May 5, 2012
Okafor, Jabari Parker sizzle at Spiece
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Three Michigan State recruiting targets stepped up nicely during the marquee game of pool play, Saturday afternoon at the Spiece Run-N-Slam All-Star Classic. Parker began the game as a power forward and was effective in cruising the baseline for lobs against Spiece's zone defense.
Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 1-ranked rising senior, scored 20 points in leading the Chicago-based Mac Irvin Fire summer travel team to an 80-70 victory over tournament host Spiece Indy Heat, which is headquartered out of Fort Wayne.
Junior-to-be Jahlil Okafor was his usual solid-to-spectacular self, scoring 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting.
Meanwhile, Spiece Indy Heat junior-to-be Jaquan Lyle had 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting while having to handle more point guard play than usual. He was good, and at times terrific.
But the big-boned, 6-foot-8 Parker went 3-of-6 from the 3-point range and erupted midway through the third quarter with a pair of triples and dunks for the Fire, which exited pool play at 3-0.
The round-of-32 single elimination playoffs begin at 5 p.m. Quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be played on Sunday.
The Fire are a favorite to go far. And they could meet Spiece Indy Heat again in the title game if both teams go on a tear from here.
Lyle went 2-of-6 from 3-point range and delivered some excellent passes.
"He got out and made things happen and had a good game," said Spiece Indy Heat head coach Reynardo Bluiett. "We were short-handed and we kind of left him out there too long and he got winded. But he ran the show. He was aggressive early. He is such a good passer that when he is an aggressive passer everybody else clicks."
Indy Heat was short-handed due to having two backcourt players, including their starting point guard, away for the first half taking their SATs. Purdue commitment Bryson Scott and his twin brother, Brenton, an Indiana State commitment, arrived at halftime and dressed on the sidelines.
"That was like three games," Bluiett said. "At one time we had three sophomores out there. So it was good for them.
"I thought the guys competed like a mutha. We out-rebounded them; that was one thing we were concerned about. We got some things accomplished."
"There were some things that we saw that will help us when we continue in EYBL."
The Rest Of It
Midway through the game, he played the three and looked to get his shots from the right wing.
Parker's step-back 3-pointer stretched the Fire's lead to 57-50 in the third quarter. He also nailed a 3-pointer off an inside-out pass to extend the lead to 70-61 in answering a brief Indy Heat run.
"Jabari is always solid," said Bluiett, who coached against him. "He picks his spots. He's a great kid too."
Coach Bluiett's son, Trevon Bluiett, led Spiece Indy Heat with 19 points. Bluiett (6-4, Indianapolis Park Tudor High) was 6-of-13 from the field. He is ranked the No. 47 player in the country and has offers from Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and Virginia. Coach Bluiett says Michigan State has kept in touch as well.
Kyle Davis, the speedy sleeper we mentioned in the notebook last night, had another good game. The 6-foot lead guard had 16 points, played excellent defense, and went 7-of-14 from the field. He fades on the fast medium-range, off-the-dribble jump shot a little bit, but mechanical questions didn't stop him from going 3-of-5 from 3-point range in this game.
"I like number 3," said Bluiett, the opposing coach. "I don't know his name, but he hit the open shot when he was open and he controlled it a little bit. I thought he was good today."
Davis has offers from Nebraska, Wright State, George Washington and others.
"Kyle Davis, he is like the engine to all of us," Okafor said. "Give him some credit. He keeps it going. And Jabari and Sterling Brown[db] knocked down some shots against that zone."
Sterling Brown (6-foot-4, Maywood, Ill.) is Shannon Brown's little brother. MSU has been scouting him. He has offers from DePaul and Nebraska.
Okafor, the No. 4-ranked junior in the country, scored on a pair of put-backs and wide-bodied post-ups. He lists Michigan State, Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State and Arizona among his leaders.
"This was a good win for us," Okafor said. "That is a rivalry game for us, they are another EYBL team and they have a lot of good D-1 athletes so it's a good game for us that we look forward to."
In other action, The Family (Detroit) defeated the Illinois Wolves 62-48 to finish 3-0 in their pool. Senior-to-be [db]James Young, of Troy High, had 24 points for The Family. Senior-to-be E.C. Matthews, of Romulus, had 15.
After the game, Young sported a Kentucky basketball tee shirt. Young listed Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina and Arizona as his top five last night. Michigan State seems to be in his second tier. Young is ranked the No. 9 rising senior in the country.
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