G.J. was fouled shooting a three-pointer eight seconds later, and he made two of three free throws. It started a 10--0 Team Cal run that cut the deficit to 53--27. With 30 seconds left in the half, Demetrius shouted at his teammates, "This ain't over! Get ready! The second half is going to be a war!"
On the final possession before the intermission, Evans and Demetrius dueled once again. Evans got the ball atop the key with Demetrius on him. He dribbled casually, letting the clock tick down, while Demetrius stayed low in his stance and crept closer and closer, a sign of the confidence he'd gained from their first showdown. With 0:05 showing on the scoreboard clock, Evans leaned forward and crossed the ball from his right hand to his left and then back again. He showed Demetrius enough of the ball that Demetrius reached for it, at which point Evans spun to his right, around Demetrius, and then powered into the lane and rose up and over Aaron for a spectacular layup.
As Mats settled in a seat above Team Cal's bench for the second half, he said, "We're going to learn a lot about Demetrius this half." Mats didn't care how many points Demetrius scored: He wanted to see him compete against Evans, to court the type of one-on-one situations that ended the first half. "The game is over," Mats said. "The score doesn't matter. So this is when Demetrius needs to go out there and demand the ball and say, 'I'm going to show what I can do against one of the best players in the country.'"
The Saintz had the ball to start, and as Evans brought it into Team Cal's half, he didn't see Demetrius across from him. Instead, he spotted G.J. and Justin Hawkins atop the 2--3 zone. Across the gym, Lloyd Daniels shouted, "Why, Joe, why? Let them play, dawg!" Mats sighed. Making matters worse: On Team Cal's first offensive series Demetrius retreated to the low block, a friendly place in part because Evans passed him off to one of the Saintz' interior defenders.
"Look at that," Mats said. "Demetrius is struggling, so where does he go? Down to the block. See, when he was younger, that is where he would get all his points. He was taller than everybody else, could jump higher; he could score at will down there. But he's not taller than everybody anymore, and let's face it, he's not going to be 6'8" or 6'10". He's a guard, and Joe needs to start preparing him to play on the perimeter."
Mats shook his head as Demetrius had a shot blocked by a Saintz forward. "These boys need to start getting prepared for what they are going to face a year or two from now. Demetrius, Aaron, all of them—they need someone to put them in a position where they are learning what is best for their future."
Team Cal finally came out of the zone with 12 minutes left, but it was Justin, not Demetrius, who stepped up to Evans. On the Saintz' possession, Evans dribbled over to where Demetrius stood guarding another player. He had that player screen Justin in a way that would usually force a switch on defense. But when Justin called for the switch, Demetrius stayed with his man. Evans looked at Demetrius and shook his head. Realizing Demetrius wasn't going to engage him, Evans left the game and gathered his gear and walked up into the stands.
Even with Evans out of the game, Demetrius tried to score only down low, and he managed just a single basket in the second half as Team Cal lost 87--47. Evans scored 32 points to Demetrius's nine, and although there were only two instances, both in the first half, when they went head to head, those in attendance quickly reached a consensus, which would spread on message boards and in articles on recruiting websites: The East Coast kid had come to play, while the West Coast phenom shied away.
Demetrius Walker is a sophomore at the University of New Mexico, where he will sit out the 2010--11 season under NCAA transfer rules. He played last season at Arizona State.
Excerpted from PLAY THEIR HEARTS OUT: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine, by George Dohrmann. Copyright © 2010 by George Dohrmann. Published by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc.