TOC: UofL prospect evaluations

Final player evaluations of Telfair, Smith, Burgess, Wright, Rondo, Morris, Davis, Tangara, Lofton, Simpson, and Swanagan from the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions.

Sebastian Telfair  6'1 Point Guard  Brooklyn (NY) Lincoln High School

What can you say about Telfair that hasn't already been said? He's clearly one of the top individual talents in the country, although we think Shaun Livingston is the nation's best point guard. But Telfair is one of the fiercest competitors in the game and his on court leadership and passing ability separate him from other point guards. Telfair can shake his defender and make things happen in the lane either by scoring or dishing the rock. We were particularly impressed by his ability to knock down multiple threes off the dribble at crucial times against a talented North Carolina Gater team. Telfair is a great player and the best we saw of the UofL targets.  Louisville, Memphis, Arizona, Syracuse and every other top program in the nation are after Telfair.

JR Smith  6'6 Small Forward  Newark St. Benedict's

Smith was very impressive both times we saw him. He's one of the top scorers in class of 2004. JR is explosive in transition, has the strength to finish in traffic and has an excellent stroke. Smith reminded me of former Cardinal great Jerome Harmon. Same type body and size, great athlete and superb midrange game. Smith hustles on defense and can has range past the three point line. His ball handling needs work but he did demonstrate an ability to get in the lane and find people with adept passes. He's a solid all around player and one of the top 5 players we saw all weekend.  Louisville, N.C. State, North Carolina, Seton Hall and others are in the mix.

Glen Davis  6'8 Center  Baton Rouge (LA) Lab High School

This year's version of James Lang. Davis is a bit shorter and less explosive than Lang but he's nimble, runs the court well for his size and has great hands. Davis is unstoppable if he gets the ball on the block and draws an inordinate amount of fouls from overmatched defenders. His shooting stroke is fundamentally sound and is really solid. He has a soft touch around the basket and was one of the best low post scorers we saw all weekend. Big Baby is a likely McDonald's All America selection next spring. LSU, Cincinnati, Miami (FL), UCONN, Louisville, Oklahoma and Indiana have offered. 

Randolph Morris  6'11 Center  Landmark Christian Academy, Atlanta

Great size! Morris ran the court well, blocked shots and rebounded and showed nice post moves. Randolph is clearly one of the best centers in the class of 2004. Morris listed Georia Tech, Georgia, Louisville, Kentucky, and Notre Dame over the weekend.  Georgia Tech, Georgia, Louisville, Kentucky, Florida State and Notre Dame are in the mix.

Josh Wright

We didn't get to see Wright play but reports from people we trust indicate he was outstanding. Wright finished as the tournaments third leading scorer and clearly established himself as one of the top scoring guards in the country. Wright led the Long Island Panthers to the Select Bracket Championship.  Boston College, Syracuse, Louisville, and North Carolina are involved.

Rajon Rondo  6'2 Point Guard  Louisville Eastern High School

Rajon didn't have his best performance in the game we saw Friday night against Ron Steele and the Alabama Challenge. He did show the ability to free himself from the defender with excellent body and ball fakes and threw down a couple of nasty dunks. He also showed again that he has excellent vision and passing skills. Rajon missed two free throws late in the game with a one point lead that allowed the Challenge to come down and take the lead. Rajon finished with 12 points in the Friday night game we attended.  Louisville and Indiana are at the top of the list and if Telfair falls through look for the Cards to immediately pursue Rondo as the second choice.

David Burgess

Burgess was quite in the Saturday game we attended. He seemed to struggle with the uptempo pace of the game and didn't get involved on the offensive end. He has great size and pulled down a few rebounds but his quickness and footwork are two areas that need improvement. UCLA, Louisville and several west coast programs are interested.

Chris Lofton  6'1 Shooting Guard  Mason County (KY) High School

Lofton had a terrific Tournament of Champions and was named to the all tournament team. Lofton finished as one of the leading scorers, averaging 21.7 ppg during pool play. Lofton nailed 6 threes Friday night against the Alabama Challenge and showed he's one of the best shooters in the nation. Lofton, though not the biggest or most athletic, impressed us with his ability to get rebounds against bigger, more athletic opponent. Lofton ran the point against the Challenge and did a decent job. But he's more natural off the ball and has one of the best strokes you'll find on the AAU circuit. Louisville, Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama and others have shown interest. 

Mohammad Tangara  6'9 Power Forward  Durham (NC) Mount Zion Christian Academy

Unfortunately we didn't see Mohammad in action this weekend. However we have seen him before and did get the chance to speak with one of his AAU coaches who told us he is always seeking ways and asking the coaches what he can do to improve his game. Tangara is an athletic interior prospect who's play reminds us of Donnell Harvey. At this point his strengths are rebounding and defense but he does have some solid post moves around the basket. His coach also told us that nothing has changed with his recruitment that has been previously reported.  Louisville, Memphis, Michigan and Arizona are in the hunt.

Robbie Simpson 6'9 Power Forward  Durham (NC) Mount Zion Christian Academy

Simpson, the former Seneca High standout who now attend Mount Zion Academy, has put on some good weight and was a solid contributor inside for the Michigan Hurricanes. Simpson is athletic and runs the floor well and blocked a couple shots around the basket in the game we saw. Simpson has the skills to play facing the basket and the size to play in the paint. He's a good prospect and has offers from the Cards and Oklahoma at this point.

Carl Swanagan 6'9 Center  Fort Wayne (IN) Southside High School

Swanagan is a big boy who also runs the floor quite well for a player his size. Swanagan showed the ability to step out and knock down the perimeter jumper, knocking in several threes during pool play. A lefty, Swanagan pulled down several rebounds and blocked a couple shots in the game we saw. He had 15 and 15 Friday night and 12 and 10 Saturday. He needs to lose weight but he has solid skills and ability.  Swanagan told ITV that Louisville was his favorite.  He also listed Purdue, Utah.


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