ORLANDO-- Manny Harris, DeShawn Sims, Lazar Hayward, Jordan Crawford, LaceDarius Dunn, Epke Udoh, JaMychal Green, Soloman Alabi, Michael Snaer, and Chris Singleton.
The Old Spice Classic had enough current and future NBA prospects to field two All-Star teams on top of the eight very equally matched college squads that provided 12 very entertaining games this past Thanksgiving weekend.
In the final of those 12 games, Marquette's unique roster created problems for not only Florida State, but for each of the Golden Eagles' three opponents.
The problem for Marquette is that the team's lack of size causes problems for itself, as well.
Following Baylor's shut down of the Xavier defense, I wrote about the Bears' potential to be outstanding on the defensive end of the floor with their athleticism and length. One nugget I forgot to include in the piece was about Baylor's length keeping Xavier's best shooter off the floor because he couldn't match up with the Bears' size.
Here's a little video I shot of Florida State celebrating afterwards. What I didn't get on camera was Chris Singleton dropping his MVP award and breaking it. The aftermath was a trophy broken into two pieces.
Other Notes from Orlando:
- I haven't really covered much about Creighton, who went winless in the tournament. The main story about the Blue Jays is defense. CU struggled quite a bit during the tournament after giving up 90 points to Dayton in its season opener. Coach Dana Altaman was very adamant about improving his team's mentality on the defensive end.
- The personalities of coaches Kevin Willard of Iona, Scott Drew of Baylor, and Buzz Williams of Marquette are outstanding. They are stand-up guys who were very personable after each game. Drew seems like he's always has a smile on his face. I can understand why recruits are so drawn to him because when he steps into your living room, what mom could not love his friendliness?
- Michigan needs to find scoring from someone other than Manny Harris. The Wolverines lost two games in Orlando because they simply could not get anything going when Harris didn't run the offense through him.
- Marquette's Darius Johnson-Odom looks like he'll be a great player down the road for Buzz Williams. He really knows how to use his body very well when taking the ball to the hoop. He's a decent shooter that will help out Williams tremendously because of his versatility.
- Alabama is in good hands with new coach Anthony Grant. The Crimson Tide do not have the talent to win two games in the Old Spice like they did. Their wins came because this team played harder than anyone in Orlando (except Iona, no one top the Gaels' effort). JaMychal Green is a name that everyone needs to know immediately. If he sticks around in Tuscaloosa one more year, then Grant will be taking the Tide to tournament next season. For now, 'Bama might be able to sneak out of conference play with eight wins.
- Spotted players from both Baylor and Michigan in the amusement parks at Disney World. People knew who Manny Harris was and surrounded him for autographs.
- While some Bears were at the parks, Ekpe Udoh, LaceDarius Dunn, and Tweety Carter stayed in the Milk House on Sunday in order to watch Udoh's former team, Michigan. Udoh was certainly on his old teammates' side.
- Because I attended all 12 games, Old Spice organizers had me vote for the all-tournament team and MVP. I had Hayward despite the loss as my MVP, and Ekpe Udoh, JaMychal Green, Chris Singleton, and Manny Harris rounded out my all-tournament team.
- Shameless plug: My other stories out of Orlando, about Florida State: Old Spice Classic Shows Florida State Still Needs to Improve Offensively and Soloman Alabi is Still Developing.
- About Iona: Gaels Look Better Than the Ninth Best Team in the MAAC.
- About Marquette: Coaches Preparation Beats Michigan.
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