First Round Playoff Results (not all results in as of 12:15 a.m.; each team in the playoffs won their pools): Ft. SOOY def. Baltimore Blue; New Jersey Celtics def. Houstonians in 2 OT; Fairfax County Stars def. Long Island Panthers; Hunting Park def. New York Ravens; Sonny Hill vs. Student Athlete Broncos, late; Tim Thomas vs. Philly Patriots, late; Worldwide Renegades vs. Maryland Hurricane, late; Nova United vs. Long Island Lightning, late.
Demetris Nichols, SF, Tim Thomas Playaz: He says Syracuse leads Villanova and he's clearly a priority for both schools. On Saturday, he proved his worth with a versatile 21-point performance. For the game, he went 9-13 from the field, recorded 9 rebounds and blocked 5 shots. He's a northern version of Reyshawn Terry. Fine scorer, smooth player and a good defender.
Mustafa Shakur, PG, Hunting Park: His 25 points were good enough to lift his team past the Ravens in the playoffs. After watching Shakur on back-to-back days, one becomes even more appreciative of his talents. He's also a fine rebounder for a guard.
Richard McBride, SG, Fort SOOY: McBride still hasn't been efficient in terms of his scoring output when compared with the number of shots he's taken. However, in four games he's broken 20 points each time and his running floater in the lane took down Baltimore Blue in the playoffs.
Regis Koundjia, SF, Raleigh's Finest: Actually, Regis is Central Africa's finest, but that's just a technicality. The athletic Koundjia was pretty good on Saturday as he ran the floor, rebounded and got after it. He has great energy and a super athletic body. His skill level has improved since his arrival in October and he's coming around in that department.
Michael Jones, SG, Long Island Panthers: Before some tendonitis set in on his knee in a game against Capital Athletic, Jones scored 16 points and missed just one shot. He went 7-8 in the game we watched, including 2-2 from downtown. At the Nike All-American Camp last summer we said he was a Top 25 player and he's done nothing but solidify his standing since.
Charlie Villanueva, PF, Long Island Panthers: Villanueva arrived for his team's afternoon game at the half. He really didn't warm up properly but went into the game, dunked, made a runner and got up some shots. In short, he looked pretty good. However, he's gone from the tournament as the Panthers got bounced early in the playoffs.
Lamont Hamilton, PF/C, Long Island Panthers: In an afternoon game against Capital Athletic, Hamilton was impressive. The Milford big man is headed to St. John's and for good reason. He's big and gets a lot done. He's much more athletic than your first glance might indicate and he plays with energy. Good-looking prospect.
Daily Notables: Louis McCroskey, NY Ravens (JR); David Bell, Hunting Park (SR); Matt Westley, LI Panthers (JR); Kirk Bunn, NY Elite (JR); Miles Orman, Tim Thomas (JR).
Tella Palacios, PF, NY Elite: The Class of 2004 is loaded. With that said, there aren't many big men with the skill level Palacios has. He was terrific in the two games we watched today but the Elite fell to Raleigh's Finest when in the second half they forgot to give it to the franchise. BTW, he scored off post moves, 3s and finger rolls. Wow!
Jerome Johnson, PF/C, Baltimore Blue: His wingspan is ridiculous and he's very strong. He's got nice touch in the paint. Physical specimen.
James Mayes, SF, Raleigh's Finest: It was a tough sophomore year for Mays as he was injured for most of the season. On Saturday, he was a rebounding machine and scored in transition. He used his athleticism to block shots and run the floor. The perimeter game isn't there yet, but the pieces for a high-major summer campaign are beginning to fall into place.
Shaun Livingston, PG, Fort SOOY: He was the primary reason why his team advanced to the second round with a win over Baltimore Blue. He went for over 20 and despite having one of those Tayshaun Prince-like frame, he's made an impact on the tournament.
Michael Jones: Maryland, UConn, Boston College, Charlotte, Virginia.
Wesley Matthews: Hofstra, New Mexico, Oregon State, St. Louis, Rider.
Richard McBride scored 21 points and hit 6 3s in a game against the Long Island Lightning. … Michael Jones camped at Nike last year but will attend the adidas ABCD Camp this season. … Terrance Todd is not with the Long Island Panthers this weekend because he'll be taking official visits to Hofstra and LIU in the near future. …