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July 24, 2011

Pro City Catchup, Day 8

July 24, 2011 - Washington, DC was hot on Saturday, and so was the Nike Pro City hoops action in McDonough Arena. Georgetown University was the place to be.

Town Tavern is going out with a bang - Constituted in large measure of student-athletes who attend G'town's Northwest, DC neighbor American University, Town Tavern's Pro City run is coming to an end; that school's team will depart for a tour of Europe in August, with Prague and Austria being scheduled points of visit. Resultantly, this was the last weekend Town Tavern will compete this summer.

To its benefit, the team played one of its best games of the league on Saturday, downing a NCAA Division I player laden Team Takeover squad, 72-78. The entire crew played well, but a pair of George Mason University-related guys stood out - Folarian Campbell and Anali Okoloji, along with Radford's Joey Lynch-Flohr.

Campbell, a 6'4" guard/swingman who graduated from Mason in 2008 and played for Italian Serie B champion Cassale last season, competed in his first Pro City game of the year and instantly made a difference.

"I just came - this is not my team - just wanted to get everybody involved" is how he termed his impact. Town Tavern's coach, Stanley Babbit echoed those sentiments, as the long time Pro City coach - they won the league in 2007 - opined "We shared the ball today, we weren't hesitant" and directly attributed that to Campbell's presence. "The results speak for themselves".

But Campbell did much more than share the rock; he's dropped 22 points, including seven straight ending at the 16:15 in the second half mark, a spurt that expanded Town Tavern's lead to 52-39.

Team Takeover was led by Georgetown's senior guard Jason Clark's 28 points, while Chris Braswell, a junior forward at Charlotte scored fourteen points and Chris Wright, the former Georgetown guard, finished with six.

If Campbell made an immediate impact, the steady play of Okoloji and Lynch-Flohr, both of whom have played multiple games during Town Tavern's present 2-5 Pro City season, must also be lauded: Okoloji, a sophomore transfer from Seton Hall that must sit out this year at Mason scored 17 points - 11 from the free throw line - by aggressively attacking the hole. Lynch-Flor dropped 18 points, many from post ups where he couldn't be stopped. Both were aggressive on the boards.

At the nick of time, everyone on Town Tavern came to play, including AU's Wayne Simon, a sophomore point guard, and freshman Jon Schoof (swingman) and Kyle Kager (forward).

Roughing them off - Former Hoya All-American Jeff Green led DC Assault to a come from behind, 79-76 win over The Tombs, scoring 23 points including the eventual game winner. Over the course of the game, Green showed why he's a National Basketball Association professional with a bright future; he drove, shot, and led his team to victory. Clearly, as to be expected, he was the best player on the floor.

Green also used the game to help develop the new crop of Georgetown players, as he went at them physically and mentally: Not only did Green physically push the likes of freshman Otto Porter, Mikael Hopkins and Tyler Adams around, but he also got in their faces, talked trash and even screamed. It was clear he was challenging them.

"It was all in competition" said Green of his tactics, which frequently brought laughs from the heavy crowd in attendance. "I was trying to make them better".

After being down over 10 points over the course of the second half, DCA made its comeback with aggressive, frantic overall play. By the time ex-Rutgers player Rob Lumpkins (20 points) hit back to the three pointers over Adams, prompting Green to say "Hit it in his face again", they had a 73-72 lead with slightly over a minute to go.

Porter then scored on the baseline at 50.1 seconds in regulation, which was answered by a Green three pointer, which he punctuated by yelling "Oh yeah, oh yeah". Adams responded with a stick back, after which Green sunk a baseline floater with seven seconds to go. Hopkins, trying to make a play was then called for a charge, and Green sank one of two unrelated free throws less than a second later, sealing the win.

Green, in more ways than one, showed tough love on G'Town's youngsters, also known as 'Puppies'.

For a discussion of 'Puppies' Adams and Hopkins performance along with point totals, along with former Hoya Tyler Crawford's thoughts of the Georgetown rookie class, see the Premium Court message board.


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