Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Double Pump Best of Summer Classic - Cali

Playaz & Rivals Get Started in LA
- Rivals Game #1: Today out in Los Angeles, the Double Pump Best of Summer Classic got underway at the American Sports Center.  This morning, the Mass Rivals got going in Super Pool A against a Reach Legends squad out of Detroit who always brings talent and heart to the table.  The game was close throughout, but in the final 8 minutes, the Rivals were able to carve out a lead and then hold off a furious Reach rally late to hold on for 57-56 win.  Dimitry Floras, Jamie Holder, and Steve Haladyna led the charge offensively as the Rivals front-line did not bring their A-game this morning, although each Vonleh and Auguste made several plays high above the rim which drew a chorus of oohhs and ahhs from the crowd.  There were plenty of coaches sitting in the bleachers for this one.  Among the head coaches in attendance were West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, Auburn’s Tony Barbee, and Brown’s Jesse Agel.  Among the schools represented by assistant coaches were UCLA, Virginia Tech, Iowa St, Nebraska, Cincinnati, Michigan, Baylor, UC Davis, Texas State, Penn, Colgate, Dartmouth, Hartford, BU Lafayette, Cleveland St, Toledo, Detroit Mercy.  Unlike the isolated gym set-up in Vegas, the wide-open 16 court complex in LA made it difficult to identify coaches, specifically because fan seating and coach's seating were on bleachers on opposite baselines.

- Rivals Game #2:  In their second game, the Rivals squared off against the Dallas Heroes, who are coincidentally are from Dallas.  The first half of this game was a back and forth affair, with neither team seeming to possess the will to get defensive stops with any sort of consistency.  The Rivals were sloppy with the basketball but six Rivals 3's (4 from Ryan Hartung and one each from Mike Carbone and Sam Dowden) kept them in the game and allowed for the Rivals to go into the break tied up at 33.  After getting a heavy scolding from Coach Vin Pastore at halftime, the Rivals came out in the 2nd half and dominated, going on an 18-2 run to start the session and rolling to a 62-45 victory.  For the Rivals, the frontline of Kuaku, Vonleh, and Auguste was monstrous in the 2nd half, blocking or changing shots on seemingly every field goal attempt by the Heroes and getting 8 or 9 dunks between them. 

Zach Auguste put together his best half of the summer in the 2nd half of this one.  He went after shot blocking opportunities, rebounded the ball hard, and ran his tail off on the break and finished high above the rim on multiple occasions.  Vonleh again assumed a high percentage of the ball handling responsibility for the Rivals in this one, and throughout the game, he displayed his yo-yo handle and took good care of the rock.  He also did a nice job of changing up on his dribble penetration, at times kicking it out for a three and at times attacking the basket, where he finished with an array of bank-shots, lay-ins and dunk flushes.  In terms of Big Cedric, for the game he had 10 points on 3 dunks and two lay-ins.  He also grabbed 15 big boards, many of which started the break, and blocked or altered a ton of shots over the course of the game.

The college coaches in the bleachers for this one included a handful who took in both Rivals games today.  These coaches included Auburn Head Man Tony Barbee, Brown Boss Jesse Agel, Umass Asst Adam Ginsberg and assistants from UCLA, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Baylor and Penn.  Other coaches taking in the game were assistants from Kansas, Vanderbilt, Towson, and Penn.  There were a dime or so more who we couldn't ID. 

- NE Playaz Game #1: In their first ballgame out in Disney Land, the Playaz went up against the Eastern Washington Hoopsters, a team comprised of players from both the state of Washington and also Idaho.  From the opening tip, the Hoopsters gave the Playaz all they could handle, playing with physicality, crashing the offensive boards, and knocking down timely threes.  The Playaz were led in the first half by the play of big guys Kaleb Tarczewski and John Powell, who took on wave after wave of Hoopster Paint Invaders to help the Playaz maintain a small lead throughout the majority of the first half and going into halftime. The 2nd half of the game was similar in that it was a tight contest; however, the quality of play on both ends in the 2nd half was a treat for the fans as both teams did a very nice job of moving the basketball around.  When both teams were clicking in the 2nd half, we saw a consistent flow of app-laudable basketball plays.  For the Playaz, Joe Bramanti once again was very impressive.  He has really learned to simplify his game and has done a great job this summer of making simple, efficient, High IQ plays that help high-level basketball teams win games.  Curious about where Bramanti's recruitment stands at this point.  Also having a big 2nd half for the Playaz was SG John Papale, who was a recipient of several nice passes from Bramanti which resulted in trey balls, including a trey at the buzzer off a fade screen which broke a tie and gave the Playaz an all important W.  A sniper is dangerous weapon for any team to possess, and with his high IQ and his "no mistakes" style of play, Papale is a sniper who could practice his craft in any D1 Conference.  Another Playa who seems to really be getting better is stretch-4-man John Powell.  He is long and athletic, and when he has his motor going good like he did today, he makes things happen at both ends of the floor.  And of course Mount Tarczewski was his typical game-changing self, dominating the defensive glass and wearing out the Hoopster's front-court all by himself.  He also had several nice moves on the block in which he displayed his nimble feet, soft hands, and athleticism, finishing more than a few plays in thunderous fashion.  Whoever gets Tarczewski out of Arizona, Kansas, and North Carolina will be very fortunate.

Coaches in attendance:  Of the 3 schools who are finalists for the services of Kaleb Tarczewski, two had representatives who were noticeably visible in the Coaches section.  Representing Arizona was head man Sean Miller, who with Grant Jerrett and Gabe York already on board, likely won't miss a Playaz game for the rest of the week.  Kansas was represented by Asst Coach Joe Dooley.  Unrepresented was North Carolina.  The two schools there for Traczewski were hardly alone.  Also present was Bobby Huggins from West Virginia, Adam Ginsberg from UMass was there for John Papale, and also identified were coaches from Michigan, BU, Idaho, Loyola Marymount, Dartmouth, Long Beach State, George Washington.  There were also about a dozen of other coaches there who we could never get a 100% ID on.  

- NE Playaz Game #2: As we speak, the Playaz are currently playing their second pool play game against Minnesota Pump N' Run.  We'll let you know how it goes.

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