Parity Strikes USA Basketball

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Parity is the theme after one day of hoops at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival. Teams that lost morning session games rebounded with strong evening performances.

East Bears Down For First Win

Gary DeCesare shuffled his star studded lineup and it worked as the East (1-1) raced out to a big lead and then held on to defeat the North (1-1) 107-97. Rising junior Brian Johnson received nary a touch in the first game but impacted the second game with an impressive 12 point, 12 rebound outing.

If Johnson wasn't getting it done, then Will Sheridan was busy picking up the slack. Sheridan continued his fine play with a 14 point, 8 rebound effort. The Delaware Player of the Year is redefining his game from a mobility standpoint. Sheridan says he worked hard on his strength the last month and it is showing. He's moving and jumping better and his overall mobility and athleticism are on the rise.

Ivan Harris was the unofficial MVP for the North. He scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as he's proved to be one of the best at cleaning the glass at this event. He plays with great energy on offense; unfortunately he wasn't able to spread his intensity throughout the North roster.

The Northern boys shot a dismal 4-for-33 from beyond the arc. Shannon Brown's morning heroics could not be replicated but he did toss in 17.

NOTES – Thumbs up to Art Bowers who is having a fine offensive tournament. In the nightcap he scored a well-earned 16 points. … Though the North was horrible from downtown, the East wasn't much better. They hit just 6-for-25 from downtown. … In his first two games, East center Shagari Alleyne has scored 14 points in 40 minutes of action. However, it's not his offensive production that is of concern. The big man has pulled down just 7 rebounds in the two-game span and has yet to block a shot. Not scoring is one thing, but the East needs the big fella to rebound and alter shots. …

Butler Erupts To Lead South

Jackie Butler told reporters that he was going to come out of his shell in the evening session. Well, when it was all over, Butler did just that. He scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the South (1-1) to a 136-128 win over the West (1-1).

Ndudi Ebi, "Mr. Double-Double", scored 21 points and pulled down 10 boards. Teammate Vakeaton Wafer hit up the West for 24 points and his star is beginning to shine brighter with every passing game.

Meanwhile for the West, the Stewart Twins combined for 43 points as Rodrick paced the team with 25. David Padgett again proved to be the West's best bet inside with 21 points and Thomas Gardner chipped in 20 more.

NOTES – Here's one for you: Vakeaton Wafer has never been to a college basketball game. Never, ever. That'll change this winter. … Terrance Roberts on his rapid rise and whether he ever dreamed of playing at USA Camp: "Absolutely not. I had no idea I would be here." Roberts said Syracuse, Florida, Illinois and Rutgers are recruiting him the hardest. … North power forward Lorenzo Thompson lists Illinois, DePaul, Michigan, Michigan State and Cincinnati. At this point, we don't think too many of those schools have offered. … Rising junior guard JamesOn Curry is averaging 19.5 points in his first two games. Not too shabby. … We hear Travis Outlaw, like Brian Butch, is also having a tough time adjusting to the altitude. …

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