Travaugh White; Montour Sports Complex Make Their Pro -Am Debuts 7/10

By Steve DiMiceli

Let me begin by saying how nice it was to take in tonight's Pro-Am game at Montour High School. The facilities were beautiful but more importantly they were air conditioned and not built with a material that deflects cellular signals. It was a huge upgrade from Greentree and its more equipped to handle the crowds the league sometimes generates. 

That said, Duquesne fans should be excited to learn that Travaughn White made his summer league debut. I arrived about 7 minutes into the first half of the first game, but he scored 28 points with me in the building and 30 total. White is solidly built which helps make up for his shorter stature. He showed a nice pull up jumper and is good scorer off the dribble around the hoop. He was blocked several times, but I felt like he didn't force anything. He gets his shots off quickly and he puts enough touch on the ball to get it up and over taller defenders. He didn't look particularly fast but he got by players at will. I suspect he has some deceptive speed. Take it for what it's worth, but his debut was as impressive as Derrick Colter's last year.

GNC started five Dukes and fell behind South Hills Audi or Chevy Troutman's Post Graduate All Stars early and stayed there for most of the game. Audi tends to play more defense than most other teams in the league.  Derrick Colter and Jerry Jones both struggled a bit tonight. Colter forced a number of shots and didn't pass as often as he normally does. It was a odd night for him as he normally is one of the more generous guards in the league. Jones didn't get involved much and took only a handful of shots.

The freshman bigs had a tough assignment against the 32 year old Bayern Munich pro as well as Boca Juniors man John DeGroat. Both showed some decent footwork and made a couple of well earned baskets. Lewis looked a little better on the glass, but struggled to bring passes recieved below his chest to the shooting position. He had a very difficult time finding the handle on balls below his waste. Robinson was steady again, but only took 4 shots. He didn't play much but still managed to score 7 points.

Game 2 was a weird one. The Lair played Talib Zanna's PGT who was joined inside by Pitt freshman Jamel Artis. He normally plays for SPK. Ovie Soko ended up matching up defensively against Artis for much of the game. Soko started out playing the two on offense and really handled it well. He had some nice assists and played more the distributor than shooter early. He took the game over completely for about five minutes just before the end of the half. In the second, The Lair looked in control holding an 11 point lead following a technical foul called around the nine minute mark.

Then things fell apart.

Soko and Robert Morris newcomer Desjuan Newton started jawing and it seemed to fuel the Bobby Mo player on. Ovie made a put back lay up and said something to Newton who proceeded to knock down a contested 3 which sent PGT on an extended run. It was like Ovie gave them bulletin board material and Newton shoved it back in his face. Not to be out done, Soko seemed to press more but ended up making terrible decisions. Holding the ball too long, ill advised passes, terrible shot selection. There was nothing Ovie could do right and the other guys just didn't miss. PGT came roaring back and won easily.

Jeremiah Jones was impressive for the full 44 minutes. He shot and finished well and out muscled some bigger players for rebounds. I had him with 23 points and a few rebounds and assists. Desmond Ridenour didn't necessarily shoot better, but his shot looked better. He also made some nice touch passes and he really seems to have a feel for getting the ball to teammates in a position where they can do something with it. Gill got to play with his actual team tonight and finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds.

Credit to WVU's Devin Williams who had a fine night playing in the post this evening. 

There was a lot to enjoy tonight especially the debut of White and Jeremiah's performance, but Soko's play gave me an inkling of why he might have had consistency issues at UAB. He really got caught up in gamesmanship and lost his focus. While he is entertaining as hell to watch when he is riding the wave, it wasn't fun watching him crash.