The start of the summer grind begins as it always does in the place where basketball and I grew to love each other, Indianapolis.
The 2014 adidas Invitational featured teams from all over the Midwest but little representation from the Volunteer state this season.
Those that did make the trip showed themselves well. Not all the records were sterling but the efforts in front of the coaches were what mattered the most.
Nashville Celtics 17s
The 17 and under Nashville Celtics doused the competition finishing their pool play unblemished. They closed the pool play session with a good win over a tough Uptempo squad led by 21 points from Jalen Duke (MLK) and 15 each from Will Shelton (Hardin County) and Ricky Dunnaway (Oakland).
Shelton did as much as anyone to raise his profile adding a nice stroke to his already physical style game. The rising senior was top notch in the opening bracket play win over the Hidden Gems to the tune of 25 points. Kyler Douglas (Haywood) had himself a nice game for the high scoring Celtics as well dropping a cool 21 while Grant Teichmann (Brentwood) continues to impress with his demeanor and scoring ability, he finished with 18. Duke added a cool dozen in the win.
The Celtics continued their high scoring ways but fell to Team Progeny 2015 to the tune of 93-88 to finish at 4-1 for the event.
Some grand individual efforts were on display for the Celtics including Shelton and Duke, who continues to improve on his ability to handle the ball and add some range to his shooting.
Douglas was a hot topic among coaches, as well as; Dunnaway who is most intriguing with his length size and ability to knock down the long ball.
Music City Heat-Stars 16s
Ask me who went the furthest in any age group for the state of Tennessee and the answer is the Music City Heat-Stars.
The 16 and under clan finished a gaudy 6-1 advancing to the final eight before falling to CIA Bounce from Canada.
The Heat poured through the pool games at 3-0 then dispatched of Team One from Ohio by 64-61 before a tight affair against Indiana Elite Central by the narrow margin of 76-75.
Kenny Cooper (FRA) was certainly back from his injury that cost him late in the high school season. The rising junior lead guard led the Heat with 23 points in their Sweet 16 triumph over the Kentucky Heat 65-61.
His backcourt counterpart Thomas Booker (East Nashville) tallied 15 while Charquise Buchanan (Pearl Cohn) was a double/double machine before falling injured toward the end of the Heat contest.
The backcourt duo was sensational. Cooper appears to have his full range of motion back and he was aggressive going to the cup and has added strength which allows him to finish tough at the rim. His outside is improving and his confidence level seems very high at this juncture.
Booker has a non-stop motor and is not afraid of anyone or anything on the hardwood. He has supreme confidence and seems to will the ball in the hole at times.
Tennessee Bobcats 17s
Don't let the 0-4 final record fool you the Bobcats were in every game that they played over the weekend in Indy. The margins of victory were slim for the opposition including a 60-55 loss to Waterloo from Canada, 64-60 to the Tampa Bay Warriors, 71-68 to Connecticut Select and 64-60 to Ontario of Canada.
Makale Foreman (Dobyns-Bennett) had a solid event finishing in double digits on three occasions including 15 against Waterloo in the opener. Peyton Woods (Kentucky) led the Bobcats in scoring with a high game of 23 against Connecticut Select.
Lucas Campbell (CAK) finished the event strong with 15 in the final two games while John Bryant (Jefferson County) put up a 15 spot against Tampa Bay in the second contest.
Coaches sighted the efforts of Quan Harrison (Greeneville) and Brendan Coleman (David Crockett).
Memphis Bulls 17s
The Bulls finished 1-2 in pool play and were regulated to the Bronze Bracket where they picked up the pieces and advanced to the title game falling to OAA Select.
Tucker Campbell (Adamsville) was a consistent force the entire weekend averaging 18.5 in eight games including a high of 23 on two occasions. He also controlled the glass with four double digit carom games as well.
Marcus DeBerry (Union City) came in as the Bulls second leading scorer for the event.