NEW YORK, NY–There’s the McDonald’s All-American Game and then there’s the Jordan Brand Classic. Brooklyn was buzzing all night in the Barclays Center, where celebs such as Michael Jordan, Spike Lee, Fabulous, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Busta Rhymes, Prodigy and more all came to watch these high school hoopers in action. The Jordan Brand Classic put on an unbelievable show in all three games; International, Regional and National, and capped off with a performance by T.’s own Drake right after uncommitted Andrew Wiggins and Syracuse commit Tyler Ennis lit it up on the hardwood. Both had stellar performances in the 102-98 loss to the West team in what was a very competitive All-Star game.
Future forward for Duke, Jabari Parker took home MVP for the West Team and Julius Randle snatched it for the East with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 19 points and seven rebounds respectively.
A bunch of strong AAU seasons with CIA Bounce, a spectacular performance at the ESPN’s National High School Invitational, a 52 point game in response to the snub on the non-selection to the McDonald’s All-American Game and now a near MVP performance at the JBC… and the list goes on. There is nothing left for Tyler Ennis to do to show why he is regarded as one of America’s top elite guards.
Ennis put up solid numbers in every category and was the most productive player in his 23 minutes of play. He recorded 14 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals. A combination of his wit, production and leadership ensure that he is always a plus on the floor for any team he plays for, even in an All-Star game.
In the first five minutes of the game, “here we go again,” were the thoughts that went through my mind, thinking it was going to be another typical All-Star game where you would normally see fast break dunks and uncontested shots. After a timeout called by Coach Rob Fulford of the East Team, things got really interesting and the intensity in the game had shot up and there was no more easy baskets the rest of the way.
In the last 10 minutes of the game there were 10 lead changes and some great defensive plays by the West Team’s Joel Embiid. This would also be where Andrew Wiggins would turn it on and lead all scorers in the second half with 13. His body control and quick directional changes were as amazing as ever to watch. One of Wiggins’ prettiest plays was the lob to Randle on a 2-on-1 fast break.
The East team would go on to lose by just four points in a thriller that had fans off their seats and kept them off getting them ready for Drake’s performance where Toronto’s own shouted out Wiggins and Ennis to the crowd. Drake made sure the fans got their money’s worth and performed six tracks that had the place jumping, including the East and West rosters which joined him on stage.
Our time in New York has come to an end but we will surely be visiting again in the near future to see Ennis play for the Syracuse Orange.
Special thanks to the Jordan Brand Classic for being such gracious hosts to the North Pole Hoops team.