Griffin Challenge: 2008 Game

NEWARK, N.J. – With stellar efforts from the biggest guy (Samardo Samuels) to the smallest (Travon Woodall) on its roster, New Jersey barely held of one determined Nasir Robinson as it bested Philly in the junior game at the Eddie Griffin Challenge.

Guards. Jersey had four of them and they combined for 47 points. Mix in a little Samardo Samuels (16 points) and that was all the juniors from the Garden State needed to defeat Philly 101-98.

However, as Jersey threatened to turn this one into a laugher, Philly's Nasir Robinson emptied the tank and led his team to a near upset.

Robinson ruled the court in the second half as the 6-foot-4 small forward slashed his way to 24 points. They weren't an easy two dozen to come by either as Robinson did it the hard way. He shot 10-for-22 from the floor and unofficially 4-for-15 from the line but his sheer will and determination didn't show up in the box score.

"The guy was great, he was good," Jersey MVP Travon Woodall said of Robison. "Besides that he's a great kid. He reminds me of Charles Barkley, actually a lot of players."

Nasir Robinson
Woodall wasn't too shabby either.

The 5-foot-11 point guard dropped 21 points in the win. He was in total control of his game even though he attacked at times with little regard for his frame. He beats guys to spots and finds the open man. Every now and then they'll find him too as he was on the receiving end of a sweet alley-oop toss.

While Woodall provided the big scoring punch in the second half, teammates Mike Rosario (11 points), Jordan Theodore (10) and Ashton Gibbs (5) were part of a near handful of solid guards that helped guide Jersey to the win.

Anchoring the inside game was Samuels whom we credited with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Samuels, it should be noted, pulled double-duty on Saturday as he hurried to the gym after an afternoon IS8 quarterfinals victory ( will provide coverage of the final day at IS8 on Sunday).

"We played hard," Woodall said. "Last year was an upset and we wanted to come back stronger and get this "W" especially in our hometown. Anything less than that would have been a failure."

Mission accomplished.

Samardo Samuels Shot Chart
Quintrell Thomas, a center/forward, is a ruggedly-built 6-foot-7 insider. A specimen now, we can see him becoming a very good mid-major inside player with his athleticism and wing span. … Sammy Givens from the Philly side gave his team a burst of energy. Also a football player, his intensity to begin the second half was noticeable and hustled his way to 13 points. … Jamal Wilson was fouled on a 3-pointer with 2 seconds to go but converted just 1-of-3 from the line in an attempt to win it for Philly. … Woodall and Robinson were the MVP's from their respective clubs. …

Woodall is hearing from St. John's, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Penn State and Florida State. …


NEW JERSEY – Ashton Gibbs 5, Mike Rosario 11, Travon Woodall 21, Lance Goulbourne 7, Jordan Theodore 10, A.J. Rogers 5, Quintrell Thomas 9, Tyshawn Taylor 5, Samardo Samuels 16, Keon Williams 12.

PHILADELPHIA – Jamal Wilson 11, Charles White 4, Karon Butler 17, Courtney Stanley 7, Austin Johnson 2, Chris Kurz 5, Sammy Givens 13, Malik Tinsley 2, Nasir Robinson 24, Doug Davis 9.

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