Greg Oden Impressive in Chicago Shootout

The 11th annual City-Suburban Showdown at Northwestern's Welsh Ryan Arena traditionally has a sea full of NBA scouts in attendance. On Saturday, none were present, but that had nothing to do with the talent on hand.

"We used to have the whole NBA here," event organizer Bob Rylko said. "But because of the new rules, we can't have any this year."

The nation's top player, Greg Oden as well as a small handful of others with NBA potential played in front of a standing-room only audience of 8,494 on Saturday night in Evanston .

The 7-1 Oden and company followed in the line of such notables who've played in the event such as Shaun Livingston, Shannon Brown, Dee Brown and Eddy Curry. In the featured matchup the two-time defending Indiana state champs, Lawrence North, took on the defending Illinois state champs, Glenbrook North. Highlighted also was the nation's top dog, Oden, against Illinois No. 1 star, Jon Scheyer.

The Duke-bound Scheyer definitely had the home court advantage as the entire crowd erupted when his name was announced for the starting lineups. A notable Chicago newspaper reporter called Scheyer the hottest winter athlete in Chicago now that the NFL season is over.

The 6-5 senior guard came out hot, scoring 19 of his team's 27 first-half points. His Spartans (21-2) still found themselves down by 14 at the intermission. Oden had 16 at the half.

Oden and Mike Conley, both committed to Ohio State , erupted in the second half to keep their Wildcats perfect at 19-0.

The 6-1 175-pound Conley, considered by many as a top 10 player nationally, wowed the crowd with his shooting prowess, quick first-step, intense defense and and occasional And 1 type moves he pulled off. He finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

"I knew everyone wants to see Greg and Jon, but I wanted to show I was just as good of a player as them," Conley said. "I'm not sure where I stand [as an NBA prospect]. I'm going to college to become a man and get better. Greg's my best friend, but we never talk about playing together again in the NBA. We try to take it one day at a time."

Oden overcame constant double and triple teams to finish with 31 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. He shot 12-of-19 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.

"You get nervous if you look out at those huge crowds," Oden said. "We were real loose and just excited to be in Chicago . [For the NBA] I need to keep improving every day and improve my footwork and keep getting bigger and stronger."

As usual, the modest gentle giant diverted much of the attention away from himself and complimented both his teammates and Scheyer, who finished with 32 points despite being worn down from guarding Oden for part of the game when his team's center, Zach Kelly, was in foul trouble.

"[Scheyer] is a great player," Oden said. "We knew he'd get his points. We just tried to contain the rest of their team.

"I thought Mike Conley stepped up huge for us. You get so much pressure to score 40 points a night, but when you've got someone else out there to help you, I can go and score 20 and he'll score 20."

In the first game, it was a matchup of two of the area's top teams, with Proviso East outlasting Warren 71-70 in overtime. Warren has a squad full of highly recruited football stars, while Proviso East has 6-11 senior center Brian Carlwell. Committed to Illinois , Carlwell is athletic for a big man and rarely tires. The future Illini star played 35 of the game's 36 minutes and on several occasions beat his smaller defenders down court for fast-break dunks.

Carlwell ended with 19 points, nine rebounds and six blocks. His teammate, 6-1 junior high-major recruit Jacob Pullen had a game-high 24 points. Proviso East faced Lawrence North earlier this year, where Conley called Pullen the best defender he'd faced all year.