NEW YORK, NY - Sunday was a good day for basketball junkies at Baruch College. The Jim Couch Super 16 games took place and featured some of the top freshman and sophomore high school players.
More importantly, the two games confirmed that the upcoming 2015 and 2016 class has a bright future.
Gibbs leads Red Team freshmen to victory, 84-74
The first game consisted of top freshmen and the away team took an early lead and kept it throughout. 6'8" center Ira Bennett from Greater Emmanuel Academy (Durham, NC) put his wide body to good use in the paint to help anchor the Red Team.
Point guard Bryce Aiken and 6'2" guard Ryan Murphy from Fairfield Prep (CT) kept the White in the hunt but with an aerial attack. Temple Gibbs and 5'11" sharpshooter Ty Jerome (Iona Prep) would also let fly from the perimeter and at the half, the Red Team maintained a 27-22 lead.
In the second half, the Red Team would attack the rim as Gibbs and 6'1" Devonte Green from St. Mary's (NY) slashed and scored. Murphy and Unique McLean countered offensively for the White Team. 6'9" Kassoum Yakwe from Our Savior New American (NY) pitched in as well defensively with his shot blocking skills.
That would not be enough as the combination of penetration by the Red Team's guard along with Jerome's 3rd, 4th and 5th three-pointers in the second half would seal a double digit win in an exciting game.
Gibbs earned MVP honors with 21 points for the Red Team. Green and Jerome contributed 20 points and 17 points respectively. Murphy took the Sportsmanship award for the White team with 23 points. McLean added 19 points and Yakwe, 14 points.
Highly touted 7'0" freshman Thon Maker was unable to play in the game due to Louisiana rules that don't allow high school players to participate in 5-on-5 all-star games once the regular season has begun.
Bryant takes over; Purple Sophomore Team wins, 90-88
The sophomore game ended up being more of a Sophomore/freshmen game due to a shortage of sophs. It was nonetheless entertaining.
It would be an up-tempo game as two sport star Kejuan Johnson and Jamar Ergas hit the ground running for the White team. Thomas Bryant would also show his skills at finishing off the catch near the rim as well as in transition. Thomas was the motor for the Purple Team but 6'3" Aaron Ray (Middletown HS, NY) and Unique McLean were the gas, gaving them a slight 54-50 at the half.
The game stayed close throughout the third quarter and throughout most of the fourth as a mano y mano emerged between Thomas and Cheick Diallo, egged on by the M.C.
The two big men put on a show, scoring on and blocking each other but as everyone's attention was averted up high, the White team took a lead as 5'10" PG Cheyenne Nettleton from Holy Cross HS (NY) nailed some hard fought buckets.
With 3:19 left to play 6'4" forward Chancellor Ellis from St. Andrews Prep in Rhode Island would knot the game at 80 for the Purple Team with a 3-ball. The Purple team would fall behind again by a bucket and Ellis would encore his performance with another trifecta with 3 seconds left. It would be enough give the Purple team the win.
Bryant took MVP honor scoring a game high 23 points for the Purple Team. Ellis added 18 points and Ray, 14 points. The Sportsmanship award went to Johnson who led the White Team. Nettleton pitched in with 16 points while Ergos contributed 14 points.