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Evans, Samuels star in Portland

Though I'm still far from in love with the whole recruiting scene (or lifestyle if you prefer), I'd be lying if I said that I hadn't slowly started to fall for Tyreke Evans over the course of this summer. Of course Scout's No. 2 overall prospect hasn't made that especially difficult by shining everywhere he's taken his game these past two months.

The latest stop on Tyreke's Summer Domination Tour (a subsidiary of the upcoming Art Carmody World Domination Tour) was the Nike Global Challenge held in Portland this week. 'Reke was named Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, proving once again that the reports of his been demise have been greatly exaggerated by averaging a sensational 28.2 points per contest while playing for the USA2 team.

But it wasn't all peachy keen for Evans in Portland.

After dropping 43 in Tuesday afternoon's semifinal, he sprained his ankle in the second quarter of the championship game and was forced to watch the second half from the sideline. His squad fell to the USA3 team 105-94.

Though it looked ugly for a while, Evans said after the game that he felt OK and was able to put pressure on the ankle.

As for Samardo Samuels, the Louisville commit's USA4 team may not have made it to the title game, but that didn't stop him from being one of five players named to the U.S. All-Tournament Team. With Evans taking home MVP honors, Samuels was joined on the team by the nation's top prospect Greg Monroe, Isaiah Thomas, Kemba Walker and Matt Simpkins.

Casey Holdahl has been blogging the action all week for, and here are just a few excerpts from his coverage of a pair of Samuels' games:  

  • Samardo Samuels comes into the game for the first time, and he changes the game. Nobody can guard him with that kind of power inside. Tinsley comes back into the game for Warren. He and Harthun will combine to be the USA4 backcourt. Tinsley immediately cans a very tough 3, and after a quick steal, White is fouled on his way to the hoop.
  • Derozen misses a floater, but Samuels is under the hoop where he bats away two defenders to corral the rebound, and is fouled on his putback attempt. Freethrows are good.
  • Samuels just swatted two fellas on two consecutive plays, but the first was amazing. He met his opponent right at their point of release and just sent it back hard. Game is tied now after two China free throws. However, Samuels doesn't like that, and he shows his displeasure with a HARD dunk inside.
  • Samuels just destroyed a De Jesus shot attempt. He thought he was in the clear, but Samuels just comes from the weakside and slaps it against the glass before falling on top of De Jesus. ouch.
  • Off of an inbounds, Derozen gets the ball to Harthun who drives and dishes to Samuels who puts it in for 2 and is fouled. After a China turnover. Harthun lobs it to Derozen off of the inbounds and he HAMMERS it home. Wow. That was a power dunk.
  • Tinsley just had an excellent sequence. After canning an open three, he helped to force a turnover, and that led to an assist from him to Samuels for a thunderous dunk. Nice. Cotto gets some of it back with a three of his own, but at this point, it looks like Puerto Rico is just trading buckets with USA4, not gaining ground.

One last piece of news, it seems an Oregon fan at the event had a conversation with our old pal Worldwide Wes and came away with the impression that his adopted nephew Tyreke was a "Louisville lock." While this certainly isn't information that should inspire any of us to pop open that bottle of Andre we've all been saving for Evans' commitment just yet, it can at least serve the purpose of making us all feel good for a couple of minutes, right?