The Adidas Finale finished up Saturday afternoon with a new Gopher point guard offer leading his team to the event championship and the local D1 Minnesota team earning the third place trophy going 4-1 on the weekend. GI gives you the final recap of the weekend.
Bede the Championship Lead Guard
The title game of the Adidas Gauntlet was more of a grind than a masterpiece. Mass Rivals brought home the championship with a 57-48 win over Team Loaded and standing at mid-court with his teammates celebrating was point guard Wabissa Bede, the 6-foot-0 lead guard who earned scholarship offers from Minnesota and Seton Hall in the hours that followed.
Bede is a charismatic lead guard that competes with skilled intelligence and some flare but also a determination of success that rubs off on those around him. Wabissa once again showed that few in the country are as good with using the hesitation dribble to freeze the defender and then attack the afforded space. Bede uses the pick and roll like a college veteran reading the defenders position and attacking the weakened portion to create a score for himself or for his teammate opening up after the pick.
Bede’s jumpshot looked better in the five game this weekend than it had in the spring and it’s something he told Scout.com analyst Brian Snow that he has been working on both at the arc with feet set and coming out of the pull-up. That pull-up looked the best separating freezing the defender with the left to right crossover and quickly getting to a balance release. His trademark hesitation dribble and the fast developing extension finger roll stepping away from the frontcourt help defender were two things that were done with regularity in Spartanburg.
In the semi-final against Baltimore Elite, Mass Rivals controlled the game from nearly start to finish and Bede’s team high 15 points and four assists were most memorable. He knocked one trey getting feet set off a ball screen, attacked in transition or off the high ball screen to get middle and then create for others with a quick snapping assist, and he was at the foul line three times forcing defenders to foul him as he got to a balanced position at the rim.
In the quarterfinal Bede did a great job pairing with Makai Ashton Langford, a fellow lead guard, and helping him get into many of his nine field goal makes for 26 points that put away the Eric Gordon All-Stars. In addition to recently offered Minnesota and Seton Hall, Bede also had Butler, Temple, UMASS, and others watching him close game by game.
Matthew Hurt leads D1 Minnesota to Third
D1 Minnesota came to Spartanburg with one goal and that was a championship. With one loss all season a championship was really all they cared about. When Team Loaded beat them by two scores Friday night that goal was gone but a new one arose, winning third place and start a new winning streak that they want to carry through the last game in Las Vegas.
The team is now 27-2 on the season heading into the final two weekends of the year and they got to win 27 with Matthew Hurt putting up a double-double of 25 points and ten boards as his dominating play up front put away Baltimore Elite.
Matthew started each of the first three games in the same way, with instant success. He scored the first three field goals of the Brookwood Elite game, had the first five points against Compton Magic, and had a three point play versus Texas Pro. Against Baltimore Elite the 6-foot-9 top ten 2019 talent scored early, late, and every possession in between.
Hurt’s a long 6-foot-9 with a fearless demeanor willing to take on any challenge. His ball handling skills get him into separation because of a combo of skill and a quicker first step than 99 percent of America’s bigs are quick enough to deal with. At the rim Matthew’s length and touch gets him totals in the scorebook because he’s able to produce through contact with body control that is unexplainable at his age against veterans.
Matthew is able to get to extending one hand touch scores on the baseline or six feet in front of the rim that baffle defenders. And his explosive two foot leap is more than opponents expect as Hurt two hand finished in big ways once a game. The latest coach to frequent his games is Kentucky coach John Calipari. The head man of UK joined assistants from Kansas and North Carolina in observing while offered coaches Richard Pitino, Chris Mack, Tim Miles, Steve Prohm, and others watched game after game.
Sims Takes Another Step
Jericho Sims did some things offensively this weekend that we’ve never seen him do possession after possession. There have been flashes game after game, but never with this consistency. Against Texas Pro the extremely long talent from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis scored his normal alley-oop but on the next possession made the right read cutting to the rim to catch and finish and then hit a turnaround out of the post softly with a poised completion as the defender stood there helpless to contest.
Against Brookwood Elite the final stat line was 17 points and seven boards as Jericho had maybe his best game of the weekend. He finished the contest showing off a free throw line touch hitting five of his last six. He had been fouled four times at that point and the defenders from Quebec weren’t able to be as physical with him so Sims then put on a low post clinic.
First Jericho used the right shoulder spin move to face and score squared up from nine feet. Then he spun the other direction to extend and score softly over the top. Sims later made the same turnaround he hit against Texas Pro on the right block and then finished a four possession low post demonstration by faking left, and then turning right to find that the defender was now off balance so he squared up to touch the ball over once again.
Sims has shown flashes of this talent in the past (he also had his numerous dunks as well) but never has his low post game been this consistently productive at this level in the same game to get these totals. Jericho’s low post work with his coaches and on his own is paying off and he continues to get into these moves and lift to a spot at about 10.5 feet in the air that defenders simply can’t get to. Jericho also totaled ten points and 14 boards against four star prospect Jalen Hill who is committed to UCLA (who also had a double-double). Matching totals with a talent like Hill says a lot about where Jericho is at today.
Highlight of the Weekend
MBA Hoops guard Nick Weatherspoon brought fans, fellow players, younger teammates from the MBA program, and college coaches from all levels to watch his performance against Dream Vision. Louisville, North Carolina, Indiana, Mississippi State, and several others were on the baseline (as were Richard Pitino and his staff) watching the 6-foot-2 Weatherspoon separating with his left to right crossover into a 17 to 21 foot pull-up on four straight possessions.
Dream Vision had a hand in Weatherspoon’s face on all four of those possessions but Nick’s lift and quickness into the move gave him the edge to score all four of those attempts. He was fouled on two of those attempts so free throws were added and then on the fifth possession with the crowd in a frenzy and the defender locked to him hip for him, Weatherspoon hit a fifth in a row.
The final total was six scores in seven possessions and a blitz of 15 points in about five minutes time. He had 32 points in the game total and the intense look on his face after every basket will stick in the memory of everybody watching the memorable explosion.
- McKinley Wright finished the weekend with ten assists in the win over Baltimore Elite and he scored a team high 19 points going at the guards from Team Loaded. The Virginia guards got the win but they could not keep McKinley in front as he went to the foul line nine times and made all nine.
- Six-foot-7 small forward Noak Kirkwood of Brookwood Elite (Quebec) was the one guy that D1 Minnesota had trouble stopping. He was able to put his head down and attack the corner to get 17 points using his strength to handle the Minnesota size and the touch to get the ball to the glass to complete. An impressive 2018 effort to watch going forward.
- Iowa Barnstormer AJ Green saw his team give up a lead to D1 Minnesota 16U but Green took over in overtime scoring seven points to give his team a nine point win. The Minnesota guards were not able to keep AJ in front and after he beat them with his initial move Green scored three times before help could arrive. An impressive clutch performance to move his team to the next round. Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino and assistant Ben Johnson have had Green on campus once in the past for an unofficial visit and they were there to see him play this game as well.
- Race Thompson was seen in this game hitting a three, playing lead guard down the stretch, scoring two field goals late to help get the game to overtime (a steal into a transition finger roll and a 16-foot jumper), and rebounding at a higher level than his opponents (which included a couple high major opponents). Thompson has been offered by Minnesota, Marquette, and Northern Iowa and all three schools were at the 2018’s games multiple times.