Friday In Florida

KU head coach Bill Self and assistant coach Joe Dooley took in full day of action in Orlando on Friday. Phog.net has all the details.

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, 24-23.

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, 80-66.

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 mid-major school.

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 bracket play.

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 Calipari.

- 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 Michael Gilchrist.

- 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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