The first and second days of the Reebok Summer Championships have a unique feature in the Create-N-Finish Cup, a tournament which pits some of the top AAU programs in the field against one another before they do battle again in the conventional Reebok Summer Championship during the weekend.
In the championship game, an upstart Texas Bluechips Navy squad, led by rugged post prospect Thomas Gipson, took on the nationally recognized California Supreme, which features ESPN 100 prospects Tyler Lamb, Gary Franklin and Keala King.
The talent and depth of California, especially on the perimeter, served to wear down the scrappy Texas squad. California Supreme also used their athleticism and tenacity to pressure the Texas group into turnovers, negating the inside force of Gipson. Though Texas put up a valiant effort, California Supreme collected the championship in the Create-N-Finish cup in rather convincing fashion.
Shelton Boykin (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) has an incredible amount of natural ability, but he does not rest on his laurels. He plays with great intensity in addition to an unbelievable amount of passion, which complements his physical gifts. Boykin has good lateral quickness and uses it and his very good length to harass opposing ball handlers on the perimeter. He also has a very quick first step, and despite his thin frame Boykin drives to the rim with aggression and rises up in traffic to finish above the rim, with no regard for the amount of contact that he will endure. As he improves his perimeter skills, Boykin will become a standout wing player.
Cody Larson (Sioux Falls, Idaho/Roosevelt) has sneaky athleticism and quickness, which he uses to surprise opposing bigs who do not initially respect him. Larson, a lefty, has good strength and finishes around the basket with a good amount of effectiveness. He also has a nice lefty jump hook over the right shoulder when he gets the ball with his back to the basket. Larson can stretch defenses with his respectable shooting ability from the perimeter and will also rise up and finish above the rim in traffic. He runs the floor and rebounds the ball on both ends.
Daniels puts D in defense
Bishop Daniels (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Academy) has impeccable leaping ability and quickness. He uses his outstanding lateral quickness to complete a task rarely seen on the AAU scene: full-court defense. Daniels dogs his man into fatigue and/or turnovers on a consistent basis.
Bello has amazing hops
Quddus Bello (High Point, N.C./Westchester Country Day School) has electrifying leaping ability and will use it to rudely dunk on anyone who attempts to contest his forays to the rim. He also possesses very good length, which serves to make his drives to the rim even more difficult to defend.
Franklin raining on 'em
Franklin (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) displayed his consistent touch from beyond the arc. When he shoots at the apex of his jump, Franklin will nail one 3-pointer after another, whether in transition or in half-court sets.
Steady as they come
Ray McCallum (Beverly Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day) runs his team from the point guard position with great precision and efficiency. He has a keen understanding of when to shoot and when to distribute the ball to his teammates for their own scoring opportunities.
Walter Pitchford (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) plays a very active brand of basketball, contesting shots and rebounding the ball on both ends of the floor. Pitchford also has the surprising ability to connect on jumpers from just beyond the free throw line, which adds to his versatility on the offensive end of the court.
Myles Davis (Jersey City, N.J./Saint Peter's) has poise and maturity beyond his years. He has a silky shooting touch with range that extends out to the 3-point line and he has more than enough quickness and strength to get to the rim and finish in traffic.
Gipson (Cedar Hill, Texas) uses his strength to dominate in the paint. The lefty has decent footwork, but in addition to his scoring and rebounding exploits in the paint, he has a very good feel for the game, including very good passing skills and vision.
Antonio Williams is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He previously worked as an NBA scout for Marty Blake Associates.