MEQUON, Wisc. - Pool play began to wind down on day two of the NY2LA Summer Jam. With all of the teams in action on Tuesday things really picked up, and players began to show their stuff. While a lot of people impressed, a matchup between Perry Ellis and Jakarr Sampson really stood out.
Big time frontcourt battle
There is no doubt that the King James Shooting Stars had the overall talent advantage against the Kansas Pray and Play Players, but the fact that Jakarr Sampson and Perry Ellis matched up in a battle of two very talented combo forwards made the game intriguing.
For the most part Sampson and Ellis guarded each other making the matchup come to reality, and that was a good thing for those watching. While Ellis is bigger and stronger than Sampson, Sampson proved to be more athletic and a little more skilled going off the dribble.
While neither player had a whole lot of success stopping the other, both had their moments, and showed the natural talent that has them ranked so highly. Ellis had it working from the outside hitting several threes. Also more than simply making shots from the outside, Ellis was in attack mode and was aggressive on the boards. The aggressiveness hasn't always been there for Ellis, but has been recently and his play has really picked up because of it.
Sampson did a lot as well. His best move was a left hand drive to the middle where he rose above Ellis and knocked in a floater. While that was big time, Sampson also had right hand drives to the rim, offensive rebounds, a tip slam, and finally closed it off with a 19 foot jumper. Beyond that, Sampson blocked a few shots from the weak side, and made his presence felt when Ellis gave the ball up with passes.
With Ellis and Sampson going at each other, someone else had to be the x-factor, and it was Zach Price. The Louisville commitment keeps on getting better, and his lefty hook was absolutely on fire, and there was nothing that any of the Pray and Play Players defenders could do to shut it down. Price easily had 10 first half points, and kept adding on the second half.
Due to the fact that Ellis was the only real size on the roster, King James was able to pull away, but all three of the high profile frontcourt players did work. While none necessarily came out on top individually, it was the King James duo that came away with the win.
Other Notable Performances
Branden Dawson - The combo forward for the SYF Players was his typical self on Tuesday. As always Dawson attacked the rim with vengeance, and converted on several of those offensive rebounds. Also he is an excellent defensive player because of his athleticism and long arms. In transition Dawson finishes as well as any player, and he always plays with a good motor. In the two games seen, Dawson looked much better with his form and rotation on his shot, and even knocked a few threes in. There is no shortage of eyes looking at him, and Dawson is showing out for those who are taking the time to watch him play.
Mitch McGary - Dawson's frontcourt teammate is continuing to make a name for himself. While McGary isn't a great athlete, he does do a lot in terms of production. McGary rebounded well inside of his area, ran the floor well, and finished around the rim through contact due to his strength. Now as a 2012 prospect, McGary will be one of the higher recruited bigs in the class simply because his face up game and big body make him a rare commodity. He keeps on getting better on the floor, and now with the move to Brewster Academy, McGary is showing a commitment in the classroom as well.
Travis Trice - The slight of build Trice is one of the more capable scoring combo guards in the Midwest. Trice had it working with his pull-up jumper both from three and from the mid-range, and when he does that he is tough to guard due to his speed with the dribble and quick release. Now he still remains extremely right hand dominant going to the rim, but he did mix in a lefty drive on Tuesday. Adding strength is a growth area for Trice, and he is working on that along with becoming a true floor general, and on Tuesday that work began to pay dividends.
Glenn Robinson - The son of the long time NBA standout by the same name, Robinson showed his potential with some solid flashes. A pretty good athlete with long arms and a good frame, Robinson can score off the dribble or from deep at 6-foot-5. He needs to be more aggressive, though playing up he isn't a primary option with SYF. Still there is a lot to like about his game, and the potential is very high with him.
Adam Woodbury - One thing is for sure, Woodbury has a little bit of nasty to him. In a game against Dream Vision that was filled with chippy play, Woodbury showed a physical side on the block. He isn't a big time athlete, but Woodbury finished well with both hands around the rim, and especially with his left hand was tough to stop on the block. He isn't much of a presence in terms of blocking shots, but Woodbury did clean up the glass and showed good hands running the floor.
Tyrel Robinson - Robinson was a big factor in helping Dream Vision run Martin Bros. out of the gym. The versatile and tough wing posted up smaller defenders and also hit some shots from the outside. More than anything though, Robinson really knows how to pass the ball and is a big time defender. He did an excellent job of containing Marcus Paige, and his ability to keep Paige out of the lane really made the Dream Vision defense stout.
Matt Shrigley - Before he left the game due to an injury, Shrigley was doing some nice things for Dream Vision. The athletic and skilled wing threw down an impressive dunk, and then followed it up with a corner three that was absolutely pure. He has to get stronger and do a better job of creating for himself off the bounce, but in terms of being able to shoot and play above the rim, Shrigley does it very well.
Markus Crider - The question with Crider has never been natural talent, rather it has been about his desire and passion to play. On Tuesday Crider showed he is capable of being tough and bringing energy. He threw down a few dunks, scored around the rim, and even hit a few jumpers. In essence his entire skill set, along with a good feel for the game was on display. Now Crider has to prove that he can consistently play like that, but it was a good step in his development to put it on display against top talent.
Anrio Adams - With the Seattle Rotary starting backcourt missing, Adams is now the man who has to carry the load scoring wise, and he did a solid job of that. Adams is a good athlete who is very quick going to the rim. The Wisconsin Playmakers had no answer for Adams off the bounce, and that freed up things for the entire Rotary squad. Also after struggling with his shot early Adams got it going late. He at times tried to run the point and that came with mixed reviews, but the kid really knows how to score, and also played with a good amount of energy.
Zach Banner - His future is on the gridiron, but the 6-foot-9 and 300 pound Banner would be a high-major basketball player as well if he so desired. Banner was a dominant force on the block with his soft hands and tremendous strength. He isn't someone who is out there fouling, Banner has great feet, runs the floor well, and is a good player around the rim. It is pretty obvious to see why Banner is one of the better football players in the country with his combination of size, strength, and nimble feet.
Paul Jesperson - Things started out quite well for Jesperson. He hit a few threes, came off of screens to get open looks, and overall had it working. However after the hot start he cooled down in a big way. The Rotary guards began getting physical with Jesperson, and he struggled against their athleticism. There is no doubt that he is skilled, and no question that he can shoot the ball, but now Jesperson has to prove that he can do it against high level athletes. Overall the smarts are there with some skill, now he just needs to step it up against the best.
Phil Romback - While Jesperson gets a lot of the love for the Wisconsin Playmakers, Romback is a scrappy forward who gets things done on the inside. Romback is a solid rebounder for his size, and he uses that to his advantage getting put backs. Also he can face the rim in the mid-range, and even step back beyond the three point line and be a threat. He needs to grow or get stronger to be a power forward at the next level, but he still has a good amount of ability at the mid-major level.
Tyler Scott - The King James Shooting Stars 16-and under squad is having a good run and Scott is a big reason why. The 6-foot-5 wing from Western Pennsylvania is a big time athlete who loves to finish above the rim and makes plays in transition. In the half court he showed the ability knock down shots from deep off the catch. His potential is definitely there, and was a solid surprise at the event.
Gary Harris - After Tuesday no one can question Harris' toughness. After an inadvertent collision of heads, Harris was sent to the training table with a nasty cut above his left eye. Harris simply got it taped up and came back a few minutes later once the bleeding stopped. When on the floor, Harris was knocking in threes, scoring off the dribble using his athleticism, and also playing lock down defense. Above it all, Harris has a tremendous basketball IQ and really passes the ball well. He has to stay aggressive at all times, but Harris showed why he is such a coveted prospect in the 2012 class.
Shabazz Muhammad - Honestly there just isn't much more that can be said about Muhammad at this point. He is flat out ridiculous on the basketball floor. After his Dream Vision team fell in a deep hole early against SYF, he simply put the team on his back and went to work. It was almost shocker when he missed a shot during his huge run that put Dream Vision back on top. Muhammad hit from deep, beat Dawson off the dribble for buckets, rebounded, and then dished off passes to teammates for easy buckets. Overall it was a complete takeover by Muhammad and got his team going.
Norman Powell - After missing the games on Monday due to a family matter, Powell showed out in a big way. After Muhammad took control of the game, Powell put it away from Dream Vision. He didn't miss a shot in the second half, and was a lot to handle going off the bounce. A good athlete, Powell is quick off the dribble and can finish in traffic above the rim. Also he is a tough competitor, and overall might have played his best game of the summer.
Angelo Chol - At times Chol can get criticized for a lack of overall production, but that wasn't the case on Tuesday. Chol had it working on the post with his left hand, and also he runs the floor as well as any big guy in the class. Beyond that Chol is so athletic that he alters and blocks shots down low. More than anything though, his offense is making great strides, and simply was a lot to handle for SYF on the block.
Willie Cauley - Cauley is now playing with the 17-and under team, and it is a major step up for him. He is tall with long arms and good natural timing, but right now Cauley isn't much of a threat to score. He did hit one mid-range jumper and scored on a nice catch in transition, but in the half court he doesn't have great touch around the rim, and more often than not doesn't even look at the rim. He can rebound and block shots, but right now his production is very limited, though the potential is extraordinarily high.
Louisville and Purdue dispatched head coaches to monitor Branden Dawson during his morning game. Also assistants from UCLA, Marquette, and Michigan State were looking on.
Gary Harris had a big crowd which included head coaches from Xavier, Purdue, and Indiana. Also Louisville, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Butler, Michigan, North Carolina, Miami-FL, Illinois, Penn State, and Stanford.
The crowd was thick for Paul Jesperson. He had head coaches from Virginia and Purdue. Also looking on was Butler, Michigan, Iowa, Notre Dame, Minnesota, and Northern Iowa.
Intriguing 2012 big man Demetris Morant has a list of Arizona, San Diego State, and Washington State.
Anrio Adams has offers from Louisville, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Washington State, UCLA, and USC. Also he is getting calls from Baylor and Boston College.
For Markus Crider Miami-Florida, Marquette, and St. John's have begun to call. They are on the list with schools like Wisconsin, Dayton, Michigan, and DePaul.