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July 16, 2004N. AUGUSTA, S.C. - The quarter finals could not have been any better at the Nike Peach Jam as each game was decided in the closing minutes. Jeff Adrian, a 6-foot-6 power forward with the BABC AAU squad, continues to tear apart the field with his rugged play while Nic Wise sunk a game winner for the Houston Hoops. Now with the final four set, we take a look back at Friday night's terrific action.
With so many great games to watch, we could only pick one to cover. So it was the Illinois Warriors against the New Jersey All-Stars in the night cap from tip off to the buzzer. Illinois small forward Julian Wright made it worth it. The 6-foot-8 wing man has been playing extremely well all week and when his team needed him the most, he delivered. He was instrumental in the Warriors 74-67 victory over the New Jersey All-Stars.
Wright had a dazzling night of 23 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. The three schools he's considering, Arizona, DePaul and Illinois, were represented by each of their respective head coaches. They had to be happy with what the saw. While Wright doesn't possess a jumper that even commands the respect of the defense, he's incredibly effective by attacking the basket and finishing with both hands.
He passes the ball like a guard and creates so much space with his herky-jerky movements. Defensively, he's long and covers a lot of ground while moving his feet with good speed. Wright has made his case for consideration into the national top 10 rankings.
Wright didn't do it alone, either. Justin Dentman scored 17 big points. The 6-foot-2 guard came up with big points in the second half. His scoring was key because Jonathan Scheyer, the talented class of 2006 shooting guard didn't have the hot hand he's been having all week. He finished with 13 points, if you can call that a bad night, in the win. The 6-foot-4 shooter did connect on the biggest shot of the game when he drilled a three-pointer with two minutes to play.
The All-Stars had their chances in the closing minutes to make a run and claim the win but bad shots kept them from pulling off the rally. Craig Moore and Maurice Thomas both played well in defeat, combining for 26 points.
Big man Andrew Bynum showed why he's a hot recruit. The 6-foot-11 center has an array of post moves that make high-major coaches drool at the thought of having a post player like him on their roster. Most guys his size, and with any ounce of talent, speak NBA rather than college. Bynum is the exception. He had 14 points and six rebounds by our account. Overall, he was hot and cold, according to many of the coaches that are looking at him.
Around the gym
Once the Warriors game ended, we bounced from gym to gym just in time to catch the endings of the other quarter finals. In the Boo Williams-New York Gauchos game, Levance Fields, a burly 5-foot-11 guard, tried to carry the boys from the Big Apple with his inspired play with less than two minutes to go. He scored seven points in the final minute and 23 overall but could do enough to get the victory. Boo Williams prevailed 76-73.
Although Fields doesn't have the ideal size or body for a high-major guard, he's making believers along the way. When he wants to get to the rim, he gets there and he rarely misses the high-percentage shot. When he wants to score the three-ball, he's getting to the point where he knocks the shot down.
Boo Williams super rising junior Vernon Macklin has played like the player that everyone envisioned since he blew onto the national scene in early 2003. The athletic and long prospect uses his lanky 6-foot-10 frame to rebound, block shots and play high above the rim. He led the way with 17 points, six rebounds and plenty of memorable highlight reel finishes.
His teammate, Scotty Reynolds continues to shine as one of the top shooters in the field. The 6-foot rising junior connected on three three-pointers en route to a steady helping of 15 points. Work horse Daryll Monroe put in another stellar blue-collar game with 10 points and nine boards.
Adrian Continues to Shine
Jeff Adrian proved his mettle here in Augusta. At 6-foot-6, he isn't the biggest or most intriguing power forward in the country but the workhorse gives every ounce he's got to win. The future Brewster Academy (N.H.) product had 21 points and six rebounds in a 60-59 win over Friends of Hoop-Seattle.
He and Jon Brockman squared off in a battle of two of the hardest working players in the event. Brockman put in 22 points and six rebounds of his own but it wasn't enough to help propel his Seattle-based team.
Oh so Wise
Although we couldn't get into the game because the doors were shut because of a capacity load, we sure could hear the sounds of the crowd when Nic Wise connected on a three-point bucket at the buzzer to send the Houston Hoops into the semis with a 61-60 win over YOMCA Team Memphis. Wise finished with 12 points while his future Arizona teammate Fendi Onobun had a team high 15 scores.
Semis are set
9:30 a.m. Houston Hoops vs. BABC
11:00 a.m. Boo Williams vs. Illinois Warriors
6 p.m. Championship game