ORLANDO, Fla. - The AAU Super Showcase takes place at the Milkhouse at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex, only minutes from Austin Rivers' house. On Sunday afternoon the future Florida Gator looked mighty comfortable as he lifted Each 1 Teach 1 to the finals of the Super Showcase.
Rivers leads the way
The form on his shot might not be exactly text book, but far more often than not it is effective, and for Austin Rivers it was flat out working on Sunday.
In a nip and tuck battle with Rising Stars-Gold for a place in the Super Showcase championship game, Rivers absolutely was the difference.
At 6-foot-3, Rivers has the ability to rise and fire over defenders, and has absolutely mastered the ability to get just enough space with his dribble to get a clean look at the rim. Combine that with a quick release, and when the ball is going in, Rivers is tough to deal with.
Rising Stars tried a little bit of everything on Rivers. Mainly it was Lenzelle Smith. While Smith did an admirable job, he isn't quite quick enough to hang with Rivers, and that was something that gave him room to get going. Throughout the game whenever Each 1 Teach 1 needed a bucket, they would simply clear out for Rivers and allow him to go to work.
After Alex Rossi hit an unreal fading three as time expired in regulation to send the game into overtime, Rivers did work. He scored on drives to the bucket, and then down one with time running out, Rivers pulled up from 24 feet and just launched to give Each 1 Teach 1 a lead they would never give up.
For the game Rivers had 32 points to lead all scorers, and Each 1 Teach 1 needed every last one of them, because Rising Stars-Gold was in it until the end when an open three from Rayvonte Rice came up just short off the iron.
The missed three didn't take away how good Rice was, though. Rice scored 18 points, and the high energy forward opened up a lot of eyes in the process. He scored inside and out, and with his athleticism, he has the ability to be a very good player as he gets into better shape.
Also playing big for Rising Stars was Rossi. The Cal bound shooter deluxe had it working early and late before fouling out. Rossi finished with 20 points, and showed why so many schools came after him in a big way.
Other notable performanes
Alex Murphy is the younger brother of Florida incoming freshman Erik Murphy, and is a very good looking 2012 prospect. Murphy has good size, is very efficient facing the basket, and can score down low with toughness. Murphy will need to get stronger, but his game seems to be coming along at a high level.
Alongside Murphy on the Expressions 2011 frontline is Kaleb Tarczewski. Tarczewski is a developing 6-foot-9 big man with a good looking frame and some solid skills. Since he has good hands, he is able to control rebounds as well as finish down low. In a blowout win over the Long Island Lightning, Tarczewski finished with 12 points.
For Sidiki Johnson it was a tough morning day. His Long Island Lightning team got blown out by Expressions 2011, and in the process he had some early struggles before picking it up in the second half. Johnson isn't a super athlete, but he plays aggressive and loves to crash the boards. He scored 10 points, but some of it came when the game was well out of reach.
The St. Louis Eagles 16 and under squad is playing up at the 17 and under level in the silver division of the Super Showcase, but that hasn't stopped Bradley Beal from being a monster. The five-star guard was nothing short of spectacular all day long. In blowout wins Beal had it working from behind the arc as well as off the dribble. With his size and speed there just wasn't anyone that could contain him on Sunday.
Beal's backcourt mate Shaquille Boga also had a good day for the Eagles. Boga is very quick floor general who excels at getting into the lane and creating for himself or his teammates. Beal has gotten a lot of open shots because of Boga's play at the point.
In a battle between Houston Hoops and the New York Gauchos, the Hoops frontcourt tandem of Alex Kirk and Tobi Oyedeji was very solid. Kirk showed the inside out game that has helped his stock soar, and Oyedeji did the dirty work inside converting with strength and athleticism.
The All-Ohio Red guards really need to throw Jared Sullinger the ball more often. In a win over the CP-3 All-Stars, the only time Sullinger touched the ball was after a missed three point shot when he got the offensive rebound. After he finally did get his hands on the ball he scored, and quite simply there was nothing that CP-3 could do to stop him.
Also playing very well for All-Ohio was Aaron Craft. Quite simply Craft plays as hard as any player in the country. Against CP-3, Craft was clearly the best guard for All-Ohio scoring and playing his usual very strong defense. He might not be flashy, but he just makes winning plays.
For CP-3 Reggie Bullock go it working. At first he struggled with the physical nature of All-Ohio's defense against him, but as the game wore on he kept heating up. At 6-foot-5 with bounce, Bullock shot over the smaller All-Ohio guards from the perimeter and in the post. Bullock kept CP-3 in the game as long as he could because of his scoring.
Joining Bullock in playing well for CP-3 was Jay Canty and Melvin Tabb. In the first half Tabb was absolutely torching the All-Ohio forwards with shots from the outside and drives to the goal. He did cool off some in the second half, but that was mostly to do with Bullock catching fire. Canty is just an athlete who always plays full out. His shot looked improved, though it definitely has room for work, and that allowed him to get to the basket easier where he can really finish.
In Team Final's win over Nike Baltimore Elite, Mike Gilchrist was his usual self scoring and making plays, but it was the shot making of Tyreek Duren that was the difference. Duren was on fire from three, and as the game kept wearing on, Duren just kept making plays. It was a very strong showing for the talented point guard.
Alex Kirk has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Oregon State, Washington State, Stanford, Cal, Nex Mexico, Oklahoma State, and Colordo. He is also getting a lot of interest from Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Maryland, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest.
Rayvonte Rice has 17 offers at the mid-major offers including Ohio, Nevada, Kent State, and Illinois State. He is also getting attention from Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota.
Each 1 Teach 1 big man Justin Jackson reports a list of Cincinnati, Auburn, Clemson, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Florida State, and Villanova
Adreian Payne claims to be down to a final list of Kentucky, Michigan State, Arizona, West Virginia, and Kansas.