Can-Am Showcase Recap: Anthony Ameo Earns the King of the X Crown in Detroit
That's where Ameo got to work with Marquette coach Mike Storts, who shared some wisdom about the art of taking faceoffs.
"He gave me a lot of good tips about facing off, which was awesome," Ameo said. "He really helped with my approach to get to the ball. He told me to do the same approach every time for every faceoff that I take for the rest of my life. He told me to take one deep breath and find something to look at and focus on before taking a faceoff. I think that really helped me."
The help had quick results. Ameo, a 2018 from St. Ignatius (Ohio) and Burning River, emerged from a loaded field unscathed to take home the King of the X title at Detroit Country Day School. To do that, though, he had to be able to make some other adjustments.
"For my club team, my go-to is to pop it back to the wings unless I know I can get a clean fast break," Ameo said. "In the King of the X, where there's no wing play, it's a lot different. On the final faceoff, I didn't completely win the clamp, but I was able to get the ground ball on a 50-50 ball. I actually had my worst approach on the last one because I was really nervous. I kept the same form throughout until the last one because it was so nerve-wracking."
Ameo defeated NXTChicago NXT 2018 Jacob Griffin, 2-0, in the championship round. The King of the X crown was something he knew about heading into the tournament, and something he envisioned having a shot to win. Having experience against Griffin earlier in the day also paid big dividends.
"I knew about the King of the X when I signed up," Ameo said. "I expected very high competition, probably the best faceoff competition that I had seen so far. I didn't really know what to expect going in. Jacob Griffin was definitely the toughest guy that I went against. I played against him in the second game. In the beginning, I was mainly winning, then he started picking up on what I was doing and started beating me a little bit. He's a tough guy to go against."
For the first time in Can-Am history, though, the King of the X crown now resides in Ohio.