By MARCUS HELTON
BOWIE, MD – The 2014 summer live period came to a close with the DMVelite Team Takeover Invitational last weekend at Bowie City Gym, giving 24 teams a final opportunity to showcase themselves in front of Division I college coaches.
Perhaps the weekend’s most thrilling finish came well after the college coaches had departed, though, as Team Takeover-Ty Lawson held off DC Blue Devils in a 64-63 thriller to claim the 16U Division championship in Sunday’s final game. [By NCAA rules, college coaches were mandated to leave at 5pm, shortly before the game started.)
Blue Devils 2016 guard Jeff Dowtin was fouled with 0.09 seconds left and his team trailing by two. He easily made the first, but the second rattled out, and an attempt at a tip-in hit the side of the iron as time expired.
The game capped a successful weekend, as the 3rd annual event welcomed college coaches from Cincinnati, Coppin State, Hagerstown Community College, Holy Cross, Loyola, Maryland, Memphis, Missouri, Morgan State, Mount St. Mary’s, Rhode Island, Richmond, Robert Morris, Salisbury State, Shepherd, Siena, Stevenson, UMBC, Virginia and West Virginia.
Here’s a look at some of the weekend’s standouts:
Jason Jolly, Stone Bridge (Va.) 2015 PG (Loudoun United 17U): Jolly (pictured, right) averaged 20 points per game to carry his high school team’s offense last year, but he’s shown that he’s more than just a scorer during a strong summer with Loudoun United. He dished out 8 assists against just one turnover in LU’s opening win against Team Melo, and was solid all weekend in helping LU reach the 17U semis.
Fred Slater, St James (Md.) 2015 WG (Loudoun United 17U): Slater had an inconsistent weekend offensively, but showed his potential to make an impact by dropping 23 points in a win against Xpress United on Saturday night. He hit four 3-pointers and showed athletic flashes of his pre-injury form (Slater tore an ACL two summers ago).
Gary Blackston, Patterson (Md.) 2015 CG (HC Dream Team 17U): Few players had a better offensive weekend than the Joppatowne HS transfer, who showed the ability to score in all phases. He went for 24 points in a tough overtime loss to Team Takeover’s 16U squad, giving TTO’s collection of perimeter talent trouble all game long. Finished well in transition and showed underrated athleticism going to the basket.
Fortune Okigweh, Patterson (Md.) 2015 PF (Harford County Dream Team 17U): Okigweh was impressive in two games for HC Dream Team. A high-level athlete who can always be counted on for an impressive dunk or two, his motor stood out on Saturday. The 6-foot-6 forward was on the floor for nearly every minute and his energy level was infectious for his teammates. He had 17 points in his team’s near-upset of TTO, showing an improved face-up game and some touch from beyond the 3-point line.
Taron Oliver, Riverdale Baptist (Md.) 2015 F (Team Takeover Orange 17U): Oliver arrived at the event on Sunday after spending the week in Las Vegas playing with TTO’s EYBL squad. He made an immediate impact, going for 23 points against FBCG and 14 in a matchup with the Takeover 16’s. Oliver looks to be in the best shape of his career – he’s considerable slimmed down from a year ago – and seems primed for a starring role in the frontcourt at Riverdale, which lost Chinanu Onuaku (Louisville) and Alex Long (Mt. Zion Prep) to graduation. He has good feet and hands, showed good moves on the block and facing up, and even stepped out to hit a 3.
De’Monte Buckingham, Henrico (Va.) 2016 WG (Team Takeover 16U): One of the more high-profile recruits in the event, Buckingham showed the versatility that has become his calling card. He’s an unselfish offensive player but can take over when needed, as he did in scoring 14 of his 17 points in the second half to fend off an upset by the HC Dream Team. Defensively he was impressive as well, recording several nice chase down blocks. Maryland and Virginia – both of whom have already offered – were in attendance to see Buckingham.
Christian Matthews, National Christian (Md.) 2016 WG (Team Takeover 16U): Matthews (pictured, bottom) has looked much better with Takeover as the summer has progressed, and appeared much more confident and assertive on the offensive end in particular. A gifted and versatile wing scorer, Matthews finished strong in transition and consistently showed his 3-point range. He had 24 to help lead TTO’s rally against HC Dream Team, and added 20 against Team Melo in the opening playoff round Sunday. Matthews is still just 15 years old, and has the potential to be one of the area’s next big stars.
Kevin McDonald, Georgetown Prep (Md.) 2016 WG (Team Takeover 16U): McDonald had a strong shooting weekend in front of the assembled college coaches, and was lights-out in a semifinal win over TTO Orange, hitting four 3’s en route to 16 points. He moved well without the ball and found open spots, and made defenders pay for not closing out on him.
Dayveon “Doc” Barnes, Mount St. Joseph (Md.) 2016 WF (Team Takeover-McClinton 16U): Barnes has a well-deserved reputation as a high-motor rebounding machine, but showed flashes of his improving wing game. He scored 19 points (14 in the second half) in a win against FBCG, and was a consistent double-double producer all weekend. Barnes need to continue honing his shot, but if he can develop a consistent jumper it will be a big boost to an MSJ team that lost its primary scorers to graduation.
Chris Lykes, Gonzaga (D.C.) 2017 PG (Team Takeover Lawson 15U): The DMVelite Freshman of the Year is one of the most exciting players in the area. He missed Saturday’s action but didn’t skip a beat on Sunday. He scored 16 and had several key buckets down the stretch to help Takeover escape Maryland Bulls in their opener Sunday, then had 14 in a semifinal win over Takeover Black and 12 in the title game win against the Blue Devils.
Myles Douglas, Friends School (Md.) 2017 WG (Team Takeover Ty Lawson 15U): On a TTO team already loaded with talent, the highly-touted Douglas is notable for his willingness to do a bit of everything. He’s unselfish and passes well for his size, and displays a good feel for the game for a player so young. He uses his length to make plays on both ends of the floor, and has the potential to be an elite player.
Malik Jones, New Town (Md.) 2015 CG (Team Melo 17U): Jones enjoyed a productive offensive weekend, highlighted by a 20-point outburst against the Team Takeover 16’s. He had 17 and hit three 3’s against Loudoun United, while also doing a solid job defensively against LU’s backcourt.
Keandre Cook, Northwestern-Baltimore 2015 WG (Team Melo 17U): Cook is a smooth and versatile wing guard. He enjoyed a solid junior campaign at Northwestern and is in line for a breakout senior year. He needs to add weight, but plays stong and finishes well in traffic. In a 17-point performance against Xpress United, he displayed his full array of offensive skills, including a nice mid-range touch.
Lavonte Sanders, Wise (Md.) 2014 WG (FBCG Dynamic Disciples 17U): The Prince George’s Community College signee was a key starter on Wise’s state championship team, and showed this summer that he’s capable of thriving as a focal point. Strong and athletic, he was able to get to the rim when he wanted and also showed nice form on his jumper. Should be an immediate contributor at PGCC.
Kevin Simpson, DuVal (Md.) 2015 PG (FBCG Dynamic Disciples 17U): Coming off a solid junior season at DuVal, Simpson has boosted his stock this summer by showing he can score efficiently while also keeping his teammates involved. He had 22 vs. Team Takeover Orange, 20 against Metro All-Stars and 14 vs. TTO-McClinton, showing improved consistency on his outside shooting and a nice mid-range floater.
Elijah Boyd, St. John’s Catholic Prep (Md.) 2016 WF (Germantown Hard Knocks 17U): Boyd is a solidly-built wing forward with a very nice shooting touch. He hit five 3’s in a 24-point outing against Southern MD Flyers and also finished well near the basket.
Oshea Gairey, St. John’s Catholic Prep (Md.) 2015 PG (Germantown Hard Knocks 17U): Gairey closed the summer out with Hard Knocks after a stint in the EYBL with Baltimore Elite. He’s a smooth and steady lead guard who won’t wow you with athleticism but always seems to get to the right spot when he needs to. He did a good job all weekend of setting his teammates up with open looks, and is an underrated on-ball defender.
Jeff Dowtin, St. John’s (DC) 2016 CG (DC Blue Devils 16U): Dowtin continued his breakout summer with another strong weekend, helping the Blue Devils reach the 16U title game. He’s a crafty and versatile player who easily shifts between distributor and scoring roles. He’s calm and rarely seems to force the action or make the wrong play.
Jack Lawrence, Gonzaga (DC) 2016 F (DC Blue Devils 16U): The skilled big man played with a level of intensity that turned heads all weekend. He was in attack-mode from Game 1, and produced one of the event’s most memorable stretches with back to back posterizations of defenders on Saturday.
Taariq Drakeford, Freedom-Woodbridge (Va.) 2016 CG (Metro All-Stars 16U): Drakeford dropped 31 points in an OT loss at DMVelite’s Path To Greatness Invitational in June, and he impressed yet again. An efficient scorer, he had 26 and hit five 3-pointers against Maryland Bulls and hit four 3’s in a 20-point performance against Lox Down United. Drakeford has yet to play a varsity minute due to a pair of transfers, but has emerged as a name to keep an eye on in NoVa.
Lhordn Hyman, Norfolk Christian (Va.) 2016 PG (LoxDown United 16U): A scoring point guard, the 6-foot Hyman was one of the standouts for a LoxDown United team that made the trip up from the Tidewater. He showed a very nice 3-point stroke and hit 5 from deep in a 24-point performance against Metro All-Stars.
Isiah Deas, Bishop Loughlin (NY) 2016 WG (Team Born Ready Elite 17U): The 6-foot-4 Deas was another out-of-area player who impressed last weekend, turning in several strong offensive performances, most notably 23 points against MD Bulls. He has a very nice first step and showed a knack for finishing tough and getting his shot off from all angles.
Isaiah Boggs, Largo (Md.) 2016 WG (MD Bulls 16U): A strongly-built, playmaking wing, Boggs provided several highlight reel plays in his team’s narrow loss to Team Takeover. He has the strength to bully smaller defenders, but also a quick first step and a a burst off of the floor.
Here are some others who impressed last weekend:
Ryan Allen, DeMatha (Md.) 2017 WG (Team Takeover Orange 15U)
Spencer Askew, West Springfield 2016 PG (Team Gray 16U)
Marcus Atkinson, St. Andrews (Md.) 2015 PG (Team Takeover Orange 17U)
Matt Ayoub, WT Woodson (Va.) 2016 G (DC Blue Devils 16U)
AJ Barnes, Bowie (Md.) 2016 F (DC Blue Devils 16U)
Javonte Byrams, 2016 G (MD Bulls 16U)
Lolami Charles, Milford Mill (Md.) 2014 F (HC Dream Team 17U)
DeJuan Clayton, St. John’s (DC) 2016 PG (Team Takeover-McClinton 16U)
Jacob Conerly, Christ Chapel (Va.) 2016 F (AYAC Hawks 16U)
Brandon Dawson, Forestville (Md.) 2015 CG (Team Gray 16U)
Darian Dixon, Bishop McNamara 2016 C (DC Blue Devils 16U)
Oladoyin Fadojutimi, Takoma Academy (Md.) 2015 WG (Team Takeover Orange 17U)
Tyler Femi, Flint Hill (Va.) 2015 PG (Loudoun United 17U)
Brandon Fields, Bishop McNamara (Md.) 2016 G (DC Blue Devils 16U)
Quintin Gilchrest, Bishop Ireton 2017 SG (Team Takeover Ty Lawson 15U)
Michael Gray, Bowie (MD.) 2017 PG (6th Man Warriors 16U)
Domenic Grayer, Bishop Loughlin (NY), 2015 CG (Team Born Ready Elite 17U)
Jordan Hill, National Chrsitian (Md.) 2016 G (MD Bulls 16U)
Zach Hobbs, Northside (NC) 2017 G (Xpress United 17U)
Saiquon Jamison, Northwestern-PG (Md.) 2016 F (Metro All-Stars 16U)
Aaron Jeter, Hayfield (Va.) 2016 WG (AYAC Hawks 16U)
Ishmael Johnson, National Christian (Md.) 2015 F (Team Takeover Orange 17U)
Pierre Johnson, Capital Christian (Md.) 2015 G (Team Melo 17U)
Monte Lambert, James Madison (NY) 2015 CG (Team Born Ready Elite 17U)
Donald Lane, TBD 2015 G (Metro All-Stars 17U)
Montez Mathis, TBD 2018 WG (Team Takeover Ty Lawson 15U)
DJ Mitchell, DeMatha (Md.) 2017 G (Team Takeover Lawson 15U)
Shawn Moss, Oxon Hill (Md.) 2016 G (Metro All-Stars 16U)
Ed Oliver, Archbishop Carroll (DC) 2016 F (6th Man Warriors 16U)
Keon Queen, Montrose Christian (Md.) 2016 F/C (Team Takeover McClinton 16U)
Tyler Scanlon, Paul VI 2016 F (Team Takeover 16U)
Aaron Thompson, Paul VI 2017 PG (Team Takeover Ty Lawson 15U)
Carl Trice, Oscar Smith (Va.) 2016 SG (LoxDown United 16U)
James Valle, Good Counsel (Md.) 2017 F (Team Takeover Orange 15U)
Nick Walker, Stonebridge (Va.) 2016 F (LoxDown United 16U)
Demetrich Williams, Patterson (Md.) 2015 F (Team Melo 17U)
Kaine Wilson, Parkdale 2015 SG (Metro All-Stars 17U)