Michigan Commitments Rumble in the T-Dot

Although Hockey is the king of sports in Canada, this past Saturday's Nike "Rumble in the T-Dot" Canadian All-Star basketball game proved there are plenty of capable hoops players north of the border.

The event took place at Centennial College, where a hyped crowd filled the gym, including Toronto Raptor players Loren Woods and Rafer Alston, who helped kick start the "And 1 Tournament". Two Michigan commitments were participating in the tourney; one is Canada's top male hoop star, Jevohn Shepherd, with whom you may be familiar. The other, Stephany Skrba, is the top female player in Canada. Both players have already signed with Michigan.

After the conclusion of the "rising stars" game and three-point competition, Skrba took the court for the ladies rumble game on the West team. The ladies proved to be impressive, to say the least. The showdown of the night was between the East team's 5-foot-6 Marrian Hussein, and West guard Tanya Walters, who was listed in the program at 5-foot-3. Walters, at an obvious disadvantage in terms of size, showed great heart and courage. Reporters agreed she was closer to 5-foot-1, and reminded some of Allen Iverson. Walters had over 10 steals in the game. She drove the paint very hard, and although most of her shots were blocked, she drew plenty of fouls.

On the other end Walters had to guard the eventual MVP of the game -- Marrian Hussein. Hussein showed her impressive range by draining five three-pointers and crossing over Walters multiple times, drawing plenty of cheers from the crowd. 5-foot-10 guard Chanel Jones-Delas was also impressive while leading the West in scoring. As for Skrba, she had a solid night, and really showed her defensive skill. The coaches tried to get each player equal playing time. On the night Skrba had 12 points, four rebounds and six blocked shots, and she was very strong defensively for the West squad. The West led for most of the contest, going up early and maintaining the lead into the half, 45-38. They built the lead in the second half and eventually won 91-78.

Commentary on Stephany Skrba:

Skrba was the top recruit of Michigan's 2005 Women's basketball class and was a great pickup, considering 120 Division 1-A woman's teams contacted her. Even though the Wolverines went 5-23 on the year, academics played a key factor in landing Skrba. In high school competition Skrba averaged over 30 points a game, including a career high 46-point game this season. After seeing her play on Saturday, there are a few conclusions you can draw about her game. First, she is about 6-4 and has a solid frame with room to put on some more weight if need be. Skrba will most likely play the three spot for Michigan, but she can rotate in at power forward spot as well. Her shot blocking ability is very good, she anticipates well, has a rangy vertical leap and long arms. She is athletic on the perimeter and her jumper has range and good touch. Skrba is an all-around solid player with versatility and upside. She could contribute as a freshman and possibly help the team improve on last years season.

After the ladies game, the men held a dunk contest. Future Wolverine Jevohn Shepherd stole the show once again, starting off with a huge tomahawk jam while jumping over a teammate who was seated in a chair by the rim. After the chair was extended out, Shepherd again got great airtime while slamming home another dunk. If there was any doubt left, he finished with a 360 dunk and won the dunk contest for the second year in a row.

The men's game featured a West team loaded with talent, including Shepherd. Scout.com's No. 15 shooting guard, Maurice Joseph (Michigan State), Scout.com's No. 7 center, Theo Davis (Iowa State), Simon Farine, who committed to Wisconsin-Green Bay and Kaylan Andersen, who committed to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Like the woman's game, the West team jumped out to the early lead and did not look back. The West relied on passing and teamwork to develop their grip on the game. The East squad had a bit more size than the West, and included Eastern Michigan commit 6-foot-10 Kyle Dodd and 6-11 monster Jaan Montgomery of Waterloo High School. Theo Davis, however, was dominant in the middle for the West all night long, including a cycle in which he blocked four consecutive shots in one possession. Davis finished with 17 points, a triple-double and MVP honors for the game. Shepherd was in attack mode for most of the night. He scored a majority of his 23 points by driving to the hoop, and had several alley-oop dunks. Shepherd also finished with two rebounds and five assists. "It was pretty good, I felt good about it, it's my last game here and I wanted to put on a show," Shepherd said on his performance after the game. Simon Farine showed off his stellar range, draining four three-point shots and running the point for the West squad.

Davidson commitment Maxim Paulhus-Gosselin played an excellent game, showing he can play above the rim with several impressive alley-oop dunks. He also displayed solid defensive skill. He is a real sleeper prospect that was recruited by many Ivy League schools because of his academics. Michigan State commitment Maurice Joseph was an impressive scorer, draining several three-point shots, and driving the lane well. Joseph easily won the three-point competition, sinking seven three's in thirty seconds. The final four minutes turned into a cherry picking alley-oop fest with some unbelievable dunks. One in particular was a toss from Jevohn Shepherd to 5'11 Tyrone Mattison. The pass was fairly high and far from the rim. Mattison did a 180-degree turn and barely caught the pass, which seemed impossible. That feat alone drew plenty of noise from the crowd but when he somehow managed to dunk it, the roof almost came off Centennial College's gym. Everyone in the place seemed stunned by the dunk and the game was temporarily delayed because fans and even media were running on the court to congratulate Mattison. The court was cleared and the game continued with both teams giving the crowd more tricks and dunks; all ending with a 101-89 win for the West squad.

GBW will have commentary on Shepherd and the other players in the game in Part Two on Wednesday.

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