Articles By Rick Lewis
Congratulations are in order for Coach Tony Edwards and the upstart SEBL for winning the 17U Championship over Team Loaded by the score of 73-67. In the 16U age division, it was Coach Jeff McInnis and Team Charlotte with a big win over a talented Upward Stars by the score of 66-53. In today’s publication, we will focus on the 17U championship between SEBL and Team Loaded. We will be providing daily stories from this event as we have much to cover. We hope to provide the most thorough and detailed coverage from the tournament. That being said, let’s get started with the wrap up report in the championship game between SEBL and Team Loaded.
SEBL and Team Loaded both won their pool by going 3-0. SEBL had impressive wins over the NC Gaters (78-37), Team Cobras (70-59), and what many people were calling an upset with a (64-42) win over the West Virginia Wildcats and 6’8 Nathan Adrian. Team Loaded also steam rolled through pool play with wins over the Raleigh Capitals (82-69), Norfolk Wildcats (88-64), and Virginia Elite (81-64). However, one of the tournament’s most exciting games came in the semi-finals when 6’3 J.T. Millerdrained a last second 3 pointer for SEBL to pull off the 68-66 win over nationally ranked Upward Stars. While SEBL barely escaped with the win to advance to the championship game, Team Loaded crushed Team Charlotte 92-59. The matchup between Team Loaded and SEBL was as good as advertised as both teams have a roster full of division one prospects. Every player on both teams has division one offers! Team Loaded‘s roster had 6’6 Caleb and Cody Martin, 6’3Troy Caupain, 6’4RJ Curington, 6’0 Trey Daniels, 6’7 Jackson Kent, 6’0 Andrew Rowsey, 6’7 Brian White, 6’4 Patrick Rooks, and 6’8Tyquan Biting. SEBL featured 6’8 Tyrek Coger, 6’0 Waymond Wright, 5’11 Darryl Davender, 6’3 Keysheen Hinton, 6’7 Stavian Allen, 6’7 Shane Whitfield, 6’8 Donte Reynolds, 6’4 Jalen Jones, and 6’3 J.T. Miller. As you can see from the roster list, this game had as much talent and depth as any team on the AAU travel circuit.
Leading the way for SEBL was tournament MVP Tyrek Coger with 15 points and 12 rebounds and may be one of the country’s most improved players. Coger has really toned down and has gotten into “game shape.” He now has some muscle tone and definition, but more importantly a new found confidence! Coger was rock solid throughout all five games and no one was more consistent in his play. Coger’s high school career has been a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs. He entered his high school career being highly ranked with most scouting services, but fell off by his junior year. That being said, give Coger some big time kudos for his perseverance and commitment on not giving up and much credit goes to SEBL coach Tony Edwards. At 6’8 with a wide body, Coger isn’t a big man wanting to be a perimeter player. He knows his role and was the best low post player the entire tournament. He is more mobile and was actually pretty good in transition, but his bread and butter his is offensive present down low. He does an excellent job of posting up, sitting down low and using his width and weight to establish great position 3-5 feet from the basket. Coger has worked hard and has developed a nifty jump hook (using either hand). One of his favorite moves was the reverse layup using the rim as a shield throughout the tournament. The once Missouri commit should see his offer list grow and will find renewed interest from many high major schools.
J.T. Miller and Donte Reynolds both chipped in 12 points apiece in the championship game and both enjoyed a solid and productive tournament. J.T. Miller is in the 2012 class and is looking at a year of post graduate to enhance his game. Miller is a bouncy and athletic wing guard that has improved his perimeter shooting and was the hero in the semi-final game against Upward Stars. Miller was consistent the entire weekend with his midrange and 3 point shooting and was electric around the basket with his leaping and dunking ability. 6’8 Donte Reynolds elevated his game and was a double-double player in scoring and rebounds all weekends. While Reynolds will not wow you with any one thing, it is the intangibles that make him so important to the team. He is much more active and was effective putting the ball on the floor and making strong moves to the basket. Also, having a strong championship game was 6’0 PG Waymond Wright with 14 points. Wright had been more of the team facilitator throughout the tournament, but had an outstanding championship game. We were impressed with his ability to run the team effectively and efficiently. Wright has good quickness and advanced ball handling skills. He rarely turns the ball over and makes great decisions in the open court and was simply tremendous in the half court situation. Look for increased interest in the 2013 PG!
Team Loaded was missing 6’8 Jerome Simmons this weekend and his presence was clearly missed as they had few answers for the 1-2 scoring punch of Coger andReynolds of SEBL. That being said, they have a lot of star power and has tremendous talent top to bottom. Leading the way for Team Loaded was 6’4 R.J. Curington and6’4 Patrick Rooks as both players finished with 16 points. Curington is a high energy guy that has one speed and that is “all out.” Curington has the ability to knock down 3 pointers with great efficiency, but is really strong with his drives to the basket. He is an excellent rebounder for his size/position and was one of the top players during the entire weekend. 6’4 Clemson commit Patrick Rooks continues to elevate his game and repertoire. There is no question that Rooks is one of the country’s best perimeter shooter. The southpaw has nice lift on his jumper and his high extension and follow-through are textbook. The ball has beautiful rotation and every shot looks like it is going in. That being said, Rooks was more aggressive attacking the rim and his baseline move directly into a “crow hop” was big time, however he constantly used the“euro step” in his moves in transition. The next move for Rooks is to become more vocal on the court and show more leadership skills as being the “go to” guy in crunch time. 6’7 Brian White and 6’0 combo guard Andrew Rowsey both finished with 12 points in the championship game. Brian White was consistent the entire weekend and his stock continues to rise. White has a “blue collar” approach to the game and is active on both ends of the court. White has a nice face up game 10 feet from the basket, but gets a majority of his points being at the right place and right time. Up until the semi-final and championship game, Andrew Rowsey was still trying to find his role for Team Loaded, but that quickly changed in the semi-final game as he went off for 22 points and regained some of the “Rowsey flair” that I was use to seeing! In the championship game, he started out strong but tailed off some in the second half. Rowsey is really good in the open court and in transition with his ball handling and passing skills, but will need to “tighten up” his handles in the half court set. That being said, he is fun to watch and has the ability to break open a game with his 3 point range. 6’3 PG/SG Troy Caupain came into the tournament with the most buzz, but only finished with 5 points in the championship game. Caupain is a strong and powerful combo guard that rebounds well for his position and gets a surprisingly large number of points off put backs, but he is excellent in attacking the rim and loves to utilize the “crow hop” and often pump fakes initiating contact for fouls. However, Caupain would probably say this wasn’t his best weekend and the next step for him is to become better at the PG position in the half court. Often, he stands too vertical in his ball handling and needs to get lower in order to protect the ball.
Overall, the championship game between SEBL and Team Loaded was a high energy game that was intense and well played. The big difference in the game was the ability of SEBL to score in the half court while Team Loaded was more effective in transition. It was a total team effort by SEBL and the passion displayed by both teams was fun to watch. Congratulations to both teams for a successful weekend! In tomorrow’s issue, we will be giving a recap of the 16U championship game between Team Charlotte and Upward Stars. After our stories on the championship games, we will break down the evaluations of the top players in attendance, but since this was a team tournament, we strongly feel more attention should be given to the championship teams rather than the individual players and this alone is what separates the Phenom Hoop Report from other services! We try to report about the team success as much as individual success.
Team Charlotte coached by former UNC great Jeff McInnis breezed through the 16U age division of the Reebok Showdown Series and came away with an impressive 75-53 victory in the championship game against Upward Stars coached by Trent McAllister.
Watching both teams throughout the tournament was enjoyable and fun as both coaches offered a different but effective and successful coaching style. Both teams do not possess great size, but it should be noted that they play extremely hard and play the game the right way.
While the coaching style of Coach McAllister is more subdued, Coach McInnis is the polar opposite. He is an animated and passionate coach that often pushes his team to play with maximum effort and intensity. Coach McAllister has more of a quiet demeanor on the court and his team plays with patience and discipline.
That being said, Team Charlotte simply had too much athleticism on Championship Sunday as Coach McInnis team won going away by the score of 75-53. What’s even more impressive, Team Charlotte didn’t have a single player over 6’4 and it is their pressing and attacking style that takes the air out of its opponents. More importantly, Coach McInnis is constantly communicating to his team throughout the game as he is coaching every single play. He is offering encouragement during the game, but is ready to blister a player if he fails to get back on defense. It is evident that Coach McInnis demands 100% effort 100% of the time and no players are allowed to take one single play off.
Team Charlotte went 3-0 in pool play by defeating Swish City Elite 15U (78-39), Upward Stars White (63-41) and Virginia Elite (51-25). On the other hand, Upward Stars were methodical in pool play by going 3-0 but with more modest margins of victory. They defeated SEBL (61-53), NC Court Kings (59-51) and Swish City Select (71-53). Team Charlotte high octane offense was on full display in its semifinal game against undefeated Swish City Elite by scoring an impressive 89-75 victory while Upward Stars scored an 65-53 win over undefeated Kappa Magic. In the championship game, Team Charlotte was dominating from start to finish.
Team Charlotte features many of the state’s best guards in 6’2 Austin Dasent, 6’1 Kedrick Flomo, 6’4 James Demery and 6’4 KeyShawn Woods although Demery and Woods are their tallest players. Without question, the team reflects the personality of its head coach as Coach McInnis is constantly pushing them throughout the game.
Tournament MVP James Demery was simply sensational throughout the weekend and was stellar in the championship game. He finished with 18 points and the bouncy and athletic wing made some of the more impressive dunks in transition during the weekend. Demery has the unique blend of athleticism and skill that makes him an attractive high major prospect, but more importantly Demery is one of the most humble kids you will find today.
In speaking with Demery, everything is “yes sir, no sir, thank you sir” and he is exactly the type of kid high majors’ talk about! For a young prospect to be so talented, he is totally grounded and understands the big picture. Throughout the weekend, he exerted himself on the defensive end of the court and was excellent in weak side help in blocking countless shots. He has a David Thompson (former NC State star) flair to his game with his tremendous leaping ability. Demery can knock down open 3 pointers and has a solid mid range pull game, but is most effective in attacking the rim. He finishes with power and authority and often finds someone as a poster kid for an impressive dunk. He has solid ball handling and passing skills in the open court and is the ultimate team player. He is equally comfortable getting the assist as he is scoring 2 points. He has tremendous upside and potential and with the work ethic and personality, he will become a fan favorite in his final two years of high school basketball. The next area of improvement is working on a quicker release.
We also came away impressed with 6’4 KeyShawn Woods as he tallied a game high 24 points in the championship game. He knocked down four 3 pointers for the game and also showcased a well-rounded mid-range game. He has good lift and elevation on his jumper and he does sport a high release with the proper extension and follow through that will make him an efficient and effective perimeter shooter at the next level. The 1-2 punch of 6’2 Austin Dasent and 6’1 Kedrick Flomo makes this one of the best back court AAU duos in the region. Both are excellent ball handler and have advanced passing skills, but more importantly are tremendous with their on the ball defense. Dasent is more powerful while Flomo has more length, but both are advanced defensive players.
It was a tough weekend for Upward Stars L.J. Peake has he suffered from a pulled groin, but one has to give the young man credit. He played hard and didn’t make excuses and fought through the injury as much as he could. While he played sparingly at times, he showed glimpses of his ability and potential. He is a powerfully built young man who is physically mature that is excellent with his mid-range game.
Upward Stars also has a trio of promising young players in Javis Howard, Quantez Brown and 2015 J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. While Upward Stars were missing 6’3 Perry Dozier and 6’1 Seventh Woods this weekend, it was Quantez Brown and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside that picked up the scoring for the team. Brown and Arcega-Whiteside were both productive throughout the tourney. In the championship game, Brown scored 13 points while Javis Howard netted 10 points.