Akinjo and Mac put on a real show in the second half, it was a blast. Big crowd that got very into it. Those guys both have a lot of showmen in them, as well as talent. I'm trying not to get too excited, but they are starting to feel pretty special.
Jahvon Blair: 8 pts, 3-3 2 pt, 2-8 3pt, 1 reb, 3 asst, 2 st
-a bit of a quiet game for Blair. He played well, but was not hitting his 3s.
-Rodney Pryor was hot today for Blair’s team. He basically played point guard - took a lot of shots, set up a lot of baskets (31 points). So there were not a whole lot of touches for the other guards.
-Had a few nice passes ahead in transition that led to layups
Josh LeBlanc: 24 pts, 10-19 2pt, 4-4 ft, 13 reb (8 off), 2 asst, 3 st, 4 bl, 2 TO
-Josh’s last two games have been strong - he really fills the stat sheet!
-In this game in particular, you could see the kind of high ceiling potential Josh has as an impact player on both ends of the court.
-he was all over the court, particularly defensively and running hard in transition. He got a ton of good looks around the rim by running hard and either catching passes cutting to the basket, or getting follow up rebound opportunities
-sometimes fails to finish in traffic, but as he gets stronger and more experienced he should be fine. Uses both hands, has good body control.
-has really good feel/timing rolling to the rim in PnR. Got a lot of good scoring opportunities this way.
-Had a steal where he tipped a loose ball ahead, directing it to a teammate to start a break that ended in a basket. Very smart play.
Trey Mourning: 16 pts, 7-13 2pt, 2-4 FT, 0-3 3pt, 7 reb (3 off), 1 asst, 3 TO
-another solid game from Trey. His mid range jumper has been a particular strength this summer, he has been knocking them down very consistently even when contested.
-Had a. Nice hoop on a pump fake/drive. Used his length well to cover a lot of ground in just two strides.
Jagan Mosely: 4 pts, 2-5 2 pt, 0-1 3pt, 5 reb, 3 asst, 1 st, 1 bl, 2 TO
-Played well early in the game with some nice assists and finished. But then kind of disappeared, and ended up spending quite a bit of time on the bench.
-Pryor played in this game as well, again controlling the ball quite a bit. He put on a shooting show early, hitting 7-8 3 pointers in the first 12 minutes of the game.
-had a spectacular block - opponent tried to take the ball right at him in transition. He timed his leap perfectly, got up very high, and swatted it away forcefully.
Jamorko Pickett: 17 pts, 5-7 2pt, 4-4 ft, 1-4 3pt, 4 reb, 3 asst, 5 TO
-slow first half, but then he started going to the basket aggressively in transition, and this got him going. Finished well - when he attacks the basket and uses his length, he is very effective.
-not strong enough with the ball - gets it knocked out of his hands by aggressive defenders too often.
-had a really nice touch pass in transition, resulting in a basket. Throws one or two really pretty, clever passes each game.
Antwan Walker: 21 pts, 9-10 2pt, 1-5 3pt, 6 reb (2 off), 2 asst, 2 st, 2 bl
-another very impressive performance from Walker. Other than a few ill advised 3s from off the dribble, he played a smart, forceful game.
-when he attacks the rim going left to right - he is finishing everything. Just jumping over defenders, using his strength to get the ball to the rim, and showing really good skill/touch on his finishing moves. He is playing with a confidence, intelligence, and controlled aggressiveness that we only saw in very brief flashes last year. Even in kenner last season, when he averaged around 20 points a game - he was getting a lot of his points by putting up a lot of 3s and hitting 30% of them. He rarely attacked the basket or scored inside - which is where he is doing almost all of his damage this summer.
-had a really strong block on a Pickett drive
-flew in for an offensive board tip in
Mac McClung: 31 pts, 10-16 2pt, 5-5 FT, 2-7 3pt, 2 reb (1 off), 3 asst, 2 TO
-sloppy first half for both Mac and Akinjo. But the second half - oh boy. It was a true performance. Lob passes into all variety of Mac dunks, behind the back passes. Mac had one move where he faced a behind the back dribble into a pull up jumper that was unlike anything I had seen before. I won’t even try to describe the dunks -just watch the highlight reel to see all the fun, from both Mac and Akinjo
-after one second half lob dunk that brought the house down, Jerome "Junkyard Dog" Williams (playing with Tombs at around 43 years of age) did a lap around the gym in celebration. Jerome was great - such a fun guy and a great Hoya. At one point late in the game, when Tombs was running some clock - Williams positioned everyone on the court and told Akinjo to go at 10 seconds. He came out and set the screen, everyone executed to perfection, and we got the final lob dunk of the game from Akinjo to Mac.
-Great hustle play: dove headfirst after a loose ball, grabbed it from the other two guys going after it, then flipped a pass from the floor to Akinjo at midcourt, who drove for a basket. Really aggressive, tough, smart play. In some ways, I found this play more impressive than all the dunks and behind the back passes.
James Akinjo: 16 points, 5-11 2 pt, 2-9 3pt, 2 reb (1 off), 12 asst, 1 st, 5 TO
-James was forcing things in the half court a bit early, resulting in turnovers when he drove into too much traffic.
-but early on he also threw a bunch of good passes that should have been converted into fairly easy hoops. He could have easily added another 3 or 4 assists to his total.
-Tre Kelly was on the other team. He is a really good offensive veteran guard (South Carolina, averaged 18 a game as a senior) who has been a great Kenner scorer for years. Kelly tore up Mac pretty good in the first half. But Akinjo covered him a lot in the second half and they slowed him down. Mac also played him better in the second half. It seemed like Jerome Williams organized their coverage of Kelly better, with Williams helping on him to keep him from getting to the rim.
-Best move - spun out of traffic between two defenders in the backcourt, broke free, then laid a pretty drop pass to a trailer for a basket
-Threw a whole bunch of very good passes leading to easy opportunities. Very strong passing today, really strong point guard performance.
-It is hard to describe how much fun the second half of this game was. The gym was packed (well, the one side where they have the bleachers open), and people were jumping, screaming, cheering. I’ve been going to kenner regularly for 10 years, and never experienced anything like this before. Hopefully, some of these fans will get out to the real games, and some real excitement for the team will build in the region.
-after the game: there were people waiting in the hallway outside the locker rooms - kids with basketballs and other stuff for (presumably) Mac and Akinjo to sign. I definitely have never seen that at Kenner before. I hate to get overly optimistic - but this Makinjo thing is starting to feel pretty special. I would expect big crowds for their games next weekend, maybe really big crowds.