Adidas Showtime National Championship tipped off Thursday
While most of the nation’s attention was focused on Augusta (SC) and the Peach Jam, the inaugural adidas Showtime National Championship quietly began this morning at the Suwanee Academy in Atlanta (Ga.) with 96 teams from 20 states competing in age groups 15, 16 and 17. Several of the nation’s top prospects were on display including Andray Blatche, Gerald Green and Greg Paulus, to name a few.
Nation’s best on display in Hotlanta
Fresh off his ABCD MVP performance, shooting guard Gerald Green from Houston (Texas) arrived in Atlanta and picked up where he left off with an opening game performance of 22 points (7 of 10 from the field) and six assists. His night effort wasn’t too shabby with 18 points and his Houston Elite squad jumped to a 2-0 record.
What Green, 6-foot-8, can do offensively is the complete package. His outside jumper has deep range and beautiful form. Mix that with his athleticism, massive hops and his ability to put the ball on the floor, and you have a kid who has as much pure talent as anyone in the country, and likely more.
While Green might be the national headliner, one the nation’s most unappreciated prospects, Jovan Adams, was quietly stealing the show. Adams, 5-foot-11, totaled 16 points and six assists in the Elite’s opener but it was his night performance that showed how special he is. Trailing for the most of the game, Adams who is the top point guard in Texas, took over midway through the 2nd half, scoring 23 points and dropping nine dimes, leading Elite to the win.
Adams is a high energy prospect with a great handle and the ability to see the floor. He uses his strong body and quickness to penetrate defenses and has a nice jumper which he gets off quickly. So playing off of him isn’t an option and there aren’t many guards who can keep up with him.
When all is said and done, Adams might be the best and most complete point guard in the class of 2005. The only remaining question about him is what’s taking everyone else so long to figure this out.
Gator commitment has his moments
Jacksonville Bulls shooting guard Derwin Kitchen saw his team fall to the Elite Thursday night but the Florida commitment connected on four 3-pointers on his way to a 19 point effort. In his early morning game, he totaled 17 points in a win.
Kitchen, 6-foot-4, is an effective offensive player who has improved his ball handling over the course of the last year, and his jump shot has never been in question. His quick release and tendency to find an open look against the zone or work hard to clear against man-to-man defense is nice. He also did a good job on the boards for the Bulls.
New York big man on display
While most of the talk centered around Andray Blatche is usually focused on his NBA body and potential, one aspect of his game that is often overlooked is his passing. Whether it is from the high post or off a double team, the 6-11 New Yorker found his open teammates with nice looks that either resulted in assists or easy baskets.
Athletically Blatche is a no-brainer, but his lack of work on the boards is somewhat surprising considering his size and athleticism. He had a couple of nice baskets from the low-post and did a nice job of helping Duke commitment Greg Paulus control the flow of the game, but anything less than 8-10 boards a game is disappointing.
2006 guard ready to earn national recognition
Georgia Stars combo guard Jodie Meeks in addition to having a strong frame and a fearless demeanor when driving to the basket is also one of the top defenders in his class. Meeks, 6-foot-3, has good footwork and great instincts but also works hard and takes pride in his defense. His offense is solid and he can knock down his jumper in addition to his penetration.
Rising sophomores ready to take center stage
No list of elite players in the 2007 class would be complete without Gani Lawal from Riverdale (Ga.) High School. Lawal, 6-foot-7, got off to a quick start scoring 10 of the first 12 points for the Atlanta Celtics 15 & under team and finished with 26 points and a dozen rebounds.
Lawal is a long, athletic forward who does a good job of running the floor on both ends and has a knack for blocking shots or being in the right place at the right time. His offensive low-post game is still developing but at this level almost unstoppable. A mid-range jumper shows potential and he looks like he will continue to grow. The few high major coaches who watched him had good things to say.
Atlanta Celtic guard Senario Hillman is an athletic shooting guard who has four first half dunks that had the crowd standing on their feet. With a blazing first step and nice quickness Hillman, 6-foot-1, also proved the crowd pleaser with several nice whip passes and displayed an effective mid-range jumper. He got off to a quick start with 13 of the Celtics 1st half points.
Georgia Stars point guard Tony Neysmith has nice size and shows a nice maturity for a lead guard. Neysmith, 6-foot-4, is blessed with long arms and understands the game which is displayed while keeping all the Stars talented players happy. His court vision and handle is first rate and with his size he will have plenty of high majors stopping by Mauldin High School in South Carolina.
Quick, fast and in a hurry
Georgia shooting guard Lewis Clinch has seen his recruitment reached a fevered pitch and his first game of the day was attended by head coaches Dennis Felton, Mark Gottfried and Paul Hewitt in addition to assistants from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Miami and Tennessee.
Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, N.C. State and Wake Forest make up Clinch’s long list of favorites.
Atlanta Celtic combo forward Rashad Chase has narrowed his list to Alabama, FSU and Tennessee.
Cincinnati, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, UNLV and USC currently lead for Texas power forward Gary Flowers who scored 11 points Thursday night despite foul trouble.
Combo guuard Austin Jackson from Texas currently lists DePaul, Georgia Tech, Gonzaga, Illinois and Oklahoma. Jackson scored 11 points in the Mustangs 78-52 win over Team Orlando.
Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State survived the cut for Texas point guard Byron Eaton who missed the Dallas Mustangs morning game but totaled 15 points in their night win.
Florida small forward Alonzo Gee has seen his recruitment pick up in July and Alabama, Charlotte, Florida, Miami, South Florida and West Virginia are in the running for his services.
Assistants from Alabama, Charlotte, Georgia and Georgia Tech were courtside for An’Juan Wilderness noon performance.