There were several big stories this weekend at the Double Pump High School Boy's Spring Tournament in Lakewood, Colo.
The first and most important was the total dominance shown by 6-foot-5 sophomore Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, who led his team to a runner-up finish in the Gold Division and, once again, reinforced our belief that he is the best player nationally in the Class of 2012. He had 35 points against the Lakeshow Seniors in the first round of pool play on Friday night, 32 points against Southeast L.A. Elite in the playoffs on Saturday night, and 31 points in the title game.
However, even more important, Muhammad continues to grow, has incredible athleticism, and has no weaknesses in his game. He even showed his outside shot, which was the one things many had not seen before.
Ironically, his father tells us that shooting the basketball was what Muhammad did best when he was younger. But he's so good at getting to the basket, he does not show that part of his game as much as he probably should. Regardless, Muhammad has a great motor and the drive and determination necessary to achieve greatness. And this is important because with normally progression and development this guy will play in a lot of all-star games someday at the highest level. He really does have superstar written all over him.
Unfortunately 6-8 sophomore Winston Shepard from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV and 6-9 junior Angelo Chol from San Diego (Hoover) CA never seemed to get into the flow of things and, as a result, Dream Vision struggled to win when I saw them against Southeast L.A. Elite and they got beat 76-72 in the championship game by a well-balanced Kansas City Pump N Run team, which was featured 6-7 junior Christian Kirk from St. Charles (West) MO, 6-1 junior Corey Hilliard from Raytown (South) MO, 6-4 junior A.J. Spencer from Shawnee Mission (Northwest) KS, and 6-2 junior Jevon Lyle from Kansas City (Cardinal O'Hara) MO.
Kirk deserves special mention, because he is a good old-fashioned blue collar power forward who scores inside and gets more than his share of rebounds. He also was their most consistent player, as he had 15 points in the championship game and 13 points and 15 points the other two times I saw Kansas City Pump N Run play.
Another big story involved 6-10 Gorgui Sy Dieng from Huntington (Prep) WV. Yes, that's the same guy who finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, eight blocked shots, and 7-10 field goals and took home MVP honors last week in the Derby Classic.
He was dramatically better here. Not only does his confidence level continue to improve from half-to-half and game to game, but he also was the second best player that we saw at what turned out to be a very good event.
Editor's note: iHoops staff members were also in attendance handing out iHoops T-shirts, promoting iHoops.com and evaluating the talent participating in the tournament.