- Joel Francisco
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MANNHEIM, GERMANY -- Every year in late February the United States Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) holds basketball tournaments among the high schools located on American military installations throughout Europe. DoDDS basketball teams compete in four divisions based on school enrollment numbers, with each division crowning a champion. Though the number of schools competing during the DoDDS European Basketball Championships, held in Mannheim, Germany, has declined due to the closing of multiple military bases across the continent, the amount of excitement continues to soar at the event.
Most of the championship games produced action-packed contests between evenly matched teams. Some championship teams also competed throughout the tournament despite dealing with some challenging off-the-court circumstances.
Division III Bamberg, based in Germany, managed to garner championship honors despite playing with heavy hearts due to the unfortunate passing of their long-time coach Charles Jordan right before the tournament. In an exhilarating championship game against fellow Germany-based high school Baumholder, Jordan's team honored him by playing a very inspired brand of basketball on its way to the championship.
Division IV Hanau, also from Germany, competing in its last DoDDS European Basketball Championship tournament, snared a championship by defeating Rota, based in Spain. Due to the closing of the military base, Hanau High School will close its doors at the conclusion of the school year.
SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) High School, located in Belgium, won the Division II title with a victory over Wiesbaden High School from Germany.
Heidelberg, located in Germany, claimed the Division I championship in a riveting contest with a previously undefeated Ramstein team, which also hails from Germany. Interesting enough, Ramstein defeated Heidelberg three times during the season, but Ramstein could not come up with the victory when it counted most.
6-0 junior combo-guard Chris Frazier led the championship effort for Heidelberg through his clutch shooting down the stretch, which earned him MVP honors for the tournament.
Chris Frazier, G (6-0)
Frazier has nearly unlimited range on his jump shot that extends well beyond the 3-point line. If defenders back off of him to guard against the drive, Frazier will raise up for a three, connecting with great consistency if not contested. He has a very high release point for his jumper and very good rotation on the shot. Frazier needs to improve his ball-handling, as he sometimes struggles when pressured by opposing guards. He has enough quickness to penetrate off the dribble and should add a mid-range pull-up jumper to complement his impressive long-range shooting ability. Though he has good vision, he does not pass the ball enough at times, opting instead for ill-advised long-range shots. He seems much more comfortable off the ball on offense, playing the shooting guard slot.
Frazier has to continue to improve his ability to create shots for his teammates as well as keep a better handle on his emotions, as he has a tendency to lose his composure on the court, which negatively affects his play and his teammates' play. He will have to work to maintain his poise since he spends a considerable amount of time playing the point.
Scott Sublousky, combo guard (6-0)
Sublousky has deep range on his perimeter shot, easily connecting from 3-point range. Sublousky does not get much lift off the ground on his jumper, opting instead for efficiency over wasted motion and leaping to his highest point on his shot, which could adversely affect his jumper. Though he only has decent quickness, he effectively uses deception and change of pace off the dribble to get to the rim consistently. Once he gets to the paint, Sublousky finishes well with his left or right hand. He needs to add a mid-range pull-up to his repertoire, which would greatly enhance his long-range shooting and penetrating prowess. He also needs to improve his shot selection, as he has a tendency to shoot ill-advised 3-pointers and should instead look to draw more fouls from penetration. He plays better off the ball as opposed to the point and would flourish in a system that could run him off screens as well as by playing with a point guard that could penetrate and dish out to Sublousky for shots. More college teams also use the 3-point shot in transition as a weapon, which would fit Sublousky's style of play perfectly. On defense, he never stops working, scrapping for loose balls and getting his hands on a number of passes due to his good anticipation skills in the passing lanes. He plays with a high level of composure, remaining calm throughout the game. Sublousky will play his college ball at Division II University of Colorado-Colorado Springs next fall.
Jeff Shelton, PG (6-1)
Shelton has impressive athleticism with very explosive leaping ability. He will surprise a bigger defender by trying to dunk on him when he attacks the rim off of penetration. Shelton has a very quick first step and decent ball-handling skills, though he should continue to eliminate the predictability in his game by driving more to his left as opposed to favoring his right so much. At this point, Shelton relies on shooting 3-pointers despite the fact he tends to struggle shooting from the perimeter. He also gets to the basket very easily, though he could improve his ability to finish at the rim. He does not have much of a mid-range game or a pull-up jumper, though he has a quick first step and the leaping ability to elevate over defenders. He would also benefit from learning how to score from using jab-steps and pump-fakes instead of always having to put the ball on the ground to set up a shot for himself. Shelton has good poise and does a very good job of involving his teammates on offense. He uses his penetration skills, vision and passing ability to create shots for his teammates. Shelton really works at making his teammates better and plays with a great deal of controlled intensity and hustle on both ends of the court.
Zach Tapp-Wilson, combo guard (5-10)
Tapp-Wilson plays a very sound floor game, rarely venturing outside the team concept for his offense. If left alone, he will knock down the perimeter jump-shot. Tapp-Wilson has decent quickness and can get to the rim, though he does not force the issue. He needs to work on his ball-handling and develop his dribbling skills more, especially his left hand. He possesses good passing skills and vision. Tapp-Wilson plays very hard and hustles whenever he takes the court, willing to play defense and do the less glamorous work for his team.
J.C. Sharer, C (6-5)
Sharer does an effective job of using his big body around the basket, never shying away from contact and providing a physical presence for his team on the interior. He does not have great jumping ability or explosion off the ground, but he does a good job establishing position in the paint for rebounds. He does not have great foot speed, but does an adequate job of trying to run the court when his team has a fast break opportunity. He does not score much from post moves and footwork, relying instead on scoring from put-backs and guards penetrating and dishing to him. Sharer sometimes struggles with passes thrown to him, but he hustles to grab the ball quickly if he drops a pass. He plays with a great deal of intensity and effort on the court.
Ben Barnett, C (6-6)
Barnett has a very big body he uses to carve out prime positioning in the paint for scoring and rebounding. He does not shy away from contact, preferring to mix it up on the interior. He does most of his work close around the basket and rarely ventures outside of the paint for short jumpers, though he should add this element to his game. Barnett has good-sized hands and can effectively catch post entry passes. He does not jump very high, but if he gets good position low on the block, he will usually convert the basket or draw fouls on the opposition.
Brent Schuck, PF (6-7)
Due to his a very thin frame and lack of strength, Schuck spends the majority of his time on the perimeter when his team has the ball. He consistently knocks downs jumpers, with range that extends out to the 3-point line, especially from the corners. He also plays very effectively in the high post due to his shooting prowess and impressive passing skills, particularly when he stands at the free-throw line and feeds the post in the high-low game. His shooting ability on the perimeter stretches defenses, opening up the interior for his center and guards driving to the basket. Schuck could also play in a pick-and-pop situation, which more college teams utilize when they have big men who can shoot on their rosters. He does not rebound much, but he does run the court relatively well. With strength and muscle, Schuck could develop even more as a player.
Spencer Miller, PG (5-7)
Miller has a very unorthodox, yet effective offensive game. He has an unconventional jump shot, almost flicking the ball from chest level on the side of his body, though he gets good lift off the floor on his jumper. However, his follow-through ends up in the correct position, with his index and middle finger point straight toward the basket. He gets the shot off quickly, surprising defenders by shooting unexpectedly. He has great range and connects on the 3-point shot consistently. He also has good quickness and can get to the basket, flicking shots up at awkward angles, which surprises defenders much in the same vein that Antawn Jamison does for the Washington Wizards in the NBA. Though small in stature, Miller has long arms and big hands, which means that he could grow more. He plays hard and competes on both ends of the court.
Emmanuel Moore, SG (6-0)
Moore has very good athleticism and leaping ability, which he uses when he penetrates to the basket. Moore also has a very quick first step and good body control, with the ability to hang in the air, draw contact and still convert on his forays to the rim. Due to his very inefficient release, he struggles when he has to shoot the jumper, falling away from the basket with a slight hitch in his release. Moore also has big hands which should help him to improve his dribbling skills, thus making his penetration game more potent.
Josiah Baldwin, PG (6-1)
Baldwin has a good mid-range jump shot, shooting his jumper with good form and a high release. He also gets good rotation on his shot; he just needs to develop more consistency from the perimeter. As a point guard, his decision-making and passing skills have to improve, but Baldwin has good poise and plays hard when he takes the court. He also has the size and foot speed to develop into a standout defender. Baldwin gives maximum effort on the court, diving for loose balls constantly.
Cornelius Jackson, combo guard (5-10)
Jackson has elusive quickness and speed off the bounce. He seems best suited to play in an up-tempo, open-court system that places heavy emphasis on the fast break. Jackson also defends well and places great ball pressure on opposing guards. Jackson plays as a vocal leader and sets the table for his team's effort and intensity when he decides to do so. Jackson has to improve his ball-handling, and mid-range and long-range jump shots for the next level. He could take full advantage of his superior quickness by adding a change of pace off the dribble, which would keep defenders off balance. Once he learns how to play at different speeds, his decision-making with the ball will drastically improve.
Taiyo Robinson, SG (5-11)
Robinson has lethal shooting ability and will connect from deep if left unaccounted for by defenders. He has nice form and will launch a jumper unexpectedly. He has so much confidence in his jumper he shoots ill-advised, contested jump shots at times. He plays best as a spot-up shooter with a point guard who can create shots for him from penetration. Robinson does not do much work off the dribble and would open up his perimeter game if he added a mid-range element to his offense as well as increased his penetration to the basket.
Allan Dowden, SG (5-10)
Dowden has impressive range on his jump shot, shooting and often connecting deep from 3-point range. He does not penetrate to the basket much or shoot a pull-up, preferring to stay outside and shoot the three. Though mostly accurate, Dowden has the tendency to go on cold streaks, when he misses a number of consecutive shots from long-range. He could alleviate some of this streakiness if he exercised better shot selection.
Artrell Davis, SG (5-11)
Davis has explosive athleticism and needs to continue to discover how to utilize his gifts effectively. He leaps out of the gym and has a very quick first step, which he relies on for his good penetration skills. However, he needs to improve his jump shooting and increase his range on his jumper. He would also develop into a better player if he improved his ball-handling skills and diversified his penetration skills by driving more to his left. Davis also needs to improve his decision making when he has the ball in his hands. Davis has the athleticism and lateral quickness to develop into a good defender as well if he chooses.
Joel Wettstone, F (6-5)
Senior, International School of Brussels (ISB)
Wettstone looks to attack the basket and get into the paint whenever he receives the ball on the perimeter. Though he will shoot the jumper, he prefers to drive to the basket most of the time. Wettstone can cause matchup problems by shooting over smaller, quick defenders or driving past bigger, slow defenders with his relatively quick first step. Wettstone needs to improve his jump shot and ball-handling ability. He does a good job of using his body to initiate contact with defenders and draw fouls. He has to continue to improve his shot selection and alleviate his tendency to get out of control at times on offense.
Antonio Williams reports from Germany on the 2008 U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools European Basketball Championships.