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April 23, 2007

Indy Elite takes Kingwood crown

Houston-Indiana Elite had the depth and balance that is so necessary to win the grueling Kingwood Classic. Led by Tyler Zeller and DeAndre Liggins, Indiana Elite put together two dominating performances to take home the championship crown.

Championship Game: Indiana Elite 78, Pump N Run 58

The Pump N Run actually controlled the action in the first half pushing out to a double digit lead, but Indiana Elite cut the deficit to two by halftime and then thoroughly dominated the second half.

Tyler Zeller- The near seven footer played big and efficiently for the Elite. He went 8 for 9 from the field and 5 of 5 from the line for a game high 21 points. He also added 11 rebounds to go along with a steal. Extremely poised with the ball for a big man, Zeller did not record a turnover in both the finals and the semifinals.

With an impressive mid-range touch, Zeller also finishes plays around the rim. He is making a claim for being one of the better big men in the class of 2008.

DeAndre Liggins- As a 6-foot-5 and possibly 6-foot-6 point guard through small forward, Liggins is in the process of developing a very dangerous game. Always known for his ball handling and passing, he is now becoming more of a scoring threat. In the finals, he went for 11 points on 3 of 7 shooting with 1 of 2 behind the arc. At the line, he knocked down all four of his free throw attempts. But where he really sparked his club was on the defensive boards. Liggins hauled down 11 rebounds sparking fastbreak after fastbreak.

There are not too many players out there with the package Liggins brings to the court. If he truly develops some consistency in his shooting, he will separate himself from the vast majority of perimeter players in the class.

Emmanuel Negedu- This electric athlete fed off the crisp passing of Lewis Jackson in transition and converted 6 of 8 attempts from the floor for 15 points. He also knocked down 3 of 4 from the free throw line and contributed 5 rebounds. It was one of those games where the points came easily as Negedu just had to haul in the pass and then dunk it home.

Lewis Jackson- The speedy point guard took advantage of Indiana Elite's dominance on the boards and Pump N Run's lack of transition defense to the tune of 10 assists. Starting the transition game with numbers, Jackson only made the numbers better as he continually broke down defenders in the open court to create 3 on 1 and 2 on 1 scenarios. He only had 1 turnover and scored 4 points on 2 of 7 shooting.

Jackson also did a superb job on the defensive end shutting down Jerime Anderson.

Walter Offutt- The Ohio State commitment put together a solid game scoring 14 points on 6 of 12 shooting and hitting both his free throws. Offutt did a nice job attacking the basket and made Jrue Holiday work for every point he got.

Beas Hamga- Hamga started for the Elite but then played limited minutes due to the exceptional play of Zeller. In his time on the court, Hamga was productive scoring 6 points on 2 of 2 shooting from both the field and the line. He also blocked a shot, grabbed a rebound and recorded an assist without committing any turnovers.

The big fellow needs to improve his strength and body balance, but there is no doubt that he will be a coveted recruit who will log significant minutes for a high-major down the road.

Jrue Holiday- Holiday was one of the only Pump N Run players, along with David Wear, who could get anything going in the championship game. Holiday led his team with 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting but only hit 1 of 5 shots from the arc to go with his 3 of 3 shooting from the line. He also recorded 3 steals, a block, a rebound and 2 assists to go with 3 turnovers.

Holiday was the one player who kept the game from getting completely out of hand in the second half. Against the tough defense of Walter Offutt, most of Holiday's scores were highlight material. He had a two dribble drive baseline on the right side ending with a two handed dunk off two feet that had NBA written all over it. He also hit three high degree of difficulty shots off one foot in the midrange.

David Wear- Wear looked like the only Pump N Run interior player with any gas left in his tank. He pumped in 15 points on 5 of 10 shooting which included 3 of 5 from the arc. He also contributed 3 rebounds and 1 assist to 1 turnover.

David Wear's play of late is bringing into question the assumption that his brother Travis Wear is the better prospect. David's jumper is looking smooth and he has a more physical presence around the basket than does his brother Travis.

Reeves Nelson- After leading the charge for Pump N Run in the interior, Nelson finally hit the wall in the championship game. He still led his team with 7 rebounds, but he struggled converting in the lane. He finished with 6 points on 2 of 7 shooting and 2 of 2 shooting from the line. Perhaps the most telling play for Nelson was when he darted into the passing lane for a steal in the first half, but instead of slamming it home in characteristic fashion, he could only muster up a finger roll against DeAndre Liggins.

Jerime Anderson- Without the aide of Larry Drew (out with an ankle injury on Sunday), the combination of fatigue and Lewis Jackson's speed was just to much for Anderson. He only went 1 of 11 from the field for a total of 4 points and added a couple rebounds and assists to his totals.

Victor Davila- Low post player Davila had an efficient game with 6 points on 2 of 2 shooting from both the field and free throw line. He also snagged 3 rebounds.

Travis Wear- Wear did not have one of his better outings scoring 6 points on 2 of 8 shooting and 2 of 2 shooting from the line. It looked like the fatigue got to his jumpshot, and he only managed 1 rebound.



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