Heat – (Eric Boateng) vs.
Pacers – (Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Daequan Cook)
First off, the Pacers squad should switch their name to the Heat, as in the Spiece Indy Heat since three of the top five players are Greg Oden, Daequan Cook and Mike Conley – all of whom also start for the Midwest AAU power.
Looking over the rosters before tipoff, you'd have thought this one was going to be a total mismatch. For starters you had Oden, a kid who would be the #1 overall pick last year, this year, and next year going against Eric Boateng in the middle. Also, the Heat had just one other recognizable name on the roster in 2006 wing forward Gerald Henderson.
However, the old saying of "that's why games aren't played on paper" soon proved to be true.
Surprisingly neither Oden or Boateng started the game, as both teams turned up the defensive intensity and aggressiveness, while executing a very team oriented offensive attack.
At the ten minute mark both Boateng and Oden checked in, and the nation's best high school talent began to go to work. In just a matter of minutes the London native was whistled for four fouls, while Oden threw down a series of emphatic dunks in traffic off rebounds.
To his credit, Boateng began to raise his game on both ends of the floor. The nation's top rated rising senior center showed off a variety of post moves, including a running hook, and a number of spin moves along the baseline. While he didn't convert every attempt (after all Oden was usually waiting), Boateng showed the buckets of raw potential he possesses.
Aside from tremendous athleticism, big hands, and a live body inside, the thing you notice most about the big guy is his willingness to learn and listen to his coaches. Today he seemed to feed off the advice his coaches would send in regarding defensive positioning, as well as when to challenge Oden on the defensive side of the ball.
After a rocky first half, Boateng rebounded well in the second to finish the game with eight points, four rebounds, and two steals. That's because for the first time we saw Eric really begin to show his competitive side. Today he proved to be unafraid of contact in the paint, and continued to work hard now matter how great his opponent.
Oden also finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks and several shot alterations.