ORLANDO, Fla. - The 17 and under AAU Super Showcase at the Disney Wide World of Sports came to a close on Monday as the New Jersey All-Stars and the New Hampshire Playerz claimed their respective Gold and Silver brackets. Rutgers recruit Anthony Farmer was one of the many players who helped the Jersey-based squad all week.
2007 prospect sparks Jersey win
With a number of upperclassmen and mid to high-major players on the New Jersey All-Stars' roster, the youngest player of the bunch helped spark the team's run to the title with a solid first-half performance. Jeff Robinson, a chiseled 6-foot-5, 195-pound small forward from St. Patrick's, scored all 15 of his points in the first 16 minutes of play. His play helped the New Jersey All-Stars knock out Martin Brothers 83-60.
The rising sophomore showed off his ability to put the ball on the floor as well as connect from the perimeter, sinking three treys in the victory. He has long strides with the dribble and gets to the basket in a few steps from the wing. Defensively, his long arms cover a lot of ground and his rebounding skills are above par.
A couple of mid-majors said, "I like that kid a lot. He'd be perfect for us." After glancing at the coaches packet, they saw his age and quickly scratched him off the list. Robinson has high-major potential; he's too good and too young. That isn't a recipe for mid-majors.
With Robinson doing the early damage, it was up to his teammates to maintain the lead. They did a solid job of sharing the offensive load. Rutgers commitment Anthony Farmer had another good day at the office, scoring 16 points. The 6-foot-1 point guard finishes everything at the bucket and his overall ability to lead a team is underrated by nearly everyone. He'll be an instant-impact player for Rutgers and should be a great four-year player for the program.
Andrew Bynum (12 points) and Brian Zoubek (2 points) struggled with foul trouble. Bynum, to his credit, had flashes of brilliance inside with a couple drop-step dunks on defenders. He continued to rebound the ball well. The big fella capped off a solid week nicely. From game to game, he was consistently strong.
With the two centers hampered with fouls, Jaron Griffin came up big inside and controlled the paint, even with his 6-foot-6 frame. He has a soft touch around the cup and rebounds the ball well. The future Rutgers wing had 12 points and eight rebounds by our count.
Martin Brothers head coach Hank Huddleston said it best. "It just wasn't our day." Simple is better sometimes. His evaluation of his team was right on the money as the usually strong shooting team from Iowa struggled to connect on the open jumpers.
After a taxing win over the New York Gauchos the night before, Martin Brothers couldn't get their legs under them to defend the quicker guards from Jersey or have the size to stop the twin towers inside. Adam Templeton, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Central (Iowa) High School had a team high 18 points. He had a good showing here at the Super Showcase and should have a number of mid-majors in contact with him before August rolls around. He's a gamer. That's the best way of putting it.
Guards Kevin Kamaskie and Tyronne Scott played well throughout the event but they didn't have enough gas in the tank to finish on the high note.
After he shined on Sunday night, future Iowa State forward Ross Marsden couldn't get the ball to fall inside. He struggled against Bynum's big body and had a difficult time getting a good look offensively and even on rebounds.
Faces in the crowd
The Gold final brought out a number of college coaches for the last day of the Showcase. Bynum had Georgetown head coach John Thompson and assistant Robert Burke, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt, Georgia's Dennis Felton, Villanova's Jay Wright, Rutgers assistant Larry DeSimpelare and North Carolina's Joe Halladay looking on from the sidelines.
Stanford watched Zoubek while Middle Tennessee State's Kermit Davis and James Madison coaches watched Paul Gause score 18 points.
Coaches from Louisville, Oregon, Iowa, Kentucky, Dayton, Colorado, Drake, Liberty, Wisconsin-Green Bay and others were also sitting in the plastic chairs around the court.
New Hampshire team claims Silver crown
Ask anybody before the Super Showcase began who the New Hampshire Playerz were and you probably wouldn't get a lot of answers. Ask them at the end of the event, and the story is different. The fundamentally sound program squeezed a tight 72-64 victory over the Charlotte Aces for the Silver championship.
"This is the biggest tournament we've ever won," rising senior Corey Hassan said. "And this is the biggest stage we've ever played in, too."
Hassan, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, led the way with 20 points and came up big in the closing minutes of the game from the foul line and knocked down key jumpers. The Merrimack (N.H.) High School product was huge all week long and was one of the top scorers at the event. He has a sweet stroke from deep, even though it wasn't falling in the finals.
Hassan said he's received interest from Boston, Northeastern, Sacred Heart, New Hampshire, Holy Cross and Navy. Expect his mailman to work overtime this week.
His teammate, Tyler Roche, added 16 points. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard had a great week in Orlando. He's long, his shot is great, he rebounds well and he's young. The class of 2006 prospect said Georgetown, St. John's, Notre Dame, New Hampshire and a couple of Atlantic-10 and Big East schools have shown an early interest.
The Aces were led by Brandis Raley's 24 points while Jeremy Goode and Mantoris Robinson scored 12 each.