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John Lucas All Star Weekend
By Invitation Only
2nd - 8th Grade Boys and Girls
The Legends Sports Complex
|| March 4, 2016|
March 6, 2016
The All-Star Weekend Tournament showcases teams from all over the country and beyond. It is open to boys & girls of all age divisions, this tournament offers a platform to take your team's skills to the next level.
*The John Lucas All Star Weekend is a Grade base Tournament.
|• Mandatory Coaches check in Friday March 04, 2016 Time: 6:pm - 8:pm|
• Coaches there will be a small hospitality meal on the night of team check in.
• Team and Individual Awards given to 1st and 2nd place teams.
• 3 Game guarantee
• Teams must arrive 45 minutes prior to scheduled game time. (We will start a game 15 minutes early if court is available.)
• Major Media Resources will be in attendance.
*TEAM CONFIRMATION IS NOT CONFIRMED UNTIL PAYMENT IS RECEIVED
Plethora of Great Young Talent Highlights John Lucas All-Star WeekendWritten by: Clark Francis March 9, 2016
Plethora of Great Young Talent Highlights John Lucas All-Star Weekend
Published on March 9, 2016 by Clark Francis
Who do you like better - 6'6 8th Grader Jabari Abdul-Rahim from Granite Bay, CA or 6'7 8th Grader Greg Brown from Carthage, TX? That was the big question we kept asking at the John Lucas All-Star Weekend, which was held over the weekend at the MI-3 Center and Legends Sports Complex in Houston, TX And, in the final analysis, we give Abdul-Rahim the nod after watching him knock down four 3-pointers, finish with 24 points, and make a number of big shots and help his team erase most of an 18-point deficit down stretch in the round of 16 against God First 2020. Abdul-Rahim is a big time athlete with long arms, quick hands and feet, a competitive edge, and the ability to play both inside or outside, thanks to his quickness to the basket, aggressiveness on the boards, good ball handling and passing skills for somebody his size, and ability to knock down the outside shot. He also appears to be a chip off the old block, as is evident by the fact that we're talking the son of Shareef Abdul-Rahim, and it looks like he may be getting ready to flow even more in his father's footsteps with a move in the near future to the Atlanta, GA. Brown' is another one of those guys with a great combination of length, size, and athleticism, but he is really more of a 2/3 than a 3/4 due to the fact that he has such good ball handling and passing skills for somebody his size, has the foot speed and quickness necessary to guard smaller guys out on the perimeter, and he is capable of getting his shot and scoring in a variety of ways.
We also thought it was an extremely close call between 6'8 8th Grader Somfochuckwu Ezedinma from Brashear, TX and 6'5 8th Grader Jay Wilson from Denton, TX for the #3-ranking in this age group. However, the former gets the nod over the latter after watching Ezedinma score 18 points, totally dominate on the boards, and lead his team to a hard fought 62-60 win over NIKE DI Premier in the quarterfinals. He also has a great combination of strength, athleticism, and maturity, is very active around the basket, and is extremely quick to the rim, which makes him a tough match-up for would be defenders. Wilson is more of a slasher than a shooter, but he is extremely athletic, makes a living slashing to the basket and drawing the and-one, and he teamed up with 6'4 8th Grader Donovan Payne from Dallas, TX, who checks in a #6 on our list of the top 8th Graders in this event, to form one of the best one-two punches on a team that advanced all the way into the semi-finals of the tournament. And rounding out our top five-ranked players in the tournament is 6'1 8th Grader Eric Butler from Lakewood, WA. We talking about somebody with big time athleticism, quick hands and feet, great body control, terrific moves to the basket, a knack for always being around the ball, a competitive edge, and a willingness to take the charge and be an excellent defender.
Getting back to Payne, his forte is rebounding, blocking shots, and finishing through contract. But he also has the skills, versatility, and athleticism necessary to out on the perimeter and he even surprised us with his ability to knock down several 3-pointerst. Next on our list is 6'6 8th Grader Cade Cunningham from Arlington, TX, who was the best player on an extremely talented Texas Titans team, and, although he has the versatility to play both inside and outside, he does his best work using his length and athleticism, to score, rebound, and be an intimidating presence around the basket. Ditto that with regard to 6'4 8th Grader Caleb London from Memphis, TN being the best player on Team Thad, which lost to Select One in the quarterfinals, but clearly was the most talented team from top-to-bottom in the tournament. And, although London needs strength and is capable of playing out on the perimeter, he's more of a 4-man right now due to his quickness around the basket, ability to get more than his share of rebounds and knack for being able to score in the post. We also liked 6'6 8th Grader Michah Peavy from San Antonio, TX, who is another multi-dimensional athletic combo forward who needs strength, but impressed us with his ability to run the court, handle and pass, and get after it and block out on the boards. And rounding out the top 10-ranked players in this age group is 6'3 8th Grader Ernie Sanders from Beecher, MI, who makes a living playing above the rim and has a flare for the spectacular with his acrobatic and explosiveneess to the basket. He also has good court vision, is an excellent defender, and can knock down the open 3-point shot.
We also were not as enthralled as a lot of people seemed to be with regard to 6'6 8th Grader Kyree Walker from Oakland, CA. He does have good strength and athleticism and can be a match-up problem when he gets into the paint, battles for rebounds, and scores around the basket. However, he thinks he's a point guard, doesn't shoot it well enough to even keep you honest from out on the perimeter and is older than most of the players in his class, which makes us question his upside and potential. On the other hand, we think 6'3 8th Grader Isaiah LaBlanc from Houston, TX, who is ranked one spot ahead of Walker at #11 on this list, is just oozing with upside and potential. And LeBlanc is pretty good right now, as is evident by the fact that he is extremely athletic, has the ball handling and passing skills necessary to play out on the perimeter, and he knocked down five treys and scored 25 points when we watched his team play against God's First 2020. Next on our list is 6'1 8th Grader Katrell Ramsey from Kansas City, KS and what we liked best about this high energy athletic 2-guard is the fact that he is always around the ball and is great at attacking the basket. And his teammate - 6'4 8th Grader Jaden Moore from Kansas City, MO - was pretty good too. He will need to get bigger and stronger physically, but he is extremely quick and very mobile around the basket and has a knack for finding a way to score and getting it done on the boards. This also is a good place to mention 6'7 8th Grader Kylon Owens from Dallas, TX, who is a long athletic big man runs the court, rebounds and passes out of the post, sets more than his share of picks and screens, and has plenty of upside and room to grow. And the fact that he's young for his class is just an added bonus.
And when we dig a little deeper we find that guys like 5'9 8th Grader Chris Edgehill from Franklin, MA, 6'8 8th Grader Cameron Byers from Baltimore, MD, 6'0 8th Grader Jaylin Lee from Ft. Worth, TX, 6'6 8th Grader Chris Moore from West Memphis, AR, 5'8 8th Grader Robert Soto from Orlando, FL 6'0 8th Grader Tayson Parker from Collierville, TN, 6'6 8th Grader T.J. Finley from Hammond, LA, 5'11 8th Grader D'Andre Davis from Indianapolis, IN, 6'3 8th Grader Karson Stastny from Celina, TX, 6'2 8th Grader Dominique Ellison from Tacoma, WA, and 6'4 8th Grader Keon Edwards from Houston, TX.were all good enough to be ranked among the top 25 players in this age group. Edgehill was one of the best 3-point shooters that we saw all weekend (he had seven treys and 27 points in the Championship Game and he wsa the heart-and-sole of an overachieving New Playaz team that advance all of the way to the Championship Game before finally looking against 67-48 loss against Select One in the title game. Byers is a good old-fashioned big man with good footwork, excellent upper body strength, and the ability to finish through contact and get it done on the boards. Lee is versatile enough to play either guard spot, but what he does best is use his speed and quickness to slash to basket. Soto has excellent ball handling and passing skills and he knows who to us his speed and quickness to make things happen in transition. Parker is more of a slasher than a shooter, but he has big time athleticism and makes a living attacking the basket. What Finley does best is knock down the outside shot. Davis is a skinny athletic 2-guard who likes to stop and pop from mid-range. Stastny is one of of those guys who is like money in the bank when we gets his feet set and we saw him knock down five 3-pointers in the quarterfinals versus Team KC. Ellison has a good combination of upper body strength and athleticism, plus he has great hands, which allows him to be a force to reckoned with on the boards. Edwards offensively is very raw right now, but it's hard not to like his length, athleticism, ability to get done on the boards, and what he likely will evolve into the future.
The HOOP SCOOP's Ranking of the Top 26 8th Graders at the John Lucas All-Star Weekend
1) 6'6 8th Grader Jabari Abdul-Rahim from Granite Bay, CA (Play Hard Play Smart)
2) 6'7 8th Grader Greg Brown from Carthage, TX (NIKE DI Premier)
3) 6'8 8th Grader Somfochuckwu Ezedinma from Brashear, TX (Supreme Court)
4) 6'5 8th Grader Jay Wilson from Denton, TX (Team Texas Shooters)
5) 6'1 8th Grader Eric Butler from Lakewood, WA (Team Blackout)
6) 6'4 8th Grader Donovan Payne from Dallas, TX (Team Texas Shooters)
7) 6'6 8th Grader Cade Cunningham from Arlington, TX (Texas Titans)
8) 6'4 8th Grader Caleb London from Memphis, TN (Team Thad)
9) 6'6 8th Grader Michah Peavy from San Antonio, TX (BMM Elite 2020)
10) 6'3 8th Grader Ernie Sanders from Beecher, MI (Flint's Finest)
11) 6'3 8th Grader Isaiah LaBlanc from Houston, TX (God First 2020)
12) 6'6 8th Grader Kyree Walker from Oakland, CA (God First 2020)
13) 6'1 8th Grader Katrell Ramsey from Kansas Cit, KS (Team KC)
14) 6'4 8th Grader Jaden Moore from Kansas City, MO (Team KC)
15) 6'7 8th Grader Kylon Owens from Dallas, TX (Texas Titans)
16) 5'9 8th Grader Chris Edgehiill from Franklin, MA (New England Playaz)
17) 6'8 8th Grader Cameron Byers from Baltimore, MD (Select One)
18) 6'0 8th Grader Jaylin Lee from Ft. Worth, TX (Supreme Court MWA)
19) 6'6 8th Grader Chris Moore from West Memphis, AR (Team Thad)
20) 5'8 8th Grader Robert Soto from Orlando, FL (Orlando Captains)
21) 6'0 8th Grader Tayson Parker from Collierville, TN (Team Thad)
22) 6'6 8th Grader T.J. Finley from Hammond, LA (Nola-23)
23) 5'11 8th Grader D'Andre Davis from Indianapolis, IN (Indiana Elite)
24) 6'3 8th Grader Karson Stastny from Celina, TX (Texas Titans)
25) 6'2 8th Grader Dominique Ellison from Tacoma, WA (Team Blackout)
26) 6'4 8th Grader Keon Edwards from Houston, TX (Select One)
There also was plenty of talent in the 7th Grade Division at the John Lucas All-Star Weekend and right at the top of the list was 6'0 7th Grader Christopher Hilton from Zachary, LA. We're talking about an athletic 2-guard who is extremely quick in the open court, has a great nose for the ball, and makes a living coming up with more than his share of steals and slashing to the basket. And right behind Hilton is 6'6 7th Grader Jai Smith from Morrisville, NC, who scored 10 points in the championship game and, along with 5'9 7th Grader Taylor Bell from Raleigh, NC and 5'4 7th Grader Terquavion Smith from Greenville, NC, led the Carolina Wolves to a hard fought 59-56 triple overtime win over the West Coast All-Stars in the title game. Smith is listed at 6'4, but he looks closer to 6'6 and this long athletic power forward runs the court extremely well, is very active on the boards, and can be an intimidating presence in the paint. He also totally outplayed 6'10 7th Grader Chucks Lucky from Nashville, TN, who is extremely raw offensively, but runs the court, rebounds, blocks shots, and has the upside and potential necessary to check in at #6 on our List of the Top 7th Graders in this event, when they went head-to-head in the Championship Game. As for Bell and Smith, the former is a prolific scoring 2-guard who knocked down a pair of threes in the championship game and the latter is quick little point guard with good ball handling and passing skills and a knack for being able to penetrate and dish.
There also was 6'6 7th Grader Camden Easley from Orlando, FL, who finished #3 on our list of the top 7th Graders in this event and impressed us with his length, athleticism, and ability to block shots. He will need to get bigger and stronger physically, but he also like the way he ran the court, always keeps his head up, has a good court presence, and is oozing with upside and potential. And, of course, there was 5'11 7th Grader Brandon Perez from Velencia, CA, who picked up where he left off when we last saw him a year ago at the John Lucas Resources Future of the Game-West Camp, where he clearly was the best player, by leading the West Coast All-Stars all the way to the title game. Perez has good combination of skills and athleticism, is a tremendous competitor, and he turned in one of the top individual performances of the entire weekend when he had 28 points in the semi-finals versus Team Teague. Speaking of Team Teague, their best player was 6'5 7th Grader Caleb Thirst from Indianapolis, IN. And what he lacks in terms of quickness and strength, he more than makes up for with his skills and being active around the basket, plus he runs the court extremely well, has excellent post moves, and can face-up and hit the mid-range shot.
There also was 5'10 7th Grader Ricardo Sarmiento from Phoenix, AZ, who competes, defends, and knocked down some big threes against the Carolina Wolves in the Championship Game. We also thought 5'9 7th Grader Jalen Blackmon from Ft. Wayne, IN, who is the younger brother of James Blackmon and Vijay Blackmon, was not as good as the hype until we looked at the scorebook and saw that he had 21 points and four 3-pointers in his team's 79-77 loss in the semi-finals against the Carolina Wolves. He will have to get stronger physically and he might be too smooth for his own good, but it's hard not to like his pedigree and ability to flat out score. And what a difference a couple of weeks has made for 63 7th Grader Jorge Oshea from Los Angles, CA, who was very fluid, mobile, and active around the basket and much more confident than when we saw him just a couple of weeks ago.. We also don't want to forget about 6'1 7th Grader Michael James from Orlando, FL, who is an athletic wing forward with good ball handling and passing skills in the open court and thrives in an up tempo setting.
The HOOP SCOOP's Ranking of the Top 12 7th Graders at the John Lucas All-Star Weekend
1) 6'0 7th Grader Christopher Hilton from Zachary, LA (Louisiana Future)
2) 6'6 7th Grader Jai Smith from Morrisville, NC (Carolina Wolves)
3) 6'6 7th Grader Camden Easley from Orlando, FL (Orlando Team Jayhawks)
4) 5'11 7th Grader Brandon Perez from Velencia, CA (West Coast All-Stars)
5) 6'5 7th Grader Caleb Thirst from Indianapolis, IN (Team Teague)
6) 6'10 7th Grader Chucks Lucky from Nashville, TN (West Coast All-Stars)
7) 5'9 7th Grader Taylor Bell from Raleigh, NC (Carolina Wolves)
8) 5'10 7th Grader Ricardo Sarmiento from Phoenix, AZ (West Coast All-Stars)
9) 5'9 7th Grader Jalen Blackmon from Ft. Wayne, IN (Team Teague)
10) 6'3 7th Grader Jorge Oshea from Los Angles, CA (West Coast All-Stars)
11) 5'4 7th Grader Terquavion Smith from Greenville, NC (Carolina Wolves)
12) 6'1 7th Grader Michael James from Orlando, FL (Orlando Team Jayhawks)
The best individual performance that we saw all weekend was turned in by 5'6 6th Grader Bryce Griggs from Lake Jackson, TX on Saturday afternoon when this prolific scoring athletic combo guard scored 32 points, four 3-pointers, and scored the game winning basket in a game in pool play. On the other hand, this does not come as much of surprise when one remembers that Griggs is the #1-ranked player nationally in the Class of 2022 and he appears to be following in the footsteps of his older brother, D.J. Griggs, who also was one of the top middle school players in the nation back in his day. Amd, of course, there was 5'4 6th Grader Sean "T.J." Haggerty from Houston, TX, who scored 26 of his team's 45 points in a 46-45 loss to Utah Elite in another game in pool play on Saturday morning. We talking about an athletic 2-guard with a good build, which allows him to go strong to the basket, and scorer's mentality, although right now he is more of a slasher than a shooter. Ditto being able to go coast-to-coast with regard to 5'4 6th Grader Sean "T.J." Haggerty from Houston, TX. However, this 5'11 athletic 2-guard also can beat you with his outside shooting and he also impressed us with his ball handling and passing skills and the fact that he is equally adept at either guard spot. Another guy who put up big numbers in this age group was 5'4 6th Grader Keishawn Pulley from Richmond, VA. We're talking about somebody with a great nose for the ball, an excellent understanding of the game, and the ability to flat out shoot the basketball, as is evident by the fact that he had 19 points and five treys when we watched him play. And rounding out our list of top five players in this age group is 6'2 6th Grader Gregg Glenn from Miami, FL, who is a long athletic big man with a soft touch around the basket, a willingness to get after it on the boards, and is active in the post.
We also want to mention some other guys like 6'3 6th Grader Amari Thomas from Wichita, KS, 5'11 6th Grader Dariq Whitehead from Livingston, NJ, 6'3 6th Grader Harrison Alexander from Charlotte, NC, 5'0 6th Grader Freddie Dillione from Fayetteville, NC, 6'6 6th Grader David Clark from Sacramento, CA, 6'3 6th Grader Kevin Garcia from Laredo, TX, and 5'8 6th Grader Brandon Errity from Ridgewood, NJ. Thomas is very athletic, runs the court, and handles the ball pretty well for somebody his size out on the perimeter. However, he also knows what he is, which ia 6'3 power forward whose forte is rebounding, blocking shots, and scoring around the basket. Whitehead also falls into a similar category, as this skinny athletic 4-man has a soft touch on his jump and is capable of playing both inside and outside. But what he does best is use his quickness and athleticism to score around the basket and own the boards. Alexander also is more of a four than a three, thanks to his knack for getting it done on the boards and ability to score around the basket, and out to mid-range. Dillione is more of a slasher than shooter, but we also liked his ball handling and passing skills, nose for the ball, willingness to compete, and the fact that he is a good defender. Clark and Garcia were like Batman and Robin for the Gulf Coast Blue Chip, which knocked off 60 Elite, 62'59 in overtime in the Championship Game of the 6th Grade Division. Clark is an athletic combo forward who isn't afraid to mix up and score inside, but also has s soft touch on his shot when he steps out onto the perimeter. Garcia's game is more finesse than power, but he is quick to the ball, very active around the basket, and he has knack for being able to find ways to score. Errity is like a jack-of-all-trades with a great nose for the ball, a competitive nature, and they ability to ways seem to be able to find a way to score.
The HOOP SCOOP's Ranking of the Top 12 6th Graders at the John Lucas All-Star Weekend
1) 5'6 6th Grader Bryce Griggs from Lake Jackson, TX (Houston Hoops)
2) 5'4 6th Grader Sean "T.J." Haggerty from Houston, TX (T.J. Ford Stars)
3) 5'11 6th Grader Jaden Bradley from Concord, NC (EA GC Ballers)
4) 5'4 6th Grader Keishawn Pulley from Richmond, VA (Team Loaded 2022)
5) 6'2 6th Grader Gregg Glenn from Miami, FL (Nightrydas Elite)
6) 6'3 6th Grader Amari Thomas from Wichita, KS (Kansas Pray & Play Players)
7) 5'11 6th Grader Dariq Whitehead from Livingston, NJ (60 Elite)
8) 6'3 6th Grader Harrison Alexander from Charlotte, NC (EA GC Ballers)
9) 5'0 6th Grader Freddie Dillione from Fayetteville, NC (Carolina Elite)
10) 6'6 6th Grader David Clark from Sacramento, CA (Gulf Coast Blue Chip)
11) 6'3 6th Grader Kevin Garcia from Laredo, TX (Gulf Coast Blue Chip)
12) 5'8 6th Grader Brandon Errity from Ridgewood, NJ (60 Elite)
2016 John Lucas All-Star Weekend - Day 1 6th - 8th Grade RecapWritten by: Nick Milosevich - TOP 100 Talent March 5, 2016
John Lucas All-Star Weekend
Day One 12u-14u Recap
John Lucas All-Star Weekend always brings together some of the nation’s finest young basketball talent, and the 2016 event got started on Saturday with pool play action. The oldest three divsions were held at the MI3 Center, and many of the games were well-played, tight contests that were decided on a few crucial plays.
The morning session was highlighted by the spectacular play of the God First 14u squad, who were led by the nation’s top 2020 player Kyree Walker. The overall court vision and passing ability of Walker cannot be overstated, and his presence on the floor led to a spree of easy baskets for an already loaded God First team. They won their two contests by 35 and 37 points, setting a benchmark for the other 14u squads later in the day. Adam Kanafani also stood out for God First, displaying a versatile offensive game that led to scores from a variety of spots on the court.
Among the other pool winners in the 14u division were Nike D1 Premier, Team Blackout, and Team Thad. D1 Premier was dominant in their two wins, and were led by the post play of 6’7’’ Greg Brown, who displayed terrific ball skills for a player of his size. Team Blackout had to work much harder for their victories, but showed tenacity and toughness and were lead by athletic wing Eric Butler, who flashed an array of skills and a terrific motor. Team Thad used the size of Chris Moore, Rodney Mason, and Markeston Douglas in two punishing wins where the trio dominated the offensive glass.
The game of the day featured the 14u teams of Play Hard Play Smart and Team Texas Shooters. Jabri Abdur-Rahim was sensational for PHPS, attacking the basket, hitting jumpers from the perimeter, and crashing the boards on both ends of the floor. At 6’5’’, Abdur-Rahim is athletic with a long wingspan, and must be considered among the most exciting prospects of the 2020 class. Jay Wilson did his best to answer Abdur-Rahim offensively and got buckets for Team Texas throughout a close contest. Ultimately, Team Texas prevailed in a thrilling double overtime game.
The last team to take the court in the 14u division was perhaps the most dominant squad of the day. In a pool with the talented PHPS and Team Texas squads, Select One dominated both with ease behind the size of Cameron Byers, Caleb Dorsey, and Justin Lewis and the guard play of Zion Harmon and Jordan Toles. After hammering PHPS by more than 30, they defeated Team Texas by double digits in the nightcap. Select One seems to be on a collision course with God First in the 14u final tomorrow, but there certainly will be other squads who have plans on upsetting that matchup.
In the 13u division, one of the most impressive performances of the day came from Jai Smith of the Carolina Wolves in their win over the West Coast Stars. The 6’5’’ post played excellent defense, showed several nice post moves and was especially impressive as a transiton threat. The Wolves went on to win their second game of the day versus SPSA to finish atop their pool. The Orlando Jayhawks also scored two easy wins in the 13u division on Saturday and were led by the tandem of Camden Easley and Ra’heim Sanders. Easley is 6’6’’ and was dominant in the post, while Sanders continually got to the rim from his guard position.
In the evening portion of the 13u division, Team Teague treated the crowd to two blowout wins, led by the phenomenal point guard play of Jalen Blackmon, including 32 points and several memorable assists in their second game. With his outside shot falling, Blackmon was able to penetrate at will and either finish at the rim or find his teammates for easy baskets. Team Teague also has a solid post player in Caleb Furst, who showed excellent energy and nice footwork for a big man in this age division.
The 12u division got off to a dramatic start as leading 2022 prospect Bryce Griggs scored nearly 40 points in consecutive outings to lead the Houston Hoops to narrow wins over Seattle Stars and Pray and Play Players. Much like Kyree Walker in the 14u division, Griggs is simply operating at a different level than his counterparts. In the first game, Griggs showed the ability to shake his defender with a behind-the-back dribble before attacking the rim and finishing with a lefty layin, and used a similar move on the next possession before pulling up and hitting a jumper from the top of the key. Griggs is an outstanding talent but must keep playing at a high level for his Hoops team to advance in the knockout round tomorrow.
In other 12u action, 60 Elite, Utah Elite, and Nightrydas Elite all were undefeated pool play winners. 60 Elite was particularly impressive, coasting to easy victories behind the excellent play of Dariq Whitehead, Kyle Filipowski, and Jayden Lemond. Utah Elite, an undersized squad led by forward Jaxon Kohler, scored an easy first win before a one-point victory over TJ Ford Stars. Nightrydas Elite likewise had one close call and can be a threat moving forward, in large part due to the fantastic post duo of Gregg Glenn and Eric Gurrier.
On Sunday, the teams will compete in the knockout stage of the tournament, and surely this great collection of talent will produce deserving champions at every division of John Lucas All-Star Weekend.
2016 John Lucas All-Star Weekend - Day 2 6th - 8th Grade RecapWritten by: Nick Milosevich - TOP 100 Talent March 6, 2016
ohn Lucas All-Star Weekend
Day Two Article
After an exciting Saturday to open John Lucas All-Star Weekend, Sunday would bring the tournament to a close with the knockout rounds. In the 14u division, the quarterfinals were perhaps the highlight of the event, with the four games being played simultaneously in front of huge crowds lining the courts. Texas Titans, after struggling for much of Saturday, finally found their rhythm thanks to the point guard play of Mike Miles. Miles scored at will and also found teammate Karson Stastny for a couple of long jumpers as they easily defeated Team KC by a final of 64-44.
Team Thad appeared to be in line for an upset victory over Select One, leading by as many as 12 points in the second half behind the superior inside play of Chris Moore. Team Thad was the only team in the tournament who could match Select One’s size in the frontcourt, and Moore outplayed the opposition, making many key plays on the offensive glass. However, point guard Zion Harmon would catch fire late in the second half for Select One, scoring over 20 points in the frame as they got past Team Thad for a 61-57 comeback win.
In a battle of Dallas-based programs, Supreme Court MWA took on D1 Premier in what appeared to be a close contest on paper. Supreme Court dominated the first half, getting great effort inside from big man GG Ezedinma and guard RJ Hampton. Ezedinma is a raw talent whose motor never stops, but went he went down with an injury in the second half, D1 closed the margin. Hampton would make enough plays late as Supreme Court held on for a 61-60 win.
In the biggest upset of the tournament, New England Playaz started off hot against God First and persevered for a hard-fought 64-61 win despite losing the lead on multiple occasions. Chris Edgehill was the talk of the MI3 Center as his fearless playmaking staked Playaz to an early 8-point lead. Kyree Walker did his best work around the rim as God First took control midway through the second half, but a concerted team effort gave Playaz the victory as they made more key plays down the stretch.
Select One used a run to start the second half to defeat Texas Titans in the semis, while New England Playaz got a bye after Supreme Court chose not to play due to minor injuries to several key players. In the 14u final, Select One jumped on the Playaz early behind the dominant post play of Cameron Byers, whose large frame overpowered the Playaz’ smaller front line. Zion Harmon had another solid performance, nailing outside jumpers and delivering several memorable assists. After Select One led by double digits at the half, the Playaz made a run to cut the lead to 7 points before Select One reasserted themselves and won by 19 to take home the 14u title. Select One looked like the favorites from the time they first stepped on the court Saturday evening, and withstood several tough challenges along the way to prove the best team in a loaded 2020 class at John Lucas All-Star Weekend.
The 13u final was a rematch of a pool play game on Saturday morning that pitted Carloina Wolves against West Coast Stars. The Wolves had dominated on Sunday, including a big semifinal win over SA Hardwork in which Jai Smith had an excellent performance on both ends of the floor around the basket. The Stars had come off a fantastic semifinal win over Team Teague in which Tyrone Washington and Ricardo Sarmiento were hot from three-point range. The Wolves won a close game in the first meeting, and the Stars came out hot looking for revenge, building an 8-point lead midway thru the second half. However, the Wolves would storm back and force overtime, and after no scoring in the first overtime period, things got wild at the end of the second. The Stars stole a pass at half court with 5 seconds remaining, and laid the ball in with two seconds on the clock. After a timeout, the Wolves threw the ball the length of the court, and the pass was tipped right to one of their players at the basket for an easy layin at the buzzer. The momentum of that play carried into the third OT period where the Wolves would capture the 13u crown.
The 12u final featured Gulf Coast Blue Chips against a 60 Elite squad who had exceeded expectations all weekend and has several 11 year-olds playing key minutes. GCBC had cruised to easy wins throughout the knockout round, while 60 Elite won in the final seconds over Flight Elite in the quarterfinals before getting a bye to the final after their semifinal opponent had to leave due to travel plans. GCBC would blow open a close game with a 16-0 run to end the first half behind the strong interior play of Kevin Garcia, who would score 29 points in the contest. 60 Elite showed tremendous heart in the second half as Dariq Whitehead led them to a stunning comeback to force overtime. GCBC, who received fantastic guard play from Derrian Ford and Cam Amboree throughout the tournament, would ultimately prevail in OT to take home the 12u title. The atmosphere at the MI3 Center was fantastic all weekend, and John Lucas All-Star Weekend brought out the best in some of the nation’s finest young basketball talent.
2016 John Lucas All-Star Weekend Day One RecapWritten by: Ani Umana March 6, 2016
By Ani Umana
It’s 9:30 a.m on Saturday in the MI3 center and parking in the lot was almost non-existent for me. I finally found one and when I got in the gym, there was talent on each court. This day one recap I will highlight top performers and also talk about the top games I got to see.
Flight Elite out of California were a very fundamental team. Led by guards Jared McCain, Aiden Mahaney and post Jeremiah Dargan, they were able to lead their team to an impressive victory over Nike D1 - Premier. McCain does a good job breaking defenders down and getting into the lane. He also shot 40% from three in his first two games. His problem is that he didn’t finish well in the paint but he had no problem getting inside. Drew Steffe for D1-Premier was impressive. With that team being down a guard and a post, Steffe stepped up and looked to be more aggressive with the ball. Usually he allows the game to come to him which is fine but on Saturday was coming off screens and looking to score knowing his team needed someone to step up. D1-Premier fought hard on Saturday and went 2-1 with a three point win or go home victory that evening. Those players fought and even after the early lost, they bounced back.
I got to really sit down and watch Bryce Griggs play a few games and overall I like his game even more now. Ranked number one for his class in a couple of sites, the big guard has a good touch inside. Griggs has great handles and he worked on getting his teammates involved some. One thing I will point out is that his body language bad when his team was losing in the early morning game and he will worry about the ref’s call (or lack thereof) to effect his play.That’s just basketball and I know he is young but that is a habit that has to end going forward. Nonetheless Griggs is a special talent and I will keep track on how he grows.
Gulf Coast Blue Chips had a tough lost early but I did like what Cam Amboree did on the floor. A true floor general that scores and passes at a high level for his age. Skill wise he has what you want but he seemed a little rattled at the end of that first game which forced his coach to take him out. His shot was looking good although he wasn’t making them like he normally does. The next game against GC Ballers he looked a lot better, being able to get in the lane and finish over the taller defenders. Speaking of GC Ballers I did like what Jordan Marsh did for them. The long guard used his size to disrupt smaller guards on defense and he got in the lane and finished well. His versatility was important on offense and defense.
Amari Thomas for Pray and Play Players was impressive in both games on Saturday as well. the 6’2 big blocked shots at a high rate. I liked how he ran the floor and put pressure on other bigs to sprint back on defense. One he gets more polished offensively he will be a problem.
Before we dive in on players for 2021, I want to give a shout out to the Carolina Wolves on their dominating performance on day one. The long athletic group did were active on both sides of the ball and I loved how they communicated and played well together. Post Jai Smith is about 6’4 and he is strong in transition. He can run the lanes and he can handle the ball some after rebounds.
God First Crusaders 2021 made their debut and went 1-1 on Saturday. PJ Neal was strong on both ends and in transition he had good vision finding his wings of Datcher Griffin and Latrell Neville on the break. He needs to work on his right hand more as he is left-heavy on drives. Even if he shows ability to drive a few times with his right hand he will make defenses have more trouble. Neville has a chance to be very good. He is great athlete and I saw him dunk it a couple times in warmups. He has only really played the game for a couple months, but I do expect improvement the next time I see him. A player to keep an eye on at the 2021 class.
Isitua Chuks for West Coast All Stars has to stand at about 6’8 and he was a handful inside. He is still raw offensively but when he is in his comfortable spots on the floor he was able to create a shot for himself. Defensively he blocks and alters shots well but he had a problem jumping up on pump-fakes which got him in foul trouble especially against the Carolina Wolves. Chuks has potential and a lot of it. Day one I came off impressed with his play.
Lets stay on topic of big 7th graders and Baltimore United/Team Thrill had a 6’7 post in Detwan Montague. Man he was a problem on defense. He has the speed to guard stretch four-men and he also holds in down for his team in the paint. He runs the floor very well and once his IQ for the game gets higher, he will be a force to be reckon with.
Hardwork had a great showing this whole weekend but we will focus on their first day. Langston Love is a play I enjoy watching because he makes the game easy for himself. I like the push dribble he uses to keep defenders at bay before he decides to use an in-and-out dribble or crossover. He was definitely in a rhythm on Saturday.
Calvin Mayo and Harvey Davis was impressive for Team KC. Mayo is the guard that was able to find his way inside a lot of times. He can score well off the dribble with one to two dribble pull-ups and when he did get in the lane he found Mayo for the finish. Mayo does a good job finishing with either hand and also using pump-fakes and up and unders to get points inside. He sometimes shuffles his feet when defenses sent double-teams (Which of course led to travels) but once he is able to look up when a double team is coming, He’ll be a more effective post player.
Julien Simon for Blackout out in Washington DC looked like a man child. A big forward that has underratted passing abilities. He averaged four assists in both games and against Basketball Means More he came up big down the stretch. Oh and he was playing up a grade this weekend. Simon rarely forced the issue and made smart decisions with the ball.
Zion Harmon also played up for Select One who went 2-0 on Saturday. the ultra quick guard also has a good frame to him as well. His jumper off the dribble he gets up great off the floor but his set shot could use more lift as it was short. When he gets in the lane he will make the right choice most times. If there is a lot of help-side defense he will find the man open for the corner three and if there is no help-side defense he just finished the wide open layup.
I talked in the Preview about how I wanted to see Jalen Blackmon play and I wasn’t disappointed. The whole “He has a grown man’s game,” is true. He scored at a high level and he didn’t let pressure rattle him. In a competitive game against God First Crusaders he did a great job managing the floor for his team.
Team Thad came in the building with some big boys and they also could play. Tayson Parker is an explosive guard. He scored in volumes with 4,6 straight points in a row. He also is able to get his teammates involved especially when he drives but I liked how he was able to change his speed when getting pressured. Chris Moore is a problem inside. Built like a varsity basketball player already, Moore uses his size and strength to get good position on the boards. He has a solid mid-range jumper and he can bang inside with any post in the tournament. Parker and Moore were big reasons Team Thad went 2-0 on Saturday.
Mike Miles (Mike Mike is what they call him) stepped up and impressed me a lot. The first tournament he played in this year he struggled some but what I saw from him on the first day was a pure point guard that can take over games. Defensively against Nola 23 he racked four steals in the last three minutes which allowed his team to force the game to overtime. He put the team on his back and led them to a comeback win.
D1-Premier went 2-0 and Kameron Waites has good footwork on the block. the 6’8 post is a problem once he seals his defenders inside. He needs to get more in shape but he is in better shape than before. He uses an array of moves to score down low and defensively when he is discipline he alters many shots. Another top 2020 talent Greg Brown impressed me as well. the 6’7 forward plays with a higher motor than I thought and he was a problem defensively as well. I’m not comparing him to Kevin Durant, but his style of play is Durant-esque. Brown has a ton of potential and can one day be a top five nationally ranked kid. You read it first here!
D1-Premier's first match up against Indiana Elite featured guard Nijel Pack who was on from deep. He made four three pointers and him being a threat from three, opened up drives to the lane. He was forcing shots, once Premier was making their run but overall I was very impressed with him and his ability to be effective inside and out.
God First Crusaders also went 2-0 and Kyree Walker from Cali. played with them. Walker has great vision and he finishes above the rim with force. He is built and plays mature which helped God First. he is 6’4 and a legit point guard but he can do too much with the ball at times and turnover the ball. Adam Kanafani is a player I like a lot. at 6’3 he is long and can shoot the ball from deep very well. He can bring the ball up the floor from time to time and he is a big-time player in my opinion. Isaiah LeBlanc was solid in his second game scoring 15 points. He needs to handle the ball more in pressure and be more decisive with the ball. I like his scoring abilities and he can shoot it from way deep. He just needed to be quicker with the ball but I liked how he came out and competed on both sides of the floor. I thought defensively he was good and discipline when on-ball.
Supreme Court got first in their pool with the two wins and RJ Hampton had a solid showing on Saturday. He worked on getting his teammates involved first before finding his points and I like that he has the ability to do that and have the team win. He sometimes gets careless with the ball but most young point guards do anyways. Somtochuckwu Ezedima (GG for short) is a monster on the boards. Anytime a shot went up, Ezedima had his hands on it. I didn’t keep up with his rebounds but I know he had to average about 12 rebounds on Saturday and probably more to be honest. His motor is phenomenal and he is a prospect that people need to take a look at.
Team Texas Shooters had a great win against Play Hard Play Smarter that went to double overtime. KJ Pruitt took over late in the game with seven points and five assists in the two overtimes plus the last two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter. This tournament was a chance for me to see how good Pruitt is and he showed me. He still over dribbles in possessions but he has progressed as a point guard since I last seen him. Misiel Teklai is becoming one of my favorite guards to watch. Against the speedy backcourt of Select One, Teklai handled their ball pressure and got into the lane and finished. Although Team Texas came short against Select One, Teklai showed that against press-heavy, quick teams he can be the answer keep his team in games.
Cameron Byars and Justin Lewis were too much inside for Team Texas. Byars has a great frame and he knows how to use it. He looks more athletic since the last time I have seen him in May, and that helped him get shots over the towers TT had inside. Lewis is about 6’8 and he can do a little bit of everything on the court. Dribble, shoot, post-up, Lewis is a versatile forward that creates mismatches for his team. Select One went 2-0 on Saturday as well and they looked like the most impressive team in their division.
John Lucas All-Star Weekend Day Two RecapWritten by: Ani Umana March 9, 2016
John Lucas All Star Weekend Day 2
Championship Sunday consisted of some highly anticipated and close games. When bracket play came around, the intensity heated up and emotions were high.
Lets start with 2022 and Austin Nunez of Hardwork. He has gotten better every time I see him and he is such a threat from the perimeter that it allows his teammates opportunities to score. His IQ is high on offense and his ability to find the roll man on picks and to dribble out of presses was good to see.
Bryce Griggs had a solid showing as well although his team lost earlier than expected. Griggs had to lead the team or be top three in multiple categories this weekend. He was a do it all guard.
Harrison Alexander for GC Ballers is long and athletic. He is versatile on offense and defense which allowed him to play different spots on the floor and still be effective. I liked how he played on Saturday, but on Sunday he was being smarter with the ball and was crashing the boards better.
For Pray and Play, Adriel Smith impressed me on Sunday. The guard loves to push the ball and that makes defenders have to think quicker than usual. Off pick and rolls he was effective coming off and scoring inside or when help-side defense came he found the post on the opposite side. I like that he pushes the ball but sometimes he forces it and tries to go 1 on 2 or 3 when the smartest thing to do is just back it out and have the coach call the play.
Dariq Whitehead for 60 Elite help lead his team to the championship game. On Sunday he was aggressive with the ball and looked to initiate contact on drives. I was impressed by his performance against Flight Elite. For Flight Elite was again impressed by Jared McCain and his ability to create shots for himself. He is quick with the ball and he did a better job finishing around the rim with floaters. I think what hurt him on Saturday was he was trying to attempt layups on the bigger defenders, but on Sunday I saw him shooting floaters before the post-man heavily commits.
D1-Premier lost a close one on Sunday and Markiest Sykes’s motor was on display. I have talked about Sykes in the past and what I like about him is that even if he doesn’t know what’s going on or if a play breaks down, he finds a way to make a play for his team. When Drew Steffe came off away-screens he was able to get his feet set and score. Steffe playing like this showed me what he is really capable of doing. Isaiah Foster was performed at a high level as well. The guard is strong with the ball and found his teammates in transition. Defintley showed why he is a top nationally ranked kid in his class.
Kevin Garcia and Cam Amboree led their Gulf Coast Blue Chips group to the championship. After going 1-1 on Saturday, they bounced back on Sunday and went undefeated in bracket play. Garcia is a big post with good footwork. He can shoot from 10-12 feet and he can finish with contact well. He is slow still and you can tell he is just growing with his body but I like what he brings to the table now. Amboree did a better job at the end of games and he scored when his team called upon him to and created opportunities for teammates in transition. A job well done for Amboree.
Team Teague has a guard/post combo that I really like to see with Jalen Blackmon and Caleb Furst. It was hard to guard their pick and roll/pop action because if teams tried to traps Blackmon, he found Furst open, and if teams didn’t hedge, Blackmon found his way in the lane or was open for three. Furst plays with a high motor and he can come out to the top of the key and make a play. Blackmon in my opinion was the top player in the 2021 division.
West Coast All Stars were led by Tyrone Washington, who is tough to handle in the open court. Against God First Crusaders, he was able to be effective, regardless of the different defenses and matchups thrown at him. Brandon Perez did a solid job finding his points in transition and on offensive rebounds. He also handled the ball some and created shots for Washington. Isitua Chuks displayed his athleticism and he ran the floor well. He has a good motor but when he is tired he can become a liability due to fatigue. The main scorer Ricardo Sarmiento was on fire in the offensive end. He scored 30 points against Team Teague and his ability to shoot from deep and run the lanes in transition allowed him to gain open looks. God First on Sunday was competitive against that West Coast group and for a first tournament, there isn’t too much a coach can ask for. Chris Felix looked good on Sunday. He can shoot the ball at a high level but he showed that he can drive and be effective off the dribble.
Hardwork made it to the Semifinals on Sunday and they were in some tight games. Against Orlando Jayhawks, The trio of guards of Langston Love, Coleton Benson and Chance Felix came to play. Benson can handle the ball some and I think I underrated that aspect of his game. I like that he gives Felix and Love breaks and is able to run point guard from time to time. Felix is quick and I like that he knows when to become aggressive and score. Even when he needs to be aggressive, he knows that doesn’t necessarily mean to get his own shot but to create attention and sometimes find others for open looks.
Ballers Select Dimitrios Stragalinos is as explosive of an offensive player than there is. He was shooting the ball from anywhere on the floor. Yes his shot selection is questionable but when he is on, There MAYBE (that is a strong maybe) a few that can slow him down.
Raheim Sanders of Orlando Jayhawks is so scrappy and makes plays. He is tough and he loves to initiate contact on drives. He plays with a high motor and that allows him to score at a high rate. Sanders was the leader of his team against Hardwork in their overtime lost. He can tighten his handle more but Sanders a good prospect for 2021.
Louisiana Heat Elite had a solid showing this weekend. Darius Dawson and Raeland Johnson impressed me with their motor. Johnson locks down on defense and makes it tough opposing guards to bring the ball up the floor. Dawson is a forward that excels most in transition and he had most of his points from fast breaks.Louisiana Heat as a whole are very scrappy and I will keep track of them in the future.
2021 Duncan Powell played at a high level this weekend for Basketball Means More (BMM). His perimeter game has gotten a lot better and his inside game is strong as well. He has a strong fadaway on his post-ups on the left block and he is a one move and go type of player and he get’s inside easily.
Carolina Wolves came out victorious with a win against West Coast All Stars. Jai Smith plays with such a high motor that it helps his teammates play harder. Smith isn’t the most skilled but he knows how to finish inside and rebound which is important. He outworked opposing bigs he went against and that allowed him to be productive at the end of games when most players on the court are tired.
BMM did not have a strong showing on Sunday but I did want to point out how I was impressed by the play of Caleb Lohner on Saturday. Lohner is a 6’4 guard that is a good shooter off the catch. Against Team Blackout he was making threes coming off of transition. Micah Peavy came to play for BMM this weekend and he was solid. His shot looked like it has gotten better some, but he just needs to work on his in-between game or show it more. He is a problem when he is attacking the rim but defenses that know him, back off from him and force him to shoot.His form isn’t bad at all like I said earlier but he needs to make defenders play. Peavy physically is what you want from a guard but I feel that there is an extra gear he can go that can make him more of a serious threat for opponents.
Shout out to New England Playas. I’ll be honest I didn’t get a chance to get any of their players names but I did love how organized and disciplined they played. The coaching staff did a great job in their win vs God First Crusaders and got to the championship game this weekend. Excellent effort from top to bottom.
Back at it
God First Crusaders although suffered an early lost, They played well this weekend. Breon Thompson on Sunday is a versatile forward. Standing at about 6’5-6’6, he is still raw but I like that he can do a little bit of everything. He has potential. Isaiah LeBlanc had a strong game against New England Playas and he showed he has great range on his jumper. I would like to see him handle the ball more under pressure but in the half court setting he excelled the most this weekend.
Eric Butler for Blackout has potential as a guard. He is 6’3 and he has a take over mentality. He is aggressive with the ball and drives in the paint most times but he has a solid shot from the perimeter. Defensively he is aggressive and he is capable blocking shots from help-side defense.
Supreme Court were in two highly anticipated matchups on Sunday. RJ Hampton against Team Texas kept the lead for his team every time Team Texas made a run. Hampton can score the ball at a very high level and can handle pressure very well. His decision making needs to get better but overall, Hampton is the real deal and everybody that watched him knew that.. God Gift can be a very special player. His effort on the boards was tremendous again on Sunday and he outplayed any post that was guarding him. He has a nice jumper as well and once he has the confidence to shoot it, he will be hard to contain. He reminds me of a younger version of Frank Agunanne. Jaylin Posey also was big time and this was his first big staged tournament to participate in. At 6’ and a very long wingspan, Posey showcased his strong handles and finishing abilities. He has a lot of potential and is a sleeper in the Texas 2020 class. Arthur Kalumi is a 6’5 forward and I thought he was a 2020 player but he is actually 2021. He is a player that has a good frame, can shoot, handle the ball well although he didn’t show it much this weekend. Kalumi name may blow up this summer if he continues to play at a high level.
Team Texas’s Kade Anderson did a better job against Supreme Court. He scored well inside and he handled the pressure from the guards. His shot looks improved but he just needs to consistently keep his guide hand straight and have his follow through straight. He made a few threes this weekend I believe and I was happy that he is starting to shoot it. Jay Wilson gave God Gift fits on defense because he was able to score from the perimeter. Wilson has been working on his game a lot and I can tell. From being a 5-man to now becoming a 3/ 4 man and able to create off the dribble took his game to another level. Wilson now needs to work on his jumper more but his perimeter play improved vastly and that was good to see.
D1-Premier suffered a lost to Supreme Court 61-60 but they had a good show this tournament. Greg Brown did not do well at first against Supreme Court but in the second half he came alive with 17 points. He used step backs and crossovers to create shots for himself. Brown against BMM had two dunks and one he dunked on two defenders. I liked what Anthony Scott did on both ends of the floor. Scott averaged four steals on Sunday and offensively he scored on layups because he racked steals that allowed him to score in transition. He is getting better coming off screens and his IQ has gotten higher.
Texas Titans did a good job this weekend, playing in the semifinals. Against Select One Mike Miles played strong against Zion Harmon. He played him tight three-quarters of the court at times and offensively he scored well off the dribble and was finding his shooters that were coming out of off ball screens. Tyler McGhie has a nice game. I viewed him as more of just a shooter but he can do more. He can handle the ball some and he can score off the dribble. He was one of the reasons Titans stayed in the game. I liked what Kylon Owens did on the block on Sunday, especially against Team KC. He has a solid right handed hook shot and he showed counter moves on the block. He still looked a little robotic but he has came a long way.
Jabri Abdul-Rahim for Play Hard Play Smarter is a 6’6 guard/forward that has a strong mid-range game. His shot from three point range is still in works but on Sunday he showed that he can score from 12-15 ft range. He is more comfortable taking it inside and scoring in the paint. I like the potential of Abdul-Rahim, and he had a quietly effective performance this weekend.
Nola-23’s Antonio Warren was strong on Sunday. I like his length and the guard does a good job being patient with the ball. He can be aggressive and score inside. He also likes to get his teammates involved as well. I don’t know what position to label him but he can play some point guard, two-guard and his height at 6’3 allows him to play small forward as well.
Select One won the whole thing and Jordan Toles displayed his athleticism and perimeter game. Toles is a highly touted 2020 player and his jumpshot is solid. He can work on being stronger with his left hand but he is a high level player regardless. Toles defensively is strong off-ball and on the ball. He has his hands in the crossover lane and gets steals. Zion Harmon does a good job managing the game. He makes shots when other teams make runs during games. Against the Titans, every time they got close or tied the game against Select One, Harmon made a play to get his team up again. Cameron Byars had a strong championship game and I believe he had 27-29 points I believe against New England Playas.
Other Notable Sunday Performers
Karson Stastny SG - Texas Titans 2020
Brandon Lawrence PG - BMM 2020
Stayve Thomas Jr. CF - God First Crusaders 2020
DJ Stewart PG - God First Crusaders 2020
Rondel Walker PG - D1-Premier 2020
Vincent Rockwell SG - D1-Premier 2020
William McClendon PG - Play Hard Play Smarter 2020
Samuel Curtis PG - Select One 2021
Bijan Cortez PG - USA Elite 2022
Tobias Rolland SF - USA Elite 2022
Isaiah Mayo PG - Team KC 2022
Croix Cox G - D1-Premier 2022