Gulf States Cup Report
March 30-31, 2018
March 30, 2018
The Gulf States Cup kicked off the travel season on Friday afternoon in Huntsville. Just like any HoopSeen event, there was no shortage of talent, teams or competition. The first session of the tournament was filled with some key match-ups during pool play. Here are some key notes from the Friday games.
Kicking the Gulf States Cup off with a bang.
The Rocket City Elite (AL) and Pro One Select White (AL) 14U teams started the tournament off right with a 49-48 nail-biter. Pro One Select White found themselves down early but took their first lead with 4:04 to go in the fourth quarter to come back for the one point victory. Leading the comeback was Jonah Williams. The 5-9 Plainview (AL) product is playing up in the 14U class and it doesn’t seem to bother him. The natural shooting guard scored 14 points in the contest while knocking down 4 3’s. His clutch shooting was evident in the final frame as he scored 11 of his 14 points in that quarter. Williams also accounted for several steals while playing the passing lanes.
The key piece for Rocket City Elite was Joshua Price. Price is a 5-5 point that has an knack for making the right pass every time. He scored 10 points with his ability to get a shot off around the basket and around contact. His outside shot and mid-range jumpers were also falling over the weekend. He plays the pick-and-roll perfectly with his advanced basketball IQ. He knew when to take the drive or take the shot. He was even better finding the roller with a great mixture of bounce passes, lobs and lead passes. His defense was well above average as well. He uses his speed to keep the ball handlers at bay when playing man. He is very sneaky from the help side with his double teams and snagging passes out of the air.
Energy and Intensity.
When the Mississippi Spartans (MS) and the Hawks Elite (AL) 16U’s took the court it was an energy in the gym that you could feel. Both teams really got after it on the defensive ends. The Mississippi Spartans came away with the 73-68 victory as their bench seemed to be an energizing force throughout the entire game. Asa Howard used his smooth shooting lefty stroke to provide 14 points. The 6-2 shooting guard from Ripley (MS) nailed 3 3’s from deep range.
The most impactful player for the Mississippi Spartans was Q Wimsatt. The 6-3 2021 wing from Corinth (MS) is playing up this summer and made the best of his playing opportunities. He scored 21 points with 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter. His 15 footers were automatic and he scored the ball around the basket after grabbing offensive boards. He is one of the players that has that knack for being in the right place at the right time every time.
The Hawks Elite received a second half surge from a previously unknown presence. Decorian Payton scored all of his 17 points in the second half. The 6-5 post from Center Hill HS (MS) could not be stopped in the lane. He went to work in the paint using a variety of head and body fakes to get shots on the glass. He drew a large portion of fouls from the low and high post while still finishing after contact. He crashed the boards on both ends and was a rim protector on the defensive end.
Pro One Rolls
Pro One Select had two teams to roll to easy victories on Friday night. The Pro One Select Navy (AL) 14U team rolled to an easy 72-21 victory over Cotaco Indians (AL) and Pro One Navy (AL) 15U took home the 78-44 victory over the Alabama Magic (AL).
Leading the way for Pro One Select Navy 14U were two guards. Tucker Gambrill managed 20 points with his hot shooting. The 5-10 shooting guard from Holly Pond (AL) also finished strong on the breaks. Future Lee Hunstville (AL) guard, Antony Matthews, added 13 points in the win. He is an athletic, 5-10 guard that does a little bit of everything. He defends the ball really well and rebounds at a high level for a guard.
March 31, 2018
Saturday at the Gulf States Cup was a long and fun day. It was action packed from early in the morning with the pool play games until late in the afternoon with the Championship Games. The following notes are from the action on Saturday.
Is Pro One Number One?
The Pro One Select (AL) organization could possibly be the best organization from top to bottom in Alabama. Every team that represented Pro One in the Gulf States Cup played with a high level of energy. They play the game with great fundamentals and execution. Pro One had eight teams representing and they finished with a 17-5 record when they were not playing each other. All but one walked away with winning records. Four of the eight had undefeated records against non Pro One teams.
For the Pro One Select Grey (AL) 17U team, Isiah Green dropped 25 points with 3 3’s in a 96-61 win over Alabama Flight (AL). The Jemison (AL) high school guard played with probably the highest motor I saw all weekend. Another interesting prospect was Reid Zitting. The 6-7 unsigned 2018 from Madison Academy (AL) is a stretch four that showed he could score on all three levels.
Demetrius Huff used his strong frame to bang in 22 points for the Pro One Select White (AL) 16U team in an 83-73 loss to Alabama Celtics (AL) and scored 12 points in a 78-75 win over Rocket City Elite Select (AL). He was solid around the basket with his left hand.
Jacob Hendricks scored 23 points with 3 3’s for Pro One Select Navy (AL) 14U in an 87-67 win over Pro One Select White (AL).
Kobe leads Chad
Kobe Griffin was a bright spot for Team Chad 15U in two losses. The guard dropped 24 points while knocking down 5 3’s in an 81-
49 loss to Pro One Navy. He also lead the team in scoring with 14 points in a 66-54 loss to Alabama Celtics. The muscular guard showed that he can score on all levels and plays with a high motor on the defensive end.
Walker Plays Big In Win
Tyrik Walker had a very strong performance in a 72-66 win for Rocket City Elite 14U over Alabama Celtics. The long and athletic post scored 29 points. 12 of his 29 was in the critical fourth quarter. He ran the break well and scored easily in transition.
Celtics Fly High In Win
The Alabama Celtics (AL) 17U team put on a show in the 92-50 victory over the North Alabama Flames (AL). Keshon Lockhart connect on several high-flying highlight reel dunks for the Celtics in the win. The bouncy guard from Paul Bryant (AL) scored 13 points. The 6-4 wing from Mountain Brook (AL), Lior Berman, added 16 points. Drew Dunn nailed 3 3’s on his way to 15 points. Eddie Smith scored 13 points. The 6-1 Huffman (AL) point was 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.
Sanders Shines for the Flight
Kenneth Sanders had a couple impressive showings. The 6-3 2019 guard from Decatur (AL) showed that he can score with ease dropping 27 and 21 points. He also rebounded at a high clip snagging 12 and 9. He has the ability to take a game over when he needs to.
The MC Warriors (AL) and the Pro One Select Navy (AL) teams met in the highly anticipated 15U championship game. The Waaarrrriooors, as the fans were chanting, were playing up with their 14U team. They had a very impressive team performance during the tournament. Pro One Select Navy got the better end of the younger team taking home a 79-75 win. For Pro One Select Navy, two guys stood out during the event. Landan Williams dominated the post for the champs. The 6-7 Alexandria (AL) big scored 14 points in two previous outings before the championship game. He saved his best performance for last game scoring 21 points with 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter. He masterfully worked the glass with a variety of post moves and offensive put backs.
The best individual performance of the entire event that I saw came from the other Pro One 2021. Brody Peebles tallied 24 points in a laid back showing in game one. He nailed 4 3’s and showed his shooting touch. In the second game he became a little more aggressive getting into the lane and earning 8 free-throw attempts. In the championship game he reached high scoring honors with 32 points. He upped his aggression even more at getting to the rim and was rewarded with 11 free-throw attempts. He stepped up in the fourth quarter of the championship game scoring 11 in the final frame. The most impressive stat for the 6-2 Hartselle (AL) guard was his free-throw shooting at the games I covered. He was 23 for 23 from the charity stripe in the three games.