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NBAPA Top 100 Camp "Play-Offs" RECAP
By: Darnell "Tate" Johnson
Charlottesville, VA-The concept and format that Coach John Lucas II put together was outstanding. For the camps "regular season games" their were 6 quarters and you received a point for each quarter and two for the last one and for the playoff it was 8 quarters one point for first seven two for the last and Just like in the NBA, the playoffs intensity definitely picked up.
FIRST ROUND GAMES (QUARTER FINALS)
The #1 Heat vs #8 Thunder.
The Thunder pulled of the major upset with outstanding team play and combo guard Stevie Clark and wing forward Chris McCullough stepped up on the offensive end and big man Mamadou Ndiaye manned the lane on the defensive end. Heat guard Bronson Koenig tried to keep them in the game, but for the first time all week the Heat didn't step it up as a team.
The second Quarterfinal game pitted the 76ers against the Spurs. The 76ers without solid team play all week pulled off a squeaker. They were guided by one of the camp surprises Darren Minniefield playing a solid game and shooting guard Anton Gill getting buckets. It was the two big fellas in the paint Devin Williams and Zena Edosomwanson that really set the tone by playing lights out on both ends by dominating paint with ferocity. Point guard Aquille Carr tried single handily to keep his team in the game but he just didn't get enough help.
The third Quarterfinal game had the Mavericks against the Lakers. The Mavericks took out the Lakers behind the stellar play of power forward Kyle J. Washington who had a field day in the paint and the steady play of WF Kuran Iverson. The dynamic backcourt of PG Andrew Harrison and PG Tadrick Jackson still wasn't enough to pull off the upset. There was a sequence in this game that had electricity of a LeBron against Durrant feel about it. It was a three minute run of Kuran Iverson challenging Andrew Harrison and every body in attendance was on the edge of their seats. All I can say is neither player disappointed!!!
The fourth and final Quarterfinal game had the Grizzlies against the Bulls. From start to finish Anthony Barber dominated this game, he controlled the tempo, scored at will and set his teammates up with easy baskets. Big Man Bobby Portis had a solid game in the post. Point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright tried to keep his team in the game by getting all his players involved but they just couldn't control Barber who won the game in overtime with a free throw.
Even though it was only an exhibition game with Hawks against the Celtics, the intensity was still high and WF Troy Williams put on a show by scoring at will and playing lock down defense. Troy's help came in the form of a SG by the name of Wayne Seldon and WF Brannen Greene. Point Guard Solomon Poole and Wing Forward Sterling Brown probably had their best all around games in the loss.
SEMI FINALS BUILD UP
You could see just in the warm-ups how the intensity was picking up. These kids were really taking this serious and now you truly understood the vision Coach Lucas had for this camp when he changed the game formats, every quarter counts.
The first semifinal had the high scoring Bulls against the upstart Thunder. This game was a statement maker for CG Stevie Clark going head to head with PG Anthony Barber. Even though Barber had his regular game, Stevie really stepped it up leading his team to victory with big shots. Still he wasn't all alone, he got big games from WF Daniel Hamilton and Illinois commitment WF Malcolm Hill. They both contributed big on the offensive end and it seem that Malcolm Hill got every loose ball and some timely steals. Anthony was helped with SG Isaac Hamilton's best game of the weekend and the steady play of D'Angelo Russell.
The second Semifinal game had the 76ers against the Mavs. Even with the dominant front line of 76ers all scoring in double figures in Devin Willams, Zena Edosomwan and the high flying Jermaine Lawrence coming of the injured list to have a solid game, they couldn't offset the dominant game of backcourt mates Kuran Iverson and Roddy Peters. Kuran's confidence was at an all time high the last day of camp and he became the primary ball handler for the Mavs and Roddy stayed in attack mode.
With all this going on, maybe the best game and matchup was going on in back of us with the Heat's Noah Vonleh going for over 20 and the Hawks Wayne Seldon going for over 20 and Troy Williams going for almost 30. The word was Troy Williams looked like the Troy of old that was being coveted heavy
by Carolina and Kentucky.
Now the championship is set with the upstart eight seed Thunder going up against the Mavs. The Thunder came out on fire winning the first three out of four quarters. They were led by the solid play of Stevie Clark and Kendal Harris and the domination in the middle by 7'5 Mamdou Ndiaye. The Mavs didn't have a answer for Mamdou. The next two games were won by the Mavs with Kuran and Peters getting hot and taking over. Well they couldn't stop the Thunder from closing it out with some hot shooting from Sindarius Thornwell and Mamdou just altering or blocking every shot being took in the paint.
If I was giving out MVP of the Playoffs, I would have to cop out and go with Co-MVP's to PG Stevie Clark and Center Mamadou Ndiaye.
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