2004 adidas Showtime National Championship, that's a wrap
96 teams showed up in Atlanta (Ga.) for the inaugural adidas Showtime National Championship competing in the 15, 16 and 17 age divisions and for all purposes the event was a smashing success. The tournament reached it's pinnacle with a championship game Saturday between the Tallahassee Wildcats and Houston Elite featuring Jovan Adams, Gerald Green, Alonzo Gee and Ryan Reid who all occupy spots in the Rivals.com150.
Tallahassee Wildcats are crowned King
John Adkins Tallahassee Wildcats program was strong and deep throughout the three-day tournament and that depth paid off in Friday's 1:20 p.m. championship game with the Houston Elite. The Wildcats led by scoring machine Alonzo Gee were the fresher and hungrier team and took control of the game mid-way through the first half. Elite rallied back in the 2nd session with and 8-0 run by super point man Jovan Adams to tie the game at 39-39 with a little over eight minutes to go.
However, the Wildcats took the game to the paint and behind the strong and aggressive play of power forward Ryan Reid who totaled 12 points and 10 rebounds pulled away for a 70-62 win away despite the strong play of Adams for the Elite who finished with 22 points, five assists and five rebounds.
Daryl Merthie led Tallahassee with 25 points and he seemingly made a big basket every time Elite was poised for a run. The 6-foot-1 point guard is a bouncy athlete and good defender who has a nice three-ball to compliment his penetration.
Gerald Green comes down to earth
The offensive juggernaut that has been known the last two weeks as Gerald Green came down to earth and landed with a loud thud during the championship game. Green looked tired and never found his groove during the game. The first half saw him go 0 for 5 from the field and if it wasn't for a basket with 4:28 left in the 2nd half the Texas standout would have been left with the dreaded goose egg.
Jovan Adams leaves it on the floor
While Elite failed to win the title it wasn't for a lack of effort from point guard Jovan Adams who took over the offensive star role and at one point scored 10 straight Elite points, including two 3's and two drives to the basket, in a three minute span that briefly tied the game.
In three of Elite's contests the little big man put the game on his shoulders with a variety of long jumpers or hard drives to the rim. He is a "quick as a hiccup" type of player who plays hard on every possession. He finished with 22 points in the championship game.
Alonzo Gee no one-trick pony
While the all the talk about Alonzo Gee is his ability to shoot the three, and shoot it well, when his outside shot wasn't falling Saturday he drove to the basket and finished or pulled up from mid-range. He finished with 15 points in addition to seven rebounds. His ability to adjust is impressive.
Equally impressive was his defensive effort on Elite star Gerald Green. While the Wildcats rotated from man-to-man to zone defense on any given possession it was Gee's job to defend Green one-on-one. With nice size and good athleticism Gee did an impressive job of staying in front of Green, stopping his penetration and making him work for every shot.
Florida power forward is a warrior
Power forward Ryan Reid is a fearless competitor in the paint where he fights for every rebound and loose ball. In addition Reid 6-foot-8 showed a mid-range game and enough handle to put the ball on the floor twice and use his strong body to get to the basket. Couple all this with an impressive physique and his ability to play with his back to the basket and you can see why several high majors have him near the top of their wish lists.
Andray Blatche has strong performance in last game
The Andray Blatche who might be a 1st round NBA draft pick showed up Saturday and showed up in a big way. Blatche, playing with renewed enthusiasm, was a terror on both ends of the floor for SRAP including blocking shots and hitting the boards in addition to posting strong and also showing a nice 15-foot-in and in jump shot. If he can learn to play at this level consistently he is a no-brainer for the league. He finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds.
Duke commitment picks it up after slow start
After struggling early in the tournament with a lack of energy and turnovers Greg Paulus returned to his former self with two back-to-back efforts. The Duke commitment posted 19 and 17 points games and was his normal self running the offense including his usual array of no-look passes that ended with mixed results since his teammates often had trouble finishing.
Keep an eye on Team Orlando Big man
Team Orlando post player Quinton Thornton had his hands full with Blatche but gave a good effort and had his moments against the New York standout. Thornton, 6-foot-9, is a skilled post player who has a good face up game. St. Joe's has offered and on the verge of a steal.