Led by Renardo Sidney, the L.A. Dream Team tore through the competition to get to the final, while Pump N Run Elite took a different path to the championship game.
Saturday afternoon, Southeast Elite beat a loaded Pump N Run Elite squad in pool play. The loss must have been motivation, as the Pump's team turned it up a notch. Jrue Holiday's 19 points and Jerime Anderson's 19 points and 5 assists proved to be too much for the talented LA Dream Team to over come. The guard duo sliced and diced their way to victory by getting to the rack and draining off-the-dribble threes.
The unsung hero of Pump N Run is clearly 2009 product Reeves Nelson. This freak athlete showed up on the big stage and coaches left the gym searching for info on him. The Wear twins weren't slouches either, as Travis put together a great semi-final game and David stepped it up in the championship.
Renardo Sidney's efforts should be commended. The best prospect in the 2009 class over-powered defenders and showed a skill set that's unfathomable for a guy his size. He finished with 18 points in the final.
Travis and David Wear, PF, Pump N Run Elite -- In the second half of Pump N Run's game against the Atlanta Celtics, Travis put his full game on display. The 6-foot-9 junior drained a three from the wing, hit the deck to scoop up a loose ball and then buried a 14-foot pull up to help his squad extend their lead. While Travis made a huge difference in the semi's it was David that hit a couple timely three-pointers in the championship to keep Pump N Run on top. Overall these are two great prospects, with bright futures.
Jrue Holiday, SG, Pump N Run Elite -- The tandem of Holiday and Jerime Anderson was the difference in the playoffs at the Real Deal on the Hill. Holiday, who is known for his ability to score, can handle the rock and is great in transition. One of the best plays of the tournament came in the championship when Holiday used an around the back dribble move to get by a pair of defenders. Holiday, who shared the tournament MVP with Renardo Sidney, finished with 19 points in the championship game.
Andre Cornelius, PG, Atlanta Celtics --We saw him get after it at the Carolina Challenge two weeks ago, so we were excited to see him again, against some national competition. Going up against Pump N Run and their highly rated guards, Cornelius never got rattled and displayed a slick handle and ability to get in the lane. Although he's just 5-foot-9, he doesn't have trouble getting off his deep balls or floaters. His reputation is certainly on the rise and we fully expect more high major schools to enter the Cornelius sweepstakes very soon.
Howard Thompkins, PF, Atlanta Celtics --Thompkins low post arsenal was on full display in the Atlanta Celtics/Pump N Run semi-final match up. He's much stronger in the post and is able to hold his position longer. His hands are solid and the 6-foot-10 junior is one of the more skilled big men in the class of 2008. He scored off of a variety moves on the block and he's becoming a reliable finisher.
Chris Singleton, PF, Atlanta Celtics --In what turned out to be one of the most competitive and high level AAU games we've seen in a while, Singleton nearly helped the Celtics pull off the inevitable. With 17 seconds left, and down 16 points, Singleton stroked a three from the top of the key. On the ensuing inbound play, he batted the entry pass right back down at Travis Wear giving the Celtics the ball back. Singleton quickly got open on the wing, pump faked and jumped into a defender to earn three free throws, which made it a one point game with 11 seconds left. However, the Celtics failed to score another bucket. While he did hit the three, majority of Singleton's buckets came in the paint, including a pair of jump hooks.
Renardo Sidney, PF, LA Dream Team -- His ability to overpower defenders in the paint and take them outside and bury jumpers is rare. His revamped body only adds to his repertoire, as he's much more mobile than last summer. Sidney tried his best in the championship, but he needed more help than he got. He finished with 18 points in the finale.
Derrick Favors, C, Atlanta Celtics --This long, versatile sophomore is going to be among the best bigs in his class when it's all said and done. He already affects the game defensively by blocking shots, and his offense is coming along. He moves fluidly, maneuvers well and is a great finisher.
Reeves Nelson, PF, Pump N Run Elite --The Modesto (Calif) Christian standout came to play when the lights were on Sunday afternoon. The 6-foot-6, athletic powerhouse mixed strength and athleticism to bully his way to the basket. On one fast break, Renardo Sidney set up under the basket to take a charge, but when Nelson took flight Sidney bailed so he didn't get put on a poster. Nelson has certainly caught the eye of high-majors, even though west coast powers, like UCLA, have been aware of him for a while.
Noah Cottrill, PG, Cleveland Basketball Club -- In the 15 and under playoffs, Cottrill took over their game against the Wisconsin Playground Warriors. He rained in threes to the tune of 28 points and six triples. He can stroke it off the catch or bounce and handles the rock well. He's already getting serious interest.
Kameron Cerroni, SG, Wisconsin Playground Warriots -- The Playground Warriors match up with CBC turned into a two man three-point contest. While Cerroni hit more threes than Cottrill did, Cottrell and CBC were able to come out with the win. Cerroni drained seven threes and scored 27 points.
Evan Anderson, C, Wisconsin Playground Warriors – This 7-footer is someone high-majors should definitely keep an eye on. He runs relatively well, showed solid skill and already has a few go-to moves in the paint.
Head Coaches In The Gym –The west coast coaches stuck around all day today to keep eyes on Pump N Run Elite. Lute Olson, Ben Howland and Lorenzo Romar were at all of the Pump N Run games on Sunday. There were a few other head coaches in the building including Mick Cronin, Tubby Smith and Bruce Pearl.