June 22, 2007

USA Basketball: Round One

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-Tyreke Evans made a statement, and Greg Monroe was awful good as well, but the one-two punch of Evans and Monroe was not enough for the USA White team as they fell to the USA Red 131-128 in opening action at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.

Evans took advantage of being guarded by bigger players such as Devin Ebanks and Ed Davis and got to the rim at will as he rolled up 43 points. Evans also led his team with 12 rebounds.

But with a little more than a minute left in the game and the White squad holding a 128-125 lead, Evans fouled out of the game. The Red squad then ran off six straight points as the White squad's guards had crucial turnovers and Monroe was unable to score on a couple post moves.

Red squad

Devin Ebanks- 34 points on 13-20 shooting, 2-3 from three, 6-9 from the line, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists, 3 turnovers in 37 minutes

Not the most athletic player, but is Ebanks ever skilled with the basketball. He can score it from deep and in the mid-range, and he also was impressive passing the ball on the pick and roll. Coach Sampson will need to put in the effort to improve his defensive play.

Willie Warren- 24 points on 8-19 shooting, 1-6 from three, 7-9 from the line, 4 steals, 5 assists and zero turnovers in 30 minutes

Warren was outplayed by Evans, but he had a strong game in his own right. He used his physical strength to work his way into some buckets, and you can't ignore his assist/turnover ratio.

Al-Farouq Aminu- 15 points on 5-12 shooting, 0-1 from three, 5-6 from the line, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks, 4 steals, 2 assists, 4 turnovers in 29 minutes

Can play too fast and get careless with the basketball at times, but Aminu also uses his energy to manufacture buckets and make plays on the defensive end.

Leslie McDonald- 15 points on 7-11 shooting, 1-3 from three, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 6 assists, zero turnovers in 20 minutes

Talented and efficient, McDonald consistently makes positive plays and avoids negative plays. Notice the shooting percentage and assist/turnover ratio.

Lance Stephenson- 14 points on 5-7 shooting, 4-5 from the line, 2 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 turnovers in 21 minutes

Stephenson drove the ball hard to the rim but struggled with his passing. Drew Gordon- 12 points on 5-10 shooting, 1-2 from three, 1-2 from the line, 8 rebounds, 1 block, 2 turnovers in 27 minutes

Gordon knocked down a three-pointer when dared to shoot it. Other than that shot, he scored on dunks in transition and off the pick and roll.

Erving Walker- 9 points on 3-7 shooting, 1-4 from the arc, 2-2 from the line, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 6 assists, 8 turnovers in 27 minutes

Walker struggled with some turnovers, but overall did a nice job executing the high ball screen.

Ed Davis- 3 points on 1-2 shooting, 1-2 from the line, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 2 assists, 1 turnover in 15 minutes

Clearly frustrated, even to the point of removing his jersey midway through the fourth quarter, Davis didn't get a lot of minutes or touches when on the court.

Jordan Theodore- 3 points on 1-5 shooting, 0-2 from three, 1-2 from the line, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, 4 turnovers in 25 minutes

Theodore did get the production he would have liked in the minutes he played.

Tony Woods- 2 points on 1-1 shooting, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers in 9 minutes

Woods played early, but then didn't see the floor after nine minutes of play.

White squad

Tyreke Evans- 43 points on 18-25 shooting, 0-1 from three, 7-12 from the line, 12 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks, 7 assists, 3 turnovers in 32 minutes

Evans was the story of the game. He punished the Red squad in transition and shot lay up after lay up. Willie Warren did a decent job keeping him in front late in the game, but Evans then knocked down some impressive midrange pull ups.

Evans showed strength with the basketball and a burst to the basket off his crossover that we haven't seen in a while. He simply played inspired and efficient basketball. His game is clearly maturing and his ranking will improve.

Greg Monroe- 28 points on 12-25 shooting, 4-9 from the line, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, 5 blocks, 3 assists, 3 turnovers in 42 minutes

Monroe established himself early and produced throughout the game. He fought for position in the low post, drove the ball to the basket from the midrange and was active on the boards. Defensively, he proved very difficult to score over.

Dexter Strickland- 19 points on 8-16 shooting, 0-1 from three, 3-6 from the line, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists, 5 turnovers in 32 minutes

Strickland went back and forth between moments of struggling and moments of brilliance. Improving his physical strength is quite important to the development of his game as he oozes with upside. He did a nice job running the point with the second team and then played off the ball while running with Evans.

Travis Releford- 12 points on 5-9 shooting, 2-2 from the line, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover in 24 minutes

Releford avoided negative plays and his most impressive work was on the glass. He is a heady player although limited athletically.

Korie Lucious- 10 points on 4-17 shooting, 2-8 from three, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 6 assists, 8 turnovers in 41 minutes

Shot selection and turnover were an issue. If Evans wasn't manufacturing the offense or the ball wasn't going into Monroe, the White squad often found itself letting deep shots fly while up against the shot clock.

Ferrakohn Hall- 6 points on 3-6 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover in 16 minutes

In limited minutes Hall was noticeable on the court. He played with competitive aggressiveness.

Deshawn Painter- 4 points on 2-5 shooting, 5 rebounds, 1 block (we had him for several more), 1 assist, 1 turnover in 18 minutes

Painter played limited minutes because of foul trouble, but was he ever a presence on the court. He hunts down the ball as a rebounder and shot blocker. Offensively, he knocked down a couple 18-footers.

Isaiah Armwood- 3 points on 1-4 shooting, 0-1 from three, zero rebounds, 1 block, 1 assist, 1 turnover in 19 minutes

Armwood simply didn't have one of his better days. His lack of physical strength was an issue as he struggled to finish and didn't grab a rebound.

Andy Poling- 3 points on 1-3 shooting, 1-2 from the line, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover in 16 minutes. As with Armwood, Poling's lack of strength is a major obstacle to his productivity right now. He doesn't lack skill, but he is a little overwhelmed by the athleticism here so far.

USA Blue squad 111, Brazil 78

The Brazilians were simply overwhelmed by the size and athleticism of their American opponent. Jerime Anderson led the Blue squad in scoring with 25 points and also in assists with 9. Malcolm Lee was second in both categories with 20 points and 5 assists. Forwards Delvon Roe had 19 points, and Scotty Hopson had 16 points. Roe led his team in rebounding with 10 boards. Jrue Holiday only played 14 minutes before he was sidelined with an eye injury.

School lists

Jrue Holiday confirmed that he is down to UCLA and Washington with neither team holding an edge at the moment.

Tyreke Evans named North Carolina, Louisville, Villanova, Texas and UConn as his top five, and he would like to officially visit all five in the fall.

Demarcus Cousins provided a school list of UAB, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas and Louisville with UAB as his leader.

"I'm like a son to Mike Davis," commented Cousins.

Dexter Strickland will try to visit Florida, North Carolina, Rutgers, Ohio State, Arizona and Indiana before the high school season begins according to his step father Lamonte Halsey. Michigan State is his leader right now, but Halsey did point out that Michigan State is the only school he has visited so far. Strickland has offers from all of these schools.

Leslie McDonald likes Memphis, Tennessee, Georgetown, Louisville, North Carolina, Duke, Alabama and Ole Miss. All have offered except for North Carolina and Duke, but these two schools are showing serious interest.

Ferrakohn Hall has an offer from Tennessee, and Florida, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Memphis, North Carolina and Duke are on his list. North Carolina and Duke are not recruiting him, however, at this point.



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