TOC: Louisville Recruits in Action

CHAPEL HILL, NC - The Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions got underway Friday night as Louisville recruits Martez Walker and Anthony Randolph both played well in their opening round matchups. has all the details.

Chapel Hill, NC - Martez Walker didn't play many minutes Friday night in an opening round 78-56 win over the Richmond Squires in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, but he made the most of what time he saw.

Walker, who plays for the Rising Stars of America based in Santa Monica, CA, picked up two quick fouls early in the game and sat on the bench the rest of the first half. After halftime, Walker played about ten minutes before the game was called at the four minute mark.

Despite limited minutes, the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Walker was impressive. He drained deep three-pointer from the right wing over the out-stretched arms of 7-1, 330-pound James Tyler in the first half. In the second half, Walker pulled Tyler away from the basket and took him off the bounce to get to hole, drawing fouls twice. Walker finished with 8 points [3-3 FT's] and 3 rebounds.

But it was on defense where the Louisville commit made his presence felt. Not only was he called on to defend Tyler in the post – which he did admirably – he also came up with two steals, a deflection and drew a charge.

Walker and the Rising Stars have had a good spring to this point. They fared well in April in Las Vegas and made it deep in the tournament at the Next Level in Dallas.

"We've had a good spring," Walker said Friday night. "We made it to the Elite Eight in Vegas and Dallas. We've really been doing well and we're starting to come together as a team."

Walker said he keeps in close contact with the Louisville coaches and has developed a close friendship with former Louisville guard Taquan Dean.

"I talk to Coach Willard about everyday and with Coach Menzied quite a bit," Walker said. "They just ask me about how I'm doing in school and my grades. They also tell me they can't wait until I get up there to play for them."

Walker also sounded excited about his move next year to Montverde (FL) Academy.

"I like Coach Sutton," Walker said. "He really works his players hard. They work out three times a day and I think that's really going to help my game."

Last week, Walker hung out with Louisville forward Jonathan Huffman, a close friend and former high school teammate in Birmingham. He said he's probably going to make a trip to Louisville next week for a few days.

"I saw Huff this week," said Walker. "He came home for a few days and we just chilled out at home. I might come up to Louisville next week just to hang out at the kids camp."

Walker and the Rising Stars have an interesting matchup with the D.C. Assault Saturday evening. D.C. Assault features a talented lineup, including 6-7 Michael Beasley, 6-3 Nolan Smith and 6-8 Devin Ebanks. Walker is expected to defend Beasley in the contest.

Louisville's Top Frontcourt Target?

Now that Kosta Koufos is off the boards after verbally committing to Ohio State last week, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to believe that 6-10 Anthony Randolph from Dallas Woodrow Wilson High School is Louisville top frontcourt prospect this summer.

Randolph, a thin (maybe 190-pounds), bouncy-type, was outstanding Friday night in a narrow loss to Mean Street, Ill. Randolph finished with 15 points, scoring every way imaginable. Randolph is smooth and skilled, is quick off his feet, runs the court like a guard and has an amazing wingspan that allows him challenge shots in the paint. He blocked five shots in the game and altered a few more.

Has Anthony Randolph moved to
the top of Louisville's wish list?

What stands out, though, is his skill on the offensive end. He drained a three from the top of the key, hit a delightful turn around jumper from the free throw line, drilled an 18- footer from the baseline and slammed one home on the break. And his crossover, drive and dunk was the most spectacular play of the night in three games on Court 4.

Following the game, Randolph told there's been no change on the recruiting front and that he's not planning to make any unofficial visits next month. Louisville, along with Kentucky, are high on Randolph's list of favorites.

Notable Performances

Jon Reed - 6-6, F (Rising Stars): A lefty, the 2007 prospect had his outside shot working Friday night, nailing 5 three's. Reed also got after it defensively, getting several deflections and taking a charge in the paint.

Darnell Gant - 6-9, F (Rising Stars): Only 190-pounds, Gant has some impressive offensive potential. He'll certainly have to get stronger to defend the post at the next level, but he's got one of the quickest drop-steps on the baseline you'll see on the AAU circuit. He's also got a nice stroke and dropped in a 17-foot jumper from the top. Gant is a member of the Class of 2007.

Karon Johnson - 6-7, F (Richmond Squires): A rising sophomore, Lenoir, (Patterson School) NC, Johnson had a solid night. Johnson has good hands, runs the court well, and has some range to his game, dropping a deep three from the baseline. He also finished well around the basket and had a tip dunk off the offensive glass.

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