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PG battle highlights Gauntlet

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DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- The opening of the adidas Gauntlet saw high-profile recruits performing in front of even higher-profile coaches. Many big-name coaches gathered to watch a matchup between a pair of five-star point guards from the 2016 class: Team Loaded NC's Dennis Smith and the Atlanta Celtics' Kobi Simmons.
Five-star point guards battle
The headlining battle of the opening day at the adidas Gauntlet was between Team Loaded NC and the Atlanta Celtics. While both teams feature a number of exciting prospects, there was little doubt that the showdown between Smith and Simmons was the main draw.
Not only were other competing teams craning through the windows at the Duncanville Fieldhouse to get a glimpse of the action but college head coaches came out in droves as well: Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, Roy Williams of North Carolina, Tom Izzo of Michigan State, Larry Brown of SMU, Tom Crean of Indiana and Sean Miller of Arizona were in the stands, to name just a few. Newly minted head coaches Avery Johnson of Alabama and Ben Howland of Mississippi State were also in attendance.
In the first half, Simmons held the upper hand. The St. Francis (Ga.) product had his three-point shot working for him and he played with a lot of energy. He hustled for rebounds and if he got a glimpse of the open court he took off for a transition bucket. Simmons used his lanky 6-foot-5 frame to make life difficult for Smith, who seemed frustrated in the first half by a Celtics' defense that used rotations well to keep him out of the paint, forcing Smith to settle for jumpers.
In the second half something clicked for Smith as he led Team Loaded from 12 points down at halftime to close the gap and even take the lead momentarily. The Trinity Christian (N.C.) point guard attacked the paint relentlessly, earning layups and trips to the free-throw line. He sacrificed his body willingly, throwing himself out of bounds in an attempt to save a loose ball. The most impressive part of Smith's game is his court vision; in one instance he made a spin move in the paint to avoid two defenders before passing the ball to a cutting teammate for a layup.
In the end the Atlanta Celtics took home the win but both guards showed why they are among the best in the country.
Alkins intrigued by St. John's hire
Four-star shooting guard Rawle Alkins was another recruit who attracted a number of coaches on Friday night; the staffs of North Carolina, North Carolina State, Cincinnati, Indiana and Rutgers all watched Alkins and the NY Rens take on Indiana Elite.
But Alkins is expecting another head coach to watch him later this weekend: New St. John's coach Chris Mullin.
"He has pro connects, NBA connects," Alkins said about the hire. "I don't know if he's a good coach but he was a great player. He probably can transform that into coaching."
Alkins had an off day against Indiana Elite. His jumper was falling but the Christ The King (N.Y.) shooting guard did not move well on offense without the ball in his hand, often settling along the perimeter waiting for the ball to find its way back to him. Alkins' energy on defense was low in the first half but it picked up in the second as he and the Rens attempted a comeback. At one point, Alkins flew in to block a layup attempt, nearly hitting his head on the backboard in the process.
In addition to the schools in attendance, Alkins is starting to attract new interest from Duke, Kentucky and Louisville, he told Rivals.com, so expect to hear more from him in the near future.
Four-star center Nate MorrisClick More Friday notes from the GauntletHere to view this Link. played great defense for the Dallas Mustangs on Friday night. Morris showed a lot of maturity when contesting shots, going straight up to avoid giving up free throws. The Lancaster (Texas) product has a collection of post moves but did not see many plays run through him on offense. He still found opportunities to score by crashing the offensive glass or earning trips to the free-throw line, from where he has a nice stroke.
The rising senior will see an increase in opportunities at Lancaster this year now that Elijah Thomas is off to Texas A&M. Morris is preparing accordingly.
"I need to just keep grinding it out, work on the little things to become a better all-around player so that whenever my team calls on me to do what I need to do I can be ready for it," Morris said.
Morris' Dallas Mustang teammate Mark CroweClick The center holds offers from SMU, Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, among others.Here to view this Link. did not light up the scoreboard on Friday but did the little things to put his team in a better position. The 2017 Dallas Woodrow Wilson guard grew a couple of inches recently to 6-foot-6 and the extra height gives him an advantage rebounding the ball that he did not previously have. When he got a rebound Crowe always looked to push the pace.
Four-star shooting guard and VirginiaClick And five-star shooting guard Joshua LangfordClick Class of 2018 power forward E.J. MontgomeryClick On defense he communicated with his teammates and used his length to clog passing lanes. If Crowe, who is receiving interest from SMU, TCU and Rice, can develop his offensive game further he will be a good two-way prospect.Here to view this Link. might already have the best all-around game on the loaded Atlanta Celtics. The 6-foot-9, 205-pound Montverde Academy (FL) prospect can rebound with the fours and fives and run a fast break with the ones. He shows grit one moment as he dives onto the floor for a rebound and shows flare the next by pump-faking a defender and then finding the open man in the corner for a three-pointer. Once he fine-tunes his jumper Montgomery will be the complete package.Here to view this Link. made a nice dunk and shot the ball well for the Celtics. Langford told Rivals.com that South CarolinaClick Class of 2018 power forward E.J. MontgomeryClick On defense he communicated with his teammates and used his length to clog passing lanes. If Crowe, who is receiving interest from SMU, TCU and Rice, can develop his offensive game further he will be a good two-way prospect.Here to view this Link. might already have the best all-around game on the loaded Atlanta Celtics. The 6-foot-9, 205-pound Montverde Academy (FL) prospect can rebound with the fours and fives and run a fast break with the ones. He shows grit one moment as he dives onto the floor for a rebound and shows flare the next by pump-faking a defender and then finding the open man in the corner for a three-pointer. Once he fine-tunes his jumper Montgomery will be the complete package.Here to view this Link. and Georgia TechClick Class of 2018 power forward E.J. MontgomeryClick On defense he communicated with his teammates and used his length to clog passing lanes. If Crowe, who is receiving interest from SMU, TCU and Rice, can develop his offensive game further he will be a good two-way prospect.Here to view this Link. might already have the best all-around game on the loaded Atlanta Celtics. The 6-foot-9, 205-pound Montverde Academy (FL) prospect can rebound with the fours and fives and run a fast break with the ones. He shows grit one moment as he dives onto the floor for a rebound and shows flare the next by pump-faking a defender and then finding the open man in the corner for a three-pointer. Once he fine-tunes his jumper Montgomery will be the complete package.Here to view this Link. are recruiting him the hardest at this point.Here to view this Link. commit Kyle GuyClick And five-star shooting guard Joshua LangfordClick Class of 2018 power forward E.J. MontgomeryClick On defense he communicated with his teammates and used his length to clog passing lanes. If Crowe, who is receiving interest from SMU, TCU and Rice, can develop his offensive game further he will be a good two-way prospect.Here to view this Link. might already have the best all-around game on the loaded Atlanta Celtics. The 6-foot-9, 205-pound Montverde Academy (FL) prospect can rebound with the fours and fives and run a fast break with the ones. He shows grit one moment as he dives onto the floor for a rebound and shows flare the next by pump-faking a defender and then finding the open man in the corner for a three-pointer. Once he fine-tunes his jumper Montgomery will be the complete package.Here to view this Link. made a nice dunk and shot the ball well for the Celtics. Langford told Rivals.com that South CarolinaClick Class of 2018 power forward E.J. MontgomeryClick On defense he communicated with his teammates and used his length to clog passing lanes. If Crowe, who is receiving interest from SMU, TCU and Rice, can develop his offensive game further he will be a good two-way prospect.Here to view this Link. might already have the best all-around game on the loaded Atlanta Celtics. The 6-foot-9, 205-pound Montverde Academy (FL) prospect can rebound with the fours and fives and run a fast break with the ones. He shows grit one moment as he dives onto the floor for a rebound and shows flare the next by pump-faking a defender and then finding the open man in the corner for a three-pointer. Once he fine-tunes his jumper Montgomery will be the complete package.Here to view this Link. and Georgia TechClick Class of 2018 power forward E.J. MontgomeryClick On defense he communicated with his teammates and used his length to clog passing lanes. If Crowe, who is receiving interest from SMU, TCU and Rice, can develop his offensive game further he will be a good two-way prospect.Here to view this Link. might already have the best all-around game on the loaded Atlanta Celtics. The 6-foot-9, 205-pound Montverde Academy (FL) prospect can rebound with the fours and fives and run a fast break with the ones. He shows grit one moment as he dives onto the floor for a rebound and shows flare the next by pump-faking a defender and then finding the open man in the corner for a three-pointer. Once he fine-tunes his jumper Montgomery will be the complete package.Here to view this Link. are recruiting him the hardest at this point.Here to view this Link. showed a lot of improvement since last summer. He was very vocal with his Indiana Elite teammates, directing and encouraging them both on the court and from the bench. The maturity and confidence was apparent in the 2016's game as well. Guy was always a good shooter but he improved handling the ball and scoring in the paint during his junior season at Lawrence Central (Ind.).
The Rens featured a 2017 point guard that turned a couple of heads: Christ The King's Jose AlvaradoClick Class of 2016 Griffith (Ind.) wing Tremmel Murphy was a lesser-known Indiana Elite prospect who showed potential. The 6-foot-7 forward is athletic and plays hard on both ends of the court. He came flying in from the perimeter for defensive rebounds and was constantly working for offensive boards. Murphy can pass, too, even finding the cutter with a behind-the-back pass against the NY Rens.Here to view this Link.. Alvarado used his quick hands to create turnovers and once he was ahead of the pack the other team did not stand a chance against his speed. A couple of times the transition defense caught Alvarado but he cleverly used the rim to guard against shot blockers. The 6-foot guard holds offers from Iona and Fordham.
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