"We've been winning all summer, and we won this tournament last year so everyone is going to come after Takeover," said standout forward Jerami Grant. "People are trying to make a name off Team Takeover... they are all going hard at us and playing tough against us."
All Ohio Red was knocking down jumpers early, and Team Takeover was playing without Arnaud Moto, a consensus top 75 prospect who twisted his knee in a scrimmage on Monday. With Moto out indefinitely, it took Takeover some time to adjust.
"One of our best players, Arnaud Moto, is hurt, and I think we came out lackadaisical," Grant stated. "We weren't playing hard in the beginning and it hurt us, but we picked it up in the second half.
"Arnaud is a great slasher, a great defender. He's a good mid-range shooter. He's very versatile. He helps us a lot."
All Ohio Red led 31-24 at halftime and led by as many as 12 early in the second half, but Takeover bounced back to regain control midway through the second half.
"We turned it up on defense," said Grant. "We picked it up and made them take tougher shots and they started missing. They had six three-pointers in the first half and we couldn't let them do that again in the second."
Takeover pulled out the win 73-68 and are now 1-0 in Pool A, which also includes the Houston Hoops, Georgia Stars, All Ohio Red, Arkansas Wings, and Athletes First. Grant, a 6-foot-7 forward from Hyattsville (MD) DeMatha Catholic, finished with 14 points, but hit just 3-of-12 field goal attempts and 8-of-17 free throws. He was able to attack the basket and get to the free throw line, where he struggled. He also added three rebounds and two assists.
"It definitely wasn't one of my best games," he said. "I played bad in the first half. As long as my team wins, that's all that really matters."
Coaches from programs such as NC State, Duke, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Miami, and others were in attendance for the game. Grant, who has several scholarship offers, maintains that he is wide open.
"I'm still open with all my schools," he said. "Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Miami, Rutgers, Clemson, NC State... those are some of them. I've taken two unofficial visits to NC State and Virginia Tech. Those went well.
"I was comfortable at Virginia Tech. I have a good relationship with coach Greenberg, and he's also close with my dad. I liked my trip to NC State. Coach Gottfried is the new coach there, and they've been on me hard. I've taken the visit there, and it definitely went well. I like them."
Grant, who is rated the No. 7 small forward and the No. 38 player overall in the 2012 class by Scout.com, is expected to sign in the fall period.
"I don't have any leaders," he said. "I do want to have a school picked by the end of the summer... right around the start of my senior season."