San Antonio, Texas-The USA U18 National Team Trials began Friday night to select the 16 finalists for the USA Basketball U18 squad that will compete in San Antonio at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship For Men June 28-July 2. The buzz going into Saturday morning's action was the strong play of Kyle Singler, but it was Michigan State commitment Chris Allen who stole the show Saturday morning with his prolific scoring ability.
With a rotation of three teams during the scrimmage part of the practice, head coach Lorenzo Romar and his assistants Paul Hewitt and Jerry Wainwright along with the selection committee and its chairman Jim Boeheim watched Allen efficiently score 25 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field including 5 of 7 from the arc. Allen also had 3 rebounds and 5 assists to only 2 turnovers. He spent the majority of the morning at the shooting guard position, but he did spend some time running the point for his squad.
Taylor King put up 19 points, but in a much less efficient manner. He hit his first couple shots, but ended up shooting 7 of 21 from the field including 4 of 12 from the arc. He was active in other areas besides shooting as he recorded 3 assists and 3 steals to go along with 3 rebounds.
Another active player during the morning session, Gani Lawal got out in transition to score 19 points as well on 6 of 7 shooting from the field and 7 of 7 shooting from the line. He also grabbed 6 rebounds, blocked 4 shots and had 2 steals while also turning the ball over 4 times.
Standing out as the best post player at the trials, Washington bound Spencer Hawes tied with Julian Vaughn as the morning's top rebounder with 8 boards. He also scored 11 points on 5 of 10 shooting. Vaughn only managed 2 points on 1 of 6 shooting.
Along with Allen, Jerryd Bayless stood out at the guard position, running the point for the entirety of the morning after his teammate Nolan Smith went down early in the scrimmage with a knee injury. His injury did not appear serious as he eventually was shooting jumpers on the other court.
Bayless scored 12 points on 4 of 11 shooting, but most impressive were his 5 assists to 0 turnovers.
Michael Beasley looked good, scoring 13 points on 6 of 12 shooting and grabbed 4 rebounds. Beasley played with strength around the basket and defended well both on the perimeter and in the interior.
Also scoring double figures was J.J. Hickson, who hit for 12 points on 6 of 13 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds and 1 assist and Georgetown freshman to be DaJuan Summers, who scored 11 points on 4 of 11 shooting. Very active on the boards, Summers was credited with 3 rebounds, but he kept a number of balls alive with his hustle.
Here is a statistical breakdown on the other participants:
Stanley Robinson-9 points on 4 of 7 shooting, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 turnovers.
Gary Johnson-9 points on 3 of 8 shooting, 5 rebounds and 2 turnovers.
Reggie Redding-9 points on 3 of 3 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists and 1 steal.
Joevan Catron-9 points on 3 of 7 shooting, including 2 of 3 from the arc, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 turnovers.
Drew Gordon-8 points on 4 of 5 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 turnover. An extraordinary offensive rebounder, Gordon picked up his points on the glass.
Chris Wright-8 points on 3 of 9 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist and 3 turnovers.
Lance Thomas-7 points on 3 of 7 shooting, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist and 3 turnovers.
Kyle Singler-6 points on 2 of 6 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block and 2 turnovers.
Johnny Flynn-4 points on 1 of 4 shooting, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 assists and 4 turnovers. These numbers, however, do not do justice to Flynn's impact. A late arrival, Flynn missed last night's action, but he made up for it with his aggressive and energetic play. He pushed the tempo, pressured the ball and set up teammates with his penetration and passing. A number of assist opportunities resulted in free throws. The only point guard better than Flynn was Bayless.
Donte Green-3 points on 1 of 2 shooting, 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
Blake Griffin-2 points on 1 of 3 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 block and 2 assists.
Cole Aldrich-2 points on 1 of 6 shooting, 6 rebounds and 1 block.
Nolan Smith-2 points on 1 of 1 shooting in very limited action.
Tajuan Porter-0 points on 0 of 2 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and a morning high 6 assists to 1 turnover.
Friday night's leaders
Leading all participants in scoring, Kyle Singler scored 17 points on a perfect 7 of 7 from the field, including 3 of 3 from the arc.
Michael Beasley had 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting, including 2 of 4 from the arc.
Lance Thomas scored 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting, and Spencer Hawes was the only other double figure scorer with 14 points on 7 of 9 shooting.
Drew Gordon was the leading rebounder with 6 boards, while Blake Griffin was right behind him with 5 rebounds. Griffin also had a leading 2 blocks.
Donte Greene and Chris Wright eached dished out 3 assists.
Rivals.com will have more coverage from the USA U18 National Team Trials after Saturday night's session.