In the quarterfinal matchup Boo Williams delivered quite a punch to Nike Team Florida with a 65-60 victory. I watched the first half of this one and let me tell you Stefan Welsh has been absolutely lighting up this tournament! The BWSL guard was averaging 24.0 ppg going into the day and dropped another 24 on Team Florida. Welsh has tremendous elevation on his jumper and uses his athleticism to get to the rack.
Stefan has been scorching hot from 3 and was 4-9 from the 3-point line in this one. Defensively he seems to always be in front of his man and thrives on success at that end of the floor. The shooting guard from Newport News, Virginia is a confident young man right now and turning a lot of heads here at Disney.
Vernon Macklin continues to grab everything above the rim and finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds, 7 of those coming on the offensive glass. That’s definitely his most effective offensive weapon right now. We know Macklin is a quality finisher in transition but in this one he showed a couple of nice moves in the half court. Twice he drove left across the lane and finished with the soft touch on the short J.
As always, Vernon brought the house down with one of his high-flying dunks off a Crew’s miss. You never get tired of seeing those. We’ve labeled him Inspector Gadget arms because they just seem to extend as far as he needs them to grab a rebound. The two hottest BWSL players connected for another highlight reel play – Welsh spun on the penetration and found Macklin for the dunk. Boo led by 10 at the half and never looked back.
It was another average effort from Duke Crews who was only 1-3 from the floor and finished with 5 points. Oklahoma commit Scott Reynolds was an efficient 6-12 from the field and played great ball, the 6-0 guard also gathered 7 rebounds.
On court 2, I watched the 2nd half action between Ferrari and the Illinois Warriors. This turned out to be a terrific, hard-fought double-OT thriller. I’m so awed by Duke commit Jon Scheyer. You look at how skinny he is and you think he can’t possibly be that tough driving to the hoop, but he is! Jon uses his body extremely well, takes the hit and still gets the shot off. Time running down in the 3rd quarter Scheyer got the ball out top and made a terrific knifing move to the hoop and finished with the kiss plus one! And once he gets to the foul line you can pretty much forget about it. His stroke reminds me of Redick’s – it’s that pretty to watch.
Scheyer provided the play of the game -- after turning it over, he stole it right back and fired a clutch 3 to tie the game at 64 and send it to overtime. The place went crazy. No wonder why Chris Collins was sitting there grinning. At the end of the first OT with a few seconds left who do you think got the shot? Yep Scheyer again, but this time he was under duress and missed an 8-footer. In the 2nd OT with time running down and Illinois down 2, Scheyer dribbled off his foot and was forced to throw the ball up for grabs on the sideline – it went to a Ferrari player but Jon stole the ball back again and got fouled on the drive. He canned 2 free throws giving the Warriors an 81-80 lead and eventually the 85-80 win. For Scheyer, it was just another day at the office with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 2 HUGE steals.
I would be remiss not to mention the unreal performance by Ferrari guard Jerome Randle in a losing effort. The heroic Randle put up 37 points in this one and just could not miss.
I’m trying to figure out how to formulate my opinion on Brandan Wright’s play in this tournament. Let me give it a shot. I know he’s an extremely talented player but he just doesn’t dominate and tends to disappear at times. Part of that is his personality, part of it is his teammates not getting him the ball in places where he can do damage. You can see flashes of what he can be, but the assertiveness is not there -- YET.
Today in the quarters he played well with 16 points on 5-7 shooting, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. That’s a nice line. But in the semifinal game he looked out of the flow and could only muster 11 points, and 3 rebounds in a 48-44 loss. Thus you have the two sides to Brandan Wright. He’ll wow you with a spin move and jam then leave you wondering where he’s been the last quarter! Some of the positives from the class of 2006 big man are; (1) his patience on offense, he never forces the issue. (2) His long arms which are a major deterrence to the opposition at the defensive end. (3) He’s fundamentally sound – something as simple as keeping the ball up high after a rebound, or making a solid pass to the 3-point shooter from 3, or just being able to make the catch in traffic without being stripped. (4) His lift. He gets off the floor and too the rim effortlessly and quickly.
Now for the negatives – (1) His shot needs some work. I’ve only seen him shoot the 15 footer 3 times in this one and I think I remember him making one. He’s got decent form but needs to work on the rotation and how long it takes to get it off. (2) He needs to add some bulk to play the 4 in college, but that will happen. (3) The most glaring negative is leaving everyone in the gym wanting more. My guess is one day he’ll give it to us.
Roy Williams, Tubby Smith, and Skip Prosser watched both of Brandan’s games today.
I had a feeling after watching the Illinois Warriors gut out the quarterfinal that they’d be competitive versus Boo Williams Summer League and the Warriors did not disappoint.
Boo Williams shooting guard Stefan Welsh had his worst game this tournament and still managed 20 points! In a 2-minute stretch he hit a 3, elevated over Scheyer for a pullup J, then drove the lane and finished with a pretty scoop.
This one also featured a matchup of two future ACC stars in Jon Scheyer (Duke) and Eric Hayes (Maryland). Hayes was aggressive and shot the ball well in front of his future coach and finished with 17 points. Scheyer was just brilliant again and finished with 28 points on 6-15 shooting, he was also 13-16 from the charity stripe. It looked like Hayes would claim victory in this one but with Boo Williams up 9 with 2 minutes left Illinois turned on the afterburners. It was Hayes who missed a crucial free throw with Boo Williams up 2 (72-70) with less than a minute to go and Scheyer provided the end of game heroics once again tying it at 72.
In the overtime, Scheyer just took over hitting a dagger 3 and putting Illinois up 6. You have to tip your hat to Warrior guard Cole Holmstrom who took key charges, hit crucial shots, and made his free throws down the stretch. He may not look like much of a player but once the ball is thrown up you’ll find out quickly he’s quite a competitor.
Other notes from the box score: Manuel Cass (ILL) put up 18 for Illinois on 6-10 FG, Vernon Macklin (BWSL) had 15, Duke Crews (BWSL) had 13, and Cole Holmstrom (ILL) finished with 11 points.
Team Melo/Mt. Royal’s phenomenal stretch finally came to an end today in the semifinals of the Silver Division. They won the 16U Nationals in New Orleans, the 16U Super Showcase title here in Orlando and advanced to the 17U semis of the Silver Division; a tip of the hat to all those guys but they’re a tired bunch.