Georgia Stars Take Kingwood Classic Title

When Hal Pastner planned this year's Kingwood Classic, he probably couldn't have hoped for a better pairing in the finals of the 17U division. When the Spiece Indy Heat took the court to face the Georgia Stars on Sunday afternoon, it meant that arguably the top two club teams in the country were playing for the Spring's most prestigious tournament title.

Although the game was sloppy at times, there was simply too much star-power on the court for it not to be an entertaining final. Despite falling behind by 14 points early the Stars took home the championship -- their second major championship of the spring after winning the Boo Williams Invitational two weeks ago -- with a 65-62 victory.

Leading the way for the Stars was relatively unknown 6-1 WG Billy Humphrey who stepped up and knocked down six three’s on his way to a game high 22 points. Usually, it would be trigger happy -- but highly exciting -- Louis Williams leading the way but the talented Georgia commitment struggled with awful shot selection and results in a sub par performance. Also coming up big was another future Georgia commitment, and a teammate of Williams at South Gwinnett High, 6-3 PG Mike Mercer who took the game over and dominated for a crucial five minute stretch in the second half.

For Spiece, 6-11 man-child Greg Oden was awesome scoring 12 first half points and dominating the paint on both ends of the court. However, playing his eighth game in 31 hours finally caught up with the class of 2006 stallion as he ran out of gas during the second half and only scored an additional two points.

The leading scorer for Spiece was another 2006 standout, Daquan Cook, who poured in 19 points. Remember that name because the 6-5 WG is an incredibly polished scorer who blends skill, ridiculous athleticism and deep range into one potentially fantastic package.

SOME FINAL DAY NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS

Seattle (WA) Rainier Beach product Terrence Williams looked pretty darn good during a 22 point outing for the H-Squad on Sunday morning. The 6-5 WG played with relative poise and control for most of the game and hit a crucial three point jump shot with about 12 seconds to go to force a tie and potentially overtime against Blessed IJN. It was a great shot, but maybe it will teach the chit-chat and collar popping happy Williams a little something about karma. Justifiably excited after making a huge shot, Williams spent a lot of time woofing about it only to have Blessed’s Chad Millard come back down and nail a tough three from the left corner just before the buzzer to give his team the victory. You have to love the New York Gauchos 6-5 (maybe) WF Saquan Stone. He’s got a really cool name and he gets after it like a banshee with his take no prisoners attitude on the court. He’s not the most skilled guy around, but he sure grows on you with each game.

You never know what you are going to hear before, during or after a circuit game and there were some potentially scary words uttered after one particularly bad call on Sunday. A player -- who will remain nameless -- was so disgusted with a referee’s terrible call that when asked about the call he said, “I want to ride on that m-effer and shoot his a--.” Yikes. A birth certificate check might be in order for 2006 product Pierre Niles a 6-7 BF from Memphis who looks to be at least 25 years old. He looks like a man who could step in and play in the NFL tomorrow, but Spiece’s Josh McRoberts made him his lady on what might have been the nastiest bang of the weekend. McRoberts attacked off the break off the right side and took off on one foot from just outside the lane and threw down a right handed -- his off hand -- tomahawk while getting clobbered. McRoberts should have promised to call Niles in the morning after that one. He’s heading to Duke and will be a welcome addition in Durham. Keep an eye out for Niles and his 2006 pals 6-8 WF Thaddeus Young and 6-8 BF Wayne Chism because they are going to form as talented a trio as you will find on the club circuit next summer.

Look out C.J. Miles, Gerald Green is coming after your claim as the top prospect in the state of Texas. The Houston (TX) Gulf Shores WF was terrific again on Sunday. He’s 6-6, has crazy range and goes left or right for pull up jumpers. He’s officially thrown his hat into the ring when it comes to discussing potential All-Americans.

There were more familiar faces in the crowd on Sunday as recent McDonald’s All-American Daniel Gibson stopped by to check out the action. Also stopping by was LSU freshman and Houston native Tack Minor. There was also a very rare occurrence this weekend in Houston, there was a Kevin Lisch sighting. The 6-1 PG from Belleville (IL) Althoff has a huge rep in the St. Louis area for his shooting ability and scoring exploits but usually eschews the club circuit choosing to focus on personal skill development. He looked pretty good raining deep threes but is more of a WG than a true point. For the championship game, fans were subjected to one of the worst public address jobs in recorded history. Sure we all like to get behind a microphone and exciting games can make us all say some silly things, but never under any circumstances should the thought of shouting “Sweet Sassy Malassy” after a great shot cross any human’s mind.

It was also nice to see Los Angeles (CA) Westchester product Amir Johnson back on the court after he had to sit out his junior season. He’s 6-9 and long and finds ways to put the ball in the hole from the paint. He’s an electric finisher on the break and when he plays with intensity he can be one of the top big men in the country. He’s still really slender though and needs to find his way to the weight room. A kid who did find his way to the weight room is Buffalo native and class of 2006 dunking machine 6-4 WF Paul Harris. He is rock solid and if you are reading this, he probably dunked on you too because the dunk he threw down against Johnson’s Los Angeles Stars team during the first half was just that nasty. Actually, it might have been criminal.

Finally, special thanks to Hal Pastner and the entire Houston Hoops organization for putting together a top notch event that ran without a hitch. Up next, The Spiece Run N’ Slam in Ft. Wayne (IN) next weekend.


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