Although there are far fewer teams from New England in sin city this week than in years past, it is hard to deny that Las Vegas is the capitol of the basketball world for the next five days. Not only is the U.S. Olympic team in town for training, but each of the major three show companies are running their customary tournaments. The New England Playaz and Mass Rivals are both at the Adidas Super 64, while the Connecticut Playaz are at the Nike Main Event.
There are 100 teams in the 17 and under field at the Adidas tournament. All of those teams have been put into 4 team pools, giving the tournament an even 25 pools. Of those 25 pools, 8 have been deemed “super pools”. Adidas has designated their best 32 teams in the field and have placed them in these super pools, with all 32 teams guaranteed a spot in the final 64 team bracket regardless of their pool play record.
The New England Playaz were dropped in arguably the most challenging pool as they are joined by the Ohio Basketball Club, D.C. Assault, and Kansas City Pump N’Run. But the Playaz are picking up right where they left off after the first half of the live period, as they have swept through the pool to earn a 3-0 record thus far.
Fox Sport’s Jeff Goodman is in Vegas for the festivities and has gotten to catch the Playaz in action a few times.
“It has been an impressive performance by the Playaz thus far,” he said. “There have been a slue of coaches at all of their games and different guys have played well at different times.”
It began early Tuesday afternoon as they defeated D.C. Assault 69-64 behind 18 points from Erik Murphy. At 9:00 a.m. this morning the Playaz faced off against a very impressive Kansas City Pump N’Run squad. Austin Carroll led the way with 18 points as the Playaz earned a 69-62 victory.
“Austin was the difference in the second game against a very good team from Kansas City,” said Goodman. “He made a ton of shots.”
In their final pool play game, the interior combination of Murphy and Jordan Williams proved to be the difference against the Ohio Basketball Club as both big men scored 17 points to lead the squad to a commanding 76-58 win.
The Mass. Rivals began the tournament in regular pool play, meaning they needed to finish in the top 2 to advance to the 64 team gold bracket. They got off to a good start on Tuesday as Even Smotrycz scored 22 points to lead the Rivals to a 61-50 victory over Team 94 from California. Unfortunately, the Rivals dropped a heartbreaking loss later in the day, falling 57-54 to Arizona Premier. Consequently tonight’s match-up with Texas Select is going to be crucial to the Rivals’ chances of advancing to the gold bracket.
The Playaz and Rivals have excelled in the 15 and under bracket, as both are currently undefeated at 2-0. The Playaz came up with a huge win against D.C. Assault 49-46 and then got 19 points from Mike Carter-Williams to edge All Iowa Attack 51-47. The Rivals held on for a 45-44 decision over Impact Basketball on Tuesday and today blew out Colorado Select 58-32.
Northfield Mount Hermon’s Joe Sharkey has led his New Heights team in scoring in both of their first two games (17 & 21 points) as they knocked off DC Assault Blue 69-67 and KC-ACT Runnin Rebels 59-26 to also earn a 2-0 record.