Tomorrow is the last day of the AAU Nationals in Orlando but today is the last day for me. To say that I am burnt out would be a major understatement. I enjoy watching basketball as much as the next guy, but anything gets old after awhile and to be away from family and friends all summer only adds to the anticipation of seeing it all come to an end. With my whining out of the way, we’ll get to the juicy stuff, which isn’t all that juicy to be honest. Today I was able to watch the quarter- and semi-finals with Adreian Payne and Doron Lamb and also the consolation games of Kyrie Irving, Stacey Poole, Fab Melo and Damien Leonard. Here’s the updates:
– The NY Gauchos took on the Houston Hoops, Hal Pastner’s AAU organization, and Doron Lamb’s scoring abilities took over. The guards of Houston Hoops were a bit undersized for Doron and he took advantage, scoring 26 points. Other than knocking down shots, Doron’s main highlight was a floater in the lane where he hung in the air and adjusted under two defenders while finishing high off the glass.
– The All-Ohio Red team of Adreian Payne, Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft and Juwan Staten didn’t have the easiest time with Youth Interlock Society. YIS had a couple good guards, Andre Strickland and Maurice Nelson. Maurice is the younger brother of Jameer but isn’t built much like his brother. Maurice seems to have gotten more length while Jameer obviously ate his spinach but didn’t get the height gene. Payne had a great put back dunk and was constantly looking to advance the ball in transition. Payne remains a little raw offensively but his athleticism and length make him a great prospect. If he does land at UK, don’t expect a major offensive impact right away if he doesn’t further develop his offensive game. He’ll score the majority of his points in transition and on put backs. In the end, All-Ohio was a little too much for a fiesty YIS team and advanced to the semifinals to meet the Gauchos.
– The semifinals between the Gauchos and All-Ohio remained close for a time but the guards from Ohio started penetrating late and dishing down low to Payne and Sullinger for easy finishes. Lamb had a couple drives and finishes but wasn’t the same scorer that he was against the Houston Hoops. What was a tie ball game in the third quarter, ended in an easy All-Ohio victory. All-Ohio will face Boo Williams tomorrow at 1 pm in the 17U championship. If All-Ohio was to win, which should be no easy task against the loaded Boo roster, it would mean that teams from Ohio have won the 15s, 16s and 17s national titles.
– Kyrie Irving played a consolation game against Stacey Poole’s Jacksonville Lee Bulls. Irving seemed to have ran out of gas and his NJ Roadrunners were eliminated. Damien Leonard and Fab Melo’s Florida Rams moved on to the next round of play in the consolation bracket. Melo sat out the match and may not play anymore. No word on what the exact problem was, although he didn’t seem to be hurt or anything along those lines. Word on the street is that his final decision will come next week. Billy Donovan and assistants from Louisville, Syracuse and Miami were at the game today. Damien Leonard still hasn’t shown me the knock down shooting that he is reported to have. He did show some spot on passing and good handles in transition. Leonard, who is a two but could grow into a three at the next level, loves to lead the break or finish it off with a lay in. He constantly has his eyes down the floor, looking for a way to move the ball forward.
So, that’s all for the AAU coverage this summer. Of course, I’ll stick around to keep you guys updated on the recruiting scene but you won’t get any more trips out of me unless it involves laying on the beach and absolutely zero reporting. The Nike Global Games, which is an invite camp and are not AAU related, are coming up and I’ll provide a little “coverage from afar” for that as well. With the evaluation period over, now comes the fun part…getting the commitments.