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April 17, 2005
Sunday morning action on The Hill
Three of the quarterfinal games of the Real Deal on the Hill took place in Bud Walton Arena Sunday morning followed by the semifinal games. The Indy Spiece Heat and the Memphis Pump N Run came out of the morning action victorious and poised for a championship showdown.
The Indy Spiece Heat easily took care of the Michigan Hurricanes in the quarterfinals. Both Greg Oden and Mike Conley were dominate in the win. Daequan Cook and Eric Gordon had solid games as well.
The talented guard combo of Tory Jackson and Alex Legion shot the Hurricanes out of the game beginning late in the first half. The duo forced bad shots and failed to get back on defense, leading to numerous transition buckets for the Spiece Heat.
Hurricane center Tom Herzog, as expected, was overmatched by the strength and speed of Oden. Herzog did look good, however, when Oden was out of the game.
2007 prospect Dar Tucker of the Hurricanes has not played to the level of his partner on the wing Alex Legion. Tucker, however, has a lot of promise. The lefty is very good with his right hand around the basket. He is a penetration first player, who also likes to post up.
Besides the fact that the Indy Spiece Heat are better at four positions against most everyone they play, they are also head and shoulders better than other teams because of their unselfish play. They help each other on defense, and they look for the open man. They also play with a recognition that they have a thoroughly dominating big man. Not every team has the maturity to utilize Oden as the Indy Spiece Heat do.
Jon Scheyer led the Illinois Warriors with 29 points in their victory over the Indiana Elite. Scheyer has been very impressive with his penetration pull up game. Not a pure shooter, Scheyer has shot the ball best during this event off the dribble, especially going to his left. He has also passed the ball very well along with doing all the little things that help a team win. Down to Duke, Illinois and Arizona, Scheyer has an official visit to Illinois scheduled for two weeks from now. He hopes to have a decision by the end of the spring.
In the other quarterfinal match up, Indy Spiece Elite took down MBA, out of Jackson, Miss., largely behind the efforts of Ryan Sims. Sims can penetrate and is very good finishing with his left hand in the lane. He also has a solid pull up game for the shot or the pass. Sims listed Michigan State, Illinois, Dayton and Western Michigan, with offers from Dayton and Western Michigan. He is still very open in his recruitment, however.
In the semifinals, the Memphis Pump N Run came back once again from a double digit deficit in the second half to beat a scrappy Indy Spiece Elite team. Four players lead the charge for Memphis. Willie Kemp contributed with his steady playmaking on offense and defense. Mario Stinson came off the bench to knock down two critical three-pointers. Big Wayne Chism finished a couple fast breaks with assist passes, controlled the defensive glass and finished with 16 points on a variety of post moves, including a sweet left handed jump hook from 7-feet. The best out of the four, however, was Thaddeus Young. The "do everything" forward got his hands on the basketball defensively and then scored in transition, from midrange and around the basket. He finished with a game high 19 points. His best play came with around 5 minutes left in the game and the score tied 41-41. He ripped Ryan Sims of the ball, then went coast to coast with a flawless behind the back dribble on the way and then drew the contact and finished a traditional three point play to give Memphis the lead for good.
In the other semifinal match up between the Illinois Warriors and the Indy Spiece Heat, it was the same story just another time. Only up 16-13 at half, the Indy Spiece Heat dominated the second half with solid defense, good shot selection and the terrifying inside presence of Greg Oden to win easily.
The best thing about Oden is that he is a cerebral player who seems to get better every time he steps on the court. Similar in demeanor and build to former Celtic great Robert Parrish, Oden has developed a "go-to" move in a spin move to his left shoulder on the right block that Parrish used so effectively. On the left block, Oden likes a quick turnaround jumper or jump hook to the middle. His next developmental challenge is to develop a consistent move to his right shoulder.
Stay tuned to Rivals.com for coverage of Sunday afternoon's championship game between the Memphis Pump N Run and the Indy Spiece Heat. During the week look for more content gathered during the weekend event.