2009 NY2LA Invitational Recap

A well-rounded field of teams from eight different states headed to southeastern Wisconsin this past weekend to compete in the NY2LA Invitational. As it turned out, two local teams walked away with the 17U and 16U championships.

Milwaukee & Mequon, Wisc. —The Flavian Davis led Wisconsin Scholars quite literally walked away with the 17-and-under championship over the Mac Irvin Fire.

After several altercations between fans, Fire coaches, and Fire players, the championship game was called, with 2 minutes remaining in the first half.

Not quite picture perfect for the Scholars but its nothing to shame either, as they held a seven point lead at the time the game was called.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee DTA came away with the 16-and-under championship over Bay City Hoops. Elgin Cook, Darnell Harris and Haki Stampley were terrific all weekend for DTA.

Jereme Richmond SF, Mac Irvin Fire: Best described as a point-forward, Richmond showcased his offensive game all weekend. Scoring 24, 25, 28 points in the three full games I saw, and 14 in the shortened championship game, Richmond put the ball in the basket in just about every way imaginable. When Mac Irvin struggled, they knew who to turn to.

Josh Gasser, PG/SG, Wisconsin Swing: The six-foot-four combo guard never really got it going against Mac Irvin. Scoring 11 points in the loss, Gasser seemed to struggle with the athleticism of Mac Irvin's guards but used his smarts to get to the basket.

Chip Rank, SF/PF, Wisconsin Swing: While watching other games it seemed Rank scored every time I looked over to the Swing's court. The combo forward rebounded the ball well against Mac Irvin and showed great range as well, hitting two three-pointers. Rank finished with 15 in the semifinal contest.

Reggie Smith PG, Mac Irvin Fire: The ultra-athletic guard was the catalyst for the Fire's run to the finals. Showcasing good handles all weekend, Smith used his quickness to get to the basket. Needs to work on his free throw shooting because he often draws contact when attacking the hoop.

Flavian Davis, SG/SF, Wisconsin Scholars : Not an overwhelmingly athletic player, Davis uses his body well to get to the hoop and the free throw line. He still needs work on his perimeter shooting.

Darnell Harris, SF/PF, DTA 16U: Although he scored just 6 points in the championship game, Harris rebounded the ball well and blocked some shots on the interior. He played much more aggressively in pool play, scoring 17 in a win over STL Primetime.

Elgin Cook, SG/SF, DTA 16U: Cook was fantastic in the two games I caught over the weekend. He netted 21 in the championship game including a monster one-hand stuff off two feet. To put it simply, no one on Bay City could handle his combination of size and athleticism.

Cinmeon Bowers, SF/PF, Playground Elite: Listed at six-feet-six inches and 240 pounds, Bowers is an imposing force for Playground Elite. I was pleasantly surprised with his quickness and ball handling ability. His overall game was very reminiscent of Jeronne Maymon.

Zach Price, PF/C, King James Shooting Stars 16U: The six-foot-nine center from Ohio looked great in one game I watched and not so great in the other. Not to surprising for a sophomore big man, though. Against Mac Irvin's 16U team, Price was a force on the offensive end despite only playing in short bursts.

Mike Shaw, PF, Mac Irvin Fire: Shaw found himself in foul trouble for much of the weekend and never really got it going on the offensive end. He did display great athleticism and a willingness to go get rebounds when some of his teammates did not.

Wayne Blackshear, SG, Mac Irvin Fire: It was a tough ending for Blackshear who sat out the championship game with chest pain that seemed to bother him at other points in the weekend. When he was on the court he displayed a great touch from deep and an eagerness to get to the charity stripe.

Wisconsin Swing forward Kyle Kelm was on crutches all weekend and is expected to be out until July.

Playground Elite guard Chim Kadima played well offensively over the weekend. Defensively, however, he seemed to lack the lateral quickness that he showed prior to his knee injury. … Richmond put up an impressive performance at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half against the Wisconsin Swing. He scored at will during a five-minute stretch between the halves despite efforts to double team him. … Price will get many high major looks due to his size but his rebounding effort during a semifinal playoff game was lackluster. … Smith had the play of the tournament when his head reached rim high on an ally-oop inbounds play.… Although, I just caught a small sample of his game, Thomas Hamilton Jr. is one big dude. The eighth grader is a shade over 6'9.

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