Tournament of Champions: Day Two

WASHINGTON, Ill. – Day two at the State Farm Tournament of Champions was dominated by the Findlay Prep Pilots. A strong performance from Nigel Williams-Goss was the headline performance, but several other prospects stepped up big, and a 2013 big man emerged.

Max Biefeldt, PF, Peoria Notre Dame – There is absolutely nothing pretty about Biefeldt's game, but the bottom line is he produces. Though limited athletically, Biefeldt had an enormous game with 40 points and 15 rebounds. Biefeldt ran the floor and scored off of rebounds, hit from the outside, and scored on crafty post moves. Quite simply McCluer had no answer for him, and giving maximum energy on every possession, Biefeldt set a tournament record for points scored in a single game. It is easy to talk sometimes about what Biefeldt isn't physically able to do, but his high motor and intelligence allow him to put up big numbers consistently, and that is impossible to take away from him.

Kris Brewer, SG, Brehm Prep – While the Findlay guards get all the press, Brewer got it done on the floor for Brehm Prep. Brewer is a 6-foot-1 scorer, and he did just that all game long. He finished with 25 points on 8-16 shooting, and also got teammates involved with five assists. Brewer has a great rotation on his perimeter jumper, and also is strong enough and quick enough to get into the lane. Quite simply he was the one Brehm Prep player who consistently was able to give the Findlay guards problems on the offensive end.

Amir Garrett, SF, Findlay Prep – As an on the ball defender, there are very few better than Garrett. As a high energy wing, Garrett showed the ability to lock up the Brehm wings, and also on offense he is looking better and better. Garrett is a solid shooter when his feet are set, but he is at his best going to the rim, and he did just that on several occasions. His athleticism and rebounding combined with his improved shooting made for an impressive game for Garrett.

Roosevelt Jones, PF, O'Fallon – With Jones it is all about energy, and he had a ton of it in a morning win for O'Fallon. Jones attacked the tin with authority time after time, and gave out a lot of bruises on his way to a double-double performance. He tried one jumper, and it wasn't a good result, but that isn't his game. With his strength and ability to handle the ball he is a problem for defenders off the dribble, and he showed just that all game long.

Shaquille Boga, PG, McCluer – As a point guard with very good quickness, Boga is tough to contain off the dribble. Not only does he have a good first step, but Boga has the ball on a string which allows him to create space for himself. What is most impressive about Boga is his ability to finish around the rim in transition. He simply has a great touch on shots that are usually very tough to complete. Boga does need to improve his decision making at times, and isn't quite yet comfortable shooting consistently from the perimeter, but with his ability to handle and score, Boga was able to keep his team in the game against Peoria Notre Dame.

Malcolm Gilbert, PF/C, Academy of New Church – Physicality certainly is not the name of the game with Gilbert, but the skill and touch from the mid-range is there. Gilbert was going against a talented frontline, and was able to hit some jumpers when facing the rim. Also with his length he blocked four shots. Still he got pushed off the block a little too easily, and didn't quite fight on the glass as much as might be necessary in the Big East, but his natural size and length does make him very intriguing going forward.

Rakeem Christmas, C, Academy of New Church – It isn't often that Christmas is held pretty much in check, but that was the case on Thursday. Christmas didn't get many touches, and when he did he simply wasn't able to convert. His strength and athleticism allowed him to make an impact on defense, but Christmas just couldn't get it going on the offensive end of the floor. He hit one jump hook on a big time post move, but other than that it was just a quiet game for Christmas. The energy was there, but a physical game with few foul calls seemed to rattle Christmas as the game progressed.

Myck Kabongo, PG, Findlay Prep – Kabongo missed a few more driving layups than usual, but still he was extremely effective. Using his straight line speed, Kabongo was able to beat his man off the dribble at will. Once he did that he set up teammates for wide open looks, and got the Pilots into their offense every trip down the floor. On top of that Kabongo hit a pair of threes, and his shot seems much improved. Kabongo did turn the ball over a few too many times, but with the rest of what he did, it is tough to find too much fault in his performance.

Hanner Perea, PF, La Lumiere – It was a tough matchup for Perea going against Christmas, but he handled himself fine. At this point he doesn't have a go to post move, and he will need to work on that going forward, but the freakish athleticism makes up for it more often than not. Perea did an excellent job of defending Christmas, and to his credit he battled on the offensive end. Along with the usual thunderous slam, Perea also hit a face up mid-range jumper, but that isn't yet his game. In the battle of highly touted big men, there is no doubt that Perea came out on top, though he also didn't have his best game.

Antonio Drummond, PG, La Lumiere – Coming back near his hometown of Peoria, Drummond had a very solid game. The Southern Illinois pledge was the only threat for La Lumiere on the perimeter, and was able to get his own offense going some as well as working to help others out. Drummond hit three triples on his way to 15 points. Also he broke pressure and showed high level quickness. He needs to still work on his decision making, but Drummond had the look of a future star in the Missouri Valley with his scoring ability, quickness, and strength for his size.

Landen Lucas, PF/C, Findlay Prep – Lucas has dropped some weight since coming to Findlay, and it is paying major dividends. He now runs the floor much better, and also is more mobile on the defensive end. Still Lucas does a good job of carving out space for himself on offense and defense down low, but he just does it at a quicker pace. Lucas will need to work on a move with his back to the basket, as he isn't someone who can go out and get you a bucket on the block, but his rebounding and strength make him a very intriguing recruit going forward. He simply was too strong for the Brehm Prep frontline all game long.

Obij Aget, C, La Lumiere – He isn't the strongest kid around, but Aget had some good things going for him on Thursday night. Aget hit a pair of mid-range jumpers, and has a good looking stroke out to 15 feet. Also at 6-foot-11 with very long arms and impressive athleticism, Aget impacted the game defensively by blocking shots. Offensively he didn't look comfortable down low, but there is some skill, now he just needs to add strength.

Savon Goodman, PF/SF, Academy of New Church – It wasn't a great game for Goodman, but he did show what has him such a highly recruited prospect. At 6-foot-6 with a grown man's body, Goodman could just as easily be playing defensive end in football as combo forward in basketball. Goodman tried a few outside shots, and those didn't go well for him, but when he attacked the rim off the bounce he proved to be tough to handle. His strength and athleticism is very impressive, and when in attack mode he is nearly impossible to keep out of the lane. Now he just needs to work on his perimeter skills.

Winston Sheppard, PF/SF, Findlay Prep – The always entertaining Shepard had it working against Brehm. He scored inside and outside, and did his damage with a lot of energy and athleticism. Shepard scored 15 points, and did it only eight shots. When Shepard needs a bucket he knows he should go down low, as that is still his comfort zone. With his length and explosiveness he can be tough to handle down there, yet he is mobile enough to guard wings on the defensive end. A focused Shepard was very tough to stop all game long.

Jay Simpson, PF, Champaign Central – Quite simply it was a game that Simpson would like to forget. He did get a few rebounds, and showed off a nice right handed hook, but more often than not he was either on the bench trying to catch his wind or battling foul trouble. Simpson needs to get himself into better shape, and with his body and touch, once he does he is going to be a good prospect. Right now however his production is very limited, and that was on full display.

Nigel Williams-Goss, SG/PG, Findlay Prep – No player had a better day than Williams-Goss. The Findlay Prep guard starts as a sophomore, and he just continues to get better. A point guard his whole life, Williams-Goss plays off the ball for Findlay and looks to score. In the past Williams-Goss has been a mostly to the rim guy, but he showed off an excellent perimeter jumper hitting three shots from beyond the arc. For the game he finished with a team high 19 points and also he chipped in with seven rebounds. Despite not being the best athlete around, Williams-Goss is an intense and motivated defender who knows how to limit opposing guards.

Mangok Mathiang, C, Brehm Prep – Brehm is loaded with long and athletic interior players, but there is not one better than Mathiang. Just a sophomore, he shows reliable hands, a unique ability to run the floor at 6-foot-11, shot blocking ability, and also a feel for how to score inside. He is still a bit of a work in progress, and he does need to add strength, but the upside is great with this emerging sophomore. Mathiang is just now scratching the surface, and emerged as a potential high level recruit down the road.

Jaron Hopkins, SG/PG, Basha – It is now clear that Hopkins is an emerging sleeper prospect on the West Coast. In a hard fought win over the hometown Washington High School squad, Hopkins again shined. He had his floater working with either hand, but that was just the beginning. Hopkins absolutely dominated on the defensive side of the ball using his high motor play combined with long arms to both pressure the ball and take Washington out of their offense, and also getting steals that led to transition buckets. His strong played led Basha, and more and more Hopkins impresses with his potential and productivity.

Max Biefeldt listed offers from Illinois-Chicago, Ball State, Western Michigan, and Wright State. Also Dartmouth and Brown from the Ivy League are in hot pursuit.

Winston Sheppard listed offers from Louisville, Texas, Memphis, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, UNLV, UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State.

Nigel Williams-Goss has offers from Arizona, Oregon State, Washington, UNLV, Hawaii, and others. He also noted that Oregon, West Virginia, and UConn are talking to him.

Landen Lucas already has an offer from the entire Pac 10 minus UCLA along with Vanderbilt. Also he is hearing from Texas, Georgetown, Kansas, and Florida.


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