Hampton, Va.-Elimination play began during the second day of the Boo Williams Invitational, and no player had a more complete showing than Tyreke Evans in his team's quarterfinal victory.
Team Final 65, Georgia Blazers 64- Gold Division Quarterfinal Game
Tyreke Evans, who is poised to be the No. 1 ranked player in his class when Rivals.com releases the inaugural 2008 ranking in May, stole the show in this game, controlling the offensive end at the point guard position and controlling the defensive end on the boards. Evans, began the game with a couple deep threes in front of the Blazers bench and sealed the game with free throws before the Blazers hit a meaningless three at the buzzer.
Evans finished with 21 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field including 4 of 6 from the arc and 6 of 8 from the line, 13 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 4 assists and 6 turnovers in 31 minutes of play.
Although not blazingly fast with the dribble, Evans used a tremendous hesitation move with either hand and a deadly left to right cross over to get by his man at will. He also loves to shoot the three right off a left handed hesitation move. Once in the lane, he does a great job of sliding to the side to avoid the charge, and often draw the block, on his finishes and dishes. He's not an explosive leaper on his finishes, but he is crafty and very fluid. He can improve at finishing with his left hand. And his turnovers came from being too casual.
Defensively, he uses his very long reach and instincts to come up with ball after ball although he is not the quickest moving laterally. His 12 defensive rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks attest to this fact.
Now, don't get it wrong, Evans is a very good athlete, just not an elite explosive athlete. In general, what makes him so impressive is that he has what it takes to be a threat at every moment anywhere on the court with or without the ball.
Despite the fact that his brother is handling his recruitment at the moment and that he claims not to be giving it much thought, he did mention North Carolina, Connecticut, Villanova, Texas and Louisville to Rivals.com after his game.
Also impressive for Team Final was post player Matthew Bryan-Amaning. He thoroughly out played the Blazers' big men, including top 2008 prospect Xavier Gibson. Bryan-Amining blocked a number of shots and grabbed a host of rebounds while scoring 11 points. Three of his points came off a baseline three, two off a monster transition dunk on super leaper Will Coleman and his other field goals came off polished up and under moves in the post.
The London native is looking at schools across the country, including Washington, Connecticut, Duke, Virginia Tech, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Texas, Georgia Tech and Geeorgetown. All but Duke and Connecticut have offered according to Bryan-Amining.
For the Blazers, Xavier Gibson started the game strongly with a power shot against contact, a mid-range jumper and a three-point from the wing. He was then taken out of the game, sat for a good while and never got going again. In approximately 15 minutes of play Gibson scored10 points on 4 of 7 shooting including 1 of 2 from the arc and 1 of 3 from the line, 1 rebound, 1 block and 1 turnover.
The most disappointing number is the 1 rebound. It has been noted that a very good rebounder averages at least one rebound every three and a half minutes of play. One out of 15 minutes does not look so good for a 6-foot-9 player especially in comparison to Evans' rebound every 2 and a half minutes in their game.
Team Florida 59, Team Melo 55- Gold Division Sweet 16 Game
Nick Calathes struck again after impressive performances in Friday's pool games. The cerebral and skilled point guard began the game with three assists and two three pointers on the first five possessions of the game.
He finished the game with a highly efficient 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting including 3 of 5 from the arc and 2 of 2 from the line, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 6 assists and 6 turnovers while playing the entire 32 minutes of the game.
Calathes handled the ball and controlled the entire loosely officiated game against the very physical defense of Malcolm Delaney and Jeremy Robinson.
When he wasn't breaking free for three-pointers, Calathes was either backdoor cutting on his man or penetrating by him into a lethal floater from mid-range.
The Florida commitment looks every bit of a five-star prospect.
Calathes' high school and AAU teammate Chandler Parsons provided some scoring support for Calathes, scoring 14 of his 16 points in the second half. Parsons hit a couple timely threes and made two free throws to ice the game with 6 seconds on the clock.
The one impressive player for Team Melo in this game was Syracuse signee Donte Green. He was also very impressive in his pool play game earlier in the day.
Against Team Florida, Green finished with 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting and 2 of 3 free throws, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists and 2 turnovers. Although he is a finesse player more than a power player, Green's rebounding was actually better than his stats indicate. There were just not that many defensive rebounds to grab with the highly efficient shooting of Team Florida.
If Green were to improve his outside jumper and improve his strength, both of which are probable to happen, his game would come very close to resembling NBA star and former Syracuse great Carmelo Anthony. As it stands right now, Green's game is more like former Kansas great Danny Manning. Green handles the ball very well and has a quick slashing drive to the basket going either direction. He passes very well off the dribble. And he has a knack for getting to the ball.
Athletes First 68, Charlotte Royals 54, Silver Division Sweet 16 Game
Although Blake Griffin is the bedrock of this team, 2009 prospect Xavier Henry led the way with his scoring in this game with 22 points. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing player scored the majority of his points off three-pointers. He took them in high volume, but hit both coming off screens and off the dribble.
The smooth lefty is an outstanding young prospect. He is getting stronger and becoming a more physical player, and he already possesses a nice mid-range pull up jumper going left. If he can compliment his outside shooting touch and left hand driving with the ability to go right, he will be nearly impossible to hold in check.
Henry's Putnam City High School team won the Oklahoma state championship, and the freshman was named MVP.
Griffin, who is capable of stepping out and hitting the three and handling the ball, did most of his damage around the basket. He didn't get a lot of touches, but when he did, he scored. Scoring 11 points and grabbing at least double digit rebounds in the game, Griffin did have a highlight play when he snatched a defensive rebound and then bounded with the ball coast to coast for an impressive one hand slam in traffic.
After the game, Griffin said there were no new developments in his recruitment and that he was just waiting to see whom Oklahoma hires.
Speaking of Oklahoma's coaching search, word is that John Lucas has been interviewed for the vacancy. Oklahoma signee Damion James is currently working out in Houston with Lucas.
After scoring 20 of his teams 38 points in a five point loss to Team Melo in the morning's pool play, Dorenzo Hudson scored 17 points to once again lead the Royals. With a big strong body for a shooting guard at 6-foot-4, 200-pounds, Hudson has a sure and quick release from the arc, either off the catch or the dribble. He can pull up going either direction, and against a smaller Athlete's First defender, he demonstrated a promising mid-range pull up game.
Hudson, who is considering Clemson (offer), Wake Forest, Georgia, South Carolina (offer), North Carolina State (offer), East Carolina (offer) and Virginia Tech, is focused on improving his ball handling and defense.
Next year Hudson is planning to attend Hargrave Military Academy, and his cousin J.T. Thompson is reclassifying to 2008 and might be close to making a commitment to Virginia Tech according to his uncle Rick Taylor.
Tennessee Travelers 66, DC Blue Devils 54- Bronze Division Sweet 16 Game
Look out for, until now, unknown 2007 prospect Antoine Wiggins of Greenville (Tenn.) High School. The 6-foot-6 wing player has the build of Kevin Durant and a left handed game that is quite similar to Durant's. Wiggins has a smooth jumper from three, can slash to the basket going either direction and can nail the pull up mid-range jumper.
The other standout prospect for the Travelers is Terrence Oglesby. Despite sometimes questionable shot selection, the combo guard can gun from deep, and I mean deep.
Mean Street Express 57, Gauchos 48- Morning Pool Play
Derrick Rose led the Mean Street attack with 15 points on 7 of 15 shooting including 0 of 2 from the arc and 1 of 1 from the line, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 assists and 5 turnovers.
Playing just an average game by his high standards, Rose did a good job getting into the lane and finding shooters, though a lot of those shots did not fall. His left to right crossover was unstoppable, but he did not shoot well from the mid-range. His buckets came primarily at the rim. On a couple occasions, he went the length of the court at breakneck speed only to stop on a dime 5-feet from the basket, shot fake his defender into the air and then score.
Questions about his school list were off limits to the media after his game, but his brother Dwayne Rose did name Illinois, DePaul, Virginia, Connecticut, North Carolina, Memphis and Clemson as schools of interest.