LAS VEGAS, NEV. - Is there a hotter team in the country right now than that of EBO? Led by the Lopez twins, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez and Trevon Willis, EBO claimed another championship as they knocked out Friends of Hoop Seattle in the Las Vegas Prep Showcase.
With the game being nationally televised on Fox Sports Net, all eyes were watching the to two West Coast summer programs. EBO, the winners of the adidas Showtime Nationals and the adidas Super 64 tournament, wanted to take home another trophy and did so.
The Cali kids came out of the blocks quickly and took a 14 point lead over Friends of Hoop, the Main Event champions, into the locker room and never looked back. Always a tough match-up, the Lopez twins had a tough task at hand in trying to stop Spencer Hawes.
For Pac-10 fans, it was also a possible preview of dominating Stanford frontline or a great conference rivalry. Three of Hawes's finalists are from the conference - UCLA, Stanford and Washington.
The twins had the early edge in the first half. The two were able to limit Hawes's touches inside on offense and kept him a little further away from the basket than he really likes. Hawes had 13 at the break while Robin was doing a great job as a shot-blocker. Brook was limited in minutes because of fouls.
The second half was a different story. Hawes came alive and did his usual unguardable damage from the blocks. He used his left hand for a baby hook, kissed a 10-footer off the glass, grabbed offensive boards for put backs and dunks and put himself on the foul line for free throws. Hawes finished with 33 points and an unofficial count of 14 rebounds for the game. He did all he could do.
Brook finished with 13 points and was more effective in the paint in the second half. He's more aggressive on the offensive end than his brother Robin, who ended with 11 of his own.
While Brook has been getting most of the pub from the July period, Robin has been the x-factor in the big games for EBO. In their Showtime National championship, Brook was the offensive force inside. In the adidas Super 64 and Las Vegas Prep Basketball Showcase, he was the lead defender and blocked just about everything that came his way. Points didn't come easy if he was guarding the basket.
As the big boys grinded it out in the war zone called the paint, Trevon Willis picked up where he left off in the adidas Super 64 final. Willis had 17 points in the first half and seemed to score whenever he wanted. He ended with 27 for the game.
Willis said the third major victory this month is telling of EBO's well oiled machine.
"This is a good feeling," a grinning Willis said after the game. "We always strive to play excellence and try to bring our game to that level. We've been doing that for a while now. I feel like we are the number one team in the country right now. It's been a lot of hard work to get here but it all pays off. We've beaten everyone that has come our way."
EBO head coach was even telling those that were still around the gym that he's willing to play one more game just to test his guys' success.
Odds & Ends
Ryan Anderson won the three-point contest against Kevin Durant. The two squared off against each other in the Main Event final. Anderson started slow but found his rhythm in the final round.
In the dunk contest, class of 2008 prospect DeMar DeRozan of the P. Miller Ballers edged out Osiris Eldridge of the Illinois Fire. Loaded with big time athletes like Gerald Henderson, Bobby Shannon, Michael Beasley and others, DeRozan was consistent and gambled with some dunks over his teammate Romeo Miller.
The Cox Pavilion was rocking thanks in large part to the vision of Hal Pastner, Ron Montoya and the city of Las Vegas. Pastner and his Vision Sports crew had a Final Four feel inside UNLV and lived up to their reputation as one of the most organized and entertaining events of the year.
Players, coaches, fans, parents and everyone else that loves hoops piled into the venue and enjoyed three great games, a three-point shootout and a dunk contest.
With so much competition these days between the shoe companies, it was fun to see two of the top programs battling it out for the fans in a central venue that tied the two companies and tournaments together.
Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar and chief recruiter Cameron Dollar were some of the first coaches to come to the gym this morning and they were the last to leave on Tuesday. Think the Huskies would like to nab Hawes right now? You better believe it.