Summer Pro League debuts with tight games

The first night of the Tucson Summer Pro League was a bit lacking in star power, but it more than made up for it with big time performances and competitive ball games. Hassan Adams tantalized the crowd with what could be in store for next year, while JP Prince and Fendi Onobun made their Tucson debuts.

Adams got the show started. Playing a lot at the point, the senior-to-be practically taunted the opposing Magpies Pizza team. Adams scored 36 points and you got the feeling that he could have scored more.

Unofficially he was 17-27 with 10 boards and eight assists. He controlled the pace and got his teammates involved. He drained no fewer than four college threes (they use the NBA three-point line) and was all over the court.

Adams came up big when his UBS team needed him most. After controlling the game for most of the contest Magpies made a series of small runs and kept pushing Adams' squad. With the game close late, Adams put his team on his back and scored three buckets in the final minutes to seal the 75-68 win.

Magpies was led by former Yale grad Ime Archibong. Magpies was missing Jawann McClellan who is still in Houston after the death of his father.

Now J.P. Prince had to have the best debut Tucson has seen in a long time. The incoming freshman point guard had two steals in the final :40 to lead Williams and Associates to a 61-57 win over a Chris Rodgers-less Moore Law Firm.

Trailing 57-55 and needing the ball, Prince made the first of his two steals. With Moore inbounding the ball under their own basket, Prince jumped up and grabbed the pass but fell out of bounds and could not keep the ball in play. The Moore player did not learn his lesson and a leaping Prince snagged the second inbounds pass and was fouled as he raced up the court. He sank both free throws to tie things up.

Prince made another great defensive play on the following possession. He got the steal at midcourt and raced to the hoop where he dunked and was fouled. He sank the free throw and put his team up three.

They'd never trail again.

Prince iced the game with a block in the final seconds.

Despite scoring 20 points, Prince's shot was a bit off. He was a respectable 7-of-18 from the field, but had a few makeable shots rim in and out. He showed a nice touch on his shots and the ability to score with either hand. He's not a great shooter at this stage, but he has a variety of moves, including a very impressive cross-over.

Let's not kid ourselves, Prince was not recruited to score. He was recruited to play defense and pass the ball. His passing ability was apparent in the opening possessions. He has a knack for knowing where his teammates are. He had just six assists, but could easily had double that if more of his teammates could bury shots.

He was not playing the lockdown defense he is known for, but he certainly gave an effort on that end of the floor. He finished with six steals and a pair of blocks and was easily able to contain his man.

Prince was more aggressive on the offensive glass than he was on the defensive glass. He had a tendency to release down the court when shots went up, but he did have five boards, including a vicious throw down after a collecting a teammate's miss.

Fendi Onobun was on the losing end of his match-up with former Wildcat Kelvin Eafon, the only ex-Wildcat to participate.

Onobun's Window Depot squad fell 64-58, but it wasn't due to Onobun's play. The freshman to be was solid despite missing potential teammates Jason Terry, Joe McLean and women's player Che Oh.

Onobun had 23 points on 10-21 shooting and was especially effective inside. The combo forward pulled down 12 rebounds and actually had a few assists. His jumper was inconsistent, but inside the paint he was 5-7 and nearly unstoppable.

The one knock on him was that he did not look as quick or springy as he did last season on the recruiting circuit. He claimed that he recently learned that he was almost 15 pounds heavier than his playing weight and my guess is that had an impact on his game. He is in no way out of shape, in fact the extra weight appears to be all muscle, but my guess is he would be better playing about 5-10 pounds lighter.

The Houston native is big, strong and has a knack for rebounding. He moves very well for a player of 6-7, 245 and should be a tough match-up for opponents as he can either punish them down low or take them out on the perimeter.

Hats off to Corey Williams and Kelvin Eafon for putting on a good event. This year the games are at St. Gregory's Prep and their gym is more suitable for spectators. They have seating for almost 350 fans, and at times it was standing room only. The crowd thinned out for the last game of the evening, but a rough estimate had about 500 fans in the building at one time or another.

The only drawback is that one side of the gym has windows and as the sun was setting portions of the crowd were nearly blinded. Luckily most of the seats were on the sides, so most spectators were not affected.

*Former Wildcats A.J. Bramlett and John Ash were in attendance. Bramlett indicated that he will play in future games, but was not suited on Friday. Ash is not listed on any roster.

*Also in attendance were Jesus Verdejo, Shawntinice Polk and Marcus Williams. Williams and Verdejo were not scheduled to play, while it was not mentioned why Polk did not suit up for Williams and Associates.

*The football team was represented. DE Marcus Smith and WR Gerold Rodriguez were on hand as was junior college recruit Louis Holmes. Holmes and Verdejo know each other from Florida.

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