Games at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp are traditionally brutal affairs, as NBA prospects play all-out, physical, aggressive defense to try to impress NBA general managers and scouts. That was the case again on Wednesday’s opening night at Moody Bible Institute, but in the middle of all that tough defense, a 1970s style shootout that would make Doug Moe proud broke out. Cordell Henry of Marquette paced three Team 2 players with over 20 points, scoring 26 points, to lead Team 2 to a 116-114 double-overtime victory over Team 1 in the second of three games played Wednesday (Box Score) .
Maryland's Aaron McGhee had the top performance of Day One with 31 points.
Team 2’s balanced attack, which saw six players reach double figures, overcame a 31-point performance by Team 1’s Aaron McGhee of Oklahoma. McGhee, the Most Valuable Player of the 2002 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, scored 23 points after halftime, but couldn’t get his team into the victory column.
Team 1 let this game slip through its fingers, squandering a six-point lead with 29.8 seconds left in regulation. Team 1 missed three of four free throws in that interval, while Tito Maddox, who did not play a single minute of college basketball this season after being declared ineligible at Fresno State, tied the game for Team 2 by hitting a three-pointer from the top of the key with 3.2 seconds remaining to knot the game at 102.
The first overtime period (a three-minute period) ended with the scored tied at 108. Team 2 roared ahead with an 8-0 splurge to start the second overtime period, taking a 116-108 lead on a three-point play by Vincent Yarbrough of Tennessee, then barely held on after relinquishing all but two points of that lead.
Henry, listed at 5-10 by Marquette, entered camp as one of the less-heralded players, but made sure scouts gave him some respect with a superb shooting game. He scored 14 points in the first half on 6-of-7 shooting as Team 2 grabbed a 54-44 lead. In the second half, the action shifted to the frontcourt, as McGhee, Notre Dame’s Ryan Humphrey (21 points on 9-of-10 shooting) and Florida’s Udonis Haslem of Team 1 (22 points, including 10-for-10 from the line) put on an inside-outside shooting exhibition that surely intrigued NBA teams. Humphrey had the entire gym holding its collective breath after he crashed to the ground after getting knocked off balance at the top of his leap, falling on his head. But after receiving a couple of stitches in the back of his scalp, the determined Humphrey re-entered the game and was again a factor with his fine shooting.
Another standout from this game was guard J.R. Bremer of St. Bonaventure, who tallied 22 points for Team 2, including nailing three of four three-point attempts. Bremer showed some quickness and ballhandling ability as well, essential to his bid to prove to NBA scouts that he can play both guard positions. Rasual Butler of La Salle, a late addition to the camp roster, contributed 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for Team 1 in a losing cause.
TEAM THREE 88, TEAM FOUR 79: (Box Score) A tremendous display of balanced, team basketball lifted Team 3 to victory. Cincinnati’s Steve Logan led a balanced attack with 12 points, but no player on the team took more than 11 shots. The key surge of the game, a 12-2 burst that lifted Team Three from a 63-63 tie to a 75-65 lead with six minutes remaining, typified the team’s style, as six different players scored one basket each during the critical run. Team 4, which benefited from an excellent shooting game from Hawaii’s Predrag Savovic (game-high 19 points), never got closer than five points over the game’s final six minutes.
The first half was highlighted by the solid contributions of unknown Croatian big man Mario Kasun, who played very little in Europe this season after leaving Gonzaga without playing in a single game after his eligibility was questioned by the NCAA. Kasun stepped out to make a mid-range jump shot to add to a couple of postup scores. He tallied eight points and four rebounds in the first half. Maryland’s Byron Mouton scored eight of his 10 points in the first half as Team 3 took a 48-43 lead.
Savovic scored five points during an 11-6 run by Team 4 that knotted the game at 54 just three and a half minutes into the second half. The teams traded baskets until the decisive 12-2 run broke the 63-all tie. Darius Songaila of Wake Forest contributed 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds to Team 4 in the loss, while teammate Marcus Taylor of Michigan State added eight points and five assists. Luke Recker of Iowa notched nine points on 4-of-6 shooting for the victorious Team 3.
TEAM SIX 85, TEAM FIVE 68: (Box Score) The first game of the day was also the least competitive. Team 6 got excellent guard play from starting backcourt members Lynn Greer of Temple and Ronald Murray of Shaw as it raced to a commanding 45-25 halftime lead. Greer garnered eight points and three assists in the first half, while Murray, the Division II Player of the Year, led all first half scorers with nine points and made several slick offensive moves against his upper division foes.
While Team 6 never saw its lead cut to single digits in the second half, Team 5 did make a 15-4 run, mostly due to the textbook three-point shooting of Notre Dame’s David Graves. In a span of three minutes and 21 seconds, Graves hit three three-point field goals to help trim a 21-point lead to 10 at 53-43 with 14:53 remaining. But Team 5 was never able to get the margin under 10 points the rest of the way.
Lonny Baxter of Maryland, who struggled in the first half despite Team 6’s dominance, rebounded with a superb second half effort, drilling 10 of his game-high 15 points and snatching six of his game-high 10 rebounds in the second half. Murray (13 points) and Greer (12 points, five assists) were the other double-figure scorers for the winners. Robert Archibald of Illinois led Team 5 with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, while Lee Benson of Brown Mackie College in Kansas added eight points and seven rebounds.
NOTES: Several players incurred minor injuries which kept them out of action on Day 1. Lenny Cooke of Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan (N.J.), suffered a left great toe sprain and missed the evening’s action. Israel Sheinfeld, who played three seasons at Wright State before returning to play in Israel this season, twisted an ankle and was held out of action. And Peter Fehse, a largely unknown player from Germany, arrived in Chicago on crutches from an ankle sprain. All three players are under the care of the camp’s trainers and physicians and will be re-evaluated prior to Thursday’s action.