TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Big Bend Shootout is in it's first year of existence and after experiencing a couple of growing pains on the first night, things were looking up by the time the final game of the night came around at the Civic Center on the campus of Florida State University. Class of 2007 star Michael Beasley showed why many believe D.C. Assault is the team to beat.
Beasley brings it
With a number of major blowouts and a couple of last minute withdrawls, the Big Bend Shootout started strong thanks to the D.C. Assault and Team Breakdown teams.
Coming all the way down to the Sunshine State, D.C. Assault knew it had to dominate the paint against a smaller squad and they did just that with one of the top forwards in the country.
Five-star Michael Beasley went to work inside as he always does, scoring 22 points in a 80-71 victory over Breakdown. Beasley is a beast inside the paint and has a wide array of moves on the offensive end.
While not a big time athlete, Beasley knows how to sky above the rim and throw home some nasty dunks. He also doesn't shy away from contact and grabs just about every rebound off the iron. It's going to be difficult to find a better player here than the class of 2007 prospect.
Nolan Smith added 20 points, getting his scores in a number of ways. He's putting the ball on the hardwood and attacking from the outside in. Smith also launched up a couple of three-pointers and kept the defense honest on the wing.
Adding 18 points in the win was Austin Freeman. The DeMatha product is one of the strongest guards in the country and powers his way to the bucket for points. Staying in front of him and countering his physical play has been tough to stop so far this spring and early summer.
Florida sleeper waking up
South Florida landed a great player in Dante Curry. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard committed to the Bulls after playing at two camps at the future Big East school and he played with a lot of confidence against D.C. Assault.
Despite the loss, Curry was fantastic. He finished with a team high 20 points and did it with keen outside shooting and creative athleticism. Curry has a nice handle from the wing and can really elevate once he gets inside the lane for the score.
Teammate Jonathan Hall added 18 in the defeat. Hall, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Miami (Fla.) High, shot the ball exceptionally well for Team Breakdown en route to 18 points. He's a big, strong, physical guard that excels on the perimeter and constantly jawing with opponents.
Edwin Rios is back on the hardwood after a couple of months of rehab for his injured left ankle. The future Miami Hurricane is only playing at 70 percent of what he's capable but he showed a knack for running the pick and roll with high school buddy, and a newly committed 'Cane, Dwayne Collins.
Center of attention
2006 Florida State commit John Kreft gave the Seminole fans something to be giddy about. The 6-foot-10, 210-pound center had 17 points in a thrilling 80-72 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Ballers. Kreft dunked everything he touched inside the paint and did his damage two feet and in to the basket.
He's still a work in progress looking at the big picture as an elite big man in the ACC but he's a guy that has a body ready for the college weight lifting regime. Kreft's aggressiveness is come and go and when he's got it working, he's fun to watch.
Another center that impressed was Jonathan Mandeldove of the Atlanta Celtics. Like Kreft, Mandeldove is still a work in progress but the former Shiloh (Ga.) High School product has made serious strides over the last four months to becoming one of the top center prospects in the country. Mandeldove debuted in the Rivals150 at the No. 106 spot and the No. 13 center in the country.
News & Notes
New Jacksonville head coach Cliff Warren will be happy to know that Marcus Allen, a 2005 JU signee, played well against a big D.C. Assault frontline. The 6-foot-7 forward from the famed Dillard High School is an aggressive defender and does a good job of playing at the rim. And at 17 years of age and already graduated, Allen's best days are still ahead of him.
A regular with Team Georgia, manchild Solomon Tat is here with the Atlanta Celtics and giving the team a physical guard off the bench.