The second round of games at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival saw the South remain undefeated with a 158-125 victory over the winless West. The East and North are both at 1-1 as the North defeated the East 104-93. Leading the way for the South was Tasmin Mitchell, and leading the way for the North was Brandon Rush.
Rush scored 24 points by slashing to the rim, where he dunked and finished with either hand, and by hitting an occasional midrange jumper off the pass. Even more impressive was his work on the boards, specifically the offensive boards. Thanks to a little motivation from his coach, Rush pursued the ball for 5 offensive boards and 7 defensive boards. Although his passing is not his strong suit, he finished with 6 assists along with 4 turnovers. He also had 2 blocks and 3 steals.
If Rush gets stronger, improves on his defensive and passing, and plays with consistent effort, he could be one of the best in the class of 2005. It will be interesting to watch his progress.
McRoberts came up big for the North with a team high 13 rebounds, 12 on the defensive end. His long outlet passes sparked several fast breaks.
Devendorf's tank looked a little empty, and the defense of Marcus Ginyard had a great deal to do with that. Devendorf did manage 17 points but on 6 of 20 shooting. More importantly, the feisty competitor handled the ball for the majority of the game and made the plays his team needed to win.
Thomas went for 12 points and 10 rebounds. Although he only played 16 minutes, he did get the start in place of Luke Zeller, who once again struggled from the field going 2 for 9.
Thomas has a chance to be a serious high major player. He cited an offer from Purdue, and listed Texas A&M, Illinois, Florida State, and DePaul along with Purdue as his top five schools.
He also said he is serious about losing weight. At the beginning of the summer he was at 325-pounds, and now he is down to 306-pounds.
Holloway, who has already committed to Louisville, had his second strong performance of the day. The 7-footer has a strong spin move in the post and can attack the basket with one dribble from the free throw line with surprising agility. He is also a weapon making the high/low feed from the high post. He does struggle getting up and down the court, however.
Paulus cut his turnovers down to 4 and had 10 assists. He was only 1 of 9 from the field.
Ginyard is a terrific defender, and he did a tremendous job on Devendorf. He got into the lane offensively with the ball but struggled from the perimeter. He finished with 13 points.
Kelly came back down to earth after his 27 point outburst in the morning, scoring only 6 points in the night cap. His shot is rapidly improving, and he is putting the ball on the floor effectively. At the rate he is going, he will be one of the elite prospects in the class of 2006. Although he did not produce many points, he did have 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals in 23 minutes of play.
After the game he listed Georgia Tech, Texas, South Florida, Virginia Tech, Miami, and North Carolina as his favorites. All have offered.
A tremendous athlete, Macklin still struggles finishing, but he is getting better. He is creating shots off the dribble and getting offensive put backs. He finished with 12 points on 6 of 13 from the field and had 6 rebounds, 4 being offensive boards.
Blatche, coming off the bench for some reason, led the North in scoring with 17 points in 13 minutes of play. He also grabbed 9 rebounds and handled the ball well in the open court.
9 players from the South scored in double figures, 3 with 20 or more. With the lack of hustle and defense by the West it was not much of an accomplishment. As a team the South went 66 for 111 from the field. That is whopping 60 percent.
Tasmin Mitchell led the way with 24 points and Louis Williams followed with 23 points. Williams cut his turnovers down to 4 and led the South with 8 assists. Richard Hendrix had another strong game with 20 points, and Brandan Wright led the South in rebounding with 9 boards.
Not only was the West's defense atrocious allowing 158 points to the South, the offense was not much better. The trigger happy West jacked up 39 thee-pointers, making only 11 for 28 percent. You would have thought they would have learned from their 5 for 34 performance from behind the line in the morning.
One of the few West players not casting from deep was Jon Brockman. He finished with 15 points on 7 of 7 shooting and grabbed a team high 10 rebounds. There is no telling how many points he could score if he touched the ball more.
Kansas commitment Mario Chalmers did hit the majority of his 22 shots for a total of 39 points. He hit 6 of 11 from behind the line. You really could not blame him for hoisting them up, since the South guards are far from being defensive juggernauts. He was open, and he hit them.
The rest of the West perimeter players struggled mightily to score. If you are brave enough to look at the West box score, check it out at www.usabasketball.com.