Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Southern Jam Fest Recap

Over the weekend, I went to Charlottesville, Virginia for The Hoop Group's Southern Jam Fest, and was able to watch some of the east coast's best teams in action. The tournament had U-15, U-16, and U-17 age groups. Here is the list of winners and runner-ups:

U-17 Gold Champ: CP3 All-Stars (NC)
U-17 Gold Runner-up: National Christian Academy (MD)
U-17 Silver: Squash All Beefs (DC)
U-17 Silver Runner-up: PA Pride
U-16 Gold Champ: Team Final (PA)
U-16 Gold Runner-up: Boo Williams (VA)
U-16 Silver Champ: BWSL Team Virginia
U-16 Silver Runner-up: NC Raptors Select Blue
U-15 Gold Champ: Boo Williams (VA)
U-15 Gold Runner-up: Team Phenom (PA)
U-15 Silver Champ: Team New Jersey ABC
U-15 Silver Runner-up: Delaware Sharks

I'll and fill you in on the 12 squads that made finals appearances team by team, and I will also give you some other information from the event. I'll begin with the U-17 winners, the CP3 All-Stars, a bunch that features 6'5 Reggie Bullock '10, a North Carolina commit. The standout sophomore lead his squad in scoring against Playaz Gold (NJ) in the quarterfinals, yet managed a measly four points in the title game and grabbed only six rebounds. Meanwhile, 6'5 senior Wendell "CJ" Williams, a North Carolina St.-signee--who for some reason was allowed to play in the event, despite not being recruitable for the 2009 season--had a solid game in the championship, scoring 10 points, to go along with two boards, a steal, an assist, and a block. As for the boys from National Christian Academy, who were defeated byCP3 by a score of 70-50, their big name is Dante Taylor, a 6'9 forward. He had a rough outing in the title game, finishing with six points and five boards. Wilbur O'Neal, a 6'7For those of you that do not know, the Gold division is for teams the finished first in their pools, while the Silver division is for those that came in second place in their pools. It bears mentioning that of the six championship games, Boo Williams had a team in three of them, both U-16 games and the U-15 Gold game. The program from Virginia may well be the best in America, when senior, had a tremendous showing against CP3, shooting 5/7 from the field and 4/5 at the line to total 14 points. In addition, the uncommitted senior had 14 rebounds, two assists, and three steals, though he did pick up five fouls. In the U-17 Silver championship, 6'8 junior Thomas Robinson dropped 19 points on 9/10 shooting from the field, while hitting his only free throw and also had 11 boards for Squash All Beefs. Phillip Wood, a 6'3 junior who plays at basketball powerhouse Montrose Christian (MD), had 10 points and eight rebounds in the title game, as well as two assists and three steal for the DC-based AAU program. As for the PA Pride, who lost 71-58, 6'0 junior Nick Novak had 18 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Junior Paul Weatherly, who checks in at 6'4, had 14 points, four boards, and two blocks for his team.
Moving right along to the U-16 level, the championship game was one for the ages. Team Final (PA) and Boo Williams (VA) are two of the most highly regarded AAU programs in America, and for good reason. Both are loaded with talent, and the U-16 title game was a fantastic battle. In the semis, Boo defeated the Westchester Hawks (NY) by two points, while Team Final beat Team New Jersey ABC by 13. In the finals, Boo Williams was in control throughout the first half, but in the second 16 minutes, Team Final battled back. The Pennsylvanian group climbed on the back up its superstar, freshman phenom Michael Gilchrist, a 6'7 forward from St. Patrick's (NJ), who would finish the game with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals. Gilchrist shot 11/18 from the field, though did not connect on any of his three attempts from beyond the arc. In addition, the class of 2011 stud was 7/13 at the stripe. Gilchrist, despite scoring nine more points, did not shoot as well against Boo Williams, as he did against NJABC in the semis, when he was 7/11 from the floor, 2/2 on three pointers, and 4/6 at the line. American Christian Academy (PA) 6'6 sophomore forward George Harper also had a stellar performance in the finals, scoring 13 points on 5/8 shooting from the field and 3/4 at the line, grabbing 10 boarding, and blocking a shot. The most apparent thing about Harper was his attitude problem, though. The talent is clearly there for the linebacker-esque big man, as he can jump, shoot, score, board, etc., but he is just not at the same level with his attitude. Harper talks a lot of trash, even to people watching the game. In fact, George was jawing with some Boo Williams fans while on the blocks during a free throw. In addition, Harper was called for a technical foul during the game for hanging on the rim after a dunk. The ACA baller has the game to play high major ball, but until he puts it all together mentally and attitude-wise, he may not be much of a success. Trevor Cooney, a 6'4 freshman guard also had a stellar game for Team Final, notching 16 points on 5/9 shooting from the floor, including 1/3 on threes, and went 5/7 at the charity stripe. Cooney, a terrific shooter, also had two boards, an assist, and a steal. DJ Irving, a 5'10 sophomore guard, added 10 points, shooting 3/6 on threes, and not attempting a deuce. Irving also knocked in his only free throw. For Boo Williams, 6'5 sophomore Travis McKie was one of the standouts, dropping 17 points on 7/15 shooting, and also had six rebounds. Dadrian Collins, a 6'5 junior, had 17 points on 7/13 shooting, including 2/3 beyond the arc, though he hit just one of four at the line. Collins also added a half dozen rebounds. Sophomore Brandon Britt, who stands 5'9, had 13 points on 5/9 shooting, with seven of his shots--three of which he made--being from three point land. Britt also had a board, an assist, and a steal. Team Final pulled away in the end, knocking down key free throws, including icers by Cooney, and won the game 76-72. The fans packed the sidelines to watch the game, and it was well worth it, as the contest was phenomenal. In the U-16 Silver title game, BWSL Team Virginia defeated the NC Raptors Select Blue squad 61-46. BWSL, a Boo Williams team, was led by 6'7 sophomore Davante Gardner's 16 points. He shot 8/8 at the line and 4/9 from the floor. Derek Wright, a 6'1 sophomore, scored 12 points, had three assists, and grabbed seven rebounds. Sophomore Jay Copeland, who is 6'6, added 11 points on 5/7 shooting from the floor and 1/2 shooting at the line. He also had four boards and two steals.
Going to the U-15 level now, Boo Williams (VA) knocked off Team Phenom (PA) in the Gold championship. Leading the way for Boo were 6'9 freshman James McAdoo and 6'5 eighth grader Justin Anderson, who had 11 points, and displayed amazing athleticism and hops. For Team Phenom, two freshmen led the way: Aaron Brown had 17 points, Devin Coleman had 17, including three threes. In the U-15 Silver contest, NJABC 6'0 freshman Anthony Gaffney had 24 points on 10/15 shooting from the floor and 4/6 shooting at the stripe. Bruce Brittingham, a 6'0 freshman, added 14 points on 7/10 shooting, and also pulled down five boards and dished out two assists. Freshman Khalid Lewis El, who is 6'2, had 12 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Chandler Fraser-Pauls, a 5'11 freshman, had 12 points and six assists. For the Delaware Sharks, who fought back from a late 15-point deficit and forced overtime only to lose 83-80, Devon Dorsey had 17 points on 5/10 shooting from the field, 1/2 on threes, and a nice 6/7 on free throws. Dorsey also grabbed 11 boards and had two blocks. Freshman Andrew Merlo, who is 5'10, had 16 points on 6/10 shooting, 3/6 beyond the arc, and 1/3 on free throws. He also had six rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Harold Hayes, a freshman who checks in at 5'7, fouled out with 11 points on on 5/8 shooting from the floor, hitting his lone free throw. He also had an assist and a steal. The Sharks as a team were an impressive 80% from the free line in the game, going 12/15.
An interesting tidbit is that Chris Braswell, a Georgetown commit, played on the Triple Threat (DC) U-17 squad, and appears to be headed to the post-grad route, rather than to John Thompson III's team. Playaz Gold (NJ) was yet again bounced early in a tournament, losing in the the quarterfinals of the Gold bracket to the eventual champion CP3 All-Stars. Team Jersey Elite (NJ) had a less than stellar showing by their standards, not winning their pool, and then being defeated by the PA Pride in the opening round of the Silver bracket. The Petersburg 14U (VA) team made a nice run to the Gold semifinals, before being ousted by Boo Williams. All in all it was a quality tournament that was well run by The Hoop Group.

No comments: