Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.39.00 PM

Reebok Breakout Classic Day 2 Recap: Derrick Jones puts on a show

Leave a comment

PHILADELPHIA — Derrick Jones ended Day 2 of the Reebok Breakout Classic with the highest scoring game of the camp to date, finishing with 31 points in a win during the afternoon session on Thursday. He followed that up with 18 points in the night cap, combining to shoot 18-for-22 from the floor for the two games.

It was a refreshing show of dominance from Jones, who has developed a bit of a reputation for coasting through games when he feels his competition is overmatched. The 6-foot-6, left-handed wing is as elite as an elite athlete can get, which allows him to thrive in transition and when attacking and finishing around the rim. He’ll find his way on high light reels.

But the reality of his game at this point in his development is that there simply isn’t that much beyond his ability to jump. It looks like it’s starting to come along, as he knocked down a jumper off of a pick-and-roll on Thursday and got by his defender and to the rim in half court sets a couple of times as well. He still has work to do, but that’s a step in the right direction.

Here’s the thing about Jones right now: he hasn’t made the leap to where he’s taking a professional approach to his daily life as a basketball player. And that’s fine. He just turned 17 years old and he’s clearly still maturing into his body, as well as maturing as a person. The good news? He’s not concerned with media attention — he has no interest whatsoever in getting interviewed — and he’s yet to be jaded by a system that monetizes the sport.

As his AAU coach Terrell Myers told, he’s still just a kid playing a game.

Take notice of Jeantal Cylla: Cylla has one of the most unique names that you’ll come across on the circuit this July, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll be one of the most memorable players, especially when he’s taking the court at events like Reebok Camp. He shares a roster with Danjel Purifoy, Kendall Small and Diamond Stone, which makes it easy to be overlooked.

But it also creates opportunity, as a couple good performances with all the eyeballs on the stars is enough to ramp up a recruitment, and it looks like that’s beginning to happen to Sylla. An explosive, 6-foot-7 wing, Sylla spent the second day of Reebok Camp attacking the rim and making plays in the paint. He’s still more of an athlete that plays basketball than an athletic basketball player at this point — he’s in a similar position to Jones — but that development will come with time.

Sylla listed Virginia Tech, East Carolina, South Florida, Houston, FIU and FAU as the schools that have offered him while mentioning that Wichita State, Tennessee, Clemson and Memphis made a point to watch him play during this camp. Gregg Marshall, Donnie Tyndall, Brad Brownell and Josh Pastner all were in attendance on Thursday.

Perry Dozier’s return from injury continues: Dozier is just a little more than 10 months removed from surgery to repair the ACL in his right knee. He claims to be back to 100%, but at the NBPA Top 100 Camp last month, it was clear at times that Dozier was still working his way back to being the player that he was last summer. Thursday was a big step, however, as the 6-foot-6 guard really impressed with his ability to make decisions with the ball in his hands, knocking down a couple of jumpers in the process.

Mike Watkins will have an impact at Penn State: Watkins is the kind of big man that every coach in the country is going to love. He understands his limitations and plays to his strengths. He’s got a terrific motor, he attacks the glass on both ends and he doesn’t mind mixing it up in the paint. Pat Chambers is going to be happy he locked him up early on.

Guy V. Lewis, coach of Phi Slama Jama teams, dies at 93

Guy Lewis
Associated Press
Leave a comment

HOUSTON (AP) Former University of Houston men’s basketball coach Guy V. Lewis, best known for leading the Phi Slama Jama teams of the 1980s, has died. He was 93.

He died at a retirement facility in Kyle, Texas, on Thanksgiving morning surrounded by family, the school said Thursday.

Lewis coached the Cougars for 30 years. He guided Houston to back-to-back NCAA title games in 1983 and ’84 but never won the national championship, losing to N.C. State in the 1983 final on Lorenzo Charles’ last-second shot, one of the NCAA Tournament’s greatest upsets and most memorable plays.

“It feels awful,” Lewis said after that game. “I’ve never lost a game that didn’t feel that way, but this one was terrible.”

Lewis, who helped lead the integration of college basketball in the South by recruiting Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney to Houston, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Known for plaid jackets and wringing his hands with a red polka-dot towel during games, Lewis compiled a 592-279 record at Houston, guiding the Cougars to 27 consecutive winning seasons from 1959-85. He was honored as the national coach of the year twice (1968 and `83) and led Houston to 14 NCAA Tournaments and five Final Fours.

Lewis had mostly avoided the spotlight since retiring in 1986. He suffered a stroke in February 2002 and had used a wheelchair in recent years.

He was known for putting together the “Game of the Century” at the Astrodome in 1968 between Houston and UCLA. It was the first regular-season game to be broadcast on national television. Houston defeated the Bruins in front of a crowd of more than 52,000, which, at that time, was the largest ever to watch an indoor basketball game.

Lewis attended the introductory news conference in December 2007 for Kevin Sumlin, the first black football coach in Houston history. It was a symbolic, significant appearance because Lewis signed Houston’s first two black basketball players and some of the first in the region in Hayes and Chaney in 1964, when programs were just starting to integrate.

Hayes and Chaney led the Cougars to the program’s first Final Four in 1967 but lost to Lew Alcindor’s UCLA team in the semifinal game.

“Basketball in the state of Texas and throughout the South is all due to coach Guy V. Lewis,” Hayes said in 2013. “He put everything on the line to step out and integrate his program. Not only that, he had vision to say: `Hey, we can play a game in the Houston Astrodome.’ Not only that, he just was such a motivator and such an innovator that created so many doors for the game of basketball to grow.”

Along with Hayes, Lewis also coached fellow All-Americans Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. The three were included on the NBA’s Top 50 greatest players list in 1996. Lewis and North Carolina’s Dean Smith were the only men to coach three players from that list while they were in college.

Players and CBS announcer Jim Nantz lobbied for years for Lewis to get into the Naismith Hall of Fame. When he finally received the honor in 2013 he made a rare public appearance. It was difficult for him to convey his thoughts in words in his later years because of aphasia from his strokes, so his daughter spoke on his behalf at the event to celebrate his induction.

“It’s pure joy and we’re not even upset that it took so long. … Dad is used to winning in overtime,” Sherry Lewis said.

Lewis announced his retirement during the 1985-86 season, and the Cougars finished 14-14, his first non-winning season since 1958-59.

Guy Vernon Lewis II was born in Arp, a town of fewer than 1,000 residents in northeast Texas. He became a flight instructor for the U.S. Army during World War II and enrolled at the University of Houston in 1946.

He joined the basketball team, averaged 21.1 points and led the Cougars to the Lone Star Conference championship. By the early 1950s, he was working as an assistant coach under Alden Pasche and took over when Pasche retired in 1956.

Funeral services are pending.

AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan contributed to this story.

Syracuse upsets No. 18 UConn as Tyler Lydon stars again

St Bonaventure Syracuse Basketball
AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth
Leave a comment

Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney combined for 34 points as Syracuse overcame an early 10-point deficit to knock off No. 18 UConn in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, 79-76.

The talking point at the end of this game is probably going to end up being UConn’s decision not to foul Syracuse with 36 seconds left on the clock. Trevor Cooney dribbled out the clock and, with six seconds left, missed a 35-foot prayer, the offensive rebound getting corralled by Tyler Roberson, sealing the win.

But that’s not the real story here.

That would be Tyler Lydon, who suddenly looks like he may end up being the difference maker for this Syracuse team.

If you don’t know the name, I don’t blame you. Lydon was a low-end top 100 recruit that had been committed to the Orange for a long time. He’s not exactly a game-changing prospect, but he’s a perfect fit for Syracuse. At 6-foot-9, Lydon has the length to be a shot-blocker in the middle of the 2-3 zone — he entered Thursday averaging 3.3 blocks — but his biggest skill is his ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc. When he plays the middle of that zone, when he is essentially the five for the Orange, they become incredibly difficult to matchup with defensively.

The question is whether or not he can consistently be that guy on the defensive end of the floor. Against UConn, Lydon had 16 points and 12 boards. Against Charlotte, he finished with 18 points, eight boards and six blocks. But neither the Huskies nor the 49ers have a big front line that crashes the offensive glass.

Lydon is great at using his length to make shots in the lane difficult, but at (a generous) 205 pounds, he may run into trouble against bigger, stronger front court players.

The perfect test?

Texas A&M, who the Orange will play in the title game on Friday.