ORLANDO, Fla. - The Georgia Stars haven't been defeated by many people, especially when their elite guard, Louis Williams, is at the top of his game as he was on Sunday. But for the second time in as many weeks, the New Jersey All-Stars knocked off the boys from the Peach State thanks to the efforts of Rutgers commitments Jaron Griffin and Anthony Farmer.
The New Jersey All-Stars stunned the Stars last week at the Nike Peach Jam with a 110-80 pounding. In the semi-finals at the 17 and under AAU Super Showcase, Williams and company had their chance for vindication but that wasn't in the cards, although they had their chances. The All-Stars pulled off a stellar victory, 74-72.
Up 45-33 at the half, the Stars looked like they were in the driver's seat thanks to solid shooting by Billy Humphrey and Williams. The squad connected on everything but the second half was different. The second half didn't feature New Jersey's Paul Gause.
Gause, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound point guard from Pittsgrove, came off the bench and provided the spark that helped push his team over the edge. He finished with 10 points, all in the final 16 minutes. His ability to get to the bucket, find the open man and get the job done was key.
"I'm just a high-energy guy," Gause said. "I'm the type of person that tries to get his teammates opportunities and gets the best out of them against the best teams."
That the truest statement of the day as he made Griffin and Farmer, the two Rutgers verbal commitments, shine. Farmer, a 6-foot-1 point guard, hit a reverse lay-up with less than two seconds to play to get the win, and the team's second lead of the entire game. Farmer finished with 16 points.
His future teammate, Griffin, was sensational in the victory. He had a game-high 26 points (11-18 FG, 4-8 3 pointers) and came up huge on every possession. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing did just about all he could do on both ends of the floor. He'll be an impact player for Rutgers.
The All-Stars were able to get the momentum they need thanks to a three-pointer from Craig Moore, a 6-foot-2 guard from Lawrenceville Prep, with a 1:12 to play. His shot gave the team their first lead of the game and the confidence to take the victory. Moore, who finished with nine points, has been clutch all week and should go home with some good collegiate options.
The twin towers, Andrew Bynum and Brian Zoubek, both controlled the glass, pulling down 15 combined rebounds.
To their credit, the Stars had a good game even in the loss. Future Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Alade Aminu had 13 points and eight rebounds. The 6-foot-9, 215-pound post player has played well in moments this week and Sunday night's game was probably his best showing.
Billy Humphrey, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, added 14 points on 4-7 three point shooting. Mike Mercer chipped in with 11 of his own.
As good as the Stars were, New Jersey's Farmer knew what to expect.
"(The Stars) came at us pretty hard and we knew they were going to try and get us back," Farmer said. "We knew what to expect and we knew we could get it done. That was a pretty good game, wasn't it?"
Williams is probably still steaming from the loss but his performance on Sunday as a whole was down right dominating. The future Georgia Bulldog had 25 points and five assists against the Jersey All-Stars but it was his pure domination against All-Ohio Red team that was, and probably will be, one of the best offensive performances of the season.
The 6-foot-1 shooting guard poured in 48 points (14-24 FG, 18-25 FT) in a 79-74 victory. Williams is pure offense and he does it by attacking the rim with little trouble and keen three point shooting. His ball-handling and passing skills are under-appreciated but his ability to take over a game is hard to match. SEC coaches are devising plans to stop him already.
Martin Brothers Advance to Finals
It wasn't pretty, at least on the New York Gauchos part, but the boys from American's heartland rode a wave of success to the Super Showcase finals. In a game loaded with fouls, both flagrant and technical, an ejection and high emotions, Martin Brothers tried their best to stay cool and sent the Big Apple squad home early with a 99-78 victory.
The duo of Kevin Kamaskie (6-foot-2, 170-pounds) and Tyrone Scott (5-foot-10, 170-pounds) each poured in 20 points, capping off a strong Sunday for both guards. The two backcourt players have received a handful of mid-major looks and after the showcase, they might have two handfuls worth.
Iowa State commitment Ross Mardsen had one of his best games of his career, dominating the paint by scoring 18 points on eight of nine shooting from the floor. He had a soft touch with his jumper and used the glass to get his buckets.
The Gauchos were led once again by their top guard Jessie Sapp, who scored 21 hard-earned points. His school list is 20 deep and he says he is still open to anyone.
Championship Monday Set
In the Silver Bracket, the New Hampshire Playarz and Charlotte Aces will square off at noon. The Playerz are a great passing and shooting team that are well-coached play the fundamentals. The Aces have beaten the New Jersey Cyclones, Georgia Hawks and Old Gold to get to the championship game.
The New Jersey All-Stars will try to keep their success rolling when they face off against a hot Martin Brothers team at 2 p.m. for the title.
Odds & Ends
South Carolina Ravens' rising junior Mike Jones put on another show. The 6-foot-6 small forward had 18 points and 16 rebounds against the Gauchos. He's one of the top class of 2006 players here in the field and could be amongst the nation's elite before it's all said and done.
Speaking of the elite, 6-foo-11 Magnum Rolle has the intangibles that make him one of the most sought after big men in the rising senior class. He said he'll play at Laurinburg Prep next season and will probably wait until the spring to make a decision. The one-time Florida State pledge is bouncy, he runs the floor like a two-guard and he's dripping potential. That's why Arizona, Kentucky, Memphis and Florida State are high on his list.
University of Miami commitment Brian Asbury had a fantastic game against Team Minnesota in the morning game. He scored 25 points and attacked the basket time and time again. He'll be a great player for Frank Haith and in ACC play. He was built for that style.
Tyler Hansbrough has had a hard time getting wins but he's still one of the best players in the field. The future McDonald's All-American is the constant double-double, and he's done it in front of coaches from Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas and North Carolina every game.
The Boo Williams Summer League team played with a different look, playing their bench players and sitting stars like Vernon Macklin, Scott Reynolds, Stefan Welsch and Marcus Ginyard. In their places, guys like L.D. Williams, Brian Gilmore, Eric Hayes, Duke Crews and Eric Whitehurst all stepped up big.
Williams is a big-time athlete and sports a 40-inch vertical jump. Gilmore is a smart small forward and has a nice shot from deep. Hayes is a class of 2006 point guard that has a Steve Blake-like game. Crews, another rising junior, is a powerful but undersized four man that has great explosiveness and aggressiveness. Whitehurst was the best player for the team on Sunday, scoring 25 points in the morning game.
Team Minnesota made a nice run to the Silver bracket semi-finals thanks to the play of rising junior guard Cameron Rundles. The 6-foot point guard is amongst the top scorers in both divisions at 19.8 points a game. He listed Iowa, Iowa State, Marquette, Michigan State, Minnesota and Dayton as the schools he is hearing from.
His teammate, Ray Brown rattled off Minnesota, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Purdue, Dayton and Bradley. The 6-foot-6 guard said all have offered.
New York Gaucho Saquin Stone, a 6-foot-5 defensive specialist, said he's hearing from Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Miami, South Florida and St. John's.
Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Cal's Ben Braun were both on hand for a number of Jon Scheyer's games. The class of 2006 shooting guard has been a hot recruit in July.
South Carolina forward Josh Dollard, a 6-foot-8 small forward from Prince Avenue Prep, said he's considering Tulsa, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Miami, Oklahoma and Maryland.
Paul Gause, one of the hottest players at the event, said Middle Tennessee State, James Madison, Cincinnati and South Carolina are all involved. The 6-foot, New Jersey native said all but the Gamecocks have offered.
Class of 2006 big man John Kreft (6-foot-10, 210-pounds) said he has offers from Miami and Florida State. The South Florida Heat center is an aggressive shot-blocker and rebounder. He opened a number of high-major programs' eyes with his stellar play.