On Saturday, Jan 18 the Inaugural Paul Millsap Core 4 MLK Classic kicked off in the southside of Atlanta . This is the first time the Core 4 has ever hosted a tournament. They brought in teams not only from the Southeast, but from all around the nation as well. Teams like Minnesota Prep and Life Christian Academy, in Virginia, made the trip to D.M. Therrell High School to take on some of the other nations’ best teams.
Core4 Academy was founded by NBA star Paul Millsap and his three brothers John, Abe, and Elijah. They started Core4 to be able to share their success, talents, and training with other players, parents, and coaches with the hopes to change lives for the better. Core4 has a Post-Grad team for players out of High School that decide not to go to college and they also have a high school team that was on display Saturday evening as they took on Life Christian Academy.
Core4 started fast out of the gate jumping out to an early lead on LCA, and they found themselves with a 44-31 lead at halftime. However, Life Christian did not go away, as they kept chipping away at the lead as the second half went on.
Fatigue on Core4’s end definitely played a role in LCA’s comeback as the team only having six active players for the game. Head Coach of Core4 Tobias Howard spoke about the impact of only having six players.
“They picked right back up from it. I tried to use my timeouts as I can, but that takes will and heart to keep continuing to play when you got another team pressing at you.” He said.
Even though Life Christian Academy didn’t go down easy, Core4 pulled away down the stretch in the second half. They relied heavily on their star and highly scouted big man, Achor Achor.
“I knew they were a little small I tried to get in the pick in roll, tried to get in a mismatch, try to use my size and length inside to get rebounds. He was slimmer than me, so I just tried to use my weight against him to bang him a little bit.” Achor said.
Coach Howard talked about Achor’s efforts, and how he carried the team at the beginning and end of the game.
“He carried us early in the first half until our guards got hot, and then down the stretch, we gave it to him and Richardson and they made a couple of big baskets to stop the run, so he definitely did a great job of being poised and finishing down low.” He said.
Not only did Achor Achor finish the game with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but the team also finished with four other players in double figures. Coach Howard was very pleased with what he saw from the offense.
“That’s what we preach share the ball. Keep the ball on the move, and it’ll find you and you’ll find your shots, so our boys are biting in and sharing the ball and our chemistry is going real good, so that’s what we kind of preach and teach drive, kick, swing, share the ball, and everything else will take care of itself.” He said.
Core4 kept up their winning ways on Sunday with a 55-51 win over Central Pointe. Kedrick Green was the player of the game with 17 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Overall the first annual Paul Millsap MLK Classic was a success for not only the home team, but for all teams involved.