Georgia Tech-Bound Young Leads White to Jordan Classic Victory

Thaddeus Young led all scorers with 28 points

April 22, 2006

By Bryan Armen Graham
Assistant Editor, CSTV.com



BRYAN GRAHAM

Bryan is a basketball editor for CSTV.com and contributes on a regular weekly basis.
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NEW YORK -- Many of the players that have headlined the Jordan Classic since the annual All-American game's 2002 inception -- stars-in-waiting like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire and Martell Webster -- chose to be more like Kobe than like Mike and forego the college ranks for professional careers.

 

But with the NBA's newly-instituted age limit, each of the 20 participants in Saturday's event at Madison Square Garden is headed to a college campus in the fall. For the first time in its five-year history, the Classic provided an uncompromised preview of tomorrow's collegiate elite.

 

For Georgia Tech fans, that view was quite promising.

 

Thaddeus Young, who will suit up for Paul Hewitt's Yellow Jackets in the fall, scored 22 of his game-high 28 points after the break to lead the White team to a 108-95 victory. The 6-foot-9 forward also grabbed 13 rebounds -- including 10 on the offensive glass -- to notch just the eighth double-double in the history of the event.

 

Young converted 12-of-20 shots from the floor to pace a side that put down close to 50 percent of its attempts. The Memphis native would share co-MVP honors with Texas signee Kevin Durant, who finished with 16 points, seven boards and four assists for the Black team.

 

"Games like this are meant to showcase individual talent, but we went out there to play as a team," Young said. "That's what we focused on all week, and that's what we did."

 

Young awed a jovial Garden crowd of 9,641 with an impressive array of dunk shots, mid-range jumpers and three-pointers. Sherron Collins, a 5-foot-11 point guard headed to Kansas, added 14 points and a game-high six assists for the winners.

 

Louisville's Edgar Sosa (13 points), North Carolina's Wayne Ellington (11 points) and Michigan's DeShawn Sims (10 points) also logged double figures for the White team, which was coached by Mount Vernon High School coach Bob Cimmino.

 

The lead changed hands 12 times during a competitive first half, but Florida State signee Jonathan Kreft's two-handed slam dunk with 6:32 remaining in the period gave the White team a permanent lead that would balloon to 16 points.

 

Young converted an alley-oop offering from Duke-bound Jon Scheyer midway through the second half to highlight a 14-7 run that gave the White team a 79-66 lead and effective control of the game. The Black team would not draw closer than six points after halftime.

 

"It was just like playing another AAU game," Young said. "I don't think there was any additional pressure. When you go out there and play hard, good things happen."

 

Texas-Sized Expectations

 

Durant, the lanky 6-foot-10 forward from Rockville, Md., can add another accolade to his ever-growing trophy case. The Montrose Christian School alum also collected MVP honors at the McDonald's All-American Game on Mar. 29 with a 25-point performance.

 

"I just come out and let it flow," said Durant of his approach to All-Star games that have littered his schedule since Montrose wrapped up its season with a 74-72 victory over Oak Hill on Mar. 4. "If I get MVP, I guess I get MVP, but I just wanted to play hard in my last high school game.

 

The end of his prep career was a bittersweet moment for Durant who, despite his bright future, says he'd do it all over again if he could. Spending time with his fellow All-Americans was just an added bonus.

 

"We're all friends, we're like a big family," Durant said. "I love these guys to death. It was just a good week hanging around with them."

 

Suburban Warriors

 

Eugene Harvey netted 17 points on his way to co-MVP honors as the Suburban team scored a 142-131 victory in the late-afternoon Regional Game.

 

Harvey, a 5-foot-11 point guard from St. Benedict's Prep (N.J.), also added a team-high four assists. The Newark native has yet to choose a school for the fall.

 

The balanced offensive attack of the Suburban side -- which finished with 10 players in double figures -- overcame an outstanding individual performance from Brooklyn native Jamine Peterson, who finished with a game-high 24 points on 11-for-16 shooting.

 

Peterson, like Harvey, has not yet signed a National Letter of Intent.

 

Notes ... Young joined Stoudemire, James, Howard, Sean May, Linas Kleiza, Kris Humphries, Al Jefferson and Andray Blatche as the other Classic participants to record double-doubles in the event ... The loudest cheers of the evening were reserved for Curtis Kelly and Edgar Sosa, who led nearby Rice High School to the CHSAA title last month on the Garden floor ... Atlanta-based rapper T.I., the self-proclaimed "King of the South", performed in between games of the twinbill ... The crowd gave Musiq Soulchild an old-fashioned ribbing when the R&B artist blanked on the words halfway through his performance of the national anthem.