The Family's AAU 17 and under squad started out in high-flying fashion with two lop-sided victories in early pool play. Their first game of the day against Howard Pulley White was practically over at halftime and the Family cruised to an 85-45 victory. Joe Crawford had 23 and Malik Hairston had 21 in the victory. Their second game came against an undermanned Texas team. The team from the Lone Star state was without its Horton connection as the long time coach of the squad (Darrel Horton) and its point guard (Jason Horton) departed for the Bob Gibbons tournament of champions to run with Chris Grier's Michigan Hurricanes. (For more info on that topic check our premium forum.) Losing a floor general the day before the tournament will stymie even the best teams. Such was case with Team Texas as The Family stampeded past them to a 74-56 victory. Joe Crawford brought the jam-packed crowd to its feet on a couple of occasions. He achieved this once with a devastating crossover that left the defender in his wake as he completed the play with a leaner in the lane. Another time he did it with a sick tomahawk slam off of an alley-oop! Ron Coleman turned in his own crowd pleaser when he drove baseline for a monster jam. He also displayed a couple of his customary sweet looking J's from behind the arc. Joe finished with 21, Malik with 23, and Ron with 14.
We took in most of an early match-up between Kalen Grimes' St. Louis Eagles and Alexander Kaun's Team Florida. Grimes proved to be a bull in the lane and was able to muscle for position at will. Kaun really couldn't handle him alone and Team Florida went to a zone and doubled down whenever Grimes got the ball. Despite the attention devoted to stopping him, Grimes was very aggressive going to the basket and hit at least 10 points in limited action (he was in for about 15 of the 24 minutes we watched do to St. Louis' liberal substitution patterns). Kaun had a bit of a rough time in the contest. He really couldn't establish position in the post and was held off of the boards quite effectively. He only scored 2 points in the last 24 minutes of the game, which consist of two 16-minute halves. I'll have more on "Sasha" in the coming days. Team Florida fought back from a double-digit deficit, but St. Louis weathered the storm and squeaked out a 57-55 victory. After the game I spoke to Grimes and he reiterated his recently named top 5 of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Iowa with Kansas as the definite leader. He also indicated that he wasn't really open to other schools at this point.
We caught the Family's 16 and under team in action late in the evening. They are an injury depleted bunch. I spoke with Jerret Smith's dad on the bench and he informed me that his son was still a bit hobbled by the ankle injury he told me about last week. Still, Jerret displayed the floor generalship that I've become accustom to seeing in the numerous times I've seen him play. He and his teammates are off to a 0-2 start, but they're still playing hard despite the injury situation. Detroit Redford's Brandon Wolfe had a particularly good game against Tai Streets' "Mean Streets" AAU squad in The Family's second loss of the day.
The Family was one of four 17 and under teams (by our count) that finished the first day of Pool play with a 2-0 record. The others were the Jackson Tigers (led by big man Al Jefferson), The Memphis based YOMC squad, and Albany City Rocks (led by Dayshaun Wright). We hope to catch the some of the 15 and under action today and will be reporting on Sunday's final pool games, as well as the early tournament games. Be sure to check back for more tomorrow.
For a few updates on the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions (including notes on Jason Horton and Al Horford) click below.
T.O.C. Day One Checklist
T.O.C. News & Notes, Day One
Memorial Day Classic, Day 1
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