ARDSLEY, NY - Saturday the 17u Basketbull Summer Championships saw many Division 1 coaches come out to catch the action.
A good number of D1 prospects were on hand hoping to lead their AAU teams to victory. It truly was an exciting day with some high level teams advancing to Sundays quarterfinals. Here is a recap of the Saturday action in Ardsley.
Some of the top teams from all along the Northeast came in for Basketbull's live period event at House of Sports, and NY will be well represented with 3 of 8 teams hailing from here.
One team advancing to Sundays quarters is the Juice All-Stars. With Isaiah Whitehead (Abraham Lincoln '14) in attendance, college coaches flocked to watch him play. Their first game of the day was against LYNX from Montreal. Whitehead was there at the start, but supporting cast members Desi Rodriguez (Abraham Lincoln '14) and A.J. Williams (Abraham Lincoln '14) were a bit late. It was a tight game with half of Juice there to start, but once the full team, minus Elijah Davis (Abraham Lincoln '14) who is with New Heights in Indiana this weekend, arrived, they took it to their Canadian opponents. Whitehead was able to easily get to the basket, but it was Rodriguez and Elisha Boone (Abraham Lincoln '14) who really stood out with their ability to attack and finish inside as they led Juice to the easy 20 point win.
Their 2nd game seemed more difficult against Middlesex Magic of Massachusetts. Middlesex had height, something Juice didn't have a ton of. Early on Juice really seemed to be loosing the loose ball fights, and the rebounds, as Middlesex seemed to have control of the paint. Whitehead also want sharp in the early going, and while Juice led 23-22 at the half, it wasn't the dominant performance many were expecting.
That all changed in the 2nd half. Whitehead flat out went off. He showed his array if skills during a stretch where he scored on 5 straight trips down the floor, each time showing off a difference offensive skill set to score. He took it inside, hit on a floater in the lane, connected on a catch and shoot from 12 feet, he scored off the dribble off glass, and then he punctuated things with a step back three off the dribble with two hands in his face. He had 23 in the 2nd half, putting on a show in front of at least 15 Division 1 schools leading Juice to Sundays quarters by taking down Middlesex, 61-43.
The 2nd local to advance to the quarters was the Westchester Hawks. Against Team Boston Elite in their 1st game, Samuel Dingba (Salisbury School, CT '14) was a load to contain in the paint as he really showed off his length in controlling the glass and rising above defenders for baskets at the rim. K.J. Lee (Salisbury School, CT '14) also shined. At 6'4" he was a matchup nightmare putting the ball on the floor and going left to finish, while also showing he is talented enough to recognize when to create for others. The coasted in game one, and game two, against the B.C. Eagles, which most observers expected to be a tight game, was another blowout.
Westchester jumped out early behind the play of Dalique Mingo (Putnam Science Academy, CT '14) as he was a playmaker in every sense of the word, running the floor well, pushing tempo, while also showing ate ability to stop and pop from the outside with an improved perimeter jumper. Danny Upchurch (Putnam Science Academy, CT '14) was another perimeter threat who was able to show good foot speed on getting inside and finishing. Joey Zayer (Clarkstown South '14) was a valuable defender and perimeter threat as well. They largely contained B.C. big man Calvin Crawford (St. Thomas More, CT '14) who was really only effective stepping out. Aaron Ray (Middletown '15) was for the most part, the only scoring threat B.C. had, and even he struggled in the 2nd half, as Westchester opened up a 7 point game at the half, and won by 25.
The 3rd and final local team to make the quarters was The City (Black). This is the main The City team, and while they coasted in the 2nd to a 30 point win over the CT Northstars, they had a rough go of it in their opening game against L.O.X. of Massachusetts. They were down for much of the half and L.O.X. pushed tempo, and surprisingly, The City struggled to keep up. Mustafa Jones (Cardinal Hayes '14) was a bright spot on the glass early on, and Fordham commit Eric Paschall (Dobbs Ferry '15) was an athletic dynamo finishing high above the rim. The athleticism did start to wear down L.O.X., and when The City needed a big play late, it was Wolfgang Novogratz (Poly Prep '16) who stepped up and made the big pass to a cutting Paschall for the eventual game winner to see The City win it 68-67.
The quarterfinals tomorrow morning feature 4 excellent games. Maine MAC takes on USAD from Connecticut in one quarter. Another pits the Rhode Island Hawks against CBC in a game that is sure to draw lots of college coaches. Juice faces off with the Rhode Island Hawks 2015 team, and 2 locals square off with The City (Black) taking on the Westchester Hawks.
By the end of Sunday a deserving champion will be crowned as the Basketbull Summer Championship should be an excellent place to be.
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