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July 16, 2012
Florida Elite won its second consecutive major Adidas tournament, capturing the 17u crown at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis. Five-star point guard Kasey Hill had an incredible tournament, scoring 45 points in a semifinal win, then following that up by pacing his team in the championship victory over NYC New Heights.
Louisville Magic won the 16u crown after an impressive win over highly regarded Team Thad, in what many pundits will view as the de facto 16u National Championship game. The Eric Gordon All-Stars won the title at the youngest age group, the 15u division, while defending their home turf over the Colorado Hawks. Here's a look at the top performers from championship Sunday.
Quentin Snider, 6-foot-1, PG, Louisville (Ky.) Ballard 2014: After Snider's Louisville Magic team found itself in an unusual place midway through their semfinal game - behind - the Louisville Cardinal commit did what he does best: take over. In the second half, the pure point guard was at his best in attacking the basket with smooth finishes, scoring from the mid-range and slicing through defenders to kill tons of time off the clock in the closing seconds after the comeback was complete. To make things all the better, Snider was a defensive stopper; forcing several key New Rens turnovers as the Magic ultimately won the 16u title.
D'Angelo Russell, 6-foot-3, Louisville (Ky.) Montverde Academy 2014: While Snider carried the Louisville Magic in the semifinal, it was the passion of Russell that keyed the championship game win. Russell came out from the opening tip with a chip on his shoulder against Team Thad, which had ignited Russell's fire with some pregame boasting. Russell was spectacular in the final, starting with his play on the defensive end where he hounded the smaller Team Thad guards into what had to be at least 20 total turnovers. Offensively, Russell outworked his opponents for buckets as he drove to the rim on every opportunity, often finishing with crafty euro-step finishes. The Louisville native and five-star combo guard also had his perimeter jumper working as he routinely hit short pull-ups to avoid getting his shot blocked. What Russell did best, however, was pass the basketball. His ability to impact the game in a variety of ways was evident, ultimately leading to an and-one dunk that he threw down with four minutes to play to put the Magic up 15 and seal the deal.
Leron Black, 6-foot-7, PF Memphis (Tenn.) White Station 2014: Things didn't go the way the four-star combo forward from Team Thad wanted them to in the 16u championship game, but you can't blame Black. The 6-foot-7 jumping jack gave a relentless effort from start to finish for his team; finishing with a double-double and the respect of his Louisville Magic opponents. Black was all over the glass on both ends of the floor, particularly the offensive glass where he pursued the ball all over the court and fiercely attacked the basket for powerful put-back attempts. Playing with a level of emotion that we previously had not seen, the Memphis native was able to dominate the interior game against a perimeter-oriented opponent.
Jordan Washington, 6-foot-8, PF, Queens (NY) Pathways 2013: After a 1-2 finish in pool play, no one expected Washington's NYC New Heights team to advance to the 17u final; however, Washington wouldn't have it any other way. The bulky 6-foot-8 three-star big man from Queens was effective inside all day long for his team; taking it to the massive core of Florida Elite big men in the final. Washington is not an athletic finisher but combines physical size and solid skill in making himself a reliable throwback scorer. The Rivals150 forward is comfortable putting the ball on the floor in traffic and has pretty quick feet for someone his size. As he continues to improve his conditioning and body composition, Washington is going to be highly sought after by high-major coaches before this July is over.
DeRon Davis, 6-foot-9, C, Aurora (Colo.) Overland 2016: Even though he has yet to attend a day of high school, the 6-foot-9 center from the Colorado Hawks 15u team is one of the most hyped prospects in the entire nation. On championship Sunday in Indy, the suburban Denver native proved why. Davis is a wide-bodied big man with unlimited potential as a scorer, who on the offensive end looks to be a post presence on every single possession. After physically establishing position, he shows some good touch as a scorer, with the beginnings of a nice jump hook. While he is still far from a finished product, Davis is consistently able to get the better of opposing big men; even while playing up an age group. High-majors are already tracking Davis as about a dozen from the western part of the country watched him play on Sunday; including in-state Colorado.