Posted On: 07/7/19 10:10 PM
The events of Championship Sunday range from picture-perfect team cohesion to unexpected champions. But which players drew other teams and fans courtside? And which prospects were subtly lugging their teams into the trenches of bracket play?
Sean Craig, Hopson Elite 15U: Hopson Elite matched up with Wisconsin Crusaders today in a game that stuck a magnifying glass on defensive prowess. Neither team scored over 35 points in that game, but Craig seemed unfazed as he finished with 12 points. In their next game against Wisconsin Playground White, he scored 21 points. Craig’s offense came mostly from a left-handed, semi-hook shot in the paint or from beyond the three-point line (he made two treys versus Crusaders). The big man has clear potential as a 15-year old and could be a serious prospect in the coming years.
Gavin McGrath, Wisconsin Playground 16U: This weekend, McGrath was a dominant defensive force. Next weekend, he could have new interest from colleges around the state. He sent back a handful of attempts in the paint, not shying away from the possibility of ending up on a poster (which he didn’t let happen). He swallowed up plenty of defensive rebounds as well, while he scored on a handful of put-back buckets on offense.
Amar Augillard, All In Gold Gauntlet 16U: Augillard was maybe the most versatile player in this weekend’s 16U pool, as the 6-foot-6 forward possessed an all-encompassing set of tools. His fluid jump shot was on point Saturday and Sunday, especially on step-backs. His size gives him the potential for a nice inside game, and his crafty finishing ability allowed him to score on all three levels.
Davis Walker, RWA 17U: The homeschool guard has one season of hoops annually. There’s no school season, no summer league, only his few months with RWA. It would be a recruitment-shaking deficiency did he not carve out a name for himself this summer. Today, it was more of what we’ve become accustomed too — just against the highly touted Team Speights. Walker, guarded by Dionte Blanch, poured on 13 points in the first half alone. He has blurry quickness and ball-handling skills to match. He showed his quick combo moves and a lethal jump shot, while he had his way against a group of defensive stalwarts.
Eric Lee, Team Speights 17U: Lee was on my watch one minute into his game against RWA. The guard drilled a three right off the tip, proceeding to steal it the next possession on defense and hurl a side-arm bounce pass to an outleting teammate for a layup. He closed out the game with an and-one and to seal the win, and in their loss to Wisconsin RAP he had a four-point play to bring them within a possession of tying the game. Lee is a gifted offensive player, a pure and all-around scorer that has division one written all over him.
Andrew Johnson Jr, Illinois TWolves 16U: Johnson plays a gritty style of basketball, which has been the ever-developing nuance from May to July. This weekend he was much more active going for rebounds and was more apt to bring the ball up the court. His improvement is promising, as he could become a player that division three schools start to seriously look at.
Conner Kochera, Fundamental U Rise 17U: After a week where he picked up four offers, Kochera capitalized once again. He willed Fundamental U past Wisconsin Playground 17U for a second time this summer, finishing with 23 points. He has surprisingly long arms that help him when driving in the paint, and a pure stroke that can kill opposing defenses.
Team Flyght 16U: This unit has to be addressed as one, just as they played throughout this weekend. Flight dethroned Wisconsin Playground — a perennial top team at all age groups — and won the 16U championship. Their team is laden with athletic, defensive-minded guards, led by a do-it-all point guard in Carter Mims, who facilitated their offense and contributed scoring the ball all weekend. Chanze Amerson was a key defensive piece for them in their win over Illinois TWolves. And big men AJ Braun and Maro Egodotaye were major factors on offense. AJ was a solid shooter from outside and an effective big inside. Maro was a little more flashy, as he threw down a few vicious dunks in the championship game that handed them momentum for the remainder of the first half.