The first night of the 2014 Invitational heated up quickly in Mequon, Wisconsin for the17U and 16U divisions. Eager to get playing again and ready to put together some of their best basketball, some of the elite type prospects on the board proved it with their stellar play and elevating skills. Matt Heldt had an absolutely phenomenal game, while others like Juwan McCloud also put together huge games for their teams. Below is a quick recap of some of the top performers from Friday night...
SEE ALSO 2014 NY2LA SPORTS INVITATIONAL DAY 1 RECAP - PART 1
MALIK BINNS - 2017 - SF - IL STARS
Binns passed the eye test immediate, looking athletic and strong. He backed up the look with some inspired play grabbing every rebound he could and then converting some really nice follow-ups early, getting tip-ins and finishing against contact inside. The Freshman wing/post showed he can slash to the basket in the offense and found open positions to score attacking the rim from. Binns impressed in his NY2LA Invitational debut, scoring 14 points while pulling in 8 rebounds as well.
MARK FALOTICO - 2015 - PG - CHICAGO LOCKDOWN
Falotico ended up having a terrific game as he tried to lead his team all the way back from a late double-digit deficit. The crafty young guard had a couple nice pull-up jumpers, and later buried a pull up three with the clock winding down under a minute left to keep his team in contention. He was solid handling the ball all game and made some really nice passes to cutters and from inbounds, and though falling to the Spartans, Falotico finished with 18 points playing his heart out.
MATT HELDT - 2015 - F/C - MILWAUKEE SPARTANS
Heldt was prepared to dominate the game from the jump. He scored 16 first half points while also having 6 rebounds, and he did so with variety,hitting a spot-up three, finished strong through contact at the rim for and-1 opportunities and got a couple of his own offensive rebounds for a putback. 2 excellent blocks in a row in second half... played with his body well. Excellent shot fake, step-through finish to end opposition run. Finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds
JASON JONES - 2016 - G - QUAD CITY ELITE
The speedy guard got to work early and often in the high scoring affair against Playground Elite. Sizzling from the field, Jones drove relentlessly to the hole and flew up the court in transition, making plays with his dribble and finishing around the hoop. Jones also set-up shop around the perimeter and he fired in 3 three’s in the game and was constantly a pest to the opponent with his quickness and ability to blow by defenders. He finished Friday night’s game with 24 points.
AARON JORDAN - 2015 - SG - IL STARS
The future Fighting Illini shooting guard just played a really strong and steady Friday night game, taking the opportunities as they were there. He finished strong in transition early and got up the floor quick where he finished those plays with control, switching to left hand away from defense on one and taking contact and getting fouled a different time. Made some nice plays defensively too. Jordan also had a really good block in transition that showed his heart and effort up the court. He finished with 14 points.
BRANDON KEY - 2015 - PG - MILWAUKEE SPARTANS
Key showed once again why he is one of the best in the area off his own dribble penetration. He attacked the hoop for score and shelled out 4 first half assists. Key kicked the ball out, he penetrated at will and would constantly drop passes inside with precision. He had a nice spin move inside into a soft touch floater and another possession hit a nice crossover step-back 3 in the second half. Key made a great baseline drive to a reverse lay-up to stretch the lead late. The flashy point guard finished with 11 points and 8 assists.
JUWAN MCCLOUD - 2016 - PG - PLAYGROUND ELITE
McCloud put on a truly memorable performance to kick off his team’s Invitational play. Getting warmed up, the Germantown lead guard absolutely lit it up from beyond the arc, knocking down 6 three’s in the game, but he also made plays off dribble penetration and slicing his way through the defense off of screens and such, finishing with good balance off the bounce. McCloud finished the game with 30 points after draining 6 three’s and for
HARRISON NIEGO - 2015 - G - CHICAGO LOCKDOWN
Niego had 8 first half points on Friday and as the game wore on. Niego took it to the hoop really well and finished with pull-up jumpers and pull-up floaters. He knocked down a nice looking contested 3 in the second half and at one point lulled his defender to sleep on an inbounds and finished the oop with ease. Niego finished with good body control against contact on the break and hit some big shots as part of his 15 points, including 2 from outside the arc.
DONOVAN OLIVER - 2016 - G/F - QUAD CITY
Oliver was solid again for Quad City, scoring 20 points in the good win and also being a man on the boards. The 6-4 prospect was excellent at the rim where he finished in a variety of ways. Oliver finished plays with controlled reverse lay-ins, went through defenders up top to finish short stuff against physical play. Another solid all-around night for Oliver who will surely look to continue his level of play and help lead QCE deep into the 16U bracket.
CHRIS OLSON - 2016 - G - NET GAIN SPORTS
Olson was on fire for Net Gain who fought to the wire with the tough WI Shooters team. Developing as a total guard, Olson did a nice job finding his teammates on target and was active defensively as he came up with a couple steals and loose balls. Olson sank a number of three’s with precision, finishing the game with a solid 19 points to cap the night.
BREVIN PRITZL - 2015 - SG - WI PLAYGROUND WARRIORS
Pritzl had some troubles early getting in a flow or rhythm and his team went into half-time down double-dights. His perhaps best play though came late when Pritzl decided his team needed a bucket, so he used some burst to get by his defender and had a good strong take baseline down 4 with 3:30 left, took contact pulling up on a floater/runner and completed the and-1. All-in-all he made some nice plays off the bounce and got it rolling a bit in the second half to help his team mount a comeback and bring the game to overtime. He finished with 18 points.