Spiece Tournament: Day Two Notes

We have more observations from a long (very long) day at the Spiece Run 'N Slam tournament at Fort Wayne, Ind. Click here for a ton of notes on how some of the key names -- including Dayton Dunbar's Aaron Pogue -- looked on day two of this special AAU event.

As anyone could imagine, day two was a long (but informative) day in Fort Wayne. Our day at Spiece Fieldhouse on Saturday was 7:40 in the morning to nearly midnight. It was time well spent.

Here are the notes we've compiled for day two, as well as some random musings and such from around the gym.

* In the early stanza, bright and early that is, a couple of players didn't play quite as well as their Friday night performances. If an inquisitive reporter can't even focus at 8 in the morning, I can see how a player might not be at maximum effort and performance.

* One of those players was Dominic James. In all honesty, James still played well enough to be considered ‘very impressive'. James' shot just simply wasn't falling Saturday morning, but he continued to prove he is big time. James is so fluid and so quick, once he's in the lane, it's over with for his defenders. His vision is nearly unparalleled amongst fellow guards. Even in an absence of a jump shot, he would be a legitimate big time PG at the next level. It's icing on the cake he has a shot too.

* Daequan Cook and Aaron Pogue both turned in lethargic performances in the morning. One could reasonably attribute the sluggish start with ironing out the early-morning kinks. While Cook was struggling once again making shots, Pogue and Cook both seemed uninspired. Fortunately, by the time the single elimination tournament had began later in the evening, Cook and Pogue both stepped up big time. Against DTA Wisconsin, Cook started draining his jumpers. It took until the fourth game, but Cook finally put together a complete game in this tournament. Even a modest game from Cook is better than most players, but it's nice to see him step up and play like the big time player he can be.

* After Jabari Currie and Wilson Chandler both emerged Friday night with some big performances, we wondered how they would look Saturday. In the second game of pool play against the Arkansas Hawks, neither was great, but both were solid. Chandler was hampered with two very early fouls, and picked up a third in the second quarter, so spent a good portion of time on the bench. Currie struggled in the first half with some careless turnovers, but played a very solid second half, as he continued to show a very impressive passing ability. Chandler stepped up in the second half himself, finishing with 10 points and 7 rebounds.

* We saw the Hurricanes once again later in the day against an overmatched NW Ohio squad. The Hurricanes got off to a torrid start as they scored the first 14 points of the ball game, on their way to a 35-12 first quarter lead. After Currie, Chandler and Eric Devendorf did anything they want offensively in the first quarter, all three were benched for the second quarter to spare an embarrassing lead from getting worse. Currie finished with just six points, but he grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists. It was a good showcase of his individual skills, albeit in an up-tempo pace. Chandler put together another strong game, as he went 7-of-7 from the field for a total of 15 points. Chandler grabbed 10 rebounds as well, giving himself a double-double. Despite only playing two quarters and actually missing some easier lay-ups, Devendorf still put up 14 points.

* Saturday afternoon, we finally got our first glimpse of some under-16 action where James Dews and Josh Chichester were playing for All-Ohio Red. Chichester struggled at times with a big man he was up against for Arkansas. However, Dews simply took the game over several times. In a stretch in the second half where All-Ohio had been trailing, Dews went on to score 9 of 11 All-Ohio points. He has a very sweet jump shot, but he isn't a one dimensional player as he can put the ball on the floor and drive as well. Dews played late at night for the 17-under team in their tournament game against the Michigan Mustangs, and while Dews' shot was missing its target more often times than not, he held his own. The great thing about Dews is that you don't have to get too concerned by his missing shots. It won't happen often.

* We got yet another chance to see Kent Tribbett, the 6-9 center from Chester, Pennsylvania, as his team (Team Philly MJC) played against Team Cbiz of Ohio. Tribbett for the third time failed to establish himself as a presence. He played what we considered to be his best game, but even in doing so he was not calling for the ball down low, and when he finally did get it (which wasn't often), he was very passive. His size, athleticism, and solid lateral footwork inside make him a prospect with still a lot of upside, but this weekend he has yet to show much polish.

* After a few very subpar games early for Illinois Fire guard Jeremy Pargo, he apparently played much improved later on Saturday. We were not able see it personally, but we were told by several people that he finally played a much larger role offensively. He has a nice shot to him, and has a good mean streak and good instincts, but previously we had wondered when it would kick in. It doesn't help that he plays with some very ball-affectionate players and their team cohesiveness is the worst amongst the better teams in town for the weekend.

* One of those teams is the Cincy AAU Black team. It was unfortunate because after Derrick Brown's surprising presence Friday night, we didn't get another chance to watch him play. He was eliminated in the first round at one of the adjacent high schools in the area where games were played before we could check him out a second time. Brown was not expected to play because of his leg injury sustained this past week, but caught our eye Friday night when he played a terrific game against Spiece Select. Brown, especially if he ends up 6-8, will play power forward at the next level.

* The other team eliminated Saturday night, was Blessed IJN. Millard and Semrau both got in a few solid offensive performances before bowing out. Semrau finished the tournament averaging around 15 points a game. With the summer coming up quickly, his stock is soaring up the charts.

* Our night concluded with watching the All-Ohio Red against the Michigan Mustangs. All-Ohio was back to nearly full-strength as they had Dews and Chichester playing up with them, as well as having Jon Diebler back. B.J. Raymond was still missing, and Travis Walton had gone home and not returned, but All-Ohio still rolled.

* The Red team got a boost from two players who on Friday night, didn't play as well against the Hurricanes. I remarked Friday that Chris Knight needed to shoot better from the outside for him to be a serious wing prospect. He must have been listening, because against the Mustangs Saturday night, he knocked down four three-pointers. Cornley, whose size is a very real concern, bounced back this next time we saw him with a very big game. He didn't score a lot of points, but he scored them without hassle of shot alterations, and he was extremely aggressive and very smooth. Cornley continues to work on his ball-handling and outside shot, and it's beginning to show. He probably won't grow enough for the big time schools to be satisfied, but if he can become even a remote outside threat, he might make find some good offers.

* You just knew it would happen. You can't put so many scouts and recruiting service personnel in the same building for a weekend and not have a good deal of Malik Hairston discussion. It's probably confirmation of how strange his recruitment is, when the wind directions of the chatter changed a few times in just two days. Latest word is that Oregon is strong as is Michigan. I still believe Ohio State is very much in the picture. With a decision imminent, it appears likely to be one of those three schools, but don't be surprised by anything at this point.

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