Oh, Brothers! EBO Just Too Much For Foes

Spencer Hawes turned in a 35-point, 12-rebound and five-blocked shots performance. But in the end EBO had too much . . . especially too many players with the last name of Lopez . . . for all of its Las Vegas competition, including Hawes & Co. And Brook and Robin Lopez don't want to leave the fun behind them in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – There were nearly 21 feet worth of 2006 McDonald's All-America players on the Cox Pavilion floor Tuesday night.

 

Some 2/3 of that total belonged to the Elite Basketball Organization and that was the obvious reason why the Fresno, Calif.-based team picked up its second championship in the building that day.

 

EBO, less than seven hours after beating the Philly MJC 17's, 83-62, for its second consecutive adidas Super 64 Tournament crown, beat Seattle-based Friends of Hoops, 81-70, in the first-ever Las Vegas Prep Basketball Showcase.

 

The game, conceived of a few months ago by Darren Kalish of adidas, Ron Montoya of Las Vegas Special Events and Hal Pastner of the Houston-based Vision Sports organization, pitted the Super 64 winner (EBO, for the second year in a row against the champion of the Main Event Tournament (FOH, ditto).

 

The Fox Sports Network broadcast the game on a national basis, and admission was free. Not a bad bargain at that.

 

And Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez were much more than any opposing traveling team could have bargained for during EBO's five days of Las Vegas competition – the squad from Seattle included.

 

The Stanford-bound brothers combined for 32 points and, unofficially, 23 rebounds and 16 blocks against the team from Philly.

 

Robin had 11 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks against Friends of Hoop on an evening when his brother, who picked up quick foul problems while trying to defend FOH's 6-11 Spencer Hawes, basically, straight up, added 13 points and four rebounds.

 

Coach Darren Matsubara has much more at his disposal than the twins, of course, or else his team wouldn't have rolled to two such decisive victories over high-caliber opponents Tuesday.

 

Guard Trevon Willis dropped 29 points on the MJC 17's and then 25 more in the nightcap.

 

And guard Derrick Jasper and forward Quincy Pondexter will join the aforementioned trio in signing Division I scholarships in November.

 

``Those were the hardest 35 points I've ever scored,'' Hawes said, forcing a smile after his 35 points, along with 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, couldn't stem the tide of a dominating team performance that was as good as anything turned in on the traveling team circuit this month.

 

Counting its championships in the adidas Shootout in Suwanee, Ga., and Las Vegas, as well as the victory Tuesday night, EBO's July record stands at 16-0.

 

Matsubara and his players made it clear afterward that they want the mark to climb to 22-0 during an extended weekend in Los Angeles that gets underway with a 9 o'clock first-round at Loyola Marymount Wednesday night in the adidas-sponsored Best of Summer Tournament.

 

"We call it the ‘triple crown, plus one", he said, alluding to the pre-July goal of tourney titles in Georgia, Nevada and California, coupled with that very win they bagged Tuesday night.

 

Teams from Washington, D.C. (D.C. Assault) and New Jersey (The Playaz Gold) are among the potential potholes on the road to the last leg of the Matsubara challenge to his team, the bulk of which – in fact, the entire standing unit – was part of the club that picked up Super 64 championship hardware 12 months ago.

 

It's the last go-around for that starting five, and all of those moments in July aren't going to be lost on the Brothers Lopez.

 

"We're going to Los Angeles tomorrow (Wednesday) on a mission,'' Robin said.

 

"But we're like a family. And we're having so much fun, playing and being together."

 

And who's good enough to put a halt to all of this July fun and (winning) games for the guys from Fresno?

 

If the past few weeks were litmus tests, probably no one at all.

 

Frank Burlison, elected to the USBWA Hall of Fame in April, is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert and also covers basketball for the Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison's pieces at www.frankhoops.com


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