We’ve spent the first two days tracking 2007 prospects Malcolm Delaney and Donte Greene. I said in an earlier article I wanted the competition to pick up for the Mt. Royal/Team Melo duo. Well it did, but not enough.
Continuing their play in Pool A, Mt. Royal faced another 2-0 team, the Connecticut Nike Elite coached by Geno Auriemma. That’s right that’s UCONN Women’s Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma whose team includes his son Mike, and rising 2006 prospect Damian Saunders.
Both teams had cakewalks on day 1 winning both their games rather handily, but this contest was for first place and a chance to advance to the winner’s bracket on Saturday.
The 6-7 Saunders and the 6-9 Greene went toe-to-toe for most of the contest and each provided highlight material in this one. Saunders caught the ball at the foul line, spun and drove to the hole with authority for an eye-popping one-handed throw down provoking a lot of “ooohs and ahhhs”. Damian certainly caught the attention of a lot of coaches in attendance and played fearlessly against the bigger Greene.
Greene is a hot 2007 commodity. He’s much more comfortable facing the basket and made some quality face up moves off the dribble. He once again showed off his handle, ran the break, and found the open man for the easy two. This wasn’t a stat-sheet-filler for Donte but he did have 3 gorgeous assists in this one. He’s got a lot of coaches salivating right now.
At the end of the game you look up and he’s only scored a couple points (2 by my calculations) and yet he’s was still one of the best players out there. He doesn’t have to score to make an impact and he’s constantly working.
Today we saw Greene’s shot blocking ability as he stuffed Saunders twice in the first half and altered a bunch of other drives to the hole. But Saunders had his turn in the 2nd half with two stellar blocks of his own on Greene. Saunders is a bit raw on the offensive end but he’s really a nice defensive presence. The Crosby High product is such an incredible athlete with long arms and legs and he’s only been playing organized hoops for 3 years.
Malcolm Delaney has a scorer’s mentality and was 3-5 from 3-point range today. He finished with 17 points (according to my total) and was much more involved in the offense. Surprisingly he was very active on the defensive and offensive glass netting several put-backs.
Mt. Royal was able to keep the Connecitcut Nike Elite at an arm’s length the entire game and won by 12 (56-44). Heading to bracket play Mt. Royal is 3-0 and really yet to face a stern test. Mt. Royal will take on the St. Louis Eagles at 10am on Saturday.