By Steve DiMiceli
Discuss on Yuku
The playoffs at the PBC Pro - Am conclude tonight as PBC led by TJ McConnell takes on Aston Gibbs SPK Law at 8 PM at the Greentree Sports Complex. It will pit the team oriented PBC against the high flying, even show boating SPK. I was on hand Monday and Tuesday for the quarter and semi finals.
On Monday, Andre Marhold was the lone Duke. He played very hard and just missed on a couple of baskets. I've never seen him so aggressively try to create for himself. He really seemed to want the ball and when he had it, he wanted to score. He used a number of new tools I've never seen from him before, a fade-away, finger roll and he even attempted a three point shot. The finishing wasn't there, but it wasn't like he was far off. All total, he finished with 6 points and 4 boards according to the official stats. I also liked what he brought defensively. Marhold is going to eat some minutes this year.
Four Dukes saw action in the semi -finals as PBC and Eric Evans' PGT received bye's for finishing 1st and 2nd in the regular season.
PBC played in the first game against Gilbert Brown and Center Court in a high scoring up tempo affair that looked a lot like an NBA all star game. All offense, no D. McConnell had his best night of the summer that I've seen. He controlled the offense when he was on the floor, and was more willing to shoot tonight. He took 14 shots, most of which were good shots, and still managed 12 assists by my count (10 according to the official score). He closed with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
Mike Talley was on fire again. He went 8 of 14 from the floor and 4 of 9 from behind the arc after making 3 of his first 4. He was very quick to the basket and made some nice moves to finish lay ups. And get this; he dunked on an undefended fast break where he and Daniel Herrera were the only two players down court. I thought he would dish to Herrera but I guess he figured this opportunity would not come along too often.
Herrera had a very nice game offensively. I credited him with 2 three pointers, but his foot must have been on the line for one. He closed with 9 points according to the official scorer including 4 of 4 from the line. All together, the Dukes were 10-12 on free throws in the playoffs. Herrera still needs some polish defensively and in getting to rebounds. He needs to challenge shots better on defense. On a couple of occasions, I saw him take two steps towards a shooter with his hands down. He also seems to lack instincts with rebounds. He was in a position where he could've grabbed a few boards, but was either off balance or moved in the wrong direction. I still think he is an excellent talent, but not all aspects of his game are ready for prime time right now and that should not surprise any of us.
PBC advanced to the championships by a score of 104-95
Eric Evans got off to a nice start in the second game grabbing the opening tip and floating a lay up over Gary McGhee. He scored 10 total but was a little sloppy with his passes and he turned it over three times. Most of his shots came from the perimeter. His mechanics are so odd from three sometimes and his shot looks different every time he puts it up from the way he sets his feet to his release point on almost every shot. I'm sort of amazed that it hasn't been corrected, but then again it still works. Unfortunately, not only did his team lose, but he fell hard on his shoulder and was relegated to the bench for the final 10 minutes. He didn't look in a great deal of pain so let's hope everything is ok.