NC Pro-Am Day 3 Recap
John Wall vs Julius Hodge and more.
The Greater NC Pro-Am is back at it again. Everyone saw John Wall’s dunk on Jerry Stackhouse and the insane seven-minute mix that Hoopmixtape released last year. With the NBA lockout in full effect, NBA stars have nowhere to play and are making their way to the Pro-Am. Guys like John Wall, Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Powell, Chris Wilcox, Rasheed Wallace, Kyrie Irving and Jawad Williams join college stars Harrison Barnes, Austin Rivers, Mason Plumlee, John Henson, CJ Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Seth Curry and countless others for some amazing summer league hoops. The games are free, the music is dope, and the basketball couldn’t get any better.
Here’s a look at some of the guys who showed out from Tuesday’s games:
John Wall, 6- 4, PG, Washington Wizards
Wall made his return to the Pro-Am after setting the place on fire over the past two summers. His debut pegged him against NC State legend Julius Hodge and had all of the makings of a story that people will be telling for years. Hodge got an “and one” and proceeded to do the Dougie, which Mr. Wall did not take too kindly to. The Wizards star went on to mix Hodge with a filthy crossover and convert a tough lay-up, sending the crowd into quite the frenzy. It wasn’t the best game for Wall overall (only finished with 12 points and didn’t make any jumpers), but him showing up was enough to give the basketball fiends in Durham their fix.
Julius Hodge, 6- 7, SF, Overseas
There couldn’t have been a more fitting setting than that of Hodge and John Wall going at it. Each player calling the other out as they went down the floor, battling 1-on-1, and D’ing up the whole time. It was the epitome of summer league basketball, and Hodge got the better end scoring 20 points to Wall’s 12. The former Denver Nugget doesn’t have the athleticism that he had in his younger years, but compensates for what he lost with an improved basketball IQ and post game. Playing in China last year, Hodge definitely looks like a guy who will be in consideration for a training camp invite, if he already hasn’t inked a contract in Europe.
PJ Hairston, 6- 6, SG/SF, Freshman, North Carolina
In a game with the NBA Rookie of the Year, it was Hairston who stood out the most of anyone with his svelte figure and improved bounce. We all know he can shoot it, so the new and improved freshman made it a point to slash to cup at every chance and there wasn’t a single player who could stop him from getting all the way to the tin. It’s looking like the McDonald’s All-American should be right in the mix for a starting spot at UNC as a freshman, especially if he continues to develop his game from mid-range.
Quinn Cook, 6-2, PG, Freshman, Duke
Making his debut in the NC Pro-Am, the McDonald’s All-American lived up to the lofty expectations that the Cameron Crazies have for him. For the first time in a hot second, Cook wasn’t rocking the memorial shirt for his father that was a staple of his on the AAU circuit but still made it a point to pay tribute to his pops. The match-up that he had with John Wall showed a bit of the swag that the freshman brings to the table, based on the fact that he wouldn’t back down one bit against the NBA’s rising star. Despite not being the most explosive athlete in the world, he was able to keep up with Wall and get buckets both at the cup and from beyond the arc. Cook isn’t the type of point guard who is going to be making SportCenter’s Top 10 anytime soon, but he’s the type of point guard who is going to win you games.
CJ Leslie, 6- 8, PF, Sophomore, North Carolina State
After having the opportunity to bounce to the League after his debut season, Leslie made the right choice by returning to the Wolfpack and honing his skills for another year. The improvement was evident here at the Pro-Am, especially in terms of his outside J. Always known as a freak athlete with a deadly first step, the Holly Springs native was matched up with Pistons big Chris Wilcox and definitely got the best of him. The 20-year-old’s first step was too much for the nine-year NBA vet and gave fans a dose of reality in terms of how quick he truly is. Don’t get it twisted, Leslie is still very rough around the edges and has a ton of work to do (especially in terms of ball handling and decision making), but has NBA lottery potential written all over him.