CJBL Tournament - Second Round Recap
- By Michael Miller, Day 164, 2021
SUMMARY - Chalk again rules the day, as 15 of the top 16 teams advanced to the Sweet 16. The only high seed to advance, Marquette over Texas A&M, was itself a 5 seed over a 4 seed. Most of these games were also not close, as 9 of the 16 games were decided by double digits. On the other hand, the future stars of the JBL really showed up in the this round, even moreso than the first round. Again, the reward received by the better teams winning is that there are some truly sensational matchups waiting in the Sweet 16 and beyond.
NOTABLE ROUND TWO PERFORMANCES
SG Trendon Knox (Arizona) continues to dominate the early part of the tournament, scoring 28 points (12 of 17) with 5 boards, 3 steals in an 82-65 win over Georgia Tech. There is not much more to say about his excellence at this point.
SF Brandon Kelly (UCLA) - Only 17 years old, Kelly flashed the promise which makes him one of the more tantalizing, but raw, potential prospects for the league. After an inconsistent regular season, he dominated Rutgers with a 28 point (13 of 22), 10 rebound, 7 assist performance in UCLA's 85-76. With his tantalizing height and athleticism, Kelly is the type of prospect who could vault from second round to lottery with these types of performances (a la Mitchell Van Bree from Arizona last season).
C/PF Antoine Willis (Arkansas) - Willis is a bit undersized, but that did not stop him from dominating Middle Tennessee with 31 points (13 of 22 from the field) and 10 rebounds in 87-66 win. He does not have a great body type, which may hinder his ability to move up the draft boards, but he is showing ability as a potential solid player in the JBL.
SG Derek Okwarabizie (Marquette) - While sophomore C/PF Brandon Weir has dominated most of the headings, it as O-Busy, a 6’5” unheralded freshman, who took care of Texas A&M with 31 points on 13 of 20 shooting, 3 assists and 2 blocks.
C/PF Latrell Mason (Cincinnati) - Likely solidified his status as the #1 pick in the upcoming JBL draft with a 40 point effort on 19 of 30 shots and 12 rebounds in a hard fought 77-74 win over Wake Forest.
SF DeAnthony Hunter (Texas) - The Longhorns are a balanced team where few players shined this season, but Hunter may be emerging as an alpha dog for the team after he put up 34 points on 13 of 25 shooting (6 of 9 from 3 point range), and 9 boards in an 80-64 drubbing of Memphis.
BAGPIPES - WE HARDLY KNEW YE (Notable CJBL Prospects Whose Season Has Ended)
PG Jaleen Rifkind (Rutgers) did not go down without a fight, as he put up 30 points (12 of 22 shooting), 8 assists, 1 steak in a 85-76 loss to UCLA. Considering how far he dragged this undermanned Rutgers team, as well as the disappointing performances of some of the other point guards in this draft class, Rifkind has likely put himself into consideration to be the 1st overall point guard taken in the upcoming draft.
PG Deleon Slay (Memphis) - Slay had the size to dominate but failed to do so, putting up a paltry 7 points on 3 of 9 shooting and only 5 assists in the loss to Texas. He has great physical ability, but questionable shooting mechanics may cause him to slide down the draft board.
PG Keyon Barber (Louisville) - 3 of 16 shooting, including 0 of 7 from beyond the arc for the raw point guard. Kid, stay in school! Don't go pro!
BEST GAMES FROM THE SECOND ROUND
Kansas 70 - Providence 67, Kansas led 50-33 in 1st half but Providence came storming back to make it a game late. Ultimately, Kansas had too large a lead to overcome.
Ohio State 75 - Louisville 69, Louisville had an 11 point lead early in the second half, but ultimately squandered it to the Buckeyes midway through the second half. Ohio State survives yet another scare in the early rounds, but can they continue to live dangerously as the road gets tougher and teams are better?
USC 89 - Saint Mary’s 81, Saint Mary’s led for most of the game until Cortez Ellison turned it on and desperation mode. He finished with 21 points on 8 of 14 shots (4 of 7 from 3), 4 assists and 2 steals as the Trojans march on.
Cincinnati 77 - Wake Forest 74, the marque matchup did not disappoint as both teams levied haymakers with neither team pulling away from the other in the second half. The Bearcats dominated on the paint (46-30) and offensive rebounds (15-10) which turned out to be the difference.
INTERESTING MATCHUPS FOR THE SWEET 16
Not to be flippant, but all of them. Each team left in the tournament has at least one player with the potential to be drafted in the 1st round. The cream has risen, and the next three rounds will feature the best from the CJBL this season.