Athletes First vs. Speice Mo-Kan Elite
This day started out with a bit of a surprise as Athletes First was
dominated in its final game of pool play against Speice Mo-Kan Players.
Kansas City area based squad may have shocked some but it
didn’t take long to realize this team could really play.
Speice was not afraid and was definitely the aggressor in this game.
They are a well-coached team that really competes and that’s
why they ended up on top in this one by a 17-point margin.
During the first day of play Xavier Henry got on the board often and
early - that was not the case on Friday. Henry struggled with his
jumper in this one especially from behind the arc. Xavier even
uncharacteristically lost his stroke at the free throw line. He finally
got his first hoop over two guys plus the foul late in the first
quarter. The next time Henry tried to drive the ball he was called for
an offensive foul. It would become the trend for Athletes First. Henry
and his teammates had a hard time finding a flow in a tightly called
game. Mo-Kan took a ton of charges and both Henry and Daniel Orton were
visually upset by the calls.
Orton was taken completely out of his game especially in the 2nd
quarter when a barrage of fouls were called on the Oklahoma AAU team.
At the end of the second eight minutes, Athletes First trailed by one,
In the second half, which was also foul-plagued, Athletes First was up
five at one time but ended up losing by 17. Alec Burks had 14 to lead
Mo-Kan and Jackie Carmichael notched 12. Orton posted a line to forget
with 2 points and 5 fouls and really played sparingly. Despite being
“off” from the perimeter, Henry found his way to
the rim for 24 points but a lot of them came later when Athletes First
was trying to claw its way back into it.
Speice ended up the Pool A winner and Athletes First advanced to
bracket play as the 2nd team in the Pool.
All Iowa Attack Black vs. Alaska’s Finest
Back to the action at Liberty High School off-site to see Harrison Barnes who really drew an impressive crowd of coaches including Billy Gillispie and Bill Self. Much like Xavier Henry, Barnes struggled with
his perimeter shot Friday especially from long range, but even when he
misses it looks good. The kid is so silky smooth. When he puts some
more muscle on that frame and adds some strength – look out.
He has a spin move that he loves and is able to draw a lot of fouls
with it but there will come a day when he’ll go in the lane
with that same move and make it for the and-one.
While the buzz over Barnes continues the crowd is still amazed every
time he jumps so effortlessly and puts down a sweet dunk. He also has
great vision and is extremely unselfish. Still think the way he is
ready to move the ball up court either via the pass or the dribble
immediately after securing a rebound is one of his strong suits.
Barnes and All-Iowa Attack dominated the V Pool in the 17U Silver
Division with a 3-0 record after defeating Alaska’s Finest,
All-Iowa Attack Black vs. Hoop Planet All Stars
Again the jumper just wasn’t quite on target for Harrison
Barnes in this one. But his misses are all right there around the rim
and always seem to come off soft. But I’ve also learned
watching this team play the first two days they are not just about
Barnes. 2010 prospect Zach McCabe is sort of an Adam Morrison like
player. It’s not just the shaggy locks, it’s the
way he plays. He has the stroke from three coupled with the ability to
score in close. His halfcourt heave gave his team a one-point edge
after one quarter, 14-13. McCabe took a super hard fall in this one
cutting his elbow and still returned to finish the game. He’s
a super tough kid and will end up being a valuable asset for some
Barnes scored his first points with 2:49 left in the second quarter in
this one from the charity stripe after using that patented spin move to
get in the lane and get fouled. His teammates spent the quarter bombing
away from three and ended up with a 13 point lead at the half (37-24).
The Ames High School product ended up making some key plays down the
stretch including a hoop inside, grabbing a key rebound, and also
dishing out a terrific assist. Barnes finished with 20 points and
wasn’t at his best for all four quarters. The kid has that
silky smooth stroke from the line and actually missed four free throws
in this game and he did go to the line 14 times.
His team advances with an 73-68 win and moved on to the next round of
Silver Division bracket play. The audience was a notable one: head
coaches from Kansas, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Georgetown,
Kentucky, Iowa State, and Iowa. Other schools represented IU, UCLA, and
Florida among the crowd.
Athletes First vs. Georgia Blazers
After a disappointing morning loss, Athletes First came back with guns
blazing and jumped out to a 24-2 lead after one quarter. Though he
continued to search for his stroke from three, Henry was a much bigger
factor early in this one than he was in the morning session. Xavier
opened the game with a 7-point first quarter and then threw down a
vicious one-handed alley oop in the second quarter that drew some ooohs
and aahhhs. It also made the score 30-9. Henry finally stroked a couple
from three in the third quarter and off the first one he looked very
comfortable coming off a screen and stepping into the long range shot.
Henry ended up with 22 points. What’s amazing is that all the
great players can get you 20 even on an off night in this tournament.
It just comes so easily.
Fellow 2009 prospect Daniel Orton continued to struggle with fouls and
with turnovers. Orton was much more active in this one and did end up
with 7 points and one emphatic follow up slam. So far through two days
it’s no the basketball that impresses so much, it is the
physicality of him. Orton likes to throw a one-handed bounce pass that
tends to equal extra turnovers but anyone can see with the frame he has
and the athletic ability he has when the basketball mind and skills
catch up, he will be a force.
After a 72-48 romp, Athletes First will take on BABC and Alex Oriahki,
Jamaal Coombs, and Phil Pressey on Saturday in the next round of
All-Iowa Attack Black vs. Shining Stars Sports Price
This will be the final report on Harrison Barnes after his All-Iowa
Attack Black team was eliminated from Silver Bracket play Friday night.
The three-point shots just weren’t falling for All Iowa in
this one and after a seesaw battle it was an uphill climb in the
fourth. Barnes again still could not find the range yet again from
three but it’s hard to find fault with that stroke.
He’s the top ranked wing in the country from the class of
2010 and he’s getting better, that’s a scary
thought. I look forward to seeing him grow over the next year. Barnes
finished with 20 in this one and a lot of them came late in the game
with his team trying to get back in it. He did force a few shots in
this one early on, but usually he’s terrific at letting the
game come to him. Barnes went scoreless in the third quarter and after
his team finished the first half up one (35-34), suddenly they were
down 11 after 24 minutes.
Iowa Attack and Harrison Barnes go home after a 69-64 loss.
News and Notes-----------
- Kansas, Memphis meet again? ….KU assistant Joe Dooley will
be in Orlando through Saturday. Head coach Bill Self will be heading to
the Hamptons to do a clinic with Coach Larry Brown and alongside John
- Keeping A watchful eye on….Kansas coaches were also
keeping tabs on New York Gauchos shooting guard Doron Lamb, 2009 Howard
Pulley wing man Rodney Williams, and even 2011 superstar-in-the-making
- Definite Reading Material…Kansas fans have something else
to look forward to in October. Bill Self’s book will be on
shelves and in stores October 1st. It will provide a look at
Self’s childhood, all his coaching stops, and an in-depth
look at the run to the national championship. Self really opens up and
shares his opinions on a variety of topics that I guarantee you Kansas
fans won’t want to miss.
- Surfing for KU games? …KU will also enjoy plenty
of television exposure next season post-national championship. There
will be 21 – 23 games nationally televised and that includes
games on ESPN, CBS, and Fox.
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