ senior night with a good note by nailing a three from the top of the key to push Flint Hill past St. James, 59-57.
  • With Theodore Roosevelt falling Tuesday, No. 11 Oakland Mills (21-0) stands as the area’s lone undefeated team following its 70-42 win against Wilde Lake. Mishaud Reyna (16 points) led four players in double figures.
  • The parity-filled Virginia AAA Concorde District tournament got off to an exciting start as No. 5 Chantilly bounced No. 4 Westfield, 54-52, in overtime.
  • Michael Cunningham recorded his second triple-double in as many weeks with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in No. 20 DuVal’s 86-68 win against High Point.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 19-1
Scoring margin in the third quarter of Tuesday’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 13 St. John’s. The Eagles used the surge to rally for a 72-65 win and remain undefeated in conference play. Charles Glover led the way with 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Check out Branden Roth’s video below for highlights from the action.

BREAKFAST LINKS
–J.J. Epps, who recently returned from a broken hand, looked like his old self Tuesday, pouring in 22 points to lead No. 12 Magruder past No. 13 Paint Branch, 73-56.

–Howard’s girls’ basketball team escaped with a 37-36 win against Reservoir, which nearly overcame a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit.

–The rosters for the 2013 Jordan Brand Classic were released Tuesday. No local players made the game, which will be played in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but it’s certainly worth tuning in to see the nation’s top high school ballers on April 13.

-McLean baseball coach John Thomas has resigned after being arrested for marijuana possession last week.

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
Langley vs. McLean, 7:30 p.m. at South Lakes
Top-seeded Langley looks to validate its regular-season crown in the AAA Liberty District semifinals but the defending district champ Highlanders hold the momentum after beating the Saxons, 42-35 in overtime, last Friday.

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Eric Detweiler | February 13, 2013