Greater Boston All-Star Game – Event Recap
March 23rd, 2008
Boston’s brightest stars all gathered in the same gym on Saturday night as they played two exciting games in front of a nearly sold out crowd.
If you are a fan of high school basketball in the Boston area, then Harvard University’s Lavietes Pavilion was the place to be on Saturday night as Hoop Mountain revived one of their oldest traditions in the Greater Boston All-Star Game.
It has been more than a decade since the last Greater Boston All-Star game, which was formerly held at Boston College. But Saturday Hoop Mountain brought back the post-season celebration that was once one of the city’s most anticipated events.
The festivities began at 6pm with the senior game as the blue team defeated the white team 115-91. The junior game tipped next and was particularly exciting considering the class of 2009 is one of the strongest in Massachusetts history. In a high scoring affair the squad wearing the home white earned a 129-121 victory.
While the night had its fare share of highlight reel material, both games were also characterized by good ball movement and a fair amount of defense for an all-star game.
Here is a look at the players who stood out and the plays that brought the crowd to their feet.
Top Ten Highlights
#10 – Phil Pressey break-away: Just about everyone in the crowd was already aware of Pressey’s playmaking skills, but judging from their eruption on his break-away dunk, they were not aware of his athleticism. Pressey got high enough above the rim that he cocked the ball back behind his head before throwing it down.
#9 – Nate Lubick tomahawk: While Lubick’s athleticism is a surprise to no one anymore, the combination of bounce and power he showed when he threw down a tomahawk dunk on his break-away attempt created another eruption.
#8 – Dave Johnson to Nate Lubick: One of the first highlights of the night. Johnson crossed up his defender and left him at the top of the key. Lubick’s defender rotated to stop the oncoming point guard, so Johnson laid down a no-look shovel pass to his St. Mark’s teammate who flushed it with authority.
#7 – Phil Pressey behind back to Alex Oriakhi: With five minutes left in the game Pressey got into the lane off the dribble before threading the needle with a behind the back pass to Oriakhi, who did his best to rip the rim off the backboard with his two handed dunk.
#6 – Dave Johnson alley to Mike Marra: Another spectacular pass from the St. Mark’s point guard as he threw the pass from just over half-court. Marra capped it with an exclamation point as he caught the ball with one hand and threw it through the rim emphatically.
#5 – Kyle Casey 360 degree dunk: The crowd didn’t give this play the attention it deserved as Casey did his best Kobe Bryant impersonation by doing a complete 360 degree mid-air turn on his break-away dunk attempt.
#4 – Phil Pressey throws alley-oop to Jarrell Byrd: We still have no idea how Pressey saw Byrd streaking down the sideline. Pressey was glaring his defender right in the eyes, before he shocked everyone in the gym by quickly throwing a perfectly placed alley-oop pass to Byrd, who had no problem finishing above the rim.
#3 – Allen Williamson behind back dunk: Williamson came streaking down the floor, with only one defender standing between him and the rim. As the defender reached for the ball, Williamson went right passed him as he wrapped the ball behind his back and then dunked it in stride.
#2 – Phil Pressey shakes defender: The best dribble move of the night hands down. Pressey put the ball backwards between his legs and then immediately wrapped it behind his back to explode past his defender. He finished the play with a double clutched lay-up as the crowd roared.
#1 – Greg Jacques alley-oop to Gerald Coleman: The best alley-oop of the night because of both the pass and the finish. Jacques threw the ball from the back-court and still put it right on the money. Coleman had mistimed his jump only slightly enough to have to hang in the air before catching the ball with one hand and dunking it hard.
The Players and How They Faired
Senior Game – White Team
Adrian Gonzalez, 9 points – Central Catholic HS (Lawrence, MA): He scored with good consistency in the second half, but his most impressive play was his blocked shot in the first as he came close to hitting his head on the rim.
David Rufful, 0 points – Northfield Mount Hermon (Northfield, MA): Rufful didn’t see the minutes or shot attempts to put up big numbers, but he was still one of the top talents in the game.
Andrew McCarthy, 13 points – Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols (Cambridge, MA): He scored 8 points in two minutes as he knocked down consecutive three-pointers and then followed that up with an offensive put back.
Mark Williams, 4 points – Malden HS (Malden, MA): The strong and athletic forward was active on the glass and finished well around the rim.
Tyrone Hughes, 10 points – Taft School (Watertown, MA): The East Boston High School graduate is an absolute jet with the ball. Between his speed and quickness he had no problem getting to the rim.
Francisco Luano, 9 points – Boston Trinity (Boston, MA): Luano is apparently headed to junior college but will likely be a good college player down the road as he combines good size and athleticism for the perimeter, along with a rapidly improving skill set.
Stevie Mejia, 8 points – Lawrence Academy (Lawrence, MA): He was content to set others up for most of the night before showing his range as he knocked down two 25 footers late in the game.
Jake O’Brien, 9 points – Boston College HS (Boston, MA): He finished extremely well around the rim as he was converting with both hands at various angles. Had he gotten more touches he would have put up bigger numbers.
Jamal Turner, 3 points – Tilton School (Tilton, NH): The Roxbury native continued to do what he has done all year long as he locked up defensively and distributed the ball offensively.
Ryan O’Connell, 10 points – St. John’s Prep (Danvers, MA): Boy can this guy shoot! Equally impressive is that he appears to have bulked up a decent amount in recent months. He should be an instant impact player at Bowdoin.
Kyle Gerry, 14 points – Brockton HS (Brockton, MA): He hit three three-pointers and scored a team high 14 points as he more than proved he belonged in this field.
Lambros Papalambros, 0 points – Suffield Academy (Suffield, CT): The Quincy native and Archbishop Williams graduate made his return to Boston. He is said to be deciding between Bates, Babson, and Stonehill.
Senior Game – Blue Team
Andrew Van Nest, 2 points – Northfield Mount Hermon (Northfield, MA): The Weston native only scored two points, but he’ll have plenty of other opportunities to put points on the board in this building during the next four years as he heads to Harvard next year.
Anthony Weeks, 12 points – Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA): Weeks played the role of a distributor on his Worcester team this year, so tonight he relished the opportunity to score the ball as he knocked down a three-pointer and scored twice with his pull-up jumper after crossing up his defender.
James Marcellus, 0 points – Bridgton Academy (North Bridgton, ME): The Dorchester native is one of the best unsigned big men left in the class of 2008. He should be headed to the division I level next year.
Peterson Bernard, 17 points – Madison Park HS (Boston, MA): This is the third time we’ve seen Bernard this week and he’s gotten progressively more impressive each time. He scored every time he caught the ball within 5 feet of the rim and also did a nice job on the glass.
Uche Egesionu, 4 points – Trinity Catholic HS (Newton, MA): The big fella was never able to get much going offensively, but he did a nice job banging inside and being active on the glass.
Romeo Diaz, 6 points – Methuen HS (Methuen, MA): He would have been hard pressed to duplicate his performance from a night earlier. Diaz is apparently headed to prep school next year where he should have a good chance of earning himself a scholarship.
Josh Paulino, 10 points – Pomfret School (Pomfret, CT): The Methuen native brought out his bag of tricks tonight as he got by people off the dribble, manufactured his own shot, and found others as well.
Chris Flores, 6 points – O’Bryant HS (Roxbury, MA): Another standout who is apparently headed the prep route. Flores, who made some shots from the perimeter tonight, should be a standout during the summer AAU season.
Tim McKinney, 11 points – Boston College HS (Boston, MA): He had one of the game’s best individual performances. His handle and jumper have both tightened, as he showed when crossing up defenders and pulling-up in their faces.
David Riley, 4 points – Charlestown HS (Charlestown, MA): He showed a smooth perimeter jumper and also made some nice passes within the offense.
Matt Welch, 11 points – Lowell HS (Lowell, MA): It’s too bad he’s only playing football at New Hampshire because he is a very good basketball player. He scored a good number of points in the paint and also knocked down some open jumpers.
Tyler Patch, 8 points – Seekonk HS (Seekonk, MA): Patch’s game has developed nicely in the last year. After putting up huge numbers during his senior season, Patch showed he could hang with players from bigger leagues.
Matt Pressey, 12 points – Cushing Academy (Ashburnham, MA): One of the game’s most electrifying scorers, Pressey manufactured shots with his dribble and also finished with good body control.
Robert Wesley, 14 points – Cambridge Rindge & Latin (Cambridge, MA): If the game had an MVP he would have been the likely choice. He went strong to the bucket, pulled up quickly in transition, and finished impressively around the bucket.
Underclassmen Game – White Team
Matt Gibson, 5 points – Lexington Christian (Lexington, MA): Gibson continues to be able to get into the lane and make plays off the dribble while also showing his prowess as a catch and shoot player.
Carson Desrosiers, 4 points – Central Catholic HS (Lawrence, MA): He showed his shooting range by stretching the defense out to the three-point line while also blocking some shots on the defensive end.
Billy Marsden, 5 points – Central Catholic HS (Lawrence, MA): A spot up shooter who was equally effective pulling the trigger off the catch or the dribble.
Hanell Velez, 4 points – Woburn HS (Woburn, MA): Despite scoring only 4 points, it was still clear that Velez was one of the stronger guards on the floor as he handled the ball confidently in the open court and also got to the rim.
Evan Smotrycz, 9 points – Reading HS (Reading, MA): He showed flashes of his immense potential as he knocked down an open three, got by his defender, and finished with a soft runner.
Ben Crenca, 9 points – Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA): It’s tough for low post players to have much impact in all-star games, but when Crenca got deep catches he had no problem finishing.
Phil Pressey, 9 points – Cushing Academy (Ashburnham, MA): His playmaking skills were on full display as he racked up four of the night’s top ten plays. Simply put his ball-handling, floor vision, and passing ability are off the charts while his athleticism is better than most realize.
Austin Carroll, DNP – Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA): An ankle sprain held out the sharp-shooting guard, although he should be ready to go for the beginning of the AAU season.
Alex Oriakhi, 9 points – Tilton School (Tilton, NH): His combination of size, power, and athleticism allowed him to dunk emphatically and block several shots. He also showed a nice stroke from behind the three-point line, although the ball rimmed out.
Allen Williamson, 16 points – Pingree School (South Hamilton, MA): It was a big weekend for the Pingree junior as he was outstanding on both Friday and Saturday night. His physical gifts (size, strength, and athleticism) in addition to his developing skill set should make him a highly regarded recruit.
Kyle Stockmal, 10 points – Watertown HS (Watertown, MA): Everyone knows he is a very good shooter. But what was impressive tonight was his ability to shoot the three in transition, which is very difficult when trying to quickly pull up off of a dead sprint.
Cory Stockmal, 5 points – Watertown HS (Watertown, MA): While his game may lack the flash necessary to shine in an all-star game, he has the efficiency to be productive during the season. He and his brother will run with the Mass Rivals this year.
Akeem Williams, 9 points – Avon HS (Avon, MA): He may take difficult shots, but he also makes difficult shots. Flat out a pure scorer.
Sam Martin, 16 points – Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA): He more than proved he belonged as he drained open threes, got by his man with a killer cross-over, and delighted the crowed with a spinning runner in the lane.
Underclassmen Game – Blue Team
Kyle Casey, 4 points – Brimmer & May (Chestnut Hill, MA): Another guy who didn’t get the touches to stand out, but he made his break-away attempt count with his 360 dunk.
Tucker Halpern, 5 points – Noble & Greenough (Dedham, MA): A catch and shoot player who did all he could…knock down the open looks he had and move the ball when he didn’t.
Greg Jacques, 5 points – St. Sebastian’s (Needham, MA): He clearly thrives when playing with talent around him as Jacques is able to distribute the ball with the best of them.
Nate Lubick, 14 points – St. Mark’s (Southborough, MA): Perhaps the game’s most efficient player. He ran the floor, finished everything inside, and continued to rebound the ball strong.
Dave Johnson, 15 points – St. Mark’s (Southborough, MA): He was at his best in the up and down game as his ball-handling and creativity allowed him to thrive.
Mike Marra, 11 points – Northfield Mount Hermon (Northfield, MA): It was a typical game for Marra with a combination of dagger threes and explosive dunks.
Dartaye Ruffin, 0 points – Stoughton HS (Stoughton, MA): Ruffin was never able to get anything going offensively but he remains one of the best pure rebounders in the region.
Daniel O’Keefe, 14 points – Lexington HS (Lexington, MA): O’Keefe simply out worked most people on the floor as he plays with great energy and intensity in the paint. He also showed a nice touch on his outside jumper.
Shabazz Napier, 5 points – Charlestown HS (Charlestown, MA): He didn’t get a chance to show his perimeter stroke, although his speed and quickness were evident throughout the night.
Mike Clifford, 6 points – Bishop Fenwick HS (Peabody, MA): He doesn’t have the type of game that is going to stand out in an all-star game but he continues to play hard on both ends of the floor.
Jamal Coombs, 15 points – Tilton School (Tilton, NH): Many of the coaches on hand were talking about how much the Dorchester native has improved in the last year. While his athleticism allowed him a couple of highlight plays, he has become much more efficient as of late.
Gerald Coleman, 13 points – West Roxbury HS (West Roxbury, MA): Another one of the evening’s top performers. He is silky smooth, deceptively athletic (as he showed on his alley-oop finish), and potentially a star in the making.
Darryl Cato-Bishop, 9 points – Lawrence Academy (Lawrence, MA): Another Dorchester native who shined. All-star games don’t often measure toughness and winning mentality…but it is hard not to notice that every time he takes the court.
Nadir Tharpe, 5 points – St. Peter Marian HS (Worcester, MA): The Worcester native had a big announcement Saturday night…he is headed to Brewster Academy next year…stay tuned later in the week for more information.
Stay tuned this week for more information on the players who participated in the Greater Boston All-Star Game