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Sunday, August 26th, 2012 at 12:38 am  |  18 responses

Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle Star In Under Armour Elite 24 Game


by Ben Osborne / @bosborne17

The on-court template for high school All-Star Games has long been established: flashy passes, crossover dribbles, copious alley-oops and minimal defense. What sets the Under Armour Elite 24 Game apart from its fellow dunkfests is the atmosphere.

This is streetball, baby. Played on a spectacular sun-splashed afternoon in Southern California, today’s game was played on the famous courts of Venice Beach, with announcers Bobbito Garcia and Joe Pope “calling” the action—by cajoling, encouraging, nicknaming and teasing the players, coaches and referees.

What the announcers were charged with today was to keep the game from turning into a non-stop fastbreak. And they did. With constant reminders to the kids to get back on defense and playful threats to have them pulled from the game, Kool Bob Love and Pope made it clear to this collection of future college (and in many cases, NBA) stars that they were being watched.

Ultimately, the 164-138 win for the Brandon Jennings-coached Raymond Lewis Squad over the Kyrie Irving-coached Marques Johnson Squad did turn into a giant fastbreak, but not till the last five minutes—and that was the fault of whoever drafted the teams, not the game’s format.

In a game filled with big forwards who could handle, block shots and dunk, the two best were San Jose (CA) Archbishop Mitty’s Aaron Gordon and Plano (TX) Prestonwood Christian’s Julius Randle. And they were on the same team!

“We were a little stacked,” the 6-7-but-seems-taller Gordon said sheepishly after notching 25 points, a team-high 7 rebounds and one of the four awesome surfboard-inspired MVP trophies Under Armour handed out after the game. “I was originally going to be on the other team but then they put me on this one. It was fun.”

Fun definitely seemed to be the mission for Gordon, who attempted all manner of dunk contest-worthy dunks, and punctuated the made ones with loud screams. “I might have done a little extra because this was an All-Star Game, but I always like to bring entertainment to the game,” he said.

The 6-9 Randle, the actual winner of Friday afternoon’s dunk contest, was also an MVP, scoring a game-high 27 points. “The ManChild” showed some nifty dribble moves and was another player that seemed to be having an absolute blast. “My whole weekend has been very fun,” Randle said. “The Dunk Contest, the game, and the way they do it with the announcers, and outside…it just makes it relaxing.”

Having the better team is relaxing, too; The Raymond Lewis Squad also featured twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison from Richmond (TX) Travis, who you should know from this year’s SLAM Diary. Aaron was the third Raymond Lewis team member to cop a MVP trophy, well-earned after an explosive 25-point performance on 11-14 shooting from the field.

For the Marques Johnson Team, which obviously didn’t have Gordon or Randle and was also without highly touted Canadian prospect Andrew Wiggins, who was originally on the roster but wasn’t able to attend the weekend, it was an uphill battle from the start. To make matters even worse, Johnson Squad member Keith Frazier from Dallas (TX) Kimball sprained his ankle early in the game. He came back a bit in the second half but still played a game-low 12 minutes.

Short-handed and down 75-65 at the half, the Marques Johnson Squad kept things within reach for awhile behind effort, an emotional bench (assisting Kyrie were UA endorsers Will Barton, DeAndre Jordan and Derrick Williams, all of whom waved towels throughout) and the play of their own well-built slashers.

The one Johnson Squad member to get a MVP surfboard was 6-5 Justise Winslow, a junior (remember, the Elite Game is technically open to all classes, though there were only three non-seniors this year) from Houston (TX) St. John’s who got in the lane repeatedly for 21 points on 10-11 shooting.

Winslow’s Elite teammate, Jabari Bird of Richmond (CA) Salesian, stood out as well. A 6-6 wing who had announcer Pope caw-caaawing like a bird every time he touched the rock, Bird dropped in 20 points and handed out 3 assists.

But regardless of Winslow and Bird’s ability to get into the paint, they’re still wingmen in a game that was dominated by the beastly forwards from the Raymond Lewis Squad, Gordon and Randle.

And if those two didn’t own the game because of their size and skill, maybe it’s because they just had the most fun.

“This is the best event of the summer,” Randle said as the sun set on a great afternoon and, really, the entire summer season.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    did they seriously delete the Bosh thread? UA sucks.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    No we didn’t delete Bosh thread. Just bumped it to Other News. And UA did a great job this weekend.

  • http://www.xvideos.com nbk troll

    Under Armour the best thing going right now. Aquille Carr would have fried everybody there. Kyrie a better coach than rondo. Both the squads that played are better than the raptors. TROLL IT!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    OH@Ben yeah it disappeared for a second. Wait Kyrie is with Nike so what gives? I dislike UA, they’re not for basketball.

  • Austin

    Its a flippin sports company, how is not meant for basketball! UA is a great in the bball department.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    That’s your opinion which you’re rightfully entitled to. I think UA sucks in that department but in general they’re decent.

  • http://www.xvideos.com nbk troll

    Redd is that guy in the gym hoopin in puma low tops!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    $30 Asic running shoes, I used to wear Jordans etc etc but I’m not much of a materialistic guy anymore. Is that ok? Didn’t know I needed the latest & greatest while kids have water bottles as sandles. Ain’t trying to get deep with it but u missed me with that too cool junk.

  • http://CatsPause Gary

    Couple of years from now a future ky alumnia game may look like the group of, the Harrison twins, Randel, Young, Lee, Gordon, Wiggins, Iverson, Parker ….. and the sound of ” We Are UK ” goes on after 9 10 & 11 are just around the bend.

  • Otero

    Game?? Wasn’t much of a game they played harder in the midnight run second half defense must not have been allowed

  • Austin

    Well Redd, hopefully you’ve given them at least a try, the Micro G Torch are supposed to be amazing! Idk if you follow nightwing at all but he says its one of the top shoes of 2012!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    Hm, maybe I should keep an open mind I’ll check for them simply cause I respect you being cool about my view. I don’t get caught up in the shoe game but I do check for what’s good. I know one thing though, UA is better than Reebok’s current brand. They’re all about star power and getting attention. They need to emphasize athletes not rappers.

  • Basketball_iQ

    ^ sounds like adidas ,, I might add

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    Not exactly, aside from Nicki Minaj & Big Sean there’s no other rappers/celebrities that I can think of.

  • Austin

    Yeah, Reebok isnt very good, im saying this cause ive tried on the shoes. Im not gonna hate on a brand just cause I dont like them, not saying you do Redd. It seems as if everyone jumps on the Nike bandwagon, and thats why I love ua, its something the next gen. can look foward to.

  • TheWhiteMarkPrice

    @Redd, Adidas has Katy Perry too.

  • Slav K

    I was there on Friday… wouldve been great to meet you in person, Ben. Next time.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Yeah man, sorry to miss you. Friday was kind of ehhh, but I thought Saturday’s game was great.

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