2010 Jordan Brand Classic: East Recap
The East had a tough time staying with Harrison Barnes, Josh Selby and the rest of the West squad Saturday night at the Garden in front of an raucous Manhattan crowd. There wasn’t much defense, rebounding, outside shooting, or savvy decision making in this one, however the game was more of a celebratory showcase that finalized the brilliant high school careers of the most talented young athletes in the country.
The East overcame a 20 point halftime deficit to reach within 2 points in the last minute and a half, however that was as close as they’d get. The 2 standout players and Co-MVPS, Kyrie Irving and Barnes, will look to restore the Duke-UNC rivalry that seemed to take a year off last season with a rare down year from the Tar Heels. Overall, despite some sloppy play, we saw some real talent that could translate to heavy national exposure, tournament play into March, and high future lottery picks and first rounders.
Here’s a recap of the East team's performances from the 2010 Jordan Classic.
Kyrie Irving - 22 pts, 6-10 fg, 2-4 3p, 8-12 ft, 4 reb, 7 ast, 3 to– Without a doubt the most electrifying player on the floor, Irving dropped the jaws of a few thousand people, including scouts, all at once with his lightning quickness and remarkable handle of the ball. He’s virtually unguardable off the dribble, as he got into the paint with ease. He’s athletic enough to finish around the rim with both hands, as well as find the open man on the break whether he’s making the pass at half court or at the free throw line. He looked very comfortable shooting off the dribble, hitting 2 pull-up 3 pointers, the only player in the game to do so with such fluidity. At points he was a little out of control, but I think the bright lights and circus like environment had something to do with that. He had one coast-to-coast play that made him look like a magician with ball, dribbling out of a trap between 2 players and the baseline, beating everyone down the court in transition and making the perfect pass for a fast break layup. He can single handedly control the pace of the game, as he finished with 22 points, and was without a doubt the MVP of the East squad.
Brandon Knight - 7 pts, 3-11 fg, 0-4 3p, 4 reb, 6 ast, 1 to – Knight started off slow with some sloppy ball handling and questionable decision making, looking a little bit raw coming out of the gates. Still, you can see why he’s a top recruit with his unteachable quickness and ability to get into the paint. He’s got excellent vision and seems willing to become a pass first point guard, as evidenced by his 6 assists to 1 turnover. He didn’t show off his outside shooting capabilities during the game, however after seeing him knock them down consistently in warm-ups, the potential is there. If Calipari had anything to do with the success of point guards Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall, then Knight could have an awfully bright future.
Reggiie Bullock - 11 pts, 5-10 fg, 3 reb, 3 ast, 1 to – What stood out most to me was Bullock’s ability to find ways to score in the paint. He’s a strong 6’6 guard, and uses his body well at warding off defenders and positioning himself efficiently. He showed he can stroke the 3, although he did miss a decent look badly from behind the arc late in the game. He can handle the ball and seems to have a nice understanding of when to pass and when to shoot. He will join MVP Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall to form an excellent freshman trio at UNC.
Perry Jones - 8 pts, 4-7 fg, 6 reb, 1 ast, 1 to – Jones was very active around the hoop. His leaping ability and athleticism helped him grab rebounds over the rim, eliminating rebounding opportunities for opposing players in the paint. Jones runs the floor really well for a 6’11 guy, and with his ability to finish with both hands around the rim, he’s an effective player in transition, not usually true with most big men. He is long and athletic, a nice formula for an effective defender, and will be an excellent replacement for Ekpe Udoh at Baylor next season.
Roscoe Smith - 5 pts, 1-6 fg, 2-4 ft, 4 reb, 2 to - With a lot of ball-dominating guards in this game, Roscoe had limited opportunities to show what he brings to the table. He showed nice rhythm knocking down a catch and shoot 3 pointer in the first half, but followed that up with an airball from downtown later in the game. His length, athleticism and leaping abilities however can’t go overlooked, as he can get high around the rim, and cause problems for opponents on the defensive end. He should be a nice replacement for Stanley Robinson at UConn next season.
Jared Sullinger - 20 pts, 9-11 fg, 1-1 3p, 1-5 ft, 2 ast, 4 blk, 4 stl – Sullinger was extremely impressive. He showed excellent footwork in the paint, putting himself in the most advantageous position to score down low. He showed a nice post up game, on one particular play backing down his man to the low block, and hitting a smooth hook shot in the lane. He also showed the ability to knock down the 3 on a catch and shoot, while cleaning up and finishing around the rim. He’s not much of a face-up player, but seems to understand his limitations for the time being. Defensively, he blocked 4 shots and anticipates well. He scored 20 points, and will be a huge impact guy immediately for Ohio State next season.
Dion Waiters - 6 pts, 3-10 fg, 2 reb, 1 ast, 3 to – Waiters strength seemed to be getting into the paint and facilitating, with the ability to use his body and finish with both hands around the rim. After scoring the first 2 points of the game, he stepped back and airballed a lazy 3 pointer, showing that he lacks significant range. He seemed to be missing one stand-out part of his game, but absorbing contact and scoring after contact were both pluses for the Syracuse recruit.
CJ Leslie - 19 pts, 8-11 fg, 3-7 ft, 6 reb, 1 ast, 3 blk – One of the most exciting players in the game, Leslie scored 19 points and all of them seemed to be explosive moves and big time dunks around the rim. He was extremely active, keeping balls alive off the boards and getting up higher than anyone to grab rebounds and finish. Early in the game, he faced up against his defender from the foul line extended, used a little shake and bake and beat his man off the dribble finishing strong around the rim. Hhis touch from a few feet away from the basket must improve, but the more ball he plays the better. He can run the floor in rhythm with point guards, as his ridiculous athleticism and tremendous leaping ability will contribute to plenty of put back and transition dunks wherever he winds up next season.
DeShaun Thomas - 14 pts, 7-13 fg, 0-2 3p, 10 reb, 1 ast – Thomas started showing off what he can do in the 2nd half, displaying a nice post up game and excellent feel for the basket. He uses his body well to give himself the best opportunity of scoring. Though he didn’t show it during the game, he has the ability to spot up and knock it down from the outside. His athleticism and soft hands contribute to his impressive rebounding skills. It may not look pretty when he’s working down low, but he seems to have a great nose and feel for the rim. Thomas, along with Sullinger will both contribute to making Ohio State a force once again in the Big Ten.
Jelan Kendrick - 13 pts, 5-12 fg, 1 ast, 3-6 ft, 3 reb – A 6’7 forward who showed he can handle the ball, Kendrick is at his best attacking the rim and finishing in the paint. He has an excellent first step, and with his length, size and quickness, will be a matchup problem for whoever is guarding him. During the game he added tip-ins off rebounds, showing he can get up and anticipate while showing off his athleticism. This versatile forward should be a key component to Josh Pastner’s Memphis Tigers next season.
2010 Jordan Brand Classic: West Recap
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