Saturday Rewind: #KnoxVegasHeat2K18
April 7 2018
KNOXVILLE, TN — The 10th annual KnoxVegas Heat Invitational continued on Saturday with a number of the Southeast region’s top talents on display. The second day of action from #KnoxVegasHeat2k18 showcased an abundance of talent across all grade levels as several noteworthy storylines came into focus…
TEAM UNITED ROLLS THROUGH POOL PLAY
Saturday always seems to be the best day for basketball and that statement certainly holds true here at the legendary #KnoxVegasHeat2k18, especially given the strong slate of games on display. Team United 17U would agree, as they opened their morning against a brutal Emerald Team and were forced to fight until the final possessions.
In many ways, 6-foot-4 Deonte Randolph was their most important player because of his ability to defend multiple positions at a quality level. At 6-foot-7 Taurus Ragin gave them strong defensive presence capable of blocking shots and running the floor. Their point guard, 5-foot-11 Brandon Beidleman, showed his value as a floor general, making plays for teammates while hitting perimeter jumpers. Overall it was their selflessness and willingness to make the extra pass whenever possible that resulted in a hard-fought victory for Team United.
PERIMETER SHOOTING BEGINNING TO ‘HEAT’ UP
The North Carolina Heat battled a tough, athletic Next Level SC to open up their second day of play here at #KnoxVegasHeat2k18. The Heat struggled to get stops in the first half but quickly turned it around after the break. After erasing a double-digit deficit, the game was in their hands. More specifically, it was in the hands of the player who led their comeback, Michael Melton.
Melton shot the ball fairly well in the first half but their opponent seemed to want more, continually giving the shooter space and letting him fire away. Once Next Level began closing out hard, it was too late, as Melton had already caught fire and had no intention of turning back. He was easily the biggest contributor in their Saturday morning win, knocking down over a handful of three-pointers while showing the willingness to drive and finish through contact.
That’s all without even mentioning their next game, which actually turned out to be one of the most entertaining games of the entire event, put on by 6-foot-2 Undre Lindsay against Tennessee Fury. After getting his footing in the morning, Lindsay turned the corner and decided to dominate whoever was next. His first-half performance was just that, dominating.
Lindsay decided to open the game with the team’s first 14 points and continued to pile it on, leading to one of the most spectacular performances possible in a half, with 23 points at the break. Things changed once the opponent began giving full-court attention to Lindsay. They were unable to hold their lead, which took the game to overtime, where Melton would hurt his ankle while Lindsay started showing signs of fatigue after totaling 32 points, inevitably resulting in a tough loss against a tough Tennessee Fury squad.
NC ELITE FINDING LEADERSHIP
Strictly from a talent standpoint, no 14U team has been able to match the prospects that NC Elite is strutting out. One of their main pieces, Kheni Briggs, sat out with a shoulder tear, and they certainly could’ve used his services. However, with Freddie Dillone, they should still be considered a huge threat to opponents.
The 6-foot-3 wing decided to take over offensively and had a strong showing against EOTO, a team that has easily beat their opponents to this point. He plays with a calm demeanor and has been able to get to the rim whenever he pleases here at #KnoxVegasHeat2K18. It’s no secret that Dillone has nice physical tools, but it was refreshing to see an offense run through him and have success. Despite a great performance from Dillone, NC Elite would fall just short to EOTO by a score of (score).
LENGTH OVER STRENGTH
The 15U field here at #KnoxVegasHeat2K18 has been full of intrigue, especially with an undefeated RSD squad that showcases a team with intrigue at nearly every position. They displayed terrific talent on the wings between Brandon Miller and Kobe Tibbs. The two create an incredibly long, wiry wing tandem that can cause havoc on both sides of the ball.
Miller, at 6-foot-5, understands how to use his length to rise above the defense and score. He is building his perimeter skillset but showcased the ability to regularly create his own shot and finish. Meanwhile, Tibbs, at 6-foot-2 is aggressive and used his length to make countless plays on defense. He forced numerous turnovers and converted each fast-break opportunity into points. Expect this RDS squad to continually improve as these two continue to fill out physically.
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
The Class of 2020 concluded their pool play Saturday at #KnoxVegasHeat2K18 and the final contest between Carolina Pressure and Team Passion Elite was a thriller. These two teams went at one another from the very beginning, resulting in a neck-and-neck game with a ton of lead changes. There was a lot of transition play, which was exactly what the Pressure wanted.
Ty Hurst is the unquestioned leader of Team Passion Elite. The 6-foot-3 wing knows how to score at will inside the arc by using his length advantage and craftiness around the rim. Hurst’s offensive abilities demanded constant attention and his teammates got better looks as a result.
Meanwhile, Carolina Pressure had leadership in many different forms. Dallan Wright (pictured) is a strong two-way guard with the ability to play as the lead creator in a pinch. Breon Lewis is a long, athletic wing who uses his defensive versatility to make plays. Christan Horn outworks everyone on the floor, grabbing offensive boards, sprinting at all times, and making hustle plays whenever available. Fredrick Savage plays as their lead guard but has the ability to slide off-ball if necessary and carve up opponents with his ability to score from beyond the arc. The Carolina Pressure were simply more composed down the stretch, which led to their 64-58 victory over a very tough opponent in Team Passion Elite.