Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest 17U Saturday Recap

2013 UA Pitt Jam Fest
Kelly Kline | Under Armour

The 17U Platinum bracket continued to excite with another slate of games throughout Saturday. With the third round and Sweet 16 in the books, here are some observations on a day filled with basketball.
Isaiah Whitehead

Whitehead, one of the most prolific players participating in the Pitt Jam Fest, is all that he’s hyped up to be, possibly even more.

The 6-foot-4 guard playing for the Juice All-Stars was on point all Saturday, wooing fans and scouts alike with his ability to seamlessly split defenders and get lay-ups at ease.

The junior already has offers from Louisville, St. John’s and Maryland, who were all in attendance today, as well as Arizona, Kansas and Syracuse. On top of all of those offers, Whitehead is also garnering interest from the likes of Kentucky and Florida.

Whitehead wowed everyone who watched the Juice All-Star games, even scouts who simply wanted to see what the vaunted junior could do. He certainly didn’t disappoint and will play in an intriguing Elite 8 matchup against DC Assault.

Speaking of the DC Assault…

DC Assault

When I saw the Carolina Wolves play their first game, I was a fan of what I saw: fast-paced, good passing leading to open threes, which (of course) hit the bottom. I felt sorry for whoever had to play them in the Sweet 16 later that day.

Then came the Assault.

The DC Assault looked to play a frenetic pace that the Wolves looked to be familiar with. Assault took advantage of them in a 69-50 win, with three players scoring in double digits. Romelo Trimble led the way with a 26-point performance, followed by Byron Hawkins with 16 and Donte Grantham with 12.

The victory secured a spot in the Elite 8, with a Sunday morning matchup against the Juice All-Stars looming. Look for the Trimble-Whitehead matchup, as it is sure to excite. Tip-off for that game is at 8:15 AM at North Hills Middle School’s second court.

Mike Tucker Jr.

When Mike Tucker Jr. graduates high school in 2014, Bradley is going to get one hell of a player.

The 6-foot-6 forward, who plays for Atlanta Xpress, put on a show against Virginia Elite Gadson. Tucker only scored 14 points, but the way he earned those points made everyone in the gym collectively say “wow”.

First was a fast break two-on-one. Tucker got the pass in transition, blazing by the defender and flushing down a dunk that seemed to rattle the entire gym. The junior then switched his shots to show off his ability to hit the mid-range jumper, connecting from almost anywhere inside the arc.

Tucker continued to rattle off those mid-range jumpers against Squires Richmond, scoring 13 points in a 61-45 win.

We R 1 vs. Team Phoenix

Among all the talent and individual performances, it’s the games that go down to the wire that get the people going

That’s what happened when We R 1 and Team Phoenix met in the third round, as it took all 32 minutes to decide a winner.

Down by three with less than 30 seconds to play, #5 hit a three-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 54.

Then, with less than 10 seconds, We R 1 guard Austin Tilghman hit one of two free throws to give his team the lead. Team Phoenix was not able to get a clean look at a final shot, as We R 1 advanced to the Sweet 16, where they beat the Louisville Magic.

Tilghman ended up with 16 points, while teammate Todd Hughes Jr. scored a game-high 19 points. Team Phoenix’s Ryan Johnson led the way for his respective team with 17 points.

Sports U IZod vs. Team Loaded

Sports U IZod and Team Loaded (VA) saved the best for last with another thrilling finish that went down to the wire.

With the game tied at 51 with 24.6 seconds to play, Sports U took 20 seconds off the clock before junior guard Jared Nickens drained a three-pointer that would prove to be the difference-maker in Saturday’s final game.

“The play was, I was supposed to pop in the middle and it closed up,” Nickens said after the victory. “I was supposed to dribble to the right and come off the screen. He followed me to close it up so I just came up with the step back and hit the three. I was just trying to get that open shot”

@AndrewKoob is a student at Temple University and staff writer for CityofBasketballLove.com, covering Philadelphia-area high school & collegiate basketball.

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