Hamilton and Franklin clash at Main Event; Creek leads DC at Reebok
LAS VEGAS -- The third and final day of pool play at the Main Event concluded with a number of close games and marquee individual matchups sprinkled in the action.
In one top-notch, head-to-head battle, scoring machine Jordan Hamilton (Los Angeles/Dominguez) matched wits with the very exuberant and talented Roger Franklin (Duncanville, Texas/Duncanville). Hamilton used his superior height and scoring prowess to get the best of Franklin as well as getting the hard-fought victory over Franklin's Team Texas Elite squad.
In another meeting of highly-regarded players, Detain Thomas (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) battled against Houston Hoops and their imposing inside presence Keith "Tiny" Gallon (Houston/Oak Hill Academy). Thomas and Gallon both had a major impact on the game, but Houston Hoops with Gallon and PG Tommy Mason-Griffin (Houston/Madison) leading the way gutted out another win in a highly-competitive game.
Bracket play got under way in the Reebok Summer Championships with some nationally renowned AAU programs taking on some scrappy, up-and-coming AAU teams trying to establish themselves on the national scene. This mix of AAU teams made for some very entertaining games that may initially have appeared as blowouts at first glance. The highlight was DC Triple Threat, led by skilled combo-guard Maurice Creek (Temple Hills, Md./Hargrave Military), overcoming a very game Minnesota Select squad for a gut-check win.
Mike Shaw, 6-8 SF
Sophomore, Chicago/De La Salle
Shaw has very good athleticism accented by an impressive vertical leap he uses to impact the game on both ends of the court. He uses his leaping ability and good timing to effectively block shots and rebound. Shaw has range on his jumper extending to 3-point territory and a smooth release. He has good body control and a quick first step, but he needs to continue to improve his handle and his mid-range game in addition to keeping his emotions in check, which should come with added maturity and experience.
E.J. Singler, 6-7 Combo-Guard/SF
Senior, Medford, Ore./South Medford
Singler plays as a great glue guy, doing anything and everything his team needs for success. Though not a great shooter from distance, he will knock down long-range jumpers if given open looks. He really excels by putting pressure on the defense through his penetration and relentless attacking of the rim. Though not blessed with lightning quickness, he understands angles and knows how to use deception to get to the paint. Singler rebounds the ball adequately on both ends and plays good defense. Singler also has very good vision and passing ability.
Tommy Mason-Griffin, 5-11 PG
Mason-Griffin effectively used his quickness and ability to change speeds to get into the teeth of the defense on a consistent basis. He also has a very good pull-up jumper in the mid-range he sets up by freezing defenders with a hesitation move before the shot. He did force a few too many shots after he started to warm up from the perimeter but also managed to look for open teammates.
Keith "Tiny" Gallon, 6-9 C
Senior, Houston/Oak Hill Academy
Gallon has good feet for a player of his size and soft hands, which he uses to catch passes in traffic. He also has a surprising quick second jump, which makes him a good offensive rebounder. He runs into problems when he becomes too perimeter oriented, though he can hit open 3s. Gallon needs to reshape his body, which will lead to improved conditioning. He also needs to do a better job of using his size to establish positioning in the post for rebounding and scoring in addition to shutting down the lane on the defensive end.
DeShaun Thomas, 6-7 Combo-Forward
Junior, Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers
This lefty has the ability to connect on 3s when he gets rolling but tends to rely on the shot entirely too much at times. Better shot selection would help remedy his streakiness. He also needs to improve his ballhandling skills and increase his proficiency in the mid-range area. Thomas plays hard on both ends and uses his length on the boards as well as in playing passing lanes for steals.
Jordan Hamilton, 6-7 SG
Senior, Los Angeles/Dominguez
Hamilton did most of his scoring work in the mid-range in addition to looking to use his height advantage to get in the paint for lay-ups. He did a good job of not always settling for his reliable long-range jumper, but he did have a tendency to over-penetrate, causing a number of charging calls to go against him. Hamilton did not show much effort on the defensive end and allowed his emotions to negatively affect his play during stretches.
Kevin Perry, 6-8 PF
Senior, Houston/Westbury Christian
Perry has electric leaping ability and athleticism which keeps him playing above the rim. He runs the court very well, looking to finish off the break in dramatic fashion with a dunk. Perry uses his strength and muscular frame to establish position in the trenches for scoring and rebounding.
Maurice Creek, 6-5 Combo-Guard
Senior, Temple Hills, Md./Hargrave Military
Creek gives maximum effort on both ends of the court and plays the game with great intensity. He can connect on the 3-pointer, but he also does a good job of getting into the mid-range for pull-up jumpers. Creek also can get to the basket and use his length to finish off lay-ins. Creek plays tremendous, full-court, on-ball defense and plays passing lanes for steals.
Senior, Pompano Beach, Fla./American Heritage
Boynton ignited his team with his spirited play on defensive and his blazing 3-point shooting touch. He nails jumpers from deep when he does not shoot it on the way down. He needs to continue to improve his mid-range, pull-up jumper to accentuate his impressive penetration skills. Boynton plays great on-ball, pressure defense and likes to get in transition after he causes a turnover with his ball-hawking skills.
Brandon Knight, 6-3 PG
Junior, Coral Springs, Fla./Pine Crest
Knight controlled the game at the point, making mostly good decisions while still playing at almost breakneck speeds. He gets to the rim in transition almost at will and connected on 3-point shots in transition. He also did a good job of finding open teammates. Knight struggled a tad when shooting mid-range, pull-up jumpers, mostly because of his tendency to drop his hands and not finish off his shots by holding his follow-through.
Chris Braswell, 6-9 PF
Senior, Fort Washington, Md./Hargrave Military
Braswell had trouble handling passes in traffic in addition to his problems finishing off lay-ups in the paint when he received the ball from driving guards. He needs to rebound more consistently in traffic and get hold of his emotions, as he did not return to the game after a run-in with a coach.
Michael Gbinije, 6-6 SF
Sophomore, Chester, Va./Christ Church
Gbinije impresses with his eye-opening athletic ability and leaping. He uses his quick first step to drive past defenders and get into the paint. However, he needs to increase his strength to become a better finisher. He uses his quick leaping ability to hit the glass for put-backs very effectively.
Luke Kraus, 6-2 PG
Senior, Findlay, Ohio
Kraus plays with great toughness and effort, willing his team to follow his example. If the defense gives him an inch, he will stick the jumper successfully with range out to the land of 3. He has decent quickness, but his definitive and authoritative drives to the cup make him seem much quicker than his actual speed. In the paint he can finish shots with either hand. Kraus will mix it up and has a nose for the ball.
Pe'Shon Howard, 6-2 SG
Junior, Hollywood, Fla./Oak Hill Academy
Howard has a muscular body, good strength and quick feet, which make him an absolute beast of a defensive player, both in the on-ball and help defense areas. He also uses his quickness and strength to overpower smaller, weaker guards on his way to the paint. Howard has a decent jumper from the perimeter, but he needs to become more consistent in that area while alleviating his tendency to over-penetrate.
Derrek Tartt, 6-3 Combo Guard
Tartt has very good quickness and uses his good athleticism to make plays on defense and offense. Off the dribble he looks to attack the paint for lay-ups or to dish to open teammates for shots. His quickness gets him into trouble at times as he gets out of control. Tartt's quickness and aggressive nature on defense ignites many fast breaks after he turns over opposing guards.
Ray Taylor, 5-8 PG
Senior, Miami/American Heritage
Though small in stature, Taylor has a huge heart and competes with a great deal of passion. If left open, he will knock down treys with consistency, but he really excels with the ball in his hands. Taylor majestically handles the ball and has very good vision and passing skills, which keeps his teammates happy.
Antonio Williams is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He previously worked as an NBA scout for Marty Blake Associates.