Tournament of Champions: Day One

WASHINGTON, Ill. – Day one at the State Farm Tournament of Champions featured some good players and one elite level matchup. On top of that a 2013 prospect from the state of Arizona emerged.

Anthony Davis, PF, Perspectives Academy – Really there is only so much praise that can heaped upon one player. His supporting cast, to put it mildly, isn't great, and with that Davis has to do everything. He is a one man show out there at times. In recording a ridiculously impressive triple-double, Davis hit threes off the catch and off the bounce, scored off right hand and left hand drives, rebounded out of his area, blocked shots, and made excellent passes. All of that and with two minutes left and his team down 40, Davis was still diving on the floor after loose balls. His motor never quits, and his skill keeps getting better. Some compare him to Marcus Camby, but after this performance it is obvious that he has more skill than the former UMass big man did at the same stage.

Branden Dawson, SF, Lew Wallace – There has never been any doubt about Dawson's motor or his ability to rebound the basketball. While he didn't pull in as many rebounds as normal, Dawson did dominate athletically around the rim with dunk after dunk. At one point in the first half it looked like he was having his own personal dunk competition. His perimeter game wasn't great, and his ball handling still needs refinement. Still the 6-foot-6 and 210 pounder is a premier rebounder with high level athleticism and a big time motor. He did struggle at times to defend Davis, but still he was very solid in his team's blowout win.

Max Biefeldt, PF, Peoria Notre Dame – Make no mistake about it, if you are looking for an athletic big guy, Biefeldt is not that. He is a below the rim scorer, but in a win over O'Fallon he was very impressive. Biefeldt hit a pair of threes, added another mid-range jumper, and scored on a variety of crafty post moves over either shoulder. He is probably closer to 6-foot-7 than 6-foot-8, and doesn't have great length which limits him on defense, but at the mid-major level he could become a pick and pop matchup problem if he can prove to get stronger and become a better rebounder.

Paul Jesperson, SF, Merrill – The Virginia pledge had a mixed bag of a game. In the first half his jumper was falling, he was coming off of good screens, and he finished in transition on the break. In the second half he looked tentative, wasn't hunting shots when his team needed, and didn't look to take over a close game. On top of that he missed a few open looks. Jesperson is not going to be someone who gets his own shot at the high-major level, but he can stroke it, is good at reading screens, and then after he catches the ball he has a quick release and a high IQ to find an open cutter. Defensively he lacked lateral quickness on the wing, but his bread and butter will clearly be to make open shots.

Roosevelt Jones, PF, O'Fallon – The Butler Bulldogs went to the Final Four with Willie Veasley as their power forward. Jones is a lot like Veasley, just bigger and more physical. The future Bulldog really was in attack mode getting to the rim. He draws a lot of contact, and often seems to invite the physical play during his drives. Jones didn't finish as well as usual off of those drives which limited his numbers, but still he got into double figures. His perimeter game is still very much a work in progress and he badly missed a few shots from the outside, but his strength and ability to handle made him tough to matchup with.

Torren Jones, PF, Basha – Down the road there is no doubt that Jones can be a player. Right now he just isn't there yet. Jones showed a decent touch out to 12 feet, rebounded well in his area, and runs the floor very well at 6-foot-8. Now he needs to develop a jump hook over his right shoulder and learn to play hard all the time. Time is on his side, and the physical gifts are there, but Jones just didn't show it all the time in a winning effort.

Jaron Hopkins, SG/PG, Basha – While Jones gets most of the attention for Basha, Hopkins is a very god looking prospect. At every bit of 6-foot-3 and maybe taller, Hopkins can do a lot. He showed a great ability to drive into the lane, and then make a smart decision. His floater, with either the left or right hand, is money, and then he also is a very good passer. On top of that he plays hard, rebounds well, and is an above average athlete. His jump shot was off, and he has a hitch in his release, but if Hopkins finds a consistent jumper he will no doubt be a high level recruit.

Torren Jones is hearing from Arizona, UCLA, USC, California, and Georgetown the most.

Jaron Hopkins noted that he is getting attention from Stanford, New Mexico State, Oregon State, UTEP, and Arizona.


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