July 13, 2011

NY2LA Day One

Under Armour Summer Jam Kicks Off
The NY2LA Summer Jam kicked off on Tuesday with a strong slate of games featuring Illinois teams and targets. Colleges from across the country made the trip to Mequon, Wisconsin to take in the action. Here's a day 1 Recap from Orange and Blue News.

Games of Note

-It's rare when you get to see a pair of 5 start talents go at it in the first pool game, but Mitch McGary and Shabazz Muhammad went at it in front of a plethora of college coaches on Tuesday. Dream Vision got the win over SYF, but these two talents really showed well. McGary has expanded his game, showing a sweet stroke on his jumper, while using his body in the paint as well. Shabazz is the top player in 2012 right now.

-The Illinois Wolves 15's lost a heartbreaker to the Las Vegas Prospects in overtime when they had a phantom foul called with no time left on the clock. You hate to see that type of cal decide a game, but this one did.

-The Illinois Wolves 16's and 17's each won easily, but will have tougher match ups on Wednesday.

-Full Package won in overtime over the ICAN All Stars in what was one of the best games of the day, to open the tourney.

-Luke Fischer and his Wisconsin Swing team took on DC Assault and their star point guard Nate Britt in another marquee matchup that caused Coach K to fly cross country from the Peach Jam to take in the action. Fischer is being recruited by much of the Big Ten and looks like a Wisconsin big man. DC Assault had a bit much, however, winning in overtime on a huge steal on the last possession.

The Players

Cliff Alexander - Alexander played for both the 15U and 16U teams on Tuesday, and acquitted himself quite well. Many feel that he may be an even better prospect that 2014 stud Jahlil Okafor. He isn't as polished, but he's got a great upside. He scored 26 points in his 15U team's loss, and had 11 for the 16U in a win. He is a great shot blocking presence on the defensive end, and forces double teams and help on offense which opens up his teammates for drives and jumpers. I love his hands and his ability to grab rebounds out of his area.

Kieta Bates-Diop - Diop took a spill in the first half and played sparingly after that. He is no doubt a high major player, however, as he has made rapid strides. He is now showing off 3 point range on his jumper, and is a finisher in transition. He still needs to work on his ball handling from the wing, but his length and ability to rebound give him a look of current Illinois frosh Mychael Henry.

Peyton Allen - this is the best game Allen has had since the spring, scoring 19 points and hitting big shots on numerous occasions for his 15U squad. His jumper isvery good when he isn't fatigued, and he's starting to get his legs under him after missing a month with a concussion.

Nate Taphorn - The wiry 2013 shooter got hot for a stretch and opened up a decent game for the wolves 16's, hitting 3 triples in a 4 possession span. His jumper is extremely fluid and it looks like every shot is going in. At 6'7 now, he is still growing and will be an interesting player to watch as he fills out. He also handles the ball well for a forward, which gives him some versatility.

Jeron Wilbut - He is likely the most talented guard in the Illinois class of 2012. He can get hot from deep has the ability to get to the rack and the athleticism to finish. There are numerous head scratching moments where you wonder about his 'heat checks' and wild shots, but he is a shot maker.

Jeff White - White continues his strong play, showing the ability to run the Wolves 17U squad. He really uses both hands well and finds a way to finish at the rim, but sometimes he appears like more a combo guard at 6'0 that isn't a true point guard. He hasn't really shown a jumpshot yet, although he makes his free throws, showing a solid stroke.

Michael Orris - It wasn't a great day for Orris, who saw his Illinois Old School squad lose in double overtime. His jumper wasn't falling and he struggled to get into the flow of the game on the offensive end. He was just solid, which isn't always a bad thing. He passed it well, but just didn't get enough done for me on this day. He is definitely a solid defender, however and is willing to do the work on that end.

Notes

-One of the most impressive performances of the day was turned in Mike LaTulipia of Full Package. The guard lit it up from all 3 levels, scoring 35 points in an overtime win against the ICAN All Stars. Darius Paul had 8 points for Full Package. He's an interesting prospect, a player that looks the part and does some really good things and then at times struggles to find his niche.

-In the you can't always believe what you see, Team D-Rose showed up with 5 guys and no uniforms for their first 15U game. They started teh game with long sleeved warmups, and then call time outs to get dressed on the sidelines as their uniforms and other players arrived. They used 3 timeouts in teh first half to get dressed, but it didn't help, as the Kingdom Hoops team was ready to play.

-Although they arrived on time, the Atlanta Xpress also didn't have uniforms, as their threads got lost on the plane ride to Wisconsin. They borrowed some units, but it didn't help them in their loss at the 17U level to Kingdom Hoops.

-Full Package wing Charles Harris got sick and played very little in their early win. He's hoping to be back in action today.

-D3 Pride was without start guard Gary Harris, but did add 2013 Niles North guard Lorenzo Dillard. Harris is not expected to play this week in Wisconsin.

-2013 Illinois commitment Jalen James is still out with his calf injury. That has opened the door for guards AJ Riley and Jared Brownridge to take over more of the load. Brownridge (AKA, The Microwave) has been one of the best players for the Wolves, and he and Riley are the most consistent performers game in and game out.

-Michigan commitment Glenn Robinson is going to be a player. He is reminiscent of current star guard Tim Hardaway, Jr.

-Kendall Stephens, the 2013 Purdue commitment, is finally getting his legs back. He looked better in the 16U Wolves win.

-2015 guard Jordan Ash once again showed well, hitting some big shots for the Wolves 15U team with Diop out and injured. He is a high level athlete, but is still learning the point guard position.

-Illinois assistant coach Jay Price took in the action in Milwaukee, while Illini head coach Bruce Weber and assistant Jerrance Howard were at the Peach Jam in Augusta, South Carolina.

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