NYC natives, future pros leave imprint at Barclays
by Bryan Fonseca
Nov 28, 2017 | 5619 views | 0 0 comments | 204 204 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A slew of talent in all forms invaded Barclays Center during Thanksgiving week, as the venue hosted three tournaments over the course of a few days; The Progressive Legends Classic, the Barclays Classic, and the NIT Season Tip-Off.

The Progressive Legends Classic culminated on November 21, with the Texas A&M Aggies taking down the Penn State Nittany Lions, 98-87.

Robert Williams, a probable top-10 choice in the 2018 NBA Draft, stole the show with his dynamic athleticism, scoring and rebounding coming off the bench.

Williams recorded 11 points and 11 rebounds in his season debut, which was a win over Oklahoma State, in only 24 minutes of play. In the final against PSU, Williams logged 23 minutes, scoring 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting and pulling down 11 rebounds en route to MVP honors.

“He makes the game easy for our guards,” said A&M head coach Billy Kennedy of Williams. “You just throw it up there anytime and he gets it. Not many teams in the country could bring a guy like that off the bench.”

Penn State’s Tony Carr also made an impression in Brooklyn, recording 31 points and four steals in the title game, one night after putting up 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and a perfect 4-for-4 from three in a blowout win over Pitt.

Carr, a sophomore guard who was a four-star recruit from Philadelphia, is averaging 20 points, 4.8 assists and 1.5 steals on 50 percent shooting from the field over his first four games of the season.

“He’s a big-time player,” Penn State head coach Pat Chambers said of Carr. “I’ll tell you this, he’ll take an 11-point game with a win any day of the week. He’s such a competitor.”

The Barclays Classic was decided by 14th-ranked Minnesota and 25th-ranked Alabama.

The game was memorable due to a rare 5-on-3 display down the stretch, which came about after the entire Alabama bench was ejected for stepping onto the floor during an incident between the two teams.

Collin Sexton, a top-flight freshman who is expected to be a top pick in the 2018 Draft, netted 40 points for the Tide, despite an 89-84 loss to Minnesota. Sexton is averaging 21.5 points as a true freshman, along with 4.3 assists per game from the point guard position.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers, who are now undefeated at 7-0, famously signed Isaiah Washington from Harlem, the city’s Mr. Basketball in 2017. Washington had 14 points in 26 reserve minutes in the title game, and the four-star recruit is now averaging 9.0 points per game.

Wake up call for Seton Hall

In the NIT Season Tip-Off, the Seton Hall Pirates, gifted with some New York-based talent, entered 20th in the country and lost in the semifinals to Rhode Island in an upset, 75-74.

Though the Pirates came up short, they gathered themselves to defeat the Vanderbilt Commodores in the consolation game, winning 72-59.

The Pirates also received standout contributions from Dominican native Angel Delgado, who was an early entry in last year’s NBA Draft, along with Bronx-born Desi Rodriguez and Brooklyn-bred Khadeen Carrington.

Delgado posted 18 points and 14 rebounds against Rhode Island, and recorded 15 points and eight rebounds against Vanderbilt. Currently, Delgado’s averages sit at 14.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the early going of 2017-18.

Though Rodriguez had 12 points and two rebounds in the Rhode Island loss, he put up 27 points and five boards against Vanderbilt.

Carrington struggled against Vanderbilt, but had 12 points when facing Rhode Island, his third double-digit scoring output for the season.

“I loved our attitude,” said Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard of their bounce-back victory. “I loved the fact that we had a really, really tough loss and we didn’t play well, but no matter what, we were going to get a victory. That was the mentality all day.”

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