THE "VIC" MOST INSPIRATIONAL AWARD
Toshi Koizumi, Yamato Ballers Player/Coach
co-MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS (pictured above)
Usama Nausrudeen & Ali Azizikia, New York D-Unit
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
Nic Echevestre, Dream League Warriors
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Mo Ghumman, New York D-Unit
FIRST TEAM ALL-TOURNEY
pg Usama Nausrudeen, New York D-Unit
sg Ali Azizikia, New York D-Unit
sf Nic Echevestre, Dream League Warriors
pf Christian Stevens, New York Fury
c Tony Hu, New York Cruisers
OTHER ALL-TOURNEY SELECTIONS
pg Anish Nair, Philadelphia FAY
sg CB Liu, New York Cruisers
sg James Choi, New York Renegades
sf KK Peters, Virginia Young Gunz
sf Punit Menda, Ohio Browns
pf Mikiya Fukuda, Yamato Ballers
pg Stan Yeung, New York Cruisers
sg Shawn De Los Reyes, Tri-State InvAsian
sf Nic Echevestre, Dream League Warriors
pf Mo Ghumman, New York D-Unit
c Yoshi Kagitomi, Yamato Ballers
New York, NY – A look at who did what and why we picked them:
First, Toshi Koizumi wins our “Vic” Most Inspirational Player Award for the tournament. Koizumi, a player-coach for the Yamato Ballers, exemplified the spirit of Vic in leading his team into each game, coaching harder than you see most NBA coaches do during time-outs. He would physically get out onto the court to show players how to run a play, or demonstrate how to box a player out or make a bounce pass. His sportsmanship and respect for the game and players was head and shoulders above anyone else in the Gotham City Games.
Our Most Valuable Player was awarded to two players – teammates Ali Azizikia and Usama Nausrudeen were instrumental in helping the New York D-Unit win the title. Azizikia, an MVP at the Dream League Asian American National Championships in 2005, over seven games, averaged 15 ppg, 2.1 apg, and shot 52.9% from the floor, 39.1% from three, and 78.6% from the line. Nausrudeen averaged 11.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.4 spg, 38% from three, and 66.7% from the line. Nausrudeen had some big games in pool play and Azizikia stepped up a level once the playoffs rolled around including dropping 27 in a semi-final game against the Dream League Warriors. Both players had 17 in the Final.
Their teammate Mo Ghumman was selected as the Defensive Player of the Tournament due to his unbeatable work ethic on the boards. He averaged 11.6 rpg and kept any low post player he faced in check. He’s as hard to keep off the glass as anyone and he’ll get some steals and blocks in there to boot.
Nic Echevestre earns the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player nod for his sublime performance across six games. Echevestre averaged 22.2 ppg (49% FG, 33.3% 3-pt FG, 75.8% FT), 7.7 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.3 spg, and 1.2 bpg. The silky smooth swingman can play all 5 spots on the floor if need be and at times for the Dream League Warriors, he would as he took on bigs down low and the most athletic of guards outside like Azizikia, KK Peters of VA, and Punit Menda of Ohio. His tourney high was 28 points in a loss to Philly FAY when he scored 17 in the 3rd quarter. He did this all unselfishly too as he was not afraid to pass all tournament long to his teammates.
First Team All-Tournament
Rounding out the First Team of the Gotham City Games are Christian Stevens of the New York Fury and Tony Hu of the New York Cruisers. Stevens averaged 16.8 ppg and 13 rpg (tops in the tourney) in collecting 3 double doubles in 4 games. He’s athletic and long and impossible for teams to defend. Hu recorded 5 double doubles in 5 games as he averaged 23.2 ppg (tops in tourney) and 12.0 rpg (2nd best) while shooting a ridiculous 69.5% from the field. Hu did miss a short shot in the 2nd overtime in the semi-final loss to the Renegades that would have likely won them the game, but he reacted to it with an “I have to work harder to get better” attitude – and that’s just how All-Tournament players are made.
Toshi Koizumi, Most Inspirational Award.
Other All-Tourney Selections
CB Liu averaged 14.6 ppg and shot 37.5% from the arc to help open up the game for Hu underneath. The Cruisers desperately missed him when he fouled out in the 4th quarter of the semi-final…Peters, one of most athletic players in the tournament, had the tourney high with 31 points against the Heatkeepers and averaged 21.8 ppg. He also recorded 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, and 1.5 spg. His dunk in the Heatkeeper win was one of two for the Gotham City Games…Anish Nair headed the Philly FAY attack from the point position and averaged 15.5 ppg (52.6% FG, 45.5% 3-pt FG, 85.7% FT), 2.3 apg, and 1.8 spg in leading his team into the quarterfinals. FAY was not at full strength, especially on Sunday when two of their top players were missing due to having to deal with their missing car, but Nair was there and kept his team in every game…James Choi of the runner-up Renegades got the nod over his teammate Eddie Wang due to an impressive start and a more well rounded game. Wang was on fire offensively, but Choi, who averaged 12.7 ppg in 6 games, also had 4.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, and 1.8 spg…the Ohio Browns’ Menda played a whale of tournament causing Echevestre to say during a time-out of the Brown-DLW game, “that dude is good!” Coming from the MOP, that’s high praise. Menda led Ohio by averaging 14.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 4.3 apg (2nd in the tourney) – all tops on the team. His 3.25 assists to turnover ratio was best of anyone in the Games…Finally, Mikiya Fukuda of the Yamato Ballers showcased himself as a newcomer on the scene with averages of 11.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.8 apg, and 1.8 spg. He also showed some range by knocking down 4 3-pointers. Big and athletic, but probably a bit less polished than teammate Yoshi Kagitomi, he got the nod here over Y2K because his future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades.
We know what Mo G can do. Joining him on the All-Tourney D squad are: Stan Yeung of the Cruisers, Shawn De Los Reyes of the Tri-State InvAsian, Echevestre, and Y2K.
Yeung led Gotham in assists, but he also led it in steals (3.6 spg) as he has to be considered one of the premiere lock down defenders on the perimeter whenever he puts his mind to it. He's big enough to body smaller guards, but quick enough to stay with them…De Los Reyes picked up 2.3 spg and was a prolific scorer, but had to leave the tournament early and as a result, Tri-State may have lost their game to Yamato on a last second shot because of it. He’s one of the most feared players around on either side of the ball. His performance probably suffered a bit in Gotham due to his unfamiliarity with Tri-State players (first time playing with them), but he still stood out on the court…Echevestre is the MOP for his excellence on both sides of the ball. On defense, his numbers were pretty, but what the stats don’t tell you is how hard he works to get a rebound in traffic, how much ground he can cover on a guard who’s trying to drive around him, or how long his wingspan is so as to prevent easy passes into the post. He was the most complete player around this weekend…Finally, while Fukuda earned the nod for All-Tourney, Y2K, who was every bit worthy himself of such honors, remained a stalwart defender due to his relentlessness on the glass (9.0 rpg) and shot-altering abilities (1.3 bpg). It’s too bad he had to go to his son’s recital on Sunday. The rematch with the Cruisers wasn’t the same without him.