Dedric Lawson (Memphis War Eagles)
POOL PLAY ROLLS ON IN HAMPTON: DAY 2 RUNDOWN
Sunday at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, Virginia hosted day two of the 2010 12U AAU D-1 National Championships. It was much of the same in terms of top tier talent, and a few upsets set the stage for some spectacular matchups for Monday during the final day of pool play. So without wasting any more time, here’s exactly what went down on Sunday…
BY THE NUMBERS
3 – The number of players at the event averaging 20 points per game or better. While there are certainly some elite players and big-time scorers present, the emphasis on team play has been rather refreshing in this age group. Also, at this level the quarters are only 7 minutes, so the overall scores of games are a bit lower. Regardless, Rakym Felder (New Heights NYC), Harry Giles (Team Felton), and Jamir Harris (Team Battle), are still filling it up to the tune of 20+ points per game.
24 – The number of undefeated teams left in the tournament. Out of the 24 remaining unbeatens after two days of play, 21 have already secured a spot in the National Championship bracket but will need to add one more win in order to secure a number one seed coming out of their pool.
12 – The number of undefeated teams that will square off in day three of pool play. There will be six games featuring undefeated teams on Monday, which include Memphis War Eagles vs. New Heights (Pool C 12:30pm Court 1), D.C. Assault Gorham vs. M.A.B.C. Bengals Black (Pool B 12:30pm Court 2), King Street Kings vs. CC1st (Pool N 3:30pm Court 4), Michael Finley’s Bumble Bees vs. Team Texas (Pool R 5:00pm Court 3), Team Stat vs. Indiana Elite Jazz (Pool O 5:00pm Court 6), Elite Cavaliers vs. Carolina Ravens (Pool A 8:00pm Court 4).
42 – Number of teams that will have their National Championship bubble burst and be forced to enter the Classic Bracket when pool play concludes on Monday. We’ll keep an eye on both brackets because there is certainly something to be said for playing on the last day of the tournament, regardless of what your team is playing for. Young guys who compete and show resiliency early have a chance to be elite players long-term, and AAU agrees, rewarding the final four remaining teams in the Classic bracket with automatic bids to the following year’s tournament.
160 – Number of inches that will enter the 12U tip-off circle when Louisiana Primetime’s Khalea Turner (6-foot-7) and QCAA Force’s Raekwon Long (6-foot-9) battle for the jumpball at 2:00pm on Court 2. We aren’t completely sure, but we’d venture to say that is more than likely a record for the 12U AAU Nationals, especially a pool play match-up.
MEET THE PLAYERS (DAY 2 STANDOUTS)
Dedric Lawson (Memphis War Eagles) – The big-bodied guard operated solely on the perimeter while playing up in the 13U D2 championships just a few weeks ago, and now because of his size is working out of the high-post and block in his age group. A versatile player with a nice skill set, Lawson will have to work hard to better his lateral quickness and explosiveness moving forward, but has the look of a major talent. Though he has a long way to go and I’m not a big supporter of making player comparisons with young guys (I like prospects to live up to expectations to be the “next” themselves), Lawson resembles a young Tobias Harris.
Edrice Adebayo (Virginia Panthers) – Young big man is new to the game, but the 6-foot-6 forward has plenty of length and athleticism to develop into an excellent player. For now he’s a major presence in the lane, blocking or altering anything that comes his way in the paint, and using his arms and quick bounce to secure everything that comes off the glass. Most of his points come off putbacks and we’re hoping he gets a few more touches offensively so we can see what he’s really made of as the week moves forward.
Jerrick Ahanmisi (Impact Basketball) – Older brother Maverick was a high-major recruit who ultimately signed to play for Tubby Smith at Minnesota, and by all accounts, the younger Ahanmisi is further ahead at this point. Blessed with good size for a combo guard, Ahanmisi is already knocking down jumpers off the bounce, and has clearly put in work with his handle. He’s near the top of the list for guards we’ve seen thus far.
Jakolby Long (Team Teas) – Oklahoma-native has guard skills, frontcourt size, and simply plays anywhere on the court and does whatever he wants. Perhaps a bit physically mature, Long will ultimately have to find a home on the perimeter, and with an improved jumper should be worth following as a bouncy Southwest swingman who should earn plenty of ink as he enters the high school ranks.
Adrian Moore (Louisiana Primetime) – One of the most explosive athletes we’ve observed in this age group to date, Moore is the playmaker for the Primetime team, while big man Turner anchors the paint. A superb ball-handler who has complete control of his body, Moore is already playing above the rim, and showed proficiency shooting the mid-range jumper. It’s too early to determine his ultimate position, but he’ll play anywhere from the 1-4 spots on the court for now, appearing to be most comfortable as an attacking wing.
Adam Seiko (Impact Basketball) – Combo forward looks like he’ll eventually transition full-time to the wing, but caught our eye attacking the rim from the high post. Athletic and well-conditioned, Seiko picked up a lot of easy buckets in transition as well, simply beating opponents up and down the floor. His combination of strength and aggressiveness is intimidating for most players at this level, and he’ll need to continue to work on his perimeter jumper moving forward. Clearly one of the top West Coast prospects from the 2016 crop at this time.
DuShan Shepeard (Indiana Elite Jazz) – Wiry swingman really impressed with his defensive abilities to the point where we’re ready to crown him the best perimeter defender in the age group. Explosive both laterally and vertically with a huge wingspan, Shepeard has the physical traits you look for when identifying a wing prospect. As he develops his offensive perimeter skills and gets more aggressive on the glass, expect to hear this name as Shepeard takes his game to the next level.
Jayson Tatum (Memphis War Eagles) – The St. Louis native is the son of former Billiken standout Justin Tatum and may catch dad in the talent category sooner than later. Already blessed with size (father is 6-foot-7) and guard skills, Tatum is a name to watch both immediately and long-term in the 2016 class. He’s a confident ball-handler with a scorer’s mentality, who looks most comfortable playing the 2-3 positions on the court.
Khalea Turner (Louisiana Primetime) – The young big man (6-foot-7) has battled foul trouble throughout the event, but has shown flashes of brilliance. With his coordination still catching up, Turner has a mobile and massive frame that makes him one the top players in his class based simply on potential alone. His footwork is good enough where he is already attempting to guard and make some plays on the perimeter, but for now he does his best work from the elbow and closer. Regardless he’s an elite prospect, and a name to pencil in near the top of the 2016 class (emphasis pencil, not pen with players this young).
Donovan White (Louisiana Sports Academy Knights) – Talented wing forward can turn digits on the scoreboard in a hurry. More athletic than skilled at this point, White has an extremely high ceiling as a prospect as he develops his perimeter jumper and ball skills. With his combination of size and ability, White is one the event’s most versatile players, and can play any position on the floor at this level. He’s a national-level name worth tracking. We’ll watch his development closely.