The NY2LA Sport s Invitational at Homestead High School was up and swinging early on Saturday. Several players showed out with some excellent performances and made big plays throughout their games. Other players really upped their level of play and helped their teams compete at a high level throughout Day 2. Kaleim Taylor (Kevon Looney Elite), DJ Carton (Quad City Elite), Julian Gatewood (Lituanica) and more were showing out with how their games have developed, building good momentum leading into Championship Sunday for many. Catch the descriptions of how each player performed by reading below…

STAR WATCH
PATRICK BALDWIN JR. – 2020 – F – PHENOM UNIVERSITY

Baldwin took a few minutes to get in the flow of the game Saturday night, but once he did he absolutely caught fire. Baldwin quickly rattled off a couple three-pointers in a row, and then tallied on a couple more. Later Baldwin finished another play at the hoop with good aggressiveness, used his length well inside on defense, and then finished up the night with another three-ball. He had 17 points to lead Phenom University going into Championship Sunday.

DESI “DJ” CARTON – 2020 – PG – QUAD CITY ELITE
This is one hooper who just continues to dazzle with his fantastic play on the court, putting up highlight reel-type plays while controlling the game from the point position and leading his team to wins. Carton had the ball working from the perimeter, knocking down outside shots with confidence, and he was taking defenders off the dribble and finishing with big-time slam dunks. He finished with looping, yet controlled, lay-ups over and past defenders trying to protect the rim but instead left in his wake. He was awesome in finishing in transition and on defense, he had several high level blocks.

TOP PERFORMERS
SHARROD ALEXANDER – 2021 – PG – JT JETS

Alexander was excellent for the Jets in a hard-fought game later Saturday evening. The quick young lead guard really controlled the game with his speed and quickness and ability to control the flow of his team’s offense. He was good penetrating the lane, he saw the court well and found teammates for scoring opportunities, and was also really good scoring the ball from different levels in the half-court. 

JAKE BUCHANAN – 2020 – PG – WI BLIZZARD
Buchanan is a point guard who thrives with putting the ball through the net from beyond the arc. He had his shot really rolling earlier in the day hitting a number of three’s. Buchanan continued his shooting in their last game by hitting some shots inside the three-point line or at the basket, and then he caught fire a little bit later in the game.

TYLER COCHRAN – 2019 – G – HOOPERS BASKETBALL CLUB
Cochran made several nice plays for both himself and his teammates in their first game Saturday. Getting up and down the floor, Cochran helped push the tempo for his team and did a nice job staying under control on the drive. When he got into the paint he showed good vision finding his teammates for scores, but was also strong and finished well at the basket with good touch.

BILLY DURKIN – 2020 – G – ET21 BUCKEYES
Durkin has a smooth game that he put on full display in the Buckeyes’ final game Saturday night. He was outstanding from beyond the three-point line, and put on a small shooting show, as well as finishing around the basket a couple times. He had 17 points to lead the way for his team in a solid victory.

JUSTIN EAGINS – 2020 – SG – MERCURY ELITE
Eagins is certainly gaining a reputation for being a big-time scorer with the way he can shoot the ball. The lefty does a great job hunting his shots within the flow of the offense and showed again Saturday that he can score in multiple ways. He knocked down a few three’s without hesitation, he was able to get to the cup off the bounce and finish at the rim, and he also hit a couple floater-type jumpers from the mid-range area, finishing a nice win with 21 points to lead his team.
 
KYRAN GAINES – 2019 – F – YOUNG LEGENDS
Gaines played a really strong game for Young Legends in a tough game earlier in the day Saturday. The 6’6” stretch forward was hustling up the court all game and really put pressure on the opponents’ defense with his size and aggressiveness going to the rim. With his length he was able to score over defenders, but had nice touch at the rim. He also stepped outside once and knocked down a three-pointer, which showed his versatility.

JULIAN GATEWOOD – 2020 – PG – LITUANICA
Gatewood really impressed early Saturday in a tough loss with his dynamic play on offense. The strong and quick guard made several nice plays attacking the hoop where he was crafty with his footwork to get by defenders and score. As the game developed and he got a rhythm going offensively going to the rim, he then took what the defense gave him and scored with the three-ball, hitting a three and then came out in the second half and hit three more. Gatewood kept his team in the game with his aggressive play on both ends of the floor and ended with 24 points.

KAYMAN HOPKINS – 2020 – F – ET21 BUCKEYES
The 6’4” forward showcased a really nice overall game, particularly on the offensive end of the floor. He surprised a little with his perimeter stroke, hitting a couple nice triples. But his explosiveness was really impressive, as Hopkins made a number of plays at the rim in traffic and looked to attack the basket often both off the catch from teammates or off the bounce himself.

AJ JOHNSON – 2021 – PG – PARADISE
Johnson was really steady throughout the game early Saturday for Paradise. Johnson finished a lay-in early and then moved outside to the perimeter and showed off a clean release. He drained 4 three’s in the game and had 16 points for his team.

ALEX LEACH – 2020 – F/C – WI SWISH
Leach joined the fast-paced frenzy and was able to run the court with the guards to get himself into good scoring opportunities. The 6’7” post prospect was strong with the ball in his hands down low or in transition, and had really good touch off the glass when attacking the rim. He rebounded, used his length well defensively and played with good poise against contact, finishing with 17 points and 8 rebounds.

DREW LUTZ – 2020 – G – MBA SELECT
Lutz really put together a solid performance for MBA Select on Saturday. He was able to hit a few shots early in the game and then as it wore on, he really made an impact with his three-point shooting. Lutz sank 3 treys in the second half, and added another bucket late to finish with 17 points.

RYAN SROKA – 2020 – G/F – MERCURY ELITE
Sroka had a really strong day for Mercury Elite. In both of their games he showcased a smooth offensive game where he was able to stretch the defense out by hitting three-point shots; he had a really good feel on his jumper from the mid-range when he got to the painted area; and was also good at the rim, scoring against contact on the break. Defensively, Sroka played with good energy and was stout on the boards, pulling in several rebounds.

KALEIM TAYLOR – 2020 – G – KEVON LOONEY ELITE
It was a fast-paced game from start to finish, and Taylor was the star of the show for Kevon Looney’s AAU squad. Taylor was excellent in transition as he consistently blew by defenders to get to the cup and used his athleticism to rise over others trying to stop him. He finished with good touch and made several other shots, hitting a couple three-point buckets as well. Taylor’s effort late was exceptional as he willed his team to overtime and then finished it from there, making several plays in both overtimes to help his team to a victory behind his 27-point effort.

MALIK TIDWELL – 2019 – PG – GET BUCKETS
Tidwell played Saturday with good burst with the ball in his hands, and did a nice job controlling the tempo for his team. He was strong when attacking the bucket and either did well to finish, going for 18 points in the game, but otherwise was dishing out to teammates for scores, racking up a handful of assists in the game as well.

LOGAN VILLAFUERTE – 2021 – G – FIVE-O
Villafuerte made some really nice plays to help his team to a solid win early Saturday. He hit some jump shots, finished a couple lay-ups in transition, and also sank a three-pointer later in the game to cap off a 16-point effort. He was also good defensively, playing with energy and hustling after loose ball plays.

STOCK BOOSTERS
MARVIN AGWOMOH – 2019 – SF – CHICAGO LOCKDOWN HOBBS

Lockdown faced a tall challenge in their late game against Phenom U, but Agwonoh played really well around the basket. He faced up against bigger defenders and used some quick moves around the blocks to finish at the rim. He also did a solid job on the boards, but led his team with 14 points.

ALEX ANTETOKOUNMPO – 2020 – F – PHENOM UNIVERSITY
Antetokounmpo is really starting to develop and sharpen more tools in his game and that was on display in the Phenom win later Saturday. The 6’6” forward plays with a lot of energy and his effort showed on the defensive end. That defense also turned into points on offense as he runs the floor well and finished a couple transition plays. Later, Antetokounmpo also showed his growth in his perimeter game, knocking down a three, and then finished the game at the free throw line, sinking his 2 free throw attempts nicely.

KAI BULLOCK – 2020 – SG – WI SWISH
Bullock is putting together his offensive game nicely by developing his game attacking the hoop, adding on to his good stroke from the perimeter. Bullock knocked down a couple three’s in the game and otherwise was attacking openings in the defense and getting up the court to score in transition as well. He had 13 points in their early game.

MASON DOPIRAK – 2021 – PG – LAKESHORE FORCE
Dopirak plays with good balance and does a nice job with the ball in his hands of being strong. Early Saturday, he scored at the basket, he knocked down some jumpers, and was also able to hit a three in the second half. Dopirak did well finding teammates for scores at times as well and finished a couple free throw attempts later.

JOHN DUSZYNSKI – 2020 – G – RWA
The tough young guard came off the bench for RWA to really give his team a lift with his ability to put the ball in the hoop. Duszynski just played steady and made good decisions with the ball, but it was his hot hand shooting that did damage. He buried a trio of the three’s right away and then added another bucket, finishing with 11 points.

AIDAN HARRINGTON – 2021 – G – ALL-IN ATHLETICS OLD SCHOOL
Harrington made several nice plays for AIOS, displaying a well-rounded offensive game for his age. He was able to score from the perimeter with a nice looking shot, but also scored from the mid-range area and in. He played with good body control and patience.

JUSTIN JACKSON – 2020 – SG – WI DYNASTY
Jackson made some nice plays on both ends of the court to help Dynasty through a hard-fought game. Where he really shined was with his three-point shooting, burying 3 treys in the game. With his strength and frame for a guard, he played strong inside and on the boards as well.

KEEGAN KUBICKI – 2019 – PG – YOUNG LEGENDS
Kubicki took a bit to get a feel for the game, but then really got the ball moving for his team. He pushed tempo, used the dribble to attack gaps in the defense, made some nice passes to teammates, and then also proved a capable scorer. Kubicki knocked down a couple three-point baskets, as well as scored on the drive.

ALEC MILLENDER – 2020 – PG – ET21 BUCKEYES
Millender almost quietly put together a great point guard performance. As the game wore on, Millender started giving his team a good rhythm with how he ran the offense and played with good pressure defensively. Quick and heady, Millender showed off upper level court vision and was constantly finding teammates with excellent passes. He had several assists throughout the game and when the second half got going, he also found his own offense a bit, going to the rack with good burst past his defender and also a nice pull-up three.

DIAMOND PRESNIAKOVAS – 2019 – SF – HOOPERS BASKETBALL CLUB
Presniakovas played with really good body control when going at the hoop on offense. He also had nice footwork and showed capable of playing with his back to the basket in the post and making turn-around short-range jumpers. He ran the floor well with his guards and had good coordination and balance against contact to score.