Hoops For Heroes Event Recap

While the AAU circuit usually offers glimpses of
the some top talent in action, this Saturday's Hoops
for Heroes event to benefit the victims' families of
the World Trade Center incident brought together an
unusually diverse collection of talent from New York
City and Long Island together, including some of the
area's elite athletes. The New York City roster was
peppered with high major prospects, including Bishop
Loughlin's Curtis Sumpter (Villanova), Robeson's Gary
Ervin and Shakeim Mitchell, Lincoln's Sebastian
Telfair and Elliah Clark, Grady's Quincy
Douby (Hofstra), and Rice's Shegari Alleyne, as well as
Division I talents Amadou Fall from Boys and Girls
High School, Poly Prep's Danny Green, and St. Edmund's
Matt Vitale (Wagner).
The Long Island team rolled out a line-up that
included Jason Fraser, St. Dominic's Tim Doyle (St.
John's), Hempstead's Aubin Scott, the Our Savior New
American quintet of Jamar Wilson (Albany), Konimba
Diarra, Oumar Sylla, and Juan Diego Tello Palacios, as
well as St. Mary's junior Mamadou Diakhate, Uniondale
point guard Anthony Noble, and Manhasset High School
swingman Andre Vanterpool.
The City squad hopped out to an early 11-6 on a
flush by Alleyne, a Douby fadeaway jumper, and two
Curtis Sumpter free throws. A pair of twisting lay-ups
by precocious Lincoln sophomore Sebastian Telfair
upped the urbanites' lead to 15-11 with 15:45 left to
Long Island was buoyed by the play of Our Savior New
American point man Jamar Wilson early, however, as the
recent Albany pledge matched up with Telfair. Wilson
knifed through traffic and laid in a drive with his
left, only to come back on the ensuing possession and
drain a three. The long, 6'1'' 160 pounder made it
clear early why the Albany staff snatched him up
early, showing a good passing touch and using a size
advantage on Telfair to overpower the diminutive
Brooklyn native off the dribble.
Those in attendance were in for a real treat with
the Brooklyn backcourt tandem of Telfair and Ervin at
the controls for New York City. The sub-six footers
wreaked havoc in the open floor, the jet-like Ervin
blowing by defenders and the elusive Telfair
skittering through traffic. Ervin found a streaking
Shakeim Mitchell for the transition stuff, and
followed by canning a three and igniting another fast
break that was finished off by Mitchell, the City team
taking a 25-17 lead with 11:30 on the clock.
The New York City lead ballooned to 35-23 at the
nine-minute mark, as Poly Prep's Danny Green injected
a dose of energy off the bench, converting on two
slashing buckets. Green, who has been overlooked a bit
on the New York city scene, used his athleticism and
body control to deftly maneuver around defenders in
the paint. The nephew of former NBA guard and current
Florida Atlantic coach Sidney Green, Danny brings nice
size and a solid build to the wing.
Long Island closed to within three on a three by
Centereach High School's Michael Rossetti before the
City went on another run to open the gap to nine,
parlaying a pair of Gary Ervin free throws, a Sumpter
lay-in, and a nifty transition bucket by Telfair that
saw him skip the ball behind his back to elude a
defender, raised New York city's advantage to 49-40.
Long Island countered with lay-ins by Doyle and Sylla
as well as an emphatic put-back dunk by Fraser off a
Doyle miss, cutting the deficit to five, 54-49,
heading into the half.
The city squad was led by the explosive combo of
Telfair and Ervin early, as well as Sumpter, who
presented match-up problems playing his natural small
forward spot on this occasion. The blue-collar big man
Amadou Fall mixed it up inside, while Mitchell and
Alleyne both provided timely baskets.
Long Island was helped along by the slippery play
of Wilson early, as well as the ever-impressive Jason
Fraser, Our Savior New American big men Sylla and
Palacios, and Doyle. Fraser displayed an array of
skills, at one point knocking down a three, while at
another time tossing a three-quarter court baseball
pass to find a streaking teammate, as well as
patrolling the paint on defense. The 6'6'' junior
Sylla, a native of Mali who won the halftime dunk
contest, showed some face the basket skills, running
the floor well and finishing off a couple of fast
breaks. Palacios, a 6'8'' native of Columbia, is only
a sophomore, but no doubt will emerge as one of the
better players in that class down the road. The big
forward has a strong build, good strength, and runs
the floor very well. He has a broad frame which
figures to hold a couple of more pounds as he
develops, a scary proposition for opponents.
Doyle provided his usual heady play that is his
calling card: finding the open man, hitting the glass,
and slinking past defenders for a lefty lay-up. He is
truly a player whose value is underscored by the stat
Long Island opened the second half with a barrage
of buckets, as Hempstead combo guard Aubin Scott added
a transition lay-up and a free throw, while Doyle
buzzed a no-look baseline pass into Fraser for the
two-handed stuff. A Sylla fast-break dunk the Long
Islanders their first lead since the game's opening
minutes, taking a 58-57 lead at with 16:38 left.
During the next eight minutes the Island team caught
fire, gapping their opponents with another three by
Fraser, a pull-up jumper and pair of free throws by
Wyandanch's Kenneth Jones, who also punctuated the run
with an emphatic rejection, and a couple of buckets by
burly St. Mary's wing Mamadou Diakhate. The 6'4'' 220
junior and native of Senegal is so tough to handle off
the dribble, possessing tremendous strength. A pair of
lay-ins by Mamadou as well as a three pushed the Long
Island advantage to 81-63 at the nine minute mark.
New York City had too much talent to roll over and
die, however, as a line-up of Telfair, Ervin, Sumpter,
Douby, and Clark helped them claw their way back. A
thunderous flush by Curtis Sumpter off a teammate's
miss brought the crowd to their feet and signalled a
change in momentum. A Douby alley-oop to Mitchell off
the break, a pretty wrap-around lay-in by Ervin, and
two successfull trips to the foul line by Sumpter and
Telfair brought New York City to within eight, 85-77,
with 5:29 on the clock.
The City team continued to chip away at the lead, as
Telfair nailed a three from the corner, Ervin lofted
an improbable baby-hook over two defenders, and Douby
showed that sweet shooting stroke, canning a three to
bring the City squad to within four. An alley-oop from
Telfair to Sumpter cut the lead to two, 91-89, with
less than three minutes to play.
The City took their first lead since early in the
second half at 1:30, as Telfair stripped Wilson at
halfcourt, scooped up the ball, and went in for the
lay-up. After Fraser connected on two free throws to
put Long Island back up, 93-92, Ervin was fouled with
:48 seconds on the clock, knocking down both as the
City regained their lead. On the ensuing possession,
Sumpter picked Fraser's pocket as the big man tried to
dribble through a thicket of defenders, the ball
recovered by Telfair. Ervin converted from the line
two more times, as New York City held on for the win,
Telfair led all scorers with 20 points, included two
threes. Sumpter added 18 for the victors, while Ervin
chipped in 16, Douby ten on two threes, and Mitchell
and Bishop Loughlin guard Keith Jones contributed
seven and six, respectively.
For Long Island, Frasier scored 18 to go along with
15 rebounds, 3 assists, and a handful of blocks. The
big fella knocked down two threes, to boot. Palacios
added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Doyle added
eight points and eight rebounds. Other notable
contributors included Sylla, who chipped in ten, most
of which were transition lay-ins and dunks, Wilson,
who added ten, and Diakhate, who scored all nine of
his points in the second half.
Aside from the action on the floor, the show of
solidarity and togetherness was most emcouraging. The
players and uncoaches unfurled a flag almost the size
of half-court for a pre-game ceremony, while
renditions of "God Bless America" and "The Star
Spangled Banner" gave the evening a patriotic flavor,
as the crowd and players paid homage to those lost in
the September 11th tragedy.