The Seattle Summer Basketball League (SSBL) is winding down and next week marks the final two games in the seven-week NCAA-sanctioned tournament that features many Washington players. It’s been a lot of fun spending Monday nights at North Seattle Community College.
I’ve been a regular visitor the past four weeks and last night the play was downright ugly at times partly because of many players (Isaiah Thomas, Darnell Gant, Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox, Andrew Andrews and Jernard Jarreau) were absent.
Still there were several Huskies, a few Seattle University Redhawks and one Washington State star on hand to thrill the crowd with moments that were fun, but maybe not memorable.
Here’s a quick recap.
Game 1: A team comprised of Terrence Ross , Tony Wroten Jr., Hikeem Stewart and Shawn Kemp Jr. lost 79-63 to a team led by Cougars point guard Reggie Moore and Aaron Dotson, the former Rainier Beach star who transferred from LSU to Utah. Moore was the best player in the game. He made several no-frills passes that led to points. It’s a little odd that Ross and Wroten, who some believe may be taken in the 2012 NBA draft, have lost two straight games. They have next-level talent, but for the second consecutive week a veteran Pac-10 guard led the opposing team to an easy win while they appeared disinterested at times.
Game 2: Aziz N’Diaye desperately needed Thomas. Without his former teammate, the 7-foot UW center had no one to keep him involved in the action on the offensive end. SU guard Sterling Carter ran the show, but things ran much smoother last week when Thomas led them to a smashing victory over Ross, Wroten and company. Without the Sacramento Kings draft pick, N’Diaye’s squad lost 85-50 and he walked off the court with about two minutes remaining in the game and sat down on the bench. He was clearly frustrated that he hardly touched the ball in the second half. Still the first half was fairly competitive as N’Diaye battled former UW forward Anthony Washington in the paint. If last night proved anything it’s that N’Diaye needs plenty of help score in the post.
Game 3: Desmond Simmons played better last night than any practice or offseason game I’d seen from the redshirt freshman. Granted I didn’t see a whole lot from him last season because he was rehabbing a surgically-repaired knee. Last night the full package was on display. Clarence Trent, the former UW forward who transferred to Seattle U., ran the offense, but Simmons handled the ball a lot. The 6 foot 7 forward shot well behind the three-point arc and was able to get to the rim on dribble drives. He also did what he does best which is defend, rebound, hustle and dive for loose balls. He had a few miscues such as passes in traffic that were intercepted and some spotty ballhandling that led to a couple of turnovers. Otherwise it was a terrific show from Simmons who was arguably the co-MVP of the night along with Moore. Trent and freshman Martin Breunig were nearly as dynamic as Simmons and the multi-skilled trio was interchangeable while leading their team to a 84-69 win. Don’t want to diminish their comfortable victory, but they clearly outmatched their opponent in the talent department.
TUESDAY MONDAY LINKS:
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted links, so here’s a bunch to get your day started. Apologies if you’ve seen a few of these in the comments section of previous posts.
— Last week Yahoo! Sports included Ross, Arizona’s Kevin Parrom, Stanford’s Anthony Brown and Colorado’s Andre Robson on a list of 12 frontcourt players who could have breakthrough seasons in 2011-12.
— USC sophomore Curtis Washington will miss the season with a torn labrum although it’s not a big loss for the Trojans considering he appeared in just three games last season.
— In case you missed it, here’s a terrific story on USC coach Kevin O’Neill, which examines what some have called a self-destructive character trait that prevents him from taking his teams to the elite level. Gotta admit O’Neill is one of the most entertaining coaches in the Pac-12. I had a lot of fun watching him coach at the 2011 Pac-10 Tournament.
— Another terrific story from SI.com’s Luke Winn who takes a look at why high school recruits decommit and why college players transfer. Winn also profiles the well-traveled Lamont ‘Momo’ Jones, the former Arizona point guard who played at three high schools, committed to four colleges and transferred to Iona.
— When Washington plays at Arizona State on Jan. 28, the Sun Devils will honor former ASU star Fat Lever, a two-time all-Pac-10 choice who played from 1978-82. Lever will have his No. 12 jersey raised into the rafters at Wells Fargo Arena.
— It’s a little old, but the Oregonian did a great job covering the Nike Global Challenge, which featured a pair of 2013 UW targets Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon. The audio is a little spotty, but in this video Gordon told Dawgman.com that he’d rather form a 1-2 punch at UW with AAU teammate Jabari Bird rather than Parker. Parker details his relationship with coach Lorenzo Romar.
— ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep said Parker, a junior next season, is the best high school recruit in the nation regardless of the class.
— Here’s a look at the Belgium team that signed former UW standout Justin Holiday.