FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. — On a day of buzzer-beaters and great guard play, Team Breakdown relied on a steady leader once again in the semi-finals and a rising star in the championship game.
BREAKDOWN BRINGS HOME 17U TITLE
Contrary to Team Breakdown's name, the Florida squad looked quite put together on Sunday. Led by the live the moment scoring of Kenny Boynton in the semi-finals and the clutch scoring from super sophomore Brandon Knight in the championship game, the Real Deal on the Hill title is headed back to Florida with Breakdown this year.
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Led by 25 points from Knight, Breakdown beat the Illinois Warriors in overtime in the championship game of this year's loaded event.
Illinois Warriors used a balanced attack from it's rotation, as eight players scored eight or more points in the defeat. Illinois bound guard D.J. Richardson had a strong Sunday. He scored 27 points in a win over the Atlanta Celtics in the semi-finals.
Boynton finished with nine points in the championship game but his real splash came against the New York Gauchos in the semi-finals.
With the score tied and the clock under ten seconds to play, Boynton did what he has been doing all weekend in Arkansas – he closed the door. The five-star guard reared back drilled a game winner as the time rolled off the clock.
Boynton finished with a team high 20 points in the win over the Gauchos and his shot was another signature moment. Chalk up the game as another door being closed. Boynton was named tournament MVP.
(Flight plans pushed Rivals.com out the door and we unfortunately couldn't catch the championship game.)
Against the New York Gauchos, Glenn Bryant stepped up for Team Breakdown in the semi-finals. His offensive output was regulated to dunks and put backs and those were exciting. However, it was his rebounding on both ends of the floor that opened some eyes. He stepped up in the victory and did enough at the right times.
New York Gaucho wing Durand Scott has to go home happy with how he played this weekend. He put together two monster games in the playoffs. Scott played with great strength and trademark Gaucho toughness.
Lance Stephenson showed some pro moves in his team's win over the Nashville Celtics in the consolation bracket. He attacked the basket with his trademark flavor and picked his moments to do what he does best.
The Celtics didn't have anyone to body up with Karron Johnson, who did what he wanted to do in the victory. Like Stephenson, Johnson had his fair share of pro moments.
Still coming off a broken wrist injury, Jon Hood didn't look like himself in our first viewing of play. On Sunday, he played more like the player that he is. Hood scored roughly 20 points in the first half of action against Raising Champions and did it with a variety of moves. His jumper hit a couple of times, he put the ball on the floor and attacked the rim and he showed nice offensive versatility.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
The talent in the class of 2010 and beyond was one of the true gems of the entire weekend. Sunday's action allowed several young teams roll through Bud Walton Arena for the semi-finals and finals. We were able to see a number of top-notch talents during the final day of action.
Marquis Teague Teauge's older brother, Jeff, is a freshman at Wake Forest. Marquis has similar traits – athletic, can really score and a jet from end to end. He paced his team like an elite level point guard should. His play in two big games was outstanding.
Ryan Taylor is one of the several big men prospects at Indianapolis powerhouse Lawrence North High School. The big man pushed his way around inside the paint for Spiece and looks like a guy that will be evaluated by all levels. He can grow into his long arms and big feet, watch out.
After seeing Dai-Jon Parker last month at the Columbus Riverfest, we had an idea on how good he is and how good he will be. We didn't think he'd be this good this fast. Parker scored an impressive 27 points in a tough loss to the Spiece Gym Rats in the 15 and under semi-finals. Parker, a 6-foot-3 guard from Marietta (Ga.) High School, is a perimeter threat with big-time athleticism to boot. He's a high-major kid in the 2011 class.
Teammate Julian Royal received the most notoriety of any freshman in Georgia this season after a strong season at Milton (Ga.) High School. On Sunday morning, the 6-foot-7 forward went to work inside and out. He was good on the glass and stepped out to hit a couple of three-pointers.
Because he's only in eighth grade and because he'll be mentioned on this site at least one hundred times by the time he graduates high school, we'll be brief about one Tony Parker. But keep the 6-foot-8 forward on your mind for stars of the future from the class of 2012. The Georgia big man has a post game that some class of 2009 big men are striving for. Parker shined for the King James Shooting Stars South this weekend in the 14U division.
NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD
After a sizzling first two days of action, North Carolina bound forward John Henson struggled against the New York Gauchos. The five-star big man scored a quiet two points as his team was blown out by 30 points.
Darius Smith came alive in the second half of the Illinois Warriors-Spiece Mo-Kan Players game. Smith scored 18 second half points for the Warriors and helped seal the victory. In fact, his play down the stretch sparked the team's run to the championship game. Smith said he has heard from Iowa, Indiana, Valpo, Wisconsin, Bradley (offer), Nebraska, Dayton and Illinois.