ELMHURST, NY - The 41st annual Wheelchair Classic High School All-Star Games were held this week, with the boys championship game being played on Friday night with the Queens/Long Island All-Stars taking on the Bronx All-Stars.
This tournament is more than your normal tournament, as it benefits Wheelchair Charities, a charity that makes sure that everyone who needs a wheelchair, can receive one. A great cause for sure, but the game was a bit of a dud, with the Bronx pouring it on for a 108-67 win. Many players stood out though and brought their best game to Elmcor in Queens, and here are the ones who proved to be the top performers.
Nathan Ekwu, 6'8" PF (Cardinal Hayes '14)- The Davidson commit was easily the most dominant player on Friday night, scoring 30 points, and really showing an array of post moves, along with excellent footwork to score whenever he seemingly wanted inside. From where he was earlier in the season to now it's really amazing how far he has come. Going against a 7 footer in Brown, Ekwu really was able to not just overpower him, and the other Queens big men, but he was able to spin the paint and finish using both hands, and a short baseline jumper really just adds to his impressive arsenal.
Luis Santos, 6'8" PF (St. Raymond '15)- Headed off to prep school for his senior year, Santos was a brute inside, showing superior strength, dominating the glass and scoring on putback after putback, finishing with 21 points and really cleaning up on both ends of the floor. His positioning defensively was also something that stood out, blocking shots when opponents drove the lane, and also helping out and coming over when they went the other way. Ran the floor well as well and was able to put the ball on the floor, flashing a possible future at the 3 spot if he works on conditioning.
Desure Buie, 6'1" PG (Wings Academy '15)- Buie didn't have to do a ton of scoring to make his impact on the game. He sat out the entire 4th quarter, but still had 14 points, and to go along with his impressive semifinal performance where the Bronx took down Brooklyn. He was named Wheelchair Games MVP. His playmaking ability, and his ability to break down the defense was on full display. Seemed a step quicker than most of the Queens guards, while also having superior court vision to find the interior players of the Bronx in great spots to finish on the inside.
Luis Hernandez, 6'3" SG (John Bowne '14)- Hernandez led Bowne in scoring and rebounding this season and was the lead bright spot offensively for Queens in what was not the boroughs best performance. He had 11 points, but he had 3 threes, showing good range, and the ability to score off the dribble. While there was an overall lack of hustle at times from the Queens squad, especially when they got down 25+ in the 2nd quarter, he never let down, pressuring the ball and staying in good defensive positions. He was squared on his shots, and came out ready to play.
Gabe Brown, 7'0" C (Ward Melville '14)- Still a work in progress, Brown continues to show the flashes of a future Division 1 player. He isn't there yet as his body still needs weight and muscle, and he needs to work on defensively not being pushed around, but his hands offensively are top notch, and he works the ball with both hands well. He proved to be a good passing big man out of the post, and around the rim he does finish with authority. The tools are there, and though he only had 8 points in this one, you can see the improvement, and the talent in his game.