Las Vegas, NV – For the first time in the game’s nearly twenty years, the 2019 Jordan Brand Classic All-American game was held in Las Vegas, at the beautiful T-Mobile Arena.
Stanford commit Haley Jones, South Carolina signee Zia Cooke, James Wiseman (Memphis), and Cole Anthony (undecided) were rewarded with Most Valuable Player trophies for their stellar play in leading their respective teams.
Jones was instrumental in leading her “Black” team to the 87-82 victory.
Seen by most reputable outlets as the consensus number one player from her class in the country, Jones impressed throughout with her heady and unselfish play, including one sequence in which she hit the deck to secure a loose ball, had the presence of mind to find an open teammate, scrambled to her feet, and then hustling to secure an offensive rebound and converting the putback.
After the game, the extremely gracious Jones attributed her own success as being a result of solid team play, stating “I hate talking about myself, (but) I think what made me so effective was just my teammates.
They found me in open spots, they found me on backdoor cuts, I think we just moved well off of each other, which allowed me to find open space (on the court).”
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Jones was joined in being honored by Jordan Brand with an MVP trophy by Cooke, who stated after the game that “just being a part” of the Jordan Brand Classic was “an amazing feeling.”
Cooke’s fellow South Carolina Gamecock signee Breanna Beal had a huge impact on the game’s outcome, raising eyebrows on a number of occasions with a seemingly endless array of moves in her layup packages, as she converted on floaters, one-legged fallaways and deft finger-rolls off her Eurostep throughout the contest.
Not to be outdone, Beal and Jones’ teammate Anaya Peoples (heading to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish) brought the crowd to their feet on a few occasions with her brilliant ball-handling, ability to finish in traffic, and impressive court vision, providing the crowd with a multitude of highlight reel moments en route to recording ten points on the night.
The action on the boy’s side, meanwhile saw the “Home/White” team jumping out to a massive lead that ballooned to as much as 25 points then have to maintain their composure down the stretch following a furious comeback and 2nd Half rally lead by Anthony (undecided), Anthony Edwards and Rocket Watts, and the “Visiting/Black” team.
The trio of Isaiah Stewart (University of Washington commit), Trendon Watford (still undecided) and the 7’1″ Weisman were all but unstoppable for Team White in the early going.
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Meanwhile, the trio of Jahmius Ramsey, Patrick Williams (Florida State Seminoles’ commit), and point guard Anthony (the heady and mature son of former UNLV great Greg Anthony) did their best to keep things respectable, with Anthony providing a downright Westbrookian effort in pouring in 25 points to go along with 6 rebounds and seven assists.
Kentucky Wildcats’ commit Keion Brooks brought the crowd to their feet following an emphatic slam off of a nice feed from Tre Mann (Florida Gators) that helped put the “Home” team ahead by a score of 59-35.
Moments later, Cassius Stanley would nail a pull-up from 3 off of a scramble to put his squad ahead 67-39. With just under three minutes to go in the first half.
Right before the half, Memphis Tigers commit DJ Jeffries brought the crowd to their feet, but was unable convert on the amazing lob pass from Tyrese Maxey (University of Kentucky). The home team headed into the locker room at halftime enjoying a 77-54 advantage, as Stanley, Watford, and Stewart lead the way as the only 3 players from the home team in double figures.
Anthony, meanwhile, lead his team with eleven points in the game’s first twenty minutes.
Williams and Rocket Watts would come out strong for the visiting Black team in the second half, bringing their team to within eight points.
Watts and Boogie Ellis were instrumental in keying the pace and initiating some early offense by pushing the pace in transition, setting up their teammates for easy looks.
Watts would continue his aggressive play with great effect, penetrating and then making a beautiful dish to Bacot for the slam, then nailing a three, and then following that up with a nice Nowitzki-esque one-legged fadeaway on the baseline, cutting the home team’s deficit to 96-90 in one key sequence.
Moments later, Weems would hit a corner trey to continue the run and make it 96-93 with under ten minutes to go in the second half.
James Wiseman would make a dunk moments later, and then Kahlil Whitney would make a tough contested layup, but fail to complete the three-point play, as he missed the subsequent free throw.
Once he was inserted back in with just under eight minutes to go in regulation, Stewart continued to show why Mike Hopkins has a gem for next season, as he sandwiched a three-pointer in between a pair of putbacks.
His frontcourt mate Wiseman would convert a nice jump hook a few moments later, and then follow that up with a two-handed stuff off of a beautiful touch pass by Maxey who was able to find the big fella after securing the offensive rebound.
The White/Home team was paced in scoring by Maxey, Stewart (16 points, 8 rebounds), Watford (18 pts and 7 rebounds) and Wiseman (20 points, and 6 rebounds).
While they came up short, the vistiting Black team got solid games from Anthony (25 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists) Ramsey, Anthony Edwards who impressed with his aggressiveness and body control throughout, and Bacot.