Vernon Goodrich impressive as TOC begins

<b>DURHAM, NC</b> The Reebok/Bob Gibbons Tournament of Championship tipped-off Friday night and elite prospect Vernon Goodrich made a lasting impression. Byron Eaton, Marcus Johnson, Chad Millard, and several other U of L prospects were in action too.

While there's considerable debate about how to classify 6'9 Vernon Goodrich, there should be no question that he's one of the elite prospects in the class of 2005.

Goodrich, an athletic power forward/center from Philadelphia Lutheran Academy, suited up Friday night for Blessed IJN against the Atlanta Celtics in the pool play opener for both and had a major impact on the game's outcome.

Arriving at the Chapel Hill High School gym with just ten minutes remaining in the second half and with Blessed IJN trailing by 12 points, Goodrich quickly made his presence felt.

Not only did he quickly prove the top talent on a floor that included Chad Millard, Marques Johnson, Carl Swanagan, Octavius Spann and Javaris Crittenden but also set a standard that he's one of the top performers in his class.

Playing just 9 minutes, Goodrich scored 8 points, grabbed 8 boards and blocked 8 shots. His monster post slam over a defender flashed his enormous athletic ability. He's certainly one of the more active, as well as effective, post defenders in the class and challenges shots like former UCONN center Emeka Okafor. And he runs the floor as well as any big man you'll find.

Goodrich is being recruited by nearly all the college basketball heavyweights, including Louisville. We'll continue to monitor his play throughout the weekend.

2005 Guard's Duel: Crittenden vs. Johnson

While Atlanta Celtic's guard Javaris Crittenden won the battle, Blessed IJN's Marques Johnson won the war as he helped lead his squad to an overtime pool play win.

Crittenden clearly got the better of things in the first half, helping the Celtics build a double-digit lead. However, Johnson turned up his play in the second half and ignited a fierce comeback effort.

At this point, Johnson is the better shooter of the two rising juniors and he finds the open man a little better. Both players can get to the basket and finish and Crittenden might be the better defender of the two.

Final stats: Johnson finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists, while Crittenden posted 19 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.

2005 Checklist

Chad Millard, SF, Blessed IJN - Millard was impressive in the opener vs. the Atlanta Celtics knocking down four triples and several midrange jumpers on his way to 19 points. Pulled down some boards, blocked a shot and helped lead a second half comeback.

Byron Eaton, PG, Dallas Mustangs - Impressive performance against Team Richmond with 22 points, 11 assists. There's no question he's strong enough to finish around the rack. He's also a good enough shooter who can connect from beyond three point range. He's virtually impossible to trap because he's so quick and low to the ground and he'll find people in transition.

Gary Flowers, F, Dallas Mustangs - He's a defensive force under the basket and is very active. An athletic shot blocker, Flowers finsihed with 9 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Recruiting Notes

Chad Millard enjoyed a visit to N.C. State on Thursday...word is that Louisville and N.C. State head the list...Byron Eaton listed Louisville, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State as his top four...The Cardinals and Bearcats are the top two...Los Angeles' Marcus Johnson lists Syracuse and Louisville as his top two and will make an official visit to U of L June 11...Johnson also listed UCONN and Arizona...NBA talk already surrounds Goodrich.

Special thanks to Evan Daniels and Raashaan Myers for their contibutions to this report.

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