The new moon rode high in the crown of the metropolis. Shinin’, like who on top of this? The Jordan Brand Classic. Young cats ridin’ high, staying in the swangin’ hotels, working out the last time as a high school athlete- After this, it’s textbooks, midterms and fraternity functions. You might need a little catch up on the week’s events.
Wednesday, the players were flown into New York, where they had a chance to settle in at the mint condition Westin New York in Times Square. Surrounded by top level restaurants, theaters and clothing outlets, the players spent their first afternoon hanging out the tourist way. That evening, they visited the House of Hoops on 125th street in Harlem. Inside they peeped the most exclusive, most vibrant that Nike and Jordan had to offer. We’re talking Christ the King varsity jackets, LeBron shoes in like 25 colorways, Hyperdunks on some weird ish, all the stops. Word got out to the public that the All-Americans were in the store quick, and within minutes the store was loaded with fans young, old, male and female. Clamoring for autographs, some just coming in to shake a player’s hand and thank him for visiting Harlem… New York holds high esteem for top ballers.
Thursday, the cats were sent out to the Sports Club/LA for a scrimmage and media day. Nobody was on that run around joking game, this was business. Wall came out 100 percent, Hamilton came out running down loose balls, Henson was showing Tarheel intensity…The whole thing. Friday they scrimmaged at Gaucho’s, video to come soon. Wall was on his grizzy, breakaway dunks galore. Wally Judge was busy on the jaw dropping brigade. To give you an idea of the skill level at hand, Kevin Durant, Nate Robinson and God Shammgod were in attendance at the game checking out their future competition.
So here we are. Before the game starts, it’s time for SLAM to hit you with the roster.
Black Jerseys (Away)
|#||Name||Pos.||Hgt.||Wgt.||High School (School Location)||College|
|1||Kenny Boynton||G||6-2||185||American Heritage School (Plantation, FL)||Florida|
|0||Avery Bradley||G||6-3||175||Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV)||Texas|
|12||Dominic Cheek||W||6-5||180||St. Anthony High School (Jersey City, NJ)||Villanova|
|15||DeMarcus Cousins||F/C||6-10||270||LeFlore High School (Mobile, AL)||Kentucky|
|34||Derrick Favors||F/C||6-9||220||South Atlanta High School (Atlanta, GA)||Georgia Tech|
|3||Abdul Gaddy||G||6-3||175||Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma, WA)||Washington|
|23||Jordan Hamilton||W||6-7||215||Dominguez High School (Compton, CA)||Texas|
|33||John Henson||F/C||6-10||210||Sickles High School (Tampa, FL)||North Carolina|
|10||Lamont Jones||G||6-0||190||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA)||Undecided|
|30||Ryan Kelly||PF||6-11||210||Ravenscroft School (Raleigh, NC)||Duke|
|35||Alex Oriakhi||F/C||6-9||235||Tilton School (Tilton, NH)||Connecticut|
|2||Durand Scott||G||6-4||180||Rice High School (New York, NY)||Miami (FL)|
|Head Coach:||Dan Hurley (St. Benedict’s Prep/Newark, NJ)|
|Assistant:||Carl Arrigale (Neumann-Goretti High School/Philadelphia, PA)|
|Assistant:||Ken Novak (Hopkins High School/Minnetonka, MN)
White Jerseys (Home)
|#||Name||Pos.||Hgt.||Wgt.||High School (School Location)||College|
|31||Keith Gallon||F/C||6-9||300||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA)||Oklahoma|
|13||Xavier Henry||W||6-6||225||Putnam City High School (Oklahoma City, OK)||Memphis|
|5||Marcus Jordan||G||6-3||180||Whitney Young High School (Chicago, IL)||UCF|
|33||Wally Judge||PF||6-8||220||Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, FL)||Kansas State|
|4||Tommy Mason-Griffin||G||5-10||195||James Madison High School (Houston, TX)||Oklahoma|
|52||Daniel Orton||C||6-10||260||Bishop McGuinness High School (Oklahoma City, OK)||Kentucky|
|24||Mason Plumlee||F/C||6-11||210||Christ School (Arden, NC)||Duke|
|1||Renardo Sidney||PF||6-9||245||Fairfax High School (Los Angeles, CA)||USC|
|11||John Wall||G||6-3||188||Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, NC)||Undecided|
|30||Royce White||W||6-7||200||Hopkins High School (Minnetonka, MN)||Minnesota|
|20||Jamil Wilson||W||6-7||215||Horlick High School (Racine, WI)||Oregon|
|21||Mouphtao Yarou||F||6-9||235||Montrose Christian School (Rockville, MD)||Villanova|
|Head Coach:||Stu Vetter (Montrose Christian School/Rockville, MD)|
|Assistant:||Mark Blevins (Bearden High School/Knoxville, TN)|
|Assistant:||Ed Azzam (Westchester High School/Los Angeles, CA)|
A few quick predictions before the game:
Most likely to score 20: John Wall, Jordan Hamilton, Derrick Favors
Most likely to cop a triple double: John Henson, Alex Oriakhi, Avery Bradley
Most likely to take the MVP award: John Wall, Avery Bradley, Derrick Favors
Pregame: The JBC announcements are up and running, the crowd is solid. Just met up with Ryan Jones, he’s excited to see the game. Renardo is wearing a headband with all white… Actually the entire white team is all white. And vise versa for the black team. Marcus Jordan just got his name called- he got a higher cheer than Renardo. Wall just got the standing ovation from the lower seating. Keith is finally in the building- Tiny missed the practices and media day, good to see him out here. Daniel Orton looks excited to get back to the court. Black Team lineups. Avery Bradley just got a solid golf clap for the name. Boynton got some golf claps. Durand Scott just got a bigger cheer than John Wall- NY love is real y’all. Followed by another NY guard Mo Mo Jones rocking all black getting the cheers. I don’t think this crowd knows who Derrick Favors is — that’s kind of unfortunate, they’re about to get a rude awakening.
Mouphtao Yarou and John Henson tip off for white and black respectively- John wins the tip, passes off to Cousins. Cousins looked out of shape during the scrimmage at Gaucho’s; let’s hope he plays well today. Ah, Xavier Henry fouls him on a shot attempt. Cousins at the line…Buckets. (for the record, he’s a skilled big man inside/outside but his release has a weird end point) Second shot- SHWACKUMS.
White comes back with a FG by Mason Plumlee, after a miss on the other end, Mason bricks a 3 (albeit a pretty one) and John Wall grabs the board. Wall drops off a beautiful dime to Xavier Henry for the slam. On the other end, Avery answers with a bucket of his own- he looks determined to answer and move by Wall.
Durand Scott drives in, passes off to Cousins who finishes at the bucket. The score is tied 6-6. Plumlee makes a FG with the dime from Wall, then an immediate 3PT answer from Avery, keeping with the plan to go for the response on anything Wall dishes. On the other end, Wall drives in, gets his pocket picked by Avery who drops a quick dime to Durand Scott.
Plumlee responds with a FG of his own, which is immediately canceled out by a Cousins drive, which interestingly enough is followed up by a Mouph’ miss and another Avery Bradley bucket — Avery is pining hard for the MVP award.
Xavier Henry hits a jumper on the other end… Just a random note- Henry might be the biggest, most muscular SG I have ever seen at his age. He’s 6-7, 255 pounds easy, with pure muscle and straight “grown ass man” complex. He’s also a lefty, he’s got a nice jumpshot and has a good feel for the game. Safe to say it’s not fair. Where were those genes when I was born?!
Derrick Favors hits a pair of free throws… He’s fouled a few possessions later & hits another pair of free throws. That’s why they call it a charity stripe. Thank the lord for a good release. On the other end, Wally Judge misses a FG, Jordan Hamilton with the board, he drives down the lane, kicks it down to Derrick Favors who drops it in the cup. Jordan has really improved over the past year. He’s the most complete player in the game and his skill set is unrivaled at his position. It’s not fair that UT get’s to reload like that each year.
Abdul Gaddy strips Nate Robi- I mean Tommy Mason-Griffin, passes out to J-Ham in the corner who pulls the three- Got ‘em Coach! Judge answers that bucket with an alley oop slam from Tommy Mason-Griffin, then gets fouled on the next posession and sinks a pair of freebies- This game is so fast paced, I can barely look down to type the events.
Wally hits another FG a few possessions later, which is promptly answered by Sidney — finally Renardo enters the box score. Let’s see if he hits stride, unlike at McDonalds when he looked mildly lethargic and apathetic about the game in general.
The score is 52-42 at the half. Cousins has 10 points 4 boards. Hamilton has 5 points 4 boards 2 assists no turnovers and a +8 for his PT so far. Derrick Favors has 11 points 2 boards. On the white team, Mason Plumlee has 6 points 4 boards 1 assist 1 block. John Wall has 2 points 2 assists 2 turnovers and a -8 for the half. Wally Judge has 9 points and 3 rebounds at the half.
Out of the gate, Renardo Sidney drains a jumper- Bottoms. Jordan Hamilton will not be upstaged; he hits a three in response. White team responds with a Daniel Orton layin from a Renardo Sidney assist. Favors responds with a shot of his own. 24 seconds later, Renardo answers with his shot (it’s basically bucket for bucket at this point)… And true to this paragraph’s form, Cousins responds with a FG immediately after.
After a turnover, Hamilton drives down the court and passes it out to Derrick Favors who hits the shot. Renardo seems to be on a tear, because he’s hit yet another FG. After a substitution, Wall drops a dime to- you guessed it, Renardo Sidney. He’s on fire. Durand Scott finally hits a jumper- but it’s really just a goaltend. John Wall won’t be upstaged; he hits a layup immediately after. Oriakhi says get big with a post move of his own.
Royce White dunks in the half court set… I think the crowd finally knows who he is & they like it. Boynton responds with a jumper- BANKKK.
After a few excrutiatingly long, drawn out posessions marred with missed second chance points, Renardo hits a layup from a Jamil Wilson shot. Avery Bradley responds with a jumper, then Renardo drains a three, followed up by a Cousins jumper. Fast paced much?
Tommy Mason-Griffin hits two shots in a row, clearly exciting the Nate Robinson fans in attendance. Xavier Henry hits a jumper in the lane. He’s not shooting much, but everything he does is so damn impressive. And…OH MY GOD. Marcus Jodan cocks it back and BOOM DIGGITY. Well, all I can say is, Marcus Jordan is playing better than Lamont Jones, Durand Scott. To think we thought he would be lost in this game- his four points are on two beautiful dunks. He’s going to be just fine at UCF.
After a few minutes of turnover after turnover, miss after miss (these are high school players, not 100 percent polished as of yet), John Wall checks into the game with two minutes left. Yes, it’s become the John Wall show. He looks pissed after being double teamed his last few possessions in the game. John Wall hits a field goal in the lane after a crossover and a behind the back fake. John Wall hits a midrange jumper off of the same crossover and a behind the back transfer. John Wall makes yet another field goal. This is in the span of say…45 seconds? John Wall can score in straight bunches folks. Wall doesn’t make the next field goal, instead he drops a dime to Wally Judge. Kansas State is going to be hood next year. Jacob Pullen, Wally Judge, Denis Clemente, Ron Anderson, McGruder, Jordan Henriquez… NCAA Tourney bound for sure. At the end, it’s a John Wall mid air 180 behind the back pass to Henry, who drains the 3 at the buzzer.
Alas, it’s not enough. Black team wins 110-103. The MVP’s are Renardo Sidney and Derrick Favors. Keep posted for a regional game piece in the near future by SLAM fam Franklyn C.
Photos by Kelly Kline.