LONG BEACH, Calif. — Collin Sexton wants to make sure Alabama basketball fans know they are getting much more than just a scorer and he used Saturday’s Ballislife All-American Game at Long Beach City College to showcase every aspect of his game.
A scorer, yes, very much so, but Sexton is so much more.
He’s can play both on and off the ball with his ability to combine willingness to find teammates, but also score from all three when he feels his side needs a boost.
But Sexton thrives amid a sea of confidence, intensity and showmanship that made for a perfect wave of All-American style basketball, finishing with 27 points while earning MVP honors as he helped lead Team Elite to a 153-134 victory against Team Future.
“I’m bringing my intensity and my drive to shock a whole lot of people,” Sexton said. “I feel like everybody thinks Alabama is just a football school, but we’re going to change that around.”
Sexton’s ferocious personality and flair for the dramatic was manifested in a weekend-long clash with UCLA-bound point guard Jaylen Hands.
The strife began during Thursday’s scrimmage as the duo chirped back and forth at one another after a number of isolation matchups. Sexton is known as among high school basketball’s elite trash talkers.
The duel carried over into prime time as Sexton and Hands made sure to clear out the side on numerous occasions to go at each other, each scoring on one another at least once.
“It was just competition,” Sexton said of his mini-rivalry with Hands. “We were just out there having fun. The fans paid all that money, so we wanted to put on a show.”
Team Future got the better of the first half of the show, leading Team Elite, 69-67, at halftime behind 12 points from Arizona signee Brandon Randolph, 11 from Hands and nine each from Chris Lykes (Miami) and Savion Flagg (Texas A&M).
Oregon State signee Ethan Thompson of Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) led Team Elite with 17 at the break, while Sexton had 15.
Team Elite began to pull away midway through the second half behind Thompson, who finished with a game-high 32 points, and Minnesota-bound point guard Isaiah Washington.
In fact, Washington came out of a media timeout with10:46 to play, his team up nine, and approached the opponents saying, “We can go hard now.”
Washington proceeded to score or assist on 12 consecutive points for Team Elite to put the game out of reach. Washington finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
After a slow start that saw UNLV commit Brandon McCoy score just seven points in the first half, he turned it up in the second, scoring 23 of his team-high 30 in the second 20 minute stanza to earn MVP for Team Future.
“I knew coming in it was going to be a guard-oriented game, so I just wanted to run the floor and make an impact,” McCoy said of his mindset. “They kept sitting me out in the first half, and I was kind of upset, so I made sure to come out in the second half and do things so they would keep me in.”
McCoy, who chose the Running Rebels over Oregon, Michigan State, San Diego State and Arizona, said his decision was based on a host of circumstances.
“I don’t need to go to a big name school to get where I want to go,” he said. “It’s about what I do in the offseason that will define my future. UNLV is a great school, I’m comfortable with the coaching staff, and I know what we’re capable of doing next year.”