The Adidas ABCD camp came to a close on Wednesday night. The underclassman and upperclassman All Star Games capped off an excellent week of basketball.
On this night, the gym was nearly full with coaches and fans packed side by side on the bleachers. A DJ spun tunes during the breaks in action and a colorful announcer provided play by play over the PA system. It was a night when the stars came out. Matt Doherty, Rick Pitino, Jim Boeheim, Jim Harrick, Roy Williams and many others were all front and center to take in the show. And when all was said and done, two young men stepped up to steal the spotlight. Sebastian Telfair and Lebron James turned in incredible performances of basketball skill and athletic grace.
In the movie All About Eve, Bette Davis utters the famous line "fasten your seat belts, we're in for a bumpy night." Too bad the opposing team didn't get such a warning from Sebastian Telfair. Telfair sparked his White All Star team to a close fought and entertaining victory over the Red team in the underclassman game. The game ultimately turned into a showcase for Telfair and Lebron James.
Telfair was hitting from all over the court. His three point shot was definitely on as he drained several long threes. On a couple of possessions he locked eyes with his defender, dribbled between his legs and then popped a three. Swish. When not settling for a three, he took it to the rim, breaking down his man with a vicious crossover or a quick spin move. Telfair is very quick and has great court vision. If a teammate is open, Telfair will find him. The first half of the game completely belonged to Telfair as he poured in 19 points. He finished with 29 points and 7 assists.
LeBron James was fairly quiet in the first half, but in the second he came a live. James has so many skills it just doesn't seem fair. He has the outside game, he has the handle, he has the hops, and he can pass the ball with the best of them. He handled the ball a lot in the second half, basically playing PG. Did I mention he is 6'7"? Numerous times down the court he blew by his man, got into the lane, and found a teammate for a layup or dunk. On one trip, he used a crossover and then a spin move to get away from two defenders, then rifled a no look pass to Leon Powe for a dunk. James can score from anywhere. He ended up with 22 points and most of those seemed to come with ease.
The game was very entertaining. Like most of these All Star Games, the action was fast paced and the dunks were plentiful. While Telfair and James clearly stood out there were several others who were very impressive.
Charlie Villanueva put in 21 points and 10 rebounds. He is a smooth 6'9" big forward who can step out and nail the three. A very athletic and versatile player, he rebounded the ball exceptionally well and also was able to get to the rim off the dribble. He turned quite a few heads with his overall game.
Leon Powe is strong inside and relentless at attacking the rim. He benefited from several nice feeds from LeBron James, which he gladly gobbled up and thundered home. Powe scored on a variety of moves around the basket. He is very athletic, and at 6'8" will be a versatile big forward on the college level. Powe ended up with 21 points.
Michael Williams turned in a nice game. He rebounded well on the offensive end and showed a nice mid range game.
Travis Outlaw is 6'9" and rail thin. I mean skinny. But don't let that fool you. He is quick off the floor and runs the court with ease. He showed a good mid range shot and threw down a couple of vicious dunks. He had a nice block on a three point attempt right before the end of the first half.
Darryl Watkins looks better every time I see him. The 6'10" center showed a couple of nice post moves down on the block, one a very pretty drop step. Tonight he was catching the tough inside passes which allowed him to get several dunks. Watkins has the potential to develop into a very good big man.
For the game, no surprise here, Telfair and James took home MVP honors.
The underclassman overshadowed the upperclassman this night. While the upperclassman game had some spectacular moments, the play was more uneven and sloppy and the game was not very close. The Red Team won easily 125 to 105.
Raymond Felton and Jason Fraser were teammates on The Red. Felton had a solid overall game, really working to get the ball to his teammates. For the most part he was looking pass first, but he did take some quick threes, hitting a couple. Let it be known that Raymond Felton has some real hops. Felton had a spectacular dunk off an in bounds alley oop. The ball was thrown in under the basket and Felton skied for the one handed jam. He also had a breakaway two handed stuff. Felton finished with 12 points and 2 assists.
Fraser was a terror on the boards snagging 11 rebounds. He was particularly tenacious on the offensive glass. He had several offensive put backs. On one possession he grabbed a rebound, missed the put back but tipped the ball back to himself and put it in. Fraser attempted several mid range jumpers but his stroke was off. But, as in every game I've seen him, Fraser demonstrated his great athleticism and intensity on the defensive end.
Felton and Dockery were on opposing teams. However they didn't square off against each other. The players rotated in two different shifts, each shift playing half of a quarter. Felton and Dockery were not in the same shift. Dockery had a solid game. He is going to be a good defender because he moves his feet well. He has a real gift for finding the open man and was quite good at running the break. His shot was not falling in this game, but he did a nice job of running the offense.
Felton and Elijah Ingram were matched up for most of the game. Ingram's game is very impressive. His outside shot wasn't falling tonight, but he is quick enough to get in the lane on a consistent basis. Tonight was a perfect example.
Antonio Lawrence seemed to always be in the right place at the right time. He ended up with a game high 24 points. Lawrence played well, really getting out on the break. He picked up a number of fastbreak layups.
DeAngelo Collins is quite the athlete at 6'9." Collins poured in 23 points on a variety of nifty moves around the basket. He was very quick in the post, catching the ball and spinning toward the lane before his defender could get set. He showed a very nice up and under move. His mid range jumper was inconsistent, but he didn't really need it. Around the rim he was just too quick and athletic to be guarded.
Gerry McNamara stood out to me. This kid is an excellent pickup for Syracuse. He has a very good all around game. He hit from outside, found the open man in the lane, and also showed a very nice pull up jumper at the foul line.
Chris Bosh continues to impress. Another guy I would call very smooth. Bosh's turnaround jumpshot is a thing of beauty. The 6'10" lefty had a couple of nice spin moves in the post. He also garners special mention for taking the only charge of the game. Bosh is thin. Real thin. But he uses his quick feet and long arms to block a lot of shots. Bosh finished with 15 points.
Steve Novak is a dead eye shooter. Or at least he was in this game. Novak's three point stroke is textbook. He nailed a couple in this game. Novak was pretty aggressive. He had nice post move early in the game, a spin on the baseline that led to a layup. Novak finished with 10 points.
Sani Ibrahim was pretty quiet tonight. He put down a mid range jumper and had a dunk or two, but overall he was passive.
Lenny Cooke had an off night. Cooke looked to pass first and shoot second. He is a very good passer, one of the best in his class and he showed that again tonight. But the outside shot was not falling for Lenny and he was not nearly as aggressive in looking for his shot as I have seen him before.
The MVP's for this game were Collins and Lawrence.