USA Basketball: Saturday Wrap

There are some days where electricity fills the gym and everybody is at their best. Then there are days like Saturday at USA Developmental Basketball -- where you find yourself wishing somebody would just pull the plug.

The overall level of intensity has been deplorable and too many kids showed up in town with a cavalier attitude towards the weekend. In years past, Festival participants have brought it with consistency, but Saturday evening may have been an all time low.

From the South squad fouling while up over 50 (!) points -- so that they could set a scoring record -- to players refusing to enter games, there was a little bit of everything that is bad about basketball to be found in the gym.

Regardless, there were still some noteworthy performances as the South trounced the West 171-122 to move to Sunday’s gold medal game where they will meet the North. The North made it to the gold medal game by taking apart the East 103-87.

SATURDAY’S TOP PERFORMERS

Louis Williams - After dropping in a festival record 46 points on 16-32 shooting in the Saturday morning game, the Snellville (GA) South Gwinnett product dropped in another 28 points and added 12 rebounds as the South steamrolled a passive West team. He’s a smallish WG at only 6-1 but he is a freaky athlete who is borderline impossible to defend because of his proclivity for taking wild shots.

Tasmin Mitchell- On Saturday, the 6-7 big man focused on establishing position in the low post and scoring, the results were good as he went for 15 and nine and 19 and seven during his two Saturday games. He’s flirted with playing on the wing but the fact of the matter is that Mitchell is going to have to accept that he is at his best playing in the paint and that he is far away from being a college wing. Criticisms aside, you have to like his attitude and the fact that wherever he goes his teams seem to win.

 Jon Brockman - One of the few West players who seemed interested in playing tough on Saturday, Brockman continues to impress. He might only be 6-7 in the post, but the Snohomish (WA) High big man is as nasty as they come when he goes to the rack. He uses a very quick spin move, even quicker second jump and burning intensity to inflict pain on defenders. A pair of 19 point and 14 rebound games is pretty hard to argue with.

Richard Hendrix - Another day, another standout performance for the 6-8 BF from Athens (AL) High. Hendrix got things started with 13 points and seven boards in the morning and then followed it up with 20 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks in the nightcap. He is as efficient as they come and doesn’t waste any motion in doing damage in the low post. He keeps extending his game and adding new wrinkles like a nifty spin move to a jump hook from eight feet. He’s officially thrown down the gauntlet for anybody who wants to try and challenge him for the honor of best big man in the class of 2005.

Brandon Rush - After getting 23 and seven in the morning session, Rush came out in the nightcap and put up a stat stuffing line of 25 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. He is a breathtaking athlete who gets you out of your seat with his above the rim act. More importantly, he has played an entire weekend of focuses basketball and he has been doing the little things too. Nobody can hold him off the dribble and he was slicing through double teams with no trouble at all. His jumper is ok mechanically, but he isn’t using his legs to get any lift and has left some points on the rim with short jumpers.

Josh McRoberts- McRoberts has been arguably one of the top five players in Colorado Springs and Saturday was proof positive of his excellence. He had 13 points and 20 rebounds in the morning and capped his day with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Duke fans should be very excited to know that he is on his way because he balances toughness, skill and athleticism. He’s really bulked up and the confidence of being stronger allows him to mix it up much more. He may have had the play of the day when he drove baseline and finished with a two handed reverse jam while flying by the rim.


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