Last night, I figured I head down the block to check out the first annual Juno Hoops Celebrity Game. The game was definitely better than I expected and a few of the players surprised me. Check out our brief look at the game and our scouting report on the top three prospects from the media that played in that game ...
So I went to the Juno Hoops Celebrity Game last night and I have to say that I had some low expectations to say the least. I generally have low expectations for any kind of celebrity or all star game. My only real concerns were twofold heading into Kerr Hall on the Ryerson University campus: to see if the guys that talk ball (think J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas from The Basketball Jones and Michael Grange from the Globe and Mail) could really ball and to get Donovan Bailey’s autograph so anything else would be gravy. But I was surprsed at how the contest played out.
The game was played in two 20 minutes halves and I was expecting it to be a shootout with a very low field goal percentage. This was actually true. I’m not sure about exact stats but it wasn’t 50% and there were the mandatory missed layups and poor shot decision making. And really, to tell you the truth I wasn’t really paying close attention to anything other than the play of individual players and that was a lot fun.
The energy was low to start but would pick up as the game got on. There were guys that were playing just to play (and you saw that with their body language) but there were some cats looking to get the win (maybe too hard in game like this). The game got really good towards the last eight minutes when the lead began to seesaw back and forth with the lead being as much as 11 points for one team and it being cut down repeatedly by alternating scoring runs. In the end, Team Bounce beat Team Groove 83-79. So since I was only really watching the individual players, here is my scouting report on the guys that matter most to us basketball loving, basketball reading people based on last night’s performance:
J.E. Skeets, The Basketball Jones – NBA Projection – (young) Jose Calderon
Skeets running the fast break was a pleasant surprise as he took complete control of the break and hit his team with some precise passing. His team didn’t convert on everything but they were good passes nonetheless. And I have to mention that he has a penchant for the fancy feed also repeatedly going behind the back with the dish. He can penetrate and create for his teammates and is very quick with the ball. He has a solid handle and can play some good on the ball defense. He will need to work on his mid range jumper as he did miss some open 12 footers but he is able to finish at the rim under pressure. May need to put on some weight but he seems wiry and may be able to handle the rigors of playing with the big boys.
Tas Melas, The Basketball Jones – NBA Projection – Reggie Evans
Melas is the kind of player you want to have on your team because he does all the things to help you win. He’ll never overwhelm you with stats and you’ll never really know he even played until you check his minutes in the boxscore but the bottom line is that he’s the one player that is in the middle of everything. He’s the screen you have to get around, he’s the hand that jars the rebound loose, he’s the help defender causing the turnover. He is nothing but a disruption with very quick feet (I know. I’ve played against him before). He has a solid frame and backs down from no one. He needs more polish on his offense but games are won with defense and he can do that. Will need to lay off the eating on the bench though.
Michael Grange, The Globe and Mail – NBA Projection – Linus Kleiza
Grange plays a very simple, low to the ground game that is very effective. He’s like a good used car – not fancy but gets the job done. He has a deceptively quick first step and uses it to get to spots where he can score effectively. He has steady hands often turning errant passes thrown to him into solid catches. He’s plays a hardnosed game and backs down from no one on both ends of the floor. He has a solid jumper that is effective from 10 feet in. He didn't take many outside shots during the game but the midrange is his bread and butter. A strong defender overall but lacks enough lateral quickness to defend quicker players in the post. Could be effective as a point forward in the Larry Bird mold minus the Larry Bird – actually more like Larry Krystkowiak.
And here are some other assorted thoughts from the game …
Moment of the Game – block for block
In the closing minute of the game, Ryerson Ram forward Bjorn Michealsen blocked a layup at the rim on one end to start the fast break for Team Groove. As the break looks to finish on the other end, Team Bounce’s Jordan Gauthier (also a member of the Rams basketball team) blocks the layup attempt into the stands. With the game already decided, both blocks were unnecessary but damn they sure were a fun ugly to see.
Best Matchup – Ashley MacDonald vs. Skratch Bastid
I don’t know how this happened but DJ Skratch Bastid got stuck defending OUA All Star Ashley MacDonald a few times and SB got rocked almost every possession that MacDonald had the ball. This was a definite mismatch in favor of MacDonald but she didn’t totally embarrass him. I don't think SB thought he'd be playing someone this good, let alone a female this good so kudos to him for not backing down in the slightest.
Best Shoes – DJ Future the Prince
You should all know if you follow me on Twitter that I have a shoe thing. There was plenty of heat at the game but Future the Prince had the hottest pair. This dude was playing in Jordan Brand XI Space Jams. If you don’t know what they are, Google them or ask one of your friends who waited outside the local shoe store overnight to get them. Now I remember when I was younger a guy on the playground saying "If you're wearing Jordan anything, you should be killin' people." FYI, he didn’t live up to the shoes but hit the last three of the game.
Line of the Game - Solitair
After Devo Brown dropped three straight threes in about 45 seconds, Canadian rapper Solitair on the mic called him "a ringer". Devo is the most unassuming ringer I've ever met I suppose then.
Interesting Observation of the Night - Cameras everywhere
Now there were the cameras clicking away throughout the game but upon entering the gym and taking my seat, I noticed a lot of video cameras. Not the ones friends and family tend to hold but big ones that came with network logos and on air personalities. I thought that was odd fo rhtis event, or at least that many. I counted five major networks at the event not including the Score recording footage. Now if this kind of media turnout would happen for a Canada Basketball event ...
If you have any other questions about the game, leave then in the comments section below and I'll do my best to remember the details.