While Lawson and company continued to plug away, FOH's offense bogged down, due in part to Lawson's on-the-ball defense and Hawes' lack of touches. Hawes spent a stretch on the bench and then never quite got back into the flow once he returned.
"We just hit the open shots," Lawson said. "We got everybody involved, got open shots - nobody was forcing things… That's the thing my dad told me that I need to work on - game control and taking over when I need to."
Even in defeat, Hawes did his part and then some scoring 32 points (14-21 FG) on a large variety of post moves and some offensive put-backs. There were power dribble dunk moves, impressive hooks with both hands and mid-range jumpers, once again showing why many scouts consider him to be one of the most skilled big men in the country.
For Lawson, a player who has already made a verbal commitment to play in college, he doesn't need to promote himself to that end. But he continues to measure himself against the top players in the country, and he continues to sell others on joining him in Chapel Hill in the summer of 2006. And his improvement is part of that process.
"Like Coach [Roy Williams] said, everybody wants to play with a great point guard," he said. "He's trying to get me to show lots of people that I'm a good point guard to come with me so they know they'll get the ball and we'll win games."
One of his targets continues to be Hawes. During game action, each battled against the other's team with all he had, but afterwards they shared an embrace of mutual respect and exchanged a few words.
"I told him 'Good game,' because he had about 33 and [a lot] of rebounds," Lawson said. "He's good. I'm trying to get him to come to Carolina with me."
Should they both matriculate at UNC, on most occasions Lawson would be the one handing out assists to Hawes in the post, but on this day the Seattle center was the one getting the assist as he retrieved a bottle of Gatorade for the winning point guard and delivered a pat on the shoulder.
Breaking the Stereotype. ‘The only way Duke Crews can score is by dunking.' That's the stereotype. Crews proved that wrong on Wednesday morning. He connected on eight field goals, only one of which was a dunk. Other than a couple offensive stick backs, he scored mostly on the blocks with his drop-step, spinning baseline or to the middle and scoring in close off the glass.
Now, granted, he wasn't scoring from outside of five feet, but the ability to post up and score in close in a half court offense is an important skill for him to have and develop – and it's certainly worth noting. And, as always, he was a force on the boards and had a run of big blocks. His final stat line was 19 pts (8-12 FG, 3-8 FT), 10 rebounds and 6 blocks in another double-digit BWSL victory.
Defining a ‘Tweener.' There seems to be a negative connotation that comes with the word "tweener," whereas calling a player a "combo forward" tends to mean the player has both WF and PF skills and thus is more complimentary. Lance Thomas is a tweener, and that's not a knock. Rather, it just describes his lack of a clear position.
He's a lean 6-9, but does his scoring within 10 feet of the basket. He's not a good perimeter shooter, but is quick with the ball and uses it to his advantage against bigger players. His length and athleticism lead to impressive blocks and stick-backs, but he tends to get pushed around in the post and can go long stretches without rebounds. He put up 19 points (9-21 FG), 6 rebounds and 5 blocks against the SC Ravens, looking much better and more assertive in the second half than in the first.
Future Star. South Carolina Ravens rising junior combo forward LaRon Dendy was impressive again in limited minutes this morning. Because his team has such depth, he doesn't get a ton of minutes and that translates into less than impressive numbers, but his talent is clear. Dendy hit several mid-range jumpers, often after posting up at the elbow and pivoting to knock down soft turnarounds. He's also active around the bucket and gets some putbacks on offensive rebounds, and runs the court like a deer. Though his offense is intriguing at this point, he showed this morning that he's more adept at the other end right now. He had a handful of blocks, some of them nasty—particularly one big block on Lance Thomas—and he showed good on-the-ball defensive ability away from the basket, too. Postgame he listed South Carolina, UNC, Duke, St. John's, Miami and Clemson. However, when pressed for a leader, he said the Tar Heels were way out in front. "I really like their program and how they put guys in the league," he said.
Other Notables. Brandan Wright posted 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks against All-Ohio. DeShawn Sims had 19 points and 11 boards against Howard Pulley. Michael Holmes put 21 points and 9 rebounds on the NJ All-Stars.
Following the Staff. Assistant coach Joe Holladay was the sole Tar Heel staff member in attendance Wednesday morning. He sat courtside for the Lawson/Hawes matchup, followed by Duke Crews and BWSL and then finished up the session watching BABC vs. the NY Gauchos.