Singler, Williams, Czyz and Johnson shine at SJG NC Pro Am

The SJG Greater North Carolina Pro Am is in its first year of existence and is holding the event at McDougald Gym on the campus of North Carolina Central University.  The event features players past and present from the likes of Duke, UNC and pretty much every area school you can name.

Former UNC player Jerry Stackhouse came up with the event with the help of two childhood friends.  In fact the “SJC” initials stands for the names of their Fathers.  The friends have know each other since elementary school in Kinston, N.C., thus the local flavor.  “We have four hours each Tuesday and Thursday where we are keeping some kids off the streets … adults too for that matter,” said Donyell Bryant.

Bryant acts as the commissioner, overseeing the event and making sure all runs smoothly.  “We don’t charge people a thing to come in and watch the games, thanks to our sponsors.”  He continued, “It’s a great opportunity to get kids involved.  Parents can come here at a time when their is a tough economy and spend some quality time with their children for free.”

The plans are for the event to grow and it surely will.  There was a fan friendly atmosphere during Tuesday evenings games.  If you are anywhere near the Triangle area, be sure to stop in on Thursday.  The games begin at 6:00 and last through early August every Tuesday and Thursday evening.  Groups, churches and even entire neighborhoods are invited by the promoters, so get some folks together and come see some good ballin.

Now, I am sure you want to hear about future and current Blue Devils, so here we go.  The first game of the evening pitted against.  Freshman to be, Elliot Williams and Steve Johnson played for E-Net.

Elliot was late to arrive, but it didn’t take long for his coach to get him into the game.  Williams wasted little time making his presence felt, scoring on dunks, three point shots and getting to the line.  Williams has put on a bit more size since I last saw him.  The strength of his game is the ability to beat his man off the dribble and create plays.

Williams drained a couple of threes, showed knack to make some tantalizing passes and when left free for even a second, he easily dunked the ball on slashing drives.  In fact, he was doubled as the game got into the final minutes.  Williams showed a lot of confidence and no player on the other team had an answer for him.  Williams ended the game with 22 points.

Williams teammate, Duke walk on Steve Johnson added 4 points.  Their team lost the game 65-59 to Black Magic.

The next game featured last season’s ACC Rookie of the Year, Kyle Singler and incoming freshman Olek Czyz.  Neither of these players disappointed the fans. In fact, Olek Czyz was referred to as O.C. in that there was a lot of trouble pronouncing his name.  As you may have read, his ability to get off the floor and dunk anything near the rim is a crowd pleaser.  In fact, the opposing players often cleared out in fear that they would be posterized by a photographer who might catch them on the receiving end of a dunk.

Czyz (pronounced “Chiz”) threw down five crowd pleasing dunks, many from unusual angles.  On this night, he showed a consistent outside shot from around the free throw line and drained a three.  While he certainly needs work in some areas of the game, Czyz proved that he can electrify the crowd in that he has plenty of athleticism.  More importantly, he plays hard all the time and seems to be in excellent shape.  Czyz ended the game with 22 points.

Teammate Kyle Singler like many have said has put on some size.  Some of that size is from his off season workouts, but most may be from natural maturity of his body.  In the first half, there was no doubt Kyle was the best player on the court.  He does so many things that goes unnoticed, be it playing the passing lanes, getting out on a man his teammates missed or making the pass or big play during critical moments.

Singler put the ball on the floor with ease, shot well from the outside, grabbed 11 rebounds and had 4 blocks to go with 16 points.  Not being a homer here, but the refs took him out of the game late in the second half, making three calls which drew disapproval from the 1000 plus fans in attendance.  But that was after his teams amazing comeback.

I looked up and the Barnstormers were trailing Team Noel by 11 points, just minutes later the tide turned and both Singler and Czyz played big roles in making plays, be it altering shots, grabbing boards, dunking, making a steal … you name it, they helped spark a comeback.

Kyle Singler drained a key three point dagger at the end of a 12-0 run to put his team ahead for good 58-57 at the 4:03 mark.  How good was his team’s defense?  Well, they held the opponent to just two points the rest of the way, winning 66-59 on an amazing 18-2 run to close the game.

Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Gerald Henderson were in the crowd to watch their teammates as was Chris Carrawell.  There is more coverage and details of the event on the BDN Premium Message Board.  Here is the link official link for scores, schedules and results.