The end is near. The Kenner League regular season wrapped up today with an ideal matchup, at least on paper:
The first few minutes of the game were promising: Monroe went right at Tyler Adams and made a nifty move around him, but on a second try in the post Adams didn't shut Greg down, but he got in the way enough to force a missed lay-in. On the perimeter, Jonathan Wallace was pushing Jabril Trawick, guarding him tight and trying to force turnover – once tipping it away before Trawick re-collected to ball and soldiered on. There was also an interesting match-up between Greg Whittington and Aaron Bowen, who presumably will be fighting over some minutes on the wing.
Then, three minutes into the game, after a missed lay-in by Monroe, Adams went up for the rebound and immediately after he landed, yelled "shit!" and fell backwards to the ground grabbing his right shin.
Tyler's injury and more after the jump
As far as I could tell, there was nothing around his feet and it was a routine rebound. He hopped to the locker room with help and didn't emerge until half an hour later, with crutches and a hard boot as he made his way across the gym opposite of the Kenner crowd. After hearing rumors of knee injuries when he committed, then missing the beginning of Kenner with an arm injury and now watching him felled by what appeared to be at worst a slightly awkward landing, I have to wonder/worry about Tyler's long term durability.
After Adams went down, I'm not sure if Clyde's grabbed another rebound...I exaggerate, but seeing someone go down has to make your pro career flash before your eyes, and Clyde's seemed to play very tentatively from then on as the Tombs build a comfortable lead.
The far less impressionable and fearless Jabril Trawick was back in fine form, especially on the offensive end. He started off the game with a trademark slashing lay-in (helped by trademark Kenner defense), but he made his living in a 10 point first half by cutting to the lane or posting up and then just elevating over JWall or Burton for lay-ins. The effort was fostered by Otto Porter, who had a quiet first half in terms of points and shot attempts, but he assisted two or three of Jabril's lay-ins. I remember reading a comment by (I think) ESPN's Dave Telep that Jabril was a bad fit for the Georgetown offense because his strength is driving to the basket – but especially after today, I think that's an improper calculation. Jabril is great at attacking the basket with sheer force of will, but despite his awesome leaping ability, he doesn't have the top end speed to consistently beat high D-1 defenders. But at 6'5 there's not many guards that can stop him once he's within a few feet of the basketball. Jabril will have chances to drive, but he might just find that hard cuts and inside positioning are his money ticket in the college game.
Some days the offense just flows your way – and it seemed that way for Greg Whittington and Mikael Hopkins. Hopkins made the only Hoya three of the game, but he and Whittington scored on an assortment of lay-ups and putbacks in both the halfcourt and on the break. Hopkins had a few nice face-up jumpers and an awesome attempt at a tomahawk dunk in traffic where he the ball was knocked away as he got fouled and Whittington collected a ton of foul shots, a few off illegal defense and technicals.
Be cautious about Hopkins' 21 points – thanks in the great Kenner League commandment of thou shall not foul out, Hopkins collected nearly enough fouls to be ejected twice (8). He was constantly shoving, hacking and swatting, especially at the larger Greg Monroe – and he probably should've had two or three more fouls the refs didn't attribute to him or call. What was clear though, that Greg wasn't more than slightly deterred by Hopkins defending him. Mikael was overpowered and didn't have the strength to put up much of a fight, hence why he resorted to hacking (whereas, in the brief moments we saw Adams, I got the sense that his mass required Greg to rely a bit more on finesse).
As for Otto Porter, he was again simply whatever the Tombs needed. In the first half he was a distributor and collected a number of rebounds and in the second he picked up the scoring a bit. He missed his lone three attempt, but he drained an elbow jumper to remind the KL faithful just how silky his mid-range game can be.
And, oh, Aaron Bowen. The most memorable moment of his game was during foul shots, tugging on Hopkins shorts to annoy him and slyly glancing back at the ref like a kid who knows he's causing trouble. He made a shot that wasn't a tip, lay-up or dunk today, but unfortunately that was just a free throw. The shots are just not falling for him and despite flashes of great athleticism on those close finishes, it hasn't manifested itself throughout (I should note he did start off the game with a couple of nice passes).
Trawick 16 PTS, 7-10 2PT 0-3 3PT 2-3 FT 8 RBD 3 STL
Hopkins 21 PTS 6-15 2PT 1-1 3PT 6-8 FT 9 RBD 8 Fouls
Whittington 18 PTS 5-9 2PT 0-2 3PT 8-11 FT 2 RBD
Porter 10 PTS 4-6 2PT 0-1 3PT 2-2 FT 8 RBD 4 AST
Bowen 5 PTS, 2-4 2PT 0-1 3PT 1-2 FT 1 AST 1 BLK
Final: Tombs wallop Clydes 72-46 with a few uncontested dunks by Jabril and Mikael to close out the game. Good thing the elite Hoyas of the recent past didn't show up a few weeks earlier or Clyde's wouldn't have made the playoffs (note: Nate Lubick wasn't in attendance).
The crowd predictably cleared out for the less interesting concluding games that including a sprinkling of Hoyas. Jason Clark, Chris Wright and Team Takeover took on the townie Boss Auto, and the black-clad townies are always good for keeping the loose summer league play with their commitment to defense and hard fouls. Midway through the first half, down four, the coach was screaming from the sideline, "We need a stop here!" And that's what kept turned a should-have-been blowout into a tight second half, with Takeover trailing with under ten minutes to go. Then Chris Wright turned on the jets and relentlessly took it to the hoop and quickly amassed most of his 25+ points on the way to an easy victory – that got a bit chippy at the end and the refs just decided to call it a game with 35 seconds still on the clock. Jason had a quiet game and was bothered at times by Boss Auto pressure, though he chipped in a few nice assists, including a touch pass to Chris on the fast break.
In the final Hoya game of the evening, Markel Starks and Henry Sims took the court against DC Assault and won their 3rd game of the weekend (including a Friday evening victory) in a rather lackluster affair. Markel continued to be passive, looking for others to a fault, but he made a nice pull-up jumper and drained a three early. His shot is very concise and has a quick release, perfect for pull-ups, but sometimes he goes through stretches where he pushes the ball instead of shooting it. Henry had multiple inches on any defender, but he showed off some smooth footwork on a feel baby hooks as he leans away from the basket. He doesn't have a great speed, but he can keep up on the fast break and on a 2-on-2 break his teammate found him at full speed two steps away from the basket and Henry seamlessly slid past the defender for a strong one handed dunk – it wasn't an awing play, but one that you could imagine a lot of big men fumbling.
The last I heard, The Tombs will be debuting in the playoffs at 8:50 pm on Thursday against Hollis Thompson and Team Turner.