They had the best team on paper and after Sunday's win over the SYF Players; it certainly appeared that way on the court too. The So Cal All-Stars, led by Kevin Love, took down their Midwest rivals 66-58 to capture the Kingwood Classic championship.
"I think with all the chemistry we have going on we're the No. 1 team in the country," Love said after the game. Scout.com's 3rd ranked prospect in the Class of 2007 led the way with a team-high 21 points. Junior Taylor King chipped in 17 and 2008 point guard Brandon Jennings tossed in 12 of his own.
Love was the catalyst of the run throughout the event. His wizardry as a passer kick started a win over The Family, which carried over into the title game before a packed house.
Big guys affect games in different ways but it's not often that they are lauded for their ability to share the ball. Frankly, Love's skills as a passer are amazing to watch and his uncanny ability to catch it off the board, hit a teammate in stride with a length of the court pass for an easy deuce is rare. Once Love started launching darts to his pals the passing game became infectious and So Cal shared the rock the way the game is supposed to be played.
"I don't know how I do it," Love said of his knack for throwing pin point outlet tosses. "I just felt the ball; I've got real soft hands. It's just the touch. I think I should be a quarterback."
On Sunday he was.
Blake Griffin (right), PF, Athletes First – What a weekend! Not even a set of stiches above his left eye could slow him down. Jon Brockman, the consummate AAU tough guy, would have been proud of the punishment Griffin dished out all weekend long. If you want to talk about spring stock boosters, the conversation begins here.
Bo Spencer, PG, Louisiana Dream Team – It's always nice to sit down and learn about a new player. Confident, not cocky, this Baton Rouge native can play. He's kind of like Juan Barea in terms of how he can run a team but make you pay with his crafty offense. A good shooter, he's at least a strong mid-major prospect and he's hearing from some even bigger schools. Time will tell but we liked what we saw Sunday afternoon before he emptied the tank and ran out of steam.
Kalin Lucas, PG, The Family – So far, his quarterfinal gem against T-Mac was the single most outstanding performance by a point guard this spring we've been able to catch. When it got tight, Lucas took over and it began on the defensive end where he got into B.J. Holmes. He then got it cranking from the outside and off the drive. To complete the point guard clinic he dished out a series of high level assists. Granted, he and his crew had nothing for Southern Cal in the semis but the game prior to bowing out was a special one for Kalin who finished with 24 points.
J'Covan Brown (left), SG, T-Mac – We caught his act twice and he dropped 23 and 19 in the two games. The guy can score and it looks easy and effortless coming out of his hand. There's little doubt he's one of the big timers in the Southwest and he's weapon on offense that must be neutralized if you plan on slowing down T-Mac.
Dallas Heroes Youngsters – Will Brown and Gerayl Sanders are two names to watch. Brown averaged 15 a game in high school and he's 6-foot-8. Sanders, who goes 6-4 and about 200 pounds, has one of those Damien Wilkins games. He didn't play in high school last season at Cedar Hill but he's on the radar anyway. They lost in the semis but have a pair of stellar prospects.
Terrance Santil, PF, Florida Rams – We liked him with his high school team and he would appear to be just scratching the surface. Right now he's a guy who owns his area on the glass and takes advantage when he can as a post player. He's got a chance.
The list is going to get even bigger but Blake Griffin mentions Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Illinois, Southern Cal, Kentucky, Michigan State, Baylor and Oklahoma State. Billy Donovan, Bruce Weber, Scott Drew and Bill Self took in his final game here. … Kansas State was on hand keeping tabs on Mayo and evaluating Luis Colon, a center who showed flashes of improvement throughout the event. … The head coaching contingent thought to be there for Evan Turner at a Sunday game included Weber, Matt Painter and a host of assistants from places like DePaul, Arizona State and just about everyone else from his region. …
Bo Spencer said he's hearing from LSU, UConn, Miami, Villanova, Georgia Tech, Georgetown and Tulane. None have offered at this point and we suspect it'll move slowly at that level but Spencer did say a lot of area mids are on top of him. …