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May 31, 2004

Final 4 set for Memorial Day Classic

Two of Texas' finest plan to go in package deal

Team Texas teammates Calvin Miles and Kevin Rogers have become close friends since becoming teammates for the summer basketball season. So close in fact that the highly regarded duo is determined to continue playing together on the next level.

"Me and Kevin have discussed it and we want to play together in college," Miles said. "We are tight and have each others back. Also we have a great chemistry where we know what the other is thinking and we feed off that.

"I'm looking for an up-tempo playing style and coaching staff that I feel comfortable with and that I trust. Playing time is also important."

Rogers, 6-foot-8, 225-pounds, summed up their list of favorites.

"Our list is pretty long because we are trying to find the best fit for us," Rogers said. "Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Baylor, UConn and Arizona are our favorites. We plan to narrow the list down during the summer and then take some visits."


West Coast big man considering six schools

Friends of Hoop power forward Jon Brockman has been one of the most impressive post players in the early part of the AAU season. Currently Brockman, 6-foot-7, 230-pounds, has six schools who have the inside track for his signature.

"Washington, Gonzaga, Arizona, North Carolina, Duke and UCLA are my top schools," Brockman said. "Washington and UCLA have offered and Gonzaga and Arizona visited during the evaluation period.

"Two weeks ago I took an official visit to UCLA and everything was really nice. I liked the school and it was good getting to talk with the coaches. It was my first visit and I want to take a few more and see what's out there."

Brockman said he has a certain criteria that he is looking for in a college.

"I'm looking for the right fit for me both athletically and academically. I want to go to a place where I feel comfortable," Brockman said. "Distance and the size of the school doesn't matter to me."


South Carolina small forward has nine scholarship offers

South Carolina Raven small forward Casaan Breeden currently has nine scholarship offers but remains wide open in the recruiting process.

"St. John's, Tennessee, Georgia, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, South Carolina, Clemson, Marquette and DePaul have offered me," Breeden said. "I really haven't put much thought into the recruiting process because I'm more focused on the summer season and trying to improve my game.

"I'm going to wait until after the summer and see how things stand for me. I'm looking for a school that needs a small forward and wants me to make an impact as a freshman and who likes to push the ball up the floor."


Memorial Day Classic Final 4 is set for Monday

What started with 32 of the top Nike teams in the country is now down to a four team single elimination tournament for the right to be called 2004 Memorial Day Classic champion. Friend of Hoops (Washington), The Family (Michigan), New York Gauchos and Team Memphis (Tennessee) all survived Saturday night's twin billing with impressive wins in order to reach the semi-finals. The overall champion will be crowned at high noon after the 10:00 a.m. semi-final games and a brief 30 minute intermission.


Long live the Kings

While most summer teams suffer their first loss during pool play of their first tournament of the year, the Georgia Stars group ran out to a 41-0 record before losing their first game Sunday night to The Family.

The Stars didn't enjoy their finest effort of the season but nothing could take away from Family's well greased offensive machine led by combo guard Chris Douglas-Roberts who played like a man on a mission to avenge earlier losses that occurred during the Boo Williams Invitational.

Douglas-Roberts took control of the game early by driving to the basket and creating the action. His decision making was excellent and he used his size to get score near the rim and his court vision to find teammates slashing to the basket.

Ramar Smith continued his impressive tournament by showing consistency from the perimeter and also athleticism to penetrate the lane and Anthony Sparks provided a much needed inside threat.

Several times the Stars appeared on the verge of one of their patented runs but The Family quickly answered every challenge with a quick spurt of their own.

Combo guard Louis Williams led the way for the Stars with 19 points including two 3-pointers in a 90 second span late in the first half that cut the lead under 10 points. However, the usually reliable outside duo of Williams and Mike Mercer was inconsistent as the two Georgia commitments tried to rally their team.

Billy Humphrey had a good offensive showing by knocking down five 3-pointers on his beautiful long range jumper.


Two of East Coast's finest battle for bragging rights in New Orleans

After surviving a double overtime win against Albany City Rocks the New York Gauchos had to turn around a few hours later and square off with their bitter inner-city rivals the Metro Hawks who had earlier defeated the D.C. Devils.

As might be expected the small but excited New York crowd provided a entertaining and energetic atmosphere. The Gauchos took control early with an opening 13-2 run by using their size advantage at every position to overpower the Hawks.

Shooting guard Jessie Sapp was on fire from the opening tap, scoring seemingly at will with strong drives to the basket and long bombs from outside the arc. He led all scorers with 35 points.

Meanwhile teammate Curtis Kelly messed around and got a triple double when he recorded 12 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocks. The always talkative big forward is enjoying one of his best tournaments of the AAU season.

Small forward John Mitchell was held scoreless in the first half due to early foul trouble but the 2006 prospect erupted for 17 second half points and kept the game respectable for the Hawks. After the break Mitchell attacked the rim at every opportunity, scoring near the basket or getting to the free throw line.


Team Memphis is representing the South in the Semi-finals

Perhaps the most talent laden team in the tournament is Team Memphis which already boasted several of the nation's top prospects in the 2005 and 2006 classes heading into the tournament and recently added 2004 standout Shawne Williams who will attend Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina next season.

Memphis and the Illinois Warriors played a see-saw contest that saw both teams make big shots to keep the other from pulling away. With a 4-point lead with less than two minutes to go Williams connected on three of his 18 points with a baseline jumper from outside the arc that put Memphis ahead by seven points and sealed the game.

Thaddeus Young wasn't far behind with 17 points including several strong drives to the basket and a few mid-range jumpers. Pierre Niles was a strong inside presence and muscled his way to 15 points including three rim rattling dunks.

One time Illinois State commitment Justin Dentmon, who recently re-classified to the 2005 class, continued his strong tournament performance by leading the Warriors offensive attack with a game high 23 points. Dentmon was one of the most impressive players in the tournament.


Scoreboard and scoring leaders from Saturday's elimination rounds

The Sweet 16

Georgia Stars 65 (Louis Williams-23)
Oregon Select 62 (Kevin Love-13)

The Family 67 (Ramar Smith-23)
Ala. Lasers 52 (Tyler Holloway-15)

Ill. Warriors 67 (Justin Dentmon-20)
S.C. Ravens 60 (Devan Downey-22)

Team Memphis 60 (Thaddeus Young-15)
Athlete's First 56 (Keith Clark-22)

Friends of Hoop 69 (Jon Brockman-20)
Team Texas 65 (Calvin Miles-18)

New York Gauchos 100 (Jessie Sapp-28)
Albany City Rocks 95 (Paul Harris-18)

Team Florida 74 (Keaton Grant-27)
Wisconsin Warriors 61 (Andy Polka-21)

Metro Hawks 75 (Tyrell Biggs-25)
DC Blue Devils 71 (Tywon Lawson-19)

The Elite 8

The Family 94 (Chris Douglas-Roberts-28)
Ga. Stars 75 (Louis Williams-19)

Team Memphis 86 (Shawne Williams-18)
Illinois Warriors 76 (Justin Dentmon-23)

Friends of Hoop 60 (Jon Brockman-18)
Team Florida 49 (Walter Hodge-18)

NY Gauchos 89 (Jessie Sapp-35)
Metro Hawks 75 (Jon Mitchell-17)

Sunday's Final 4 Schedule

Team Memphis vs. The Family 10:00 a.m.
Friends of Hoop vs. NY Gauchos 10:00 a.m.

Championship Game 12:00 p.m.


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