Las Vegas Recap
July 30th, 2012
by A.J. Stokes
Noah Vonleh led the Rivals to the final four of the Adidas Supere 64.
The Adidas Super 64 Tournament came to an end on Sunday in Las Vegas, where both the temperature and the hardwood action had been sizzling hot. Here's a recap of what has transpired thus from a New England perspective.
After going 11-0 and winning two championships last week at Hoop Group KOP, the ECE Mass 16s tripped on out to the desert looking to stay red-hot and also with several new additions in Luis Monteiro and Crew Ainge. After going 2-1 in pool play, ECE advanced to the Championship Bracket and earned a big win over Garner Road in a game in which Luis Monteiro provided the spark with 16 points and 5 boards. In the 2nd Round, after falling behind by double-digits in the first half, ECE stormed back in the second half before falling just short against the Eric Gordon All-Stars.
Aaron Falzon - After a breakout performance last week, Falzon kept it going in Vegas by stacking up points and rebounds all week. Stroke has always been pure, but recently, he has been very consistent with his lower-body mechanics. When this is this case, you can put it in the book.
Jeff Spellman - More of the same for Spellman, who stretched the defense out with his stroke before attacking the lane with his speed and then the basket with his deceptive bounce. Scored the ball consistently and got his usual share of transition buckets.
Luis Monteiro - Newly arrived to New England from the Dominican Republic, Monteiro is an exciting prospect who brings to the table an intriguing combination of skill, athleticism, and fluidity. A sophomore-to-be at Wilbraham & Monson, Monteiro possesses a wealth of talent and made a great choice by coming to New England to develop his game.
After competing in Philly last week with an under-manned frontline, ECE Mass pedaled out to Vegas this week with two formidable reinforcements in Andrew Chrabascz and Kerem Kanter. Competing in Super Pool D, ECE dropped their first contest to the eventual Super 64 Champs in the Michigan Mustangs. In Game #2, ECE cruised to a blow-out win over the Australian Institute of Sport. In Game #3, after a heated duel for almost the full 32 minutes, Andrew Chrabascz converted a put-back in the final seconds to give ECE the win over Memphis Magic Elite and finish pool play 2-1. In Bracket Play, ECE went up against a Creighton Blue Jay-style Hoopfest out Washington. Hoopfest kept pace with ECE for the duration of the game by running crisp half-court sets to get their shooters high-percentage looks behind the arc. In the final 30 seconds of the game, ECE found itself down by 2 before Aaron Calixte stepped up and drilled a deep three-ball to give his club a 1 point lead with 20 seconds remaining. On Hoopfest's ensuing possession, after a scramble in the paint, a Hoopfest player came up with the loose ball and knocked down a mid-range wing jumper to give his team the win.
Andrew Chrabascz - Went to work in the paint all week and also showed a shooting-stroke which convinced a lot college coaches that he is a guy who is going to be able to shoot the 3-ball. Already with a reputation as one of the most hard-nosed and hard-working players in the country, his expanded versatility could take his recruitment in some newfound directions.
Adrian Oliveira - Came through with an impressive showing out in the Desert, showcasing himself as an athletic guard with length who does a nice job of picking his spots to attack with the dribble and score the ball or create. Also shot the basketball well and looked good guarding out on the perimeter.
Isaiah Lewis - Not too many long guards around who are talented as Lewis. He scores the ball every which way and can cause havoc defensively with his quick-twitch foot-speed and long arms. As he learns to orchestrate a more cohesive brand of team ball from the point guard spot, he is a guy whose game translates at the highest of levels.
Playing in a loaded Super Pool B, the Rivals got going on Wednesday against a Garner Road (NC) Squad featuring UNC-commit Isaiah Hicks. The game was neck and neck for the duration before Garner Road pulled out a 63-60 win in the final few minutes. Noah Vonleh made a statement in this one by thoroughly outplaying Hicks, registering 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocked-shots. In their 2nd pool-play game, the Rivals faced a familiar foe as they squared off against Jalen Jenkins, Hassan Martin, Jordan Washington, and a tough New Heights group, with the Rivals winning by a score of 62-50. Vonleh led the scoring with 24 while Dimitri Floras dropped 17 and Jalen Adams had 10.
In Game #3, the Rivals went up against a Dream Vision Squad featuring Isaac and Daniel Hamilton, Johnny Vassar, and Anthony January and after Isaac kept D.V. in the game during the first half with his scoring prowess, the Rivals came alive in the second half with suffocating defense and race-horse offense to run away and cruise to a 72-49 victory. Goodluck Okonoboh dominated the lane in the second half, drastically changing a high-percentage of D.V.'s scoring bids, while Vonleh again led the scoring with 19, Jeremy Miller and Matt Cimino knocked down four treys apiece on a combined 8-9 long-range shooting and Jalen Adams put in 10.
In the first round of bracket play, the Rivals cruised to an easy win over the Denver Shield behind 10 points, 11 rebound and 5 blocks from Josh Sharma before taking on and defeating the Arizona Magic in Round #2 to advance to the Sweet 16, where they went up against a Clutch Silver ball-club out of Oregon which was both talented and fundamental. The Rivals came away with the victory behind a monster performance from Goodluck Okonoboh, who finished four times on loud two-hand dunks in traffic off alley oop feeds from Jalen Adams. Kaleb Joseph was the back-court catalyst in this one for the Rivals while Vonleh led the scoring with 25.
In the Elite 8, Vin Pastore's club went up against a high-powered Atlanta Celtics Squad featuring Kansas commit Brannen Greene and Georgia Tech commit Solomon Poole. After a tight first half, the Rivals stepped on the gas pedal after the break and put together possibly their best half of the summer, building a 15+ point lead before the Celtics, with the game already in the bag for the Rivals, went on a late scoring barrage to make the final score 77-72. Dimitri Floras came through with a huge game in this contest, going for 20 points while Vonleh added 19 and Jalen Adams 15. And with Kaleb Joseph sidelined for the day with an injury, Patrick Benzan stepped up and came through with a big performance as his steadying presence keyed the Rivals big second half run.
A few hours after their victory in the Elite 8, the Rivals faced off against a familiar foe in New Heights in the Final Four. It was a back and forth affair from bell to bell, with the Rivals building a lead in the first half before New Heights clawed back to even things up in the second half. The ball-game went down to the wire, and in the end, New Heights was able to pull out a five-point win to advance on to the Final.
Goodluck Okonoboh - A menace at the top of the square all week, piling up swats, grabbing sky-scraper rebounds, and attacking the rim ferociously with two hands off the catch and finish and the alley-oop lob. Simply changes the game in the paint and one of the top shot-blockers in the country. Hard-nosed demeanor combined with team-first attitude makes him a prize for any team.
Noah Vonleh - Seemed to be a man on a mission this week as he simply dominated the competition; scoring the ball on the block with a series of jump hooks and up and under moves, knocking down treys with efficiency, attacking the offensive glass for traffic-jam put back dunks, and he also went Back to the Future from the wing, where he started on the block before using a down-screen to receive the ball foul-line extended before ripping through and attacking the rack with the one-dribble drive. On the defensive end, Vonleh used his length and foot speed to guard the likes of Isaiah Hicks and Brannen Greene on the wing while also rotating aggressively to pursue shot-blocking opportunities like Davy Crocket on a Buffalo Hunt.
Jalen Adams - After a breakout performance last week at Hoop Group KOP, Adams kept it sizzling out in the desert this week. An electrifying athlete, Adams got into the lane at will all week, scoring the ball in bunches and taking it up over the top of unsuspecting defenders on several occasions for megaphone rim assaults. Also knocked down shots from beyond the arc and the mid-range, but what really separates Adams from the pack is his ability to rebound the ball and block shots from the back-court. This kid develops his skills appropriately and becomes more consistent, there is no telling how high his game could rise.
Jeremy Miller - The high-level flashes are becoming more and more frequent. This week, Miller knocked down threes, attacked space to pursue rebounds, and used his length to guard out on the perimeter and block/change shots.
The Connecticut Basketball Club finished their super pool action 1-2 before falling in the first round of the gold bracket to Club Elite Wildcats. Kahlil Dukes was the standout with two 40+ point performances leading to his commitment to USC.
The Prodigy Basketball Club was also out in Las Vegas, competing in the Bigfoot Hoops Classic. The finished pool play with a perfect 3-0 record including a 67-53 win over ATX with as many as 35 coaches looking on. They went on to advance into the tournaments top bracket, winning their first round game before ultimately falling to Louisiana Elite 74-68.