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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

adidas-Double Pump Easter Tournament:
First Day Impressions, Part I--(Apr. 6, 2001)

What: adidas-Double Pump doublepumpeaster.jpg (20055 bytes)
"Pump N Run Easter Tournament"
NCAA Certified Event
When: Friday April 6         4:00 p.m.- 8:40 p.m
Saturday, April 7   9:00a.m.-9:50 p.m
Sunday, April 8     9:00 a.m. -3:15 p.m.
Where: CSU Dominguez Hills
1000 E. Victoria
Carson, CA
Lynwood HS
4050 E. Imperial Hwy
Lynwood, CA
Who: 80+ Travel & All-Star Teams

This Double Pump Easter Tournament is larger and for the most part a lot better than any of the other Double Pump tournaments we've covered over the years.  The Easter Tournaments have never been this large, and this is the first time the tournament has covered two venues for three full days.  Actually it's comparable in size and in terms of the talent that showed up to the Best of Summer Tournament.  The bottom line is that with as many teams spread out over two separate locations, there was no way to cover the entire thing, and indeed, we don't even have the complete results from todays' event.  So we really can't even begin to give you a schedule of Saturday's games. . . .About the best we'll be able to do tomorrow is to provide you with updated scoring and results sometime about midday.

But we can provide complete rosters and also give some impressions and thoughts about some of the players we saw tonight.  So here goes. . .. thoughts and impressions first, and complete rosters if we still have the energy to keep typing through the late night and early morning hours. . .

Because we couldn't be at two locations at once, we chose to stay at Cal State Dominguez Hills where there were four courts running side-by-side rather than at Lynwood where there were three courts in full action. . . figuring the odds of seeing more players was improved at the bigger venue. . .and besides, all the teams wil play at least once at Lynwood anyway, so those that played there will be at Dominguez Hills sometime on Saturday.

The first game we watched was one of the first 7 games of the day (it was actually Game No. 2 between the Michigan Hurricanes aka the Michigan Mustangs, and West Coast Stars Black aka the Paladins).

The Mustangs no longer have some of their marquee players but they are still one of the best teams in the country and they have one of the better scoring guards in the junior class, Anthony Roberson (6'-3" Jr. PG) from Saginaw.   Chris Grier's squad also had some serious height as well in Matt Trannon (6'-8" Jr. F) and a huge Walter Waters (6'-9" So. F) from Detroit Southeast.   Others who were all athletic and strong were Maurice Ager (6'-5" Jr. G/F) from Detroit Crockett, Byron Davis (6'-3" So. G) from Detroit Rogers, Olumuyiwa Famutimi (6'-6" So. F) from Flint Northwestern, Dewayne Green (6'-0" So. G) from Christian Faith Center, Dion Harris (6'-4" So. G) from Detroit Redfort, and Brandon Jenkings (6'-4" So. G/F) from Detrait Southeast.   Roberson has definitely matured from last summer, and he's more confident, calmer, more under control and able to take the ball to the rack with more authority and with more grace.  He put a move on Crenshaw's Marcus Williams (6'-2" So. PG) who was predominantly the point for the West Coast Black team that was truly impressive, attacking the glass from the left off the transition, first crossing over and then just rising and gliding to the basket for a lefthanded layup which he could easily have dunked, but didn't.   We're not sure if Roberson is really one of the top 10 point guards in the class, and in fact we're not sure if he's really and truly a "point" but he runs the Michigan offense, and also scores from inside off the drive or outside by pulling up.  He still has lots of work to do in terms of defending and containing his man, but he's grown tremendously from last summer.   We really didn't pay enough attention to the rest of the Hurricanes to really say much of value, because when we weren't watching Roberson we were paying attention to their opponent, the West Coast Stars.

West Coast Stars Black was an interesting team, and it was mostly last year's "Paladins" with a few others thrown in for good measure.   Not everyone on the roster was actually present, but there was still some serious athletic talent in the house, enough to start a world class track team.   Who did what?  Here's what we saw:

Derrick Clark (6'-2" Jr. G) Leuzinger HS-- Last spring, summer and fall, the old Paladins (then the "new" Paladins) coached by Eric Hardin and sporting some really neat uniforms had three principal point guards:   Jason McKinney (5'-10" Jr. PG) who at that time had just left Westchester to transfer to Inglewood,  Michael Jenkins (5'-9" Sr. PG) from St. Francis HS in La Canada, and Derrick Clark, a relatively unknown quantity, who played at Leuzinger HS, and whom we hadn't seen until last year.  But throughout the spring and summer and then in the fall of 2000, Derrick exhibited solid play, a steady hand and good maturity, and he eventually took over the point guard spot and got most of the minutes.  When we heard about the "West Coast Stars" and heard that Derrick would be sharing the point guard spot with Crenshaw's Marcus Williams (6'-2" So. PG), we wondered how the chemistry would work. . . well, it works, but it's a lot different than what we saw last year.  Derrick only sparingly played the point in today's game, and we're not sure this is indicative of how this team will run throughout the rest of the spring and summer, but it's just interesting. . . Derrick, a player who handles the ball really well is now predominantly at the two spot and Marcus, whose real strength is shooting the long range shot (well, that's not fair, because he's got a lot of strengths, and just keeps getting better) mostly handles the offense for the team, bringing the ball up more and distributing to the post men.  Anyway it was interesting seeing these two together at the same time on the floor, and there's no doubt that this year's version of this team, renamed but wearing the same Paladin uniforms, is a smarter and more solid backcourt than last year's model.

Added to the team are several players who are familiar names:  Keion Kindred (6'-3" Jr. G) from Dominguez was there, and once again he too prompts that age old question:  Is he a point guard, a two guard, or the old cop-out description, a "combo" guard?  We don't know but we do know that Keion is probably not a point, but he's the kind of guy who will get recruited because coaches will look at his pedigree at Dominguez, the three State Championships, his athleticism and court sense and say "Well, he's going to make my team better."    And they'd be right.  Keion makes few mistakes and while he doesn't think pass or setting up the post, he's one heck of a player, can shoot the 17' jumper and defends like a madman with strength and quickness.  Richard Cheney (6'-4" Jr. F) from Verbum Dei was listed at 6'-7", but standing next to him and some other players' whose heights are not unknown demonstrated that there's no way he's as tall as listed. . but who are we to quibble.  He played well when he was on the floor, and did some nice things defensively.  Didn't have an all-world game, but then he was in some rarified air (which made us wonder a bit about why Michigan and West Coast had such a tough first round match, but what the heck, almost all the teams in this thing are good, so why not have a blast during the first game). . . .

Steve Moore  (6'-2" ??? G) from Dominguez was also present, and while the program actually listed him as a junior, that's another one of those roaring typos.  Steve, if you will recall, should have technically graduated high school last year, but instead stayed back a year at Dominguez (he didn't play on the team) to complete his high school requirements.   He's not got the same reliable outside shot that he used to have, but he's still got tremendous hops, excellent quickness and dunks like a maniac.  The big issue with him is whether he'll have to do two years at a JUCO or go the prep school route if anyone is offering.    Josh Shipp (6'-3" Fr. G) from Fairfax (at least that's who we think we saw) was also on this team--he was listed on the roster of the "West Coast Stars Blue" team, but they didn't show, and we heard that some of the younger players on that team were actually on other rosters or at other tournaments, so we're guessing that the "Blue" team will be a scratch from the tournament.     Shipp has really good size, and a very nice shot for a young player.   He's got a smooth stroke, and hits the cup with regularity. He was truly a bright spot for this team, smart, great feel for the game, gets out and runs the lanes, nice sense of spacing, in short, knows how to play and will be a big time player just like his older brother.

The two "bigs" on the West Coast All Stars team were two familiar names:  Doug Thomas (6'-9" Sr. F) who was listed in the program as a "prep school" player (even though he's still at Inglewood), and DeAngelo Collins (6'-10" Sr. F) from Inglewood.  In a different era, say thirty years ago, when track and field was still huge, Doug Thomas wouldn't have been a basketball player at all.  He'd be setting world records as a high jumper or triple jump specialist.  But he would not be a basketball player.  Today, he's a basketball player whose game is mostly (read that entirely) around the rim.  Doug is, to quote another sportswriter who was sitting with us during this game, a "human pogo stick" and he dunks, jumps and leaps literally out of the gym, but let's just say he needs to work on developing a reliable jumper.  We don't want to sound too overly critical, but Doug needs to round out his game.  Of course, dunking the ball is worth two points, and if points are of interest, then Thomas can help a team win.  DeAngelo probably has a more well rounded game, can put the ball on the floor and even shoot it a little from out to about three point range. . .and of course he can be a monster on the glass too, just like Doug.  The only unknown with Collins, as with Thomas is whether they will be full qualifiers, GPA-SAT-wise.  With all the talk about high school players going to the NBA these days, and the even more plausible talk about the NBA starting a developmental league, there's more and more talk these days about a player like DeAngelo winding up going that route, but that's just talk . . . and we'd never repeat unsubstantiated rumors. . . .

The West Coast Stars Blue lost the game to the Hurricanes, but only in the final 20 seconds on a needless foul.  Great game with some truly oustanding athletes.

The next game we watched was really quite a blowout, so we won't describe it in great detail.  Suffice it to say that Team dada absolutely demolished a younger and less talented Winnetka Bullets team.  We don't have time for all the player descriptions here, so we'll just list the rosters and say a word or two about some of the players:

Team Dada Winnetka Bullets
Jasha Blunt    6'-4" So. F     Fairfax
Evan Burns    6'-8" Jr.  F    Fairfax
Matt Llewellyn     6'-2" Jr. G    Campbell Hall
Anthony Naylor    6'-4" Prep    Northfield Mt. Herman
Fernando Sampson    6'-2" Jr. G    Fairfax
Ruben Sanchez    6'-0" Sr.     Notre Dame Sherman Oaks
Craig Smith    6'-6" Sr. F    Fairfax
Matt Wallman    6'-6" Sr.     Camarillo
Omar Wilkes    6'-2" So. F    Loyola
Derek Fetty    6'-0" Jr. G     Oakwood
Rene Shabastari    6'-10' Jr. F    Stoneridge Prep
Arik Freeman-Anders    6'-1" Jr. G    Granada Hills
Austin Nicholson    6'-0" So. G    LA Baptist
Charlie Shiebler    6'-2" Sr. G    Crespi
Thang Huynh    5'-7" Jr. G    Granada Hills
Charles Thompson    6'-1" Jr. G    Canoga Park
Chris Chavez    6'-3" Jr. G    Bell Jeff

We've left off the players on each of these rosters who weren't there today, and actually there's not a whole lot to say about what happened except that Dada demolished the Bullets.  Literally and figuratively, by a score of something like 100+ to about 40-something.   Evan Burns was his typically dominant self, dunking, slamming, running the point, playing forward, blocking shots, and doing what you'd expect one of the top players in the country to be doing when he goes up against good players who rarely see his level of competition.  We don't mean to sound unkind about this, but the Winnetka guys where very clearly and demonstrably outmatched, and Evan Burns had a lot of help from a lot of very talented players, including two guys who have already signed, and a couple more who will be making their college decisions shortly.   Craig Smith has already signed with Boston College and he'll be the Beast from the East soon, strong, tough able to put the ball on the floor as well as exert tremendous power in the post for someone who a lot of people said was an "undersized" power forward. . . we'd take him any day.    Matt Llewellyn, after transferring mid-year from Loyola to Campbell Hall seems to be rediscovering his jump shot and quick release, but we'd like to see him do that more often, and we still remember him as one of the most promising jump shooters, able to effectively work off a screen and take the open look and knock it down. . . he hasn't been doing that in the games we saw this season, for whatever reasons, but we'd sure like to see him exploit that as one of his strengths.   Omar Wilkes also showed flashes of his brilliance, making some unbelivably sweet moves in the paint to evade defenders and hit the bucket.  He has that smooth, silky style that was his father's trademark, and a lot of colleges are already drooling and falling all over themselves hoping that this is one Bruin "legacy" who will look their way rather than to Westwood when the time comes, because he's going to be (heck, he already is) a big-time player.   Anthony Naylor is reportedly very close to signing with Army (if it hasn't already happened) and his strength and quickness have improved a lot with the year he's spent at Northfield Mt. Herman Prep.   Ruben Sanchez is still getting a lot of looks from the Patriot Conference and a few assorted Ivies, and Marquette is also reportedly looking at him as a potential trackster, and Ruben will also be playing in the Coca Cola All-American All-Star Game in Las Vegas next month (the game date has been moved we heard tonight).

Anyway, we watched three more games, but we'll do those in another installment. . .  more on the way.

The Swish Award
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