2009 NY2LA Next Level Invitational Recap

Many of the top players across the Midwest gathered in Mequon, Wisc. for the 2009 NY2LA Next Level Invitational.

Vander Blue, G, Milwaukee Spartans-After arriving late on Tuesday, Blue really dialed in and got things going for the Spartans. The Madison native was able to get by his man off the bounce, in addition to nailing some tough jumpers. In a semifinal victory over Net Gain Sports, Blue hit for 30 points including 3 three-pointers. Although he needs to make better decisions at times, there is no questioning Blue is one of the premier guards in the country.

Chanse Creekmur, F, Net Gain Sports- While Blue got the better end of their matchup, Creekmur displayed a knack for scoring the basketball. His work began from downtown, as his first three buckets came from distance. Creekmur continued to put the ball in the bucket via mid range jumpers and floaters in the lane. He finished with 26.

Xavier Jones, G, SYF Players-Jones was fantastic all weekend on both the offensive and defensive ends. I was unsure of his ability to play the point prior to seeing him live and all my questions have been answered. Jones is the consummate team leader, being vocal on the offensive and defensive end. He handles the ball well and can get in the lane with ease. His jump shot is still a work in progress at this point.

Trayvon Wright, F, All Iowa Attack- Explosive. Best way to describe Wright at this point. He had the play of the tournament when he elevated over a 6'10 defender for a one-handed facial, in a semifinal win over SYF. He continued to energize teammates with his play, converting on three different ‘and one' plays in the title game. He finished the championship game with 20 points. Strength is an area that Wright should focus on.

Jesse Berry, G, SYF- The recent Dayton pledge is an explosive player and should fit in well at Dayton. He elevated better than anyone on his jump shot and has the quickness to be a force both offensively and defensively. At this point, I don't think Berry pigeonholed as a full-time point guard or shooting guard, in other words, he is the perfect combo guard. His handles could use work, as his play was wild at times.

Paul Jesperson, G/F, Wisconsin Playmakers-Jesperson was absolutely on FIRE when I watched him play Tuesday night. By my count (unofficial), he scored 37 points including 7 three-pointers. Possessing one of the purest strokes I have seen (think Steve Novak), Jesperson clearly has a shooters mentality. He is often seen running around screens to try and free himself for an open look. He uses his 6'6 frame well to get off shots over smaller defenders and also does a nice job of pump faking when the defender has over-committed. Strength, athleticism and defense will be key things to work on going forward.

Donivine Stewart, PG, All Iowa Attack- Much like Jones, Stewart's game is not based around flashy play. Instead, Stewart can often be seen setting up his teammates. All Iowa Attack's title run is just a testament to his ability running a team. Against the Spartans in the championship game, Stewart showcased his ability to shoot from the perimeter, nailing four shots from downtown. In a setting (summer basketball) where wild play is often found, Stewart brings a nice change of pace with his heady and effective play.

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