Gaels' Lavon Long powers Maryland 3D 16s to title
This time the rising junior from Mount St. Joseph rejoined 3D’s 16-and-under squad for a Big Shots tournament on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth last weekend. And once again, Long’s team was victorious.
“Lavon Long was the MVP,” said Geoff Reed, coach of the Maryland 3D 16s. “It’s kind of interesting because his role with the 17s is a little bit different. He’s a little bit of a role player for them. They have some guards who can really play. My guards are good, too, but their guards are a little bit older. Basically, he’s the unquestioned leader for us. He does a little bit of everything for us. He handles the ball, rebounds, blocks shots, can shoot the 3 [and] gets to the rim when he wants. I think he’s a kid that’s just kind of figuring out how good he can really be. He’s got kind of a laid-back personality. I think mentally, he’s starting to realize that he can really dominate games on both ends of the floor.”
In Richmond, 3D topped Crusader Nation Gold for the title. Reed’s team was down 10 points in the first half, but battled back in the second. Marriotts Ridge guard B.J. Durham hit big foul shots down the stretch, while 3D also received steady play in the backcourt from Miller School (Va.) guard Grant Harris.
Timi Tinouye, a 6-3 wing from Centennial, “took a big charge” in the title game, Pallotti guard Marcus Scott “played extremely hard” and Centennial forward Joe Eads -- who has drawn some interest from Navy – was a strong, physical presence down low. 3D also received contributions from Jason Tucker (St. Paul’s), T.J. Hefner (St. Paul’s), Dominic Bernetti (Atholton) and Jacarl Smith (Pallotti).
It was Long, meanwhile, that flourished as 3D’s go-to guy.
“He’s a big kid, a physical kid with a really good quick first step,” Reed said. “He can really handle the ball for a big kid, get to the rim and penetrate and finish. Three possessions in a row he just dunked the ball in traffic. That opened some eyes.”
Reed said Long has scholarship offers from Dayton, Towson and VCU. Thanks to Long’s play on the circuit, several other programs have expressed interest in him.
“Massachusetts really likes him, Radford, James Madison … [I] got a call from Robert Morris about him [and] Northeastern,” Reed said. “Bino [Ranson] from Maryland actually called me last week about him. They’re going to continue to monitor him, look at him and see if he grows and improves. He’s about 6-5, 6-6 right now. If he grows a couple inches, there’s a good chance he’ll start getting some interest from ACC teams like Maryland.”
Handout photo courtesy of Maryland 3D