Sunday, November 15, 2015

Maitre, Feliz Star In West Oaks' 84-71 Defeat Of Fort Lauderdale

It was, by far, the toughest phone call Richardson Maitre ever made.

There was nothing easy about calling a Cleveland State coach to de-commit, albeit the 6-foot-2 West Oaks Academy (Orlando, FL) guard knew re-opening his recruitment was the right call.

"I was having second thoughts. Anytime you start to have second thoughts, you know something just isn't right or isn't certain," said Maitre, who dropped 20 points in West Oaks' thorough 84-71 road thrashing of Fort Lauderdale High on Saturday.

"It was hard to make that call, but I really thought about my decision."

Richardson certainly played with the savvy of a man hungry for a high-major offer Saturday. Displaying a pull-up game, quicker shot release, and a knack for creating plays on the run, the 17-year-old turned in an efficient account of himself.

Ole Miss, Wichita State, Rutgers, and several others have now tuned into Maitre, out of Canada.

"I'm confident in myself, I'm confident that coach (Kenny) Gilliam will help me get better and get to the best school possible," Maitre said.

"Coach Gilliam, coach Harold (Lilly), and coach Diana (Neal), they'll just keep raising my work ethic and my character so that I'm prepared. They just want to push me and make sure I keep getting better."

Nobody was better than Andres Feliz Saturday. A hard-driving and well-built guard headed to South Florida, Feliz attacked the rim to the tune of a game-best 24 points. He added five assists.

When FHS scratched and clawed to within 12, Feliz snatched a board and went the length of the floor for a layin.

He got loose in transition for a scoop in, pumping West Oaks' lead to 74-55 lead with 5:21 remaining in the fourth quarter. After a cutting Carlos Paez scored to bring the lead back to 13, Feliz chased down an offensive board and turned in a traditional 3-point play with 1:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.

"Once (Feliz) starts to turn it on, everybody turns it on," said Maitre of his teammate and closest friend.

"He started off slow but then he started to pick it up and there was no stopping him after that. We're the leaders of this team, it's our responsibility to step it up when we need to."

Maitre envisions himself as a point guard at Division-I level, though he and Feliz share both guard positions under Gilliam. With 7-foot-3 center Chol Mariel now at Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville) and West Oaks left with a dearth of bigs, the system is predicated on a more uptempo attack.

"Not having Chol doesn't really hurt us because we have a lot of guards," said Maitre, who played for Team Africa in Adidas Global Nations in L.A. this summer.

"We're more uptempo, more fast-paced. The system is little more structured and detailed. We have to be on the move all the time."

In Canada, Maitre said soccer is the way of the world. Basketball takes a backseat as far as the country's favorite pasttime.

Through watching a handful of his cousins on the Division-I level, including Montreal product and former Baylor guard Kenny Chery, Maitre made basketball not only a top commitment but a lifestyle.

"As a young gun I looked up to all of my cousins and had the opportunity to take advice from them whenever I could," Maitre explained.

 "Kenny was really the biggest influence because he played my position and he really took me under his wing. He's been with me since I was young."