Future Stars Report '02
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Amauro "Amar" Austin is another of our trusty observers. He is not to be confused with Ruben Amaro, the Phillies' assistant general manager. Like "Huck" Palmer, Amauro is a West Catholic graduate. He will make reports on the MANY games he sees. You may e-mail him at Thurlbough@hotmail.com. Tell him you appreciate his hint of a smile in the new photo.
Notes/comments from "Amar" on the 2002 Tony Samartino Future Stars Tournament.This past weekend's Future Stars Tournament's field was not as strong as past year's, but on Championship Sunday the quality of play was top notch as there were some Philly-Baltimore Wars. I missed most of the weekend as I had to go out of town on family business, but it seemed that I came back just in the knick of time to see some quality action. I did catch the first two days of action and saw some top notch performances. One that sticks out is that of 5'11 Northeast Junior Guard Kyle Lowry as he went off for 25 Points, 3 Assists, 3 Steals and the win as his Sam Rines team upset the defending Champion Philadelphia Phoenix (Kashif Payne, Dontay Tabbs, Troy Roundtree, Wayne Marshall, Bilal Benn, Omar Johnson, ect.) in Pool Play. Lowry, who has just went on a tear this summer, continued his strong play thoughout the weekend from my reports on his way to making All-Tournament. He is surely convincing me that he could be a Big Time player because he surely a major league performer especially when the lights are on. He seems to love stealing the show. This kid must be the most relentless Guard this City has seen in some time.
Also early on in the tournament, I was very impressed with the young collection of talent that Positive Image brought with them. There were many quality young, yet unknown players on their roster. I don't know how much longer these kids will be unknown because they are all good. Rising Juniors, 6'1+ WG Keith Grimes (Southern), 6'2 CG Kyree Brown (Dobbins Tech) & 6'4 SF Shawn Amos (King) could all make names for themselves this Winter. Normally, 5'11 175-lb CG Kechan Myers (E&S) runs with this group. He has had a whale of a summer as well and will certainly be the Engineers best player from day 1.He ran with the Sonny Hill Juniors here though. We already knew Grimes, but he has made a huge improvement over this summer. The this squad also had a few very good big young Sophs in 6'4 PF-SF William Logan (FLC), 6'4 SF Lavine "Laffy" Grimes (Friere Charter), 6'5 PF-C Kamar Brookins (Roman Catholic) & 6'3 PF Arthur Livingston (George Washington). I look for good things to come from this group over the next few years. They only went 1-2 here, but every game was winable.
Also from the first two days, I was impressed with the play of the YWT Raiders coached by Ike Cahoe & Eddie Hurtt. These guys were a group of rebels and unknowns who wound up winning their pool and beating some quality clubs along the way. They were led by two guys that I feel are D-1 Prospects in 6'3 WG Tim Young (Edison) & 6'5 WG-SF Tyreek Byard (FLC). Young has quietly had a very good summer. Hopefully he'll be seen at Edison. Rider and a few others have been in contact. Byard is receiveing interest from many Low & Mid Level D1's in the Northeast Region.
However, I returned at money time for the 2nd set of Quarter Finals. When I walked into the gym, the Sonny Hill Srs were doing battle with the always tough Cecil Kirk #2 of Baltimore, MD. The Srs are led this year by 6'0 Phenom Guard Maureece Rice (Strawberry Mansion), 6'2 former Olney PG Marvin Kilgore (Milford Academy), 6'0 CG Tyree Watson (Gratz) & massive 6'11 280-lb Center Aaron Gray (Allentown-Emmaus). CK2 came out on top slightly with a 54-48 upset in this one behind the play of 6'3 Providence commit Gerald Brown (21 Points), Maryland commit 6'10+ Center Will Bowers (9 Boards, canceled out Gray) & 6'7 Top 75 National Junior SF Rudy Gay of Archbishop Spaulding in Severn, MD (15 Points, 9 Boards). Rice had a subpar performance in this one which led to their demise. Watson had a very good performance and Kilgore played well as well. Kilgore is one of the City's most improved Guards and will be looking to land a D-1 Scholarship after heading up to CT at Milford in the Fall. The talent has always been there, but he is finally putting it all together. He's still just 17 and should surprise some people at the Prep Ranks this year. In the other Quarter-Final Game, Cecil Kirk #1 easily handled Brian Crawford's Newark Rams (NJ). Then it was on to the suspense...
The two Semi-Final games pitted the Horace Owens' defending Champion, Philadelphia Phoenix against the Cecil Kirk #1 team and the Hunting Park Warriors against Cecil Kirk #2 in the other. The Phoenix and CK1 played a very close hard fought game throughout, CK pulled away in the end to the tune of a 72-58 W. That was not for the inspired play of 6'10 250-lb Center Wayne Marshall (King). Marshall looked better than I've seen him all summer. He went off for 25 Points, 12 Rebounds & 4 Blocks in this one. This was the most aggessive on offense I've seen the big fella all summer. The best part of it all was the fact that he did against the equally tough Big Man 6'9 225-lb PF-C Josh Boone (West Nottingham Academy). Boone is being recruited by the likes of Penn, Temple, LaSalle, St. Joe's, Providence, Rutgers & West Virginia. Boone caught a tip-dunk over Marshall and went to the trash-talking. Next thing I knew Marshall showed the greatest display of footwork that you'll ever see from a player his size and age in the country. He made drops steps and up fakes, spin moves & reverse lay-ups, power moves & 15 footers. Marshall has such a vast arsenal. The Hoop Scoop recently took Marshall out of its Top 100 players Nationally. That is an absolute joke. Clark Francis, who I have much respect for, ought to be ashamed of himself. I've seen Big Wayne outplay at least 5 Top notch Big Men this summer in my travels. He should not only be in the Top 100, which he is in most polls, but he should be in the Top 50 as he is somewhere between the Top 5-10 Post Players in the land. The Phoenix's Top 2 players over the course of the weekend were said to be 5'8 PG Kashif Payne (Carroll) & 6'5 230-lb bull Troy Roundtree (Northeast). Neither played his best in this one. CK's best player in this one though was 5'9 175-lb Junior PG Tarik Johnson (Lake Clifton - Baltimore). Johnson is a definite Atlantic 10 Guard. He's built like an NFL Corner-back. He just does it all from shoot the trey to penetrate in the lane. He went for 20 Points & 12 Assists in this one. His main help came from 5'11 180-lb CG Dontaye Draper who is prepping at Trinity-Pawling in NY (17 Points), 6'6 215-lb SF Tavon Nelson of Lake Clifton HS (13 Points, 8 Boards) & Boone (12 Points, 12 Boards, 5 Blocks). In the second Semi-Final Game, HP just overmatched CK2 from the start behind the play of 6'3+ All-World PG Mustafa Shakur (Friends Central, 13 Points & 6 Assists), his former FC teammate 6'4 220-lb WG Mike Cook (New Hampton Prep -NH, 15 Points, lock-down defense on Gerald Brown) & 6'9 Forward Jason Cain (John Bartram, 15P, 8R). 6'1 PG Michael Green (FLC) also stepped up his game with 11 Points & 4 Assists. They went for an easy W of 65-54. On to the final...
In the Final, I expected a good one, but I got a great Double-OT war between All-Time Rivals Philly & B-More. HP had control throughout behind the play of 6'4 225-lb PF Charron Fisher (Roman Catholic, 23 Points, 15 Boards) & Shakur (25 Points), but as the game wound down with around five minutes left HP held the ball with a 3 Point lead 64-61 for 4 minutes. Finally, the CK kids got restless and started to make them play and HP began to play. A controversial walk call was made against Shakur as he made a quick, darting make his defender look like he standing in cement move to the hoop and made a lay-up. CK was still alive and Johnson made a quick pass to their mad-bomber 6'5 Wing Dan Ross (West Nottingham Academy) for a nothing but cotton trey. In the first OT, HP took control early then as the period wound down, Johnson made plays again a trey and an assist to send this one to a second OT. CK then took total control of a broken spirited HP squad and frolicked to a 94-80 W in 2 OTs. Tarik Johnson was named MVP of the Tourney after scoring 22 Points & dishing 10 Assists in the title game. John Boone had a monster performance of 23 Points & 12 Boards, but for some reason Jason Cain didn't play as much as normal in this one. This was a tough way to go for HP, but it also may have been one Shakur's lesser performances this summer especiallly in the 2 Ots as he forced the issue and tried to make too many spectacular plays. He turned the ball over 5 Times in the OT periods and 8 for the whole game to only 1 Assist. This may have gone different if normal coach Greg Wright was manning the ship as there was a little too mcu one-on-one ball going on. Nevertheless, HP and Shakur will be back. Shakur is expected to choose between NC St. & Arizona in early October which means his better days are far from today. Another quality Future Stars event. Next year will be the 35th Annual event.