Hoopin' in the Heartland
Top teams coast to championships in Bloomington tournament.
As is the case with most high-caliber travel tournaments, there is never a shortage of storylines and this weekend at the Adidas May Classic was no different.
The Wisconsin Playground Warriors faced little resistance during bracket play and rolled to a 17U title behind the consistent effort of UNC-bound guard, J.P. Tokoto. In the 16U bracket, the Eric Gordon All-Stars were saved at the bell by guard Zak Irvin's buzzer-beater in the semifinals against the BA Hoyas and stormed past a worn out Louisville Magic team to take home the tournament trophy.
Though they were bounced in the quarterfinals, the 17U SYF Players featured the highly recruited forward/center Mitch McGary down low and Michigan commitment, Glenn Robinson III, on the perimeter. McGary displayed his versatility all weekend by knocking down jumpers from the perimeter, running the floor, finishing on the break with ease, and by regularly altering shots on the defensive end. Robinson looked noticeably more comfortable on the perimeter than he did last year.
D3 Pride's Gary Harris was superb all weekend despite playing on an injured left ankle. At 6-4, Harris took great care of the ball, scored at will against a bevy of defenders and demonstrated a deft passing ability. He also erupted for an efficient 35 points against Tokoto's Wisconsin Playground Warriors.
Notes and Quotes from Bloomington:
- Combo guard Junior Lomomba had a weekend off with his Michigan-based EYBL squad, The Family, so he suited up for the Wisconsin Force instead. The Force lost in the second round, but Lomomba showcased a strong pick-and-roll game as he hit teammates when they were open and scored when necessary. "The pick-and-roll game is something that I'm trying to add to my game, and coming here I was able to play the 1-position," said Lomomba. "That was huge for me...just playing my game, trying to get my teammates involved, and just being a leader out there."
- Eric Gordon All-Stars' Colin Hartman on team's psyche heading into 16U final: "We just came out ready. We were all in a good mood, and didn't have to get on each other to get everybody going. If we continue to play like that, we'll be pretty hard to beat."
- Wisconsin Playground Warriors' J.P. Tokoto on winning the 17U championship: "Early on in the game we came out and put a run on them. Actually, a few runs and they couldn't hold us in the post or on the outside. We just came out with the gas on full blast and that's what we've been doing all tournament. We were expecting a championship game type of game - real close - but we'll take it."
- After going down with an ankle injury in the quarterfinals, Wisconsin Playground Warriors' forward Sam Dekker was forced to watch his team's final two games from the sidelines, including the championship victory. "I thought I was playing pretty well; that's the worst part about going down with an injury," Dekker stated. "Your team's doing well plus you're playing well. I felt I could do whatever I wanted out there. I was hitting shots from the outside and taking it to the hoop. I was just getting out in the open floor and doing what I do well and I was comfortable on the court this weekend, so it's a shame I had to go down."