Game of the Day: The D.C. Hawks and SRAP (Syracuse-Rochester Area Players) needed all of the time allotted to decide a winner in the first round of the playoffs. SRAP sophomore Greg Paulus hit a short runner with six seconds remaining to give his team the 103-101 lead. On the last play of the game, Johvon Whitby scored his first bucket of the day for the D.C. Hawks and his running 25-footer at the buzzer gave his team the one-point win in a shootout.
Paulus led all scorers with 33 points. Teammates Marty O'Sullivan and Ryan Pettinella shared 50 in the loss. The Hawks were paced by Folarin Campbell, who shot his way to 32 points. Campbell has a serious stroke from downtown. His teammate, Antoine Hardy, tossed in 26 as well and he was equally as adept as Campbell from behind the arc.
2004 Checklist James Mays, F, NC Gaters: If there was a guy who played with more energy or got more done on day two we certainly didn't see him. Mays is tough when he is being athletic and rebounding and that is exactly the way he played as his team staved off the Squires. Mays was boarding and blocking shots as he impacted the contest. His ability to get off the ground quickly causes problems for teams athletically.
Alex Galindo, SF, Playaz Basketball: The native of Puerto Rico has a great feel for the game. He began Saturday morning's blowout smoking jumpers from downtown. His game has pace and he's a good passer. This guy is only going to get better and he's pretty good right now.
Manny Quezada, SG, CAS Warriors: The St. Alban's product had 22 in the first half of an afternoon game. He actually took a while to get heated up, but when he did his jumper was on from all ranges. He's a big time student who is receiving recruiting attention from two different levels. Finished with 26 points (9-19 FG, 3-7 threes, 5-5 FT) in the game we caught.
Cedric Simmons, C, NC Gaters: This was our first look at the big 6-10 fella in game action. He had 11 points and five rebounds against the Squires. He is a physical presence whose best days are ahead of him because he is just tapping the potential. Once he gets his footwork down, he will be a force. Simmons stroked the game-winning free throw against the Squires with no time on the clock.
Brandon Costner, PF, Playaz 16s: The lefty's father played at St. Joe's and had a cup of coffee in the NBA, so we've been told. Brandon can play as well. He is tough, has offense inside and out and will play hard. He is a good passer. You will hear a ton about him in the coming season.
Andrew Pusar, SG, Playaz 16s: Tough kid. The guard figures out a way to score and has a nose for the basketball. He made jumpers, sacrificed his body in the paint and affected the game against the DC Blue Devils.
Greg Paulus, PG, SRAP: If you really watch him more than once you notice the kind of leader and student of the game he is. Paulus is in tune with his teammates and surroundings during a game. He is a great set-up man and his jumper was on point against the DC Hawks.
Off The Dribble The Squires No. 2 team has a 6-11 big man named Chris Johnson. The likely mid-major candidate is rail thin, but has some face up skills and had 19 in a game. Albert Webber of the No. 1 Squires team remains his squad's best overall offensive player. And, he is money from behind the arc.
The Playaz's Jermaine Bell had a great matchup in the morning and owned his man just like he should have. Bell won't be back at IMG next year, but admitted just how productive his one season in Bradenton was. Sean Singletary was slow out of the game in the morning session and reportedly played much better throughout the rest of the day. National Christian's Abdullah Jalloh was active in the day two afternoon sessions and made some big plays.
James Mays is one of the bounciest athletes in the country. He has an uncanny leaping ability around the basket. He gets in two jumps before defenders can land from their first one. We love how hard Bombale Osby gets after it at 6-5. But, against a big Gaters from line, he had problems consistently scoring and that is why he is best suited at a good mid-major program. He did get loose for one nasty baseline dunk.
Mack Montgomery is a fine student and plenty of schools are looking at him from two distinct levels. He's got a nice touch on his jumper. James Posey's normally reliable jumper was not there against the Gaters, but did return to him later in the day when he got real hot in a contest from downtown. Tyree Evans had 36 for Team Richmond in a loss to Baltimore Select.
News & Notes: Playaz forward Taj Finger is a prime Ivy League candidate...Alex Galindo is listing St. John's, Villanova, Rutgers, Seton Hall, UTEP and North Carolina State. Like the Atlanta Celtics, Belmont Shore did not send its "A" team...Manny Quezada is listing Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, St. Joe's, Stanford and Providence. He says none of the schools have offered to date...Jermaine Bell said that St. John's remains his No. 1 choice. He feels committed there, but has to take care of his academics first. Syracuse is also recruiting him, but the Johnnies are the prohibitive favorite. He'll be at Notre Dame in Massachusetts prepping next year. He needs more core classes...Gaters guard Jameson Curry was participating in a state track meet...Squires forward Jahron Giddings is listing Virginia Tech, Richmond, UNC-W and Georgetown. He said that Richmond has offered. BTW, the kid has got a size 18 sneaker...Mack Montgomery of the Gaters likes Stanford, East Carolina, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Virginia, William & Mary and UNC-W.
Other than a mini-tornado ripping through the outskirts of town and the doorknob falling off the hotel room door where I was staying, Friday was rather uneventful at the Southern Invitational.
A number of opening round games had to be moved from University Hall when an afternoon tornado descended upon a junior college graduation ceremony. The resulting effect was U-Hall being the host site for the graduation in the evening and Southern Invitational games being moved to local high school gyms.
There are a lot of sporting events in addition to the Southern Invitational taking place on UVA's campus this weekend. Yours truly forgot to make a hotel reservation and didn't remember until Thursday. The result of forgetting is a two-night stay in one of the less-posh establishments in Charlottesville. Upon returning to my room Friday night, I inserted the key into the lock and the entire doorknob fell off. The night manager had no idea what to do with this one. Now for the hoops.
Andre Blatche, C, Syracuse RAP: We told you at the Boo Williams that this was a raw but promising prospect. Well, against Susquehanna Valley you could see some of the rust falling off. Blatche scored 16 points and probably had as many rebounds. He blocked shots and granted the competition level wasn't great, he produced and we have got a feeling he is going to be a good one. Plus, we thought he looked taller than he did four weeks ago in Hampton and he copped to having grown an inch to get himself to 6-10.
Marquie Cooke, PG, Boo Williams: In an uneventful yet closer-than-expected game against a relative unknown AAU team, he had 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting. He was an efficient 7-for-10 from the line.
Brian Gilmore, SF, Boo Williams: Apparently, he couldn't miss in an open gym session in Richmond two weeks and the colleges were hot on his trail. He had nine points and went 3-for-8 from the field and 0-for-4 from three-point range.
Greg Paulus, PG, Syracuse RAP: Admittedly, he didn't have a very good shooting night. In going 6-for-18 from the field he scored 18 points, including a 5-for-5 effort from the line. Statistically it would have been a better evening but his jumper wasn't clicking and he left some layups on the rim. The good news is that Paulus is best at passing the basketball and has great vision. He posted 11 assists and ran the team well.
Off The Dribble
Boo Williams picked up a sophomore postman from Blue Ridge Academy. Laurynas Mikalauskas looks to be a solid mid-major power forward who is a lefty. "They were too small, who was he going to guard," Boo Williams joked as he reasoned why big man Quaostarasi "Q" Waddell didn't play against the tiny Westfield Rams.
Apparently Kentucky-bound junior guard Adam Williams was held to five points in an opening round win by West Virginia Select. In his defense, apparently he was in foul trouble. Jeff Green, a power forward with the Metro Stars erupted for a nightly-high of 43 points in the 10 p.m. game.
Susquehanna Valley shooter Adam Blevins scored 24 points, all of which came on eight three-point shots. We couldn't recall him missing more than one attempt. Ryan Pettinella, a 2003 Penn commitment, scored 20 points for RAP. Teammate Marty O'Sullivan, a Fairfield signee, turned an ankle in the win.
News & Notes: Boo Williams has won this event three years in a row...The Atlanta Celtics are in the tournament, but they didn't bring the varsity. The Celtics roster is missing all of their stars...Waddell lists Georgetown, North Carolina State and American among the schools that he feels are recruiting him. According to him, so far none have offered...Andre Blatche's early list is a long read. Try Manhattan, Providence, UConn, Syracuse, Yale and Siena. He takes the SAT for the first time May 31. Currently, he has no offers, but that should change in time...RAP sophomore Greg Paulus could decide within the month. He is not talking about who leads, but maintains a list of Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Xavier. He hasn't spoken to new UNC coach Roy Williams personally.