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Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Prime Time Recap - July 13
I felt that Monday's PTL action was some of the best exhibition basketball I'd seen in a while. Tonight's games veered sharply toward the opposite end of the spectrum. Turnovers, blowouts, uncalled fouls and questionable effort (even for a summer league) from some players diminished my enjoyment, but the night wasn't a total loss.

My night started in the old gym for the 6:00 game between Team 5 (Alex Thompson, Tony Freeman, Duez Henderson) and Team 6 (Erek Hansen, Ben Jacobson, Dean Oliver). Team 6 was playing shorthanded since two of their big contributors, Jordan Eglseder (Bellevue-Marquette) and Jason Bohannon (Linn-Mar), both played at last week's Nike All-American Camp. Of the remaining players, only Hansen had any size to defend the post, and only Jacobson and Oliver could be considered big scoring threats.

The game got so out of hand so early that I moved to the new gym at half time. Team 6 tried to work the ball into Hansen throughout most of the first half, which resulted in the expected dropped passes, stripped balls, and less surprisingly, blocked shots. I counted four separate times where Thompson redirected Hansen's shot, and I only saw the first half. To his credit, Hansen did knock down some mid-range jumpers, which he does consistently. Team 5 took advantage of plenty of turnovers for easy layups and dunks and ran away to a 57-31 halftime lead. Here's the scoring breakdown (first half only).

Players' schools listed here.

Team 5
Alex Thompson, 11
Tony Freeman, 12
Duez Henderson, 14
Jason Price, 2
Nate Swetalla, 16 (got hot and hit 4 threes)
Mason Stewart, 2

Team 6
Erek Hansen, 8
Ben Jacobson, 11
Dean Oliver, 2
Jake Lappe, 8
Tony Wilcox, 2

Like I said, I could only handle so much of a blowout in which one team had no offense, so I split at halftime to take in the second half of Team 3 (Adam Haluska, Grant Stout, Atila Santos) vs. Team 8 (Seth Gorney, Carlton Reed, Matt Burks). Unfortunately, this game was even more unbalanced. A 52-42 halftime lead for Team 3 exploded into a 122-87 victory over the next 20 minutes. That's no typo - Team 8's total disinterest with the concept of defense led to a 70 point half for Team 3.

One of the first things you notice about Team 8 is the odd body types. Aside from Gorney, who looks like the typical plodding center, you can see why this team can't defend and is on their way to a winless summer season. Burks is a poor man's Francisco Garcia, a tall, rail-thin wingman with a nice jump shot and some decent moves, but no match for Haluska, the muscular former sprinter. They also have Brennan Swayzer, a tall post player who makes Hansen look plump. The lineup is rounded out by Julian Seay, a point guard who might stand 5'6" and looks like he's spent far more time perfecting his NBA Live dynasty than his jump shot.

As for individual performances, Haluska looked capable of scoring whenever he wanted to. He must've had 30 pounds on Burks and had no trouble blowing past him for layups, but he often seemed more interested in getting his teammates involved (like Brett Wessels, who hit five threes in the half. Wessels looks like a solid shooter - it seems like he's been on fire every time I've seen him play. He doesn't offer much defensively, though). Stout and Gorney spent a good chunk of the half on the bench, so I can't say too much about their play. Reed really wanted to take on the defense by himself, which led to a few turnovers and some bad shots, but his teammates didn't exactly do much to help him out. He looks really quick on the floor this summer.

Scoring breakdown, second half only.

Team 3
Adam Haluska, 20
Grant Stout, 6
Atila Santos, 6
Justin Wieck, 8
Brett Wessels, 17
Dallas Hodges, 2
Kevin Andrews, 11

Team 8
Seth Gorney, 2
Carlton Reed, 7
Matt Burks, 14
Brennan Swayzer, 7
Julian Seay, 7
J.R. Rice, 3

The 7:30 round of games featured a matchup I was excited about for a few days. Greg Brunner's 7-0 Team 1 squared off against Jeff Horner's 3-4 Team 2. I pretty much go see Brunner's team play whenever I go to the PTL, so I've missed a lot of Horner's games. The league's top two draft picks going head-to-head was easily the marquee game tonight.

The game lived up to expectations early on. Every first half possession for Team 1 seemed to go through Brunner, and he had no trouble carrying the load. A mixture of strong post moves and short jumpers resulted in a 24 point half for the big guy. If you count the second half of Monday's game, that's a 40 minute stretch where Brunner scored 53 points (if you're scoring at home, or if you're by yourself). Horner played well himself, dropping three treys on the way to a 15 point half. Like Monday night, Team 1 held a one point halftime lead, this time at 48-47.

The second half was a different story for Brunner. He missed a couple threes early, and the team stopped going to him. He didn't make his first basket until the 14:30 mark. A few minutes later, Team 2's bench ignited a run that put the team up by 8 with 8 minutes to go. Ali Farokhmanesh and Bruce Sain each hit two threes during the rally. Team 2 held a comfortable lead until Kenyon Murray drove toward an open lane with his team down by three with about three minutes to go. He must've seen some movement out of the corner of his eye, because a seemingly easy layup from the left side turned into a reverse layup from the right side that rolled off the rim. Team 2 raced to the other end for an easy layup that pretty much put the game out of reach. Now that I think about it, it was fairly similar to the ending of the Iowa-Illinois matchup in Iowa City last year, where Dee Brown picked up a missed Iowa opportunity and raced to the other end to close it out.

Scoring Leaders

Team 1
Greg Brunner, 33
Kevin Sams, 15
Brooks McKowen, 10
Kenyon Murray, 17
Marcus Leloux, 12
Oral Wright, 4

Team 2
Jeff Horner, 27
Darryl Moore, 16
John Little, 7
Andrew Naeve, 8
Kyle Schlaak, 17
Matt Brown, 4
Ryan Kennedy, 2
Ali Farokhmanesh, 6
Bruce Sain, 8

That's all the PTL action until Monday, when there will be a couple more exciting matchups. Team 1, in first place at 7-1, will be trying to lock up the tournament's #1 seed and an easy first round game against Team 8 when they play a solid Team 7. In the 7:30 round, Team 2 plays Team 5, which will give us a chance to see Freeman go up against Horner, a battle of future vs. past point guards that might hint at who will be Iowa's PG of the present.
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