ADIDAS SUPER 64 TITLE GAME
James Harden made a statement. A loud one.
The Artesia High (Calif.) shooting guard, who has somehow found a way to remain somewhat under the radar until the last few months on the national level, scored 34 points in Pump ‘N Run Elite's victory over DC Assault in the championship game.
Harden started out by missing his first shot. That was the last time he misfired in the game. Harden ``I wanted to come here and make a name for myself," Harden admitted after he earned MVP honors. "I'm happy we won the tournament."
While Harden soaked up most of the headlines, Larry Drew Jr. should have shared MVP honors for his unselfish play. He's a pure floor leader who made certain to get the ball to the hot hand – Harden.
Drew finished with 16 points and Drew Viney added 11 for the Pump ‘N Run Elite team.
Michael Beasley virtually slept through the first eight minutes or so before almost single-handedly getting D.C. Assault back into the game and even ahead, 41-40, at the break.
However, Beasley was again silent when it counted – as the team from the west coast pulled away in the second half. Beasley's 29 points weren't really indicative of how he played – he completely dominated in spurts, but there was no consistency to his game.
Gary Johnson and the Houston Hoops ended any chance that the Friends of Hoop team had of three-peating.
Johnson played with his usual intensity and the boys from Seattle, who had won the past two Main Event titles with Jon Brockman and Martell Webster two years ago and Spencer Hawes last July, didn't have anyone to neutralize the Texas-bound forward.
The winners of the Super 64 and Main Event will play at 7 p.m. at Cox.
Mike Singletary, SF, Houston Hoops – The worst thing that ever could have happened to the rock-solid wing was that someone ranked him as the No. 1 player in the country a few years ago. The bottom line is that Singletary plays hard, gets a lot done and is physically able to score and defend.
Austin Daye, F, Pump ‘N Run – The long, skilled big man had his moments, but he still needs to get tougher in order to be a dominant player at the next level. He has a nice stroke and is a terrific get for Mark Few and Gonzaga.
Gary Johnson, PF, Houston Hoops – His motor just never stops ticking. Had plenty of inside buckets with his aggressiveness around the basket. Dunks and power layups are his specialty and while some question how effective he'll be at the next level, he's a high-energy guy who should be just fine in Austin.
Austin Freeman, SG, D.C. Assault – While he was overshadowed by James Harden in the title game, Freeman was still impressive. He scores the ball all over the court and is nearly impossible to stop because of his mid-range game. He even mixed it up and got a couple buckets in the paint. John Thompson III had to be licking his chops, waiting for this guy to get to campus.
Isaiah Thomas, G, Friends of Hoop – We had heard he scored 15 consecutive points (all from long range) in the semifinals, but the Washington-bound scoring machine was off the mark in the title game – finishing with just 10 points on plenty of shot attempts.
Scott Thompson, C, Friends of Hoop – He battles, but he just needs to get bigger and stronger. If he gets more strength, he'll be able to finish some of the plays that he comes up short on. He only finished with 4 points in the loss.
Jai Lucas, PG, Houston Hoops – Did a nice job controlling the tempo and picking his spots. Only finished with 8 points, but his impact came in leading the team to a victory.
Drew Viney, SG, Pump ‘N Run – He was the unsung hero for the boys from Cali., as he hit some key shots from long range and also got in the trenches a little bit. His game has changed as he's gotten stronger. Went for 11 points in the win.
Larry Drew, PG, Pump ‘N Run – So smooth and does so much to help his team win. He scored 16 in the title game, but that doesn't even begin to tell the story of what he does for his team. He's so poised, runs the club, makes good decisions and is a big-time leader.
James Harden said when he returns home after one more tournament, he will talk things over with his mother, take an unofficial visit to Washington and then make a decision between Arizona State and the Huskies. Despite the fact that nearly everyone has Harden pegged to follow his old high school coach to ASU, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar has refused to give up in his pursuit. … UCLA is the most aggressive on Larry Drew, but the intelligent and poised floor leader also listed Arizona, ASU, Cal, Washington, Stanford, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Miami. … Drew Viney was down to Cal and Washington, but now Arizona State has entered the picture. Pepperdine is also a long-shot – primarily because of Viney's relationship with current player Mike Gerrity. … Kenton Walker of Scripps Ranch said that he recently fielded an offer from St. Louis. He also mentioned Creighton, Cal, San Diego State, San Diego, Illinois and Washington.
Former NBA big man Jack Sikma was in the stands watching his son, Friends of Hoops senior forward Luke Sikma. … Likewise for John Lucas, whose son Jai played against Friends of Hoops. … Kenton Walker (6-9, 220) was a point guard when he was younger, which explains his comfort level on the perimeter. Michael Beasley sat out D.C. Assault's semifinal game with an injury. …
Coaches In The Gym – Herb Sendek, Lorenzo Romar, Matt Doherty, Eric Reveno.