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Eddie Griffin Challenge 2008 - Junior Game
Wednesday, 29 October 2008

By Bill Martin
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On Sunday CAA Insider traveled over to The Barn at Rutgers University for the 6th annual Eddie Griffin Challenge.  Every year the Eddie Griffin Challenge pits some of the top players in New Jersey against some of the best players from the Philadelphia area.

Here are the player evaluations from the junior game, in which the Philadelphia team won by a score of 98-93 in overtime.


Markus Kennedy (2010, 6-9 PF)
This was an extremely impressive game for Markus.  On this day he was the best player on the court and deservedly was awarded the gameís MVP trophy.  Markus was really doing it all in this game.  He was grabbing rebounds and scoring around the hoop.  He showed a smooth stroke on his jump shot and hit out to the three point line.  He even hit a three pointer but that came in the senior game where he was filling in for a no show.  Markus also had a pair of dunks, one of which was an alley oop.  He even managed to make a couple nice passes including a long outlet pass to start a fast break.  Markus was a force on the interior in this game but his consistent jump shooting was really what impressed us.

Tyree Johnson (2010, 5-8 PG)
Tyree did a nice job of attacking the hoop and finishing in traffic.  He uses his body well to shield off defenders in order to get his shot off.  Tyree also showed excellent court vision finding open teammates for easy buckets.  He did try to do too much off the dribble at times, which resulted in a couple turnovers.  Tyree also missed the only two perimeter shots we saw him attempt.

CJ Aiken (2010, 6-9 PF/C)
CJ got off to a very slow start in this game.  He was having a difficult time catching passes, which resulted in a few turnovers.  Once when he tried to put the ball on the floor he had the ball ripped right out of his hands.  Later in the game he did score on a pair of put backs off his teammates misses.  One of these misses he grabbed high in the air and threw down a two-hand slam.

Dominic Morris (2010, 6-7 PF)
This was not a huge game for Dominic offensively but he definitely had an impact on the outcome of game.  Early on he pump faked, getting his defender in the air, then hit a short jumper just before the defender landed.  He did a nice job on the boards throughout the game and even ripped one rebound away from the opposition.  He was then fouled on his attempted put back.  Dominicís biggest play of the game was strangely enough an easy lay up.  With time about to expire Dominic found himself open under the basket and caught a long pass from Tyrone Garland.  He put in the lay up right before the buzzer sounded tying the game and forcing overtime.

Tyrone Garland (2010, 6-1 PG/SG)
Tyrone was another player who got off to a bit of a slow start, as he could not get his jump shots to fall.  In the second half he started hitting his shots and his game really came alive.  He hit a pair of pull up, deep three pointers almost back to back.  Once he hit those jumpers, the defense really began to respect his shot, which allowed him to drive to the basket more.  Tyrone drove by his man on one occasion and then hit a lay up high off the glass with some spin on it, in order to get the attempt off over a taller defender.  He also scored a couple times out on the break, one of which he dunked on.  With time running out, Tyrone brought the ball up and the defense was focused on preventing him from shooting.  He then found Dominic Morris wide open under the hoop for the game tying bucket.

Rakeem Brookins (2010, 5-11 PG)
At the beginning of this game Rakeem was distributing the ball well, but was really struggling with his jump shot.  He was however able to score out on the break when his jumper was not falling.  Rakeem finally got a three pointer to fall late, tying the game up at 78.  He stepped up even more as the game went on; hitting a tough one-handed shot in the lane, while being fouled.  He hit the ensuing free throw, putting his team up 98-93 with under ten seconds remaining in the game.  This locked up the victory for the boys from Philly.

New Jersey

Dondre Whitmore (2010, 5-9 PG)
Dondre did not have a big game offensively but he did knock down a three pointer.  He also had a lay up off the glass where he showed an extremely quick release.

Mike Poole (2010, 6-5 SG/SF)
Early in the game Poole caught our attention with a couple spectacular plays.  He made a beautiful spin move getting by his man, then shot a high arcing floater over a defender that hit nothing but the bottom of the net.  Poole followed this up by throwing down a monster dunk in traffic and directly over one unlucky defender.  On another play he hit an off balance, one-handed shot off the glass.  He was somewhat quiet later in the game.

Shaquille Thomas (2010, 6-6 SF)
Shaquille is very long and athletic.  His length allows him to shoot right over defenders and he can also hit pulling up off the dribble.  Shaquille had one great play where he grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled the entire length of the court and flew in hitting a lay up on the on the other side of the rim.  Defensively he had a pair of blocks.

Derrick Williams (2010, 6-6 PF)
This forward looks more like a football player then a basketball player but he is quite a talent on the hardwood.  Derrick earned MVP honors for his team scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.  He was a beast on the boards and scored a lot of his points off put backs.  Derrick moves very well and is an impressive athlete for a kid his size.  He showed off his leaping ability on an alley oop two hand slam.  Derrick even displayed the ability to handle the ball by dribbling out on the break a couple times.  He did however throw away a bad outlet pass that sailed over his teammates head.

Ron Roberts (2010, 6-6 SF/PF)
What really stands out about Roberts is his leaping ability.  He had an impressive dunk out on the break, and another right on top of a defender later in the game.  His jumping ability also allows him to block shots.  On one series he blocked a shot, then ran the length of the court beating the defense back, got a pass back to him and scored on a lay up.

Jayon James (2010, 6-5 SF)
Jayon is a big wing that can handle the ball and likes to attack off the dribble.  In this game he tried to exploit mismatches.  Any time a bigger forward would cover him, Jayon would try to take them off the dribble.  He showed the ability to pull up off the dribble, hitting a pair of mid range jumpers.  Jayon did air ball his lone three point attempt and also missed two crucial free throws in overtime.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 December 2008 )
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