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Posted On: 04/23/18 7:46 PM
The Adidas Silver Gauntlet regional qualifier gave teams that were not on the company’s Gold Circuit an opportunity to clinch a spot in its Gauntlet Finale in New York in July. While the first two days saw a fair share of blowout wins, Sunday’s bracket play yielded some competitive games and gave coaches and media an opportunity to see some under-the-radar talent.
Gamepoint 17u Elite, led by La Jolla Country Day guard Ryan Langborg, went undefeated and won the Silver Championship in emphatic fashion, 67-51 over the Arizona Firestorm.
Langborg leads our lists of standouts from the 17u Silver Division this weekend.
After starting the weekend slow in a win over the Saints, Langborg quickly heated up for the champions, scoring from all three levels and displaying high level playmaking ability for others off the bounce. Langborg’s defense, once considered a hindrance, has improved dramatically, as he puts maximum effort and displayed improved lateral quickness. But it will be his ability to knock down shots from the perimeter that will keep him on the floor at the next level, and there are very few shooters with as quick a release and as accurate as Langborg on the West Coast.
Hyder probably has played himself into some high-major looks with his strong performance this weekend. Even though his team lost a close game to the eventual champions, Gamepoint, Hyder almost willed his team to the win. His pull-up jumper from three and mid-range is as potent a weapon as we saw all weekend. Blessed with limitless range, Hyder came off of high ball screens and elevated into several threes to start the game. Hyder is a crafty ball handler, and uses his crossover to set up driving lanes that he uses to set up the pull-up or mid-range floater. Defensively, as noted before, Hyder’s foot speed and effort level allow him to play solid position defense on the perimeter.
Gach was one of the surprises of the weekend. Listed as a point guard, the explosive guard has the size and the ball skills to easily play point in a pinch. But he is best served on the wing, where his quick first step allows him to evade defenders, and he is strong enough to finish through contact. Gach can also shoot the ball from three off the catch and scored a few pull-up jumpers, showing nice balance and touch.
Pope was arguably Gamepoint’s best player the first day-and-a-half of the event. The compactly built scoring guard filled it up off the catch and from mid-range with his potent pull-up jumper. Even more impressive is his efficiency- at one point during the weekend he was shooting 70 percent from the field. Pope’s improved physique, lateral quickness and ball handling have allowed him to evolve from a spot-up shooter to a very complete scorer. As a result, several Ivy and Patriot League schools are showing interest.
The long, wiry wing played very well in the club’s loss to the Nor Cal Tar Heels. Majok has good shooting mechanics and hit shots off the catch from three and from midrange, and scored with his back to the basket as well (nice right-hand jump hook). Defensively, his length in Coastal’s 2-3 zone bothered the Tar Heels all day in the paint. Majok also impressed by playing hard every possession on the floor, making assertive cuts on offense and giving maximum effort on the boards. A relative newcomer to the U.S., Majok will be a mid-major recruiting priority in short order.
Straying a bit from Southern California, the Lodi sharpshooter hit the game-tying three in the Tar-Heels miraculous comeback victory over Coastal Elite. With a build like a strong safety, Reed is a knockdown spot-up shooter and a very solid on-ball defender. He has great length, solid anticipation and lateral quickness. In an era where “three and d” players are the rage, Reed looks like a sleeper in NorCal.
It would be easy to say “ditto” to just about everything I said about his twin brother, Bryce, but I digress. Pope hit one of the most clutch shots of the weekend, a three from the left baseline to give California Select the lead over the San Diego All Stars in a nice inter-city rivalry game. Michael Pope has come a long way both as a scorer and a defender. Numerous players took turns this weekend trying to take him off the dribble, but Pope’s quick feet and commitment to cutting off the drive made them unsuccessful. Offensively, while just a bit less accurate than his brother, he still is a steady scorer with a quick release and solid pull-up jump shot.