ORLANDO, Fla. - Things really got into high gear on Saturday in Disney World. The AAU Super Showcase crowned a champion at the 16 and under level, and at the 17 and under level there were several surprises and a monster performance by Doron Lamb. Now only eight teams remain in contention for the championship.
A hostile takeover by Lamb
Sometimes as a coach it is best to simply sit down and get out of the way, and to their credit that is exactly what the New York Gauchos coaches did on Saturday night. They did that because Doron Lamb was absolutely on fire in the second half of a comeback win over Louisiana Select.
The Gauchos started off the game slow, and didn't have their usual energy on defense or the crispness on offense. Louisiana Select wing Matt Derenbecker was getting to the rim and also making shots, and that along with some help from his supporting cast, and the Gauchos were down by 10 points in the second quarter.
Still the Gauchos were trailing at half time, and after scoring only five points in the first half, Lamb just decided to take over the game and completely shut things down. It all started for Lamb on an and one layup where he was granted continuation that NBA refs would have been questionable with.
Questionable or not, the bucket went in, and after that Lamb was in the zone. The Gauchos really didn't set ball screens for him or anything, the ball was just put in his hands, and he was told to go to work. First Lamb showed the ability to get to the rim, then he just pulled up for three, and then he decided the mid-range game was how he was going to score.
All the time, Louisiana Select simply had no response, heck that had nothing even resembling an idea of how to stop Lamb, and to be fair when he is going like that it might not be possible to even slow him down.
As ridiculous as Lamb was in the third quarter, he carried it over to the fourth quarter, and by the time his scoring run ended, Louisiana Select found themselves trailing by double figures. Lamb did finally miss a shot late in the fourth quarter, but the damage was done, and he finished with a cool 32 points in helping the Gauchos advance to the quarterfinals of the Super Showcase.
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise
Games aren't played on paper, they are played by 16, 17, and 18 year olds, and that was on full display in the Milkhouse on Saturday. All-Ohio Red not only lost two games in the same tournament for the first time in their three year run, but they lost two games in the same day. On top of that, Team Final also fell, meaning the two favorites to win the Super Showcase now have some free time to ride the rides at Disney World.
The main culprits in the surprises were the New Jeresey Celtics. After going 1-1 in pool play on Friday, the Celtics added Kyrie Irving to the roster, and he made all the difference in the world.
Irving might have been the best overall player in the gym on Saturday, and the fact that he led his team to major upsets over All-Ohio and Team Final is a testament to how good of a floor general and team leader he is.
First in the upset of All-Ohio during pool play, Irving scored 21 points, and rallied the Celtics when they were down late with a special and one driving layup where he searched for contact on Jared Sullinger and scored while being fouled. On top of that, Irving as usual got his teammates involved, and did a good job of controlling the pace of the game.
While his performance against All-Ohio was good, he saved his best for a bracket play matchup with Team Final. In the overtime win, Irving was as clutch as clutch can be. Irving went 20-20 from the foul line, and finished with an astounding 37 points. While those numbers are ridiculous, Irving did get a lot of help.
With his father, and St. Patrick's head coach, Kevin Boyle Sr looking on, Kevin Boyle Jr put on an absolute shooting display. The younger Boyle sent the game into overtime with a deep three as time was running out, and then in overtime he hit a pair of huge shots to give the Celtics the lead and the game. Overall Boyle finished with a cool 28 points and showed the toughness and confidence of a coach's son.
Only moments before Team Final lost in bracket play, All-Ohio was eliminated as well. Going up against the Rising Stars-Gold, who they had handled at several previous events, All-Ohio could just never get it going. As usual Sullinger was a beast down low, but the supporting cast just wasn't able to step up and help like normal.
The Rising Stars got good production from Lenzelle Smith and Ben Brust as expected, to go along with a surprising boost from Ravonte Rice. With Rice's production, the Rising Stars had enough to hang on and get a win knocking the tournament favorites out of the bracket.
News and Notes
Team Takeover won the 16 and under Super Showcase with a victory over the Long Island Lightning. Despite only scoring 10 points in the entire first half, Takeover rallied in the second half and came away as champions.
As usual Takeover had a balanced attack, but A.J. English did stand out in the third and fourth quarters. English hit a big three to get things going for Takeover, and then he got it going attack off the dribble. With English's offense, Takeover simply had too much for the Lightning.
We would have noted every coach who attended the Albany City Rocks vs. Team Takeover game at the 17 and under level, but it probably would have just been easier to write down which schools weren't there. No less than 60 coaches surrounded the court to see the two teams in action.
The star of the show for City Rocks as usual was Tobias Harris. Harris did a good job of facing up 2011 big, Mikael Hopkins, and taking him to the rack. Also Harris rebounded the ball well and showed a good feel for how to pass. Beyond that, Harris had the game winning floater down one with only seconds remaining.
Joining Harris with a solid game for City Rocks was Taran Buie. With two of his future coaches looking on, Buie hit some shots from the perimeter, used his quickness to attack going to the rim, and also he played solid defense on the Takeover backcourt players. Overall it was one of the best games that Buie has played in a long time.
While Jerian Grant was very good in the afternoon against City Rocks, he was nothing short of spectacular in the evening in Team Takeover's win over the Georgia Stars. Grant had 30 points, did a solid job of running the point when he needed to. More than anything Grant attacked the rim and finished using athleticism both over defenders and by slicing around them. Also he hit open shots from deep.
Joining Grant in the backcourt with a solid game was Brandon Young. Young did an excellent job of getting everyone involved, and when the Georgia Stars began making a run in the second half, Young calmed everything down and got Takeover back into their offense.
Overall Michael Gbinije didn't have his best day of the summer, but he did make plays when he had to. He hit a big shot late against Albany City Rocks, and also showed signs of coming out of his shooting slump against the Georgia Stars. The talent is no doubt there for Gbinije, he just needs to get it going again.
A sleeper combo forward out of Ohio is John Harris of MBA Elite. Harris has grown nearly six inches in the last 18 months, and now has guard skills at 6-foot-7. A good athlete, Harris is capable of finishing above the rim to go along with being a solid three point shooter. Now Harris needs to rebound better and improve his mid-range game.
While Lamb and Grant absolutely went off and their teams won, Kentavious Caldwell was a dominant force for the Georgia Blazers in a losing effort. The 2011 stud was simply too much for the Illinois Warriors to handle. He scored 27 points, and did most of it on his own creating his shot on pull up jumpers or just rising and firing from three.
Illinois Warriors guard Brandon Spearman didn't have his best day offensively, but the savvy player did all the little things to help the Illinois Warriors out. Spearman made a big defensive play down the stretch on Caldwell, and also converted just enough on offense.
2011 point man Shane Larkin is one of the best in the nation when in transition. In the half court he has work to do, but with his quickness and ability to see the floor on the break, Larkin is an absolute weapon. In an up-tempo system Larkin will really thrive.
Memphis YOMCA finished in third place in the 16 and under showcase, and in their consolation game win; their two stars went to work. Andre Hollins scored every way imaginable in route to 32 points, and combo forward Wayne Martin chipped in with 13 of his own to go along with several key rebounds.
On Expressions Elite, Rod Odom gets most of the national attention, but he has a big time running mate in the frontcourt. Worcester Academy 2011 power forward Tyler Olander has a world of potential. Olander scored facing the basket with shots out to the three point line, but that isn't where it ends for the 6-foot-9 player. He also has very surprising bounce off the floor, and is more than capable of dunking over opponents.
For his part Odom was also good in the Expressions win over the Detroit Fire. Odom had 17 points, and looked the part of a do it all small forward. He can really shoot it from deep, and is a solid athlete who can create for himself. The next step for Odom is to get tougher and play with more of a mean streak.
After his sensational performance, Doron Lamb rattled off a list of Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Arizona, Clemson, Maryland, St. John's, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, and Florida. Lamb notes that he definitely plans to make trips to Kansas and Oklahoma.
Jerian Grant claims offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Providence. Also he says interest is coming from Marquette, Indiana, and Colorado.
Tyler Olander has offers from UConn and LaSalle. Also he listed Penn State, Oregon State, Providence, Pittsburgh, Xavier, and Nevada.
Rod Odom has offers from Vanderbilt, Arizona, Boston College, Arkansas, West Virginia, Harvard, Princeton, and Oklahoma State. Also interest is coming in from Louisville, Seton Hall, and Stanford.
Wayne Martin has offers from Virginia Tech and Ole Miss to go along with interest from Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, Clemson, Memphis, and Miami.
Andre Hollins has gotten offered by Virginia Tech, Stanford, Oregon State, Ole Miss, and Memphis. Also he is getting significant attention from Florida State, Purdue, George Mason, UAB, and Georgia
Shane Larkin has interest from Clemson, Florida State, Florida, South Florida, Central Florida, Virginia Commonwealth, Miami, Ohio State, George Mason, St. John's, Marquette, Texas A&M, and Florida Atlantic.
John Harris has offers from Miami-Ohio, Duquesne, Central Michigan, Morehead State, and Loyola-Chicago, with significant interest from Eastern Kentucky.