The opening round games of the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival began Friday morning in Colorado Springs, Colo., with the South defeating the North 129-125 and the East defeating the West 116-102.
SOUTH vs. NORTH
Leading the way for the South was a dominating performance by Richard Hendrix, who finished with 30 points, 22 rebounds, and four blocked shots in 38 minutes of play. Even more impressive is that Hendrix scored his 30 points on 12 of 13 shooting from the field and 6 of 7 from the line.
For much of the game, Notre Dame commitment Luke Zeller was matched up on Hendrix, and he struggled mightily against the aggressive and powerful Hendrix. Zeller also struggled offensively, going 3-of-11 from the field in 32 minutes of play.
In a losing effort, Eric Devendorf's performance equaled the magnitude of Hendrix's performance. During his 34 minutes of play, he split time between the point guard position and the shooting guard position, scoring 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting form the field, 5 of 8 from the arc and 4 of 7 from the free throw line. He also had three rebounds, six steals, five assists and two turnovers. Neither Louis Williams nor C.J. Miles could guard Devendorf.
Williams did have a strong first half while he and Mike Mercer controlled the game and got the ball inside to Hendrix as the South took a 70-54 advantage into halftime. But in the second half the Georgia bound duo was careless with the ball and took ill advised shots. The North was actually able to take the lead late in the game. In 30 minutes of play, Williams finished with 15 points on 5 of 18 shooting from the field, 0 of 3 from three, and 5 of 6 from the line. He also had 4 rebounds, 5 steals, and 8 assists along with 7 turnovers, most of which came in the second half.
The second leading scorers for both teams were Keith Brumbaugh of the South with 23 points and Brandon Rush of the North with 28 points. Much of their offensive success was due to the fact that they guarded each other for most of the game. Not that they had some sort of gentleman's agreement, but more for the fact that neither one are very good on the ball defenders. Both players displayed the one on one game and athleticism that might one day get them into the league, but along with their soft on the ball defense, their lack of passing ability resulted in them turning the ball over six times each.
Dominic James played a solid game at point for the North, contributing 16 points on slashes to the basket and 7 assists to only 1 turnover. He also did a very good job guarding Louis Williams.
Tasmin Mitchell shot the ball well in the first half, but he along with the South's other frontline players did not see the ball much in the second half as the South's guards shot the North back into the game. Mitchell, who contributes on the court in about every way possible, scored 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting from the field, 1 of 2 from three, and 2 of 2 from the line. He also had 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, and 2 assists with only 1 turnover in 27 minutes of play.
Although he only played 13 minutes, 2006 prospect Brandan Wright finished with 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting from the field and 4 of 5 shooting from the line. He also had 5 rebounds and 1 steal without ever turning the ball over.
In 31 minutes of play, Josh McRoberts recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
EAST vs. WEST
2006 prospect Curtis Kelly led the Eastern charge with 27 points, shooting 12 of 15 from the field with 1 for 1 from the three point line and 2 of 2 from the free throw line. He also had 5 assists with 3 turnovers in his 24 minutes of play. Rivals.com will get a closer look at Kelly, who is typically regarded as a defender and rebounder, in tonight's action.
Duke commitment Greg Paulus was right behind Kelly with 26 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the field, 1 of 2 from behind the arc, and 13 of 15 from the free throw line. In his 34 minutes of play, he also had 7 rebounds and 4 steals. His high risk/reward passing produced 7 assists but also 9 turnovers.
Registering a very solid stat line, North Carolina commitment Marcus Ginyard shot 5 of 6 from the field, 1 of 1 from the arc, and 4 of 4 from the line for 15 total points in 29 minutes of play. He also had 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, and 4 assists with only 1 turnover.
Rugged athlete Jon Brockman paced the West with 24 points and 8 rebounds. Brockman only missed 4 of his 15 field goal attempts and made both of his free throws.
Contributing to the demise of the West was their 5 of 34 shooting from behind the three point line. Martell Webster was 1 for 5 from the arc, while scoring 11 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and snatching 5 steals.
Andre McGee was 1 of 8 from the arc while scoring 16 points. McGee had 6 assists as well but no steals.
Mario Chalmers was 1 of 5 from the arc while scoring 15 points. He also had 4 assists and 4 steals.
The other double digit scorer for the West was Marcus Johnson, who scored 16 points and had 6 steals. He only hit 1 of 5 from the arc.
In tonight's match ups, the South faces the West and the North faces the East. Full box scores can be found at www.usabasketball.com.