Tuesday, August 26, 2008


YouTube and I have been fighting again, and so here's a video scroll of last Friday at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game that took place at Rucker Park in Harlem. It was a display of the widely-considered best 24 prep school basketball players in the country (with one player actually from Canada).

To say that this was a packed house was an understatement as I couldn't get a seat until midway through the first half... and I was VIP! Many thanks to Joi Tyrell for getting me in at seemingly the last minute.

The videos and pictures are not to the quality that other visual aids have been on Scribe, but this is due to the fact that basketball is religion around these parts. To get a shot without someone obstructing the view would mean a) no one's watching or b) you were broadcasting the game for ESPNU.

With all due respect to friends and acquaintances who took up high school basketball when I was coming up, I never paid much attention to the prep game. Mostly it was because the players were more likely guys that I would see around the block and I played with them enough to know how skilled they were. So to come out for the Elite 24 was a good chance to see some names that will become very prominent over the next few years.

The most talked about prospect there was from Lincoln High School, Lance "Born Ready" Stephenson. Though this was more or less a showcase than an actual competititve game, Stephenson did show much of the promise with a quick handle, strong physique and some defensive tenacity. As any other high school player, he has much more maturing to do, especially with his jumpshot, but the Coney Island product will make an immediate impact in college for sure.

The player that actually captured my attention the most was Brandon Knight, a 6'3" point guard from Florida. He had 10 points in the game, but as the offensive tempo picked up from both teams, he was the first line of defense from basket-to-basket. On a court where it's easy to get hyped by the crowd's reaction to a sick pass or crazy dunk, he seemed to have been focused on displaying a total game. Maybe he's still growing, but with his braids, wirey frame, speed and quickness, he sort of reminded me of a young Latrell Sprewell - someone who was an elite defender who used that speed and quickness to compensate for a smallish frame against bigger guards. I don't mind being offbase with that comparison, considering that as previously mentioned, I don't follow the prep game much. Yet, as most of these players, he has a promising career ahead, provided he keeps his nose clean and continues to improve his game with each passing season.

It was a lot of fun to actually see these kids ball. Not sure if there were jitters of playing on the hollowed Rucker court or playing in front of a crowd with such a high basketball IQ, but the players slowly began to settle and let their games come to them.

For a better sense of who these guys are, I've added a few more links from the game.

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