NC Pro-Am Final Four Recap
Rasheed Wallace with the comeback.
With their forced leave of absence from work, NBA guys such as Raymond Felton, Josh Powell, Jawad Williams, Nolan Smith, Chris Wilcox and Rasheed Wallace graced the courts of North Carolina Central on the regular. While there were no shortage of pros, it was the college kids who were getting butts in seats from die-hard hoop-heads within the triangle. Austin Rivers, Lorenzo Brown, CJ Leslie, Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Leslie McDonald, Darius Johnson-Odom, and Karron Johnson were just a few of the NCAA guys who showed up to play.
There may have been leagues with more star power (such as the Drew League, Goodman League), but none could bring the mixture of college and NBA players together the way the Greater NC Pro-Am did, while drawing nearly 5,000 fans a night in the process.
The final four brought a surprise appearance from John Wall, who played with a loaded squad. Wall joined Jerry Stackhouse, John Henson, PJ Hairston and ex-Kent State star Anthony Wilkins in the starting five for Team Triangle G. You know you’re playing for a legit squad when you have Marquette’s best player (Darius Johnson-Odom) coming off of the bench. They went up against Team Jamison, who was paced by the core of what should be a really legit North Carolina Central Team. Ex-Kansas State forward Dominique Sutton went to blows with John Wall, and walked away with a downright shocking three-point dub in the process.
The second game brought Rasheed Wallace’s undefeated Sheraton Imperial against Josh Powell, Nolan Smith, and 757 Custom. In what was a back-and-forth game, ‘Sheed and Josh Powell both put in work against each other on the blocks. The intensity was hella high, with Sheed talking ish to the 757 bench the entire game… while playing in sweater socks. Trailing by a handful for the majority of the game, Marcus Fisher and Wallace led Sheraton Imperial on a comeback that eventually came to a conclusion with Sheed hitting a game-winning turnaround jumper with 1 second left.
With all that action, there were a number of guys who showed out. Here’s a closer look at who shined in the final four:
Dominique Sutton, 6-5, SF, North Carolina Central, Senior
The player who has been a problem for the most cats in the Pro-Am went toe to toe with John Wall and walked away with the dub. Always looking to lock up the best opposing player, the Kansas State transfer had his eyes set on John Wall and did a pretty good job for the most part with his package of strength and athleticism. His offense is still a work in progress and even though he finished with 19 points, still needs to improve on his J if he hopes to make it to the League. Either way, Sutton is the center piece of North Carolina Central’s resurgence.
John Wall, 6-4, PG, Washington Wizards
In exactly what summer league basketball stories are made of, the emerging NBA star (Wall) went right at the under the radar MVP of the league (Sutton). While Wall got the better of the two on the stat sheet after dropping 36 points, many onlookers will tell you that those numbers are inflated due to a little preferential treatment by the refs. There was no shortage of ish being talked between he and Sutton, especially after Wall drew a handful of fouls on the NC Central stud early on. After having some shaky results with his J, it certainly wasn’t be the best showing from Wall but fans in Durham gave him mad props for making a return appearance at the Pro-Am.
Marcus Fisher, 6-4, SG/SF, Minor Leagues
Helping his team to a remarkable comeback, the completely unknown Fisher continued to build a name for himself at the Pro-Am. Twenty-seven years old and never having played college basketball, he is a self-described “backyard player” who has been a problem for any player in the league to guard. Options are looking plentiful for the product of Alexandria, VA since he is an ideal candidate for the D-League but also has a scholly on the table from DII power Shaw University if he wants to hit the books instead. Either way, this guy can flat out go.
Rasheed Wallace, 6-10, PF, Retired
With his team down for the majority of the second half, Sheed and Fisher anchored a second half comeback for Sheraton Imperial. The ex-NBA star didn’t really look to go to work offensively until he needed to, hitting the game-winning turnaround jumper with one second left on the clock. For a guy who you’d assume would just be chilling on the golf course in his time away from the game, the demonstrative Wallace is still going all out on the court and giving it to the refs at any chance possible. Just another example of how some things never change.
Emanuel Chapman, 6-1, PG, North Carolina Central, Sophomore
Despite a freshman season in which he averaged a mere 2.2 points per game, Chapman looked like a guy who was on the cusp of being an all-conference player based on the way that he played at the Pro-Am. The skinny lead guard did a great job making all of the right reads coming off of ball screens and hit a ton of floaters in the three second area over John Henson. Even more impressive was the heart that he showed by not backing down one bit to John Wall. Central coach LeVelle Moten has a few things to look forward to next season with guys like Chapman and Dominique Sutton in the fold.
Josh Powell, 6-10, PF/C, Atlanta Hawks
Falling to Sheed in the final four, Powell showed off a skill set much better than people give him credit for. With a reputation as more of a bruiser, the NBA vet showed off the ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc and made a coupe of pretty finishes with his left hand on the blocks. Already with two rings in the fold from his time with the Lakers, expect the North Carolina State product to provide a really nice boost off of the bench to an NBA team whenever the lockout is resolved.