PJ: Session 1 UNC Target Notes

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. --- It was an explosive start to the Peach Jam Tuesday morning at the Riverview Park Activities Center. Tywon Lawson put up 40 points in an upset win, Brandan Wright and Duke Crews faced off, and Spencer Hawes concluded the session with a strong outing.

* Spotted Courtside. UNC head coach Roy Williams and assistant coach Joe Holladay watched a combined six games during the three-game session. Williams watched the S.C. Ravens (Michael Holmes, LaRon Dendy, Lashay Page,) and Murfreesboro/BWSL (Brandan Wright, Duke Crews). Holladay watched Athlete's First (Obi Muonelo), DC (Tywon Lawson) and New Jersey (Lance Thomas). In the third session, the two both were courtside for a half of Friends of Hoop (Spencer Hawes).

* Lawson Drops 40. His team needed to be carried, so Tywon Lawson carried them. The future Tar Heel point guard put the Kevin Durant-less DC Blue Devils on his shoulders and exploded for a jaw-dropping 40-point outing and an 89-83 upset of the Metro Hawks. "I came for my teammates," said Lawson, who had been considering not coming to the Peach Jam, "because they want to win - and I want to win. I had to score more, and I had to motivate my teammates to rebound, offense and defense, because Kevin rebounds a lot for us."

At one point, the Hawks went into a box-and-one, assigning one defender to follow Lawson. It frustrated him for a matter of seconds, before he figured it out and put three quick fouls on the defender – subsequently putting a swift end to the defensive strategy. "I was just trying to do what I had to do for our team to win," he said. "Today I had to score, get everybody involved, and control the game, so that's what I did." He was 13-of-17 from the field, including 5-of-6 on three-pointers and 9-for-9 at the free throw line and added six assists. He never came out of the game. And when his team wasn't playing, he was watching – and recruiting – other 2006 standouts. "I'm trying to recruit a couple of players like Spencer Hawes and Brandan Wright," Lawson said.

Later in the morning, he confirmed that he's going to be switching high schools. "I'm looking around, I'm not sure where I'm going, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going back to Oak Hill."

* The Rematch. In April, at the Boo Williams Invitational, Duke Crews got the better of Brandan Wright. This morning was the rematch, as BWSL and the Murfreessboro Stars faced off again three months later. Once again BWSL rolled to an easy win (as they have far superior talent) and once again Crews' physical play kept Wright out of the paint.

In fact, Wright ventured into the paint on no more than a dozen times. While Wright has terrific post moves and great touch around the basket, and is beginning to expand his shooting range, it's difficult to call him a post player in games where he so rarely plays in the post. Wright's final stats were 13 points (5-11 FG, 0-1 3pt, 3-3 FT), 2 rebounds, a block and an assist. Crews, on the other hand, spent the entire game in the post and had zero shot attempts outside of five feet – sticking to his bread and butter. He totaled 14 points (7-9 FG), 7 boards, 1 block, 2 assists and 2 steals. (Note: Both Wright and Crews would have put up bigger numbers had they not come out of the game mid-way through the second half, with BWSL up by 30.)

Wright did at least fare better than three months prior, in that he did do a better job on a couple possessions getting position on the blocks and holding it. When posting up or facing up, he used his length to score over Crews (shooting 4-of-7 while going head-to-head with Crews). The problem was he didn't do it often enough. With added muscle and aggressive play, he'll reach his sky-high potential, as the mass of high-major coaches in attention knew full well. Roy Williams, two Duke assistants, Skip Prosser, Bill Self and Paul Hewitt were among the throng.

Wright said postgame that his recruitment is status quo. "It's still the same," he said. "I have a top three of Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky. It's been that way for awhile. I also have secondary schools of Wake Forest, Louisville, Ga. Tech., and Kansas -- and Vandy. … I plan to make a couple [visits] in the fall. It might delay my decision, but I'm going to try to make as many as I can in the fall to get it out of the way. I might do a couple in the spring, during the season."

* Take That! Facing 7-foot-2 Miami Tropics center Jason Bennett, Spencer Hawes was presented with a tall challenge. 25 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks later it was mission accomplished. "That's a great way to start off," a satisfied Hawes said postgame. "You like to start with a tough one to get the experience and get in that mind-set of how good the competition is here. You know how hard it is game-in, game-out. There are no gimme's anymore; this is the real deal."

Hawes impressed on all fronts. He scored around the basket, on 15-footers and even one three-pointer, showing arguably the best touch of any post player in the class. He authoritatively guarded the basket, with several strong blocks including standing up Bennett's dunk attempt (though he was whistled for a questionable foul). He aggressively rebounded on both ends of the floor, not afraid to fight with fellow big men. And, he got out on the break, showing his deceptive athleticism, which led to some fast break points.

In the stands were head coaches Roy Williams, Ben Howland, Lute Olson, Lorenzo Romar, Bill Self, Jim Calhoun. Hawes said postgame that his list remains at eight schools -- "Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Arizona, Kansas, UConn, Duke, Carolina. … It's at eight; I'd like to narrow it down when I get home to four or five. After this period, I'll have a couple days off, and I'd like to be able to do it then. I'm going to sit down with my family, with some of my coaches, just talk about things. I think maybe I'll write some stuff down, compare some stuff and go about trying to cut [the list] down as we see fit."

* Fast Start. Obi Muonelo of Athlete's First had an explosive first half, lighting up Peach Jam Select for 21 points before the half. That included 4-of-5 on three-pointers and a series of tough scoring drives. After the break, the Select team realized stopping Muonelo was the key and they doubled on him, subsequently eliminating a double-digit lead and if it wasn't for Oklahoma-bound forward Keith Clark's 10-straight points, Athlete's First would have lost. "They keyed on me with a double team," said Muonelo, who finished with 24 points and 4 assists. "I was trying to get my teammates involved in the second half." He's not a super-athlete, but at a strong 6-foot-4 can take it hard to the basket, is a deadly long-range shooter and can handle the ball well enough to be an off guard. His team's lack of a good true point guard meant Muonelo had to run the point for stretches, which clearly wasn't ideal, but he fared admirably. "I'm used to playing point -- I play a lot of point at my high school," he said. "Colleges want me to play combo."

His current list of favorites stands at UConn, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Illinois and Florida. A feature story last week in a local paper incorrectly detailed a phone conversation between Muonelo and Roy Williams. "It was Coach [Jimmy] Williams from OSU, not Roy Williams," Muonelo explained. "They got the story wrong."

* Brief Appearance. Kenny Belton came off the bench with just over four minutes remaining in BWSL's blowout win and posted four points and a rebound. His team is stacked with frontcourt talent, so Belton rarely sees the floor, but regardless, his game doesn't appear to be at the point where he can compete at the top level here. Afterwards, he confirmed that he is looking to switch high schools from Salem (Va.) High in order to face better competition, but couldn't comment on many specifics – though according to sources close to the situation Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley is a possible destination.


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