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Summer Hoops 02'


/Big Apple Sports All-Star Summer Classic @ F.I.T.

    I spent Wednesday night at FIT, to check out the RSB/Big Apple Sports All-Star Summer Classic. These games are more about what individual players can do, more than it is about which team won. The player who improved his stock the most was 6'4 SF Brian Laing. Laing showed a much improved jumpshot by scoring virtually all of his points outside of 15 feet. Laing who played the power forward position at St. Ray's this past season definitely opened up the eyes of the many college coaches who were attendance, with his 17 points and several blocks that drew reactions from the crowd. The player who I thought played the best was 6'2 PG Ramel Bradley. Bradley scored 20 points but also got his teammates involved. He used an excellent stepback jumper to make a few of his shots. One of Bradley's teammates in this game, 6'5 SG Gary Forbes, had a subpar game despite his 16 points.  Forbes struggled a little with his outside shot, but still showed why many high major coaches are after him. Two players that met in the PSAL championship game this year played well, 5'10 PG Gary Ervin and 6'6 SF Karron Clarke. Ervin scored a game high 22 points while Clarke was the second high man with 21. Ervin showed off his much improved perimeter jumper, and as always got to the basket at will, and was a fixture at the free throw line. Clarke showed off the entrie arsenal, he dunked, scored off put backs and hit a couple of threes. Other players who played well in the game were 6'6 SF Gavin Grant, who despite a bad back looked like he could be finally living up to his potential, 6'1 PG Kojo Mensah, and 6'6 SF Oumar Sylla. Mensah showed the ablity to break down a defense and get others the ball in positions they can score, and showed off great athleticism. Sylla showed me why many think Valparaiso could be getting a steal. Sylla hit several outside jumpers, and showed off a decent handle. 6'2 G Curtis Stinson didn't play too well by his standards but showed many doubters that he can hit the outside shot, by knocking down two threes en route to scoring 12 points. 
    As for the game the White team (Gary Ervin, Karron Clarke, Brian Laing, Gavin Grant and Justin Marshall among others) won 113-108 over the Green team (Ramel Bradley, Gary Forbes, Konimba Diarra, Curtis Stinson and Oumar Sylla among others). The Green team led by about 20 at one point in the first half, but the second half play of Gary Ervin and Karrno Clarke brought the White team all they way back. 

7/15 & 7/16
Bronx Hoops Fest @ St. Raymond HS

    The last two days I spent some time at the Bronx Hoops Fest at St. Raymond High School. The marquee game on the 15th was between St. Ray's and Xaverian. Well this game turned into a blowout real quick and never changed. The final score of this game 78-42, with St. Ray's reppin on their home court. But there were two bright spots for Xaverian, 6'9 PF Chris Taft and 6'3 PG Saiqoun Stone. Taft showed the usual inside game but he also showed the ability to take smaller men of the dribble. He also made a 17 foot pull up in his man's face. Taft may end up being a 3 on the next level and beyond if he continues to work on his handle and his outside jumper. There is no reason why Saiqoun should not be starting. After watching him yesterday it is obvious he may be one of the 5 best point guards in the CHSAA. He easily took his man off the dribble constantly and even made a move in the lane that got the whole crowds attention. He scored about 12 points on just 7 shots. I would expect come mid-late January Stone will be starting. On the St. Raymond side of things, the Ravens got good signs from 5'9 PG Daon Merritt and 6'6 SF Gavin Grant. Grant who is a wing player is forced to play the center for the Ravens, but he showed his versatility on Monday. He hit a couple of 3's which is going to be needed if St. Ray's is going to be succesful next year. But most importantly he held his own on the boards against Taft. Merritt was looking to pass first which is a great sign for the team as well as himself. Merritt who was known as a scorer coming into St. Ray's will need to look pass first if he wants to perform well in a big time conference. He also hit 2 3's which is something he really struggled with at ABCD. 6'2 SG Tariq Atkins also played well, as he grabbed a couple of offensive boards and finshed very well in the lane and hit any open shot he got. St. Ray's also got good signs from a couple of their younger players, 6'3 SG Ricky Torress who will add another perimeter threat, and because of his athleticism he should be able to help St. Ray's on the boards. 5'9 PG Harry Cadell also played well. "Lil Rick" plays very hard and has a lot of heart, he won't back down from anybody. But since St. Ray's already has about 4 point guards on varsity I don't think there will be room for him next year when the season starts. 
    6'1 PG Ramel Bradley almost single handily brought Park West to victory over Rice. When he wasn't scoring he was setting his teammates up for easy shots. Ramel gets overshadowed by Sebastian Telfair with the Juice All-Stars and most people have never seen him run the point, but Ramel can run the point brilliantly. As much as he can score he may actually think pass first. Whether it be the simple pass or the flashy pass you can bet it's going to find it's target. He scored about 20 points and probably had 9 or 10 assists. But at the end of this game the size down low was just too much for Park West. 7'3 Shagari Alleyne and 6'6 Arturo Dubois both had about 20 for the Rice Raiders. Dubois got most of his points early and Alleyne got most of his late. But Rice was missing their two best guards 6'2 combo guard Russell Robinson and 6'3 SG Weymni Efejuko, which really effected them throughout this game. 
    Today I only saw one game the St. Raymond vs. CBA game. This was a pretty good up until the last few minutes of the 4th quarter when St. Ray's pulled away to win by 11. St. Ray's got good play from Daon Merritt 6'4 SG Louie McCroskey, Tariq Atkins and 6'5 PF Chris Bethel. McCroskey showed the ability to run the point, and he did a good job. It looks like he may play the point when Merritt is taking a breather during the season. Merritt and Atkins continued to show what they showed against Xaverian. Bethel who is going to be a Sophomore next year will be a great addition to the varsity team. He plays very strong and finishes down low and will grab plenty of boards for the undersized Ravens. I thought I was going to see Chris Taft and Shagari Alleyne go head to head but Taft was not at the game, so I left about 4 minutes into the game. 


By Keith Mason- I went up to UDC hoping to see the Panthers play the Guachos in a junior division game, but the Gauchos had a lot of their players away at camp so some schedule tweaking was done, and the Panthers played MDP, who is SONDAY Express's B team.The Panthers were without big man Antonio Pena, and it really hurt them. Their inside play was not good all game long, as they had plenty of missed layups and missed passes. The Panthers received good guard play from 5'9 PG Vic Morris and 5'10 PG Dwayne Johnson but it was not enough to make up for the loss of Pena. MDP won the game, behind solid play from 6'2 SG Akeem Gooding. MDP also played a very tough zone defense that created a lot of turnovers and led to a lot of transition points. 
    In another Junior division game, Wake-Eden took on Rockland. This was a good game throughout. But Wake-Eden threatened to put the game away as they built a 10 point lead late in the 3rd quarter. But behind timely 3 pointers and fast break buckets they were able to build a 66-60 lead with less then a minute left. That is when 6'3 SG Gary Graham hit a 3 from the corner to cut the lead in half. Wake-Eden's press would force a Rockland turnover. But on the ensuing possession 5'9 PG penetrated the lane and threw a bounce pass out of bounds with under 10 seconds left, which put the game away. Rockland would win the game by the final of 66-63. 


By Keith Mason-   Today I made my first of many trips up to UDC this summer. The biggest surprise of the day was that 6'7 C Curtis Kelly who is headed to 9th grade next year, is very good. I had never seen him before today, saw I thought he was another one of those tall guys who can't really play, all I can say is I'm glad I was wrong. The kid has a lot of talent and skill. He can put the ball on the floor and find the open man, and he is also athletic, something that seperates him from a lot of the young big men in the city. But I think because of his slim build and his ability to put the ball on the floor he will be a wing player by the time he graduates high school. He finished the game with 17 including a lot of boards and a couple of dunks. His teammate 5'9 PG Edgar Sosa also played very well. The Choz beat Rockland 59-42 in the Midget division. 
    In a Junior division game, the Long Island Panthers took on Dyckman.. The Panthers came in with two of the best rising Sophomores in the city, 5'9 PG Victor Morris and 6'6 C Antonio Pena. Vic showed me today that he might be the best player in the class. He has an excellent handle, he can shoot, and he is very unselfiish. Because of his unselfishness he has the ability to be an excellent point guard who can score. Antonio Pena was the game's leading scorer but looked like he could've had a lot more. He has the potential to become a star, but right now he looks like he doesn't have the desire to be a star. If he develops that desire to be the best, skies the limit for him, becuase he already has a solid frame and has a nice touch out to 15 feet. The Panthers endured a close contest and pulled away in the 4th. 5'9 PG Kevin Spann also played well for the Panthers as he scored 15. 
    The College division game was a very good game between Next Level and SONDAY Express. SONDAY got off to a great start pulling out to a 32-11 lead. After that Next Level would go on a run led by their star 5'10 G Kinglsey "Bulla" Edwards who scored 25 in the game including 13 in a 41-20 run to close out the first half that tied the game. But in the second half SONDAY's size and strength inside would take over. 6'1 PF Danny Artest dominated the low post scoring 21 points and grabbing about 15 boards. Also playing well for SONDAY was 5'10 PG Antwan Dobie, who picked apart the Next Level defense, and either scored himself or set up his teammates for baskets. Turnovers killed Next Level, as they suffered from poor point guard play. They were also done in by their inability to get defensive rebounds. The final score of the game 106-93.