The 2012 Jayhawk Invitational kicked off across the Olathe area Friday night, headlined by KC Run GMC, formally known as KC Pump N Run.
Playing at its new main location, New Century Fieldhouse, LJ Goolsby and new sponsor Under Armour kicked off another addition of the Jayhawk Invite-one of the premier AAU events in the Midwest during the early portion of the summer circuit.
Because of some paperwork/filing delays, the tournament didn't obtain the proper accreditation to allow college coaches to attend which means some of the more marquee teams are playing elsewhere, including the KC Run GMC 17's, who are in Philadelphia, but the tournament still features plenty of entertaining youth hoops for basketball fans.
Local products such as Lawrence Free State's Khadre Lane and Lee Summit West star Monte Harrison led the GMC 16's in their opener against the I Can All Star's Friday at 8:20 in what ended up being a tough outing for GMC, dropping their opener to a much bigger and overall more athletic I Can team which has rising star Isaac Allen (listed as No. 15 but actually wearing jersey No. 34) from Mesa, Ariz.
Lane is an extremely athletic player who hasn't quite honed in his skills just yet, and with so much length on the opposing team, Lane struggled to get clean looks at basket. The Lawrence-native can flat-out jump out of the gym and is beginning to become a much more household name with colleges across the country. Just recently, programs such as Nebraska have started calling on the 6-foot-3 guard.
Harrison is a talented baseball player as well and might be the type of player worthy of being drafted down the road, but on the hardwood, he is also incredibly athletic and knows how to create his own shot. He completed a beautiful up-and-under layup in traffic in the first half and took strong drives to the free throw line several times after being fouled.
Both players struggled to hit jumpers and typically devoted their energy on offense to getting at the rim.
The All Star's dominated the boards and although Lane, Harrison, and point guard Nick Norton--who scored 11 straight points in one stretch-tried to keep GMC in the game with a late surge, I Can was just too much, particularly because of their assertiveness on the glass.
Working the scoreboard for GMC and I Can's game was Kansas senior-to-be Travis Releford.
Another recognizable name in the house was Jarred Dixon, brother of Missouri's Michael Dixon, who plays for the Run GMC 15's squad, as does former Kansas City Chief Kendall Gammon's son Blaise Gammon.
Play fires up again starting early on Saturday morning. KC Run GMC 16's hopes to get in the win column beginning at 10:20 a.m. at New Century Fieldhouse.