All eyes at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival turn to the semifinal round tonight now that the third round of preliminary games are over. The undefeated and No. 1 seed South face the 1-2 and No. 4 seed West, while the 1-2 and No. 2 seed East faces the 1-2 and No.3 seed North. Leading the way for the dominant South team today was Louis Williams, who poured in 46 points.
SOUTH vs. EAST
The South was up by as many as 30 points against the East. But a late rally by the East cut the margin down to 6 in the closing minute of play. Besides Williams, Richard Hendrix played another good game. 2006 prospect Brandan Wright must have swatted away at least double digit shots, and Keith Brumbaugh was very active on the offensive boards.
Many of Williams’ 46 points were scored on Duke commitment Greg Paulus. Paulus has struggled during this camp and at the TOC contesting shots. He does not have the foot speed to push up on the ball but rarely leaves the floor to contest jumpers, leaving shooters with easy looks at the basket. This aspect of Paulus’ game does not fit the mold of recent Duke point guards who have been known for their ability to pressure as defenders.
Unfortunately, due to a computer error, official stats are not available as of yet for the South vs. East match up.
WEST vs. NORTH
The West, without the play of Martell Webster who was nursing a sore foot but is expected to play tonight, finally put things together and got a 126-116 win over the North.
The West’s trigger happy guard duo of Mario Chalmers and Andre McGee still put up a combined 40 shots with Chalmers registering 24 points and McGee going for 16 points. Their shot selection was better and they moved the ball around more than they have in their two previous games. Chalmers finished with 11 assists with only 2 turnovers, and McGee had 6 assists with 2 turnovers.
Jon Brockman had a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds.
The West had two new starters in Kansas commitment Micah Downs for the injured Webster and UCLA commitment Darren Collison in place of McGee. Both players responded to their starting role and increased playing time. Downs scored 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting but did only grab 1 rebound in 24 minutes of play. Collison scored 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting, including 3 of 3 from the three point line. He did not hand out any assists.
The North’s Chris Douglas-Roberts got his first start of the camp and responded with 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting in 23 minutes of play. Eric Devendorf only shot 5 of 15 from the field, but Brandon Rush had another strong performance, going 9 of 13 for a team high 23 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, including 4 offensive boards.
The story for the North, however, was the rebounding and overall play of Josh McRoberts. The Duke commitment grabbed 20 boards, scored 13 points, blocked 2 shots, snatched 1 steal, and handed out 4 assists with only 2 turnovers in 32 minutes of play.
Tyler Smith (back) and Derrick Caracter (discipline) along with Martell Webster (foot) were held out of this mornings games but are expected to play tonight.
More information about the Youth Festival can be found at www.usabasketball.com.