Easily one of the best run and most well supported events in the nation, the TOC has become a must stop over the years and Friday's trip was more than worth it. Headlining the action was a terrific matchup between the top point guard in the class of 2009 -- John Wall -- and one of the elite point guards in the class of 2010 -- Joe Jackson.
FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE TOC
John Wall - Drawing a crowd of Memphis head coach John Calipari and assistant Josh Pastner and Kansas assistant Joe Dooley (Bill Self was in town Thursday night), Wall had a lot of shots rim off for him in a 9-24 outing from the field. However, that doesn't mean he wasn't outstanding as he electrified the crowd with dunks, passes and his blazing end to end speed. Taking good care of the ball, Wall also showed a little more wiggle and east to west in his game than his usual style of just going end to end and outrunning everybody. His attitude has been great this winter and he is a kid who is really developing into a leader, not just a talented point guard. Wall finished the night with 24 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Joe Jackson - With maybe the quickest first step in high school basketball, the 5-11 PG from Memphis is as quick as they come off the dribble. Very skinny, he's a tough kid who bounces off and around defenders to create scoring opportunities off the dribble. A good shooter from deep, Jackson is more fundamentally sound than given credit for. When he gets the ball and gets into a triple threat stance defenders are pretty much at his mercy because they aren't going to keep him in front of them without backing way off. Also, he's so explosive the floor that he can rise up and shoot right over the top of much bigger defenders. He nearly brought the house down with a vicious two handed jam on the break over two Word of God defenders but had some costly turnovers and was poor from the free throw line down the stretch during a 27 point night.
C.J. Leslie - North Carolina State has a potential stud in this lengthy and ultra athletic forward. After going for 28 points on Thursday, Leslie was at it again going for 26 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Acting as Word of God's point guard on a handful of trips, he showed good ball handling ability for a guy his size and even knocking down some outside looks. He's starting to fill out his lean frame and is rapidly developing his all around game and learning to focus each time out. With his physical gifts, the sky is the limit and he's going to be able to play both the three and the four in college. Might have had the play of the night when he answered a coast to coast drive and dunk by White Station's Ferrakohn Hall with a length of the court drive and dunk of his own that few other , if any, 6-8 high school players could have made.
MORE FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES
Although the beginning of Friday's drive was delayed, the Road Show did get into town early enough to catch the second half of Missouri State's practice. The Bears are in transition right now but look like they've found a stud to lead their program in head coach Cuonzo Martin. An excellent coach and recruiter, Martin is young, relates to his players and has a vision for his program along with a staff capable of helping him see it through. … Can't stress enough how impressive a building the new JQH Arena is. Not fully completed, it's state of the art but cozy enough to still get loud and it will be a tremendous tool in recruiting. The arena also features 24 luxury boxes which are all sold out with a waiting list for openings. … Powder Springs (GA) Mc Eachern took a tough loss to Orlando (FL) Olympia but it wasn't due to a lack of effort from big and strong center Colin Reddick. The 6-8 big man isn't the most mobile guy, but he played his tail off going for 19 points and 16 rebounds. Fellow insider Kadeem Batts (who is headed to Providence) wasn't shabby either going for 16 and 13 of his own. … Speaking of Olympia, they are going to give Word of God and John Wall fits in Saturday night's championship game. They are athletic, very balanced, have some size and are terrifically coached by Mark Griseck. … Bronx (NY) St. Raymond sophomore Sidiki Johnson should be playing his way onto Big East and Atlantic 10 conference radars. At 6-7 with very long arms and a nice frame, he's a pretty skilled four man with good touch. Most impressive is his patience and overall feel for the game for such a young kid. He's not a high flyer, but he is strong and makes place from 16 feet and in on both ends of the floor. He looked terrific in a 25 point, 11 rebound outing. … Thursday night Ferrakohn Hall struggled with Missouri in the building to watch him. Friday night the 6-7 senior from White Station had a much better go of things in the up and down game with Word of God. He got on the glass and made some things happen in a nice 14 point, 11 rebound outing. … Finally, the Road Show can't say enough about the support shown to the TOC by the locals. There were over 7,000 fans in attendance for the second night in a row and they really show the players their appreciation. Special thanks to tournament director Mark Fisher for his hospitality. Finally, those who might be interested in checking out replays of any of the games can find them online at springfieldwebtv.com. …
- Total teams watched- 126.
- Total games watched- 74.
- Total miles traveled- 12, 669.