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June 16, 2008

Rumble in the Bronx: Sunday

BRONX, N.Y. -- The earth has finally stopped shaking on Sunday afternoon at the Rumble in the Bronx as the New York Gauchos held off a flurry of literal and figurative punches at this year's event en route to the title.

CHAMPIONS CROWNED

The New York Gauchos had to hold of a near brawl and a sucker punch in the semi-finals to advance to the title game against the in-city rivals New York Panthers for the title game.

And winning the Rumble in the Bronx wouldn't be easy either. The Panthers had just as much momentum (maybe more) than the Gauchos entering the title game but it was too much Durand Scott, Dan Jennings and Doron Lamb in the end.

The Gauchos turned up the heat in an already unbearably hot gym at Fordham University in the second half and won the event 76-63.

Scott was outstanding in the championship game, scoring 14 points (4-10 FG), grabbed eight rebounds and had eight assists. The Rivals150 guard had an assist on five straight baskets in a 10-0 run that closed the game out.

Scott's starting to find more and more confidence in his perimeter game, evident by a beautiful step back three pointer over the arm of defender in the first half. He used a similar move in each of his games and tapped into his athleticism more than usual.

Overall, Scott's weekend was one of the best of any player in the event.

Scott didn't do everything on his own. Big man Dan Jennings enjoyed his best game of the tournament, scoring 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had six important blocks down the stretch.

The powerfully built big man was a monster on the glass and was unmatched in the paint on the defensive end. His play in the second half (10 points and all six blocks came in the final 16 minutes) was the difference maker.

Lamb was incredibly efficient, thanks in large part to the play of Scott and his terrific passing. Lamb scored 16 points and only missed three shots in the win.

STAR POWER

Kevin Parrom put on a show on Sunday for the New York Panthers. The Rivals150 prospect scored 20 points (8-18 FG) and grabbed 16 rebounds in the defeat. He was the most dominant player on the floor in the first half, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the first 16 minutes of action.

In fact, there wasn't a better player in the tournament all day on Sunday. He was just as impressive against the Miami Tropics in the semi-finals.

Parrom's ability to make more of the tougher shots over the easier shots is mind-boggling. He can drill three-pointers over defenders but would struggle with chip shots right at the cup. Nevertheless, his hustle and grit was the difference-maker in his success.

Parrom proved to be one of the toughest players to defend in the tournament and seemed to mash the pedal harder deeper into the tournament than at the start of the event. Parrom, who is headed to South Kent (Conn.) this fall, is solidifying himself as a full-time wing. He certainly proved that with his play on the wing. Parrom shot the ball well, handled the basketball with little trouble and passed it like he knew what he was doing.

His strength on the wing and overall physical presence was an unguardable trait in each of his games.

There are some that have touted him as the second best player in New York City only behind Lance Stephenson and after his great performance at the Rumble, the argument has legs and could very well be on point.

Against the Miami Tropics, the 6-foot-6 forward drilled three three-pointers in an 18-point first half. He finished with 26 points in the semi-final win.

Rising sophomore Sterling Gibbs was a second half sensation for the second time in the weekend for the Panthers. The class of 2011 guard scored all 14 of his points in the second half and was the top guard on his team down the stretch.

HI, MY NAME IS...

The L.A. Dream Team won the silver division thanks in large part to the play of point guard Antonio Bigalow, a prep school guard from Sound Doctrine (Ga.).

In fact, Biggalow was one of the top point guards in the tournament field. The 6-foot California native was quick with the ball and slippery to the basket. His craftiness and ability to get to the rim at will caused headaches for just about every team in the tournament field that the Dream Team played.

The Miami Tropics gave the New York Panthers a run for their money in the semi-final game thanks to the play of Emari Bailey and Torelyn Fitzpatrick.

Bailey, a rangy 6-foot-6 forward from Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, scored an impressive 21 points for the Tropics. His play, particularly on the wing, was outstanding and fearless. The class of 2009 prospect was one of the nice surprises on the final day and should be a prospect for the mid level programs to keep a close watch on.

Fitzpatrick, a bruising 6-foot-7 forward from the class of 2009, was a monster on the glass and just too big for the Panthers to handle in the post. Like Bailey, the mid-level programs will want to continue to stay on top of him in July.

Mid-major coaches will want to trail the Martin Brothers team in July because of the depth of players on it's roster. Nate Hutcheson, a 6-foot-5 wing from Linn Marr (Iowa), was an eye-catcher in a tough loss. He showed off his bounce, which surprised some sitting courtside, and his perimeter touch. The class of 2009 was one of the better shooters we saw over the course of the weekend. Toledo, St. Louis and Albany have offered scholarships to date.

NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD

  • Sunday's championship round was marred by an altercation between the Juice All-Stars and the New York Gauchos. The Gauchos were given the victory because they were up when the game was cancelled after a punch was thrown by Juice big man James Padgett.

  • Renardo Sidney, who resembles Derek Caracter more and more, would give a flash of brilliance here and there over the weekend.

    The five-star big man didn't exactly play like he downed some energy drink prior to any of his games. Skill level will never be a question mark with the 6-foot-10, 270-pound big man. Effort, or a lack thereof, is.

    The New York basketball fans are the Simon Cowells of the basketball world. They are blunt and honest. And the buzz with Sidney is that they wanted to see more. A lot more. That has been the theme with the talented big man all spring. July is the biggest stage in the country. It will be interesting to see what player shows up then.

  • Georgia Tech picked up a commitment over the weekend from Playaz wing Brian Oliver, who was one of the top players at his position over the weekend. Oliver's rebounding ability is a nice separating skill from the rest of the wing forwards in the 2009 class.


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