Crittenton Shines Again at adidas Camp
Total 2005 Summer Hoop Camp coverage
DULUTH, Ga. — Think just because both North Carolina and Georgia Tech lost a gang of players last year's teams, the ACC is about to fall off?
Just ask legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who had a front row seat Friday night as Georgia Tech recruit Javaris Crittenton toyed with opponents during the adidas Superstar Camp upperclassman All-Star game, earning game MVP honors while leading his team to an easy 139-111 win.
The Southwest Atlanta Christian (Atlanta, Ga.) guard scored a game-high 31 points and connected with San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno, Calif.) big man Brook Lopez for a tight alley oop.
"It feels great," Crittenton said. "I've been watching others get MVP — Sebastian Telfair, Darius Washington. It feels good to finally get my own."
Of course, Coach K had no reason to leave the gym in a fit. One of his prized Class of 2006 recruits put on quite a show himself.
Episcopal Academy (Merion, Pa.) guard Gerald Henderson chipped in with 17 points for the winning team, capping a wonderful week in which he was named upperclassman co-MVP. Fellow AAC recruit (North Carolina) and Episcopal Academy star Wayne Ellington was the other senior camp MVP.
"The ACC is going to be loaded," Crittenton says. "It doesn't stop, it just keeps coming."
Other Class of 2006 standouts Friday night included Ridgeway (Memphis, Tenn.) power forward Pierre Niles, who had 16 points in a losing effort; Lopez, who had 16 for the winning squad, and Huffman (Birmingham, Ala.) forward Stanley Robinson, who flushed home two oops and dropped eight points in his team's victory.
In addition to winning the award just miles from his hometown, Friday night was especially meaningful to Crittenton because the game was played in memory of his legendary AAU coach, Wallace Prather Jr., who died June 18.
Formerly known as the adidas Superstar Camp All-Star Games, the newly coined Wallace Prather Memorial All-Star Classic featured both underclassmen and senior All-Star games.
Prather was a coach for the Atlanta Celtics, one of the nation's premier AAU programs. Celtics alums include NBA standouts Dwight Howard and Josh Smith.
Crittenton was his latest prodigy.
"That was my man, he's been around me since I was 9," Crittenton said. "Tonight I was playing for coach (Prather), who was sort of like a father figure to me. He's always believed in me."
Proceeds from the event are slated be donated to the Wallace Prather Jr. Memorial Fund.
Underclass all-star game
Before Friday night's underclassman game, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) guard Nolan Smith said he wanted to take home game MVP honors.
Mission accomplished. And it wasn't even close.
Smith coasted to a game-high 33 points, dropping 19 in the first half alone and hitting four 3-pointers as his team coasted to an easy 126-77 win.
"I came out with the intention of getting MVP honors," he said. "I wanted to make a statement."
As if MVP honors weren't statement enough, Smith also played integral roles in the game's two most electrifying plays.
He connected with Georgia-area standout Senario Hillman on a bounce-pass alley oop in the second half and broke the ankles of Rufus King (Milwaukee, Wis.) guard Korie Lucious before knocking down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to close out the first half.
"I wanted that last shot," Smith said. "I knew I would hit it."
The only dent in Nolan's night came when his Oak Hill teammate, Michael Beasley, swatted one of his shots into the stands.
Beasley wasn't bad himself, recording a team-high 16 points in the losing effort.
Christ the King (Brooklyn, N.Y.) pint-sized guard Erving Walker was the only player to give Smith a run for his money as All-Star MVP.
Generously listed at 5-foot-6, Walker finished with 20 points for the winning team. He nailed six 3-pointers.
Hillman added 17 for the winning team.
Beasley and North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) guard Eric Gordon were named underclass camp MVPs.
Young and restless
Arguably the most hyped — not to mention best — player at the adidas Superstar Camp wasn't exactly his self this week despite ranking among the camp leaders in both points and rebounds.
Mitchell (Memphis, Tenn.) small forward Thaddeus Young suffered a severe right ankle sprain three weeks ago and hadn't played since before the camp opened on Monday.
"It's been holding me back a little bit," he said. "I should come along and be fine by the tournament next week. I've been a little timid."
Timid or not, Young was impressive enough all week to earn a starting spot in the senior All-Star game, in which he scored 10.