EAGAN, Minn. –
In the grand scheme of summer basketball and the 80 games to be played this weekend in suburban Minneapolis as part of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League circuit opener, the incredible finish to Friday night's Boston Amateur Basketball Club-Oakland Soldiers showdown probably doesn't matter.
It won't be immortalized with constant replays on cable sports channels or talked about for generations in Boston and Oakland.
But it was
After BABC forward Andrew Chrabascz
provided what looked like it would be the game-winner with three seconds remaining, the Soldiers had just enough time for a prayer and called a timeout to set it up.
What transpired looked partly inspired by Grant Hill to Christian Laettner, part Bryce Drew and Valparaiso over Mississippi in 1998.
Rising junior Stanley Johnson
was to receive a three-quarters court baseball pass from Tyree Robinson
, then dump it off to Jabari Bird
for the last-chance shot. The pass sailed wide left, but actually worked to the Bay Area club's advantage as defenders scrambled to pick it off, leaving Bird all alone for an easy bucket and 59-58 win.
"Stanley threw a great pass and I was able to finish it," Bird said. "That was crazy and it was against one of the best teams in the country."
Bird finished with 18 points, adding to a game-high 20-point effort by teammate and fellow five-star recruit Aaron Gordon
The Soldiers were picked by Five Star Basketball this week as the No. 1 club team in the country, but found themselves down by 12 in the first half against the defending EYBL champs.
"We've been talking about that (No. 1 ranking) the whole time," Bird said. "You could kind of tell guys were thinking, 'Oh we're No. 1, we are supposed to be winning right now.' We bounced back in the second half."
Bird's recruitment is shaping up as a Pac-12 Conference battle. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound wing – ranked No. 12 in the MaxPreps Class of 2013 Top 100 – has California and Washington at the top of his list, but says Arizona, Colorado and Oregon are also in the picture.
Mac Irvin Fire frenemies?
In March, Jabari Parker
and Simeon (Chicago)
beat Paris Lee
and Proviso East (Maywood)
in a highly-anticipated Illinois Class 4A state championship game.
Both teams were nationally-ranked and entered the showdown with a combined record of 63-1.
Parker and Lee are now teammates with Mac Irvin Fire and helped the Chicago-based program notch a hard-fought 73-67 win over the Bluff City Legends of Memphis on Friday.
"At first it felt kind of funny because I'm on the same team as Jabari Parker and he beat me," Lee said. "But then I had to realize we are on the same team and we have to gel."
Lee scored a modest six points against Bluff City, but sparked a second-half rally with his ferocious full-court pressure in the Fire's three-guard "Pit Bull" lineup.
The 6-0 rising senior guard has an offer in hand from Loyola of Chicago and interest from Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville, Illinois-Chicago, Missouri State and South Alabama.
As for Parker, MaxPreps.com's top-rated 2013 prospect, he finished with a team-high 20 points after shaking off a quiet first half.Johnson breaking outJaJuan Johnson
of the Bluff City Legends and Southwind
was the breakout star during the high school season in basketball-crazed Memphis. His efforts in a losing cause Friday against Mac Irvin Fire suggest he may be in line for an eye-opening summer, as well.
Johnson, a 6-5 shooting guard and MaxPreps Junior All-American, pumped in 23 points to lead the Legends' unsuccessful upset bid.
But he's been overshadowed by high school and club teammate Johnathan Williams III
up to this point, something he hopes to change.
"I wasn't getting no attention," Johnson said of his recruitment. "It was all about J3, he was bringing all the attention and getting exposure and I fed off him."
Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida, Memphis, Marquette, Mississippi and Tennessee are showing the most interest in Johnson at this point. Expect that list to grow for the active guard with a thirst to score the basketball.Sleeper alert
How does a player who didn't start for his high school team during the 2011-12 season turn into a hot name on the recruiting trail?
A long 6-9, Damian Jones
of the Texas Titans and Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.)
has the frame and raw tools to deserve a long look from at least a few of the hundreds of Division I coaches in attendance this weekend at the High Performance Academy.
He came off the bench for Louisiana's Class 5A state champs as a junior and started drawing attention from programs like Alabama, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Playing alongside five-star teammates Julius Randle
and Matt Jones
(committed to Duke) this summer should ensure he continues to receive plenty of exposure.
Jones says he hopes to hear from schools like Florida, Kansas, LSU, North Carolina and Texas.Notes
* Parker and Mac Irvin Fire drew the biggest crowd Friday evening, but a close second was hometown favorite Tyus Jones
and the Howard Pulley Panthers. Jones, the nation's top rising junior guard, poured in 23 points to go along with eight assists to lead the locals to an 88-77 win over the Georgia Stars. MaxPreps will have more on Jones later this weekend.
* Donte Clark
, a 6-4 guard from Kennedy Charter (Charlotte, N.C.)
, had the night's biggest scoring outing with 30 points for the Georgia Stars.