May 3, 2008

MSU Commitment Sherman, Strong at Spiece

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Michigan State commitment Garrick Sherman got off to an impressive start in game one of pool play at the Spiece Run 'N Slam All-Star Classic, Friday.

Sherman, a 6-foot-10 post player who committed to Michigan State in March, posted 24 points and 17 rebounds for Columbus Basketball Club in a 76-68 victory over the Peoria Irish, at the Hutzell Center Gymnasium on the campus of St. Francis University

Pool play continues Saturday morning at the Spiece Fieldhouse and 11 other venues in Fort Wayne.

If Sherman's team wins one of their two early-day games on Saturday, they will advance to the 32-team knockout round, with those games being played at the Spiece Fieldhouse. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be played on Sunday.

The Columbus Basketball Club is not a favorite to make it to Sunday, but Sherman showed many of the skills that made him a favorite of the Spartan coaching staff.

Sherman showed the ability to score with either hand, and quickness to the rim with drop step moves in either direction. The right-handed Sherman scored his first field goal with a lefty jump hook.

His next shot, a miss, was perhaps even more impressive in the way he was able to use his ample wingspan to get good extension on a lefty flip from about four feet. The shot rolled off the rim, but his mechanics were excellent with this shot attempt from his off hand.

"I've been working on the left hand a lot," said Sherman, who will be a senior at Kenton (Ohio) High School in the fall. "When I was younger, I used to only have a right hand and then I realized you can't have that, you have to be able to go both ways fluently. So I've been working on my left hand on a lot."

Sherman was 11-of-18 from the field, with four blocked shots and three assists.

Sherman does his best work on the low block, but he showed he had the goods to answer pressure defense when facing the basket from the top of the key. He attacked the pressure with a ball fake and left-handed drive, finishing with a right-handed finger roll to give his team a 27-15 lead.

Sherman says ball handling is the area of his game that has improved the most since March.

"I'm a lot more comfortable with the ball in my hands now" he said. "I don't panic with it. When I was younger, I used to panic and get antsy with it. I take my time now and I'm comfortable with it."

His patience was evident against Peoria's diamond-and-one press. When Sherman's teammates were successful in getting the ball to him in the middle of the floor, he routinely made the next pass look easy and automatic.

He was also effective with a handful of high-low and duck-in passes from the foul line area to teammates, makings reads quickly and efficiently.

"I like to be out in open spaces and use my passing skills," Sherman said. "That's one of the things in my game that I'm pretty proud of, just passing."

His patient passing skills were on display on one play midway through the second half when he got a steal and then led a 2-on-1 break. He slowed up on his dribble to let his left wing get ahead of him and then he fed him with a nice bounce pass for a lay-up to help stave off a Peoria comeback and give Columbus a 61-55 lead.

Sherman's best move of the night came early in the second half when he got the ball on the right block and went to work with two strong shuffle dribbles to his left-shoulder side into the middle of the lane. Then he quickly countered back to his right-shoulder side with a forceful drop step and two-handed power lay-up to make it 48-35.

He had a height advantage of two inches on one of the Peoria players who tried to guard him, and four inches on the other.

"We didn't do a good job of doubling down on him inside," said Peoria coach Jim Rochford, whose team advanced to the round of 16 in last year's Big Event tournament in Las Vegas in the 16-and-under bracket. "He (Sherman) is too hard for one guy to handle on our team. He's tough. I mean inside, he's a challenge."

NIX SCORED 18 IN FAMILY WIN

  • In other action, The Family defeated the Wisconsin Blizzard, 68-59 behind 18 points and 17 rebounds from Michigan State commitment Derrick Nix. SpartanMag.com will more on that game, later.




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