Season 2 of the On Point Summer League Pro-Am officially kicked off last Wednesday night at the Toronto Pan Am Centre as Team X-Men, Team Toben, and Team On Point each picked up victories in their season openers, respectively. Here are some takeaways from Week 1.
TEAM ON POINT AND TEAM TOBEN PICK UP RIGHT WHERE THEY LEFT OFF LAST SEASON
Season 2 of the Pro-Am kicked off with a close game between Team X-Men and Team United but that was about as dramatic as it would get in terms of the rest of the night.
Last season’s finalists, Team Toben and Team On Point, started off their respective campaigns with blowout victories as they made a thunderous statement to the rest of the league.
Team Toben, last season’s runner-up, led wire-to-wire, winning 93-68 over M.A.D.E. Keith Barron Jr., from Newark, NJ, dazzled his way to a game-high 21 points with 14 of them coming in the second half and was named On Point Performer of the Game.
Toben look to start off on the right foot this season and ride this early momentum all the way.
Meanwhile, for Team On Point, the defending Pro-Am champions turned a tight game into a blowout, closing the game on a 32-9 run, winning 90-62, over Team Starting 5. That game was also a wire-to-wire victory.
Marko Curic was named On Point Performer of the Game, leading all scorers with 26 points on four made triples as the big man caused all sorts of trouble for Starting 5 with his shooting touch. Fresh off of being selected to Team Canada for the JUMP10 tournament, Jamal Reynolds finished with 16 points while Kordell Charles led Starting 5 with 17 points.
Keith Barron (Toben)
TOBEN WILL LIVE AND DIE BY THE THREE BALL. PLUS REMEMBER THE NAME KEITH BARRON JR.
Offensively, things could not have gone any better for Team Toben as they hit 15 triples and left M.A.D.E helpless. They also pushed the ball in transition after a steal or a missed shot, making it difficult for M.A.D.E to set up its defense in the half court.
The ball movement was crisp, swinging from side-to-side as their shooters got going, especially Barron Jr., whom, at one point, many people thought he would never miss for the rest of the game, as he kept the defense off-kilter with multiple pull-up jumpers off the dribble.
However, the hot three point shooting can’t possibly last throughout the entire season; there will be a game or two in which shots from behind the arc simply won’t fall. It remains to be seen how Team Toben will respond when that happens but with some of their key players back from last season (Gilbert Gyamfi, Dinjyl Walker), it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Jabs Newby (On Point)
ON POINT’S STARTING LINEUP TOO MUCH TO HANDLE IN SECOND HALF
On Wednesday night, it was Center Marko Curic who led the team in scoring. But with a starting lineup like Team On Point has, anybody can go off on any given night.
Along with Curic, Reynolds, Kenny Ejim and Alastair Cole round up the starting lineup for Team On Point. Given that this team has experience in winning it all last season combined with the individual talent that they each have, opposing teams will have a problem on their hands trying to contain these guys. And let’s not forget about Pro-Am MVP Jabs Newby as well, who serves as the facilitator for the team.
Starting 5, to their credit, hung in there, cutting it down to 58-53, before Team On Point turned on the afterburners, which ultimately proved to be overwhelming with their great play on both ends, leading to points in transition.
Given the talent of their starting lineup, the level of focus will be a thing to watch as the season goes along. But Team On Point, at least for one game, proved that taking the title away from them won’t be easy.
Aaron McGowan (Starting 5)
CLOSE GAME OF THE NIGHT: UNITED VS X-MEN
In the very first game of the 2018 On Point Summer League Pro-Am, Team United and Team X-Men squared off against each other, with United winning, 65-57, despite blowing a 13 point second half lead. Joseph Wani, from X-Men, was named On Point Performer of the Game.
The game also featured an intercollegiate battle as well. Fresh off of winning their first ever CCAA title, the Seneca Sting were well-represented amongst the two teams with Yusuf Ali (United), Jordan Anderson (X-Men), and Khalil Miller (X-Men).
After a back and forth lead that saw X-Men hold a slim one point lead at the half (30-29), they used a 9-0 run early on to start the second half to take a 47-34 lead. However, United scored the next 13 points as they hit three triples in that span to tie the game up at 47. X-Men, however, used an 11-3 run to take the lead for good and take home a season-opening victory.
UP NEXT (WEEK 2: JULY 4, 2018)
On Point vs. M.A.D.E. (7:00 pm)
Starting 5 vs. United (8:10 pm)
Toben vs. X-Men (9:20 pm)
Written by Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
Photos by Reuben Polansky
Graphics by: Jonathan Gibbs