The AMC overall was a great experience. Even though one of the players I was most excited to see, Dominique Ferguson, started out rough, there was still a lot of talented kids and a few great matchups. The highlight of my tournament was the game that pitted the Spiece Indy Heat against the SYF Players. Spiece’s roster includes Marquis Teague, Deshaun Thomas, and Russell Byrd, while SYF has UK recruits Jesse Berry and Dominique Ferguson.
Ferguson began the game defensively on Russell Byrd. He was noticeable aggressive but played Byrd a little too close far out and allowed Byrd to get around him for a quick layup. On the next few trips down the floor, he sagged off Byrd until Byrd was more within his shooting range and completely locked him down, leaving Byrd frustrated. He was eventually taken off of Byrd to allow a lesser defender to assume the role as Byrd’s frustration had taken him out of the game offensively. Ferguson played like himself on offense and although his shot remained short he found other ways to score. When he decides to crash the boards, play aggressively and use his length he can be very efficient on the offensive end.
Deshaun Thomas, meanwhile, was an absolute beast. He bodied defenders out of the way down low, cleaned up the glass, and stepped outside to knock down three after three after three. Even when a longer defender like Ferguson got a hand in his face he was completely money. When his outside shot is falling he is scary good…like…I felt like I was watching an NBA forward type of good.
If you read my earlier post about Jesse Berry, then you heard me say that he could be two different players. This game Berry showed the version that seemed content to take only outside shots. Although his threes were falling, he seems a little too one dimensional when he plays in this style and you’re left wanting more out of him because you get the feeling there is more in there somewhere. On defense he was matched up with Marquis Teague, whose explosiveness really reminds me of John Wall a lot. Berry absolutely could not stay in front of Marquis, allowing him to get to the rim any time he wanted to. Down 9 toward the end of the game, the Spiece team isolated Berry and Teague and Teague absolutely dominated taking the ball to the rim to score or quickly dishing out the assist.
The game was close throughout and was tied up at half. SYF seemed to have the better all around squad and about 5 more players available to give rests to the starters which allowed SYF to win in the end 69-60. Thomas finished with 27, Teague with 21, Ferguson 18, Berry 16, and a frustrated Byrd with only 5.
Here’s some other quick notes from the day:
– Teague and Carlino‘s battle from earlier in the day was won by Teague’s Spiece Team. Teague was his same quick self. Carlino flashed his nifty passing abilities which seemed to be his strongest point at the AMC. Teague came away impressed, calling Carlino a great floor general.
– Watched another game of Vinny Zollo and Jeremiah Davis. Davis is a prototypical floor general as well but can score when he needs too. He has a good outside shot and isn’t as quick as a Marquis Teague but has a knack for finding the right lane and exploding down it. Davis isn’t necessarily a Calipari-esque point guard, but he will be a good team leader in college. I could see what Gillispie saw in him and came away thinking he would have been a great addition to that type of offense. Zollo isn’t the most athletic player on the floor by any means but he makes himself into a valuable team player by sticking to fundamentals and making the smart play.
– I got to see Ray McCallum Jr. a couple times and I really enjoy his game. He’s sneaky getting open, has a great outside shot, and keeps himself between his man and the basket on D with good footwork. I’m not going to go into too much on McCallum now because I plan on doing a profile for him later in the week. The kid’s very likeable and I’m sure that he’ll be a fan favorite whereever he ends up.
Expect a little more on some of the featured players from the tournament through the week. I’m also gonna try to squeeze in a cool personal story of mine about John Calipari. For now I’m gonna lay down on the couch and get some much needed rest from a whirlwind weekend. I was talking to Evan Daniels from Scout.com today and I was saying how much I enjoyed this stuff and he agreed and then we both said, at the same time, “it’s really tiring though.” It was just the perfect little cute memory that I needed to put a bow on a perfect weekend and I will cherish it til the end of time neat.