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Elite 24 rocks Venice with high-scoring contest

SPECIAL TO OCVARSITY.COM

VENICE BEACH – Defense, for the most part, couldn’t be deemed as “at a premium” during the Boost/Mobile Elite 24 boys basketball game Saturday evening on the outdoor court at Venice Beach.

The more apt way to describe it would be "nonexistent."

But no one – sun-splashed spectators and players alike – seemed to mind as the Marques Johnson team cruised past its Raymond Lewis counterpart, 142-132.

The squads were dubbed in honor of the former UCLA and NBA standout and the late Lewis, who led the nation in scoring as a sophomore at Cal State Los Angeles in 1973 but is more renowned for his playground and summer league accomplishments than an NBA career that ended before it started.

Kyle Anderson (St. Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J.), who has UCLA on his short list – a very short list that includes Seton Hall, St. John’s and Florida – was easily the most impressive player on the victorious squad. The 6-foot-8 Anderson finished with 18 points, eight assists and no turnovers in 20 minutes.

Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas), who is also contemplating a future as a Bruin, had a game-high 25 points with nine rebounds for the Raymond Lewis group.

Orange Lutheran guard Gabe York, who along with future University of Arizona teammate Grant Jerrett of La Verne Lutheran were the only Southland representatives in the game,  showed the effects of a three-day bout with a stomach ailment.

“It helped to try to recuperate at home for a couple of days (the teams were headquartered at a hotel in Marina del Rey),” he said after hitting two of his five shots – both layups – in just less than 13 minutes for the losing team.

“I wanted to play and they got me in a little bit, but I felt weak; I felt slower and my hand-eye coordination wasn’t there.”

His selection to the nationally televised game capped a productive “offseason” – if there is such a thing in the sport – for York, who averaged 19.3 points as a junior for a 27-7 Lancers squad that got the program’s first-ever Trinity League win over Mater Dei en route to a CIF-Southern Section 4AA title.

He played in the invitation-only NBA Players Association High School Camp (held in Charlottesville, Va.) in June, committed to the Wildcats on July 10, dazzled for the Compton Magic during the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas later that month before leading all scorers during the adidas Nations event in the South Bay earlier this month.

“Now the focus is on my senior year and our team,” he said Wednesday night after a scrimmage against a group of NBA players that included Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans and Derrick Williams.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys who have shoes to fill of the guys we lost.”

The tipoff Saturday was delayed about 35 minutes to clean up the mess when 250-pound center Mitch McGary (Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH) shattered a backboard with a dunk in warm-ups.

McGary, who didn’t practice much earlier in the week because of a sprained left ankle, didn’t play because of cuts on his left hand and neck that he suffered from the flying shards of Plexiglas.

Anderson and the 6-foot-5 Muhammad have provided hints that they’d like to play together and UCLA is the only program seriously involved with both prospects.

Anderson – who considers himself a point guard and has the skills to back up the claim – is likely to make a college decision before his buddy does.

“There is no timetable (for his decision),” Muhammad said.

He’s from great athletic stock – the son of El Toro High and USC basketball player Ron Holmes and Long Beach Poly and Long Beach hoops and track and field standout Faye Paige.

“I might wait until the spring (to end his recruitment),” he said. “It will come whenever I feel comfortable.”

*****     *****     *****

MARQUES JOHNSON 142, RAYMOND LEWIS 132

Marques Johnson: Andrew Harrison 14, Sulaimon 15, Aaron Harrison 8, Jerrett 8, Britt 6, Randle 10, Bennett 8, J. Anderson 23, Carter 16, K. Anderson 18, Noel 2, Coleman 14.

Raymond Lewis: Johnson 6, Purvis 12, Jefferson 23, Paige 8, York 5, Carr 21, Goodman 12, Ashley 4, Muhammad 25, Parker 8, Ellis 2, Ridley 6.

Halftime: Raymond Lewis 68-66.


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