On Saturday evening, ShowMeMizzou had a chance to view incoming Missouri freshman, Ricky Kreklow, at the MBCA Missouri Challenge All Star Basketball Tourney, which was played at Columbia College. Kreklow's Northeast Team had advanced through the four-team tourney to face Kansas City in the Tournament Championship game.
The KC All-Stars were led by eventual Tournament MVP, Daylen Robinson, a D-1 caliber point guard from Kansas City Northeast who's headed to junior college at MACC in Moberly. The Kansas City team also featured Raytown's Frank Williams, a smooth-shooting guard who's headed to the University of Detroit, and athletic forward Justin Leathers of Park Hill, who's on his way to Johnson County CC in Kansas. Leathers' 22 points was tops on the KC squad, which featured four players who scored in double figures in the championship game.
The Northeast squad didn't have anyone to match up with Leathers. He was too quick for the Northeast big men to keep him off of the offensive glass, and Robinson set him up for several easy ones, as well as drawing attention away from him, allowing Leathers to create havoc inside and on the glass. Leathers, who appeared to be about 6'7" or so, is an athletic blue-collar type power forward who could end up at a D-1 school in a couple of years.
The Kansas City squad led 47-39 at the half, and withstood a second-half comeback attempt by Northeast to pull away for a 85-72 win. Robinson displayed great quickness in breaking down the defense, and finding open teammates for easy buckets. Robinson appeared to have a bad night shooting the ball, and finished with 11 points.
Kreklow finished with 30 points as he displayed tremendous 3-PT shooting range as well as a real knack for finding open teammates. When unguarded from behind the 3-PT line, Kreklow was almost automatic. He was automatic from the FT line. But, in the end, the KC squad just had too many bullets, as Kreklow was the only Northeast player who scored in double figures.
The KC squad quelled the second-half Northeast comeback bid, which was fueled primarily by some long-range 3-PT shooting from Kreklow, by turning it up on the defensive end, where their overall superior athleticism proved to be too much for the Northeast team.
In addition to Kreklow's added bulk (he's up to 198 lbs.), he appears to be more athletic than I remember seeing him. He's stronger. He said it's just great to have been healthy for awhile now, and he's still trying to add some more muscle for the up-coming season at Mizzou. He persuaded his Northeast coach to allow him to defend the talented Robinson, and did as well as anyone, which is to say he had his hands full. But, I was impressed that he asked for that assignment. He was very disappointed that his team failed to capture the Tournament Championship.
"I knew he was going to give us problems," said Kreklow of his request to defend Robinson. "So, I thought it'd be best if I tried to guard him. He's quick."
I asked Kreklow if Daylen Robinson is quicker than Missouri guard Mike Dixon, with whom he's had the opportunity to play quite a bit recently.
"I don't think so," said Kreklow. "Mike (Dixon) can move. I mean, he's a bullet. I'd definitely have to say that Mike's quicker."
On another note, Hickman's Lyle Harris looked good playing with Kreklow on the Northeast team. That was the guard combo that clicked for them in the second half, when they mounted their comeback, and cut the lead to four at one point. Harris said that he's looking at prep school in Florida, but may end up at Meramec CC in St. Louis, or some other JC. He also told me that his brother Lance, the former K-Stater, is playing in Greece.
Other notables who participated in this tournament are Scott County Central's Bobby Hatchett, who is headed to Midland TX CC, Moberly's Brennan Hughes, who will stay home and play for MACC, and Hogan Prep's Dawon Cummings, who's headed to Coffeyville CC in Kansas.