|Southeast Elite (Memphis) Finishes in Final Four|
|Written by Andre Whitehead|
|Monday, 30 April 2007|
Memphis group shows poise and talent advancing to the final four of the King of the South tourney in Nashville.
There seems to more than one great team residing in the Bluff City. With all the attention payed to the supremely talented Memphis YOMCA, the Southeast Elite (Memphis style) are ready to share some of the hype themselves. They proved as much with a sterling performance at the King of the South tourney in Nashville.
The blue crew finished pool play unscathed at 3-0 and defeated a very surprising Knoxville Cagers squad and then the Atlanta Blue to advance to the final four and a date with eventual champion Atlanta Celtics. This game came down to the wire with the Elite falling 54-51. Great effort in the final four contest from Arnette Moultrie (Trezevant), Elgin Lee (Braircrest Christian), Malcolm Burton (Kirby) and Rockeem Henderson (Kirby).
Moultrie had a bevy of important onlookers watching his every move. His improved skill is obvious and at 6-8 will be a very important get for someone. Lee showed the ability to score a variety of ways including a sweet floater while driving the baseline or the lane. Burton had a fine weekend showing his ultra quickness and rising to the occassion wanting to score the big bucket. Henderson came on huge in the Celtics contest draining numerous threes, his best game of the weekend by far.
Martino Brock (Ridgeway) struggled in the Celtics game but was very solid on Saturday leading the Elite with incredible defensive effort and improved offensive skills. Two others who merit some mention were big Octavious Swarn (Carver) and Curtis Lee (Kirby). Both players fought tough on the boards and Swarn showed he could score with his tricky reportiore of lefty power moves and strong post skills.
Making the second day of play was a reward for a good first day of action. Joining the Elite for second day action were the Midstate Ballerz Elite, Knoxville Cagers, Nashville Bearcats, and Tennessee Mavericks.
The Mid-State Ballerz finished pool play at 2-1 and then had the daunting task of playing the Atlanta Celtics in bracket action. The Ballerz had a good weekend from John Primm (Dickson County), Tyrone Caldwell (Clarksville) and Victor McLin (Dyersburg). Primm was tough on both ends of the floor, Caldwell continues to prove he is one of the best leaders from the point in the state and McLin showed some skill in the post finally getting his legs under him. Mississippi State signee Scotty Hopson (UHA) had a good weekend including a sterling effort in the second pool play game.
A big surprise for the weekend was the play of the Knoxville Cagers. The K-Town crew had a huge victory over the Nashville Celtics in pool play and made the Elite play for the entire duration of the game. The Cagers had the equalizer in the post with Tennessee football signee Aaron Douglas (Maryville). The behemoth helped control the defensive boards and scored at will inside. Other Cagers who had solid weekends include Grant Gouldie (Anderson County) and Riley Hunley (Farragut).
The Nashville Bearcats finished pool play without a blemish and advanced to second day action. The Music City group played with patience and hustle.
Despite not having the services of current Tennessee commitment Philip Jurick (East Ridge), the Mavericks showed they could still compete on a high level and gave the stage to some of the other players on the squad. Dominique Taylor (Howard), Darryl Miller (Hillsboro) and Dominique Harper (Howard). Taylor got the most of his weekend showing out in front of numerous coaches and adding his name to recruiting lists everywhere. His combination of ball skills and inside moves with an emerging jumper will move him up the ranks quite quickly. Harper was unable to play this season for Howard but used this event as a coming out party. The athletic big man showed great ability and will be a viable prospect by the end of the summer. Miller has improved as much as anyone in the state. His length will take him places and he was able to score inside and use his skills to control the boards.
The tourney was not void of great performances by some of the other squads who did'nt make it to the second day of action. The Midstate Ballerz White had a good showing winning a tough game and getting production from Channen Geanes (Lake County) and Brandon Hall (Cascade).
The Nashville Celtics 17's came in with high expectations after a big run at the Kingwood in Houston. Their effort in Nashville was uninspired to say the least. The same cannot be said for the 16 and under crew that played up and competed hard all weekend. Rave reviews from everyone in attendance for Drew Kelly (Centennial), Chase Dunn (Livingston Academy) and Casey Prather (Jackson Northside).
Kelly was dominant inside using his remarkable footwork and hands to score and board all tourney long. Dunn controlled tempo and shot the ball better as the day progressed. His effort is something for everyone who thinks they are too small to watch. He is 100% heart and guts. Prather is incredible with his soaring ability and his fearless drives to the bucket. Only a freshman his future is scary bright.
The Southeast Elite (Nashville) played up an age group and were welcomed by the eventual champion in pool play. The Elite held their own against the big boys and showed some ability in their first tourney of the summer campaign. Thad McHaney (Brentwood Academy) and Josh Tidwell (Brentwood) both had solid first days. McHaney is ready to break from the shadows of the Brentwood Academy dominance and make some noise of his own. The big guy has good skills and is improving his outside shooting, he can defend and is a very good athlete. Tidwell has an above average basketball IQ for a freshman and can shoot the ball. He will need to look to score more once this team gels and becomes more familiar with itself.
In the 16 and under division the Mid-State Ballerz Blue advanced to the final four before falling to those dang Atlanta Celtics. Super effort from junior ballerz Skyler McBee (Rutledge), C.J. Crittendon (Dyer County), Trey Carrouthers (Harpeth), Sam Watson (Farragut) and Derrick Walker (Covington).
McBee showed toughness playing on a sprained ankle and drew the attention of several college coaches. His sweet jumper and above average athletic skills make him a nice new prospect for the states coaches. Crittendon showed some superb spins moves and scored off the dribble. Carrouthers is a fantastic athlete who can shoot the three. Watson is improving daily and played despite being under the weather the entire weekend. Walker has the uncanny ability to get offensive boards and keep possessions alive, when he improves his ball skills he could be special.
The Tennessee Travelers made a fine showing as well advancing to second day action. Ashlon Adams (Science Hill), William Moore (Chattanooga Christian), Kyle Teichmann (Brentwood) and Deonta Twilley (Shelbyville) showed out with great effort all weekend. Adams gave coaches a taste of what could be if he came to play every time he stepped on the floor. His talent is limitless. Moore continues to improve his outside shot and played well in transition. Teichmann is extremely skilled inside but his opportunities are few and far between. His footspeed needs improvement but his skill level is very high. Twilley controlled tempo the moment he set foot on the floor. The little fella knows his role and gives his team a chance to win. Numerous coaches were quick to point out the effort of James Gallman (Fulton). The tough guy took a big spill and was forced to sit out of Sundays action. He did make a statement against the eventual champion Atlanta Celtics before taking his fall.
In 15 and under action the CDF Thrashers advanced to second day action before falling. Robert Wade (Maplewood), Fred Lee (McGavock) and Branden Hardin (Hillsboro) all played well during the weekend.
Great weekend of action for all the squads from the Volunteer state. Next week we will have the first summer team rankings, so that should be a nice source of discussion for everyone.
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