Tag Archives: SJC Greater NC Pro Am

Smith and Kelly net 67 points to lead their teams to wins

With our photographer MIA, we decided to dig in the archives and go old school for Nolan's pic. This is a shot I took in Cameron when he was with Oak Hill Academy and one thing that has not changed is his smile. BDN Photo -Mark Watson

DURHAM – Another sultry summer evening and BDN was on the scene checking out the action.  In the evenings first game, Ryan Kelly showed off his newly formed body while scoring a team high 31 points which translated into a 66-59 win for his D-One team

Kelly scored on dunks, jump shots and nailed three shots from beyond the stripe and shot a very productive 13 of 18 from the field.  We had him at 8 rebounds unofficially to go with a couple of blocks.  Kelly spent most of the summer in Durham where he played with Miles Plumlee and he made a quantum leap in production from his first nights effort.

Andre Dawkins, who switched teams, made it to the game at the start of the second half and ended the game with 6 points going 2 for 6 from the field.  Dawkins has yet to play in a full game during the tournament.

Miles Plumlee wowed the crowd with two early blocks but his team came up short in overtime where Johnny Thomas hit a three in overtime to steal the win.   Miles finished the game with 9 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and a steal.  Plumlee was also sporting a thickening beard and seemed to be in great physical shape.

His teammate, Seth Curry, made his debut and after missing his first five three point shots settled in and lead a late charge after his team was down by 11.  Curry ended the game with 11 points to go with two steals.  Many of his shots were in and out and it is clear that he’ll take the open shot when available.  He played good on ball defense and had two steals and a near third.  One steal and lay in late in the game cut what was a big lead to 2 and that helped his team get to the extra period.

Nolan Smith played in the night cap and due to the late start many of the fans had left.  They missed a show for Nolan dropped in 36 points as he was clearly the best guard on the court.  Smith found a variety of ways to score which included,  three point shots, pull ups, runners and buzzer shots.

Smith, never one not to entertain, heaved a ball toward the rim where he thought it was a buzzer shot late in the first half.  The shot missed badly which is not a big deal for a heave.  The problem is there were 19 ticks left on the clock.  Smith laughed it off and atoned for that with a true buzzer beating shot at the half.

Mason Plumlee let the game come to him and ended the game with 22 points and a bevy of rebounds.  Plumlee looked comfortable on the court and was in good shape after working in Chicago for the past month.  What was different?  His range.  Plumlee nailed a couple of three pointers and his outside stroke has improved.  His dunks were effortless and he helped Smith garner a sweet comeback victory where for three quarters they were outplayed as a team.  It was Mason’s late slam dunk that gave his Dremworks team a 74-72 lead.  The bucket gave Plumlee two successive dunks down the stretch.

But it was Nolan’s night for after he cut the lead to 79-78, he was fouled and hit two free throws while trading a few good spirited barbs and that clinched the 81-78 comeback win over Team Navy.  Smith’s performance stole Kelly’s thunder as the star of the night, but both players were impressive and that is a good thing for Duke fans.

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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]

Devils, Heels participate in Pro Am – “G” makes his debut

The NC Pro Am once again threw the ball into play on Tuesday evening and there were some interesting performances along the way.  The night was highlighted by the appearance of Dr. LeRoy Walker, a former NCCU coach who is an iconic figure in Track and Field and the local community.  Walker was the first black president of the US Olympic Committee and is 90 years old.  He is a former member of Omega Psi Phi and is a graduate of Benedict. 

The evenings first game pitted the RDU Barnstormers minus Kyle Singler and Team Williams.  Williams wore them down inside down the stretch.  That coupled with turnovers sent them to a third loss, the final score being 75-71.

Olek Czyz threw down four dunks which brought cheers from the crowd.  In fact, he pretty much entertains the crowd every night whether they are a Duke fan or not.  OC as he is called, finished with 14 points.  He was pitted against Vasil Evtimov, an experienced former Wolfpack player and held his own.

Evtimov reached into his bag of tricks on occasion and would out fox  the incoming freshman.  Olek didn’t back down, pinning one of his shots and taking it right two the taller Bulgarian.  For every play Evtimov made, Olek frustrated him with his ability to get to the hole on offensive.   If it were scored as a fight it was a draw or Olek by a slim decision.  For further scouting analogies on Czyz and other players become a member of Blue Devil Nation Premium which is our subscription service.

Nolan Smith looked smooth and in control and had a nice game despite not handling the ball that often.  He made some sweet passes and tallied 15 points.   His guard heavy team kept him from truly showing off his skills in that he was almost a “3″ guard if you will, meaning he almost took on a small forward or a second shooting guard role at times.

Miles Plumlee failed to show for the next game and our understanding is that he is hampered by a minor knee problem.  For all the disappointment from no shows, there was one huge surprise on the evening.  That being the first appearance of Gerald Henderson since his wrist surgery.

“G” started off slow, possibly due to his teammates getting use to him.  The cold hard truth is that they didn’t seem to get him the ball so he could show his skill set and he had to make his own plays.  This led to a couple of forced shots, many rimming in and out early.  By games end, he was acclimating himself and showing his renowned ability to flush dunks.  Henderson ended the game with a quiet 19 points, but there was no doubt he will pick up where he left off last year and in my opinion will blow up this year, not that he will have a breakout season for he already has, but that he’ll take the next step.

I watched him battle Lance Thomas who played alongside Jerry Stackhouse, the two having good chemistry together.  Thomas had a successful game on both ends of the floor and hustled his butt off.  In the second half, Hendo switched on him and did manage to slow him down a draw a couple of fouls.  Still, it was a solid showing from LT who tallied 12 on the official box score, but on this evening it seemed to me like he had 19 and G had 12.

Thomas and Stack’s team proved too much for Team KG and they cruised to a 77-59 win and remaining the only undefeated team.  Stackhouse ended the game with 13.  Danny Green and Ed Davis of UNC were no shows for this game and Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington have yet to play despite being on rosters.

Elliot Williams and Steve Johnson suited up for E-Net in the nightcap and the result was a defensive game early on where both teams had 40 combined at the half.  EWill wasn’t that effective in the first half, but warmed up in the second half when his team scored just under fifty cruising to their second victory and an easy win.

Blue Devils continue play in the NC Pro Am

As I stated in my last Pro Am report, more stars would start to come out during the final weeks.  The mere addition of JJ Hickson, gave winless E-Net another force down low to go with Josh Powell which carried them to a 71-46 win over the RDU Barnstormers.

The Barnstormers feature three Dukies in Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and incoming freshman Olek Czyz.  Singler got little help from Czyz in defending Powell and Hickson, which shows that work lies ahead for one of the most popular players in the tournament.  Czyz did drain a three and positioned himself better on the court than on Tuesday.  And he of course had a sweeping one handed dunk which brought about many looking at one another as if to say, did you see that?

Still, for all the tremendous athleticism Czyz possesses, his defense is a work in progress.  Czyz plays hard all the time and is in excellent game shape and Coach K will certainly tweak his game to a desired effect.  Czyz finished the evening with 15 points.

Kyle Singler (12 points) was steady, but tired after working overtime on the glass which took a toll on his shot.  I mean, he never comes out of the game and I have yet to see any other player not get a little rest in the event.  Unfortunately, some sloppy guard play which accounted for four straight turnovers at one point, helped send the Barnstormers to their second loss.

Nolan Smith came off the bench for the Barnstormers and had a stretch in the first half which I have yet to see anyone recognize.  I mean all he did was wreck havoc in the passing lanes, slash to the rim on his ways to 13 consecutive points.  That’s right, 13 straight points!  The second half was a different story for Smith who scored but 2 points giving him a total of 15.  Smith struggled from the free throw stripe and this was a classic case of a tale of two half’s.

Another Duke freshman, Elliot Williams played on the winning team and he would on some occasions match up with Nolan.  Williams cored just 11 points tonight but continued to show the ability to make his team better with his passing.  The fact that he can take his man off the dribble, allowed him to draw multiple defenders which allowed him to make the pass to a teammate for the open shot, if not a dunk.  One thing is certain, that being Williams has the ability to contribute in a big way as a freshman.

One thing about sitting as close as I do to the action is that you see a lot more than just the game.  Nolan is still not 100% and favored his knee down the stretch.  While I normally do not talk of how the games are called, I must admit that this one was sloppy.  Hey, no homer-ism though!  The entire body of games on this night were called in an inconsistent manner, in my opinion.

In fact, the first game had a controversial foul on tournament sponsor Jerry Stackhouse (11 points) as less than second was left on the clock.  Miles Plumlee would later be called for an iffy foul with 3.2 seconds on the clock with his team up a single digit.  Ironically, he fouled a soon to be teammate that he was playing against on this night.  Lance Thomas missed hit one of two and the game went to overtime.

Thomas played a bigger role in the extra period, flushing a hard dunk and connecting on two free throws at a critical juncture of the game.  Thomas moved well and played good position defense scoring his tournament high of 17 points. 

This was the first time I got to see Miles Plumlee (10 points) and he showed me that he is pretty good with his decision making and that he plays hard.  He drew UNC freshman Ed Davis (16 points) and had to play a lot of help defense which would leave a man open where teammate’s didn’t shift.  He plays smart and has indeed gained some weight to a body that is still a work in progress.  I look forward to seeing him more.

In the end Stacks Regulators  team remained undefeated, but they got help from two obvious makeup calls which somewhat tainted the game for this fan.  It was a really tight game that was full of intensity down the stretch and it should have been decided by the players and not the whistle.

Despite the lackluster officiating on this night, there was still great entertainment value in that the event is absolutely free and the crowd was the the biggest yet.  They will throw the rock up again this coming Tuesday and if you are a Triangle resident, there is little reason not to go.  Read other reviews and in depth analysis on the BDN Premium Message Board by becoming a member.

Standings Link

Photos – (1) Miles Plumlee and Ed Davis, (2) Kyle Singler*, (3) Elliot Williams*, Olek Czyz*

*Rick Crank (All Photos on BDN are original unless otherwise marked and they are copyrighted.  IOW, no reproductions without prior permission)

Singler leads team to win, Williams drops 21 in loss

The first two contests during tonight’s NC Pro Am games at North Carolina Central were relatively quiet.  That would soon change as Jerry Stackhouse would suit up for the first time with a cast of Tar Heels.  The undefeated Regulators would face the winless E-Net led by Duke freshman Elliot Williams and walk-on Steve Johnson.

Stackhouse, of course, sponsors the tournament and the word is that more ex pros will trickle in over the next two weeks.  Joining Stackhouse were rising UNC senior Danny Green and incoming freshman Ed Davis.

The game started off a bit slow as Stackhouse drained a three.  Few fans who have watched the games figured Team E-Net had a chance, but as the half went on they hung in the game early in the first half taking a one point lead at 16-15.  Shortly thereafter, the fun began.

Elliot Williams jumped out on Danny Green on the far baseline and forced the ball off his leg with smothering defense.  This brought the Duke fans to life as cheers echoed throughout the arena.  Shortly thereafter Green faked by Williams for a score which brought oohs and ah’s from the Tar Heel contingent.

Several big plays ensued, be it a dunk or a block.  Stackhouse showed his light blue blood getting a little riled after a few big plays from the Dukies.  Ed Davis also stepped up and looked really good on the glass.  Steve Johnson scored six points and is fundamentally sound ina many areas of the game.

Toward the end of the half, Williams stole the ball (one of four) and went to the rim to dunk, but Green would have none of that challenging him and getting the block but also the foul as time expired in the half.  He also got an elbow in the mouth, blood streaming to the point where he covered his mouth with a towel and sat out the second half.

It was in no way intentional on either players part.  Williams hit the deck hard and Green came away with the elbow.  The fans enjoyed the mini Duke-UNC rivalry and several seriously hard plays. Green had nine points and shook hands in a show of sportsmanship with Elliot after the game.

During one sequence, Johnson and Williams both had steals and dunks back to back.  Elliot again showed the ability to take his man off the dribble and finish with the dunk.  He had one play where he blew past Stackhouse for a rim rattling dunk.  He struggled a bit from the outside, but again, showed the ability to pass the ball garnering a few assists.  Williams ended the game with 21 points.

Former N.C. State star, Josh Powell was the game’s leading scorer with 26, but he was literally all E-Net had down low and this coupled Stackhouse’s experience made for an easy 73-58 win down the stretch.  Still the game was closer than that score indicates.  Stackhouse had 12 points and Ed Davis added 14.

In the nightcap, the Barnstormers rattled Team KG 70-58.  Kyle Singler had his usual all around game, playing the entire game for his depth shy team.  Kyle ended the game with 17 points  and as usual was vital in his team’s win.

Olek Czyz, called O.C., scored just 8 points tonight with 4 coming off his patented dunks.  There were times when he got lost on the court tonight and he will have to position himself better and more importantly know where to be on the court in sets.  Olek signed autographs for adoring fans who’ve come to love his uncanny athletic ability.

Nolan Smith had a quiet 14 points, and seemed to favor his knee.  He played sparingly at times due to the nagging problem.  This was his first time back after sitting out last Thursday.  The three Dukies have led their team to second place in the standing with just one loss.

Duke PG Greg Paulus and Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis were in the house to watch their school mates.  Miles Plumlee is listed on a roster but didn’t make the early game.  Paulus attended the game with his brother who plays for the UNC football team. 

The games continue this Thursday at 6:00.  The last game tips at 9:00.  Here is the Pro Am’s official website where you can check the schedules, gametimes and stats.  Admission is free.

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.