The Nike tournament saw the Friends Of Hoop from Seattle win it all. They edged the DC Blue Devils for the second time in three days to take the title. Former Wildcat recruit Spencer Hawes served notice that he may be the best big man not named Greg Oden.
The Houston Hoops with Nic Wise and 2007 prospect Gary Johnson fell to DC in the semi-finals. It was an up and down event for the Hoops as they opened up pool play with a 78-74 loss to the King James Shooting Stars out of Ohio. They rebounded the next day with a close 81-77 win over the Wisconsin Playground Warriors. They closed out pool play with a 77-68 victory over the Sam Rines team from Pennsylvania.
In bracket play they had two convincing wins over Team California and Houston No Limits, then won close games with the Texas Top Prospects and Athletes First. The Blue Devils with Tywon Lawson and Kevin Durrant proved to be too much and knocked the Hoops out 74-66.
The Portland Legends were missing Kevin Love and Kyle Singler and were the worse for wear. Seth Tarver and co. worked their tails off and just did not have enough firepower. They finished 0-3 in pool play and then caught fire. They won their first three bracket games by 27, 15 and 29, but fell 76-69 to King James Shooting Stars in the quarter finals.
Belmont Shore brought a young team in and had some growing pains. They opened the event with a win over the Wichita Wolfpack but then dropped their next three games.
Harper Kamp played great for the Schneider All-Stars and helped the team to the second round. They lost just one pool play game, that by two points to the Minnesota Elite, then moved on to the second round of the bracket play. They beat the Atlanta Celtics 16's by a bucket to open tournament play but came up three point shy in their loss to the Chicago Demons.
Shakur Village is made up of young players from the Bay Area, many of whom were also playing with the Oakland Soldiers. Drew Gordon and Frank Otis were among the future stars on the team. They won their first game and then dropped the next two, including a forfeit in the second round. They lost their second game in the tournament to Athletes First.
The Fairfax Westsiders, essentially the Fairfax varsity team, showed that they may very well be a power in the Los Angeles area once again. With players like Matt Shaw, Jerren Smith and Chase Stanback, they are a little more talented than your average high school club. They swept through their pool, then won their first two tournament games before falling 60-46 to eventual champion FOH.
Reebok Big Time
The two teams everyone wanted to see faced off in the finals. Oden and the Speice Indy Heat beat O.J. Mayo and the D1 Greyhounds. The Heat beat the Greyhounds for the second time in the event. They opened the event with a big win and closed things out 73-67 win.
To advance to the finals the Heat had to beat the loaded SoCal All-Stars for the second time. They dispatched Chase Budinger, Brandon Jennings, Kevin Love and the rest of the All-Stars 85-47 in a laugher.
The All-Stars were a real up and down team. They went 1-2 in their bracket, losing a tough one to Lance Thomas and the NY Panthers, then beating the D1 Greyhounds. They blitzed through their bracket and then handled the Portland Panthers before the loss to Speice. One thing about the All-Stars is that Lute Olson was at every one of their games watching Budinger and all of the other prospects they are courting.
The Cats were looking at a number of teams in the final eight of the event. Oakland Soldiers has Drew Gordon and Jeremy Franklin among others. The Greyhounds has Tyuss who is listing the Cats. The Michigan Hurricanes' Darquavis Tucker has been listing Arizona among many others. 2008 prospect Andy Poling is a player the Cats should be in on.
Other teams of interest for the Cats:
Rising Stars with 2007 forward Darnell Gant won their opening bracket game but fell in the second round to the NM Force Gold. James Harden and RBC West went to the round of 16. They rolled in their first game, then edged Blessed IJN by two. Another SoCal team, Team Danny Williams with fifth-year players Davon Jefferson and Seketoure Henry were just too much for RBC. Belmont Shore, competing in their second tournament, did not escape the first round. Lance Thomas' Panther team fell in the first round to a R.E.A.C.H Legends team that wound up in the final eight. Their loss ruined a match-up with Jerryd Bayless and the Arizona Magic. Bayless and Christian Polk were big against R.E.A.C.H., but a late turnover by a flustered Polk on an inbounds pass cost the Magic the game.
Jordan Hill and the Smyrna Stars were in the same bracket. Hill was not a major scorer for the Stars, but he helped the team to the finals of the bracket before losing by 13 to the R.E.A.C.H Legends. The Cats took a few looks at DeAndre Jordan and the Houston Swoosh Blue. They won their first two games in bracket play but fell to Fox Valley Skills to end their time in the event.
Adidas Super 64
It should come as no surprise to learn that the loaded EBO team won the Super 64. They were one of the clear favorites coming into the event and survived one scare and then rolled to the finals where they beat Philly MJC 17s 83-62.
Most of the other teams the Cats were eyeing players on were bounced early. Pump N Run had Alex Stepheson and Alex Jacobson but could not get out of the first round. Stepheson did have 19 in the loss. Jamelle Horne and the Compton Magic won their first game but fell to the San Antonio Celtics in the second game.
E-mail Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org