Team Final vs. Georgia Blazers
The Georgia Blazers finally ran into an opponent they couldn’t handle in Team Final. After an incredibly solid run the Blazers had no answers for Team Final’s 1-2-2 zone or Tyreke Evans.
Were not sure whether he’s the best player in the class of 2008, but one thing is certain, it was Tyreke Evans who went home with the hardware and a gold medal after leading his team to a 68-52 win at the Milkhouse on Friday in the Gold division final.
The 6-5 Evans actually got off to a slow start in this one. After missing a couple of off-balance jumpers and an air ball from three, Evans got his first points on a breakaway dunk. From there it seemed Evans got pretty much what he wanted when he wanted it. The Blazers tried several different defenders on Evans but he seemed to get to the rim when he wanted to. I haven’t seen anybody over the last two days able to keep Evans from the rim, in fact the only thing that stops him from scoring is not finishing strong. Sometimes I think he settles for jumpers but he really doesn’t force much and let’s the game come to him. That’s one big difference I noticed between him and 2007 recruit O.J. Mayo. Mayo sometimes took some suspect shots and for the most part Tyreke possesses really good judgment.
Tyreke opened up the second quarter by shaking off his defender and nailing a tough three. He ended the quarter with a pretty drive and pull up off glass with three seconds left in the quarter. But that proved to be three seconds too many as Deandre Johnson fired a ¾ length shot in at the halftime buzzer that cut Team Final’s lead to just five, 28-23.
In the second half, Evans exerted his will on the Blazers. He wore them down and looked to drive more. A handful of drives, a couple of pretty jumpers, and much better free throw shooting gave Tyreke 12 second half points, and he finished with 22. In the last two days it appears that when “winning time” arrives, Evans finds another gear. He capped off a terrific quarter by throwing a pretty alley-oop pass to Lance Goulbourne giving Team Final a 13-point cushion, 65-52.
Though Tyreke is clearly in a league of his own he’s not the only player on this Pennsylvania-based team. The 6-8 Goulbourne picks his spots well and takes what he’s given. Goulbourne, from Princeton, NJ, had a couple of big dunks and two big three-pointers. 11 of his 16 points came when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter.
Tyreke’s ball-handling is amazing and he’s got a backcourt mate with an equally effective handle, Karon Burton. The 5-9 Burton and Evans shredded the Georgia D for most of the day. Burton finished with 10 points and was the catalyst for Team Final’s offense.
6-5 Nasir Robinson caught our attention. Though he managed just 9 points, this kid brings a ton of intangibles. He’s tough, extremely strong, he can also rebound and although he’s undersized at the forward position, he utilizes his body well to score on the interior. It comes as no surprise that he’s committed to Pittsburgh. He fits Jamie Dixon’s type of player that’s for sure.
We told you last night Blazers guard Andre Young went for 30+, unfortunately today he struggled with his shot. Young could manage just 8 points while backcourt mate Deandre Jordan went for 9 points. The undersized guard tandem had a hard time getting off shots against a tough 1-2-2 Team Final zone. What an advantage for Team Final to be able to put a guy like Tyreke at the top of that zone with his length and size.
6-10 Xavier Gibson did some good things in this one including nailing a face up jumper and effectively erasing several shots on the defensive end. Xavier is long and will get even better when he adds more strength to his game, he added 10 points in this one and you wished he would’ve gotten the ball a little more in this contest.
Torin Walker continued his tough play for the Blazers. This guy is tough and worked for all 10 of his points in this one.
National Christian Academy vs. Tennessee YOMCA (Silver Bracket Final)
In a high-scoring, up and down contest YOMCA took the title in the Silver division at the Orlando 17U Super Showcase. YOMCA broke open a tight contest with a big fourth quarter and took home the hardware thanks to a 10 point victory, 96-86.
There were a couple of 2009 prospects with bright futures on the floor in this one.
If there was an MVP named it would’ve been a tight contest between 5-10 point guard Tavarres Jefferson (2009), and 6-3 shooting guard John Jenkins (2009). Both had monster games in this final.
Jefferson is poised under pressure and runs the game at his pace. Watching him at the controls is a thing of beauty his head is always up, and his decision-making is excellent. He’s got the handle and the passing ability and is just a quality point guard. He put up 23 points in this one and what an advantage it is to have this guy when you’re trying to ice a game at the end.
Shooting guard John Jenkins doesn’t have the prettiest stroke out there but boy is it effective. You couldn’t give this guy an inch as he netted 31 points with 18 coming in the fourth quarter. With the game on the line Jenkins hit 3 three-pointers and was 9-11 from the free throw line.
National Christian Academy boasts a couple of serious athletes in Dante Taylor (6-8) and David Diakite (6-5). They fit the bill as the prototypical player that makes coaches salivate these days – long, slender, and can jump out of the gym. Diakite, a member of the class of 2008, is not the polished scorer that Taylor is but both have the body to play at the next level.
Taylor, a member of the class of 2009, put up 28 points in an impressive display. He was unstoppable in the lane and just out jumps everyone. The 6-8 forward from Fort Washington, Maryland had coaches from Maryland, UCONN, and Pittsburgh watching. Remember Taylor’s name because we think his stock is on the rise. It’s scary to think how good he could be at this time next year.