Sunday, August 06, 2006

ProCity Notebook: Mata and Keefe Battle Each Other

By Bruin Basketball Report

Nike ProCity summer league quarterfinal games took place today at West Los Angeles College.

All three teams with Bruin players were in action.

In the second quarterfinal game of the day, Hank's Franchise team (Michael Roll and Lorenzo Mata) advanced to the semifinal game by eliminating the Sinclair Bruins (Mbah a Moute, Keefe, and Westbrook) with a 82-68 victory.

The game featured a match-up between two Bruin big men in the post, Lorenzo Mata and James Keefe, with both players starting the game against each other like two young bucks matching horns.

Mata, not known as an offensive threat, immediately took three of his team's first four shots - making one basket in the low block but then also having one rejected by Keefe.

The 6'8 center from South Gate high school returned the favor by blocking Keefe's short jumper later in the first half.

For the game, Mata finished with a solid 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks while displaying the same level of intensity during the summer game as he does during regular season games (or practices for that matter).

Quite often, Mata wound up on the floor flat on his back while either attempting to take a player charge or leaping out of bounds for loose balls.

Keefe did not back down against the stronger and bigger Mata. The McDonald All-American from Santa Margeurita scored 12 of his 18 points in the first half to keep his team in the game. He also recorded 7 rebounds.

However by game's end, Keefe appeared to tire. With only six Sinclair Bruins suited up for the game, both Keefe and Mbah a Moute were asked to play the entire game without rest.

At this point of his young career, Keefe appears more comfortable facing the basket and shooting from midrange. His decision-making skills coupled with solid understanding of the game may make Keefe an ideal high-post option for the Bruin offense next season.

Fellow Sinclair Bruin teammate, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, played well scoring 14 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in the contest. At times during the game, the Sinclair Bruins offense was effectively being initiated by Mbah a Moute from the wing.

The Cameroon displayed a few nifty crossover moves to get to the basket and took a number of perimeter shots off the dribble. However with Mbah a Moute operating mostly from the outside, the strategy somewhat negated his propensity to rove down low for offensive rebounds.

It will be interesting during the regular season if Mbah a Moute is indeed moved further away from the basket and how it might affect his rebounding effectiveness.

Incoming freshman Russell Westbrook appeared lost at times in the first half, but put together a strong run at the start of the fourth quarter, scoring 9 points to pull his team temporarily back into contention.

Westbrook played primarily shooting guard and was rarely given the responsibility of running the team from the point. He has an outstanding ability to breakdown his defender to get into the paint, and has an excellent double-clutch move at the rim which helps him to draw fouls against opponents.

The guard from Leuzinger struggled defensively at times matched primarily against bigger players, including Nick Young from USC and Michael Roll, and was caught out of position numerous times which allowed his opponents to easily slip by him.

Westbrook has much to work on before he can be expected to contribute next season, but as a young incoming freshman, Bruin fans need to be patient with him.

Michael Roll finished with 9 points but missed all four of his outside shots - a couple of them barely grazing the rim. However, Roll showed his improved strength by finishing well at the rim while under pressure by defenders.

With the victory, Hank's Franchise is expected to take on Hank's CTS (Josh Shipp and Alfred Aboya) on Friday in a semifinal match-up

In the first quarterfinal game of the day, Josh Shipp led Hank's CTS to a convincing 76-63 victory over a Pasadena team.

Shipp scored a team-high 25 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Fellow Bruin, Alfred Aboya, added 10 points and 5 rebounds for the victors.



At Aug 6, 2006, 11:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article! I was there, too, and you nailed the facts/observations.

At Aug 6, 2006, 11:54:00 PM, Blogger Tyler in Ojai said...

I love offseason news, especially when Bruinzone activity is nearly non-existent. Keep up the great work!

At Aug 7, 2006, 10:26:00 AM, Blogger BBR said...

Great to see a good number of Bruin fans at Say No this weekend, although there were probably an equal number of SC fans there as well.

Nick Young is a fine college basketball player, whether his talents/size can translate into the next level is a question mark.

But at this level, he will definitely be among the elite players in the Pac 10 again this season.

One thing not mentioned in the article above, the Franchise Boys played without Gabe Pruitt - and still won. It shows what a balanced team the Franchise Boys have on the floor. And the fact, they had two true PGs on the club while Sinclair had none - no knock against Ray, he is a fine player but he is not a PG.

Mata showed no ill effects of his knee injury although he is still rehabbing it even as he continues to play himself back into shape.

At Aug 10, 2006, 8:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm thinking about heading down to check it out this weekend.

anything i need to know regrading seat, tickets, pricing, etc.?

i dont wanna go down there and sit next to SUC losers.

At Aug 10, 2006, 8:51:00 AM, Blogger BBR said...

The summer league is free and first come seating.

The knowledgeable Trojan fans at the game aren't so bad except for the fact they yell out "touchdown" after every made basketball

Have fun.

At Aug 12, 2006, 7:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice! Im looking forward to this season and next! With Love coming on board .... I hope we dont lose Aaron or Josh or Collison.


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