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AAU Reports
Past AAU Reports

Player Evaluations from the Rumble
17u division:
Julius Hodge- Everyone knows that he gets numbers, but this weekend he showed his handle is as good as anybody, especially when he made a player from Shreeveport fall.  He also showed he can "D" it up when he wants to when he locked up Adrian Walton and held him to 7 points, while scoring 19 himself.
Francisco Garcia- He has a lot of talent, he can play 3 positions but his best position is the small forward.  He has a good jumpshot and can dunk on almost anyone.  He has a good handle but needs to work on the fundamentals like boxing out and defense.
Shagari Allyne- Has proven to me that he is one of the top players in the city, no matter what class.  He is aggressive with the ball, looking to dunk virtually every time he catches the ball, and he will get a few blocks per game.
Chris McRae- Seemed to be content with being the garbage man, he needs to become more aggressive to regain is status as one of the top 5 players in the class. He will have a chance to do this at the NBPA camp and the ABCD Camp.
Sean Dantzler-  Sean showed a great jumpshot and good ability to get to the basket.  He has a good handle and will be a major force in the PSAL next year.
Allan Ray-  Allan proved to me that he can be a point guard, I always felt that he would always be a unselfish shooting guard, but at the Rumble he played the point beautifully.
Lenny Cooke- Was dominating despite his team being blown out in 2 of the 3 games.  He has a good enough combination of speed, strength and handle to be a star at the college level.
Shaheen McNair- This was the second time I saw him play and again he showed he has great handle but he also showed he has a good jumpshot.  He can get to the basket at will where he can either score himself or dumb it off to one of his teammates.
Adrian Walton- Didn't live up to his "Whole Lotta Game" rep but he did play good in 3 of the 5 games he played.  He has a very good jumpshot but doesn't play defense that well, and isn't that explosive to the basket but he finds ways to score.
Kendelle Provet- He is small but strong.  He is very quick and has a great handle, he can get in to the lane at will but at times tries to do to much.
Roscoe Biggers- Everybody knows he can score but at the tournament he showed he can be a great passer when he got 15 assists in the Choz firs game while only scoring 2 points himself.  
Eric Ferguson-  He is very strong, has hops and can shoot.  After a year of prep school almost every school in the nation will want him to go to their college.
Eric King- He can dominate a game inside by grabbing countless offensive rebounds but with an improved outside jumpshot he can be an all-american next year.
Charlie Villanueva- Seemed to be upset this weekend because he wasn't getting the ball nearly enough.  May he be playing with the Church in the near future?
Tremayne Singletary-  Dazzled the crowd with a few dunks over his opponents but also showed great ability to block shots.
Player Evaluations from the Rumble
16u division:
Donnie McGrath 6'1 PG- He has good size for a point guard at 6'1 and is very strong for the position.  He can shoot from 3, makes good decisions, and has great hops.  He finds a lot of ways to score but also gets his teammates involved.  
Isaiah Davis 5'9 PG- Isaiah is real quick with a great handle, and is a good passer.  He needs to gain some weight to be dominant on the high school level, also needs to improves his perimeter shot.
Kenny Eusey 6'0 SG- He is real strong, and is very aggresive.  If his shot is falling he is unstoppable.  Usually has a good jumpshot has a good handle but needs to improve his foot speed.
Julian Thomas 6'8 PF- Julian didn't impress me at the tournament, he whined about every call he didn't like, and he cries whenever something doesn't go his way, like a bad pass from one of his teammates or if he throws a pass away.
Benny Utley- Benny is very strong, and scores easily in the post just because of the strength.  But he needs to get a better outside game.
Sebastian Telfair 5'9 PG- Sebastian put all of his critics to sleep with his performance at this tournament.  He had 3 20 point games and took home the MVP.  He showed is great jumpshot, his passing ability, and showed that when he wants to he can't be guarded.  But at times tried to do too much but it worked against the Gauchos when he scored 9 straight points in the 4th quarter.
Darren Sykes 6'0 SG- Had a great tournament, and he showed me when his shots are falling he won't be stopped.  Darren is strong and takes it to the basket hard.  He never dissapeared in the game when they were down, in fact he stepped up when they were losing, he showed me he is a big time player.
Ferard Ensley 5'7 PG-  This was the first time I have ever seen him, and he showed that I need to see him more.  He is very quick, has a great handle, is a wonderful passer and can get into the lane at will.  
Daon Merrit 5'8 PG-  Daon took his IS8 rookie of the year reputation to the Rumble and definitely showed he deserved it.  He scored 30 against the Church and 25 against the Brooklyn Beasts, using a combination of speed, quickness, strength and a good outside shot.
Peter Ramos 7'1 C- I was very dissapointed in his skill level, he isn't nearly aggressive enough.  He calls for the ball but he does it half heartidly, and he shows no emotion, which in my opinion says he doesn't have a desire for the game.  But he just started playing ball a year or two ago, so he'll get better.
Prince Nbodiwe 5'9 PG- He is a mirror image of Jason Williams he takes the same type of shots and always looks for the exciting play instead of the simple play.
Ricky Soliver 6'3 SF-  Showed me that I definitely had him ranked too low and that he is the best player on the Rveriside 16u team.  He has a good jumpshot and a good handle, he is very quick, and finds ways to score, but his only drawback is that he is skinny.
Keydren "Kiki" Clark 5'8 PG- He is the best shooting point guard in the city, but I already knew that.  What he showed was he can really run the point, he can get the ball to his teammates in spots they need the ball.
Kelvin "Petey" Nelson 6'3 SF- He showed a good jumpshot, nice speed and a good handle this weekend.  But like Soliver he needs to get stronger.
Jomo Belfor 6'1 PG-  He showed a very good jumpshot and good point guard skills and he also showed that he can perform in the clutch with a shot with 1 second left in the semifinals against Connecticut Select to put the game in to overtime.
Tariq Atkins 6'1 SF- He is a very good ball player he can score from the inside but can also score from the outside with officiency.  He gets to the basket with great ease.
Day 3 @ the Rumble
    Today was another early day at the Rumble.  At 9am two games involving city teams were going on, I watched the Ravens and the Church.  Ravens took a 25-21 lead behind 10 first half points from Tariq Atkins.  But the second half was dominated by Riverside and they pulled away to 57-39 victory.  The Ravens had trouble gettinf the ball past half court, and had turnover after turnover.  Nobody had more than 8 for the Church but everyone scored.  For the Ravens Jaquan Miller had 18 points and Tariq Atkins had 14 thats 32 of the 39 points, they needed help.  In the other 16u game Brooklun USA won 58-51 behind 25 points from Sebastian Telfair.  He hit 7 of  8 free throws in the final minute.
    In the 1st round of the 17u Silver bracket the Ravens beat Howard Pulley I 65-52 behind 31 from Julius Hodge.  Riverside beat the Baltimore Blue 71-60, but the game was much closer than the score indicates.  The Church led by just 2 with just under 2 minutes left.  Baltimore Blue led by 4 at the break, 37-33.  But in the last two minutes it was time to go to Church.  Riverside had a balanced attack with Wendell Gibson (fresh off Hofstra Camp victory) scoring 19, Adrian Walton had 19 and Teddy Munford had 18.  In a matchup between the only 2 city teams in the 17u Gold bracket the Gauchos defeated the Panthers 82-69 despite trailing by 7 at the half.  In the second half Levi Levine took over and ended the game with 37, proving to me that he is one of the top juniors in the city,  Kevin Bishop added 18.      In 1 16u semifinal the Riverside Church went up against Connecticut Select.  Connecticut select led by 14 at the half, but the second half Riverside just took over and trailed by 2 with seconds left.  Jomo Belfor got the ball and took it down the middle and made a shot in the lane as time expired.  In the overtime Riverside led by 2 when Alexis Hernandez of Connecticut Select was fouled with no time left on the clock.  He stepped to the line with a lot of pressure and he missed the first, which sealed yet another comeback victory for the Church to reach the finals.  Ricardo Soliver led the way with 17 for the Church.  In the other semifinal Brooklyn USA played a team that is just as talented as they are, the Tim Thomas Playaz.  The game was close throughout with no team leading by more than 8 (USA in the first half).    John Winchester of Tim Thomas wowed the crowd with 2 dazzling dunks, he ended up with 21 points.  But Ferard Ensley had 19 and Darren Sykes had 18 and did not let BK USA lose, as they led the way to a 69-67 victory.
    In the game I was most looking forward to the Ravens beat the Church 52-36.  Kenny Pretlow pulled his team off the court with 3:43 seconds left in the game because he was upset with officiating, Adrian Walton seemed to be the only player that contested his decision.  In the game the Ravens pulled out to a 15-3 lead.  and would never trail.  Julius Hodge proved a lot of people wrong, who claim he cant play D by holding Adrian Walton to just 7 points while putting up 19 himself.  Carl Lee led the way for the Church with 11.  Ben Gordon did not play today, the reason Im not sure.  
    In the 16u championship game the team I picked to win the championship played against a team I didn't even put as a favorite.  Riverside made it look like it was time for Church as they jumped out to a 29-10 lead.  But instead of it being time for church it turned into Sunday school for Riverside as Brooklun USA stormed back to make it 33-30 Riverside at the half.  Jomo Belfor dominated in the first half with 11 points.  In Brooklyn USA's 20-4 run to close out the half Darren Sykes scored all of his 8 first half points.  The second half started out the same way the first ended, and Brooklyn USA went up 36-33.  Bobby Mays hit a 3 for Brooklyn USA with 12:10 left in the game to extend to a 43-37 lead.  Then with 9:14 left Sebastian Telfair hit a 3 to put BK USA up by 9.  And they would coast from there and they won 62-56. Alonzo Brown led the way for the Church with 13, Ricky Soliver had 10 and for some reason Jomo Belfor who had 11 points in the first half didn't even play in the second half.  Darren Sykes led the way for Brooklyn USA with 18. Sebastian Telfair won the 16u MVP.  They made me look good by winning since I picked them to win it.  
    I saw the second half of the 17u Silver bracket where the Albany City Rocks upset the New York Ravens by a score 61-51.  Julius Hodge was shutdown only scoring 10.  Sean Dantzler led the way with 13 for the Ravens and Chris McRae had 11.  For the Rocks Jason McKreith had 14, Craich Forth and Lucious Jordan each had 11. Forth was named the Silver brakcet MVP.  I didn't report on the Gold bracket championship becasue the Gauchos were blown out by Bray Center in the semifnals and no New York teams made the championship.
Rumble Day 2
Oops, yesterday I reported the Wolfpack won by well over 20, instead they lost by well over 20, 26 to be exact.  Today they were eliminated from the tournament with when they were blown out by the New York Ravens.  The highlight of the game (which I just missed) was when Francisco Garcia (Cheshire Academy) took off from just in front of the dotted line, and dunked on Eric Sterling (LaSalle).  The big game of the day was a 16u game, Brooklyn USA vs. Gauchos.  The reason this was the big game of the day was because 4 of the Gauchos starting 5 were once members of the Brooklyn USA program.  The game was close thru out, and Brooklyn USA led by 2 at the half.  In the second half Donnie McGrath took over for the Gauchos scoring 15 of his team high 23 in the half.  But Sebastian Telfair was not to be out done as he scored 9 straight points for USA at one point in the 4th quarter as he led the way with 24 points and a 84-80 victory.  Once again proved to me that he is the #1 player in the class of 2004.  Brooklyn USA won again over the South Jersey Ballaz 83-51.  Telfair had 21 while Darren Sykes added 19.  
    The Ravens 17u won their first game of the day handily 74-45.  Julius Hodge led the way with 21.  But the Ravens did not honor my pick as the favorite to win da championship as they lost to Shreeveport 85-84 in double overtime.  The game was not decided by the players but by the refs as they made a foul call at tbe buzzer, and put a Shreeveport player on the line and he made it, and now Shreeveport is one of the favorites.  Julius Hodge 26 but just 7 came after the first half.  But the Ravens should not have even been in OT as they lead by 3 with 1 second left and Shreeveport on the line.  The Shreeveport player made the first and intentionally missed the second and the same kid that made the game winning free-throw got the tip in.  The Ravens will be in the Silver Bracket (2nd place teams in pool play).  Riverside will join them in the Silver Bracket after two wins today.  Adrian Walton regained some respect from me after I saw him score 7 points in 5 minutes.  Hopefully the Ravens and the Church get matched up, just so I can see the 3 best juniors in the city at the same time (Hodge, Gordon and Walton).  
    In the surprise of the day, the Choz 16u team lost to St. Micheals by 1 and were eliminated from the tournament.  Da Choz were killed wit terrible free throw shooting going 1 for 6 in the final minute, and watched a St. Micheals player hit a 10 footer with 3.5 seconds left in the game.  Isaiah Davis broke away from the pack and had an easy layup but he missed.  The loss can also be attributed to the fact that Donnie McGrath got injured with about 3 minutes to go, and after losing to Brooklyn USA they went up to UDC (where they won) in the 90 degree heat and then came back 20 minutes before their game with St. Mike's.  In a game I was really looking forward to seeing the Riverside Church 16s defeated Brooklyn Bridge 73-66.  Brooklyn Bridge led by 13 with in the 4th quarter but would not score again to under a minute left, and the Church went on a 19-0 run.  The star of the game was Daon Merrit as he scored 30 on the Church.  I was really dissapointed by Peter Ramos, he is 7 feet tall and can barely dunk!!!
    Found out some more prep school information, Shabar Ewing (Cardozo) will attend Milford Academy next year.  Peter Ramos will attend Bishop Loughlin next year.  This kid Prince Nbodiwe (Beasts 16u) caught my eye, if you wanna see a real life replica of Jason Williams he is it.  With the threw the legs passes, the quick behind the back passes, he is the real deal.

DAY 1 @ the Rumble:
Today I saw a few players Ive been dying to see Dajuan Wagner, Adrian Walton and Donnie McGrath.  Dajuan Wagner played decent, I saw him score about 12 points in the time I watched (1st half).  From the way Adrian Walton played his name should be "Whole Lotta Misses", cuz dats all he did.  I saw him take about 8 shots n he scored just 2 points.  Donnie McGrath had a bad game just like the rest of the Gauchos, he only had 6 points.  But there is always tomorrow and Sunday.  Now to the games; despite playing horrible the Gauchos 16u still manged to beat the South Jersey Ballaz by about 20.  The appearance of the tournament completely changed when I found out Lenny Cooke and Curtis Sumpter are playing with the NY Wolfpack and not the Panthers.  Sumpter was not there today but he was not needed as the Wolfpack won by well over 20.  Shaheen McNair caught my eye as he scored at will, breaking down the defender with ease.  Gauchos 17u also were victorious with a win over Sam Rines.  Roscoe Biggers had just 2 points but had 15 assists.  The surprise of the day, Riverside Church lost to Howard Pulley II by 1 on a 3 pointer with 7.2 seconds left.  The Church had the full roster  with Ben Gordon and Adrian Walton.  I spoke to Roscoe Biggers, he told me he's going to Kent in Connecticut next year.  Shagari is playing with the New York Ravens 17u and Julian Thomas is playing with Gauchos 16u.

Today kicks off the 3rd annual Rumble in the Bronx, I will preview both divisions.  In the 16u I feel the favorites are: Gauchos, Brooklyn USA and Tim Thomas Playaz.  The Gauchos have an excellent backcourt with Donnie McGrath, Kenny Eusey, Isaiah Davis and Benny Utley.  They may possibly have Julian Thomas playing in the front court, this will greatly affect my divison if they can make the championship or not.  Brooklyn USA  has probably the most complete team in this division with Sebastian Telfair, Robert White, Kirk Bunn, Chris Taft, Olabode Olukanni and possibly Darren Sykes.  Tim Thomas will probably have 5 of the best freshmen in the country with Roosevelt Lee, Jamar Nutter, TJ Bannister, Marquis Webb and Marlon Smith, and a nationally ranked sophomore, Kennel Sanchez.  My guess is if Marlon Smith plays with Tim Thomas they will win, but if he plays with the Gauchos they will make the championship but lose to Brooklyn USA.
In the 17u division I believe the favorites are the New York Ravens, Riverside Chruch, Tim Thomas Playaz and LIP.  The Ravens have a lineup of Julius Hodge, Chris McRae, Francisco Garcia, Allan Ray, Davonne Folks and possibly Shagari Alleyne.  If Shagari plays they are the clear cut favorites, without him I still feel they are the favorites.  Riverside has Teddy Munford, Adrian Walton, Famous Brown, Jason Wingate and possibly Ben Gordon (also might play with the Ravens).  The Playaz have one of the 25 best sophomores in the nation, Elijah Ingram.  They also have John Allen and Tamal Forchion. LIP probably has the most talented team in the tourney espeially if Major Wingate plays.  Even without him they have Charlie Villanueva, Lenny Cooke and Curtis Sumpter all of which are top 25 players in the nation.  Villanueva will be top 2 in the nation next year for the class of 2003.  My pick to win the 17u is the New York Ravens.
LIP "A" vs. Huntington-IS8 Championship
Today at the IS8 championship two teams that were not expected to make the championship went head to head.  LIP got there by beating BQE in the semifinals on Saturday and Huntington by beating the Gauchos.  Huntington came into the game sporting 2 players of the year, Peter Mulligan from St. Ray's (NYC and NYS)  and Will McClukin from Longwood (Long Island).  The first half was close pretty much the whole half and the score was tied at the half.  Peter Mulligan carried Huntington for the half and had 29 for the game.  Huntington came out the second half like the hungrier team and opened up a 67-60 lead with under 30 seconds left in the 3rd but Eric King got a putback and at the buzzer his 3 point attempt from 23 feet rattled out and LIP trailed 67-62 going into "Phase 4" as IS8 director Pete Edwards likes to say.  Huntington dominated the opening 4 and a half minutes of the 4th as they opened up a 81-70 lead, and looked like they were on their way to a championship.  But the Panthers put on the press and just took over and went on a 10-0 run to close the lead to 1.  LIP would trail 83-82 when of a LIP miss Damion Frey got the rebound and was fouled with under about a minute left.  Frey went to the line for a 1 and 1 but missed the front end and LIP cleared the rebound.  LIP brought the ball up and missed the shot but like they did the whole game got the offensive rebound and began to play Volleyball until Eric King got the tip to put LIP up 84-83 with 8 seconds to play.  But right off the inbounds pass freshmen Deon Merrit broke away and seemed to be on his way up for the layup when Mike Sherrod grabbed him but the ref said he was on the ground.  So instead of shooting 2 free throws he was at the line shooting a 1 and 1.  With the game on his shoulders he obviously felt the pressure and missed the free throw, Sherrod got the rebound and was clearly fouled twice but the ref did not call either foul and LIP walked away with the championship.  Eric King won the Championship game MVP scoring 27 points and grabbing at least 17 rebounds.  Peter Mulligan received the Sportsmanship trophy scoring 29 points and keeping Huntington in the game.  
Julius Hodge was named the tournaments Player of the Year.  Pete Edwards likes to say "if you scored 20 points a game in High School do it here" well Julius averaged 20 with St. Ray's but didn't average 20 at IS8 instead he averaged over 30.  Deon Merrit won the Rookie of the Year.  The All-Tournament team was Julius Hodge, Andre Barrett, Omar Cook, Andre Sweet and Will McClurkin.
Brooklyn-Albany Challenge
I was at the Brooklyn-Albany Challenge today, and I saw a lot of talent in each game.  The day got started off with the 7th grade game between Brooklyn USA and the Long Island Silver Bullets than the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grade games were all between Brooklyn USA and the Albany City Rocks.
7th grade game:  This game was completely dominated by BK USA, at one point I thought they were going to score 100 points in a 28 minute game on the Silver Bullets, instead they scored 92 and won by 59.  Saiquon Stone and Eugene Harvey played great scoring 17 & 15 respectively, and both showed great skills for their age.  Harvey got a few oohs & aahs out of the crowd with a couple of passes and moves to the basket.  But the game was somewhat tainted by Brooklyn USA's coach showing poor sportsmanship by pressing the whole game despite leading by at least 30 the whole second half.
8th grade game:  Brooklyn USA came in with a loaded roster for their 8th grade team with Sebastian Telfair, James Walker and Abdoulaye Fall, all nationally ranked.  Telfair had a off game but still managed 17 points and 6 assists.  Fall and Walker both had bad games as they scored just 6 and 8 points respectively.  Nobody had double digits for the Albany City Rocks.  BK USA cruised to a 62-45 win despite not playing that good.
9th grade game:  This game was dominated inside by Brooklyn USA's  Kirk Bunn.  Bunn ended the game with 20 and 2 spectacular dunks, Japhet McNeil scored 11 and showed a good perimeter J and of course the passes were there.  Chris Taft play good and had 10 points and double digit rebounds.  Marcel Youngs was the loan bright spot for the Albany City Rocks scoring 13 points.  Brooklyn USA won handily 77-53.
10th grade game:  Chris Taft and Kirk Bunn both played in this game.  But Brooklyn USA was clearly not the better team in this game in the first half, as the Albany City Rocks jumped out to a 44-21 lead at the half.  Albany City got excellent play from Rashawn Freeman (8 points at the half all in the first qtr.) and Anthony Bruin (10 points at the half). Bruin ended with just 13 on 3 fts in the 4th quarter and Freeman ended with 15.  Albany City still led 50-32 going into the 4th quarter but thats when Brooklyn USA woke up goin on a 17-3 run and trailed 53-49 w/3:18 left but could never get the lead and lost 63-59.  Chris Taft scored 10 points in the 4th quarter and had 7 boards in the quarter.
11th grade game:  The game started out in the Rocks advantage ast they pulled out to a 20-11 lead with seconds left in the 1st quarter despite not having their best player, Craig Forth.  But in those last few seconds Sebastian Telfair hit a 3 at the buzzer to pull Brooklyn USA within 6 going into the second quarter.  The Rocks led becuase of dominating inside play Yammi Diene who had 6 points in the quarter.  Brooklyn USA started the 2nd quarter with 5 straight points, and cut the lead to 20-19.  Brooklyn USA kept the game close (trailed 34-33 at the break) in the first half with balance as no player had more than 6 points in the half and a total of nine players scored in the half.  Telfair started the second half with a 3 to give Brooklyn USA a 2 point lead.  Brooklyn USA pulled away in the second half, as their balance proved too much for the Albany City Rocks.  With the winner of the game no longer in doubt it was time for a little show time.  Marcus Snipes attempted to dunk on Tremayne Singletary but Singletary partially blocked the attempt but fouled him in the process.  Snipes would get another chance to dunk and he did when he pulled the ball behind his head and dunked with 2 hands with force.  Yammi Diene had 2 dunks in the final couple of minutes.  Sebastian was not be out done, he put on a little bit of showtime himself with a pass around the head of one of the defenders on the Rocks.  Telfair ended the game with 16 points leading Brooklyn USA and Yammi Diene led the Rocks with 19.  Brooklyn USA won the game 75-60.