AKRON, Ohio - It was a banner weekend for the New York Gauchos at the King James Shooting Stars Classic. The program brought home two championships, including a surprising upset of All-Ohio Red behind the scoring of Doron Lamb.
Gauchos get their revenge
At the end of last summer the New York Gauchos saw a lot of All-Ohio Red. All-Ohio beat them in the Final Four of the Super Showcase, and then blew the Gauchos out again a few days later in the finals of AAU nationals. However in Akron, the Gauchos got their revenge to win a big time national tournament.
Knowing that they couldn't match up with the Gauchos man-to-man, All-Ohio started off in a 2-3 zone, and that allowed Doron Lamb to get going in a big way. The scoring machine from Brooklyn simply took over the first half. First it was Lamb from three, then off the bounce, then he scored in transition, and he even hit the glass and scored on second chance points. More than anything though, Lamb simply made big shots.
All-Ohio made it a point to close out to Lamb out of the zone, but it didn't matter. With his quick release, Lamb was able to get his shot off and it seemed that every time he launched, the shot was going in.
While Lamb was hitting for the Gauchos, Jared Sullinger was doing everything he could to keep All-Ohio in the game. The five-star post presence showed how dominant he could be all game long. In the first half he struggled from the field, but when he missed Sullinger would simply go get his miss and convert off the glass.
Despite the strong effort from Sullinger, All-Ohio trailed by five at the half. Due to the fact that they lacked energy and were trailing, All-Ohio decided to go to a man-to-man defense in the second half.
That meant that defensive specialist Aaron Craft would match up with Lamb. Craft did a good job on Lamb, though he still scored seven points in the second half, but that let Jason Morris get going. Known as a great athlete, Morris did more than just dunk. He hit a pair of threes, converted at the foul line, and showed off a decent mid-range jump shot. Whenever things would get close, Morris would answer with a big play.
Along with Morris, Derrick Wilson stepped up in the second half. The stocky floor general made driving layups, hit floaters, and did a solid job of defending All-Ohio point guard Juwan Staten.
With Craft struggling from the field, and Staten facing a tough defender in Wilson, All-Ohio needed either Adreian Payne or J.D. Weatherspoon to take some pressure off of Sullinger, but it didn't happen. Payne didn't score and only pulled in one rebound while Weatherspoon only scored four points and pulled down three boards.
Sullinger was his usual dominant self with 24 points and 20 rebounds, but it simply wasn't enough. Lamb scored 23 and Morris added 12 to give the Gauchos a big 66-60 win.
The Family 16 and under squad boasts a pair of big time prospects. One is big man Amir Williams and the other is scoring dynamo Carlton Brundidge. Against the Southern Kings, Brundidge was an absolute beast. The burly scoring guard put his team on his back in the second half and kept them in the game. He is at his best going to the rim and finishing through contact, but Brundidge also was hitting threes and scoring in the mid-range. As his decision making improves he will be a big time offensive force.
While Brundidge starred for The Family, Williams had to do battle with the highly touted 2010 prospect Tony Parker. Parker was a beast on the boards. He used his strength to root out Williams, and corralled several key offensive rebounds when the game got close late in the second half. Parker didn't score much, but it was his work on the offensive and defensive boards that proved to be a key difference in the game.
Along with the solid board work from Parker, the Southern Kings got huge efforts from Shannon Scott and Julian Royal. Scott scored 22 points, and seemingly couldn't miss from the outside. Beyond that he was a true floor general who did a good job of running the show. Royal scored inside and outside to finish with 20 points.
Another 2011 guard who made an impression was Quinn Cook. In his team's losing effort to Spiece Indy Fastbreak, Cook was a star. While he possesses solid point guard skills, Cook can absolutely light up the scoreboard. He shot the ball well, and also scored at will going to the rim to give D.C. Assault an opportunity to win the game. Overall Cook was nearly impossible to stop off the bounce with his combination of savvy and quickness.
So far this spring Michael Chandler has been excellent, and while he was good against D.C. Assault, he wasn't up to his usual standards. Chandler did score down low when given the chance, but he wasn't as aggressive at times as he could have been.
Brundidge noted offers from Michigan as well as Michigan State. Also he has heard from Iowa and Xavier.
Lamb said he has offers from Kansas, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Marquette, St. John's, and Arizona.
Weatherspoon has offers from Xavier, Dayton, Maryland, and Purdue. Also he is getting significant interest from Ohio State, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Penn State.
17 and under: New York Gauchos defeated All-Ohio Red 16 and under: Team Takeover defeated Georgia Southern Kings 15 and under: New York Gauchos defeated Wisconsin Playground Elite