Slam Dunk, Day Five
St. Benedict's 49, Archbishop Spalding 48 (Slam Dunk) Miami Christian 58, Bergen Catholic 52 (National Power Series) Reno 51, Hillcrest 46 (Tip-Off Classic) Cardinal Dougherty 76, St. Andrews 73 Paterson Catholic 65, Wilcox Central 46 Our Savior 81, Oakland Tech 51 Hopkins 66, Starkville 54 Laurinburg Institute 57, Georgetown Prep 47 Sanford 54, Landmark Christian 22
National Power Series
Prior to the start of the high school season, there was no reason to know who Guillermo Diaz was. There is now.
After watching Diaz play in three games at the Slam Dunk To The Beach, in our opinion, he has to be considered one of the best guards in the nation. If we had a ballot in our hand right now, punching his name for the McDonald's All-American game would be an easy choice. He used the Slam Dunk to launch himself into elite status as a prospect. Combine his athleticism, speed, explosion, shooting touch, passing ability and overall hoops savvy into a 6-1 body and you've got a great player who will play both guard positions at Miami.
Against Bergen Catholic he scored 22 points, had 11 rebounds and 4 assists to lead MC to the title. He made a crucial unselfish play late in the game when he hit a streaking Jesus Verdejo (18 points) with a near half court bounce pass. Adrian Joseph was terrific for Bergen Catholic and finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
David Padgett and DJ White went to war. Reno defeated Hillcrest to win the bracket championship and fans were treated to a battle between two elite level post players. White got two fouls in the first two minutes of the game and had to watch the entire first quarter from the sidelines while Padgett went to work.
Upon White's return in the second quarter, a battle of will and skill ensued. Padgett would score on White, then White on Padgett. Each bucket scored required a high degree of skill. Both players were playing the game at the highest level and that meant hustling, scoring, throwing deft post passes out the double-team and challenging each other. It was a thing of beauty. From Padgett's splitting of a double-team for a driving lay up to White's powerful slam of a miss and aggressive second quarter play with two fouls, it was fun to watch. Padgett finished with 25 points, 4 assists, 6 boards and 6 blocks. White countered with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and block and 4 steals. It was big man basketball at its highest level.
Oumar Sylla, SF, Our Savior: Serious candidate for best single game performance and it had almost nothing to do with the 22 points he scored against Oakland Tech. Our Savior played a box-and-one on Leon Powe and Sylla was the main man behind the deal. He guarded Powe so well and was as physical with him as the officials would allow. Basically, he limited the tournament's leading scorer to 11 points and just 8 free throws attempts after he made a killing from the line in his first two days. After playing super defense he was still able to have an extremely productive offensive day.
Kris Humphries, PF, Hopkins: It was his third double-double in as many games. He finished with 24 and 10, including 14 in the second half. His savvy, touch and overall skill level will serve him well in Durham next year. He'll enter college with a chisled frame and his conditioning and strength will put him well ahead of the typical freshman curve.
Leon Powe, PF, Oakland Tech: Now it's time to credit Powe. With Sylla draped all over him he still kept fighting and did some work on the glass with 15 rebounds. He never showed much frustration and just keep playing like the warrior he is.
Will Sheridan, PF, Sanford: The big fella certainly saved his best for last. In the 8:30 a.m. game, Sanford smoked Landmark and Sheridan was the reason for the hot start that gave his team the 33-10 halftime lead. He was the aggressor and made some face-up shots. He finished with 15 and 6.
Ousmane Konate, PF, Laurinburg: Technically, he'll be a member of the Class of 2004 since he'll need another prep year. Basketball wise, prior to arriving in the States a week ago, he hadn't played in a while. Well, the rust is coming off quickly. He hit face ups and was strong inside and scored 15 points to go with 13 boards against Georgetown Prep.
Hatila De Souza. PF, Laurinburg: Even with a bum ankle that he turned in the first half, he scored 12 points and had 10 boards. De Souza, regarded as the top player in his age group from Sao Paolo, is going to be a big time talent.
Darryl Watkins, C, Paterson Catholic: It was a tale of two halves for the unsigned center. He was extremely active in the second half and finished with 18 and 7. He looks real good when he's in the flow and finishes with powerful dunks.
Mike Williams, F, Wilcox Central: He had much more spring in his step than he did on Saturday as he came out of the game and got himself going by running the floor and throwing down some dunks. He finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds. He likes to face up and stuck a 3-pointer and a trio of medium-range jumpers. Showed some small forward skills today.
Desean White, PF, Cardinal Dougherty: The big fella showed an array of moves the post in this game. The soft baby hook was particularly impressive and did work down low. He went for 21 points on 9-of-13 from the floor.
Jarius Hill, G, Starkville: He's had a nice run in Delaware and has the look of a high-major prospect. He hit for 28 points today but overall his perimeter game has been impressive and he's been a solid second fiddle to Outlaw.
Yamene Coleman, PF, Wilcox Central: Asking a sophomore to guard Kendrick Perkins and Darryl Watkins in back to back outings is a tall order. Well, we're happy to report that he did very well for himself. Coleman has bounce, plays with energy and has a nice touch. He had 9 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. The secret is out, this kid is going to be big time.
Off The Dribble
Landmark Christian was never in the game with Sanford but center Randolph Morris did have 14 points, 12 rebounds and 9 blocks. … Pat Coyle scored 10 points and had 10 rebounds against Laurinburg. The normally accurate Coyle took 14 3s and made just two of them. … Dan Coleman had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the game against Starkville. …
Travis Outlaw scored 18 points on 7-for-21 shooting. He appeared to be winded from yesterday's showdown with Bergen Catholic. … Our Savior received some extra offense from an unlikely source on Sunday. Senior guard Walter Murray chipped in with 14 points, many of them coming in a key second half run. … Nice job by Paterson Marquis Webb who scored 17, had 5 assists and zero turnovers. … St. Andrews center Milos Mirkovic scored 17 points, the most we've seen him get this season. Feed it to him inside in scoring position and he can convert. Mid-majors will take a look. …
Kyle Lowry came off the bench to score 21 points for Dougherty. He went 11-for-17 from the line. … Guillermo Diaz is in his first year in the United States. His high school coach said that he is considered the top player in his age group in Puerto Rico. …
Wilcox Central left their own gym at 10:50 p.m. on Friday after playing in their own tournament. They had a 5:45 a.m. flight on Saturday and arrived in Lewes at 1 p.m. for their scheduled 5:30 game. That's a lot of travel for a pro team let alone a group of high school players. …
Georgetown Prep's Pat Coyle has a valuable piece of memorabilia. He wears Allen Iverson's old Georgetown jersey. … St. Benedict's coach Dan Hurley is down to his Seton Hall playing weight. He's lost close to 30 pounds and looks like he can still run a team. … The Florida Gators were in the gym watching Mike Williams on Monday. They sent assistant Tom Ostrom. …