2006 Playaz Spring Fling
The 2006 spring travel team circuit got going this weekend with the Playaz Spring Fling in northern New Jersey. Whereas in past years teams would stretch as far south as Washington, D.C. and perhaps North Carolina, this year’s tournament featured two teams from Atlanta and one from Texas, showing an expanding reach.
In the 16-and-under championship, the hot shooting of tournament MVP Lamont Jones (6’0″ So. PG, New York (NY) Rice HS) got the Metro Hawks off to a fast start, and they would later put away the Gauchos for a 68-60 win. Jones would finish with 22 points, with James Southerland (6’7″ So. SF-PF, Queens (NY) Cardozo HS) adding 18 in a nice effort and Dorvelle Carter (6’6″ So. SF, New York (NY) Rice HS) adding 13. Darryl Bryant (6’0″ So. PG-SG, Bronx (NY) St. Raymond’s HS) led the Gauchos with 14 points Curtis Loving (6’5″ So. SG-SF, New York (NY) Wadleigh HS) added 13 and Durrand Scott (6’2″ Fr. SG, New York (NY) Rice HS) had 11.
Southerland, Bryant and Loving joined Jones on the All-Tournament Team, along with Hawks teammates Trinity Fields (6’0″ So. PG, New York (NY) Holy Cross HS) and Brandon Romlain (6’3″ So. SF, Brooklyn (NY) Xaverian).
The 17-and-under championship game had the look of a star-studded affair between the host Playaz and the Juice All-Stars. Syracuse commitment Antonio “Scoop” Jardine (6’2″ Jr. PG-SG, Philadelphia (PA) St. John Neumann HS) scored 19 of his 20 points in the second half and Chris Smith (6’2″ Jr. SG, Newark (NJ) St. Benedict’s) led the way with 25 as the Playaz held off the Juice All-Stars in an 85-75 win. Juice struggled on offense throughout the game, then a late intentional foul and technical on the same play short-circuited any late comeback hopes they had. Lance Stephenson (6’5″ Fr. SG, Brooklyn (NY) Lincoln HS) led the way with 26 points but generally struggled, while Malcolm Grant (6’0″ Sr. PG, Brooklyn (NY) Paul Robeson HS) had 20.
Jardine was the MVP, joined on the All-Tournament Team by Smith, teammate and fellow Syracuse commitment Rick Jackson (6’7″ Jr. PF, Philadelphia (PA) St. John Neumann HS) and Stephenson and Grant from the Juice All-Stars.
Here are notes on some of the players we got a look at.
Martavius Adams (6’8″ Jr. PF, Milledgeville (GA) Baldwin HS) Georgia commitment looks to be improving his shape, as he has a big body but looked more mobile and ran the floor well.
Chris Allen (6’3″ Jr. SG, Norcross (GA) Meadowcreek HS) Michigan State has a real good one, as he makes things happen on the floor. He’s active defensively and will get fast break opportunities off of steals, has good three-point range on his shot and also drove to the basket when he wanted to. He went for 26 in a game we saw.
Terrell Bell (6’6″ Jr. SF, Stone Mountain (GA) High) Lanky wing athlete went for 14 points in one game, as he runs the floor and scores the ball.
Malcolm Grant (6’1″ Sr. PG, Brooklyn (NY) Paul Robeson HS) Floor leader didn’t drive a lot in the title game, instead scoring by hitting jump shots. Villanova commitment will prep next year and then go to school on the Main Line.
J.J. Hickson (6’9″ Jr. SF-PF, Marietta (GA) Wheeler HS) Very active post player has a lively body and puts in some work. Didn’t play his best game on Saturday, but still went for 20 points as he’s effective at both ends of the floor and has the skills to play some of both forward spots.
Rick Jackson (6’8″ Jr. PF, Philadelphia (PA) St. John Neumann HS) Lefty post player has good strength and battled inside all weekend long. He’ll put up some good scoring and rebounding numbers, and that will satisfy people from that position.
Antoine Jardine (6’2″ Jr. PG-SG, Philadelphia (PA) St. John Neumann HS) Really spearheaded his team’s second-half play in the final, coming alive by scoring the ball consistently. He’s capable of playing both guard spots, though his ability to score the ball indicates he could play shooting guard.
Curtis Loving (6’5″ So. SG-SF, New York (NY) Wadleigh HS) Active athlete had a nice showing over the weekend. In the final, he went for 13 points and was around the ball often.
Corey Raji (6’6″ Jr. SF, Westwood (NJ) High) Lefty wing has some athleticism and can score the ball, going for 20 in one game this weekend. He’s getting high-major attention.
Mike Ringold (6’6″ Sr. SF-PF, Philadelphia (PA) Roman Catholic HS) Held his own against a very good front line in a game we saw. He’s slight, but plays stronger than he looks, has some athleticism and can play a little of both forward spots. He’ll be a nice late snag for someone this spring.
Rakim Sanders (6’5″ Jr. SG, Barrington (RI) St. Andrew’s) Streaky shooter was on this weekend, as he only missed one shot from long range in the two we saw. He made three-pointers off screens and a few off the dribble, and range wasn’t much of a problem as well although he didn’t shoot from astronomical ranges. Has a good body as well, and while he has been prone to foul trouble in the past, that wasn’t a problem here. Good high-major prospect had 28 (eight three-pointers) in one game and 17 in another.
Durrand Scott (6’2″ Fr. SG, New York (NY) Rice HS) Plays bigger than his size, as he’ll go inside and rebound in addition to his offensive skills. He’ll be one to watch over the next couple of years.
James Southerland (6’7″ So. SF-PF, Queens (NY) Cardozo HS) Has some combo forward skills, as he played inside and out. Along the way, he knocked down some three-pointers and showed some good ball skills, and will only get better when he gets stronger.
Lance Stephenson (6’5″ Fr. SG, Brooklyn (NY) Lincoln HS) Much-hyped guard got a lot of attention, but didn’t play as well in the final as his 26 points would indicate. He did knock down some three-pointers, but never really got going until the second half. The physical tools are there, as he has a mature body for his age, so now the basketball part will follow.
Devron Washington (6’7″ Jr. SF-PF, Springfield (MA) Science & Technology HS) Got limited touches on offense, and while he looks a little undersized for power forward, he did knock down a three-pointer.
Travon Welcher (6’7″ Sr. SF-PF, Springfield (MA) Central HS) Athletic combo forward was active at times and hit a few mid-range jumpers.