LoVett Jr. makes splash for Mac Irvin
No freshman has ever scored more points in California history than Marcus LoVett Jr. of Providence (Burbank, Calif.). At the Oakland Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, however, he had to change his approach.
With his parents formerly residing in Indianapolis, the No. 5 player in the ESPN 25 was eligible to play with the Mac Irvin Fire of Illinois and decided to play up with its 17U club. The 6-foot lefty hadn't played with any other traveling team on the circuit this year and was fired up for the opportunity to play with ESPN 100 No. 1 recruit Jabari Parker.
"(Coach Mike Irvin) called my dad and asked us to play with them," said LoVett, who was named Cal-Hi Sports State Freshman of the Year after averaging 32.4 points per game last season. "I had been following them on YouTube and always wanted to play with the best player in the country (Jabari Parker)."
Playing with talented older players and coming off the bench, LoVett did a good job of distributing the basketball and though he didn't shoot particularly strong from the outside, he consistently broke down defenses with his quickness. Marcus LoVett Sr. is hesitant to allow his son to play on the circuit, preferring he focus on individual workouts, but both thought the Mac Irvin opportunity was a good one.
"At Providence, it's a lot different because I'm usually looking to score," LoVett Jr. said. "It's should be a good experience for me playing with so many different good players."
Boo Williams bounces back
Entering session No. 4 of the EYBL, Boo Williams Summer League (Va.) was tied for sixth place in Division D with Howard Pulley (Minn.) with a 7-7 mark. The team isn't short on talent, but didn't play well together in Minneapolis; Hampton, Va.; or Dallas during the first three sessions.
With its 72-63 victory over Baltimore Elite (Md.) on Monday, Boo Williams closed out session No. 4 with a 6-0 record to finish 13-7 and tied for fourth place with the Oakland Soldiers (Calif.). Boo Williams iced the win when Al Freeman (10 points) of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) converted a driving lay-up to make the score 68-60 with just under a minute remaining. The Virginians held off Baltimore Elite despite a 32-point performance from Kameron Williams of Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore), the EYBL's leading scorer.
Point guard Anthony "Cat" Barber of Hampton (Va.) led Boo with 19 points while forward Troy Williams of Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) added 12 points. Boo also got a huge lift from forward Rodney Bullock of Kecoughtan (Hampton, Va.), who made 6-of-8 field goals to finish with 17 points.
"We were written off for dead before coming here, but our best three players -- Troy, Cat, and Al -- just had to learn to play together," said coach Boo Williams. "Once everyone got on the same page, nobody cared who scored or got shots."
Barber was especially impressive in Oakland with his passing skills and uncanny athleticism. With his Boo Williams affiliation, comparisons to former Hampton area products Allen Iverson and Ronald Curry, both of whom played for the flagship AAU program, were inevitable. In light of his high regard for Iverson's ability, Boo Williams is a bit cautious of comparing his former lead guards.
"Well, Allen was in another world, but Cat is a quick player who knows how to run our team."
Pinson, CP3 finish strong
The CP3 All-Stars (N.C.) lost its opening game of the EYBL's Oakland session to All Ohio Red 66-50 to fall to 9-6. If the team didn't turn it around, it would have been in serious danger of missing out on the Nike Peach Jam tournament.
The scenario was avoided when CP3 won five consecutive games in a division of the EYBL where six teams finished 13-7 or better. CP3's winning streak included three Peach Jam qualifiers: E1T1 Elite (59-47), Team Texas Titans (59-55) and Mac Irvin Fire (64-57).
Forward Theo Pinson of Wesleyan Christian (Greensboro, N.C.) scored 25 points in the victory over E1T1. Ten players scored against the Team Texas Titans, including a team-high 10 from two guard Reggie Dillard of Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.). Pinson and Dillard led the way in Monday's win over Mac Irvin Fire with 14 points each. Against Mac Irvin Fire, Pinson made his presence felt by keeping plays alive on the offensive glass while Dillard's defense stood out.
"On the first night we didn't play up to par," said Pinson, ranked No. 14 in the ESPN 60. "Reggie really stepped up the whole weekend. He would guard the top player that was ranked on every team. He did a great job."
Field for EYBL finals set
The top five teams, based on win-loss record, in each of the EYBL's four divisions automatically qualified for the EYBL finals at the Peach Jam.
The four at-large teams that qualified to round out the 24-team field were E1T1 Elite (Fla.) in Division C (13-7), Baltimore Elite (Md.) in Division D (12-8), Bluff City Legends/Team Penny (Tenn.) in Division B (11-9) and Howard Pulley (Minn.) in Division D (11-9).
Parade All-Americans announced
The 2012 Parade All-American team was announced on Sunday, and as usual the list contains some of the country's biggest hoops stars. Five of the top 10 players in the ESPN 100 made the Parade team, led by No. 1 Nerlens Noel of Tilton (N.H.). Also making the cut were No. 2 Shabazz Muhammad, Parade's Player of the Year, No. 4 Kaleb Tarczewski, No. 5 Kyle Anderson and No. 9 Grant Jerrett.
Kentucky, UCLA and Arizona lead the way with three recruits each. Click here to check out the full list.