NEW ORLEANS, La.- Day 2 of the Memorial Day Classic tipped off Sunday morning with teams still jockeying for position. The top two teams in each pool would move on to the bracket round, which began Sunday night, and contend for the championship while the other sixteen teams in the 17 and under group would play one final game before heading home.
The championship games for all age division are set for Monday beginning at 8 a.m. and finishing with a 12:30 title match.
17 and under results from Sunday bracket play
Portland Elite 81 South Florida Heat 46
Houston Hoops 57 Memphis YOMCA 56
Athlete's 1st 61 Friends of Hoop 60
New Jersey All Stars 67 Kansas City Keys 55
D.C. Blue Devils 63 NY Gauchos 51
The Family 88 Metro Hawks 78
Boo Williams 81 Tennessee Travelers 40
Louisiana Select 76 Murfreeboro Stars 66
Portland 79 (Kevin Love-19)
Houston Hoops 54 (Jai Lucas-16)
Athlete's 1st 74 (Keith Clark, Obi Munello-21)
NJ All Stars 60 (Jeff Jones-13)
D.C. Blue Devils 79 (Tywon Lawson-22)
The Family 74 (Ramar Smith-20)
Boo Williams 66 (Eric Hayes-15)
La. Select 61 (Leonard Washington-16)
Final 4 match-ups
D.C. Blue Devils vs. Boo Williams
Portland Elite vs. Athlete's 1st
Brandan Wright injured; still has three schools on top.
Murfreesboro (Tenn.) power forward Brandan Wright is one of the nation's most sought after recruits and despite offers from virtually every major college he has three schools who have stood out from the rest.
"Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky are my top three schools," Wright said. "They all have good coaches and programs in addition to talented players who have a chance to compete for a national championship every year. Also, last year when my recruitment started to really pick-up they were the first three big name schools to go after me hard. They have done a good job of recruiting me.
"But at the same time I don't want to rush into a decision. Kansas, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt are also schools I'm going to look out."
Wright, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2006, suffered an ankle injury last night and as a result he hasn't been 100% during Sunday's action.
"I sprained it pretty good yesterday and that has limited my mobility and minutes," Wright said. "But I should be better with a little rest. I'm looking forward to riding out the rest of the summer and having fun. I just want to get better."
Josue Soto narrows list to three; closes in on decision
Miami Tropics lead guard Josue Soto has been one of the fastest rising players the last couple of months and the 5-foot-11, 155-pounder has narrowed his list of college choices down to three.
"I'm going to decide between Florida State, Wake Forest and Indiana. All have offered and when I looked at all of my options those seemed like the best situation for me," Soto said. "I'm looking for a school where I can play early and who has the biggest need at my position. It doesn't matter to me where it is as long as I feel comfortable with the staff and players."
When pressed, Soto admitted that there was a chance that a decision could be looming on the horizon.
"I visit Florida State unofficially in the next couple of weeks and everything goes well it's possible I could go ahead and commit. However, if I don't feel it's the right place then I will take some more visits."
DeShawn Sims plans more visits; favors five
The Family combo forward DeShawn Sims is enjoying a solid Memorial Day Classic performance while leading his team out of pool play. There have been rumors that Sims, 6-foot-7, 222-pounds, has been on the verge of a commitment but the Detroit native indicated that might not be the case.
"A lot of people have been waiting on me to commit but I'm not ready yet," Sims said. "I still have a couple of more visits I would like to take before I decide. I want to give all the schools a fair look.
So far I've visited Syracuse, Michigan and Michigan State but I still want to go to Oregon and North Carolina in September and then make my decision. There is probably a school I like a little better than the others but I don't want to name them until I've taken all my visits.
I'm looking for a place that will be like home to me and where I fit it with the players and coaches."
Quick, fast and in a hurry
If you are looking for one of the nation's top prep scorers then you might want to begin your search with California Elite's combo guard Patrick Christopher who continues his assault on the nets in New Orleans. The Cal commitment scores in bunches and is versatile enough to do it from inside or outside. In addition he has a knack for always being around the ball. He's been outstanding all summer and will check in with the next Rivals.com rankings. This afternoon he banged in 32 points against the Alabama Lasers which came on the heels of his 41 point morning effort against the D.C. Blue Devils.
The first half of the New York Gauchos verse the D.C. Blue Devils was interesting to say the least with Curtis Kelly and his teammates holding Kevin Durant to zero points in the first half. Not only was he held in check but Durant also looked flustered and saw his shot rejected on three separate occasions. However, Durant apparently took it to heart and came out after halftime looking to play hard. The 6-foot-10 small forward torched the Gauchos with a variety of outside bombs and strong post moves.
The Family point guard Ramar Smith is making his case for top point guard honors in the 2006 class with strong drives to the basket and the ability to finish. His outside is solid but there is no secret that he prefers to put the ball on the floor and use his strength, speed and savvy to get the easy basket. He also is one of the top rebounding guards in the country and an aggressive on ball defender.
Duke commitment Brian Zoubek is an outstanding vertical rebounder who does nice things when giving the time to box out. It's when he tries to make plays on the move that he often finds himself out of position which ultimately gets him in trouble. However, he is fundamentally sound and works hard on both ends of the floor.
Miami Tropic center Jason Bennett struggled in his early morning session against Memphis, laying the dreaded goose egg but the 7-footer plus still managed to make an impact near the glass with his rebounding and shotblocking. Cincinnati and Miami currently lead and Bennett will visit Bearcat campus unofficially on June 17th.
Miami Tropic point guard Josue Soto willed his team to victory with several big baskets down the stretch in their 44-43 win. The gritty-gutty lead guard continues his impressive summer tour.
2007 point guard Maurice Miller scored nine points in a losing effort but the Memphis native is a pass first player who understands how to run an offense and has the ability to score when needed. He'll get plenty of high major looks next year.
The news wasn't good for Team Texas' 17 and under group as they failed to make it out of pool play but Darrell Arthur came out of his funk with a 19 point effort in their 54-48 win over the Tennessee Traveler.
Howard Pulley shooting guard Isaiah Dahlman had a poor performance in his opening game Sunday, scoring only two points in Pulley's 60-59 victory over the Kentucky Hoop Stars. However, Dahlman played well Saturday night and currently has narrowed his list down to Michigan State, Iowa and Minnesota.
2007 small forward Leonard Washington broke out a 25 point effort against the South Florida Heat. Georgia Tech, Cincinnati and Tennessee make up his early school list.
Georgia Elite combo guard Solomon Tat is a physical freak. In addition to a chiseled physique he also boasts amazing hops and the quickness which makes his a terror on the defensive end of the floor. He's quickly developing a "signature move" which consists of him driving baseline and finishing with a rim-rattling dunk. One thing you can count is Tat getting to the free throw line and knocking them down. In his morning outing he shot 17 of 20 from the charity stripe.
Keep an eye out for Elite 2007 power forward Chris Barnes who has the frame to bang in the middle with the big boys and equally important the demeanor to do so. Barnes, 6-foot-8, is one of the few big men who enjoy contact and relish the battles that take place in the paint.
When you're hot you're hot and that is exactly what happened with 16 and under Georgia Star wingman Jamar Moore who went on an 11-0 run against the Tennessee Travelers Sunday night to send them to championship Monday. Moore, 6-foot-5, is a long, lanky guard who has a beautiful shot but also likes to shot-fake, put the ball on the floor and drive hard to the basket. FSU has already offered and his stock will continue to rise throughout the summer.