Thursday, July 31, 2008

VEGAS: Team Detroit

Team Detroit managed to find some help for Mr. Trey Zeigler in Las Vegas. Most notably in point guards Vonn Jones and Dedo Jackson and rebounders Will Overton and Demetrius Butler. With Jones and Jackson able to help take some of the ball handling duties off of Zeigler's shoulders it allowed the 6-4 phenom to put his focus on scoring....and boy oh boy did Trey score!

Team Detroit played in four tough games while in the Nevada desert and fought there way to a 2-2 record. Every game could have turned out differently because all of the outcomes were in single digits.

The team's first game was a 69-63 win over Midwest Mission from Missouri. A pair of free throws from both Zeigler and Jackson gave Team Detroit a 35-31 lead at halftime, after trailing for a majority of the first half. In the second half both Zeigler and Martell Anderson were able to find some easy baskets as the Michigan fellas built a lead that got to as high as 17 points. Team Detroit took the foot off the gas pedal too early as Midwest Mission fought back to get within single digits. Clutch free throws down the stretch kept Midwest at a distance allowing Team Detroit to start off 1-0.

In the second game of pool play, Team Detroit saw their first loss as they let one slip away against the Carolina Raptors 68-60. The game was tied going into the final five minutes but some bad shot selections and unforced errors allowed the Raptors to get the win. The Raptors went on to win the pool.

Team Detroit was able to bounce back in the final pool game against Team Blue Chip out of California. The 70-64 win allowed Detroit to finish 2nd in their pool and advance to the Adidas Super 64 Championship Bracket (top division).

In the first round of bracket play they quickly became the underdog as they drew Team Philly. Philly jumped out quick but could never get any kind of separation, as Team Detroit hung tough. A pair of Vonn Jones 3-pointers in the first half kept the lead around 5 points.

Although Philly had the lead, they had no answer for Zeigler! Trey scored every way imaginable, as he put on a show in front of the 30 some college coaches in attendance that included schools like Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Michigan, and UCLA.

A second half Jackson drive and kick-out resulted in a Zeigler 3-pointer from the corner and also tied the game with seven minutes to go. The following trip down the floor Zeigler got a 15-footer to fall giving Team Detroit their first lead of the game. Team Philly fired back with a 6-0 run that turned out to be good enough to secure the win. Zeigler finished the game with 44 points.

In the four games in Vegas Zeigler finished with a 30.5 scoring average.

VEGAS: Mustangs 17's

You can look at the Mustangs performance in Vegas and some might consider it a let down but if you take a closer look it isn't as bad as their 1-3 record states. The 17-u squad played up in one of the Adidas Super 64 super pools. Too many times over the AAU season teams shy away from the super pools just to get easy wins, but that has never been the case for the tough and scrappy Mustangs.

Only this time the lack of having a high major player caught up with the Stangs, Drew Valentine and Duke Mondy are as close as a high major recruit that the Mustangs can showcase, but even they weren't enough. The wing duo did their best to carry the load but in the end the talent factor was too much to overcome.

Coach Rod Watt's team started the week with a 82-72 loss to Team Philly and point guard Maalik Wayns, a Villanova commit.

The Mustangs then bounced back the following morning with a 81-73 win over Texas Select. Doug Anderson helped the Mustangs jump out to an early double digit lead with a pair of dunks that caught everyone's attention. Texas was able to rally back and even take the lead midway through the second half thanks to the play of Shawn Williams. The 6-7 wing has offers from Florida, Kentucky, Texas, UCLA, and Louisville among others. Valentine drew the defensive assignment and was able to shut down Williams down the stretch enabling the Stangs to get the win.

In their final pool play game the Mustangs faced one of the nation's top players in Lance Stephenson. The 6-6 guard is considered one of the nation's top 5 players with his physical style of play. Even though it would take a complete team effort to contain Stephenson, it was Mondy who drew the match-up every time down the floor. Mondy was able to play Stephenson tight knowing 6-9 Matt Balkema had his back in the paint. The Stangs held onto a 4 point lead late in the second half, but then their shooting went cold allowing Raising Champions to rally back for a 80-75 win.

Even with a 1-2 pool play record the Mustangs were awarded a spot in Adidas' Championship bracket (top division), since they participated in the super pool. In the first round they drew the North Carolina Fire, who were 3-0 and won their pool.

LaDonte "Buckets" Henton had been quiet for most of the Vegas trip as he was forced to sit with an ankle sprain. In the playoff game he sucked it up and paced the Mustangs with 24 points. Also leading the way was Mondy who couldn't miss from downtown.

The game stayed tight for two whole halves. Late in the game the Mustangs found their selves trailing by 3 points with time running out. N. Carolina had seen enough of Mondy and decided to double team him. That left point guard Jalen Jarrett open to nail a 3-pointer at the buzzer forcing the game into overtime. Unfortunately the Mustangs had trouble finding stops in overtime as they fell 85-82.

Even though the OT loss was a tough pill to swallow, the Mustangs had a solid Vegas trip as they showed they can play with the nation's elite. In the end players like Valentine, Mondy, Balkema, and Anderson might not get that high major offer BUT they certainly have no problem matching up with those guys, and that credit has to be given to the heart and character those young men boast.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

U of M: Elite Camp

(Elite campers at work )

(Jones was at his best during the elite camp)

Coach John Beilein and his staff invited 60 campers to participate in Michigan's first elite camp late last week. The two day camp was a total success as campers participated in intense and hard fought drills. Of the 60 campers, 33 were Michigan players. Below is a breakdown of most of the campers and a quick breakdown of their performance at the camp. Players listed in alphabetical order.

Lee Bailey, Country Day, 2011- Bailey used the camp to prove he's one of the top players in Michigan's 2011 class. His fundamentals were way above average and there was nothing he couldn't do.

Pierre Bracket, Lansing Eastern, 2011- Pierre was the one player in camp that didn't forget about hustling and playing defense. He was good in every drill no matter if it was post work or guard work.

Carlton Brundidge, Southfield, 2011- Brundidge was great in the ball handling drills as well as the shooting drills, but I was more surprised with how well he handled the ball.

DeAndray Buckley, Romulus, 2010- proved to have more offensive skills than just slashing. He got after it on both ends and played hard through out the camp.

Dan Chilcote, Jackson Lumen Christi, 2011- Chilcote showed some point guard skills in the games and faired well. He was also solid in the drills with his fundamentals.

Brian Coleman, Southfield Lathrup, 2010- Coleman might have been the biggest surprise of the camp, he can really stroke it from deep. Games, drills, it didn't matter- he was filling it up.

Mohamed Conde, Belleville, 2010- Conde went with the guards when they separated and he struggled. He's a gamer but struggled trying to defend on the perimeter.

Anthony Fields, Det. Southeastern, 2010- Fields was solid in the drills but looked good in the games. He did an impressive job of pushing the ball up the floor.

Alex Gauna, Eaton Rapids, 2010- had to miss Saturday due to a cut that resulted in stitches but he was dominating the bigs in the camp up to that point. He was phenomenal in the drills Friday night.

Percy Gibson, Det. Southeastern, 2011- the 6-8 horse did a heck of a job battling on the block against older players, he even got the better of Jordan Morgan when they matched up in a game.

LaDonte Henton, Lansing Eastern, 2011- "Buckets" was average in the guard drills but did extremely well in the games.

Josh Herbeck, A.A. Gabriel Richard, 2010- another player that looked good in the drills but average in the games. He shot well but struggled defensively.

Dedo Jackson, Buena Vista, 2010- played well and made Coach Beilein a fan of his game with his heady play and ability to get to the basket and make a play.

Maurice Jones, Arthur Hill, 2010- Jones had a good showing in the individual drills by finishing third in the 3-point drills. He was a tough cover for any of the other guards to handle in the games.

Vonn Jones, Hartland, 2009- if there was a camp MVP it would of went to Jones. Jones won the 3-on-3 tourney Friday night. Through out the camp he did a beautiful job of setting up the big fellas.

Matt Kaminecki, Clarkston, 2010- like his teammate Stanton, he proved his value as one of the top players in his class. looked good on the wing and the block.

Brandan Kearney, Det. Southeastern, 2011- BK is starting to look healthy from his hip injury , now he just needs to get back his explosion. Still did a nice job running the point and was impressive in drills.

Kevonte Martin, Brother Rice, 2010- has really put on some muscle. He handled his own at the camp but I think he just needs to focus on playing football.

Jordan Morgan, U of D Jesuit, 2009- has really slimmed down and it shows as he gets up and down the court better but he did struggled against some of the other bigs.

Sultan Muhammad, Grand Rapids C.C., 2010- looked better in the games than the drills. He needs to focus on some fundamentals but at the end of the day he's a D-1 player.

Matt Poches, Hartland, 2011- had to shut it down Friday morning after reinjuring a bad ankle sprain. On Friday he player like a high major prospect and was solid in every drill.

Ben Simons, Cadillac, 2009- Simons only participated on Friday and he struggled to get shots to fall but he did look good handling the ball in the open floor.

Tom Staton, Clarkston, 2009- during the camp he proved he is a top 10 player in Michigan's class of 2009. He knocked down shots all over the place and proved to be tough enough to play some defense.

Booker Stoudmire, Belleville, 2009- I guess I was wrong- Booker is a D-1 player. He stole the show Friday night with an electrifying tip dunk.

Michael Talley, Melvindale B.A.T., 2010- Talley is a player, no doubt about that but at times he gets carried away in trying to score himself. I would like to see him become a complete point guard. He was still one of the players at the camp.

Darren Washington, Det. Southeastern, 2011- nobody in the camp worked harder than the 6-9 15 year old did. During breaks he still worked in drills with Michigan's staff.

Shannon Williams, Det. Cass Tech, 2010- more polished than I thought he was. Has a good feel for things near the basket. Was able to get out and run the floor as well. Great attitude kid that seems to have a love for the game.