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LAS VEGAS AAU DAY 3 NOTEBOOK: UPSETS & CLOSE CALLS DEFINE SUNDAY’S ACTION
By Raphielle Johnson
On paper Sunday’s slate of games in both the adidas Super 64 and Las Vegas Fab 48 looked to be locks for the top teams. But many learned (once again) first-hand that games are played on the floor and not on some poster-sized sheet of paper in a gym lobby. The list of victims included the Oakland Soldiers, who dropped their first round playoff game to a Branch West Elite team that looked highly impressive in the first half against Play Hard Play Smart in the nightcap.
Also bounced from the Fab 48 were TP Elite and Team Loaded, both of whom fell victim to the Wisconsin Swing. Zak Showalter (2012) out of Germantown (WI), who scored 29 points in their 90-75 win over Team Loaded, can do a number of things on the floor from his guard position. He caught fire from deep but didn’t simply settle for those shots, also driving to the basket and setting up teammates for good looks as well. Ironically Showalter stated after the game that he’s working on becoming a better perimeter shooter, although he was referring to consistency as opposed to simply making the shot.
That matchup also featured a pair of excellent prospects in NC State commit Tyler Lewis (2012) and Andrew White (2012), who has many top programs after his services. When the ball was in Lewis’s hands things seemed to run smoother for Team Loaded, although the way in which Wisconsin Swing executed offensively it may have taken 100 points for Team Loaded to win the game.
Many times Lewis’ passes would find White, who showed off the ability to get to the basket while also being a dead-eye shooter from beyond the arc. White can definitely finish above the rim as well, and he’s continued to play with the effort that led to many singing his praises during and after NY2LA in Milwaukee to close the first July live evaluation period earlier in the month.
In speaking with White after the game, he mentioned creating off the dribble, moving without the basketball and quickness (foot and hand) as areas he’s working on improving this summer. As for who’s offered, many high-major schools have made their desires for White to join their program known (see below for more). Big East offers for White have come from Louisville, Providence, South Florida and West Virginia.
At adidas Super 64 both DC Assault Gold and the Atlanta Celtics had their hands full with opponents who refused to lie down. DC Assault needed an exquisite three-point play with seven seconds remaining from Nate Britt (2013) to hold off Lakeshow 17 Black by the final score of 58-55.
Britt displayed the outstanding vision that has more than a few high-level programs looking to garner his services, and he’s also a very good perimeter shooter. Britt mentioned his three-point shooting as an area he’s working on this summer, and a conversation on left-handed point guards included Tiny Archibald (mentioned by Britt) and Kenny Anderson (mentioned by the author).
Also playing well for DC Assault Gold were 2013 forwards Rodney Bullock and Joe Lundy. Bullock’s very good in the open floor while his wingspan provides quite the distraction for opposing teams when DC Assault looks to pressure. He’s working on improving his offensive repertoire this offseason, something that will serve him well in games played at more of a half-court pace.
But the Gold weren’t the only DC Assault team to win in the Championship bracket as DC Assault White 17U took care of Team Rose in the morning. The interior trio (all 2013) of Emmanuel Ndumanya, Daddy Udgede and Gabriel Williams proved to be too much for Team Rose from a strength standpoint, and as they dominated the boards the game went from close contest to easy finish.
All three need work on their offensive games but it should be interesting to watch them play at St. Francis in Baltimore this winter. Also standing out for DC Assault White was 2012 guard Olajuwon Lewis, who was quick to the basket when needed while also playing solid defensively. He’s looking to improve his perimeter shot (release) along with his skills as a pure point guard in the offseason.
The Atlanta Celtics received all they wanted and then some from Minnesota Fury, who led for much of the game before Memphis commit Damien Wilson (2012) took over the game with his forays to the basket. An explosive jumper, Wilson proved to be too much for the Fury although there were times late in the game where he got into trouble by forcing the issue instead of running time off the clock.
There was also Shaq Goodwin (2012) and UCLA commit Jordan Adams (2012), with Adams keeping the Celtics afloat in the first half with his perimeter shooting and Goodwin being too strong to keep off the boards in the second half. Adams displayed the ability to shoot off the dribble as well as coming off of screens, and with the defensive work that Ben Howland will give him Adams will be a very good player in the Pac-12.
The thing about Goodwin when it comes to the offensive boards is that he clearly understands the value of leverage, something that comes into play on the football field where he’s one of the top tight ends in the country. He scored on numerous tip-ins and putbacks in the second half, and when he’s ready to go Goodwin is an extremely difficult matchup.
- The debate for the top player in the 2012 class should be replaced by the debate of who’s the top player in the country regardless of class: Shabazz Muhammad or 2013 wing Jabari Parker. Parker was sensational in Mac Irvin Fire’s win over the Juice All-Stars, knocking down perimeter jumpers in addition to getting to the rim for emphatic finishes.
- Juice All-Stars guard Isaiah Whitehead (2014) had to deal with foul trouble for much of the game but had his moments in defeat. He’s working on improving his perimeter shot and ball-handling this offseason.
- Schools in attendance for the Mac Irvin Fire/Juice All-Stars game include BYU, Cincinnati, DePaul, Duke, Illinois (Illini great Deron Williams was also present), Indiana, Ohio State, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Stony Brook and Washington.
- BYU, DePaul and Washington all had their head coaches at the game (Jabari Parker).
- Ian Vasquez (2012) helped spark Juice’s first half run to ultimately take a one-point lead into the half with three three-pointers, knocking down four for the game. Shaquille Davis (2013) displayed the ability to get to the basket off the dribble, a tough thing to do against a defender the caliber of Derrick Randolph pf Mac Irvin.
- Quenton DeCosey (2012) and Lucious Jones (2012) both played well for Team Izod, who fell to Team Philly in a Fab 48 playoff game. DeCosey was able to get to the rim off the bounce while Jones did the little things on both ends of the floor, giving maximum effort throughout.
- Currently Zak Showalter has offers from Drake, Eastern Kentucky, UW-Green Bay, Miami (Ohio), Missouri State, North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Wofford.
- Other offers (in addition to Big East offers mentioned above) for Andrew White include Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Alabama, Tennessee, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas A&M, George Mason, BYU and Utah.
- Emmanuel Ndumanya stated that he’s received letters from both Arizona State and Washington State but has no offers to date. He expects his recruitment to pick up in the coming weeks.
- Olajuwon Lewis said that he’s received inquiries from Miami, NJIT, Saint Francis (PA) and Syracuse.
- Elijah Ray has received offers from Indiana State, Valparaiso and Tennessee-Martin, and schools such as Iowa and Temple have shown interest of late. Valparaiso seems to be the hardest after him at this stage.
- Rodney Bullock has heard from NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
- Jevan Felix (2012) was too much down the stretch as New Orleans Elite pulled away in beating Top Achievers Pistons. He went cold for a stretch but the floater was working to perfection in crunch time, and while fans of the Pistons wondered aloud why he was able to do the same thing every time Felix got the job done.
- Felix is working on his foot speed this summer with the hopes of proving that he’s quick enough to defend at an elite level.
- Felix’s list of offers include Baylor, LSU, Memphis, Miami, UCLA, Texas and Texas A&M. Head coaches Trent Johnson (LSU), Rick Barnes (Texas) and Billy Kennedy (Texas A&M) were all in attendance for New Orleans Elite’s first round playoff win.