Conley and Oden, teammates of the 2005 version of the Spiece Indy Heat, were in Fort Wayne on Sunday to have their jerseys retired by the organization they helped make famous on the AAU scene. As it turned out, they couldn't stay for the championship game of the 12th Spiece Run ‘n Slam but in the end, they weren't needed.
An overhauled Spiece team outlasted the Illinois Wolves to the capture the title 53-46 Saturday afternoon at the Spiece Fieldhouse. Their improbable run to the championship was fueled by MVP Jeff Teague who slashed his way to 17 points and after playing 8 games in 3 days, had the look of a guy who could go another if need be.
The Wolves, a team that often relies heavily on the 3-pointer, couldn't connect on a single trifecta after the half and basically ran out of gas having played 24 games in 3 consecutive weekends.
Make no mistake, Spiece earned this championship. Mike Conley Sr.'s team played a game Saturday night with 5 guys as a few kids bolted for the prom. He gained center Aaron Pogue – who played well in the championship – on Sunday morning and the fresh presence inside was a boost.
Jeff Teague, G, Spiece Indy Heat – There was no quit in this young man. He went right to the rim in the championship game and all but one of his field goals came in the paint. He's got nice mid-major offers and is capable of playing a combo guard role in college.
Alex Legion, SG, Mich. Hurricanes – He's played with a lot of self-inflicted pressure and has set lofty goals for himself. In Sunday morning's silver bracket quarterfinal, Legion had some fun and let it all hang out. How'd he do? Well, he made his first 7 shots and ended up 8-for-10 for 21 points. The jump shooter didn't miss a shot until he attempted a lefty runner with a high degree of difficulty.
Darquavis Tucker (right), SF, Mich. Hurricanes – In the consolation championship game, Tucker shrugged off an early morning 3-for-14 shooting game and led his team with 20 points. For his work, Tucker was awarded the MVP of the division.
Sean Kane, SG, Full Package – Kane's team wasn't able to buy a bucket against the Hurricanes in the morning and then he went to work and work he did. The 6-4 shooting guard got white-hot from the perimeter and stroked 9 3-pointers! He tried mightily to get the 10th and when it wouldn't go down his squad came up a few boxes short of a Full Package.
Alex Tyus, PF, D-One Greyhounds – Man was he off the chain good in the first half against the Hurricanes. The book had him for 24 first half points and he finished with 30. No O.J. and no Bill but they had Alex to pick up the slack.
Daniel Kratz, SF, Wisconsin DTA 16s – It was his 3-pointer that sunk the young Greyhounds in the championship game 54-51. Kratz connected on his dagger 3 with 3.1 seconds remaining. He finished with 17 points in the game.
Julius Mays (left), PG, Indy Elite Stars – Here's a potential Midwest high-major point guard in 2008. Mays, a scoring lead guard with point instincts, has good size and a strong body, the kind you just may see in Big Ten country before it's all over.
Kosta Koufos made a run at it and looked very good at times but there's no doubt that he's not in prime shape coming off his injury. Good to see him out there and doing well, but we haven't seen him in tip top shape yet this spring. …
Jeff Teague has offers from Xavier and Southern Illinois. Wake Forest, Purdue and Indiana are marking him. … Steven Thomas, Spiece's other prime guard, was awarded an offer from IUPUI this week and Dayton has been checking regularly on him. Purdue is also keeping in touch. …
Freshman Stephen Van Tresse of Indy Elite now has offers from Indiana and Ohio State. He's the heir apparent to Greg Oden at Lawrence North. … Sean Kane is being chased by Yale, Dartmouth and Princeton. After his Sunday fireworks, its safe to assume he can play for all of them. … Full Package center Zach House has an offer from Northern Illinois. Illinois State, Dartmouth, DePaul, Southern Illinois, North Iowa and Iowa are watching him. …
Give it up for power forward Damien Windham of Spiece who came out and set the tone for his team in the morning game. His energy and buckets at 8 a.m. did not go unnoticed. … Illinois Wolvers 15's shooting guard Seth Evans dropped 4 3-pointers in the first half of his game against Spiece Ohio contingent. …
"I told you not to stay up all night!"