Minn. Tripleheader of Hoops

<i>Inside Carolina</i> correspondent Jason Schultz was in Minneapolis this weekend for the Gatorade-Timberwolves Shootout at the Target Center. Tar Heel junior targets Ndudi Ebi and Kris Humphries were in action, as well as star sophomore Sebastian Telfair.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. -- The Target Center and the Minnesota Timberwolves hosted the Gatorade-Timberwolves Shootout on Saturday. Top ranked teams from Minnesota were matched up against highly regarded teams from Portland, Brooklyn, and Houston.

The Minnesota teams proved to be more than worthy opponents as Litchfield, Minneapolis Patrick Henry, and Hopkins all were victorious, proving Minnesota is more than a hockey state.


Ndudi Ebi

The presence of high major college coaches is a good signal that there is talent on display, and that was the case in Minneapolis, with several assistant coaches present, including North Carolina's Doug Wojcik. Assistants from Clemson, Tennessee, and Auburn also took in the action. The following is a summary of all three games, with focus on several players of interest.

Litchfield vs. Jefferson (Portland, OR)

This game could be described as a disappointment, as Litchfield was in total control from the opening tip. Jefferson was down 18-7 at the end of the first quarter, and never made a serious run. The final score was 65-48. Jefferson's only loss this season was a six-point defeat to Oak Hill Academy, the top-ranked team in the country, but on this day they looked very average.

Jefferson's 6-5 guard Brandon Lincoln and his 6-0 cousin Curtis Lincoln were the only sparks, as the seniors scored 15 and 11 points, respectively. Brandon Lincoln will attend Oregon next season. Highly regarded junior Thomas Gardner looked unimpressive. He never got into the flow of the game, shooting 0-5 from 3-point range, and scoring two points.

Terry Eurle, a 6-4 junior, shot 10-of-14 and scored 23 points for the winners. Juniors Joe Patten and John Carlson were also impressive. Patten scored 17 points. Carlson scored nine and snared 11 rebounds.

Abraham Lincoln (Brooklyn, NY) vs. Patrick Henry

Lincoln came to town with a roster of only one senior and which also features arguably the best sophomore in the country, point guard Sebastian Telfair. Henry countered with a trio of talented guards and several good athletes. This game was back and forth from the start, and was in doubt until Telfair fouled out late in the 4th quarter as Henry was pulling away. The final score was 69-52.


Sebastian Telfair

Telfair scored 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting to go along with four assists for Lincoln. While it probably wasn't one of his more impressive games, it's very easy to see why Telfair is so highly regarded. He's a classic, stereotypical New York City point guard, with great quickness and a great handle, not to mention the quickest set of hands this young writer has ever seen. Telfair is a joy to watch, with the ability to take anyone off the dribble and a lot of creativity in the open floor. Also for Lincoln, 6-5 junior Elijah Clark scored 14 points and came up with 19 rebounds in an active effort.

For Henry, senior guards Terry Pettis and Zerek Knight, and junior guard Lawrence McKenzie all did well in controlling the game and corralling Telfair on the defensive end. Pettis led the Patriots in scoring with 19 points and McKenzie added 12. Talented 6-6 sophomore Steve Neal came off the bench to score 15 points, including a very impressive two-handed dunk while getting fouled in the 4th quarter.

Back to Telfair, a lot of talk about him centers on rumors that he is considering entering the NBA draft, but according to him, "That's what other people are considering, college is what my main focus is right now." When prompted for a list of schools, Telfair was tight-lipped, saying, "That's a secret right now, but I got a lot of schools that I like." He's only a sophomore, but the stage is already set for a highly publicized recruitment.

Westbury Christian (Houston, TX) vs. Hopkins

The highlight of this game was a matchup of two highly-ranked juniors and UNC targets, Westbury's 6-9 Ndudi Ebi and Hopkins' 6-8 Kris Humphries. The two were matched up against one another at all times when both were on the floor. Humphries won the individual battle, scoring 29 points to Ebi's 18, and Hopkins won the war, 60-45, in a game that was closer than the score dictated.


Kris Humphries

Humphries did most of his damage near the basket, scoring a lot of points off post moves and offensive rebounds. He also hit on 1-of-3 3-point attempts. Humphries has a very strong, well-developed body, and when he focuses on dominating around the basket, he's pretty tough to stop. He added 10 rebounds and a blocked shot in the game to go along with his 10-of- 19 shooting.

Ebi scored most of his points on turnaround jump shots along the baseline and putbacks on the offensive glass. His shots weren't falling on this day, as he went 9-of-25 from the field. He was very active all game, with nine rebounds. On the defensive end, he had five blocks (changing several other shots) and added four steals.

As far as the recruitment of both players, nothing seems to have changed since Inside Carolina's last updates. Humphries said he's just trying to concentrate on his season, but "It'll all change once the season ends, right now I haven't had a lot of time to think about it." He did get a chance to unofficially visit Arizona this month, saying, "It went real well, I saw them come back from a 20-point deficit against UCLA."

When asked if he would visit UNC, he seemed non-committal. "It's a good school, I haven't seen it yet, but I'll probably take a bunch of visits. Right now I'm just watching different schools on TV, looking to see where I can fit in," but as he said, he hasn't thought a lot about his recruitment as of late. The Tar Heels season thus far hasn't seemed to have a negative affect of his opinion of the program, as he said, "Every team goes through ups and downs, but I'm just looking for a good program. I know North Carolina will always be a good team."

Ebi seemed to be fairly open at this point -- he did mention UNC, Duke, and Arizona -- but he didn't seem to have a timetable for a decision. "When I'm ready, right now I'm just trying to get better, and be the best player I can be. When I'm ready as a player, then I'll make the decision," he said. When asked about UNC, he said, "They have a great tradition, and I feel I can come in and help them out. Then again, I also feel they can help me out."

Ebi also didn't seem to be doing a lot of thinking about his recruitment at this point, his mind was more on his team's loss. He was very disappointed in his own performance, saying "Believe me, I didn't play my game, I know I can play better. Today I just stopped myself."


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