Jordan Laguerre did it all for the Mass Rivals Saturday

Bracket Play Begins at the Jam Fest

April 25th, 2009
NewEnglandRecruitingReport.com

The New England Recruiting Report has been in Providence since Friday night to check out all of the action at the Jam Fest.  The 250+ team field was beginning to wind down by Saturday night as the tournament was already two rounds into bracket play.

There were 90 teams and 30 pools in the u17 division alone.  But the local teams were more than holding their own as 11 New England teams won their pool.  The New England Playaz, Mass Rivals, Expressions Elite, Connecticut Basketball Club, Connecticut Select, Metro Boston, Bay State Magic, Connecticut Knights, Greater Boston Lions, Boston Warriors Blue and Boston Warriors all advanced to the Gold Bracket which tipped off on Saturday night. 

Several of those squads scored wins in the opening round of bracket play which set up two huge local match-ups in the round of 16, both of which would take place at Providence College on Saturday night.  The New England Playaz would face-off with the Mass Rivals while the Connecticut Basketball Club would run into Expressions Elite. 

The Playaz/Rivals game in particular was widely anticipated as it not only featured two of the top programs in the entire northeast, but also three of the top five juniors in New England in the Playaz' Nate Lubick, and Rivals' Evan Smotrycz and Carson Desrosiers

The Rivals came in riding a big wave of momentum having blown out U-PLAY with a huge offensive outburst in the opening round.  It was more of the same in this game as head coach Vin Pastore's offense was clicking on all cylanders. 

Evan Smotrycz was the catalyst as the Michigan bound forward really brought his game to another level.  Not only was he making shots from the perimeter, but he also showed a much improved dribble drive game, as he was able to break his man down with a right to left cross-over on more than one occasion.  But it wasn't just his ability to score off the dribble that was so impressive as he also passed the ball tremendously well, acting as a facilitator in the second half with his ability to create open looks for his teammates.   

Jordan Laguerre and Matt Brown were also pretty darn good on Saturday night.  Laguerre, who is a terrific dribble drive player in his own right, got it going from downtown in the opening round as he connected for six three-pointers.  As for Brown, he picked up right where he left off in Pittsburgh last week as he was at his best again today.  We loved what we saw from the 6'3" guard as he was more efficient offensively than we've seen him in a long time, making good use of each dribble and taking (and making) shots with both legs under him. 

Carson Desrosiers was up to his normal tricks in the second half as he went for 12 points in the last 16 minutes with a series of long jumpers.