NEW ORLEANS, La.- The championships got off to a shaky start Monday morning at the Memorial Day Classic when the main gym roof sprung a leak and pushed all the games into the side gyms. That was about the only thing that went wrong, however, as a lot of good basketball was squeezed between the 8 a.m. tip and 17-under championship which ended on a buzzer beater.
Portland Elite Legends take home the 17 and under title
In a game that featured several lead changes in the second half, Portland Elite outlasted Boo Williams to win the 2005 Memorial Day Classic. The see-saw affair was knotted at 57 with the Legends in possession of the ball with less than 20 ticks left on the clock. As was expected by everyone in the gym, the ball was placed in the hands of Kevin Love to try to win it in regulation. After a hard drive to the basket and a missed shot, Love corralled his own carom and put in back in for a game winning lay-up.
"We wanted to try and hold for the last shot and we were happy with the shot we got. Kevin came up big with the put-back and we won a great game," Portland head coach Troy Berry said. "It was a hard fought contest and we had to come up big on several occasions to stay in it We made the plays down the stretch that we needed to and I'm really happy for the kids that we won this."
Leading the way for the champions was Love with 25 points and double-digit rebounds while fellow 2007 teammate Kyle Singler chipped in 15, including several nice assists. 2007 combo guard Chris Wright scored 17 for Boo Williams in a losing effort with Oklahoma commitment Scotty Reynolds adding 13 and Vernon Macklin 10.
16-Under Championship game Mt. Royal 62 (Malcolm Delaney 13, Donte Greene) St. Louis Eagles 54 (Rolandis Woodland 25, Mike Tisdale 8)
15-Under Championship game South Carolina Ravens 64 (Lashay Page 28) New Orleans Panthers 56 (Greg Monroe 29)
Quick, fast and in a hurry
2008 South Carolina Raven combo guard LaShay Page is quickly stating his case to be mentioned among the elite underclassmen in the nation. Page, 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, attends Raymond Felton's alma mater, Latta High School and the comparisons will begin in a hurry. Page closed with 28, 31 and 28 points respectively and proved to be nearly impossible to stop. He can score off a screen or create his own shot with his handle and impressive jumper. He already has a D1 body. Wake Forest holds the early but strong lead.
The Ravens team isn't a one man show, keep an eye out for 2008 big men Danarius Robinson and 2009 Milton Jennings who both are long, lean post players who have high major written all over them.
New Orleans Panthers Select 2008 big man Greg Monroe played three straight games while competing in the 15 and 16 age divisions. The 6-foot-8, 200-pounder has as much upside as anyone in the country regardless of class. While Monroe showed flashes on Sunday, Monday he brought out the whole package showing that not only is he athletic and skilled but also that he can get out and run the break. Tyreke Evans has garnered all the early attention in his class but Monroe will be right there when the debate for top dog begins. Duke fans will be happy to learn that the Blue Devils hold the early lead for his services over Wake Forest and other ACC programs.
Jon Mitchell saw his Metro Hawks team bounced early in the tournament but news on the recruiting front for the 6-foot-6 forward is better. An early visit to Marquette has put them in the driver's seat with Miami (offer), Virginia and Georgia Tech still giving chase.
It seems like the 2006 class is loaded with strong, physical scoring guards who like to drive to the basket and finish or get to the free throw line and perhaps none of them are better than Athletes First's Obi Muonelo. At 6-foot-5, 205-pounds the Oklahoma native is built like a linebacker and powers to the rim like a mack truck but he has also the handle and skills to pull up from outside the arc or mid-range. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have offered and lead along with North Carolina while Miami (offer), Florida (offer), Illinois, Arizona and Duke are also being considered.
The Family has two 2007 prospects that will be highly recruited in a few years. 6-foot-4 combo guard Durrell Summers already favors Michigan State over Michigan, North Carolina and Syracuse while his 6-foot-9 poster player, Devin Searcy likes Illinois over Michigan State, Syracuse and Georgia Tech.
Ramar Smith has whittled his list down to Michigan, Michigan State, UConn and Cincinnati.
Maryland commitment Eric Hayes probably won't impress you with ESPN highlight plays but what he does know how to do is run a college team which is basically what he does every time he's on the floor with his Boo Williams teammates. He's extremely long and his handle is like a yo-yo and he rarely makes bad decision. Hayes will step up when needed and a couple of times during the MDC he played well late in tight ball games.