The Swish Family
Payne leads the way during ’09 Swish ‘N Dish Spring Warm-Up.
by Antonio Curro – Midwest PUNKS Editor
The 2009 Swish ‘N Dish Spring Warm-Up jump started the 2009 Grassroots travel campaign with a bang this past weekend. A number of individuals saw their stock soar as they turned in big-time performances in what was a loaded field of teams from Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio.
The 15U-17U divisions were no exception as the All Ohio Red, Milwaukee Spartans and St. Louis Eagles outlasted a loaded group of teams to capture the 17U, 16U and 15U Platinum Division championships, respectively. While team play was stellar throughout the weekend, individuals also stepped up.
17U Division — Co-MVP’s Adreian Payne and Aaron Craft, All Ohio Red
The entire All Ohio Red team was sensational all weekend long, but 2010 standouts Adreian Payne and Tennessee-bound Aaron Craft that stood head and shoulders above the class.
Payne is a freakish athlete who dominated from start to finish. His size, length and athleticism combined with an ability to score from anywhere on the court presented major problems for every team All Ohio Red encountered. The 6-8 forward from Jefferson High School in Ohio was at his best when they needed him the most as he was sensational in a quarterfinal matchup with a loaded Mac Irvin squad that allowed All Ohio Red to advance into the semi-finals where they never looked back.
Payne can elevate; he can score around the basket; he also displayed an ability to step away and stroke the trey—a lethal combination for a man as tall, long and athletic as Payne. Add to the mix shot-blocking dominance and rebounding, and it’s no wonder most consider Payne a top-25 2010 prospect. He’s the real deal, and that was on full display.
Not to be outdone by his teammate, Tennessee-bound Craft was the deal game in and game out. The 6-1 point guard from Liberty-Benton in Ohio is skilled, savvy and in control at all times. His ability to control the tempo, create on the offensive end, hit mid-range jumpers, knock down the trey, attack the rim, and simply dominate the game allowed Craft to catalyze game in and game out. At the end of the day, certain kids just know how to play, and Craft is one. An excellent all-around floor general, Craft drives the All Ohio Red ship, and his teammates have no problem following his lead.
16U Division — MVP Quevyn Winters, Milwaukee Spartans
Big players make big plays in big situations, and the 6-5 2011 small forward from Milwaukee Washington did just that all weekend long. No matter how close the game or how big the situation, Winters was the one who consistently stepped up for the Spartans and refused to let them lose. Whether it was knocking down mid-range jumpers, attacking the rim, or stroking the trey ball, Winters did exactly what was necessary when his team needed it most.
15U Division — MVP Antonio Hopkins, St. Louis Eagles
The ultra quick skilled 5-10 point guard from Vashon High School turned in a breakout performance, helping lead the Eagles to the 15U Platinum ship. Hopkins is lightning quick, attacks the rim, hits the mid-range, strokes the trey, has excellent dribble penetration ability, and is a hawk on the defensive end. His instincts, quickness and ability to get into the passing lanes was sensational. Whenever the Eagles needed a big play, it was Hopkins delivering. At times he put the team on his back and carried them to the finish.