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AAU Reports-4/28

Spring IS8 Exhibition 4/27-Matt Grasso

    Tonight in one of the most highly anticipated exhibition games ever at IS8 in Jamaica Queens, Brooklyn Bridge took on last summer's #1 team in the country the Long Island Panthers. Just like last night, #1 player overall in the country Lebron James played alongside Sebastian Telfair, Chris Taft, Ramel Bradley, Karron Clarke and the rest of the Juice Crew. The usual suspects were in full effect for the Panthers. Their team consisted of Jason Fraser, Charlie Villanueva, Curtis sumpter, Darryl "Showtime" Hill, Taquan Dean, Tim Doyle, and new addition Villanova bound Allan Ray. There was so much talent on this court that there was a little something for every single fan to personally admire. Mr. James and Mr. Telfair made a late arrival to this one, but they made sure to make up for it with their game play. They both came out making great plays and setting up their teammates for some tremendous finishes. The player that benefitted the most from their unselfishness was Karron Clarke. This kid really showed his skills tonight and that he can be a high energy player on the next level. Syracuse and Georgetown are very high on him and for good reason. He was picking the Panthers apart with his moves around the hoop as well as his ability to finish in traffic which included a few thunderous dunk. One of those dunks was a shot fake pass into an alley-oop from Lebron. With all of these stars on the court, he was the one that really stole the show. When you are on the court with players like Lebron and Sebastian, you really have to keep your eyes on the ball at all times. Another player who always keeps his eyes on the ball is Chris Taft. He is always ready for the feed down low no matter what. he really took it to Villanova bound Jason Fraser. Nova is one of the schools seeking out Taft and imagine how dominant these two would be on the same team in college. The Bridge went into halftime leading 52-40. The story was the same in the third quarter as Lebron showed his uncanny ability to run the point. I really feel that he put that sub par performance from the previous night behind him. For a superstar, he is the most unselfish player that I have ever seen. Lebron is so team oriented that he can be too unselfish. He needs to realize that some teammates aren't on his level and that he should finish some plays on his own. He will be a great point forward in the NBA because he is also very strong on the boards. He can get you close to a triple double every game. The Bridge built their lead up to as many as 20 but that did not keep a certain player on the Panthers. Villanova bound Allan Ray just joined the Panthers to participate in IS8 while playing against them last summer as a member of the NY Ravens. Allan proved that he belongs on this all star squad. He showed a vastly improved ability to run the point which will most likely be his position in college. He still has the knack for brilliance from behind the three point arc. Allan is just a flat out winner. He has success wherever. He will absolutely carry that winning attitude to Jay Wright's Villanova. Expect them in the Final Four behind Allan and his fellow recruits in a few years. With Allan at the point, the panthers slowly clawed their way back into this one and tied it with 4 and a half minutes to go. The panthers took control of it in the end behind the strong play of Jason Fraser on the defensive and offensive ends. Charlie Villanueva put the exclamation point on this one with two eye opening dunks to cap off the Panther's impressive come from behind win 98-89. Charlie and Jason led the victors with 22 and 18 points respectively. Karron Clarke put together an extremely impressive 27 point effort along with 19 from Chris Taft. Lebron James lived up to the hype nearly putting up a triple double with 13 points, 12 boards, and 8 assists.

Spring IS8 4/26- Matt Grasso 

    Last night in front of a packed house at the IS8 Jumpman league, the consensus #1 high school player in the country Lebron James made an appearance alongside #1 ranked rising junior Sebastian Telfair playing with Brooklyn Bridge. Mr. James is in town doing a feature for Slam Magazine where he and Sebastian will appear together on the cover. Lebron has had so much hype surrounding him for the past year. There were talks of him entering this year's NBA Draft after his junior year of high school. Well, last night was his chance to bring it to the "8". He flew through warmups alongside Telfair who showed off his new found hops to the huge crowd of spectators. This game looked like it would be a blowout due to who their opponent was on this night. The New York Skyriders were up for the challenge to play against the two best players in the country. Senior guard Carl Benn of Lawrence Woodmere Academy really showed that he can play with the best. He took it at Sebastian the entire ballgame showing no intmidation at all. He has a great handle as well as a great ability to hit the contested jumpshot for an undersized guard. Everytime he took it at Sebastian, Bassie would do him one better. Sebastian showed off that sick handle of his and his amazing ability to see the court. As for Lebron, he did show he can pass the rock hitting off the Xaverian's Chris Taft and Lincoln's Karron Clarke for some dynamic finishes. The jumpshots did not fall for Mr. James, but he did show he has the range. In my personal opinion, I just think he had a bad game. He only scored 2 points, but he looked to make his teammates better. That is what great players. As for the game, the Bridge pulled off the narrow margin of victory winning by the score of 89-77. Carl Benn led all scorers with a game high 25 points. Rapidly improving rising senior Ramel Bradley led the way for the Bridge with 23 points, while Sebastian contributed 20 points. Lebron will have another chance to prove his mettle at IS8 as the Brooklyn Bridge will play an exhibition game against the Long Island Panthers. There are some tremendous matchups in this one. Lebron James versus Curtis Sumpter, Jason Fraser versus Chris Taft and Darryl "Showtime" Hill against Sebastian Telfair. This game starts at 7pm so don't be late to IS8.

CYP Tournament @ Our Lady Of Mercy 3/25-Matt Grasso

    Tonight at Our Lady of Mercy School in Portchester, NY, The Riverside Church Hawks took on the New Jersey Roadrunners for the CYP Tournament Championship. Riverside brought a squad to this tournament as they do every year. They were playing for their sixth straight championship in this event. Their cast of players included Robeson's Gary Ervin, Grady's Quincy Douby, and All
Hallows's Ricky Soliver. Riverside was opposed by the Roadrunners who were led by Villanova bound Randy Foye of Newark-Eastside. Riverside jumped out to an early lead in this one due to their great athleticism and ability to finish in the paint. Gary Ervin made a statement early on that this was his game. He successfully slashed to the basket finishing with ease and setting
up his teammates as well on occasion. Willie Irick a junior from
Teaneck did a great job for Riverside as well banging underneath and finishing strong around the hoop. He got the Roadrunners' big man John Kelly in foul trouble early in the ballgame. On the flipside, Randy Foye had another tremendous game for the Roadrunners. They were down 13 at the end of the first quarter,
but this didn't get him down. He came out fired up in the second
quarter and got their deficit down to single digits. He ran through the Riverside defense and hit some difficult angle shots. He once again showed me his ability to distribute the rock as he unselfishly passed up some of his own shots in favor of his teammates The closest that they would get in this ballgame would be 5 points because Riverside just answered every run that the Roadrunners
would go on. Randy had a nice supporting cast that helped him out
tonight as well. Dave McSwane impressed me tonight. This was the first time I had ever seen him play and he played very strong and knocked down some big shots for his team. Pierre Mitchell also of Newark Eastside was an assassin from outside as well. However, Riverside showed why they had won this event for the past five years. They had a very talented team as they do every year. The
most talented player out there was Ervin especially. He scored a game high 22 points on his way to MVP honors. Consequently though, the play of the night went to his teammate Quincy Douby. Quincy had one of the illest dunks I've ever seen. Gary lobbed him the ball and in one motion he threw it on two defenders with one hand. The whole crowd went nuts when they saw that play. Randy Foye played stellar in defeat with a team high 18 points. Villanova is getting a dynamite player next year in Randy. Willie Irick added 19 points and 10 boards for the Church while Peedy Nelson added 12 points. The score of this game was a lot closer than it looks as the church scored some easy baskets in the end, while the Roadrunners struggled to hit three pointers and get their own rebounds late in the ballgame. The game was capped off with
another one handed slam dunk by Quincy at the buzzer. The Church won their unprecedented 6th straight championship in the tournament's historical 56th year. The Sportsmanship award was given to Max Schaeffer of the runner-up Roadrunners.  All-tournament team honors were given to Gary Ervin,Randy
Foye,Kelvin"Peedy" Nelson, Anthony Drejaj, and Quincy Douby.

CYP Tournament @ Our Lady Of Mercy 3/22-Matt Grasso

    Tonight at Our Lady of Mercy School in Portchester,NY, the 2002 CYP Tournament tipped off. This annual tournament is in its 56th year and is usually the start of the Spring AAU circuit. It is also one of the last events that graduating high school seniors are eligible for. it is a very small gymnasium with tough playing conditions in terms of the floor. The out of bounds line and the three point line are the same on the corners. Most of the best AAU teams from NYC and NJ are a part of this tournament every year. In the first quarterfinal matchup of the evening, the Bronx Gauchos took on Rodney Abrams of Westchester County. The Rodney Abrams team featured such players as junior Jamaal Webb from Tuckahoe High School and Chris Fleisher from Horace Greeley High School. The Gauchos came out in control of this one in the early going behind the strong play of their stellar backcourt consisting of junior Marlon Smith and his high school teammate on Archbishop Molloy super sophomore Sundiata Gaines. These two players were both very explosive and they really controlled the pace of the game. Marlon showed his superior quickness in getting to the rack and setting up his opponents. Sundiata benefited from the penetration as he was on fire from the perimeter. He knocked down an unbelievable " 8" three pointers in this ballgame. It just seemed like he couldn't miss. He was pulling up from beyond NBA range and hitting nothing but net. This was a very big change for Yata as he was forced to play down low for Archbishop Molloy. He's only 6'1'' and he belongs on the perimeter. This games was definitely evidence of that. Rodney had no match for the Gaucho's backcourt, but they did get within 8 points in the start of the 4th quarter. Chris Fleisher seemed to get more comfortable on the court as the game progressed. He wasn't used to the aggressiveness of city basketball, but he started to adjust throughout the game. Johns Hopkins gets a solid player in Fleisher at the Division 3 level. My #1 ranked junior Jamaal Webb had a bit of a hard time getting used to the speed of the city game. He had a lot of opportunities but he wasn't able to convert a lot of easy baskets. His medium range jumper wasn't dropping like it usually does. Jamaal is playing with Connecticut Flame traveling team this summer, and he will get another opportunity to play against that kind of competition. The Gauchos held on for a convincing 80-59 victory Sundiata Gaines led the way for the Gauchos with an eye opening 31 points while Marlon Smith added 15. Chris Fleisher and Jamaal Webb paced Rodney Abrams with 17 and 14 points respectively.
     In the second quarterfinal matchup of the evening, the New Jersey Roadrunners led by Villanova bound guard Randy Foye took on Don Pedro which consisted of some of the best Westchester has to offer. Players such as division one prospect Rashard Turner from Peekskill High School, Holy Cross bound Kevin Highland of Stepinac High School and Dino Dwyer and Shonte Sasser both from White Plains High School. The roadrunners came out opening an early 6-0 lead behind a three pointer a piece from Foye and Fairfield bound Dewitt Maxwell. Don Pedro evened up after a couple of baskets by Dino Dwyer. Don Pedro kept this one close throughout the first half but the Roadrunners were just too strong. Fairfield is getting a very highly skilled player in Maxwell. He is a very good slasher and he is able to hit an in between shot as well. Randy Foye was silent in the first quarter but he made a big impact in the second period as the Roadrunners opened up a sizeable lead. Coming into this game, I doubted whether Foye would be impressive in distributing as well as scoring. It turns out that I was very wrong. He did a nice job rotating the ball to his teammates, and he also managed to do a great job of putting the ball in the hoop as well. Anthony Drejaj from Seton Hall Prep was a player who popped out in my mind in this ballgame. He has a very a good jumpshot and is also very solid handling the rock. The Roadrunners were up 46-20 at halftime. Dino Dwyer was one of the lone bright spots for Don pedro as he showed off his perimeter shooting skills. He put up a team high 19 points in this game. There was a big battle waged on the boards btween John Kelly of the Roadrunners and Kevin Highland. Kelly got the best of Highland and he showed has the potential to play big time divsion one basketball. It will be interesting to see how he develops. Randy was Randy in the second half of this matchup as he shot lights out. He knocked down 7 three balls in this one ad put up a game high 34 points in this ballgame. He helped the Roadrunners reach the century mark in a 106-75 victory. Dewitt Maxwell put up 24 points for the Roadrunners, while Anthony Drejaj added 18. The Roadrunners will return to CYP to play the Gauchos on Sunday night at 7:15 PM.