Thomas and Muhammad put on show

Very rarely do two top scorers go at each other like Chris Thomas and Shabazz Muhammad did in the finals of the 17-and under division at the Jayhawk Invitational.

On the AAU circuit there are many good matchups, and then there are ones that really can catch your eye. When the Colorado Hawks and Dream Vision advanced to the finals at the Jayhawk Invitational, the battle between Chris Thomas and Shabazz Muhammad was destined to be a great one.

The argument can very easily be made that Thomas and Muhammad are the best scorers on the wing from their respective classes. Muhammad is currently ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect in the 2012 class and the No. 1 small forward while Thomas is the No. 3 prospect in the 2013 class and the top rated shooting guard.

While the two didn't matchup head-to-head too much in the game because the Hawks played zone, it was still intriguing to see how the two would match each other with a tournament championship on the line.

Early on it was all Muhammad. His mid-range game was on point, and scored over 20 points in the first half. The Hawks had no answer for him. He was too strong for guards and then too quick for their big guys. They tried everything they could to get the ball out of his hands, but nothing worked.

"My pull-up jumper was going in, so I was just trying to do that," said Muhammad. "If they were on me I was just trying to drive past guys and if they gave me space I just tried to make shots."

Midway through the second half it looked like Dream Vision was in complete control, but then Thomas caught fire. The 6-foot-4 scoring machine was battled a stiff back and fatigued legs, but when he found his second wind it was impressive.

"We were down a lot and I really wanted to win the game," said Thomas. "I just pulled up in transition and it was nothing but net, and then I came back down again and it was nothing but net, and from there I was feeling my shot. I just started throwing up shots and they kept going in."

Some of Thomas' triples were of the near ridiculous nature. He hit them on the break, fading away, and contested. Quite simply Thomas was just in one of those zones, and his hot shooting brought the Hawks back to within three, but in the end Muhammad was too much.

For his part Muhammad scored an extremely impressive 36 points while being ultra efficient. While Thomas had 35 on a few more shots, he had nothing but respect for his counterpart.

"It is fun, it is real fun," said Thomas of going against Muhammad. "I watch him on ESPN and watch his highlights. Going against him was fun for the first time. He is just a real good player and competitor."

Coming into the game Muhammad knew that Thomas was a talented player, but didn't quite know what to expect since this was their first matchup. Needless to say, Muhammad's first impression of Thomas was a good one.

"That is my first time seeing him," Muhammad said of Thomas. "He is a really impressive and can shoot the mess out of the ball. If he keeps doing that he is going to be very highly thought of."

Overall both players put on an impressive show. In the end it was Dream Vision that got the win on the floor, but both players more than proved a point and their abilities were great entertainment to close out the tournament.


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