SJC Pro Am gearing up for the stretch run (corrected)

[private]Elliot Williams helped his E-Net team to it’s third victory scoring 19 points in the process.  Williams had a fabulous first half where he at times seemed to be posturing for a highlight reel.  There was one sequence where he showed of his athletic ability.  He slashed to the basket finishing with an authoritative dunk which brought ooh’s and ahh’s from the crowd.  He then created a break after a turnover as he slithered through the defense only to be found with the pass where he finished by using the basket to his advantage for a reverse lay in.  IOW, he played a huge role for his team tonight and shows he is not afraid to play against anybody at this level.

He didn’t do it all by himself though.  He was aided by Brandon Costner whose presence has helped E-Net win consecutive games.  Costner was strong in the paint, an area that had plagued his team in early losses.  E-Net was down by 10 points early, but stormed back to go up by 11 and hung on for a victory over.  Former Pack player Anthony Grundy led all scorers and has showed significant improvement since his days in Raleigh.

Three Dukies took to the court for the RDU Barnstormers in a game that would prove a defensive struggle.  The more talented Barnstomrers eventually won 48-47.  This team is guard heavy and guard dominated.  In fact, there is way too much dribbling and forced shots where they try to make the big play instead of finding the open man.  Sometimes the efficient plays bode better for the team than forcing the issue.

For the first time, SIngler was able to get a breather, alternating with Czyz.  I am not too sure how effective this was for the four guard lineup hurt in my humble opinion.  Singler struggled a bit on offense, possibly because last seasons ACC Rookie of the Year got five whole shots, making a deuce and a three.  He got to the line often, going 6 of 10 for a total of 12 points.  What many missed is that he is willing to do the dirty work and little things which equate to 5 blocked shots and 8 rebounds.

Low and behold, Olek Czyz didn’t get a dunk tonight.  That’s because he was used as a hacking dummy in an effort to keep the crowd favorite grounded.  Olek was 10 for 16 from the free throw stripe and that was all of his points.  He added 3 boards to go with 2 steals.

Nolan Smith is saddled on a team with many guards and it keeps the ball out of the hands of the talented player.  Nolan tossed in 15 points going 4 of 6 from the field and 3 of 3 from the line.  You would think with that kind of efficiency his teammates might get the rock in his hands more often.  He was smooth in his movement and his first half performance kept his team in the game.  Smith had 3 steals and a couple of assists as his team went to 6-3 which is still good enough for second place.

Lance Thomas was the man tonight and had to be for there was no Jerry Stackhouse, Green nor Davis for the Regulators.  After two consecutive dunks, LT helped his team to an early 29-12 lead.  During one sequence, LT dunked, rushed back to play the passing lanes, made the steal, dished to a teammate to start the break and finished it off with a reverse dunk.  Lance is a hustle guy who goes 100%  while he  in the game.  The wheels came off for the Regulators in the second half as they went down to a one point defeat, 57-56 blowing a 20 point lead.  Thomas had 17 points and a bevy of boards in the Regulators only loss thus far.  My report from the scorers table says LT was hacked hard as time ran out, but no whistle was heard.  Hopefully, a bit more consistency will ensue with the playoffs looming.

I didn’t catch the nightcap, but got a call from the statistician who told me Gerald Henderson has 12 points with his team winning a 54-51 game over   There was no doubt that the overall play was hurt by physical foul-fests and forced shots on this evening.  Still, that’s to be expected in basketball where o n a given night many things can happen.

The tournament will continue on Tuesday night with the final regular games and they will be hard fought in that they are jockeying for play off position.  They will then start the playoffs where the team are one and done.  So, get out there and support your favorite players!  The crowds have been consistent and again, there is an accommodating atmosphere at McDougald Gymnasium.

Standings going into the last regular game – Regulators (Lance Thomas) 8-1, RDU Barnstormers (Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, Olek Czyz)  6-3, Team Williams 5-4, Team KG (Gerald Henderson) 5-4, Team Noel 4-5, Black Magic 3-6, E-Net (Elliot Williams, Steve Johnson) 3-6,  Team Felton 2-7 (Duke players in parentheses)

Official Pro Am Site Link

Pictures – (1) Elliot taking a three, (2) Elliot and Steve Johnson with Ridge and Corey (two of the kids our members sent to Carrawell James Basketball Camp), (3) LT readies to dunk[/private]