Hoop Hall Summer Showcase Event Recap
Connecticut Skills scored the biggest upset of the day as they knocked off Hollis Price Elite in convincing fashion. Markus Wright and Jordan Dina formed an imposing interior tandem as Wright’s explosive power and athleticism allowed him to finish several plays with authority while the 6’6” Dina showed his well balanced game as he made bouncy plays around the rim, led the break, and even knocked down a couple of three-pointers. But the key to the Skills victory may have been the stabilizing play of point guard Sam Markle, who was on loan from the Connecticut Gold squad. As always Markle did a nice job of running the team, distributing the ball, and controlling the tempo of the game.
Metro Boston was two seconds away from scoring what many people would have considered the second upset of the day against M33M. The New York based team held a 2 point advantage with 20 seconds left in the game before Shabazz Napier made a quick drive to the basket and went up for a very crafty reverse lay-up, before being fouled hard. He calmly knocked down both free-throws to even the score. Jay Freeman was able to get a hand on the inbounds pass and deflect it to Napier who was again fouled going to the rim. The point guard again showed his composure by knocking down two more free-throws to give his team the advantage. But on the final play of the game M33M advanced the ball up the floor and passed it to their center in the corner. He threw up what can only be described as an ugly desperation three that rattled through the rim to give M33M a 1 point win. While the loss was certainly disappointing for Metro Boston, several of their players still managed to stand out. Napier finished with 17 points, Ike Azotam continued to dominate the paint for 22, while Chris Flores was hitting his jumper for 22 more.
Top Performances of the Day:
Danny OKeefe & Alan Harris, Boston Raiders – Harris filled up the scorebook as he was the his team’s most consistent scorer in their opening match-up with Connecticut Kingz, showing his very smooth dribble drive game. OKeefe impressed with his perseverance. His jumper wasn’t dropping to start the game, but he showed great intelligence by adjusting his attack and going to work in the paint. His toughness was also on full display as he ripped countless loose balls and rebounds away from opponents.
Anthony Ireland & Taquan Zimmerman, Connecticut Kingz – It was the story of two different halves for Ireland as he was scoring at will in the first, but hit a shooting slump in the second. Nevertheless, the undersized point guard impressed college coaches with his playmaking abilities, three-point stroke, and knack for finishing against bigger players. Zimmerman (6’0”, SG, Holy Cross HS, CT) is a power dribble drive who is extremely productive in the paint. He was the best player on the floor in the second half as he got to the rim and finished inside on countless possessions.
Jefferson Lora & Tyler Burkhart, Connecticut Hoopstars – Although we weren’t able to watch either of the Hoopstars’ games in the morning, there were numerous reports of Jefferson’s strong play, following up on a productive week at Eastern Invitational. Burkhart, a sharp-shooting and skilled guard, was also getting rave reviews.
Aaron Williams, Greater Boston Lions – The former Easton Boston High School star was one of the most productive players in the tournament on Friday. He was relentless slashing to the basket and even made the occasional jumper when dared to.
Mick Distasio, MB Nation – There was a stretch of about ten minutes in MB Nation’s second game when it appeared as if Distasio couldn’t miss from behind the three-point line. He was spotting up, shooting off screens, and launching them from deep behind the three-point line. Overall, it was an impressive day for Distasio as he both shot it and handled it well.
Irving Fayman, Coast to Coast – The St. Thomas More guard is an extremely fundamentally sound player who made very good decisions with the ball. He doesn’t often try to do too much, but he can make a play when the opportunity presents itself.
Adrian Satchell & Doug Soutar, CBC – While Satchell didn’t do any one thing to wow you, he was CBC’s most consistent player in their opening round blowout victory over Harlem’s Pride. Soutar did what Soutar does. He impacted the game on the defensive end, forced the opposition into turnovers, and consequently picked up several easy baskets in the open floor.