Breakdown Hoops Festival: Day 1

MIAMI, Fla. – The Breakdown Hoops Festival is underway as 11 games were played in three venues. There were a number of college coaches in attendance to watch a talented group of 2007 prospects still uncommitted. A full slate of games begin tomorrow with a total of 30 games played in the 17U and 16U age brackets.

PF J.J. Hickson, Worldwide Renegades – Hickson was the most impressive player on the day. He had a monster first half with 17 points and four dunks. In the second half he scored just four points and his team could not pull out the win, falling 54-47 to the Florida Rams. Hickson was very explosive in the post and did a good job of getting in the open court. Uncommitted, the 6-foot-9 post from Wheeler, Ga. is considering Miami, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, and Georgetown.

PF Trevor Mbakwe, Worldwide Renegades – Mbakwe had 8 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks in the loss. Mbakwe showed very good athleticism throughout the game and although he was not able to knock down a couple jumpers, he was effective down low.

SG/SF Dominique Sutton, In the Zone – Sutton (pictured right) had 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in a victory over the Jacksonville Jazz. His team was down 10 with four minutes to go, but they managed to pull out the victory in overtime. Sutton is down to two schools in the recruiting process, Wake Forest and Miami. Wake Forest has offered and he is considered a soft verbal, but Miami could sway his decision as could Texas and Oklahoma.

PG Edwin Rios, Breakdown South – The Miami commit struggled from the floor and did not make a field goal in eight attempts. However, he did make all 10 of his free throws and his team did post a 61-57 over the Jacksonsille Lee Bulls Elite squad, but it was not the individual performance he would have hoped in the first day.

SG LaDarius Hall, Tallahassee Wildcats – Hall scored 14 points to lead the Wildcats in a 79-53 victory the NY Skyriders. Hall, 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds, has good ball-handling skills and was the team's best offensive weapon throughout the game although A.J. Stewart and Adam Allen are higher-profile prospects.

PG Joey Rodriguez, Florida Rams – Like Rios, Rodriguez struggled from the floor. He was just 1-for-8 from the field, but his lone basket was a key one with under four minutes to go and his team holding onto a slight lead. After hitting his lone basket he drew a charge on the other end of the court, which appeared to take the wind out of the sail for the Renegades. Rodriguez finished with seven assists and is a very strong passer.

SF Alvin Mitchell, Team Breakdown – Mitchell scored 16 points and played with a lot of intensity during the game. After he sank a three-pointer he shouted, ‘It's goin' down" in reference to the popular song, which prompted players on both teams to crack a smile.

SG Rayford Shipman, Florida Rams – Scored 18 points in a 54-47 victory over the Worldwide Renegades. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard from Miami did an excellent job of attacking the basket and being aggressive in the open court. Shipman, who carries a 4.6 GPA on a 4.0 scale, is getting recruited by "all the high-major" schools according to his AAU coach and currently holds seven offers.

PF Eloy Vargas, Team Breakdown 16U/Breakdown South – Vargas, an ABCD invite, is being recruited by Miami, Florida, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and South Florida. He had 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks in a 38-point victory in the 16U age group. Vargas, who is a very long and lean player, got into foul trouble by trying to block a number of shots. He played sparingly in the 17U game, but did knock down a deep three-pointer from the top of the key.

SF Simeon Walker, In The Zone – Walker scored 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting in a victory and has "all of the talent in the world" according to his AAU coach.

PG Kenny Boynton, Breakdown South – Boynton started for the 17U squad and finished with 10 points—all in the second half. Boynton, 6-foot-2, has long arms and plays the game with a lot of poise. Miami is "very high" on the Coconut Creek, Fla. native according to his AAU team.

SF Emarie Bailey, Team Breakdown 16U – Bailey led the team in scoring with 18 points and showcased his skills throughout the game. The 6-foot-6 wing hit a three-pointer and had a dunk on back-to-back possessions.

SG Chris Allen (the top ranked 2007 player in the tournament) did not participate in today's game due to a wrist injury and is not expected to return until the team's third game on Friday, however it would not be a surprise if he played Thursday after his team lost their first game. Allen was the MVP of the 16U tournament last year…PG Joey Rodriguez de-committed from Massachusetts on Tuesday and is highly considering Central Florida…Many local observers consider Shipman a better football prospect than a basketball prospect and could be an elite safety if he indeed returns to the football field after a year off…PF Tirell Baines (6-7/235) of In the Zone, reportedly has a 44-inch vertical jump and is being recruited by Wake Forest, N.C. State, and East Carolina

Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton headlined the coaches in attendance as there were over 20 assistant coaches in the gym from the following schools:

Miami, Florida, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Kansas State, Auburn, Michigan State, Virginia Commonwealth, South Florida, Stetson, Central Florida, South Alabama, North Florida, Florida A&M, and Marquette.

Rayford Shipman has offers from Florida, Florida State, LSU, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Memphis. Tennessee and Miami are also recruiting him. He currently does not have a list of favorites.

J.J. Hickson was very entertaining finishing with 21 points—the single highest performance on the day—and five dunks. His dunks were a variety including a one-handed windmill that he cuffed…Florida basketball and baseball commit Adam Allen was just 2-for-6 from the floor with six points was not a factor in the game…Jonathan Hall is an athletic player and is most effective in his mid-range game as opposed to settling for outside shots

"If there are 63 better players in the country that Dominique Sutton, then I want to meet them and shake their hands," said former Patterson School coach John Parker in reference to Sutton's number 64 national ranking on Scout.com.


Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com


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