Friday, August 18, 2017

GMI RECAP!  to be placed on the GMI site with a tab that reads 2015 GMI Recap (by RcsSports)
Thanks to everyone for making the 2015 GMI (George McClellan Invitational) the best ever.  Once again the hospitality room featured 100% home-cooked meals, and excuse us if we make you hungry... Friday's main dish was Smothered Turkey Necks and Hawaiian Chicken.  Saturday main dish was Marjorie's World Famous Seafood Gumbo (pork free) with buttered crap legs.
Sunday's main dish was Cajun Spaghetti with shrimp and beef sausage.  Those meals were for college coaches and media only.  Plus, the GMI was the nation's only live event which had complimentary all you can eat / drink (for summer coaches and parents) in the hospitality room of the host hotel, each night from10pm - 11:59pm.  Bet you won't miss the GMI next year...
Here are the line scores for the GOLD BRACKET championship games and recaps for your viewing pleasure.  Here is the (brand new FREE Rcs Sports APP which has all results . RCS Mobile App
RCS Mobile App
Foundation that is a very strong advocate for youth basketball, giving resources to support the achievement of all student athletes.
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HOT GOLD:  Houston Hoopstars  67    Houston Defenders - Bradley 59
HH:  Fabian White 15,  Jordan Lewis 14,  Xavier Lewis 11,  Denzale Henderson 6,  Braxton Lovings 6,  Markei Semien 6,  EJ Jenkins 5,  Nathan Fontenot 3,  Ephriam Prince 1
HD:  Kameron McGusty 14,  JJ Caldwell 11,  Greg Shead 11,  Jeremy Peck 7,  TJ Atwood 7,  Charles Henderson 4,  Aaron Cephus 2,  Jerris Harris 1
The Houston Hoopstars always seem to peak during the right time of the summer.  The "Hard Work Pays Off" crew nipped Team Texas Houston DJ and closed the deal against sneaker sponsored Houston Defenders in the championship game.  Rising junior, Fabian White just keep getting better and better on the hardwood.  He is currently ranked #2 in the Class of 2017 (behind Jarret Vanderbilt).  White scored 11 of his game high 15pts in the first half of the tightly contested game.  The unsung hero of this game was recent grad Jordan Lewis (Dawson HS 2015).  He produced all weekend for the Hoopstars, and added a cherry on top with 14pts (3 treys) in the finale.  Corpus Christi native Xavier Lewis chipped in 11pts in the win.   The Defenders got good productivity from stars Kameron McGusty (14pts), JJ Caldwell (11pts), and Gred Shead (11pts).  However, no other player was able to provide more than 1 field goal during the pivotal second half.  Specifically, Jeremy Peck did not attept a free throw nor make a basket in the paint during the last 16 minutes.  

Exceeded Expectations!  Houston Top Guns entered the GMI only 2 weeks removed from experiencing their 2 most recruitable players (Deion and Sean Rhea) gone to the Texas Boys Franchize coached by former Texas Tech interim head coach Chris Walker.  Ironically, Top Guns ended up in the same pool with Texas Boys Franchize, and this provided the perfect platform for these teams to get it all the way on.  Once the dust settled, Houston Top Guns held on for the 2pt win, and the tone for their weekend was set in motion.  After emerging from pool play, Top Guns produced more impressive wins over Austin Next Level Cats (79-71) and in the second round - another highly anticipated showdown over M&E Elite (43-42).  In the semis, Top Guns had the Houston Defenders on the ropes, but missed 2 free throws with no time on the clock in regulation, and ended up losing 69-64 in overtime.  This really was a good run for Houston Top Guns.  The players who college coaches were whispering about include floor general Reese Spencer 6'3 (Porter HS 2017), Payton Letterman 6'3 (Cy Ranch HS 2016), and recent 2015 grad Kyonis Owens 6'7 (Jeff Davis HS 2015). 

Biggest Sleeper of the GMI!  Kevin Samuels 6'10 (St Thomas Episcopal HS 2017 / Houston Top Guns).  This Bahamaian bred long lefty was the talk of the gym and he marveled dozens of college coaches with his motor on both ends of the floor.  Although a bit light in the butt, Kevin is without question a bona-fide Top 5 prospect in Greater Houston.  Good thing Rucker on Wood (Open Gym Series) is only a month away because he will get chance to prove it to his peers. 
Speaking of Top prospects in the area, I saw a bunch of ranked players under the bright lights of the GMI this past weekend and I have to admit one thing.  There are a lot of guys who have leveled off, and appear physically to be unconditioned.  That's not good, especially during the most important month of the summer ball season.  I should really go revise the rankings right now because next month there will be plenty of families not understanding how so many players will have dropped so hard in the classes of 2016 and 2017.  
Some of the highlights from the event included... TJ Ford's 2018 backcourt of Jalen Preston and PJ Byrd combining to score 52pts in their 90-88 overtime loss against Houston Defenders Bradley.  Preston connected on 7 treys in the process while Byrd added 3 from behind the arc.  In case you're wondering, Greg Shead finished with 12pts and JJ Caldwell (22pts) aside from missing some key free throws during the closing moments of regulation - was indeed solid while getting to the rim and is seriously effective at posting up mis-matches.  
Speaking of the Houston Defenders, the grapevine tells me that Charles Henderson (Summer Creek HS 2016) will not be suiting up with the Defenders this weekend in Atlanta - Under Armour Nationals because he didn't play any of the league games with the team (per UAA rules).  Therefore, don't be surprised if he's running with one of the local teams in Dallas this weekend. 
Rossow dropped 27pts in a pool win over TJ Ford Blue and that 2018 backcourt.  This is one of the examples of the wide range many of the top ranked players are capable of.  Meaning, Both Preston and Byrd can allow Rossow (who does not have a D1 offer) to go for nearly 30pts and win the game, yet they can turn right around and give Caldwell and Shead 52pts a few hours later.  It's not a knock on any of the players, but just an example of how hard it is for many to get separation from their peers in the recruiting battle.

Victory Sports Eagles 67   Texas Gators 62,  RL9 Elite 57   Brazoria Ballers 37,  RL9 Elite 73  Texas Gators 55,  Franchize All Stars 55  Nike ProSkills Burris 40,   Basketball University AG 64   All 4 Sports Dream Team 57,  TexasEliteBasketball 77  Dallas Showtyme  62,  All 4 Sports Dream Team 53  Texas Boys Franchize 51,   Howard Elite 77   M&E Elite 58,  RL9 Elite 48   Houston Rockstarz 39,   Victory Sports Eagles 17u 73   Mississippi Hawks 17u 58
It sure would have been fun to see how RL9 Elite would have fared in the HOT Division.  One thing for sure, this team plays hard, and that's a huge improvement from what I saw last month in College Station.  RL9 (sponsored by Rashard Lewis) won all three showcase games by an average of 15.6ppg.  Two of those wins were against Brazoria Ballers 57-37 and Rockstarz 48-39.  Justin Whitfield (Klein Forest HS 2016) and Josh Washington (Victory Prep 2016) toted most of the load for RL9.  Both are athletic wings who compliment each other in various ways on the floor. 
TexasElite Basketball drove all the way from Atlanta and didn't arrive back into Houston until Sunday after midnight.  Still they managed to muster enough energy to shock Dallas Showtyme Elite 17u shortly after they were eliminated from bracket play.  This was actually a rematch game from earlier this summer.  TEB recently added the services of Jordan Meyer.  He caught fire in the first half where he dropped 13 of his 17pts against his fellow Dallas peers.  Max Evans and Jeremiah Allen scored 9pts each in the first half.  Evans added three treys to finish with 18.  Doc Nelson lit Showtyme in the decisive second half, for 14 of his 18pts.  I would've paid to see this TEB squad (all players 2017 or 2018) go against the Nike ProSkills 16u (Spicy Gold Bracket Champs).
Basketball University AG won their only game in the Showcase Division 64-57 over All 4 Sports Dream Team.   This was my first time seeing the entire roster of BUAG together, and I must say - this team had better develop a much better batch of chemistry (and I mean fast) or they could be a very long July which could do more hurt to the stock of the players than help.  
SPICY GOLD:  Nike ProSkills Elite 2017  63   Austin Rain 2017 50
NPS:  Eric Clark 18,  Caleb Daniels 14,  Greg Bowie 12,  Lance Tipton 8,   Azaben Ernest 6,  Cameron Christian 5
AR:  Cameron Ivey 12,  Zach Lord 11,  Andrew Sparks 6,  Jeffrey Gary 5,  Chandler Herman 5,  Zak Kepner 4,  Charles Bohannon 4,  Kobe Thompson 3
Prior to the event, Nike ProSkills 16u team predicted they would run right through every team in the Spicy Division and attempted to persuade me to move them up into the HOT.  Despite not having highly touted Reggie Chaney on the trip, the Dallas based squad was quite impressive from beginning to end.  NikeProSkills 16u beat Austin Rain 63-50 in the championship game.  New Orleans star Caleb Daniels 6'4 (St Augustine HS 2017) was quite spectacular all 3 times I watched this team play.  He may very well be Louisiana's 11th grade version of Ben Simmons (and looks like him, too).  Point guard Eric Clark 5'10 (McKinney HS 2017) was near perfect in the second half of the championship game.  He scored 17 of his game high 18pts to help keep the lead in 4 or 5 possession territory.  Greg Bowie 6'1 (San Antonio Johnson HS 2017) did most of his damage in the first half where he got to the rim and finished plays quite often while adding 12pts in the win.  As for Austin Rain, Cameron Ivey 6'1 (Austin Aikens 2017) and Zach Lord 6'9 (Liberty Hill HS 2017) did everything they could to help Austin Rain contend, but on this day Nke ProSkills 16u was simply the better team on July 12, 2015. 
MILD GOLD:  Basketball University Black 15u  57     Basketball University Red 16u  56
BU15:  Pierce Hellums 13,  Jalen Clark 13,  Andrew Nguyen 11, Blake Foley 6,  Christian Young 5,  Sahvir Wheeler 4,  Omar Wallace 4
BU16:  Jubilee Akputa13,  Colby Hayes 10,  Shemar Coleman 9,  Bryce Woodson 6,  Darrel Small 6,  Damion Gaston 5,  Eman Hindic 3,  Brian Etomar 2,  Terrence Delco 2
I didn't realize just how potent this division was until all the smoke cleared.  In the GOLD Bracket alone, four of the 8 first round games were decided by 4pts or less.  Then, in the quarter-finals, 3 of 4 games were decided by 3pts or less.  One of the semi final games finished with a 3pt margin, and the championship game needed overtime for Basketball University Black 15u to defeat Basketball University Red 16u, 58-56.  All in all, there were 15 games played in the GOLD Bracket, and 9 were decided by 4 points or less.  That's flat out remarkable and I wish to applaud all the teams in this division for competing at such a high level.  Now this is how the July live period is supposed to start!

Speaking of Basketball University, props goes to that organization for producing both finalists in the GOLD Bracket as well as the champion of the BLUE Bracket (Basketball Univeristy Varsity).  Not only did they mazimize their time and money (6 games each in 3 days), but they definitely increased their opportunities for exposure.  One thing about the GOLD Bracket champs is the fact that Basketball University Black 15u features a backcourt of Sahvir Wheeler 5'4 and Pierce Hellums 5'10 (both are Class of 2019 and have yet to enroll in high school).  The Mild Division was comprised of 15u and 16u teams.  For a team to win 1st place anchored by a pair of 14u players is quite impressive!  This very team also won 1st place in the NCAA DIvison of the GASO which was held a couple weeks ago in Pearland.  Wheeler has long been highly touted by Clark Francis (HoopScoop), and is the son of Houston Christian assistant coach Teddy Wheeler.  Hellums (scored a game high 13pts in the championship)  is a HomeSchooled student and the younger sibling of Knox Hellums (Concordia Lutheran 2016) who has been sideline all summer with a leg injury.  Teammates, Andrew Nguyen (Cy Falls HS 2018) and Jalon Clark (Cy Woods HS 2018) took care of business in the finale - scoring 11 and 13pts respectively.