Adidas Invitational Thursday Update
The highly competitive field is living up to the hype.
Day two of the July evaluation period is in the books and once again Shabazz Muhammad was the talk of the gym at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 6'6" combo guard was nothing short of spectacular in leading his Dream Vision squad to a 77-64 statement win over Connecticut Basketball Club. "He's the best player I have ever played with, hands down," stated Dream Vision forward Winston Shepard after the game. Normally a statement like that might not be out of the ordinary, considering Muhammad is widely considered the top player on the AAU circuit, however, in this case the quote holds weight considering Shepard's former teammates at Findlay Prep include current Texas PG Myck Kabongo and recent NBA first round picks Tristan Thompson (Cavs) and Cory Joseph (Spurs).
- Shabazz Muhammad, Dream Vision - What more can be said about the kid that hasn't already been said. Shabazz has been drawing favorable comparisons to fellow lefty and current Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden at the same age. Muhammad scored 29 points in Dream Vision's win over CBC, including five crowd-pleasing dunks. When asked how many dunks he had in the three combined pool play games, Muhammad estimated "about twenty."
- Andre Drummond, Connecticut Basketball Club - Though he failed to lead his team to victory against Dream Vision, Drummond showed flashes of why many consider him the top prospect in America. Drummond struggled to get into a rhythm offensively, but was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end and was tenacious on the glass. He finished with 19 points, 6 blocks, and 4 steals, including a few blocks and dunks that had jaws on the floor around the gym. His immense impact on the game was on display when he sat out the final five minutes of the first half, allowing the Dream Vision guards to attack the rim relentlessly, throwing down 5 dunks in that span that ended up putting Dream Vision in the lead for good.
- Perry Ellis, Kansas City Pray and Play - After failing to post a win in the first day of action, it was clear from the start of the game that Ellis did not intend to let his team drop three in a row. With Kentucky coach John Calapari sitting front and center, Ellis came out aggressive from the jump and didn't slow down. He had 32 points in Pray and Play's 83-62 victory over the Las Vegas Prospects, including a number of impressive dunks in traffic.
- Ronnie Johnson and DJ Balentine, Eric Gordon All-Stars- The backcourt duo was phenomenal in leading their crew to two big wins today, and made a serious case for Eric Gordon All-Stars to crack the top 25 of the next 17u rankings. In their 91-73 romping of the Nashville Celtics, Ronnie Johnson (Committed to Purdue) led the way with 21 points, and Balentine added 18. Their second game of the day was their toughest, as they were scheduled to face the No. 5 Houston Defenders and their superstar backcourt tandem of twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison. In a game that was extremely physical and highly competitive throughout, Johnson and Balentine had 18 and 17 points respectively in leading EG to a 93-89 upset win.
- Gabe York, Compton Magic - One of the most exciting players to watch on the AAU circuit, the high flying 6-1 highlight reel will be doing a lot more than just dunking this July. In a 70-59 win over Team Redemption York had 23 points, and he added 20 more in the Magic's close loss to the Michigan Mustangs.
- Chris Harrison-Docks, Michigan Mustangs - Butler head coach Brad Stevens had to be excited watching his future floor general perform brilliantly over the past two days. The 6' point guard who looks every bit a Butler man is super quick, makes great decisions, controls the tempo of the game, and can shoot the lights out from deep. Docks led the Mustangs with 20 points in their 87-82 defeat of the Compton Magic. He was arguably more impressive in their comeback win over Illinois Old School, a game in which Docks was matched up with the equally smart and almost as effective Michael Orris, a recent Creighton de-commit.
- John Papale, New England Playaz - The SG from Wallingford, Connecticut was absolutely lights out from deep in the No. 17 New England Playaz 71-57 win over the Riverside Hawks. The 6-3 class of 2012 prospect poured in 20 points, including six three-pointers. He may not look intimidating, weighing in at just over 160 lbs, but after this impressive display it's easy to see why schools such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Fairfield, and Fordham are hot on his trail.
Top 25 action:
- The No. 19 Atlanta Celtics were the dominant force in day one of the Adidas Invitational as they took down No. 11 CBC and #6 Dream Vision, making them the only super pool team with a 2-0 record. Their final obstacle in finishing pool play undefeated was No. 15 Indiana Elite. The home state squad proved to be much more than the boys from the ATL could handle. Indiana Hoosier commits Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Perea led Elite with 18 and 15 points respectively, en route to a 72-60 win for the Elite. Atlanta Celtics big man Shaq Goodwin, a force to be reckoned with in day one action, was held to just 9 points.
- Dream Vision SG/SF Shabazz Muhammad was not shy today in expressing his desire to get another crack at the Atlanta Celtics. Dream Vision lost to the Celtics yesterday afternoon, but after watching them fall to an Indiana Elite squad that he recently torched for 39 points, Muhammad was clearly itching to play them again. Muhammad told Fivestarbasketball.com that of every AAU team in the nation, the Celitcs is the one that he cannot wait to play down the road this July, and he promised that the outcome would be much different the second time around.
- The highest ranked team in the field, the No. 5 Houston Defenders, were upset by Eric Gordon Elite 93-89 despite 23 points from Aaron Harrison. The game was marred by a whopping 9 technical fouls called by some whistle-happy refs.
- After a stellar first day, No. 23 New Orleans Elite couldn't keep their momentum going as they fell to the Devin Harris Superstars 67-64. PG Javan Felix posted 24 points in the loss.
News and Notes:
One of the most intriguing players of the day was Compton Magic power forward Arik Armstead, a double-double machine who posted 20 points against the Michigan Mustangs. The college coaches in the gym would all surely love to have him on their squad, but there is only a small chance that Armstead ends up playing even one college game. That's because he recently committed to play football for Lane Kiffin at the University of Southern California; Armstead ranks as one of the top 5 defensive end prospects in America. USC basketball coach Kevin O'Neill hasn't given up hope that the 6'7" 270 pound beast will play both sports. O'Neill has made it clear that he would be delighted to have Armstead on his team as a two-sport college athlete.