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OLD GOLD FREE PRESS
Purdue Men's Basketball Recruiting

1998 Spiece/Converse Run 'N Slam All-Star Classic


Friday Summary


May 2, 1998
By: Bob Richards
© Old Gold Free Press


    Before we get started, there should be a couple of things said about the tournament this year. Call it bad timing, or just bad luck, many of the teams were shorthanded during the weekend for two main reasons. Saturday turned out to be an SAT testing day, leaving some teams on Friday night with only 5 to 7 players available for games. Love affected Saturday night, as players ran for the exits Saturday afternoon to get home in time to take their sweethearts to prom. Using No Excuses as an example, the team began the weekend with two nationally ranked point guards, junior Jason Gardner and soph Brody Boyd. By Saturday night, both had gone home, but were instructed to check back in Saturday evening to see if they were needed to return to West Lafayette to play on Sunday. No Excuses, however, lost in the second round of the tournament to Bloomington Red and didn't make it to Sunday.

    The weekend kicked off with a bang on Friday evening at 6:00PM with a matchup in Mackey Arena featuring No Excuses (IN) and LA Rockfish (CA). No Excuses was tagged as the early favorite from Indiana to make some noise, but quickly found out the weekend wasn't going to be easy. Rockfish defeated No Excuses 74-65, as the team who traveled the longest distance to Mackey Arena looked to be the most focused. No Excuses was not clicking, but managed to have scoring support from everywhere. 7'0 junior John Stewart led No Excuses with 16 points, having a solid game considering he had to work for everything he got against 6'10 Rockfish center Nick Van Der Laan (25 points) and 6'9 power forward Rafael Beruman (17 points). It also didn't help that Beruman was hitting from the perimeter. 6'5 Brian Wethers added 20 for the Rockfish, all from within the perimeter, and nationally rated point guard Shantay Legans harrassed Jason Gardner defensively, holding him to 8 points. Gardner was visibly upset with the play of his teammates, who were generally not moving well and playing rather poor defense. No Excuses did get some perimeter help from 6'5 shooter Gavin Groninger (11 points, 2 3-pointers) and 5'11 soph point guard Brody Boyd (13 points, 2 3-pointers). The matchup of Gardner and Legans certainly did have the eyes of most of the scouts, but many came away with the impression that the sophomore Boyd stole the show. Although still a little raw and his passes could become a little crisper, Boyd showed a host of flashy moves and skilled ballhandling that legitimized his early ranking as one of the top players in the class of 2000.

    Over in the IAF, onlookers saw the weekends first two overtime games. On court 2, Bob Widmeyer's Spiece North Stars team battled what has become one of my favorite teams to watch, Salt Lake City Metros. The Metros aren't a flashy team, but they define team basketball. They did last year, and returned this year with the same amount of composure. The Metros do not wait for you to set up defensively. They run a little motion, and rely on a catch-and-shoot scheme that doesn't allow the defense much time to set up, let alone think. They will kill you with the 12-15 footer, but will also set up the perimeter on occassion. If shooting statistics were kept, you would likely see a team shooting in the 50-60% range from the floor on medium range jumpers. Their quickness is in their passing and knowing where their teammates will be. Spiece North was expected to dominate the interior, but the Metros arrived with a frontline of 6'10 soph Derek Dawes (6 points), 6'8 junior Blake Hansen (9 points), 6'8 soph Mike Higgins (2 points), 6'7 junior Kevin Dorenbosch (2 points) and 6'7 junior Travis Visentin (10 points). Spiece countered with 6'9 junior Martin Brothers (10 points), 6'7 junior Ricky Wright (9 points), and 6'6 junior forward Carlton Baker (9 points). Spiece had the physical speed advantage, plus a group of kids who's jumping ability allow them to play a couple of inches taller than they are. One player Spiece did not show up with, but was scheduled to be on the roster, was 6'9 junior Vincent Hart. More on Hart in a moment. If you had to pre-pick the shooter on Spiece North, who would be tempted to point to 6'4 soph John Hamilton (22 points), who was one of the leading scorers in the state last year. But it was 5'11 soph PG Austin Parkinson who hit twice from the perimeter, getting three more from the freethrow line. Parkinson, who had yet to practice with the Spiece team according to former Boiler and father Bruce Parkinson, was impressive. He hit from the perimeter, then make the defense pay for coming out on him by driving the lane, collapsing the defense and going to the line for some freethrows. Hamilton got 18 of his 22 from inside the arc, burning Salt Lake at its own game. The 1997 Spiece tournament's #8 scorer 6'2 junior Brett Snodgrass added 7 points, while 6'4 junior Kenny Lowe and 6'6 junior David Meece added 6 each. Spiece pulled away in overtime, 84-74.

    Now for Vincent Hart. Hart was supposed to be on the Spiece North roster, but we were told he wasn't coming to the Spiece tournament due to "personal reasons". We later found out that Hart was given an ultimatum of sorts by a guardian. If he didn't concentrate on academics, he wasn't going to be allowed to play for Widmeyer. Hart would later jump onto the Gary based Sports Youth Foundation team, and made it to West Lafayette on Saturday afternoon. So, that's why you tend to see Hart's name on two different team rosters this summer. Hart was on Widmeyer's Spiece team when most of the rosters were sent into the tournaments, but look for him on SYF this summer.

    We mentioned two overtime games in the IAF. The second was a double-overtime win for Indy Majik (IN) over Harvey's Hustlers (IN), 75-72. 6'8 Decatur junior Jason Napier led the winners with 18 points (5 2PT, 1 3PT, 5 FT).

    Friday was not short on outstanding performances. The best shooter of Day 1 was 6'0 Randy Ramsey from Riverside Brookfield HS, playing for Ramsey Basketball Academy (IL). Ramsey poured in 33 of his 43 points over two games from the arc, while dishing off a fair amount of assists in the process. 6'3 Deshawn Williams of Tim Thomas Playaz had the top game total for the evening with 42, his closest competition coming from Abbey AC's (OH) 6'2 Jon Higgins who scored 31 against Tiffany's AAU (IN). The top Indiana scorers from Day 1 were 6'4 Greg Anderson with 27 (The Athlete, IN), and 5'10 Joey Ray (Team Indiana, IN) and 6'4 frosh Dennis Cootee (Bloomington Red 15) with 25 point outputs a piece.


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