Sunday, August 8, 2010

D1 Sports 135 Hendrick of Durham 124

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

In a game full of stars on the professional and college levels, the Greater NC Pro-Am Tournament Championship offered one of the most competitive showdowns in all of summer league basketball. The stakes were high as New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton and D1 Sports had championship hopes on their minds in their contest against Cleveland Cavalier Jawad Williams and Hendrick of Durham.

D1 sports came out gunning from the opening tip, leaping out to a 10-2 lead after Duke's Andre Dawkins drained a pair of three balls. Williams responded on the other end, showing off his mid-range game hitting a step back jump shot and following it just seconds later with a lay-up. NCCU sophomore Nick Chasten added on to Hendrick of Durham's scoring with a baseline deuce, as his team climbed its way back into the game.

It appeared that Hendrick of Durham had ended the first quarter on a good note after former ECU standout Derrick Wiley nailed two free throws with just 2.9 seconds left on the clock, but Atlanta Hawk center Josh Powell hit a deep fade-away attempt at the buzzer to boost his team to a nine point lead.

The success continued for D1 Sports in the second quarter with Felton and Powell hooking up on several occasions. Their team led by as much as 15 in the second quarter, in large part because of Felton's offense. After Felton's trey ball to end the period, D1 Sports held a 68-57 lead at the half.

"He just took over the game," Williams said of Felton. "Whoever has to guard him, he's getting them ready for the next level."

The third quarter posed more problems for Hendrick of Durham as D1 Sports' Marcus Fisher continued to build on his sensational tournament. Fisher dropped eight of his 27 points in the third period, and was perfect on all three of his free throws in the second half.

Although they had little success on the defensive end, Hendrick of Durham had a big third quarter from the field as Wiley and Michael Deloach hit several shots that helped cut the deficit. With six seconds remaining in the quarter, Deloach hit a deep two pointer to trim the margin back to single digits as their team trailed 97-89 heading into the final period.

The heated atmosphere reached its peak in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter when Powell was whistled for his third goaltending violation of the game. His protest led to a technical foul that paved the way for Wiley to knock down a free throw that made it only a one point game in favor of D1 Sports.

Despite Hendrick of Durham's 9-0 run, Felton would not let the game get away. He fearlessly burst into the lane, getting to the rack and drawing fouls. Within seconds, D1 Sports' lead was stretched back to nine.

Williams and Wiley combined for 11 fourth quarter points, but fell short of sparking a run to get Hendrick of Durham back in the game. Felton and Fisher's backcourt dominance proved to be the difference, as D1 Sports won the third annual Greater NC Pro-Am Tournament Championship by a score of 135-124.

After leading a team to the summer league's championship for the second year in a row, Felton discussed the benefits from playing against such a high level of talent.

"It's a good thing to come out here and get a run," Felton said. "This is pretty much one of the best [summer leagues]."

While Felton and Powell both played significant roles in winning the championship, Fisher came away with honors for Most Valuable Player after his exceptional play throughout the tournament. Through three tournament games, Fisher averaged 16.7 points per game, but the championship contest was by far his most impressive outing.

White Team Shoots its Way to Victory in the Greater NC Pro-Am High School Showcase

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

There was a great amount of anticipation surrounding the Greater NC Pro-Am Tournament Championship, but fans were in for a treat even sooner than expected when much of the young local talent gathered to participate in the High School Showcase.

Knightdale's Jalen Jones got things going early, leading the Black team to a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes, but his high school teammate and fellow class of 2013 prospect Deshawn Griffin hit a field goal to begin the scoring for the White team.

Word of God's Josh McNeal demonstrated his wide range of skills, finding success down low and later stepping out to hit a three pointer. McNeal turned in a solid seven point effort in the first half for the Black team.

While Jones and McNeal found first half success on the offensive end, Mount Zion's Sean Nottingham played excellent basketball on both ends of the floor for the White team. His ten points led all scorers at the break, and played a big part in gaining a 33-20 advantage at the half for the White team.

Ravenscroft guard and class of 2012 prospect Madison Jones heated up in the second half, fueling a 10-0 run for the Black team that cut the deficit to just four points.

Durham Hillside's Torian Graham had answers for the quick run and was not about to let the game slip away from the White team. Graham's second half baskets were crucial in helping his team regain a comfortable lead and hold on for the win. Jalen Jones made things interesting in the final minutes, hitting a free throw to convert a three point play, but Graham was successful in completing an old-fashioned three point play of his own with just under 30 seconds left on the clock. Graham received Most Valuable Player honors as the White team escaped with the win, 60-53.

Bridge2Sports All-Stars shut out Wall, NBA stars

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Shortly following the East-West Bridge2Sports All-Star game, the Bridge2Sports All-Stars took the court to face the number one overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, John Wall, and four other high profile standouts in a wheelchair match-up.

Wall, accompanied by Josh Powell of the Atlanta Hawks, Jawad Williams of the Cleveland Cavaliers, C.J. Leslie of NC State and Julian Gamble of Miami, struggled throughout the contest as he and his team were unable to keep up with the pace of their opponents.

Jeremy Smith got an early bucket to put his team up by four in the first couple minutes. Mike Adkins knocked down a three pointer and the game really got out of hand when Andrea Woodson-Smith's lay-up bumped the score up to 11-0.

Fans caught a good laugh as Wall, Leslie and Gamble each missed from point blank range down the stretch. Kevin Bailey's two pointer with 40 seconds remaining was the last basket of the game as the Bridge2Sports All-Stars got the surprising shutout, 15-0.

The Thunder Earns the Win in the Bridge2Sports All-Star Game

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

The East-West Bridge2Sports All-Star game was a physical match-up, as the Thunder squared off with the Bulldogs.

Michael Whitlock and Tee Foster played excellent early in the contest, helping the Bulldogs to an early lead. Whitlock's two points from under the basket helped give his team a 26-22 lead.

NCCU alum Andrea Woodson-Smith had answers on the other end, however. The former gold medalist contributed multiple baskets late in the game to reclaim the lead for the Thunder.

The Bulldogs made a late-game surge, and Foster's lay-up with 34 seconds to play brought the game within one. On the ensuing Thunder possession, the Bulldogs got the steal and an opportunity to hit the last shot to win the game. Through tight defense, the Thunder was able to hold on to claim the victory.

Woodson-Smith was named Most Valuable Player after the contest.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Smith Named MVP of Greater NC Pro-Am

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

After a spectacular season with Team Dreamworks, Nolan Smith won the award of Most Valuable Player of the 2010 Greater NC Pro-Am.

Smith established himself as one of the best scorers in the league after turning in performances of 35 points and 41 points in his first two outings. He also led Team Dreamworks to an 81-78 victory over eventual regular season champion Team Navy after his team trailed by 12 in the final quarter.

D1 Sports 83 Team Jamison 74

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

The second semifinals match-up of the night was a rematch of one of the most electrifying games of the year, as Andre Dawkins and D1 Sports looked to get revenge on Seth Curry and Team Jamison.

In the first contest between the two, Dawkins dialed in from long distance in the final minutes to bring his team within three points, but Josh Powell's inside play for Team Jamison could not be stopped. Despite Dawkins' 36 points, Team Jamison escaped as victors.

Powell suited up again on Saturday, but this time for D1 Sports. He had his hands full down low throughout the night, going back and forth against Miami center Julian Gamble.

Neither team could break away from the other in the first quarter, as Gamble and D1 Sports' Ryan Kelly found early buckets down low. After some miscommunication by Team Jamison, Kelly was able to drop in an uncontested lay-in in the final minute of the first quarter to give D1 Sports a 15-14 advantage before the first intermission.

The competition got a lot hotter in the second quarter when Hayward Fain threw down a one-handed slam off an offensive rebound. Dawkins responded with a trey ball, as his teammate Marcus Fisher added one of his own. The crowd erupted when Dawkins hit another three to cap off a 9-0 run. Curry laid in the final two points with a finger roll off the glass, but his team trailed 44-33 at halftime.

D1 Sports maintained control throughout the third quarter, with five different players scoring in the period. Powell's one-handed jam with 2:15 left on the clock put his team up by 17. Curry hit the second of two free throws with 26.2 seconds remaining, but D1 Sports took a commanding 63-47 lead into the final intermission.

After trailing by over a dozen for nearly the entire half, Curry and Gamble were not about to let the game get away without a fight. Curry's play from behind the arc helped open things up down low for Gamble, and Team Jamison was able to pull within four with just over two minutes left in the game.

"We knew that they weren't just going to give up," Dawkins said. "We let them come back but we just had to buckle down today and get some stops and some buckets."

After giving up an 8-0 run to allow Team Jamison a shot at the championship, D1 Sports found ways to score tough baskets when it mattered most. With 2:07 remaining, Powell regained some momentum for his team by converting an old-fashioned three point play. Gamble threw down a pair of dunks in the final two minutes, but it was not enough. Dawkins ended the game in dramatic fashion, throwing the ball off the backboard to set himself up for a one-handed slam. With the 83-74 win, D1 Sports reached the championship game.

Powell and Dawkins were the key players in getting the win, scoring 21 points and 15 points, respectively. While they were able to steal the win, Curry turned in 18 points for Team Jamison. Dawkins and Curry were on opposing sides in Saturday's game, but fans will have the opportunity to see the two guards play together for the Duke Blue Devils this season.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," Dawkins said. "Our backcourt is really, really good. As long as we keep working hard, we should have a really good season."

For the time being, Dawkins hopes to continue to showcase his backcourt skills at 4:30 on Sunday, when he and D1 Sports face Hendrick of Durham for the Greater NC Pro-Am championship.

Hendrick of Durham 96 Team Dreamworks 78

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

There was little doubt that the first game of the semifinals of the Greater NC Pro-Am tournament would have a lot of scoring, as Akeem Richmond and Hendrick of Durham sought to light up the scoreboard against NCCU sharpshooter Landon Clement and Team Dreamworks.

It did not take long for Richmond to start dropping buckets as he knocked down an early three, and later kept the defense honest by faking a perimeter shot and driving to the bucket for a lay-in. Richmond's play to begin the game boosted Hendrick of Durham to a nine point lead toward the end of the first quarter.

Clement struggled early from long range, but Corey Evans picked up the slack, scoring 16 points in the first half. Evans' success at converting on second chance opportunities was huge in keeping the game from getting out of hand in the first quarter and a half of play.

Although Evans was the leading scorer on the floor, Michael Deloach and Nick Chasten provided excellent play on the other end to hold a comfortable lead throughout the first half. Chasten's cross-over dribble and drive for a lay-up gave Hendrick of Durham a 17 point lead with under a minute to play in the half. The squad took a 48-31 lead into halftime.

Team Dreamworks came out gunning in the opening minutes of the second half. Clement's alley-oop to Evans off the inbounds pass sparked some offensive production from the team, with Clement later hitting a three to add on to Evans' scoring spree.

Down the stretch, Hendrick of Durham was just too tough to stop. The team scored five points in the last five seconds of the third quarter after VMI's Stanley Okoye hit a free throw to convert a three point play and Derrick Wiley stole the ensuing inbounds pass, drawing a foul that resulted in two successful free throw attempts. The 9-0 run to end the period led to a 23 point lead going into the final quarter.

Things only got uglier for Team Dreamworks at the beginning of the fourth period, as James Zimmerman and Wiley each hit baskets to build on what ultimately became a 14-0 run. Hendrick of Durham led by as much as 28, but Evans' 42 point performance eased the pain for Team Dreamworks.

E.J. Williams also stepped up in the fourth quarter for Team Dreamworks. His 10 fourth quarter points also made for an impressive individual showing, but it was not nearly enough to get his team back in the game. Hendrick of Durham ran away with the victory, 96-78.

Hendrick of Durham is set to face D1 Sports in the championship game at 4:30 PM, Sunday.

D1 Sports 69 Lucky Seven 65

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

The final game of Friday night's playoff match-ups featured several big name stars as Josh Powell led Lucky Seven in their contest against Ryan Kelly and D1 Sports.

The pair of Duke teammates hooked up early as Andre Dawkins dished out an around-the-back pass to Kelly for a two-handed slam that was good for the first points of the game. Powell and Courtney Fells got a couple early buckets for Lucky Seven, but Marcus Fisher, who dropped 34 points D1 Sports' final regular season game, got his name in the box score with some first quarter baskets. Jared Johnson of D1 Sports took the ball to the rack for a lay-up and the final two points of the first quarter, as his team claimed a 20-13 lead after the first 10 minutes of play.

Powell shot well in the second quarter, scoring six points and going 4-4 from the free throw line. Kelly had answers, however, as he knocked down three free throws after being fouled behind the perimeter. Kelly scored five of his 22 points in the second quarter as D1 Sports held on to their lead, 31-25.

Fells, Powell and Gavin Grant each turned in solid performances in the third quarter, as the trio of former Wolfpackers reclaimed the lead for Lucky Seven. A three point play by Fells gave Lucky Seven their first lead of the half at 40-38, and they led by one going into the final quarter.

The game remained close throughout the final period and the outcome was not decided until the closing seconds. After Fells converted another old-fashioned three point play to bring Lucky Seven within two points, Fain drew a charge off Dawkins with 33.1 seconds left. Fells' jump hook with 21 seconds did not go down, but Lucky Seven had one last chance with 19 seconds remaining. Down by three, Grant brought the ball up court for Lucky Seven only to have it stolen by Dawkins at the top of the key. As a result, Dawkins laid in a breakaway finger roll to put the game out of doubt. D1 Sports earned a spot in the semifinals after defeating Lucky Seven, 69-65.

Team Jamison 61 Team Navy 46

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

After winning the Greater NC Pro-Am regular season championship on Thursday night, Team Navy came out Friday with hopes of proving that their 6-2 record was no fluke. They had their work cut out for them in the first round of the playoffs in their showdown against Seth Curry and Team Jamison.

Team Navy struggled from the field at the beginning, and found themselves behind early after Julian gamble converted a pair of three point plays. Gamble's play down low was the story of the opening period as his 10 first quarter points was enough to outscore all of Team Navy in the first 10 minutes. At the first intermission, Team Jamison led by eight.

Curry was unable to get a shot to drop until the 7:02 mark in the second quarter, but his first points came off a three ball that boosted Team Jamison to their first double-digit lead of the game. Team Navy finally woke up at the end of the first half, scoring the final six points of the second quarter to close the margin to 30-22 going into halftime.

Team Jamison's lead was in danger in the third quarter when Corey Evans hit a free throw to convert the old-fashioned three point play and bring Team Navy within four, but Anthony Wilkinson dropped in a long range bomb that once again made it a three possession game.

After trailing by eight at the end of the third quarter, Ward was the only player who could consistently score for Team Navy. Ward scored a team-high 20 points, but it was not enough to overcome Curry's late-game scoring. Curry had seven points in the final quarter as Team Jamison snatched the 61-46 victory to advance to the semifinals.

Team Dreamworks 78 Team Stackhouse 62

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Landon Clement and Team Dreamworks wasted no time in grabbing an early lead over Team Stackhouse during the second game of the Greater NC Pro-Am tournament. Clement nailed a three ball in the opening minutes that gave his team the lead for good as they rolled over Team Stackhouse.

Team Dreamworks was tough to stop in the first half, as they balanced Dijon Mann's inside game with Clement's perimeter sniping. Clement's trey ball with 34 seconds on the clock gave Team Dreamworks a 21-14 lead. The score remained the same at the buzzer, as Clement's shot from beyond halfcourt bounced off the rim.

E.J. Williams and Madison Jones contributed some offensive production in the second quarter to close the gap, after Jones followed William's three point play with a breakaway dunk that cut the lead to three. Williams played well throughout the second period and scored 12 points in the first half.

While Team Stackhouse found some success from the field in the first few minutes of the quarter, Team Dreamworks was led by Clement and Bishop Daniels in holding on to their lead. Daniels' one-hand slam with seven seconds remaining helped his team hold a 35-27 advantage at halftime.

Team Stackhouse made another run in the third quarter, bringing the game within two after a jumper from Norbert Randall, but Clement scored a quick five points in response. After taking a 51-44 lead into the final period of play, Team Dreamworks held a comfortable lead for the remainder of the contest.

Clement, who had 31 points, combined deadly perimeter shooting with a high shot percentage from the free throw line to rack up the points that kept Team Dreamworks ahead. His three pointer with just under four minutes on the clock gave his team a 19 point lead, the largest the difference would get. Team Dreamworks cruised on to a first round victory, 78-62, as they eliminated Team Stackhouse.

Hendrick of Durham 80 Body of Christ 77

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Former Norfolk State star Michael Deloach and Rhode Island guard Akeem Richmond have been two of the best scorers of the summer at the Greater NC Pro-Am. So it was no surprise to anyone that the two each scored over 25 points when going head-to-head with one another in the opening game of the playoffs.

The first quarter was a tight one, with no team ever able to pull away. Body of Christ took an early five point lead after Detwon Rodgers followed a Richmond three ball by using his post moves to get two points down low just seconds after. Hendrick of Durham would come back, as a break away slam by Deloach sparked a run for his team. Deloach's teammate, Nick Chasten, had an opportunity to tie the game at the end of the first period, but his three point attempt at the buzzer did not fall.

The scoring slowed down in the second quarter for Body of Christ, and a 360 dunk by VMI's Stanley Okoye helped Hendrick of Durham build a four point lead. Deloach (27 points) contributed to the 17-1 run, converting an old-fashioned three point play and helping his squad put together a 12 point lead.

While Hendrick of Durham appeared to be running away with the game, Richmond hit several crucial buckets to bring the deficit back within single digits. Richmond scored 17 points in the first half, including a three pointer that cut the margin to eight. His half court shot at the buzzer clanked off the front of the rim, as Hendrick of Durham remained in command, 42-34.

Body of Christ clawed their way back in the third quarter, and took their first lead of the half after Scott Grable drove through the lane for a lay-up. John Brown capped off the 15-0 run with a drive and lay-in of his own, but a deep three by James Zimmerman as time expired reclaimed the lead for Hendrick of Durham.

Excellent free throw shooting down the stretch made for a thrilling contest, and Richmond's clutch three pointers brought the crowd to its feet on numerous occasions. With just 34 seconds left on the clock, Richmond hit a shot from beyond the arc while falling down to bring the game within two points, but Hendrick of Durham had a lot of success from the charity stripe, making it difficult for Body of Christ to retake the lead. With just .7 seconds remaining, Richmond was fouled on a three point attempt and had as many free throws while trailing by four. After capitalizing on just one of the three shots, his late push proved to be too little, too late. Despite Richmond's 35 point effort, Hendrick of Durham earned the 80-77 victory.

Friday, August 6, 2010

D1 Sports 75 Coaches in Christ 73 (OT)

The Greater NC Pro-Am regular season finished the way it started, as the final game Thursday night was an overtime thriller. Marcus Fisher and D1 Sports faced off with Marques Oliver and Coaches in Christ in a contest that resulted in a nail biting finish.

Coaches in Christ came out for a well-balanced first quarter, with Oliver finding buckets down low as Bishop Daniels dished out multiple assists and found success from the perimeter. Julian Gamble displayed his inside-out game for Coaches in Christ, as the big man found points both under the basket and from three point land. The team jumped out to a 23-16 at the end of the first quarter.

Fisher began to heat up after the opening period, scoring nine of his 34 points in the second quarter, but Coaches in Christ was seemingly incapable of missing. An old-fashioned three point play by Lamont McQueen followed by a goaltending violation against D1 Sports helped Coaches in Christ take a 15 point lead into halftime.

D1 Sports trailed by seven in the third quarter when Brandon Smith knocked down two points that sparked some life into his squad. The team followed his basket with two straight stops on defense, and a two-handed dunk by Jared Johnson helped chip away at the lead. Fisher continued his scoring spree by knocking down two free throws to cut the lead to 47-44, making it a one possession game.

It appeared that D1 Sports had all the momentum, but Oliver and Gamble each muscled in baskets to keep a comfortable lead for Coaches in Christ. Fisher nailed a two point field goal with just second remaining in the third quarter, and D1 Sports trailed only by five heading into the final period of regulation.

Coaches in Christ held on to their lead throughout the majority of the fourth quarter, but D1 Sports would not go away. Fisher stepped up to the free throw line with 5.9 seconds on the clock, with his team behind by two. He was good on both attempts, as his clutch shooting put the game into overtime.

D1 Sports' Mark Pounds may not have made much noise in regulation, but he was certainly the hero of overtime. After first getting a breakaway lay-up to extend his team's lead to four with just 23 seconds remaining, Pounds stepped up to the line with 8.6 seconds left and hit two big free throws that were ultimately the difference. D1 Sports rallied to steal the win from Coaches in Christ, 75-73.

Team McGladrey rallies, defeats Team 212, 63-57

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Miami Hurricane Julian Gamble suited up for Team 212 in his first game of the summer at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium as he squared off against Hayward Fain and Team McGladrey.

Dominique Sutton was a human highlight reel in the opening quarter, scoring eight points in the first period. His thundering tomahawk slam with a minute remaining stretched Team 212's lead to six, but Dijon Manns hit a free throw with 9.4 seconds remaining to complete a three point play that cut the deficit to 16-13.

Landon Clement dialed in from long range in the second quarter to add to the lead, but Team McGladrey's Bishop Daniels had answers on the other end. Daniels scored seven points in the second period, including a half court shot at the buzzer that brought his team within one point of Team 212 at the half.

While Gamble's post presence produced some hard-earned buckets down low for Team 212, Team McGladrey claimed its first lead of the game after Fain got a steal and threw down a windmill jam. Sutton responded with a three on the other end, and the rest of the third quarter consisted of several lead changes. Daniels had an opportunity to retake the lead for Team McGladrey right before the final intermission, but his attempt at a two-handed reverse dunk was no good. Team 212 was up 43-42 going into the final quarter.

Daniels, who had 15 points in the contest, led Team McGladrey on a run in the beginning of the fourth period to take a four point lead. Sutton knocked down a trey to tie the game at 54-54 with 4:52 left on the clock, but Fain refused to let the game slip away. Fain eventually went on to hit three of four free throws in the final 43 seconds to seal the win for Team McGladrey, 63-57.

Team Navy 77 Team Stackhouse 75

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Team Stackhouse threatened Team Navy's championship hopes with what could have been the comeback of the summer, but it was not enough as Team Navy escaped with a two point win.

Durham Hillside's Torian Graham, a class of 2012 recruit who holds offers from NC State and Xavier, scored 21 of his 34 points in the first half for Team Stackhouse. He established himself as his team's leader immediately, hitting an early pair of treys and also converting on the old-fashioned three point play.

While Graham turned in a sensational performance, Team Navy did what they do best; attack their opponents by distributing the scoring. Charles Ward, Dominique Sutton and Derrick Wiley all dropped in first quarter baskets, leading Team Navy to a 20-15 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Team Navy went for the throat in the second quarter, as early buckets by Ward and Marshall's Johnny Thomas boosted the squad to a double-digit lead. The highlight of the night came midway through the second period when Mikell Faulkner found Johnny Thomas for a crushing alley-oop slam. Graham hit two free throws with 6.5 seconds on the clock to close out the half, but Team Stackhouse trailed by a score of 48-31.

A Wiley three pointer in the third quarter stretched the margin to 25, the largest deficit of the night. Team Stackhouse's E.J. Williams hit a three in response, but Wiley finished the quarter with the old-fashioned three point play that accounted for three of his 18 points.

Trailing by 19 entering the final quarter, Team Stackhouse began to claw back. Stanley Okoye led a run that closed the gap to just six points with a little over a minute remaining in the game. Okoye also got things done on the defensive end, rejecting Team Navy's shot attempts that would have put the game out of doubt. With 24 seconds to go, E.J. Williams found Okoye down low for a two-handed jam, making it a four point game.

After a Team Navy timeout, Team Stackhouse was able to get the steal and Okoye capitalized on two second chance points to make it a one possession game with nine seconds left.

Team Navy prevailed, however. Team Stackhouse was unable to foul, and Ward protected the ball as time expired. Team Navy escaped with the narrow victory, 77-75, and was crowned the regular season champion.

Hendrick of Durham 77 Team Dreamworks 49

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Stanley Okoye made his presence felt Thursday night at the Greater NC Pro-Am, dropping 18 points on Team Dreamworks in what ultimately proved to be the blowout of the year.

Hendrick of Durham came out hot in the first quarter, wrapping up the opening period with an 11 point lead, but the bleeding really started in the second quarter when Okoye outscored Team Dreamworks. Okoye's team led by as much as 20, and held on to the large advantage. As Team Dreamworks only scored eight points in the period, Hendrick of Durham headed into halftime on top, 41-22.

The third quarter was more of the same, with James Zimmerman and NCCU sophomore Nick Chasten each hitting three balls for Hendrick of Durham. Bishop Daniels found some points from the free throw line for Team Dreamworks, but it was not enough to cancel out the opposition's dominance. With three seconds remaining in the third quarter, Chandler Hawkins knocked down a pull up jumper to give Hendrick of Durham a 29 point lead before the final period.

Hawkins' fast break lay-up in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter extended the lead to 70-37, the largest deficit of the game. Daniels threw down an impressive alley-oop slam, but it was just about the only thing his team had to cheer about. Hendrick of Durham rolled to an easy win, 77-49.

Team Navy Crowned Champs of the Regular Season

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Charles Ward and former ECU star Derrick Wiley each turned in solid performances for Team Navy, defeating Team Stackhouse for the regular season championship.

After starting the summer 0-2, Team Navy bounced back to win its final six regular season games. Wiley scored 18 points on the night, with Ward dropping in 15 points.

Team Navy will hold the number one seed entering the Greater NC Pro-Am tournament, beginning tonight at 6 PM.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

NC Pro-Am Interviews: Justin Watts

Above the Rim Exclusives: Interviews with your favorite SJG Pro-Am Players

By Anna LaRew - Player Correspondent (@annalarew)

NCPA: What does playing in the NC Pro-Am mean to you?

JW: It’s a great opportunity for the people in the area to watch us and watch other schools like State, Duke and Central. It gives them the chance to come watch us play great basketball for free.

NCPA: What is your favorite type of play during a game?

JW: Probably a game changing play, like when we are down, or we are up or tied then something makes the momentum change or someone gets a dunk. It just really gets me pumped up.

NCPA: Tell us about life during the regular season.

JW: Well, you know, I play all year round working and trying to keep my body in shape and staying healthy. I’m really busy. We are traveling most of the time, and when we are not traveling we are practicing. Busy is the key word.

NCPA: You call Durham home, what do you like most about the city? What do you hope to add as your career advances?

JW: The city is very supportive. Everyone wants to see you do well and do the best you can. I just want to be able to do everything I can do with my God given talent. I want people to say he did everything he can do. I want to put my city on the map.

NCPA: Who at this tournament do you most want to play against?

JW: I really don’t know everyone in the tournament, but it will definitely have to be the Duke guys or the State guys. It’s so competitive, and the gym is always packed for those games.

NCPA: When you have a team or player that you really want to play against, what do you think about during a game?

JW: I’m really not thinking about one specific thing. I’m making sure that I’m focused on the play. Taking it one thing at a time and having fun. When you do that most of the time things take care of themselves.

NCPA: Tell us about the community service you’ve done.

JW: I do a lot of camps like Sam Perkins Camp and some other camps, and camps for kids who are unfortunate. I just try to mentor them and keep them motivated. It gives them a chance to watch me play, you know, motivate them.

Look out for more interviews next week and follow Justin @mynameisjwatts.

NC Pro-Am Interviews: Kyrie Irving

Above the Rim Exclusives: Interviews with your favorite SJG Pro-Am Players

By Anna LaRew - Player Correspondent

As the excitement of the NC Pro-Am tournament nears this weekend, I took a minute to get to know another talented athlete, Kyrie Irving.

NCPA: A lot of players that go to Duke aren’t your typical “one and done” players, which you have the potential to be. Was that something you considered in making your decision?

KI: Honestly, I’m not really worried about that. It wasn’t my main focus. I’m going to Duke for Basketball and an education. The one and done thing, it’s in the back of my mind, like it would be for anybody. But, I’m not really thinking about it. I’m focused on school.

NCPA: Have you possibly talked to Austin Rivers about playing at Duke? Him getting to play with you may make Duke a more inviting option.

KI: Well, me and Austin were together for about 3 weeks at the USA Basketball Camp. We really developed an even better relationship. Him coming to Duke, that’s always going to be a plus for our team but that’s up to him.

NCPA: At the Pro-Am you’re going to play against a lot of guys that you will play during the season and also some guys you may never play against again. Who do you see as your biggest competition?

KI: Well, everyone is competition out here, every point guard I play against. Of course, I’m playing with my teammates, but I will probably end up playing against them because we have so many people on our team. You never know who is watching or who is on the court. It could be the person who is at the end of the bench that comes out to challenge you on the court. You never know.

NCPA: How do you feel about Duke winning the championship last year? How is that going to have an impact on this season?

KI: I was happy for my teammates that won and graduated. But I haven’t won anything. I’m just coming into the situation trying to win my first National Championship. I’m just coming in humble, trying to win a championship.

NCPA: We checked your twitter earlier and it looks like you were eating at Waffle house. What’s your favorite waffle?

KI: (Laughing) I eat late night at the Waffle House. I go at like 12:30, when no one is there. My favorite is chocolate chip. Double-chocolate chip.

Coaches in Christ defeats Team 212, 61-59

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Marques Oliver and Bishop Daniels made crucial plays down the stretch to lead Coaches in Christ to a stunning comeback victory over Team 212.

A forward from Delaware State, Oliver scored 13 of his team's 15 first quarter points as he displayed excellent offensive play from the inside-out. NCCU stars C.J. Wilkerson and Landon Clement were huge for Team 212, as the two nailed three pointers to lead their team to a 20-15 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Clement continued to snipe out baskets from deep as his teammate Dijon Manns got his hands dirty down low. Marcus Wells hit two of four free throws early in the second quarter which led Team 212 to a 31-19 lead.

Word of God guard Bishop Daniels kept Coaches in Christ in the game with aggressive play on both ends. After his reverse two-handed dunk and floater off the glass, Coaches in Christ trailed only by five, but Oliver and Wells found some points before intermission that led to a 36-28 halftime lead for Team 212.

Daniels, who had 16 points on the night, continued to drop points on Team 212 in the second half. His lay-up midway through the third quarter gave Coaches in Christ their first lead of the half at 45-44. Manns' post play on the other end shortly regained the advantage for Team 212, but Coaches in Christ led going into the final quarter after a lay-in at the buzzer by Oliver, which made for two of his 26 points.

The game was up for grabs in a low scoring fourth period, and it appeared that Coaches in Christ was sure to take it away when Daniels hit the second of two free throws with 1:18 on the clock to give the team a five point lead. Wilkerson finally breathed some life into Team 212 with a clutch three, cutting the lead to 61-59 with under a minute remaining.

With 10.8 seconds to go, Oliver stepped up to the charity stripe with a chance to make it a two possession game, but missed each of the two free throws. On the final possession, Clement was unable to get open for Team 212, and Charles Futrell threw up a deep prayer from the top of the key that would not fall. Daniels pulled down the rebound and Coaches in Christ escaped with a 61-59 win.

Hendrick of Durham 89 Team Jamison 78

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Led by incoming freshman phenom Kyrie Irving, Hendrick of Durham was able to defeat Seth Curry and Team Jamison in the third contest on Tuesday night.

Irving and teammate Josh Hairston were the stars of the game, combining for 47 of their team's 89 points. NCCU's Nick Chasten also stepped up to set the tone early, helping Hendrick of Durham to an immediate six point advantage.

Thanks to some of the young talent, Team Jamison was able to find some first quarter buckets. Jalen Jones nailed a three ball and Quincy Miller added a lay-up and a baseline jam to close the gap, but Hairston's turn-around jumper at the buzzer boosted Hendrick of Durham to a 19-14 lead after the first period.

Team Jamison roared back at the start of the second quarter, as a pair of Seth Curry treys earned the squad its first lead of the game at 23-22. Irving demonstrated excellent versatility, slamming in an alley-oop and later knocking down a three of his own. Hendrick of Durham led by eight, but Miller's sensational play led to eight straight points as his old-fashioned three point play knotted the score at 35-35.

Just as Team Jamison seemed to be gaining the momentum, Irving reminded everyone once again of why he is so dangerous. Irving scored a quick six points, leading to a Team Jamison timeout with 14.9 seconds remaining. His three baskets would prove to be the final field goals of the half, and Hendrick of Durham led by six at the half.

The highlight of the third quarter came in the opening minutes when Hairston slammed in a thundering dunk over Duke teammate Miles Plumlee. The jam contributed to a Hendrick of Durham run that resulted in an 11 point lead, but Curry's perimeter play for Team Jamison cut the deficit to three just before the fourth quarter.

Curry continued to be a headache for the opposition in the final quarter, but the outstanding performances on the other end of Irving (game-high 31 points) and VMI's Stanley Okoye ultimately made the difference. With just minutes remaining, Okoye's lay-up stretched the advantage to 16. Plumlee found some points down low in the final seconds, but it was too late for Team Jamison. Hendrick of Durham came away with the win, 89-78.

D1 Sports 75 Lucky Seven 61

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Game two of the evening at the Greater NC Pro-Am featured some big time names as Duke's Ryan Kelly and D1 Sports tipped off against former Western Kentucky forward Adarius Pegues and Lucky Seven.

Pegues helped push his team to an early 9-2 lead after converting the old-fashioned three point play and following shortly after with a trey ball. D1 Sports eventually got into a rhythm on the other end, and a James Crowder tip-in closed the lead to 15-14. Despite Kelly's lay-in as time expired, Lucky Seven still held on to a one point lead after one quarter of play.

Quincy Miller, the number two overall high school prospect in the class of 2011, helped D1 Sports reclaim the advantage, scoring five of his 19 points in the second quarter. Duke's Andre Dawkins contributed to the action, bringing Blue Devil fans to their feet after throwing the ball off the glass to set up Ryan Kelly for a two-handed jam. D1 Sports held a 33-28 lead at the half.

NCCU's Dominique Sutton showed off the high percentage shot in the third quarter, slamming in a pair of dunks to the crowd's delight. D1 Sports had answers on the other side of the floor, however. Kelly and Marcus Fisher added a pair of three points to protect their lead, taking a seven point advantage into the fourth period.

Miller's flashy play was the story of the fourth quarter as D1 Sports ran away with the lead. The high school standout showed off his deadly range, exceptional ball-handling and seemingly unstoppable ability to penetrate to the rack. As the buzzer sounded, Miller put the icing on the cake as he showed tremendous elevation on a windmill slam for his team's final two points. D1 Sports got the W, 75-61.

Team Dreamworks 87 Body of Christ 76

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Tuesday night at the Greater NC Pro-Am opened up with a showdown between Team Dreamworks and Body of Christ. The match-up featured loads of talent, including Duke's Nolan Smith (Team Dreamworks) and Mason Plumlee (Team Dreamworks), and N.C. State transfer Johnny Thomas (Body of Christ).

Team Dreamworks found some buckets early, and after an Austin Hatch three ball midway through the first quarter, they boasted an 18-6 lead. Thomas brought his team back into the game, scoring a quick seven points, but Marshall Plumlee's follow-up basket at the buzzer helped Team Dreamworks maintain a 24-17 lead after the first period.

Body of Christ struggled from the field in the second quarter and their opponents took advantage. Mason Plumlee threw down a pair of alley-oop dunks, including a monstrous slam with nine seconds remaining in the half, stretching his team's lead to 18 going into halftime.

The game got even more out of hand in the third quarter, with Smith and Mason Plumlee racking up points in an all-out beating. Tyree Graham's fade-away jumper for Team Dreamworks extended the lead to 26, the largest margin of the game. Rhode Island sharp shooter Akeem Richmond responded by scoring the last seven points of the third quarter, but his team still trailed by a score of 67-48 at the final intermission.

Thomas scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, but the difference was too much to overcome. Nolan Smith dropped in a game-high 28 points as Team Dreamworks ran away with the 87-76 victory.