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July 21, 2011

Pro City Catchup, Day 6

July 21, 2011 - Want more Nike Pro City coverage? See below for Sunday's action.

Porter is projecting nicely - Though he's 6'8" and a fairly spindly 190 pound Georgetown freshman forward, Otto Porter as of late has been showing tremendous upside during Pro City play. Curiously enough he's done so without putting up eye popping scoring digits.

Otto's impact can be termed multi-faceted: He's proven himself to be a good defender, one that seems to initially pressure the ball well in press situations. Porter plays with a level of energy (likely his greatest asset presently), which allows him to hustle to the ball, rebound, close out on shooters and run the floor.

Offensively, Otto has increasingly shown an ability to hit jumpers and finish, which he did to the tune of 15 points during Sunday's 60-57 Tombs victory over Team Symonds. Furthermore the Missouri native is unselfish, always making the right play, including finding open teammates.

Sure he needs to fall in love with the weight room, as well as improve the nuances of press defense (thereby disallowing smaller players from blowing by him after the initial jam). But this kid is a player, make no bones about it.

Some in attendance say Porter has reminded them of Scottie Pippen. Any valid comparison as such, if it will ever logically occur, must be made down the line. Despite Pippen becoming more of a ball handler, more of a perimeter guy, there are similarities - in the future Otto could be a stat stuffer, just like Pippen was.

Ayegba seems to be fifty-fifty - Last summer Moses Ayega proved himself to be long on strength and short on other skills during Pro City play. Having recently returned from his native Nigeria - the first trip home since arriving in America over a year and a half ago - there was speculation that his timing/conditioning would be off and skill level diminished, given the fact he would not have been training on The Hilltop. Sunday, that talk was proven only half true.

In terms of timing, Moses did look somewhat out of the flow, looking a bit uncomfortable when pressed to make a move. He also played hard, but clearly at times was winded, and was rung up for some fouls accordingly.

That said, Ayegba, the 6'8" sophomore did hit a few shots, including a foul line jumper and jump hooks. During his Team Symond's loss to Tombs, Moses finished with 10 points and a number of rebounds. During last summer and the brief regular season clock he received, Moses showed little of that offense.

If Ayegba looked winded he also seemed strong; Moses sent G'Town freshman center Tyler Adams sprawling to the floor one sequence, after the two clashed over a rebound. Ayegba used one arm in dispatching the 255 pound Adams.

Startin 5, the throwback crew - Prince George's County, MD, a bedroom community east of Washington, DC was stocked with future collegiate basketball players around five to seven years ago. Some, like Kevin Durant, would even make it to the National Basketball Association. Fans in PG could expect to see top level play most nights on the high school level, and/or walked around knowing their community was truly a talent incubator.

Don't believe it? In addition to Durant during that time, the county produced the names of Austin Freeman and Chris Wright, both recent Georgetown graduates, NBA Hoyas Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert, Sam Young of the Memphis Grizzlies, and Ty Lawson point guard of the Denver Nuggets, plus a host of others.

Some of those 'others' have teamed up for Pro City bump, with former Suitland High School (MD) teammates Mike Lewis and Cliff Dixon joined by Potomac (MD) standout Bobby Shannon joining forces. Their Startin Five mob took out Team Tavern 58-43 Sunday.

Lewis, a senior at West Florida who averaged 15 points and five assists last season dropped 17 points Sunday, mixing his trademark rainbow jumpers with layups delivered high off the glass, while Dixon, a recent graduate of Western Kentucky scored 12, mostly off of driving and finishing/getting fouled. Shannon, who attended Northern Kentucky last year supplied eight points, mostly generated via fast break situations. (At one time both Dixon and Shannon were getting Hoya looks)

"I love it" said Lewis of reuniting with old friends on the court. "It's good to come out here and rekindle things".

A squad laden with seasoned ball players, could Startin Five take home Pro City winner hardware? "We could, but it's going to be tough" opined Lewis, who when hot is one of the best shooters in the league this summer. Adding to their uphill climbe may be Dixon's possible absence after August 23rd.

One thing about it, they will not back down.

Be sure to see coverage of Henry Sims' stellar play, Sunday on our Premium Court message board.


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