Chapel Hill, N.C.--We're just getting started at the annual Tournament of Champions. The weekend long event tipped on Friday night on Tobacco Road.
Roy Bright, SF, Michigan Hurricanes: The top player on the Hurricanes is from nearby Durham and not Michigan, but that mattered little as Bright rolled to 24 points in a sound whipping of the Minnesota Magic. He went 10-for-13 from the field to go with his six rebounds. From medium jumpers, to post hits to dunks, he‚s a pretty talented offensive player.
Jason Horton, PG, Michigan Hurricanes: This is not a misprint; Horton is traveling with the Canes this weekend. After a slow first half in which he was clearly adjusting to his new friends, Horton rolled up 16 points and seven assists for the game. The patient point man goes about his business no matter what the jersey is on his back.
Sam Perry, SF, North Greenville: He's a mid-major priority recruit for a number of schools and we know why. Perry is ultra-athletic. He gets in the paint, on the glass and makes plays. He loves contact and his 24 points against the Michigan Mustangs were hard-earned.
Al Horford, PF, Michigan Mustangs: The son of Tito Horford seems to be just scratching the surface. He blocked a handful of shots and had 15 points before fouling out against North Greenville. He looks like a guy who has a chance to be a Top 100 performer with a little consistency and more assertion on offense. He's got the tools.
James Hardy, SG, Blessed IJN: The young man nailed five three-pointers in the first half against an outmanned Garner Roads team. Twenty-four points later, Hardy was through. He had seven boards and shot 9-for-16 from the field (5-10 threes). He's got a good touch from downtown and more importantly, he's not lacking in confidence.
Sylvester Mays, SG, Blessed IJN: He led the charge with a game-high 25 points. Mays is actually a 2003 senior, but he'll need prep school or junior college. He's a strong, athletic 6-1 guard with a deft touch and great body. You'll be hearing from him in the future.
Glen Davis, C, Sports Academy: We didn't catch the game, but the story goes something like this. "Big Baby" racked up 23 points at the half and finished with 28. After the adidas Texas Classic MVP performance, we figured him to be a Top 10 player and he's proving it daily. Lest we forget he's a big time football prospect moonlighting on the hardwood. Or is it the other way around?
Off The Dribble
Goran Sutton of the Michigan Hurricanes can play. In a matchup with Ryan Amoroso of Minnesota Select, Sutton came out on top Friday night. Amoroso wasn't happy with himself and he‚s a good looking prospect in his own right. Sutton can block some shots and has enough post offense to be very dangerous. Minnesota Select‚s Miles Webb couldn't buy a hoop in the first half of his game, but rebounded nicely to finish with at least 16 points. The Gopher commitment has a nice looking stroke.
Carl Swanagan of Blessed IJN is a big boy. Though he wasn't finishing inside tonight, he did bang a pair of threes. Yes, 6-8 and over 300 pounds the big fella was knocking them in. Blessed IJN had 39 halftime points vs. Garner Road but just four buckets were two-pointers.
Drew Neitzel of the Michigan Mustangs, a Michigan State signee, converted the game-winning layup in double-overtime (thanks, Drew) against North Greenville. Neitzel, a lefty, loves to shoot little runners and is pretty adept at getting them off.
News & Notes
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders was our celebrity of the day. Flip's son Ryan is a guard with the Minnesota Magic. Speaking of the Magic, big man Spencer Tollackson was MIA and for good reason. He's pitching in the state playoffs this weekend. Speaking of MIA, the Hurricanes were without Marquise Gray, Tunji Soroye and Churchill Odia. Soroye and Odia's ride never picked them up in D.C.
Wondering about a school list for Roy Bright? The Mount Zion SF likes Connecticut, Clemson, Tennessee, Charlotte, North Carolina State, Wisconsin and Alabama. Another Hurricane, Goran Sutton, said he's got offers from Central Michigan and Oakland. Xavier, Ohio State, Michigan and Louisville are sniffing around too. He's got a chance to play higher than his present offers.
Jason Horton is likely to decide within the month. He'll unofficially visit Florida (June 7), Missouri (12th) and Kansas (16th). He also likes Arizona State, Florida State and Arkansas. Horton acknowledged that Missouri is his leader right now. Blessed's James Hardy has a list that reads Indiana, Miami, Florida State, Kentucky, DePaul and Connecticut. Apparently, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has told Carl Swanagan that there's room for him in the Cardinals program.
Sylvester Mays is going to have to decide if he's going to prep school or the juco route. If he goes juco, he's thinking Redlands in Oklahoma. USC-Spartanburg head coach Eddie Payne has a son Luke on the North Greenville team. Michigan Mustangs center Dan Waterstadt said he's got offers from Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green. Rutgers is on him and so are Oakland and Butler. In fact, Butler could be the school to beat if they offer. Former AAU teammate Jamie Smalligan signed there this year and Waterstadt likes the Bulldogs.
Sam Perry of North Greenville is going to be a fine mid-major recruit in the southern part of the U.S. He's already mulling over offers from the College of Charleston, Winthrop and Furman. UT-Chattanooga is also looking hard at him. The guy is athletic and he's got a big time motor.
Heard But Not Seen
Apparently one reliable observer who watched Dwight Howard Friday night figured that with the recent mass exodus of high schoolers to the NBA, Howard was as good a candidate to do it next year as any. Apparently, North Carolina recruit Jameson Curry was pretty much held in check in his first game of the event. Greg Paulus, a popular recruit on Tobacco Road, held an impromptu press conference, which at its height, and had about 12 media members in its ranks. We understand Long Island Panther Josh Wright poured in about 25 against Sports Academy.