Who knew that, upon tipping off on Saturday afternoon, that Allonzo Trier (pictured, above) and Isaiah Briscoe would essentially take 10 paces, turn and draw. When Trier's Athletes First squad squared off against Briscoe and the Playaz Basketball Club, immediately it became clear that the two guards had each other in the crosshairs.
The two prospects, both top-20 caliber in the Class of 2015, dueled epically during a lunchtime encounter that obviously became personal — albeit respectfully so — for each.
Toward the end of the second half, the crowd actually applauded both teams raucously due to the intensity and back-and-forth nature of the game. Contests such as this one — uncommon, but certainly not rare — serve proof that critics of the travel circuit sometimes miss the competitive brilliance while ensconced within the vapors of their recriminations.
This was a fan's game, and even the college coaches sitting courtside appreciated the competition in more simplified terms than their July imperatives typically mandate.
Trier and Briscoe actually finished the game — a 90-87 victory for Athletes First — with starkly contrasting statistical profiles.
Trier scored a whopping 42 points, while Briscoe netted a relatively pedestrian 19. But Trier shot just 10-30 from the field, attempting nearly as many threes (15) as Briscoe's total shot attempts (19). That said, Trier wasn't entirely inefficient, continually going to the free throw line and stroking 17-20 from the charity stripe.
His game surprises. Trier has a short stride and doesn't possess an explosive first step, so you may not expect him to be a slasher. But he uses deception and the ability to change speeds to put defenders off-balance, and his body control around the rim is exquisite.
He jumps and a big man jumps with him in sound position to block the shot, but Trier repositions his body to force contact and still get a shot toward the rim. He'll be a scourge to shotblockers at the college level as well.
Trier also possesses very deep shooting range and buries them even when heavily contested, though obviously he's going to have to clean up 10-30 type outings.
You'd assume that the country's No. 15 senior would struggle to enhance his reputation, but Trier managed to do exactly that. He averaged 30.8 points per game in five contests, shooting 43 percent on 97 shot attempts and knocking down a solid 40 percent on threes. He also averaged five rebounds per game, a testament to his toughness.
For his part, Briscoe attempted only two threes en route to a 7-18 shooting performance. He dedicated himself to applying pressure with his dribble and made several terrific kick-out passes while surrounded by traffic in the lane. He possesses superb balance and can dribble his way out of trouble in highly impressive fashion.
|Briscoe exudes confidence with the ball in his hands|
He's also a fine jump shooter who has resolved inconsistencies from deep by relying less on jumpers and instead dedicated himself to bursting past defenders and gradually bludgeoning opponents with his all-around skillset.
Briscoe averaged 22.4 points through his first five games at the Peach Jam, shooting 46 percent from the floor. He added six rebounds and four assists per contest as well, permanently dispelling his prior reputation for being a tunnel vision scorer.
Evaluating the two from a rankings perspective, they appear to be very close. Trier is a slightly bigger player and perhaps the superior pure scorer, while Briscoe is a genuine combo guard who can set up others. Take your pick.
Neither player has settled on a college choice, and the intensity surrounding each player's recruitment may surpass even what happened on the court yesterday.