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Adidas Invitational: Indy Successfully Hosts AAU Tournament

While the world waited with bated breath for LeBron James to make his DECISION about where to play next season, the next “King” of basketball may well have been playing ball in an Indianapolis high school gym this past week. Indy kicked off the July college basketball recruiting period by hosting the Adidas Invitational this past week.  Formerly known as the “It Takes 5ive Classic,” which was held in Cincinnati in previous years, the Adidas Invitational brought scores of the nation’s highest ranked high school basketball players to the Circle City, along with coaching representatives from 69 of the 73 BCS conference schools — Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Billy Donovan, Tom Crean, Matt Painter, and Brad Stephens among them.

The Classic, which featured AAU teams in three different age groups (15-17), used North Central High School and Northview Middle School as the primary site, with the Fishers Fieldhouse, Westfield High School, and Park Tudor High School serving as secondary locations.  The talent was premium, and the competition fierce during the week-long tournament, and I was lucky enough to catch the last day of action.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to see many of the local players who participated, but I did watch some highly entertaining basketball played by the best the nation has to offer.

Here’s a look at some of the Indy area hoopsters who made positive impressions at the event:

Austin Etherington, Hamilton Heights High School (committed to Indiana University)

Andrew Smeathers, Center Grove High School

Jeremy Hollowell, Lawrence Central High School

Devin Davis Jr., Warren Central High School

Basil Smotherman Jr., Heritage Christian High School

Zak Irvin, Hamilton Southeastern High School

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, North Central High School

Ron Patterson, Broad Ripple High School

Kellon Thomas, Southport High School

Yogi Ferrell, Park Tudor High School

Collin Hartman, Cathedral High School

And here are some photos of the exciting action I was able to take in:

 

Despite being the last day of the tournament, there were still multitudes of college coaches in the stands taking notes, sharing info…

 

and of course, sending text messages by the hundreds.

 

I did see a few coaches who Indianapolis sports fans might be familiar with…

 

You might recognize that fella in the glasses, black shirt, and khaki shorts as former Indiana Pacers assistant coach Kevin O’Neil. He’s now the head man at the University of Southern California.

 

Representing Indiana’s largest university on Thursday afternoon was Tom Crean’s right hand man, and former Ball State University head coach, Tim Buckley.

 

As cool as it was to see all the coaches, the players were the real stars of the event. And none shone brighter than LeBryan Nash out of Dallas, Texas.

Nash, a 6’7″ small forward, is ranked 4th nationally in 2011 recruiting class, and was clearly the best player on the Dallas Mustangs, who ended up winning the Platinum Division in the 17U age bracket.  He’s yet to commit to a college, but Kentucky is considered a strong favorite.

Facing off against Nash in the championship game was Jermaine Sanders of New Heights NYC.

 

Sanders is a strongly built lefty shooting guard/small forward out of Rice High School in New York.  He’s considering a slew of schools on the East Coast, although I overheard him singing the praises of Louisville coach Rick Pitino during a post-game interview.

Although his team lost in the semifinals, Nate Lubick drew a crowd after the contest.

 

Lubick, a 6’8″ power forward out of Southborough, Massachusetts, originally signed with Georgetown University, but has since de-committed and is keeping his options open.

 

Though I didn’t get to see much of their game, the Indiana Elite 16U looked pretty formidable…in warm-ups at least.

 

 

Especially the duo of Obji Aget and Peter Jurkin, both of whom measure out at over 7 feet tall.