Texas is getting a point guard that can really pressure the ball. Daniel Gibson's on the ball defense was smothering. He not only took away penetration, but made it extremely difficult for the World team to even initiate its offense. Gibson also recorded 2 assists to no turnovers, 2 steals, and 5 rebounds. He was a very physical presence during his 14 minutes on the floor.
Hard working big men, Mike Williams and D.J. White, had a strong rebounding effort as well. The both had 4 offensive rebounds along with 1 defensive rebound. Williams played 16 minutes while White played 10 minutes.
Southern Invitational- The Birmingham Raptors avenged an earlier 13 point loss to the Alabama Lasers, defeating the Lasers by 5 in overtime to win the Southern Invitational. The Lasers, however, were without their top two players Richard Hendrix and Yamene Coleman.
"We didn't play our best ball this weekend but I'm proud of our kids for hanging in their and playing well enough to win the championship," said Coach Norm Williams of the Raptors. "We haven't had a lot of practice but plan to work hard and have a good showing at The Kingwood Classic. Stanley Robinson was our most consistent player this weekend. He played well. We also got good shooting from Cordell Pope. Were a 16 & under team that is very talented but need some time in the gym together. We will be playing up for most of the year."
Texas Tip-off Tournament- The Houston Hoops went 6-0, including two wins over Team Texas (Calvin Miles and Austin Johnson) and a 5 point victory in the finals over Houston Select to win The Texas Tip-off Tournament in Dallas, Texas this past weekend. Nic Wise (2006 Arizona) was named the tournaments MVP. The Hoops also got strong play from Fendi Onobun and Rashad Woods.
6-foot-9, 190-pound combo forward Brandan Wright spent his spring break in the Detroit area visiting family and was at the Michigan vs. Missouri NIT game. Michigan is hot after Wright, but Wright is listing Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Louisville, and Indiana (see Jason Parton's update on CarolinaBlue.com).
Wright's coach at Brentwood Academy told RivalsHoops.com that Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski called that morning about Wright. Coach Pitts also talked about his experience head coaching the USA Select team in the 2000 Hoop Summit game in Indianapolis.
"It was a great game," said Coach Pitts of the 98-97 USA victory. "We couldn't stop Tony Parker [San Antonio Spurs point guard]. He was just so quick."
Parker ended up with 20 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds. Zach Randolph of the Portland Trailblazers had 24 points and 8 rebounds for the USA.
This years game is the first Hoop Summit game since the 2000 game.
Coach Pitts, who also coached at the USA Youth Festival in Colorado Springs that year, drew some comparisons between Wright and players such as Jared Jeffries, Darius Miles, Chris Duhon, Marcus Taylor, and Omar Cook who played on his team that year.
"Even though those guys were two years older, I think Brandan could have played on that team," said Coach Pitts. "The only difference between him and those guys is strength."
Coach Pitts also noted that Wright is one of seven 2006 players out of 48 players to be invited to this year's USA Youth Festival.
"What position will he play" seems to be the question concerning 6-foot-7, 210-pound Tyler Smith. Coach Pitts, who coached twice againts Smith this year said when UCLA came in to see Wright, they said they were looking at Smith as a power forward. Tennessee, however, sees him as a small forward or shooting guard. The Southeast Elite, Smith's AAU team, is planning to play him at point guard.
Smith, who finished as a runner up for Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee behind Florida signee Corey Brewer is a top priority for Tennessee along with Jamont Gordon. Tennessee would like nothing better than to land both of these top 25 players. UCLA, Kansas, Alabama, and Louisville are also in the recruiting mix for Smith.