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April 10, 2005

Durant, Lawson explode at Boo Williams

HAMPTON, VA. - If there has been a better player here than Kevin Durant at the Boo Williams Invitational, we haven't seen him.

As the D.C. Blue Devils won their pool, their reward was playing Team Texas, including big men Darrell Arthur (No. 4 ranked player in 2006) and Bryan Davis (No. 29 ranked player in 2006).

That didn't matter to Durant. He was simply unstoppable in the 92-77 victory over the Texans.

Durant, all 6-foot-9 of him, was pulling up from three-point land and sank shot after shot so effortlessly. The Oak Hill product was catching passes and quickly squaring up for his shot and didn't even blink during the attempt. He was simply unconscious from deep.

Scoring 20 points in the first half with five threes, Durant took his game inside in the second half a little more. He thundered home a nasty dunk at the end of the game, he went to work around the bucket against Arthur and Davis.

Just when Team Texas would make a run, Durant stepped up and drained another long ball or used his gangly length to block a shot or snatch a rebound off the rim.

If Durant wasn't making the play, Tywon Lawson was. The 6-foot point guard was at the right place at the right time and always made the right play. He played the passing on defense and got his paws on passes for transition buckets, one of his best strengths.

Lawson showed off all his offensive skills on Saturday night. He created off the dribble for jumpers, spun off his defender and kissed the shot high off the glass and skied high above the rim several times and surprised a lot of people with his athleticism. Lawson finished with 31 points.

Together, the high school teammates scored 69 of the D.C. Blue Devils' 92 points. And together, they'd give the Lawrence North/Spiece Indy Heat duo of Greg Oden and Mike Conley a run for their money as the best one-two punch in both high school and on the AAU circuit. But that's a debate for another day.

As good as Durant and Lawson were, Arthur was just as good. Well, at least for a half. After scoring just four points in a lackadaisical effort in the first half, the 6-foot-9 physical specimen came alive in the final 16 minutes of play.

The South Oak Cliff High School product must have been fired up by the play of Durant, who was clearly out playing the bigger and stronger Arthur. He scored 23 points in the second stanza and finished with 27 on the night.

Arthur also tested his worth on the wing and drilled home a trio of trifectas. He's got the tools but doesn't necessarily use them at all times. When he does, like he did in the second half, he's hard to stop. Arthur kept the game close and closed a 15-point deficit to one but Durant quickly ended the run with another three.

An elite high-major? No doubt about that. A possible preps-to-pros guy? Maybe not. At least not right now. He ultimately controls that. If he plays like he did in Team Texas' final game here at the Boo Williams, he'll have one heck of an AAU season.

D.C. Blue Devils' next stop: Boo Williams

The 2005 NCAA basketball tournament wasn't great because of buzzer beating buckets. No, it was just the opposite. It was games filled with great jump shooting and impressive perimeter scoring.

The first round match-up of Boo Williams (Va.) and The Family (Mich.) could have easily been a part of March Madness. The host team rode the hot shooting of Scotty Reynolds to a hard-fought 75-72 victory over the boys from the Motor City.

Reynolds led the way with 26 points and lived up to his rep as one of the deadliest shooters in the nation. His shot was dropping all night and used a great dribble drive to get the basket off of a high screen and drove past quick-as-lightning Tajuan Porter for a number of scores.

It's no surprise why Oklahoma, NC State and Connecticut all came out to see Reynolds this week. He's in great shape, looks trimmer and stronger and he's doing more with the dribble. Don't call him a catch and shoot guy. At least not this weekend. He's been sensational for Boo Williams. His jump shooting has helped the team get huge leads and win close games.

Boo Williams just it's deep bench and got a balanced effort from Vernon Macklin, Duke Crews and L.D. Williams. Macklin looked like the Macklin that shined at the Peach Jam over the summer on a couple of possession, using his length to get high above the rim for some ironwork.

Crews had the dunk of the night when he skied over Brandon Bowdry for a nasty flush. Williams sank some clutch free throws in the closing seconds to help seal the deal.

Stefan Welsh rebounded from a dreadful shooting night on Friday and went back to his bread and butter, a dribble penetration, pull-up 12 foot jumper. That was falling instead of the ill-advised jumpers he was taking the night before.

Reynolds traded big buckets with Porter all night. The mighty-mite point guard for The Family had a great shooting day and drilled just about everything he threw up from his 5-foot-6 frame.

As a defender, Porter gets right into his man and annoys him like a gnat. He's got a quick handle but also rocks defenders to sleep with the ball and then explodes to the bucket. His school list includes Rutgers, Oregon, Detroit, Marquette, Kent State, Ball State, Miami (OH) and Cleveland State.

Porter got a huge help from Ramar Smith. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard has a great looking pull up three point shot and he went to it when a smaller Chris Wright defended him. Smith took advantage with a long ball score.

As good as his shot looked on Saturday, Smith's money maker is his ability to find a way to get the hole and score in traffic. The class of 2006 prospect has great ball control, even better body control and does his best to control the game on his tempo, which is fast and furious.

Smith absorbs contact like a big man but what is even more impressive is his ability to take it over and over again. He led the way with 22 points for The Family.

Not a big national name prior to the Boo Williams, Leon Freeman certainly opened some eyes with his play on Saturday. He had 17 points against Boo Williams with plays high above the rim but a good looking shot from deep. A good, strong and active defender, Freeman says that's one of his best strengths. He emerged as one of the best guards in the Midwest and played like it all weekend.

Freeman said Michigan State offered a scholarship earlier in the week and Connecticut, Ohio State, Michigan, Valparaiso, Wisconsin, Purdue (offer) and Indiana are all involved.

Stay logged onto Rivals.com as we continue to break down Saturday's action from the Boo Williams Invitational.


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