Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sam Parker (Spotlight South 12U AAU Nationals Report Day 1)

Caleb Tregre (Elite Cavaliers)

Since the completion of the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, Virginia, the Tidewater region has become one of the most attractive venues in the nation for basketball events. Nike has made the area its first stop on the prestigious 17U Elite Youth Basketball League (E.Y.B.L.) circuit and the formerly-named Boo Williams Spring Invitational now hosts some of the nation’s top 15U and 16U teams each April. And that’s just the boys’ side of the game!

This week the future of these events comes to the eight-court facility along the Virginia coastline in the form of the 12U AAU Division I National Championships. Pool play began on Saturday and the talent level showed that United States basketball remains the best in the world. Here’s an exclusive rundown on what we saw during opening day…

Caleb Tregre (Elite Cavaliers) – Another important piece of an Elite Cavaliers team hoping to repeat as national champions, Tregre displayed excellent confidence on offense and looked comfortable while supplying the majority of ball-handling duties for his squad. His anticipation and versatility defensively allows the Cavaliers to use a number of pressure-oriented schemes. Expect Tregre scoring responsibility to increase as the tournament moves forward.

Anthony Carr (Philly Triple Threat) – Liked how Carr embraced his role as the catalyst for his team on offense and the scrappiness he displayed defensively. His gambles on the perimeter worked out today, as he came away with six steals and helped his squad to a win with numerous buckets in transition. His continued development as a steady floor general in the half-court should make Carr a regional name.

Daveyon Barnes (Sam Cassell All-Stars) – A big, physical presence in the middle, Barnes is a double-double machine and a match-up nightmare at this level. While his touches and offensive arsenal are limited at this point, the young guy is a monster on the glass and seems to take pride in his duties controlling the paint. He’s definitely an intimidator for opponents in the 12U division.

Harry Giles (Team Felton) – Clearly one of the top prospects in the tournament, Giles is already a player as well. He posted the Day 1 high in the scoring column, posting 27 points to compliment 9 rebounds against The Family of Detroit, Michigan. Later in the evening, Giles scored 20 points against Ohio-based Warrior Basketball. For now, he does most of his damage within ten feet of the rim but will surely convert into a full-time wing player sooner than later.

Kobe Gantz (Central Penn Ballers) – Gantz is a natural scorer who appears comfortable handling the ball and creating for others. He does a nice job of mixing dribble-drives and jumpers to keep defenders off-balance, but what impressed us most on day one was his defensive awareness. Blessed with quickness and already possessing a significant basketball IQ, Gantz was a force in the full-court press and locked up in the halfcourt as well.

Trevor Stanback (SoCal A.C.E.S.) – The developing post prospect is the younger brother of UNLV swingman Chace Stanback but should easily surpass his brother’s 6-foot-7 frame by the time he reaches physical maturity. A giant stride helps him run the floor with ease and we loved the fact that the big man was a furious competitor inside the paint. He’s definitely in the mold of an interior player and should have more than enough size to stay there long-term.

Derryck Thornton (SoCal A.C.E.S.) – A big-time effort from the young floor general on the opening day of pool play. A natural point guard, Thornton makes the appropriate pass, and has full control of both his body and his handle. He uses his superior quickness to penetrate the lane whenever he wants and then has the vision and passing ability to make even the most difficult of passes. As he continues to work on his strength, it should be expect that his jumper will improve dramatically, both off the bounce and as a set shooter.

Leon Davis (Elite Cavaliers) – The well-built perimeter player helps start the ferocious Cavs pressure defense. With a National Championship under his belt from last season, Davis’ confidence is undeniable and is hunger getting to the rim is impressive as well. If the Ohio-native maintains his aggressive mentality throughout the week, the Elite Cavaliers should be in contention again.

Malik Foye (Team Stat Prospects) – Competitive and charismatic young guard truly enjoys playing the game and embraces the team concept. With the build of an NFL fullback, Foye is a load when attacking the rim and showed proficiency with the midrange jumper in tonight’s contest. Should he continue shooting the ball well throughout the week, we’re talking about one of the event’s most productive players.

Aaron Augustin (Georgia Stars) – Talented combo guard looked comfortable in both the role of a scorer and distributor in an impressive win to open pool play. The Stars finished as national runner-ups in the age group last year and will need Augustin at his best to make it back to the title game this year. That means him being as efficient as possible each times he touches the rock.