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July 29, 2007

AAU Nationals: Day Two

ORLANDO, Fla. - The second day of the AAU National tournament is in the books, and that means that pool play has come to an end and tournament play is ready to begin. There were a few intriguing matchups on Saturday, and no one had a better day than Mississippi State pledge Scotty Hopson.

Hopson claims supremacy in Bluegrass State

Over the past year there has been a lot of debate as to who the best player in the state of Kentucky is, Hopson or Darius Miller. On Saturday the two had a chance to go up against each other in a pool game between the D-1 Greyhounds and Midstate Ballerz. In the matchup between the two there was a clear winner, and it was Hopson.

Hopson put his full game on display. He was getting to the rim with ease and he finished using his great athletic ability. He also handled the ball, and ran the show for Midstate. He was hitting shots from all areas of the court. Three pointers and he also hit fade-away jumpers from the mid-range.

For the game, Hopson finished with 32 points, and kept his team in the game despite being outmanned by the deeper and more talented Greyhounds.

As for Miller, he didn't play poorly; he just didn't play up to the level of Hopson. Miller scored 14 points and did the things that he does well. He slashed to the rim; he converted off of missed shots, and also got his teammates involved.

While Hopson bested Miller in the one-on-one match up, in the end it was the Greyhounds who were victorious in a 84-73 victory.

Breakdown boys start sluggish, then take over

One of the biggest attractions at The Milk House was the presence of Team Breakdown. Fresh off of a trip to Vegas, Breakdown looked sluggish to start on Saturday morning, but when they picked it up, they picked it up in a hurry.

Breakdown allowed Executive III to jump out to an 11-0 lead to start the game, and Executive held onto an 18-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, but at that point Kenny Boynton and Eloy Vargas took over.

Vargas played maybe his best game of July. He was rebounding the ball, scoring over people down low, hitting from outside the lane, and running the floor like a guard. There was just no one on the floor who had any answer for Vargas. He finished with 15 points, but he did so many other things besides score.

Score is exactly what Boynton did. The explosive off guard lit up the building for 25 points. He hit his trademark pull up threes with ease, and also was going to the rim and finishing in traffic. Overall it was a very good performance for Boynton.

Rounding out the Breakdown trio of stars is Brandon Knight. He is rated as a five star in 2010, and he showed why on Saturday. He made great passes all game long and always seemed to be getting the team in the right positions. Not only did he run the show, but he also scored. For the game Knight added 13 points.

With those three leading the way, Breakdown cruised to an easy 91-65 lead.

Performances of note

After dominating in Orlando at AAU Nationals last year as a member of All-Ohio Red, Delvon Roe is doing the same thing this year. In King of the Court's first game of the day he scored 15 points, and in the second he added 19. His spin moves off the post have proved to be the most unguardable move on the circuit.

Though Boo Williams really wasn't tested, Ed Davis had a pretty good game in limited minutes. He finished with 11 points on limited shot attempts, and scored by using his athleticism and skill around the paint. Overall, Davis looks to getting 100 percent healthy from his spring ankle injury.

A lot of good things have been said about Deshawn Painter, but Saturday was not a good day for him. In a game against the Georgia Blazers, Painter went scoreless and was a complete non-factor.

School Lists

Reginald Johnson is hearing from Virginia Tech, Miami (FL), Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Wake Forest, and Fairfield.

After his strong performance Vargas named a long list of schools. On his list was Pittsburgh, Louisville, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, Miami (FL), Clemson, Indiana, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, Virginia, and Connecticut.

Big man Xavier Gibson has a top five of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and West Virginia.

Steady improving Ohio big man Tom Pritchard named Penn State, Miami (OH), Western Carolina, Bucknell, Vermont, and Albany.

Odds & Ends

Not only did Team Breakdown attract a large crowd of spectators, but they also had the biggest hoard of coaches following them. Head coaches from Clemson, Ole Miss, Miami (FL), Florida, South Florida, and Virginia Tech were there. Also looking on were assistants from North Carolina, Texas A&M, Florida State, Ohio State, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgetown, West Virginia, Missouri, Georgia Tech, and Alabama.

Though he lost his matchup with Hopson, Billy Gillispie and Bruce Weber were there to watch as were assistants from West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisville, and Florida.

The throw down of the day came from Gibson. Gibson took a pass and took off from the left block and threw down a tenacious one hand slam over Boo Williams 16 and under big man Marshawn Powell.

The D-1 Greyhounds lost a pool game when William Buford missed a three at the buzzer which would have tied the game. This was the Greyhounds first AAU Nationals loss in three years.



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