LAS VEGAS –
Paced by most valuable player Derrick Walton Jr.
, the Michigan Mustangs capped an unbeaten run through the adidas Super 64 on Sunday with an 84-71 win over New York-based New Heights in the final.
Walton, a 6-foot point guard committed to Michigan and ranked No. 56 in the MaxPreps Class of 2013 Top 100, tallied 16 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds in a championship game televised nationally by CBS Sports Network.
"This means a lot," said Walton, who is coached by his father at Chandler Park Academy (Harper Woods, Mich.). "In a couple of weeks it will hit me that it was my last AAU game, but it's good to go out with a win."
Walton received support from 6-7 forward
(23 points), 6-4 wing Fredrick "Boo Man" Edmonds
(22 points, 7 rebounds) and co-point guard Monte Morris
(12 points, 6 rebounds) – an Iowa State commitment.
"We have a lot of good guys on the team," Walton said. "We aren't a one-man show. Everybody can contribute in their own way."
The Mustangs beat Garner Road of North Carolina by two points and Minnesota Pump N Run by one earlier in the day to reach the championship game at Rancho High School. The program's most impressive victory of the event came Saturday in a 34-point drubbing of tournament favorite Florida Elite.
The Michigan squad built a 16-point lead in the first half Sunday against New Heights, only to see it dwindle to two at the 12:48 mark of the second half. But a pair of key buckets by Hayes and a puzzling zone defense helped stave off the NYC representatives.
The Mustangs finished play at the adidas Super 64 with an 8-0 record and avenged a loss to New Heights two weeks ago at the adidas Invitational in Indiana.
"We watched this team several times and we knew they would make a run," Mustangs coach Damon Allison said. "We played them in Indianapolis and they made a run and beat us.
"We kicked, scratched and fought all summer. Nobody pegged us to be here."
Top 100 post man Jordan Washington of Pathways College Prep (Queens, N.Y.) led New Heights with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Jalen Jenkins, an unsigned 2012 prospect likely headed to prep school, also notched a double-double with 10 points and 14 boards.
More on the Mustangs
* Everything Hayes has touched since last November has turned to gold. A rising senior at Sexton (Lansing), Hayes helped the Big Reds go 27-1 last winter and win Michigan's Class B state title. Sexton finished No. 15 in the final Xcellent 25 national rankings. He has offers from DePaul, Oakland and St. Bonaventure and interest from most of the MAC and other Midwest mid-majors. "It's been a heckuva year, I love it," Hayes said. "We've been grinding all summer. I love being part of a winner, it feels good."
* We listed Edmonds as a wing above, but that was simply a matter of convenience. He can guard multiple positions and scored and shot the ball incredibly well in Las Vegas. He deserved some consideration for MVP honors. Originally a 2012 prospect, he will prep at Kingdom Prep in Iowa next year and claims to be hearing from some high major programs.
More tournament champions
* Co-MVPs D'Angelo Russell and Quentin Snider – a Louisville verbal commitment – led the Louisville Magic to the 16U adidas Super 64 title with a 65-58 win over Compton Magic.
* Chandler White, a 6-2 shooting guard from Carroll (Fort Wayne, Ind.), earned MVP honors in the adidas 15U division after leading Indiana Elite to a 80-67 win over Minnesota Pump N Run in the final.
* Houston Hoops knocked off Jahlil Okafor and Mac Irvin Fire 54-53 in the 17U championship of the Las Vegas Classic.
The unlikely star
CBS Sports Network viewers nearly got a glimpse of a major Cinderella story in the adidas Super 64. Unlikely-looking star Graham Woodward of Edina (Minn.) came within a point of leading Minnesota Pump N Run to the championship game.
The 5-10 point guard has an advanced understanding of the game. His ability to manipulate the defense by making reads and the right play in response is a thing of beauty. Woodward shot the ball well in games Saturday and Sunday and possesses solid quickness and athleticism.
"I play hard, do what I can to help my team win and hope the coaches will notice me," Woodward said.
Woodward, who owns a 3.7 grade point average, would make any college program better and several coaches have already figured that out. California-Davis, Cal Poly, Nebraska-Omaha, Vermont and a trio of Ivy League schools have extended offers.