DENVER - The Double Pump Spring Tournament came to an end with some very impressive performances on Sunday. The player who put on as good of a show as anyone was D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera who went for over 40 points in the 16 and under championship. Also a national sleeper in the 2013 class blew up on the scene.
KC Pump N Run brings it home
Coming into the event most pegged Dream Vision as the team to beat at the 17 and under level. Dream Vision is loaded with five star talent like Shabazz Muhammad, Angelo Chol, and Winston Shepard, and also a quality role player in Matt Shrigley making them one of the most talented teams on the circuit.
Even with that talent staring them in the face, the boys from KC Pump N Run weren't even remotely intimidated. Warrior power forward Christian Kirk was an absolute man inside for Pump N Run. At 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, Kirk is just a high-motor kid who attacks the glass, and can also step out and hit the mid-range jumper. For the most part Kirk took it right to Chol, and gave Pump N Run the presence it needed on the inside.
While Kirk was doing work down low, it was guards Tyler Kalinoski and Corey Hilliard that got things done on the perimeter. Kalinoski is only on the floor to do one thing, and he does it very well. A 6-foot-2 guard without a ton of quickness, Kalinoski is a much of a knockdown shooter as you will find in the country. With Muhammad guarding him, Kalinoski was running him off screens and creating space to get open looks. When he got his feet set, there was just nothing Muhammad could do about it, and Kalinsoki ended up drilling six threes for the game to finish with his 18 points.
Complementing Kalinoski was Hilliard. Hilliard is the point guard who runs the show, and gets things done. The Dream Vision guards had absolutely no chance to stop Hilliard from getting into the lane and either scoring or dishing to a teammate such as Kirk. Hilliard finished the game with 11 points, and simply controlled every aspect of the action.
Still while the guards did their thing, Kirk was the x-factor. He played well all tournament long, and in the finals is when he really put it on display. He finished with a double-double, and overall was just a problem for Dream Vision due to toughness and effort.
For his part, Muhammad was the only Dream Vision player that seemed to be able to match the intensity of the Pump N Run guys. Muhammad was a force all weekend long, and that continued in the championship game. He scored going to the rim, and used his athleticism and natural strength to finish through contact.
Also when KC Pump N Run would pack it in on Muhammad, he showed competence with his mid-range jumper. Muhammad hit several jumpers from about 15 feet, and just was a force all game long. Overall Muhammad was simply the best player on the floor, and managed to come home with a cool 31 points.
Despite the fact that Muhammad was dominant, KC Pump N Run still came home with the 76-72 victory.
Smith-Rivera puts on a show
Leading up to the championship game, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera wasn't having his best tournament. The 6-foot-4 combo guard was just struggling to get into a flow, but boy did he find it in a big way when all the chips were in the center against the KC Pump N Run 16 and under squad.
With Indiana Elite missing two of their key components due to early flights, Smith-Rivera put the entire team on his back and simply went to work.
Though he isn't the best up and down athlete, Smith-Rivera has an incredible ability to change speeds with the basketball, and also is able to change directions very quickly. Add in that he has a very tight handle, and ridiculous strength, when so motivated Smith-Rivera can be nearly impossible to keep out of the lane.
KC Pump N Run found that out first hand. Smith-Rivera simply took the ball and went left, right, and down the middle past, over, and around defenders. There was absolutely nothing that the Pump N Run guards could do to stop it. They tried double teaming him, they tried zone, they tried every other combination of defensive help you could imagine, and nothing slowed Smith-Rivera down even remotely.
He finished the game with 41 points and was extraordinarily efficient in the process. Smith-Rivera couldn't have attempted more than about 18 shots, and got to the foul line quite often for and-one opportunities. Overall it was simply a dominant performance as Indiana Elite-Team Indiana cruised home with a 77-62 win to take the title.
It isn't very often that a player from Colorado is capable of grabbing the nation's attention. Chauncey Billups did it over a decade ago, and to an extent Matt Bouldin did as well, but in general the state just doesn't produce many high level stars. That is all about to change, and change in a big way.
Get ready to hear the name Chris Thomas. The Colorado native now attends school at Princeton Day Academy in Bowie, Maryland. The little known 6-foot-4 wing asserted himself as one of the premier players in his class with his play over the weekend.
Even though his Colorado Hawks team was completely outmanned by Indiana Elite at the 16 and under level, Thomas is a 2013 star who made an impact and even kept the game relatively close for a long period of time.
Thomas has good size and athleticism, and when the ball in his hands usually good things happen. He is extremely quick from baseline-to-baseline off the bounce, and when he gets in the half court, he knows how to play.
Even though his experience at the highest level is limited at best, Thomas can really shoot the ball well out to three point range, has the ball on a string, and his court vision is unbelievable. Quite often he would split an Indiana Elite double team, get into the lane and then draw a defender and dish off to an open shooter or to a cutter around the rim. When he wasn't doing that, Thomas was just scoring at will using fadeaways, athletic finishes, and a solid jump shot.
Overall there just aren't many players who can do what he does, and add in the basketball intelligence, and it is easy to see why he will be recruited at the highest level.
News and Notes
In an early morning game, arguably the top 2013 prospect in Indiana showed off his game. Collin Hartman of Cathedral High School is a 6-foot-6 combo forward who scored off the bounce, converted down low, and was absolutely pure with his jumper from deep. Not a great athlete, Hartman makes up for it with long arms and a high basketball IQ.
Twins are a dominant theme in the 2013 class nationally. The Harrison twins come from Houston, the Scott twins from Ft. Wayne, and the Robinson twins from San Diego. All three sets of twins are impressive, and the Robinson boys showed that this weekend. Tyree Robinson and Tyrel Robinson are both versatile enough to play three positions at the moment, though in time they will move to becoming combo guards. At 6-foot-3 both have good frames and excellent athleticism. Though both twins struggled with their outside jumpers in the game we watched, it is obvious that they have good form and are usually reliable in that department. Overall they will be recruited at the highest level.
The team that actually knocked the Robinson twins and their Dream Vision squad out of the 16 and under playoffs was Net Gain Sports out of Minnesota. For Net Gain Sports Deonte Blakemore absolutely torched Dream Vision. The ultra quick 5-foot-11 point guard flat out could not miss from three point range, and hit a contested 25 footer to give Net Gain the one point win over Dream Vision. For the game Blakemore was well over 20 points, and also did a good job of getting teammates involved off of dribble penetration.
Minnesota Pump N Run fell in a tough game to Kansas City Pump N Run, but they still made an impression all weekend. Jonah Travis is a beast of a combo forward who is always in attack mode and has the bounce to make an impact. Alex Richter was a scoring stud down low with his crafty moves and scrappy attitude, and the athletic Roosevelt Scott can really shoot off the dribble, and has bounce off the floor at an elite level.
Sunday was a great day for Rosco Allen. Allen used his 6-foot-8 frame with big time skill to get things done for Pump N Run Elite 16's. He scored off the dribble, dribbled the ball up the floor after rebounds on the push, and hit shots from three point range. The potential that Allen always flashes was on display in a big way in terms of production.
Also joining Allen playing well was Landon Drew and Robert Upshaw. Upshaw lacks mobility and athleticism, but he is 7-feet tall with good hands and a solid touch around the rim. Drew is a solid point guard with some flash to his game. He can really shoot it when left open, and also is a good passer who sees the floor well.
Though the KC Pump N Run 15's fell in the semi-finals, Conner Frankamp had nothing to be ashamed of. The point guard has a lot of flair to his game, and the handle he possesses is at a very high level. Just when defenders play off of him in an attempt to keep him in front, Frankamp showed the ability to knock in a deep jumper. Overall he looks the part of a potential high-major guard down the road.
Tyree Robinson and Tyrel Robinson will definitely go to school together, and claim to be big fans of the Texas Longhorns. Along with Texas they are hearing from Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Stanford, USC, and San Diego State.
Angelo Chol is down to a final seven schools of Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, UCLA, and Washington.
Christian Kirk has offers from Butler, Southern Illinois, and St. Louis. Also he is hearing from Missouri State, Missouri, Illinois, Stanford, and Wichita State.
Corey Hilliard has an offer from Missouri State and interest from Kansas State, Minnesota, Arizona State, and Missouri.