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Friday, July 11
Updated: July 16, 8:56 AM ET
ABCD Camp the winner of Telfair-Livingston duel

By Michael Kruse
Special to

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- ABCD's administrators did Thursday night what they do so well each and every year here. They took what was essentially a scrimmage and turned it into a must-see duel of an individual matchup.

And this was the biggie.

Sebastian vs. Shaun.

Telfair vs. Livingston.

S. Telfair
The top two point guards in the prep Class of 2004 -- Telfair, of course, the 6-foot savant from Brooklyn's Coney Island blacktop, and Livingston, the spidery 6-6 string bean from Peoria, Ill. -- went head-to-head in the Day 3 nightcap at adidas' All-America camp.

Two other games apparently were played in the 9:30 time slot -- at least that's what the schedule said -- but who knew?

Surrounding Court 2, standing shoulder to shoulder on the sidelines, sitting in the wooden bleachers, almost everybody in the Rothman Center was here for the same reason.

From googly-eyed recruiting junkies to guys named Rick Pitino, Ben Howland and Bobby Lutz, everybody was on hand to see just two kids in just one game.

"This was exactly what ABCD is all about," said Chris Grier, the coach of the Michigan Hurricanes summer club, one of the big dogs in the adidas grassroots hierarchy. "It was the best against the best."

So who was the best of the best?

Telfair was 5-for-12 from the floor -- 2-for-5 from three -- and finished with 16 points, 10 assists, three rebounds and a block in leading his Jazz to a 78-66 win.

Livingston, meanwhile, was an efficient 6-for-9 from the field en route to 13 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

"It's not so much a 'win,'" recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. "But it confirms what I said last year on this court: Shaun's the best point guard in the country. If you have to give an edge to somebody, it goes to Shaun."

Even with the stats tipping to Telfair.

Livingston, hampered by a gimpy left ankle that's bothered him on and off since the Illinois state playoffs in March, still has superior height, which he has even on his worst nights.

I would say that Sebastian proved that this is his city. With the crowd and the hype, it's very hard to knock Sebastian off his pedestal.
Chris Grier, coach of the Michigan Hurricanes
But the Coney Island Kid -- Stephon's cousin, LeBron's good buddy, everybody's cover boy -- put forth what was generally a purposeful performance in continuing a solid and sometimes even spectacular showing this week.

"Too much is made of these individual matchups," All Star Sports Report scout Rob Matera said. "I think Livingston probably outplayed him a little bit in the first half, but Telfair did a good job of not getting sucked into the one-on-one."

But both prospects had their moments.

Livingston got Telfair in the first half by punctuating a shifty baseline drive with a smooth reverse up-and-under finish.

But Telfair got him back by hitting an inordinately difficult three and then stripping Livingston in an exchange near midcourt.

And the across-the-Hudson hero did earn at least one indisputable victory -- the final score.

Even Livingston copped to that.

"He got the best of it," the kid said. "His team won. That's the bottom line. I play to win. So there's not a lot I can brag on."

Telfair knows how to win -- he's a two-time PSAL champion at Lincoln High -- and he did just that Thursday night.

"I would say that Sebastian proved that this is his city," Grier said. "With the crowd and the hype, it's very hard to knock Sebastian off his pedestal."

In the end, though, who won the matchup itself?


"Sebastian Telfair won," Matera said. "His team won the game."

Did on this night.

"That's the only thing a point guard should care about," longtime Queens-based talent evaluator Tom Konchalski said.

"And Sebastian won. Is he a better point guard than Shaun Livingston because of it? No. Not necessarily. But his team won the game."

The real winner, though?


As usual.

Michael Kruse, who writes for the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., is a frequent contributor to

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