The Greater NC Pro-Am has finally come to an end. After a great summer that brought surprise appearances by John Wall, Brandon Jennings and Donte Greene, the battling at NC Central came its conclusion and Team Jamison walked away with the crown over a previously undefeated Sheraton Imperial squad.
Unlike most summer league games, it was clear from the tip that both teams were playing for the W and not for the crowd or the highlights. Rasheed Wallace served as the consistent vocal leader for Sheraton Imperial, who just couldn’t overcome the lineup of Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Powell, Raymond Felton, Dominique Sutton and Emanuel Chapman. There weren’t behind-the-back passes, off-the-glass dunks, or matador defenders in this game. It was a game filled with charges, loose balls and straight up team basketball that most definitely had a bit of an old school feel to it.
Team Jamison walked away with the 102-91 dub, and here are a few of the guys who showed out in the process:
Raymond Felton, 6-2, PG, Portland Trail Blazers
Having been on the rosters of four teams in a matter of 12 months (Bobcats, Knicks, Nuggets, Blazers), it’s been a chaotic year for Raymond Felton. After struggling a little bit early on in Pro-Am, he bounced back when it mattered most and left NC Central with a championship. The former UNC lead guard also had the play of the day, yanking Nolan Smith real bad with a filthy crossover, but missing the subsequent J that followed. Felton has continued to get in better shape as the summer went on and appears destined to lead a potentially intriguing Blazers team for the ’11-12 season.
Nolan Smith, 6-3, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers
After taking what seemed like 100 pictures, Smith was finally able to take the court for the championship game. With mixed results on his jumper, the former Duke guard opted to slash to the cup and was nearly unstoppable every time. It’s clear that he’s still very much a work in progress as a point guard running the pick and roll, but expectations aren’t incredibly high just yet for the DC native on a deep Blazers squad.
Jerry Stackhouse, 6-5, SG, Retired
Showing that he still has a little gas in the tank, Stack was a flat out beast from the mid-post and finished with 23 points. It was evident to anyone who knew what a bounce pass was that the 15-year vet had a basketball IQ far superior to anyone else playing in the league. Also serving as a vocal leader, certainly don’t be surprised if teams begin calling on his services once the lockout comes to an end.
Marcus Fisher, 6-4, SG/SF, Minor Leagues
The fearless Fisher went right to blows with the former NBA scoring king Stackhouse and got the best of him in the second half. He caught Stack on the baseline and light weight banged on him, in addition to getting his fair share of buckets from isolation situations en route to being the game’s leading scorer. It’s appearing that the D-League and Shaw University are the two most viable options for Fisher, who has never played college ball. Whichever route he chooses, you’re going to be getting a guy who is a problem to defend for the entire game.
Sammy Monroe, 6-6, SG/SF, Overseas
Coming out of tiny Newberry college, Monroe has stepped his game up since he traded in his textbooks and you could see based on the way he held his own against some of the big dogs of the NC Pro-Am. The 6-6 wing used his versatile game to get into the paint where he hit defenders with a variety of pretty floaters and mid-range Js. The North Carolina problem proved he could eat with the big boys and should have no problem finding a job this year across the pond.