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July 13, 2010

Summer Jam: Day One

MEQUON, Wisc. - The NY2LA Summer Jam got off to a strong start on Monday with some good talent on display. While the talent was solid it was a game featuring the Franchize All-Stars and Dream Vision that turned into one of the best games of the summer, and Shabazz Muhammad once again played a starring role.

Game of the summer?

Two of the best teams from west of the Mississippi did battle in a night cap game on Monday, and it is one that turned out to be special. Franchize All-Stars and Dream Vision combine to have enough talent for any school to win a national championship, and that was very obvious with the quality of play that both exhibited.

Early on it was Franchize getting the best of the action. D'Angelo Harrison was making shots, no surprise there, Michael Carey was making plays off the bounce, and Anthony Norris was knocking in threes. With those three pieces working, Franchize jumped out to an early lead, but Dream Vision kept hanging around.

The best player during the early part of the game for Dream Vision was Winston Shepard. The long and lean forward was extremely active, and defensively he gave five-star forward Wanaah Bail a lot of problems. Aside from being a stopper on the defensive end, Shepard was scoring going to the bucket, hit a few mid-range jumpers, and also got teammates involved. For a player that can at times disappear, Shepard had great energy and was putting his team on his back.

While Shepard was keeping Dream Vision in it, Harrison just kept on getting buckets. After tearing up the nets in Highland days earlier, Harrison didn't miss a beat. The 6-foot-3 scorer was just too much for the Dream Vision backcourt, and he got point after point. In defense of what Dream Vision was doing, Harrison was simply in a zone. He was making shots, and there wasn't a person in the gym who could have done anything about it unless the solution involved a baseball bat.

Midway through the second half Norris hit back-to-back threes to get the lead into double figures, but then Shabazz Muhammad decided it was his game to win. The class of 2012 star has been nothing short of spectacular this July, and he brought his game to even another level down the stretch.

Muhammad was hitting threes, scoring off two dribble mid-range jumpers, and of course getting to the rim using his quickness, strength, and athleticism. He was simply on a different level from anyone on the floor, and did whatever he wanted. The takeover that he had was impressive considering the length and athleticism that Franchize can throw at a team.

With Muhammad going off, Harrison tried to answer bucket for bucket, but Dream Vision had it working too much. Shepard made a key steal to get a bucket, and then point guard Evan Rocqamore got hot to help Dream Vision pull away and get the win.

For the game Muhammad had 35 points which was the high, but Harrison was right behind him with 33. Norris hit four threes and two free throws for 16 points while Shepard had a great all around game to finish with 13. While Shepard didn't score as much as Muhammad, his activity on the glass and play on the defensive end was just as vital in getting Dream Vision the win.

Other Notable Performances

Zach Price - By now people should know the big Louisville commitment is a lefty, but for some reason opponents keep letting him turn over his right shoulder to score. Price's lefty hook is impressive and he had it working on Monday. In the first half he absolutely dominated Darnell Harris, and was a machine down low scoring easy buckets one after the other. Also Price blocked a few shots and continued to make his presence felt around the rim. Price has picked up his play since the beginning of June, and this was another strong performance for him.

Shonn Miller - The word coming out of Chicago was Miller turned the corner, and he showed again his improved play. Pushing 6-foot-6 with a great frame and big time athleticism, Miller has the physical ability to be a major contributor. On Monday he was hitting shots from the outside, finishing through contact, and also had a big dunk in transition. That aggressiveness needs to be there consistently, but he looked like a much improved player from the spring with his play.

Jakarr Sampson - Sampson has been great all summer to date, but he did have his struggles on Monday. Still the highly touted 2011 combo forward was good with a few buckets off of strong right hand drives and he hit the glass to boot. Also Sampson showed his range out to 18 feet, though his bread and butter is clearly 10 feet and in. He needs to be a bigger impact player on the defensive end where he could be special, but still he was more than solid for his squad.

Duane Wilson - The class of 2013 floor general had a solid start to the tournament. He isn't a great athlete, and isn't super quick, but he really knows how to play the game and makes life a lot easier for his teammates. Wilson was constantly in attack mode working to get into the lane and then dishing off to teammates for buckets. Adding strength to his long and wiry frame will be important as he steps up the ranks, but he certainly has some good ability to build on.

Arroyo Edwards - This kid has talent to spare coming out of the 2012 class. He is so versatile that he showed during the game he could be anywhere from point guard to small forward, though his future definitely looks to be on the wing. Edwards was knocking down shots and getting to the rack at will with his length and athleticism. His motor could use a tune up at times, but the natural talent is definitely there.

Tanner Williams - His Martin Bros. teammates might get more love, but clearly the best player on their 16 and under roster on Monday was Williams. The 6-foot-5 small forward has surprising athleticism to go with his ability to really knock down shots. Also he can score off the dribble in the mid-range, and is always hustling. While others may get more attention, there is no doubt just how good Williams can be. Coaches were seen flipping through their packets with the performance he was putting on.

Kale Abrahamson - The kid just knows how to score. Abrahamson isn't an elite athlete, but he can really shoot the ball, and he is strong going to the rim. Also he is a good rebounder for his position on the offensive end, and is constantly working. Defensively he is going to have to improve, and that will be a question for him, but he has the ability to really stretch defenses and get buckets with his skill level.

Marcus Paige - It is rare that Paige doesn't have a great game, but that was the case on Monday. Paige just couldn't seem to get into the flow going to the basket, and had a few uncharacteristic turnovers or simply missed shots. Now Paige did hit a few deep threes, but quite simply it wasn't a game that is typical for him.

Adam Woodbury - Woodbury was solid all game long. He clearly prefers to score using his left hand over his right shoulder with a hook, but he did counter off of that a few times with some decent success. While he is not a good athlete, Woodbury isn't much of a factor on the defensive end, though he will position rebound well. How he adds strength could determine the level of his recruitment, but simply there aren't many young big guys who can score around the rim with either hand.

Bruce Barron - He is quick, he is flashy, he can score, and he can frustrate. There is a lot going on with Barron at all times when he is on the floor. For sheer entertainment value there aren't many better than Barron because he is energetic, loud, and talented, but he does need to harness things. Barron would make an impressive move one trip down the floor, and then throw it 12 rows deep the next time. As he harnesses his natural ability to score and elite level quickness, his game will begin to take off. Decision making was his strength on Monday, but the natural skill level has him attracting high-level interest.

Perry Ellis - Ellis is just so solid. The hype he received early was probably unfair to him, but he has a ton of ability. He was knocking down shots from deep, handling the ball in traffic, and rebounding on both ends of the floor against the Atlanta Celtics. While his team fell in defeat, Ellis did a whole lot to impress, and has continued to step up his game since the NBA Players Association Camp in June.

Kevin Ware - When and if he puts it all together it is going to be special. Outside of the Muhammad, Ware might have been the best player in the gym on Monday. He is super athletic, super quick, and the jumper was working. All of that and Ware showed a bit of an aptitude to make his teammates better as well. The Celtics kept going to Ware possession after possession, and he kept on delivering. Then on defense he was a pest, and his quickness turned defense into offense. Overall it was a big time performance for Ware, and one he needs to build on.

Derail Green - One player for Franchize who isn't getting a lot of respect is Green. The big man is flying a bit under the radar, but his stock has to be rising with his play so far in July. The 2012 power forward is pushing 6-foot-8 with long arms and a good amount of athleticism. He is still figuring out just how good he is, but one could argue that Green played highly touted 2011 prospect Angelo Chol to a draw in their matchup on Monday. Improving his strength will be important, but Green has made great strides with his game since the start of the spring.

Recruiting Notes

Drawing a huge crowd of coaches was Jakarr Sampson. He had head coaches from Louisville and Washington in the gym with assistants from Cincinnati, Xavier, Dayton, UCLA, Kansas, St. John's, Miami-Florida, Notre Dame, and South Florida also watching.

The Martin Bros. 16-and under squad featuring Marcus Paige, Adam Woodbury, and Kale Abrahamson drew coaches from Clemson, Notre Dame, South Florida, Northern Iowa, Iowa, Minnesota, Marquette, California, Utah, Kansas, Drake, Miami-Fl, Tennessee, Cincinnati, and Georgia.

Perry Ellis was being monitored by Kansas State, Kansas, Tennessee, Louisville, UCLA, St. John's, and Washington.

The game between Franchize and Dream Vision brought out head coaches from Louisville, Kansas State, Memphis, and Washington. Also assistants represented Kansas, UCLA, Tennessee, Indiana, Marquette, and California.

Shonn Miller has a top three of Cornell, Akron, and Bucknell.

No offers have come in as of yet for Tanner Williams, but he is hearing from Iowa, Iowa State, Wichita State, Missouri State, Albany, and South Dakota State.

Winston Shepard says new interest has come in from UCLA and Louisville, with strong interest from Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Memphis.


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