Adidas Invitational News and Notes
July Live-Period begins with top talent in Indianapolis
The July evaluation period is now officially underway; starting a month long marathon of AAU basketball that promises to be action packed from start to finish. Day one of the July period was spectacular at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, Indiana. A number of the nation's elite prospects put on a show with a number of major college coaches in attendance. The day’s highlights included some down to the wire games between top ranked teams in the "super pool." In addition one particularly brilliant performance by a young man on a mission for the title of consensus top player on the AAU circuit.
News and Notes:
- There has been a lot of debate to decide who the top prospect in the class of 2012 is. Dream Vision shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad made a strong push to solidify his spot at the top of the class with a string of dominant performances throughout the spring. He didn't waste any time showing that he intends to ride that momentum throughout July as well. Shabazz was nothing short of brilliant; scoring 39 points, including 22 in the second half leading his No. 6 Dream Vision squad back from a 16 point deficit against 15th-ranked Indiana Elite with a final score of 80-73.
- The other super pool game of the morning session included 11th-ranked Connecticut Basketball Club against the No. 19 Atlanta Celtics. The Celtics overcame a dominant first half showing by CBC C Andre Drummond to pull off a 72-69 win. Drummond is considered by some to be the top player on the AAU circuit. However, he didn't do anything to dispel his reputation for inconsistency as failed to carry his team down the stretch.
- Later in the day it felt like de ja vu for Drummond, as he virtually disappeared in the final three minutes of CBC's loss to Indiana Elite. The game was close until the end; but the nail in the coffin was an incredible dunk by Indiana Elite and future Indiana Hoosier big man Hanner Parea, sending the home state crowd into an absolute frenzy.
- Parea’s fellow Indiana-commits Jeremy Hollowell and Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell were nothing short of brilliant in the fourth quarter, each hitting a pair of clutch shots in the last few minutes that sealed the win for Indy Elite, ensuring their squad didn't start out the AAU season with two straight losses. As with almost all of Indiana Elite's AAU games played in the midwest, there was a hoard of Indiana Hoosier fans on hand to cheer on their future stars.
- Indiana Elite also has a new addition to their roster, 6-9 Xavier committed forward James Farr from Evanston, Illinois will be running with them throughout the live period. Xavier head coach Chris Mack was on hand to watch the future Musketeer in action.
- The Atlanta Celtics were undoubtedly the most impressive team of the day. They followed up their morning win over CBC with an 88-83 victory over Dream Vision. The Celtics, who include Dwight Howard as one of their many NBA alumni, managed to push their super pool record to 2-0, despite having to overcome some very hot shooting from the entire DreamVision squad throughout all four quarters.
- Atlanta Celtics 6-9 PFd Shaquille Goodwin was the a man on a mission throughout the game: dominating the glass, getting to the free-throw line, protecting the paint, and displaying some impressive offensive moves around the basket. UCLA-committed wing Jordan Adams was also phenomenal for the Celtics while his future coach Ben Howland looked on from the stands. Adams knocked down big shot after big shot on offense and put down the clamp on defense. This ensured that Shabazz Muhammad didn't have a repeat of his morning heroics.
- Without the Celtics dominating performances, the most impressive team of the day would have been the 5th ranked Houston Defenders, led by super twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison and a collection of impressive athletes. The Defenders started off the day with momentum, building a 30-point lead over the Nashville Celtics before halftime and cruised to the easy win. The Harrison twins came out with swagger and confidence, toying with the opposition at times and scoring at will off the dribble. Both twins are 6-5 guards who are amongst the elite prospects in America within the class of 2013.
- The first few minutes of the Defenders second game was much of the same. They built an early 20-5 lead on a very talented DC Assault squad that looked extremely frustrated and confused. Their dominance didn't last all game as DC Assault fought back valiantly behind their star point guard Nate Britt. Britt showed toughness and grit, making the game close down to the final minutes, before falling just short. The Defenders earned every bit of their 65-64 win, in a game that saw multiple technical fouls with a whole lot of trash talking and physical play. Andrew Harrison was the game's leading scorer with 18 points.
- Wherever Perry Ellis goes he tends to draw a crowd. The 6-8 forward from Kansas City Pray and Play managed to attract some particularly impressive onlookers on day one of the July evaluation period. Despite losing their first game of the day by a large margin to the 23rd ranked New Orleans Elite, Ellis busted out for a double double against Devin Harris Super Stars His performance included five thunderous dunks in traffic. The impressive list of spectators on hand to watch Ellis included Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), John Calipari (Kentucky), Bill Self (Kansas), and Josh Pastner (Memphis).
- Despite Perry's dominance, Pray and Play could not manage to pull out the win. 6-10 Milwaukee native Phillip Nolan scored from all over the floor, leading Devin Harris Superstars to victory. Look for Nolan's name to come up frequently in discussing the top available high major big men during the July evaluation period.
- Many of the spectators for the Houston Hoopstars vs. St. Louis Gateway matchup expected to get a glimpse of the dominance often expected from the five star Texas committed big man Cameron Ridley. However it was Ryan Rosburg from Chesterfield, Missouri who dominated the game. The crafty 6-9 big man played admirable defense against the physically imposing Ridley; keeping him in foul trouble for much of the game, making him a non-factor at times. On the offensive end, Rosburg displayed some Kevin McHale-esque post moves, showing why Missouri, Tennessee, Missouri State, and Southern Illinois have made him a recruiting priority this July.
- After dropping a close one to the D Rose All-Stars in the morning session, it looked like Ohio Basketball Club had their first win of July in the closing minutes against KC Pump N Run. Craig Nicholson had other plans. The 5-11 combo guard executed those plans brilliantly. With time expiring and KC down two, Nicholson drove strong to the hoop, earning the basket. He went on to sink the free throw giving Pump N Run the 78-77 win. “I have hit three (game winners) before, so guess you could say I was confident," said Nicholson. When asked what it takes for a player to come through in the clutch consistently he replied, "It's all about heart…"
- Head coaches in attendance included but were not limited to: John Calapari (Kentucky), Josh Pastner (Memphis), Roy Williams (North Carolina), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Rick Pitino (Louisville), Ben Howland (UCLA), Jim Calhoun (UConn), Bob Huggins (West Virginia), Thad Matta (Ohio State), Lorenzo Romar (Washington), Bill Self (Kansas), Rick Barnes (Texas), Matt Painter (Purdue), Bill Carmody (Northwestern), Craig Robinson (Oregon State), Sean Miller (Arizona), Chris Mack (Xavier), John Thompson III (Georgetown), Tom Crean (Indiana), Steve Alford (New Mexico), Kevin O'Neill (USC), Johnny Dawkins (Stanford), Steve Lavin (St. John's), Scott Drew (Baylor), Mark Gottfried (NC State), Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt), Andy Kennedy (Mississippi), Mick Cronin (Cincinnati), Tommy Amaker (Harvard), Jay Wright (Villanova), Ryan Marks (Texas Pan-American), Cuonzo Martin (Tennessee), Porter Moser (Loyola), Dana Altman (Oregon), Tim Floyd (UTEP), Brad Stevens (Butler), Steve Fisher (San Diego State), and Buzz Williams (Marquette).