CBC Wins CT AAU 17 and Under Championship
After losing their opening game on Sunday morning to the Connecticut Flame, CBC was faced with the daunting task of playing five games in a single day if they wanted to claim a state championship. They were able to do just that as they worked their way through the loser’s bracket before knocking off Connecticut Gold, Connecticut Flame in a re-match, and the Connecticut Hoop Stars in the final.
Steven Samuels continued his strong play as of late as the guard recorded 14 points and 10 assists in the final game. Will Tye and Deshawn Hamlett led the team in scoring, as both frontcourt players finished with 18 points.
Samuels continued to do his best work in the open floor as he distributed the ball while attacking the rim when the opportunity presented itself. Tye was a load inside as his massive physical build was simply too much for the opposition to handle. Meanwhile, Hamlett continued to do his best work around the rim as he crashed the offensive glass and got out in transition. Jeremy Moore continued to stroke the ball from the perimeter while also locking up on the defensive end of the floor.
The Hoopstars got another big performance out of their five-man, Jefferson Lora, who showed good versatility throughout the weekend. With his back to the basket he can score with a reliable jump hook or hit cutters thanks to his floor vision and passing ability. But he can also step to the perimeter and shoot the ball or face-up and get to the rim off the bounce.
In the back court, point guard Matt Pascuzzo played very well in the final as he is an absolute jet with the basketball from one end of the floor to the other, and can change direction on a dime. Tyler Burkhart is a very skilled guard who had a solid tournament. We already knew he was an excellent catch and shoot player, but were impressed to see him handle and pass in the open floor without much difficulty. Zach Russo is the glue that holds the team together. He doesn’t always need to put up big points to be effective as he makes good decisions with the ball, gets the ball to where it needs to go, and shows good composure down the stretch of games.
Here are some other players that caught our eye this weekend:
Russell Rosenband, Connecticut Flame: Rosenband was huge in the Flame’s victory over CBC as he led the team with five three-pointers with his picture perfect mechanics. And while he won’t be mistaken for a dribble drive player, he showed a willingness to put it on the floor and take it to the rim if the defense opens itself up.
Jonathan Herzog, and Jason Mendell, Connecticut Flame: Their upset victory was far from a one man show on Sunday morning as Herzog and Mendell both got into the act from behind the three-point line. The Flame’s prowess from behind the three-point line was clearly one of the biggest factors in the game.
Chris Evans, Connecticut Basketball Club: Evans showed some signs on Saturday. While he plays primarily off the ball for CBC he plays the point during the high school season, and we could see why during the team’s first game of the weekend as he handled smoothly in the open court and passed with both hands.
Brian Fitzpatrick, Connecticut Gold: Fitzpatrick has always been very skilled on the perimeter. But he seems to be learning how to maximize his assets. While he will never have the foot speed to blow by anyone off the dribble, he has become very adept at creating space to get his shot off. Needless to say he is a very good shooter when left unguarded as well.
Heyden Palozej and Uzoma Orchingwa, Connecticut Gold: Two flat out competitors who get it done on both ends of the floor. Both guard with intensity on the defensive end and show no fear attacking the basket on the offensive end. Palozej also continues to make shots from the perimeter despite his very unorthodox mechanics.
Jamie Pares and Ryan Adkins, Overtime Athletics: Pares did a solid job handling the ball when we watched, but was absolutely deadly when left open from behind the three-point line. Meanwhile, Adkins finds ways to score as he gets out and runs the floor and always seems to end up with the ball in his hands around the rim.
Eric Jean-Guillaume, Connecticut Players: His talent is undeniable. He is a playmaker who gets into the lane and finds ways to finish. If he can learn to put forward a more consistent effort at the defensive end of the floor and make better decisions running the team he has definite scholarship potential.
Mike Lomax and John DiBartolomeo, Connecticut Players: A very nice backcourt mix. Lomax is a big and powerful guard who goes hard to the cup and has a great spin move in the lane, while DiBartolomeo is a dangerous three-point marksman who can catch fire at any point in time.