Golden Hoops Resurrects
One of the most prestigious summer events of the ’80s and ’90s was revived in Brooklyn this past weekend.
by Franklyn Calle
Following a 15-year hiatus, Golden Hoops made its anticipated return this past weekend, celebrating its past while doing the same for the game’s future and its ballers. Back in the day, Kenny Anderson, Felipe Lopez, Rafer Alston, Stephon Marbury, Roderick Rhodes, Felipe Lopez, Bobby Hurley, Lamar Odom, God Shammgod and Ron Artest were among the many others that took part in this one-day event held a Columbia University. The revival featured the top 40 high school boys from the East Coast, compromising into four teams: Team NYC, Team Jersey, Team Empire State and Team Philly. In addition, Kenny Smith, Kenny Anderson, Brevin Knight, former New York Knicks John Wallace, Felipe Lopez, Taj Gibson, radio host Ed Lover, Villanova’s Corey Fisher, streetball legend Pee Wee Kirkland, and Each One Teach One program founder Bob McCullough were all in attendance to witness this historic day held in the heart of Brooklyn, at Edmonds Playground in Fort Greene. The Daily News teamed up with Li-Ning, who just signed Evan Turner an endorsement deal, to make this comeback possible. I’ll have more on Li-Ning later in the week, as I had an opportunity to speak with the Brand Initiative Director for Basketball, Brian Cupps, while at the event on Saturday
The resurrected showcase saw a “Battle of the Hudson” championship as New York City and New Jersey battled it out with bragging rights at stake. The game lived up to its hype, as NYC and Jersey went back and forth throughout the match. New Jersey jumped out to a 10-0 lead to start the game against The City, who began the game with only one guy on the bench since a few guys were at another tournament uptown. Kadeem Jack, Damiel Dingle, Nkereuwem Okoro arrived later for the second half.
Christ the King’s Omar Calhoun would eventually get his squad on the board and hit a couple of other baskets to shorten NJ’s lead. After one quarter of play, Jersey led 29-22. The second quarter featured strong performances from Lincoln’s incoming freshman Isiah Whitehead, Calhoun’s HS teammate Corey Edwards and Thomas Jefferson’s Tyquan Goodlet. Their outstanding play helped NYC outscore Jersey, 34-25, and take a 56-54 at the half, behind Goodlet’s buzzer-beating layup.
The second half saw St. Anthony’s Myles Mack and CK’s Edwards in a nice back-and-forth matchup. The same can be said about the entire second-half, as neither team took a comfortable lead. St. Patrick’s Derrick Gordon and NIA Prep‘s Kelvin Amayo showed off their athleticism and skill while keeping Jersey within striking distance. As Jersey found themselves down by five with over 30 seconds to go in the game, a put-back by Don Bosco’s Vaughn Gray cut NYC’s lead to three at 112-109.
Trying to avoid the clock from running out, Jersey fouled NYC’s Goodlet, who went one for two at the line to extend the lead to four. But Jersey wasn’t able to get a shot to fall in the final couple of possessions and New York City would eventually come away with a 114-109 victory.
Murphy and Calhoun took home MVP honors after finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and 18 points respectively. Also for NYC, Goodlet finished with 14 points while Edwards and Boys & Girl’s Mike Taylor contributed 12 each.
For New Jersey, Amayo finished with a game-high 26 points. Gordon followed with 23 points, while Mack and his teammate at St. Anthony Kyle Anderson finished with 18 and 11 points respectively.
The following are some of the top performers of the event.
Myles Mack, 5-9 guard, St. Anthony (NJ), 2011: If you’ve read many of my pieces on tournaments around the tri-state area, then you probably already know that he has gradually become one of my favorite guards. After this weekend, Mack (right, with ball) probably is my sole favorite guard in the nation. At 5-9 (he actually looks shorter in person, I would say probably 5-7), Mack plays with a fear no one mentality. Most of his points always come from getting to the basket, in contrary to what you would expect from someone of his size. But I guess speed can do that to you. The lightning quick guard has a knack for slashing into the paint and finishing at the basket in reverse-layup form. Yet, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t posses a perimeter game. You give Mack room, and he’ll make it rain from anywhere just about anywhere on the floor. That’s what has legitimatized the St. Anthony senior guard as probably my favorite guard to watch in high school ball. He also has pretty good court vision and gets others involved constatantly. Defensively, his quick feet and hands tend to be a pest for his opponent. Mack is being recruited by major Big East and ACC schools. I want to just say one more thing about Mack; if Mack was 5 or 6 inches taller, he would be top 15 in the nation. Currently, scouting services have him as a top 50-60 player, which in my opinion is just ridiculous if you consider the way he clowns his opponents, who not to mention are mostly 5 or more inches taller than him. I’m just glad that schools are recognizing just how much of an important and talented player he is.
Kyle Anderson, 6-6 wing, St. Anthony (NJ), 2012: In all honesty, he is one of the most interesting players I’ve been able to really check out this out summer. And I mean that in a good way. When you first see him play, you might think he is slow-footed and may not be that impressed. But after watching him play for a few times, you realize that despite his calm and slow demeanor, Anderson ends up getting his buckets when is all set and done, and makes it look easy while at it. His midrange game is on point. For a 6-6 forward, Anderson has great court vision and does a good job distributing the ball.
Kelvin Amayo, 6-4 wing, NIA Prep (NJ), 2011: He was a pleasant surprise. Although I did hear his name a couple times prior to this event, I didn’t really know too much about him. It turned out to be that he would lead the championship game in scoring with 26 points. He showed freakish athleticism and demonstrated the ability to get off the ground in a hurry. Aside from his hops, which were clearly on display in a couple of impressive dunks, including a crowd-pleasing tomahawk jam, Amayo also showed the ability to get to the hole off the dribble and finish strong. The Jersey native also has a nice bulky body frame to go along with his quick feet and aggressive style of play.
Kamari Murphy, 6-8 center, Lincoln (NY), 2011: Probably the top center in the 2011 class in New York City, Murphy showed some promising skills. He was very active in the paint and on the boards. Finishing with a double-double, Murphy seemed to be doing everything right on this night, including throwing down a couple of rim-rattling dunks. Playing at famed Lincoln High School in Coney Island, expect for Murphy to get some serious looks this upcoming season.
Omar Calhoun, 6-3 guard, Christ the King (NY), 2012: The rising junior will be teaming up with Corey Edwards at Christ the King HS in Middle Village, NY, to form the best backcourt in the city. Calhoun is one of those “can do it all” players. With such a smooth step to his game, he does a good job reading defenders and taking advantages of mismatches. Calhoun can down jumpers consistently. He does a great job using his athleticism and slashes defenders on his way to the basket. He can finish strong at the rim in a variety of ways, adjusting his body in mid-air. This very skilled wing can only get better with time. Looking forward to watching him develop over the next couple of years.
Corey Edwards, 6-1 guard, Christ The King (NY), 2011: He is hands-down the best passer in the state of New York. His ability to break down the defense and dish it out to teammates for an easy layup is Corey’s game. Just as fast as anyone, Edwards (left, in black) is not the one you want leading the fastbreak if you’re an opponent. His noticeable athleticism alone gives him an advantage from the get-go. Your typical tough New York City guard, Edwards does a great job recognizing when to pull the breaks on offense and remain under control. His ball-handling skills are the real deal and can already be regarded as a true point guard.
Derrick Gordon, 6-3 guard, St. Patrick (NJ), 2011: Finishing with 23 points, Gordon showed serious offensive skills. He has effective crossover moves and can beat defenders off the dribble. Gordon goes in strong to the basket and pulls up for either a tear drop or runner when there are too many bodies under the hole, or if not he goes all the way to finish with either hand. This athletic wing showed the willingness to hustle on every possession. The physical and aggressive play makes him that much more of a valuable aspect to any team. Gilchrist and him seem like a fun duo to be on the lookout for this season at St. Patrick.
Tyquan Goodlet, 6-3 guard, Jefferson, 2011: This scoring guard continuously demonstrates his great knack of putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim at will. His killer quick first step and array of ravishing moves to the basket makes him a very dangerous guard to contain. An expert slasher, Goodlet will be even more dangerous once his perimeter game becomes consistent, But nonetheless, a very fun player to watch.
Isiah Whitehead, 6-3 guard, Lincoln (NY), 2014: Already being regarded as the one to follow in the likes of Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson, and take over the reigns a Lincoln, Whitehead was the only incoming freshman playing in the event, which featured only seniors for the most part. I’m not going to go as far as to say that he will do what Stephenson did (2,946 points and 4 NYC championships) or surpass him, as I feel it is too early for that and quite frankly is unnecessary hype. But I will say that he kept up with the big boys, showing no fear and the ability to play with guys that are three grades above him. The aggressive guard showed the aptitude to slash his way to the basket and finish strong. Whitehead was also active on both ends of the floor.