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May 6, 2007
Jayhawk Invitational: Sunday
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- From the time the Jayhawk Invitational tipped off on Friday night, it was looking like the way to the title was through the KC Pump N Run team. On Sunday, the host program swept two thirds of the tournament.
It proved to be a good day for the KC Pump N Run program as the 17 and 16 and under teams stepped up and took home the titles.
In the 17 and under game, 6-foot-6 junior forward Dominique Morrison continued his productive weekend with another solid and efficient game against Howard Pulley.
The tournament MVP scores more 15 points a game in all of the contests and did it with taking few shots and stayed within the flow of the game. He really established himself as a quality Midwestern mid-major guy this week. Morrison has interest from the likes of Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Wichita State and UMKC.
Howard Pulley had a great ride in Kansas and seemed to have all of the ingredients to claim the title. Sophomore wing Rodney Williams was the showman for the Minnesota club in the finals. He was hitting three pointers and had one of the best dunks in the tournament when he drove baseline on the right side and cocked it back with a two hand flush.
His confidence grew as the tournament went along and he stepped into the spotlight quite nicely. The 6-foot-5 bouncy sophomore has offers from Minnesota and Iowa State while Kansas State, Kansas, Northern Iowa and Wisconsin are on his list.
The 16 and under team rode the great play of point guard Michael Dixon all the way to the title game. The speedster was one of the best point guards in the tournament field all weekend and really established himself in the 2009 class nationally.
Dixon made a case for one of the top five performers in the event as he scored when he needed to score and passed when he needed to pass. The Kansas City area product protected the basketball and did a fine job of commanding the attention of his young teammates.
News from the notepad
Without trying to sound too repetitious, Jared Berggren is a major catch for Wisconsin. The 6-foot-10 center for Howard Pulley was one of the best big men in the event and he played like a guy that knows his role and knows how much bigger and stronger he is than the competition. The big man powered his way around the paint in a highly competitive game against the Las Vegas Prospects.
If Scott Suggs had a healthy ankle this weekend, then an argument could be made for him being the best player in the tournament this weekend not named Xavier Henry.
Suggs was solid on a bad ankle in the semifinals, scoring 17 points against eventual champion KC Pump N Run. The 6-foot-5 wing drove to the basket, despite the pain, and finished tough shots in traffic. He turned the knob on his toughness level and withstood the pain and played through.
He did a fine job of showing his full array of weapons, driving with the dribble, pulling up for three-pointers, making passes to scores and running the floor. Overall, he has to be happy with the way he played at KU.
KC Pump N Run wing forward Denver Holmes did a fine job of just playing the game. There is little flash to his game and that is perfectly okay. The 6-foot-4 junior stepped up to the challenge of defending the manchild duo of Daniel Orton and Kyle Hardrick in the post, but also showed a keen ability to hit shots and buy into a team concept.
The Missouri Valley has to recruit a kid like Holmes. Rick Majerus would love his approach to the game and would be a great target for the Billikens in 2008.
Each of the three days in Lawrence, a new name would pop onto the radar. On Sunday, Trent Lockett of the Net Gain Sports AAU team jumped out. The 6-foot-5 guard from Hopkins High School in Minnesota played three positions throughout the game and did a fine job of running the show at the point.
Lockett, a well-built guard, scored 17 points in a tough defeat to the KC Pump N Run 16 and under team. He's a name to watch for high-majors in 2009 and could be a nice national surprise over the next year.