USA: Friday Evening Report

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- We're halfway home at the USA Youth Festival. Here are notes and stats from the evening games ...

All four teams are 1-1 after the second session of games. The well-coached East squad played a far more controlled, efficient game in taking down the North, 107-97, while the South put up a 51-point fourth quarter to drop the West, 136-128.

JamesOn Curry continues to impress here. After a strong morning effort, his play was strong enough to warrant the most playing time on his team (37 minutes). He put together another well-rounded game, with 15 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals. The shooting came in spurts, as he finished the game at 7-for-18, but the pullup jumpers were falling and he did a solid job finding open teammates.

David Padgett continued to show off an effective low post game this evening, putting up 21 points (9-13 FG) to go with five boards and three blocks. "He's really effective with the ball," commented analyst Eric Bossi. "He gets himself into great position to just turn and score. He's not one of those guys who is going to get it and try to manufacture points. Rather, he uses his position and athleticism to score. He's much better working inside-out. He can step out to mid-range, but he knows that's not his bread and butter. He just plays a real smart game."

Following his 12-point, 12-rebound performance tonight, Brian Johnson said he's getting more comfortable with his teammates. Apparently so. "Man, I could have scored over 20," he said, noting some missed opportunities. For that matter, he could have scored over 30, but that's not Johnson's game. He lets the game come to him, which it did tonight. "He was the main reason they got out to an early lead," analyst Dave Telep said. "He started the game, touched the ball early, was active and scored. He did everything he didn't do in the first game, mostly because he didn't have the opportunity this morning."

Brian Butch fared a bit better than this morning, seeing some more minutes and perhaps getting used to the altitude, but his stat line was quite similar: eight points (2-6 FG) and six rebounds. When you factor in the effect the thin air has on asthma with the style of play in these games, it doesn't look to have the makings of a big weekend for the Wisconsin big man.

The evening's top performances worthy of mention …

Jackie Butler – 28 points (13-19 FG), 17 rebounds. After a lackluster morning performance, the 2003 NBA draft entry delivered, including snagging 10 offensive rebounds. Now, if he'd bring his full effort for four quarters he'd end up with 60 points and 35 boards …

Vakeaton Wafer – 24 points (9-16 FG), 6 rebounds and 4 blocks. The small-town super athlete did it all, as he's quickly adapted to playing with and against top talent.

Rodrick Stewart – 25 points (11-19 FG), 10 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals. Another great outing for Seattle athlete. His brother, Lodrick, dropped 18, 4 dimes and 4 steals.

Ivan Harris – 22 points (10-22 FG), 14 rebounds. The Ohio forward doesn't have much range on his jumper, but he's a force in the paint.

The final session of pool play is at 9 a.m. tomorrow, followed by the semifinals at 5:00 p.m.

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