Ballislife All-American 3 Point and Dunk Contest Recap/Game Preview
By Brandon Tatera
Ballislife.com has highlighted some of Southern California's brightest stars for the past few years, including their breath taking highlight tapes of NBA young stars DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, and college stars such as Derrick Williams and Tyler Honeycutt. Their presence is growing nationally, while still keeping its Southern California roots. This is the first year of the Ballislife.com High School All-American event and is being held at Cal State Fullerton.
Dunk and 3-Point Shooting ContestsAmong a strong group of high level dunkers and shooters, it was two guys from out of the state who took home the hardware. Amir Garrett of Findlay Prep in Las Vegas who took home the dunk contest trophy, beating out Jahii Carson of Mesa, Arizona in the finals. Garrett is a familiar name in Southern California after leading Leuzinger to a CIF Championship last season.
Tyrell Corbin of West High School in Salt Lake City Utah won the 3-point contest beating both Jordan Williams of Kimball High School in Texas and also one of Southern California's own - Cezar Guerrero of Saint John Bosco High School. The name Corbin might ring a bell for some - his father Tyrone played 15 seasons in the NBA and is currently the interim head coach of the Utah Jazz.
In the Three Point Contest, Guerrero had the high score of 16 in the first round and clinched a spot in the finals. Williams and Corbin both tied with a score of 14 and advanced to the finals. The rest of the field of consisted of Collin Woods with 13, C.J. Cooper of La Verne Lutheran, Dominique Dunning of Corona Centennial, and Ike Nwamu, all had 11. Jarion Henry, Danny Cheek of Corona Del Mar, Marshawn McMahon of Leuzinger and Jabari Brown all had 8, while Marcus Bradley and Jamal Branch had 7 with Devonta Abron rounding out the field with 3 points.
In the finals, Williams started out hot but quickly faded and finished with 8 points, good for third in the competition. Corbin started out well knocking down 3 of 4 balls in the first marker for 4 points and finished with 13 points, a solid number. Guerrero started slowly and picked it up late, as he knocked down 3 of 4 balls on the 4th marker and hit the 2nd to last shot, but the last and 2 point money ball was just long and he finished with 12 points, as Corbin won the 3-point contest.
The featured event of the night was the dunk contest and it certainly lived up to its billing. The opening round of two dunks per contestant provided 3 perfect scores of 50 by Amir Garrett, Nick Johnson and Jahii Carson. Carson and Garrett advanced to the finals with totals of 98 and 97 respectively. Greg Sequele of Ribet Academy had a score of 84, Stephen Maxwell of Taft High School finished with 80, Collin Woods scored a 76 followed by Bruce English of La Verne Lutheran who had a 74. Rounding out the field Nwamu had a 66, Johnson 50, Keaton Miles 40 and Jordan Green 0.
Garrett stole the show in the finals with the help of his Findlay Prep teammate Johnson, as he caught the ball off the backboard and did a 180 in the air and jammed it with his left hand for a perfect score of 50. That score along with his 2nd dunk score of 48 clinched him the slam dunk contest championship. Carson's first dunk of 48 was from a pass from Brown sitting on a chair in the key as he caught and wind milled it. But it was not enough after he followed it with a somewhat routine toss ahead and catch and 2 handed dunk for his second dunk. Check out Ballislife.com for the video of the dunk contest that will better illustrate the contest.
National Game PreviewThe National Game features a long list of nationally ranked players. Three players to keep an eye on for the White Team are Jahii Carson, Jabari Brown, and Angelo Chol. Carson is a small point guard with a big heart. His 5-foot-10 frame and ability to wow the crowd with his passing and dunks should have him among the crowd favorites. Brown, along with Juan Anderson, are the two Bay Area standouts on hand. Brown is in my opinion the top player in the state and by a good margin. His size at 6'4-6'5 allows him to play and defend two positions. He has a complete offensive skill set, as he can both shoot from beyond the 3 point range and drive and dunk with the best of them. Brown, headed to Oregon, has the most college ready game of all the participants. Chol is in my opinion the top defensive player in the State. Chol's length and shot blocking ability really distinguishes him. His matchup against Norvel Pelle looks to be the most even battle with both players having similar bodies and skill set.
Three players to keep an eye on for the Navy Team are Cezar Guerrero, Amir Garrett, and Norvel Pelle. Guerrero, a mix of flash and skill, has been in the Southern California limelight since his freshman year. His ability to score and pass makes him among the best in those 2 categories. The return to Southern California for Garrett has him ready for a breakout game. He's a good defender and is a highlight tape on offense with his strong dunks. Pelle, the highest ranked player in the game at #19 by Rivals.com, is athletic and long and able to get out in transition and finish with one his patented alley oops.
Regional Game PreviewThe Regional Game is more of a Southern California game with some of the best players from throughout the Southland. Three players to keep an eye on for the White Team are C.J. Cooper, Gerry Blakes, and Kevin Johnson. The UTEP bound Cooper led his La Verne Lutheran Trojans to the State Championship. In what looks to be a fast paced game, Cooper has both the basketball IQ and skills to take over this game. Blakes, the Hawaii bound guard from Morningside High School, is both the perfect mix of offensive skill set with his shooting and driving ability and his length on to guard 2 and possibly 3 positions. That combination is why Blakes should have a big impact. Johnson, the 6-foot-10 center from Taft High School, is the biggest player in the game and should have a big impact on the glass and in the paint.
Three players to keep an eye on for the Navy Team are Mike Caffey, Rasean Simpson, and Ronnie Stevens. Caffey is in some eyes the least heralded of the Corona Centennial trio of guards (with Dominique Dunning and Gelaun Wheelwright). But Caffey, like Cooper, should be primed to make an impact. He proved all season he can run a team both scoring and distributing, which what is needed in this game with the amount of talent around him. Simpson is a versatile wing who can play 3 positions and is among the top unsigned seniors in Southern California. He didn't receive the recognition I feel he deserved playing along side Norman Powell, Tyrell Robinson and Tyree Robinson. Hawaii bound Stevens, a forward from Serra High School, will be needed on the glass and with his defense. He leads a Navy team front line that has more size than the White team.