Magic Memorial Opening Night Battle Cup recap

Grassroots

Posted On: 05/26/18 10:36 AM

ORANGE – The Compton Magic Memorial Day tournament kicked off Friday Night at Orange Lutheran. The final non-live event of the spring, the tournament gives media and scouts an opportunity to see top prospects in a tournament setting before they caucus with their high school teams. This installment of Magic Memorial features the “Battle Cup,” an eight-team bracket tournament that serves as the prelude to the actual tournament, with the top regional Adidas programs playing for seeding in the big bracket.

Game of the night: Dream Vision 58, Gamepoint 56

As it turns out, the best game of the night turned out to be the first one. Dream Vision and Gamepoint 17u played a game that featured physical defense, timely shooting and ultra competitiveness on both sides. Dream Vision took an 11-point lead late in the 2nd half, but the smaller, scrappy Gamepoint team clawed away at the lead before cutting it to 58-54 in the final minute. A last-second jumper by Gamepoint’s Jackson Larsen fell as the clock expired, and Dream Vision escaped with the victory.

Team of the night: Pump-N-Run 17u

The Pumps dominated the Las Vegas Knicks in a wire-to-wire 81-61 win and had a number of standouts in the process. 2019 G Ethan Anderson was a load off the dribble, and showed flashes of improved playmaking for others. Santa Margarita duo Max Agbonkpolo (2019 W) and Shengzhe Li (2019 C) were also very good at their respective positions. 2020 Bradley Ezewiro was also tremendous competing on the boards and finishing around the rim. And Giordan Williams capped it off with one of the best shooting performances of the night.

Prospect of the night: Evan Mobley

There’s not much that can be said about the younger Mobley that hasn’t already been said by my colleagues. His skill level, physical attributes, second jump, rebounding ability, passing and IQ make him as good of a big man prospect we’ve seen out West since Tyson Chandler. He had many of those facets on display in Compton Magic’s 60-49 win over Arizona Firestorm.

Arizona Firestorm’s Both Gach was also very impressive in his own right. An unsigned senior who recently announced his final three schools – Texas Tech, Utah and San Diego State – Gach showed off the combination of explosive athleticism and offensive skillset that has vaulted him into high major consideration. Above all, he competes on both ends.

Underrated performance(s) of the night: RJ Banks

Banks scored only 6 points in the team’s game versus Dream Vision, but watching the game, he was arguably the most important player for Gamepoint, setting the table consistently and often for his teammates. Banks rarely gets sped up and has uncanny court vision. Defensively, he did an excellent job staying in front of the cat quick Pierre Cockrell and dug down in help side to create steals against Dream Vision’s bigs. He’s one of the few “true point guards” you’ll see out West.

Upset of the night: Gamepoint 16u over Team Harden AZ

The silver gauntlet Gamepoint team used a frenetic pace and timely guard play from Kimo Ferrari, Bryson Stephens and Nick Herrmann to claim a 52-47 win over Team Harden, who got strong performances from Ty Ty Washington and Xavier Dusell.

Shooters galore

Orange Lutheran was full of great shooters on opening night. Giordan Williams hit six threes in Pump-N-Run’s win over the Las Vegas Knicks. Bryce Pope scored a game-high 20 points in Gamepoint’s loss to Dream Vision and he and Ryan Langborg, a 6-4 guard being pursued by several mid-major programs, combined for seven threes. The Compton Magic’s Jarod Lucas also shot the lights out against the Arizona Firestorm, efficiently scoring it from all three levels.

Matchup of the night: Kyree Walker vs. Jordan Hilstock

It was nice to see two players genuinely compete against each other, as the unheralded Hilstock was up to the task of guarding Walker one-on-one the entire game. Hilstock, a 6-3 guard built like a strong safety, has excellent lateral quickness and is strong enough to absorb Walker’s powerful drives. Walker accepted the challenge and used his strength to overpower Hilstock on several drives.

Good…defense?

Team Bradley from the Pacific Northwest controlled its matchup against EBO pretty much the entire contest en route to a 49-36 win. A combination of solid defense and questionable shot selection from both teams led to arguably the least aesthetically pleasing Creator Cup games. 2019 W Jamon Kemp, 2020 SG Marjon Beauchamp and 2019 G PJ Fuller had several good moments. EBO got decent returns from 6-9 2019 F Romelle Mansel.

Dunk of the night: PJ Fuller over Jalen Green

I’m pretty sure you can find it anywhere

2020 stars align

Compton Magic director Etop Udo Ema did an excellent job putting together a field that included arguably three of the top 5 prospects in the 2020 class. Consensus No. 1 player Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Kyree Walker played in front of a full house, with 2020 BTI G Ziaire Williams playing in a nearby gym. At this stage, I’d say that Mobley has the most long-term potential.