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Home arrow Recruiting News arrow Eddie Griffin Challenge
Eddie Griffin Challenge
Monday, 29 October 2007

By Brian Crownover
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On Saturday evening, the 5th annual Eddie Griffin Challenge was held at Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia. This clash features New Jersey’s best against the top players from Philly. This year marked the first contest since the passing of the game’s namesake. To honor Eddie, the Playaz AAU squad retired his #33. With local pride on the line, this game was filled with a lot of effort and defensive intensity. It wasn't just your everyday run of the mill up and down contest. NJ took the Sophomore and Junior games while Philly recovered for the Senior contest.  Here is a look at some of the top players throughout the day.

Senior Game

Jiovanny Fontan (NJ, 5-11 PG) Committed to Fordham
What more can we really say about Jio. He was outstanding yet again. His two teammates are headed to the Big East and there’s no question he could play at that level too. Jio took home the MVP award after a 21 point outburst. He lit it up early and often from beyond the arc as he buried no fewer than 4 triples. He was also aggressive attacking the rim and running the floor. He plays very quick, but is just so under control too. Rarely does he make a poor play or decision. Jio has a bright future ahead of him. The only bigger steal on the east coast thus far may be Harvard’s pickup of Frank Ben-Eze. 

Sammy Givens (Philly, 6-5 SG/SF) Committed to Drexel
The recent Drexel commit had a quiet day. Sammy injured his arm early on and despite continuing to play he never really got on track. He missed badly on a jumper following the injury. Sammy does have a great all around game and even though he was quiet in the scoring column he did at least have an impact elsewhere. He was solid on the boards as usual and got out and pushed the ball on several occasions. He had several nice passes. Sammy also attacked from time to time off the dribble. He struggled to get into rhythm with his shot though as he airballed a turnaround jumper.

Andrew "Scootie" Randall (Philly, 6-5 SF/PF)
Scootie started off on fire with a pair of three pointers. The versatile forward had a rebound and put back. He worked the glass all game long particularly on the offensive end. Scootie also scored on a three point play after his traditional turn around jumper. He blocked a shot too. Scootie was MVP in Philly’s lone victory as he finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Devon White (Philly, 6-8 PF/C)
Devon has played well as of late and put together another solid outing over the weekend. Early on he had a dunk. As is usually the case, he blocked several shots on the defensive end. We were very impressed with his effort as he chased down one of his blocks and saved it from going out of bounds.

Jamal Wilson (Philly, 6-5 190 SG/SF) Committed to Rhode Island
This athletic wing had most of his impact in transition. He had a couple transition buckets and knocked down a three pointer.

Dwayne Davis (Philly, 6-4 SG/SF)
Not surprisingly the Pub’s top scorer dropped 13 points in the victory. He had a nice drive and finish and scored in transition. Dwayne doesn’t display the smoothest game, but can just put the ball in the hoop. He also knocked down a couple from beyond the arc.

Junior Game

Justin Crosgile (NJ, 5-11 SG)
Justin was a very pleasant surprise as we had never seen him in action before. The Co-MVP from Jersey caught fire early and never cooled off. He is a very smooth shooter who can really knock it down from deep. He showed he’s not just one dimensional as he did several other things. Justin has a solid handle and can attack off the dribble. He finished with a beautiful up and under move and an offensive rebound put back. He used an old fashioned three point play en route to a game high 18 points. Justin is a talented young player and we’re eager to see more of him down the road. 

Nurideen Lindsey (Philly, 6-2 PG) Committed to La Salle
If there’s one thing Nurideen excels at it’s getting out and scoring in transition. He’s a very good finisher in traffic and can get into the lane with ease off the dribble. Nurideen even managed to bank home a three pointer in this game. He finished with 12 points.

Maalik Wayns (Philly, 6-1 PG) Committed to Villanova
Maalik played his first game back after injury. Although he wasn’t in top form, there wasn’t much rust there either. The blazing fast guard really pushed the ball and was aggressive as usual. He had several jaw-dropping lay-ups including a beautiful up and under move with a foul after a fantastic crossover move. Maalik also used his fine vision to dish off to teammates on several occasions. His 14 point, 4 rebound and 4 assist output was enough to get him the MVP award in the losing cause.

Tamir Jackson (NJ, 6-2 180 PG)
Tamir set the tone early and New Jersey never looked back. The flashy guard had several eye opening plays. He opened with a nice pass and followed that up with a pair of threes. Then he hit a difficult three pointer with the defender right in his face. Tamir is a slick ball handler who got into the lane often. He hit on a fantastic runner before cooling off. Tamir struggled with his jumper in the second half. He did recover with a steal and assist late as well as two free throws (although he missed 2 free throws as well). Tamir was Co-MVP in the victory after his 14 point performance. The dynamic guard has a bright future. 

Ligah Thompson (Philly, 6-7 PF)
An all star game really favors an active forward like Ligah. He ran the floor as usual. He scored on a reverse lay-up and transition dunk among others. The athletic forward made an impact on the defensive end with a pair of blocked shots. He also grabbed some rebounds too. Ligah still needs to work on extending his game away from the basket some more, but he’s a terrific player in the vicinity of the hoop.

Aaric Murray (Philly, 6-9 C)
Aaric made a few plays around the basket, including several noticeable dunks. The gifted big man is athletic and can run the floor. He also possesses a huge wingspan. In a guard oriented game, the still raw big man was solid for the Philly squad. We’ll certainly track his progress very closely over the next few years.

Austin Johnson (NJ, 6-7 SF/PF)
Austin switched sides in this event as he now attends Blair Academy in New Jersey. The reclassified junior scored early with short conversion in the low block. He also had a lay-up and put back as he battled on the offensive glass. Austin showed his versatility with a beautiful pass from the top of the key. He missed on deep jumper, but was still a solid contributor in the victory.

Shannon Givens (Philly, 5-10 PG)
Shannon didn’t score much, but was still solid. He had several rebounds and did a very good job of pushing the ball and starting the break. He had several assists in this fashion. Shannon did score on a nice reverse lay-up and drew a foul while attacking the halfcourt set. 

Khalil Murphy (NJ, 6-6 SF)
Khalil had it going from deep. He had a pair of first half three pointers. He has a smooth stroke. He came back with another deep jumper in the 2nd half as well. He did miss on two free throw attempts though.

Sophomore Game

Rakeem Brookins (Philly, 5-10 PG)
Rakeem had a fabulous game on his way to the MVP award for Philly. He has a very smooth jumper and was on fire from beyond as he knocked down no fewer than 3 triples. Rakeem can attack off the bounce too and had a couple lay-ups and assists after breaking down the defense. He really looks poised to be another in the long line of great Philly guards. Rakeem finished with 16 points.

Tony Chennault (Philly, 6-2 PG/SG)
Tony opened the game with some great play and looked like he’d be on his way towards MVP. The talented lead guard was doing everything in the early going including setting up teammates and scoring. He has such a great feel for the game and is tough to defend. He excelled in transition and displayed an uncanny ability to hit pull up jumpers. Tony was slowed in the 2nd half, but still put together a solid performance.

Derrick Williams (NJ, 6-6 PF)
This big bodied young forward was very impressive. He has a superb set of hands and snatched everything nearby. He scored on a fantastic play where he grabbed a one handed left hand rebound and switched over to the right hand for the conversion. Derrick pulled down rebound after rebound in this contest. He also scored with his left hand on the inside and absorbed contact and drew a foul on that play. Derrick moves pretty well and is efficient on the inside. He’s an animal on the boards and grabs everything in site. He’ll be a player to keep an eye on in the upcoming years.

Steve Rennard (NJ, 6-0 PG/SG)
Steve wasn’t the most heralded player in this game but he was instrumental in New Jersey’s victory. He was a thorn in the side of the Philly defense. Steve hustled all over the court and made himself available for a couple of easy buckets. He’s also a very smooth three point shooter and buried a number of jumpers.

Daniel Stewart (Philly, 6-6 SF)
Daniel is an impressive young player from Philly, but he was rather quiet in this game. He made most of his impact in transition including a three point play. The talented forward already has a solid inside and outside game.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 October 2007 )
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