June 14, 2008

Rumble in the Bronx: Friday

BRONX, N.Y. -- The Rumble in the Bronx tipped off on Friday night on the campus of Fordham University. With only four sets of games to be played, the majority of the action is reserved for Saturday and Sunday. Nevertheless, there were some high points on opening night.

STAR POWER

A Friday afternoon traffic jam was the only the thing that really slowed Durand Scott down in the opening game of the Rumble.

Scott showed up halfway into the first half and went right to work upon arrival. The 6-foot-3 guard turns the key to the ignition and pushes the red line every time he goes out on the floor.

The four-star guard pumped in the points from deep, in the midrange and at the rim. He had the dunk of the night when he exploded baseline and rocked the rim with a thundering score. He's not one to use his athleticism like that too often so that play was a nice surprise on opening night.

In a class where the top shooting guards are either already locked up with a verbal commitment or where a number of guys are playing with lingering questions about their overall ability level, Scott continues to show what makes him tick.

The now mouth-piece wearing guard plays the familiar Gaucho brand of basketball of toughness but also mixes in other aspects of his offensive game that maybe was looked over in the spring. Scott was the most impressive guard on Friday night.

Squash All Beefs big man Thomas Robinson just gets better and better. The long-armed 6-foot-7 forward was one of the most productive big men on the East Coast in the spring evaluation period. On Friday night, he cemented that thought home.

Robinson's work on the glass is his best strength. The Rivals150 forward gets everything in and out of his area and his brand of hustle is an added advantage.

Robinson showed a nice perimeter touch from the wing as he buried a three-pointer and a pair of buckets in the midrange. In the spring time, the majority of his buckets were converted inside the paint for easy close-range scores. There seems to be some progression in his versatility on the wing. Overall, Robinson has cemented himself in the high-major category.

NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD

  • The Raising Champions team pulled a Los Angeles Lakers collapse on Friday night. However the Lance Stephenson-led team wasn't facing the Rumble in the Bronx version of the Boston Celtics.

    The Champions had a 21-point lead with four minutes to play against the Central Jersey Hawks but watched it slip away down the stretch. Down by two with six seconds to play, Stephenson stepped to the line for a pair of free-throw attempts but missed both attempts.

    Stephenson finished with 12 points in the defeat.

  • Tyreak Johnson nailed a game winner for the New York Gauchos at the buzzer, to give his squad a 62-60 bite-your-nails-nervous game against the New Jersey Panthers.

  • David Joseph and Lance Brown were the stars for the Jersey Shore Shots. Joseph, a 5-foot-10 guard from Newton (N.J.) High School, was one of the top point guards inside Rose Hill Gym on opening night. Brown, a 6-foot-3 wing from Paterson (N.J.) Catholic, was the team's top scorer with 22 points.

    HI, MY NAME IS…

    There is a sneaking suspicion around the different gyms that a number of sleepers will emerge here at the Rumble. That suspicion is probably right.

    Squash All Beefs guard Percy Wood was the biggest surprise on Friday night. The 6-foot-2 class of 2009 guard scored 23 points in a tough loss to the Jersey Shore Shots. The Crossland (Md.) High School product was impossible to stop with the dribble and he found his way to the cup any time he wanted to. His play begged for more eyes on him on Saturday. Overall, it was a nice first impression and Wood had the look of a mid-level player to watch.

    OD Anosike didn't produce a lot of points or dominate as a rebounder or shot-blocker but the 6-foot-8 rising senior from St. Peter's High School in Staten Island, N.Y. was an eye-catcher with the Jersey Shore Shots.

    The big man ran the floor very well and has a frame that will draw attention because of his great length, good athleticism and overall physical rawness. Anosike has a number of Atlantic 10 schools keeping tabs on him and will likely spend some time following him around with his Jersey Shore Shots team around this summer.

    THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

    Baylor secured class of 2010 big man Perry Jones early in the recruiting process and after seeing him again for the first time in 11 months, it is clearly evident that the Bears knew what they were doing.

    The 6-foot-9 big man is a physical specimen that can get up and down the floor with ease, plays above the rim and uses every ounce of bounce in his step to make plays.

    His production is touch and go and Jones is still raw and has plenty to work on from a skills standpoint. But from a prospect's perspective, the rising junior's ceiling remains incredibly high and the finished product he can become is quite intriguing.

    Teammate Bakari Turner has always been an intriguing prospect because of his top shelf athleticism. The 6-foot-3 guard from the 2010 class climbed the ladder several times with his big time burst off the floor. While his jumper wasn't used in his offensive attack, Turner has the ability to draw attention to himself because of his natural abilities.

    SCHOOL LIST CENTRAL

    Perhaps the biggest question that everyone wanted an answer for on Friday night wasn't what college Doron Lamb will be playing for in college. That question that everyone in New York wanted to know was what high school Lamb will be attending in the fall.

    His repeated answer went a little something like this: "I don't know. I don't know. I don't know."

    Lamb is currently enrolled at Bishop Loughlin and there are rampant rumors abound that have him at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.

    Lamb said St. John's, Georgetown, Syracuse, Rutgers, Marquette, Kansas, Duke and Xavier were some of the schools that he hears from regularly.

    Scott, the top scorer for the Gauchos on Friday night, offered up a list of nearly the entire Big East, Memphis, Miami, Xavier, Wake Forest and Virginia. Scott said he has heard from everyone except South Florida and Villanova in the Big East. He has unofficially visited Memphis, UConn, St. John's, Xavier and Miami to date.

    Gauchos guard Russ Smith will play out the season at Archbishop Molly (N.Y.) and then proceed to take a post-grad year at a prep school, which would make him a class of 2010 prospect.

    He'll take a diverse list with him too. Smith said he is hearing from George Mason, Arkansas, Louisville, Jacksonville, Virginia, Miami, South Carolina, Ohio, Toledo, New Orleans and Wright State.

    Jesse Morgan scored 16 points for the Jersey Shore Shots and played big down the stretch in a hard-earned win for his squad. The Prep Charter (Pa.) product said his recruitment is going well at the moment. Marquette, Oklahoma, St. Joseph's, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Miami have shown interest to date.



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