Elite 24

Elite 24

2008 Boost Mobile Elite 24 @ Rucker Park Recap



I was in attendance at the 3rd annual Elite 24 game held at the famous “Rucker Park” in Harlem, NY which took place on Friday night. This game brings together 24 of the elite high school players in the country regardless of shoe affiliation to go head to head in this all-star game. On Friday night the blue squad “Skip to My Lou” earned a 135 to 121 victory over the white squad “The Goat”.

The players who were awarded the MVP’s were Lance Stephenson (Lincoln, NY) aka “Born Ready” with a game high 29pts, John Wall (Word of God, NC) aka “Ammo” aka “Make’em Fall” with 10pts & 6ast, Dominic Cheek (St. Anthony’s, NJ) aka “Peek A Boo” with 23pts, 7rebs & 3stl and Maalik Wayns (Roman Catholic, PA) aka “So Unique” with 10pts and 8ast.

John Wall (Word of God, NC) aka “Ammo” aka “Make’em Fall” really stood out in this contest with his lighting quick speed and his flashy play making ability along with being able to jump out of the gym. In the 1st half he tried to get everyone involved but in the 2nd half he began to insert himself on the offensive end with some exciting plays. About half way through the 2nd half he had the play of the game when he went coast to coast down the lane for a monster left handed tomahawk dunk that had the crowd going crazy.

Lance Stephenson (Lincoln, NY) aka “Born Ready” playing on a tweaked hip which had him sidelined the day before during the practice and scrimmage was the other standout performer, which should come as no surprise as he always seems to step up when the bright lights are on him. He once again had a big night coming out and answering any challenge that other players came at him with showing his sick handle and killer instinct on the offensive end. On one play in the 2nd half well in a dual with Dominic Cheek he came down and crossed Cheek twice then hit him with a spin move to the basket for an and one score. Lance has definitely added some muscle to his frame since the end of the high school season and has the ability to bully his way to the basket at will.  

It was a typical all-star game not much defense from either team with both teams earning many fast break baskets. There was a couple of interesting head to head duals between some players that got the crowd going crazy right from the start of the game. These match-ups included John Wall going up against Lance Stephenson to start the game off. Then Lance Stephenson and Dominic Cheek went back and forth at each other. Maalik Wayns took over the game for stint scoring a quick 6pts in a row with some crowd pleasing moves.

As most people know all-star games are mostly guard dominated but there were a couple of big men who had a nice impact on the game. Derrick Favors (South Atlanta, GA) aka “Sure Thing” who is considered by some as the #1 player in the class of 2009 finished with 16 pts and 9 rebs. He had some monster dunks on the inside and did a good job on the boards. The other big guy who had a nice showing was 2010 standout Josh Smith (Kentwood, WA) who finished with a double-double 11 pts and 11 rebs. He used his large frame to make space inside to finish strong.

The local players put on a nice showing with Durand Scott (Rice, NY) who finished with 15 pts on an array of jumpers and drives to the basket. Doron Lamb formerly of (Bishop Loughlin, NY) who will play at national power (Oak Hill Academy, VA) this upcoming season, he showed his big-time scoring ability getting to the basket at will. Dexter Strickland (St. Patrick’s, NJ) playing in his 3rd Elite 24 game had a nice a game totaling 17 pts with a mix of jumpers and drives to the hoop. Dexter also won the 1st annual ESPN Rise Slam Dunk Contest defeating Jordan Hamilton (Dominguez, CA) in the final. Lance Stephenson (Lincoln, NY) aka “Born Ready” who also was competing in his 3rd Elite 24, playing with a tweaked hip still gutted out a big performance. He finished with a game high 29 pts along with a handful of boards plus 3 ast. He earned another MVP award for his 2nd in a row at Elite 24 and continued to cement his claim as the top prospect in the class of 2009. Dominic Cheek (St. Anthony’s, NJ) aka “Peek A Boo” one of the smoothest players in the class of 2009 showed his overall game earning a MVP award finishing with 23 pts. He had a spurt where he nailed back to back deep 3 pointers in a dual with Lance Stephenson.

The boys from Florida Kenny Boynton (American Heritage, FL) aka “60 seconds” and Brandon Knight (Pinecrest, FL) both came into this game after having a tremendous summer on the AAU circuit capturing many titles including a 2nd AAU National Title in row. Both of these outstanding guards had solid games on Friday night with Boynton finishing with 16 pts and Knight totaling 12 pts. Each of them had some crowd pleasing moves throughout the night.

Tony Wroten Jr. (Garfield, WA) and LaQuinton Ross (Murrah, MS) of the class of 2011 are already showing why college coaches around the country are already offering these too elite prospect scholarships.

 LaQuinton Ross who played in this game last year as a incoming freshmen finished with 9 pts in the game. He is a very smooth player who at 6’8 has guard like skills but needs to add some weight to his frame. He is definitely a player to watch in the upcoming years with his upside.   

 Tony Wroten Jr. who many people have ranked as the #1 prospect in the class of 2011 had an outstanding freshmen year at (Garfield, WA) averaging 20.2 pts, 8.8 rebs and 4 ast per game. He became the 1st freshmen in Washington history to be named to The Seattle Times Star basketball team. He showed his toughness in this game well checking Lance Stephenson during a stint in Friday’s game. He finished the game with only 4 pts.   

Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks was on hand to take in all the action along with rooting for his cousin Tony Wroten Jr. (Garfield, WA) from the class of 2011. Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys was also on hand to watch the game. He directed a movie based on this all-star game that came out on June 27, 2008 called “Gunnin for that #1 Spot”.