Alabama Lasers 65, New Jersey All-Stars 47 Boo Williams 77, Murfreesboro Stars 56 NY Gauchos 79, Ferrari 68 DC Blue Devils 85, Portland Legends 69
Kevin Durant, F, DC Blue Devils: On a night when we saw a handful of bonafide studs, Durant was the king of the court. Unofficially, we clocked him for 32 points and 12 boards on 11-for-15 from the field, 8-for-9 from the line and 2-for-4 from downtown. He came out firing and was clicking from the tip. For a 6-foot-9 forward, the way he shoots the basketball is unreal. One day when he's playing for pay, he'll be a small forward. Dare we say he's too low at No. 3 in America?
Vernon Macklin vs. Brandan Wright: Before we get into the details of the matchup between the No. 2 and No. 5 players in the class, it's important to throw this out there: "Big Ticket's" team is MUCH more talented than Wright's boys. Unofficially we had Wright with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Macklin countered with 12 and 5. Macklin's most impressive play of the evening came on a power dunk in which he caught it in the post and went right up over Wright for a jam. Wright's shining moments came on a few skilled hits in the paint. Both are big time, go about their business in different ways and warrant their lofty rankings. Having said that, no game-long battle ensued between the two. Maybe next time!
Duke Crews, PF, Boo Williams: Go back a year and do a little research on Jeff Adrien. It won't take you but a few minutes to compare Crews and Adrien. Both undersized power forwards who fight for everything they get. Crews scored 12 of the loudest points you could possibly record. There was a stretch where it appeared that he was scoring every way he could inside. At 6-foot-6 ½ (maybe) he's got attitude and toughness to get the job done.
Tywon Lawson, PG, DC Blue Devils: He's in command of his game and he's got all kinds of ways to beat you: drive, shot and now what is becoming a patented runner. He's got the gift of speed change and he'll get into the paint and make it happen. His first game here was a good one.
Curtis Kelly, C/PF, NY Gauchos: A slow start ended with a furious second half as Kelly started working it out late. The instinctual shot blocker wants to get it on the blocks and face you up. Once he gets into that position he's athletic and quick enough to get around guys or drop a short jumper over the rim. Slow start, fast finish and a win in the opener.
Brian Carlwell, C Ferrari: This is why Top 100 lists are tough this time of the year. All year long we'd heard about Carwell and some liked him and others questioned what his game was about. Well, here's the deal: he's 6-foot-10, 245 pounds and he had Curtis Kelly frustrated early. Before it's all said and done, he'll be a Top 100 guy and showed flashes. He had a power dunk, blocked a shot and was able to back his man down. The pace of the game seemed to wear on him but this kid has a chance to be a solid, high-major post man.
Darrin Govens, PG, NJ All-Stars: He looks to be much improved since the beginning of his junior season. He's got nice quicks and generally makes good decisions from a long-bodied frame. He was hot early and cooled late but did enough to make you realize that his game is coming along.
Xavier Keeling, SF/PF, Alabama Lasers: He's the kind of forward that you aren't going to outwork and he's not afraid to get hammered inside. Reminds you of an Anthony Glover type in that he's active and bouncy inside. He'll never get enough credit for his ability to pass the ball and operated as an assist man from the high post in the Lasers offense. Keeling knows that jumper has to be developed and it'll continue to be an area he seeks to improve.
Kevin Love, PF, Portland Legends: Slough off him on the perimeter and he's confident enough to slide a 3 by you. Give him an inch on the block and he's looking to buy more real estate. Some guys do it with athleticism but Love operates with skill and power. DC ran bigs at him all game long and he continued to attack the basket and wasn't the least bit discouraged. He's a tough matchup right now because he's got a great idea of how to throw his strong body around inside and the touch to make it work for him.
Chris Wright, PG, Boo Williams: We're beginning to think he's somewhat of a Jason Gardner clone, though he's much more dead-eye of a shooter. One a team with excellent older players, Gardner, I mean Wright, held his own, made his shots and looked like he more than belonged. It must be nice to be that poised as a sophomore.