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St Louis Eagles Invitational

May 21, 2003 Columns No Comments

Jordan Capital Classic Recap

by Phil Kasiecki

This past weekend, the eighth annual St. Louis Eagles Invitational was held at three sites near St. Louis. This tournament is a small event, with just 16 teams split into two divisions (17-and-under and 16-and-under), but it featured plenty of excellent individual talent from the Midwest.

The 16-and-under championship game was decided by forfeit, as the Tennessee Travelers made it to the game but had to leave beforehand. That made the Arkansas Wings victorious, but for good measure, the Wings dominated the St. Louis Eagles’ first entry in the 16-and-under in a game played in its place, winning 60-30.

In the 17-and-under championship game, the host St. Louis Eagles never got untracked offensively, committing numerous turnovers against an Illinois Warriors team that loves to run. The Warriors jumped out to an early double-digit lead before the Eagles tied it later in the half, then they got going again in the second half and never looked back in a 68-54 win. Tournament MVP Justin Dentman (6’1″ Jr. PG, Carbondale (IL) High) led the winners with 16 points, while fellow All-Tournament selections Eric Vierneisel (6’7″ Jr. SF-PF, Jacobs HS) and DeAaron Williams (6’5″ Jr. SF, Bartonville (IL) Limestone HS) each added 15.

Here is a look at some of the top performers from this tournament. Notable absences include the Illinois Warriors’ Cyrus Tate (6’8″ Jr. PF, Flossmoor (IL) Homewood-Flossmoor HS) and the St. Louis Eagles’ Tommy Liddell (6’4″ Jr. SF, East St. Louis (IL) High).

Breon Allen (6’5″ So. SG-SF, Whitefish Bay (WI) Dominican HS) This athletic finisher is highly regarded among Class of 2005 players, but didn’t play like it all the time. He doesn’t have the best body control, but he’s a nice athlete with the ability to score in transition and on jump shots out to long range.

Corey Brewer (6’7″ Jr. SF, Portland (TN) High) This lanky small forward was one of the top players at this tournament. He showed a great touch on mid-range jump shots, though the long range jumper needs some work, is a nice athlete with good body control and not flashy, and generally exhibited good shot selection. Defensively, he shows up to play; he anticipates passes well off the ball, talks to teammates, will block a few shots and grab some rebounds. He plays stronger than he looks, and could use some more strength, but he’s a big-time prospect.

Colin Brown (6’4″ Jr. SG, Kansas City (MO) Braymer HS) This slashing scorer has good size and is a good athlete who doesn’t shoot much from outside. He’s generally content to slash to the basket, though he did knock down a couple of three-pointers. Mid-major plus prospect.

Ronnie Carter, Jr. (6’6″ Jr. PF, Kansas City (MO) Schlagel HS) This undersized post player works hard on the post and was generally effective, though his limits were shown when he was overmatched against Kalen Grimes, as he fouled out in relatively limited minutes. He didn’t get a lot of touches offensively, but he has a solid body, got some rebounds and effectively defended on the post save for his matchup with Grimes. Mid-major prospect.

Eric Coleman (6’7″ Jr. PF, Oakdale (MN) Tartan HS) Lefty post player has a good frame and is very mobile, but he looked foul-prone this weekend at both ends. He didn’t get many touches to show his offensive skills, but he looks like he a mid-major prospect.

Jeremiah Crutcher (5’11” Fr. PG, Hunters Lane HS) This quick guard looks to be too shoot-first to be a point guard, though he appears to have the quickness to play the position. His long range jumpers were not falling early, but he made a few later on at key moments.

Justin Dentman (6’1″ Jr. PG, Carbondale (IL) High) The tournament MVP did a nice job of running the show for the champions. He’s not a jet, but he’s certainly quick enough, makes good decisions with the ball and involves his teammates. He will drive to the basket, generally picking his spots well, and he’s a capable long range shooter. Mid-major plus/high-major minus prospect.

Matthew Dotson (6’7″ So. PF, Hickman County (TN) High) Skilled power forward showed some face-up skills. He knocked down a couple of jumpers and made alert passes in limited viewing, and has good size.

Ashton Farmer (6’6″ So. SF-PF, Charleston (MO) High) Athletic post player has good size and showed some quick and crafty moves around the basket. He looks to be more of a post player now, but he has the athleticism to play small forward one day.

Kalen Grimes (6’8″ Jr. PF, Florissant (MO) Hazlewood Central) At times in the early going, this solidly-built post player didn’t play up to his billing, especially since he lacked aggressiveness, but by the end of the tournament, he was more like himself. He’s at his best when he uses his good strength in the post to overpower opponents, which he did at times, and he’s also very mobile and has good footwork and strong hands. He scored when backing his man down on the post, generally not hitting turnaround jumpers that he took, and he generally rebounded and ran the floor well. Big-time prospect.

Tyler Hansbrough (6’8″ So. PF, Poplar Bluff (MO) High) Although he didn’t play very well in the championship game, he did nothing this weekend to tarnish his reputation as one of the elite prospects in the class of 2005. He’s a very aggressive forward who’s quick off his feet and rebounds well, can score in several ways and operates well near the basket, and he keeps the ball high on offensive rebounds to get put-backs. He shows some combo forward skills, runs the floor very well and plays stronger than he looks, though his frame isn’t close to being filled out.

Justin Hare (6’1″ Jr. PG, Bradley Central HS) He’s one of those rare point guards who blends in with his team and quietly runs the show. He’s not overly quick or a great shooter, and he looked a little turnover-prone at times, but for the most part he effectively ran the show to get the ball to the scorers. Low-major prospect.

Willie Howard (5’11” So. PG, Wisconsin Lutheran HS) Although his height dictates that he plays the point, he’s more of a shooter than a slasher. He showed a good stroke on long range jump shots and some quickness.

Urula Igbavboa (6’8″ So. PF, Oakdale (MN) Tartan HS) This nice lefty power forward had a good showing. He has very good hands and a deceptively quick first step to the basket, though his forte isn’t driving when he faces up. He has a nice touch in close and is mainly a finesse post scorer, though he plays stronger than he looks. With added strength, he should be a very good prospect.

Marcus Landry (6’6″ So. SF-PF, Milwaukee (WI) Vincent HS) This athletic forward got better as the weekend went along, in part from getting more touches. He’s an active athlete on the glass, getting rebounds at both ends and put-backs at the offensive end. He blocked some shots and has some strength, and right now is clearly a power forward, but he has the athleticism to one day play small forward and some good upside.

Matt Marino (6’0″ Jr. SG, (IL) St. Patrick HS) This undersized shooting guard does one thing well, which is shoot the ball, especially when he gets an open look. Low-major prospect.

Cameron Murkey (6’2″ Jr. SG, St. Louis (MO) Gateway Tech) Scoring guard played well, looking like a nice complementary player. He’s a “scorer not a shooter”-type, scoring on drives or moving without the ball. Low-major prospect.

David Palmer (6’8″ So. SF-PF, Antioch (TN) High) This athlete has a great body to one day be a combo forward, though he looks like a power forward right now. He has good size and athleticism, but aside from that are question marks. His hands and defense left something to be desired, and almost every time the whistle blew on a play he was involved in, one of the first things he did was look over at the bench as if he expected the coach to say something to him. He has the body and athleticism to be a solid prospect once the skills and mental aspects come forward.

Everette Pedescleaux (6’7″ Jr. PF, Robbinsdale (MN) Armstrong HS) One of the most impressive post scorers at this tournament, this powerful forward can flat-out score inside and a little away from the basket. He’s athletic and can also face the basket, with range out to just inside the three-point line and good shot selection, and he’s a capable rebounder. His forte is definitely his post scoring ability. High-major prospect.

Xavier Price (6’4″ Jr. SG-SF, O’Fallon (IL) High) This athletic wing has the physical tools, but the skills don’t appear to be there. He’s quick and can get to the basket, though he didn’t do that very much this weekend, and he didn’t shoot the ball well. Mid-major plus prospect.

Brandon Rush (6’5″ Jr. SG-SF, Kansas City (MO) Oak Hill Academy) Great athlete had one very high scoring game and is a scorer, especially in transition. He finishes very well close to the basket and is not afraid to attack the basket. He shot the mid-range jumper on the move well, and his three-point shot is not great but must be respected. He will block a shot or two at the defensive end. High-major prospect.

Matt Shaw (6’7″ Jr. PF, Centralia (IL) HS) Shaw has had a nice spring and continued it this weekend, showing that he’s a competitor who’s solid but unspectacular on the low post. He has good fundamentals and footwork, scoring with post moves and running the floor and slowly expanding his game away from the basket. He’s very effective near the basket as a scorer and rebounder, around the ball often and making plays. He’s an underrated athlete and a good student, and a high-major minus/mid-major plus prospect.

York Sims (6’1″ So. SG, Clarksville (AR) High) The MVP of the 16-and-under division is a very athletic wing who can really get up off the ground. He’s a lefty scorer who didn’t shoot a lot of jump shots in limited viewing.

Steven Stone (6’5″ So. PF, Conway (AR) High) Scrappy forward is a competitor and comes to play, earning a place on the 16-and-under all-tournament team. He showed a lot of hustle to get loose balls and make plays after it, and was around the ball a lot. He’s an above-average athlete whose main need now is to grow.

Eric Vierneisel (6’7″ Jr. SF-PF, Algonquin (IL) Jacobs HS) Combo forward played well in helping his team to the title. He was aggressive with the ball at the offensive end, at times trying to do too much, but he generally made good plays. He’s an above-average athlete capable of playing both forward spots, as he can run the floor and he knocked down several three-pointers with a good stroke. He’s a decent defender, though a little foul-prone at times, and he got some rebounds as well. High-major minus prospect.

DeAaron Williams (6’5″ Jr. SF, Bartonville (IL) Limestone HS) This very athletic wing loves to get to the basket, not shooting his unreliable jump shot very much. He’s great in transition, and the best thing is that he not only finishes by showcasing his leaping ability with nice dunks, but he’s also capable of leading, though his decisions could stand to improve a little. He seems to genuinely enjoy playing the game, is an active defender and will post up smaller players to score. High-major prospect.

Some other players at this tournament that will be worth keeping an eye on:

Alex Barnett (6’4″ So. SG, St. Louis (MO) Cardinal Ritter HS)
Rob Bledsoe (6’9″ So. PF-C, McMinn (TN) Central HS)
Brett Brielmeir (6’7″ Jr. PF, Mankato (MN) Loyola HS)
Lamar Howard (6’0″ So. PG, Florissant (MO) Hazlewood East HS)
Chris Kellerman (6’5″ So. SG-SF, O’Fallon (IL) High)
Demario Smith (6’5″ So. SF, East St. Louis (IL) High)
Cody Stoneburner (6’9″ So. PF, North Shelby (MO) High)
Ryan Williams (6’2″ So. SG, Jonesboro (AR) High)
Julian Wright (6’8″ So. SF-PF, Flossmoor (IL) Homewood-Flossmoor HS)


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