WEST DES MOINES – The 2015 YMCA Capital City League has now come and gone with Hannah Homes emerging victorious after beating Phoenix Renewable Resources by a 112-92 in Sunday night’s final.
There were surprises, disappointments, impressive performances and a whole lot more. It’s time for my final takes from CCL 2015.
DEONTE BURTON: I am 100 percent okay with being the first person on the Deonte Burton bandwagon. If you were at Valley Southwoods on Sunday night, I’m sure you’ve already joined me.
In case you didn’t hear, Burton scored a combined 101 points, shot 22-of-36 from behind the arc and grabbed 24 rebounds in two games to lead his team to the championship.
Sunday night wasn’t his first big night of the summer and he should have been the MVP of the league. I’m shocked that he wasn’t considering he was the biggest fan favorite not named Georges Niang.
Burton showed the ability to shoot with range that not many people knew he had. He also proved that he has the ability to handle the ball at a high level and can make plays for his team when he has to. He is a relentless rebounder and his athleticism has not been exaggerated.
He also has a swagger about him that I think adds another level to this year’s Iowa State team. Like I said on the podcast a few weeks ago, he just has that “it” factor.
If you missed out on seeing Burton play during CCL, then I feel bad for you. In the words of Hallice Cooke, “He killed it.”
HALLICE COOKE: Cooke is another Cyclone that really impressed me during the CCL. He was very good at times despite continuing to work back from hip surgery last fall.
He is an explosive athlete, a trait he showed off by going coast to coast in five seconds to score the game-winning basket in Hannah Homes’ semifinal game and is also a knockdown shooter. After scoring the winning basket he yelled, “That’s what they brought me here for!”
Cooke should be an above average backup combo and should be able to play off the ball as well on the wing. When he gets his feet set, his shots usually go in.
JAMEEL MCKAY: It seems clear to me that Jameel McKay was the player with the biggest impact on his team. YMCA went from being pretty average, to nearly making the finals once McKay started playing.
He is just able to impact the game in so many ways, whether it be offensively or defensively. If he continues to shoot with range like he did during CCL, there could be big things on the horizon for McKay.
MONTE MORRIS: I expect Monte Morris to have a little bit of a chip on his shoulder this season after being part of the first cuts at the Pan-Am games tryout. When we talked to him Sunday night, it seemed like his trip to Colorado left a bit of a sour taste in his mouth. I expect he will want to prove some people wrong in the Winter.
GEORGES NIANG: It was nice to see guys getting fired up for championship Sunday. Georges Niang even picked up a technical during the first half of his game, leading him to say, “I think that’s the first tech in Cap City history.”
Trash talking and interacting with officials was at an all-time high. Niang went back and forth with Burton for most of their game and for Burton, that carried over to Morris during the finals.
It was clear that these guys really wanted to beat each other and it was nice to see a little fire out of them even when the stakes aren’t very high.
THE OTHERS: I wish I could have seen more from Abdel Nader and Nick Noskowiak.
Nader was really good in the two games he played but we just didn’t see much of him. Noskowiak wasn’t able to play while battling a concussion, although he showed flashes during his time on the court. I’m intrigued to see what both bring to the table this season.
FINALLY: I really hope that Steve Prohm continues to let his guys play in the Capital City League. It is really cool to see them interacting with fans and showing off what they have worked on so far during the offseason.
Plus, it’s nice to have a reason to spend a few nights each week in a gym watching basketball.
Is it November yet?