TOC: Day One Player Reports

Raleigh, N.C.-- Friday night there was some major talent on the campus of NC State University. From rising junior Jose Garcia to potential early-entry NBA candidate Dwight Howard, StateFans saw them all.

Jose Garcia 6-5 Soph. Lynchburg Hoops: The young Garcia showed up for warmups sporting a N.C. State "shooting shirt," showing his obvious attraction to the Wolfpack. However, it was a rough opening night for Jose as he got into early (and unwarranted) foul trouble and never seemed to find his groove. We had him with 5 points on 2-4 shooting and 6 rebounds in roughly 10 minutes of playing time. Garcia has a college frame already and plays the game with great passion, but because of his minimal playing time it was hard to truly evaluate him. We can't wait to see more of him this weekend and specifically at Duke on Saturday against Gavin Grant of the New York Ravens.

Gavin Grant 6-6 Junior New York Ravens: Grant is a terrific prospect who plays on the AAU team that Wolfpack guard Julius Hodge gained fame with. He's a great athlete with definite high major skills. He impressed us off the dribble using several slick dribble moves to get to the basket against bigger opponents and either convert or reach the line. He's relentless on the boards and had to be, because at 6-6 he was the tallest Ravens' player. We had him with 15 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Right now, we see him as a definite small forward prospect who is high on the Wolfpack's priority list (he seemed very high on the Wolfpack as well).

Dwight Howard 6-10 Junior Atlanta Celtics: WOW! Best prospect I've seen in four years of covering the tournament. A lot of kids come in with major hype and don't live up to my expectations but Howard definitely did. If anyone's ready to go straight to the NBA, it will be Howard. We had him with over 25 points and between 10-15 rebounds, and although the stats were great, it's how he got them that amazed us. He has outstanding footwork for a kid that big, a great frame that will remind you of Amare Stoudamire, and plays the game with passion. He had dunks, jumpers, FLOATERS, blocks, rebounds, brought the ball up the court, well... you get the picture. Howard can do it all. He's high on the Duke Blue Devils and the Tarheels, but I don't see this kid going to college. Don't count on it.

Josh Smith 6-8 Junior Atlanta Celtics: He came in being hyped as the next Tracy McGrady and although he's a GREAT prospect, I wouldn't go that far just yet. Smith has solid ball skills for a big kid and is a definite small forward at 6-8. The jumper needs some fine tuning and he needs to play a bit more under control though in my opinion. One thing's for sure, he's a freakish athlete and you can't teach that unique combination of size and jumping ability. He's also being touted as a possible lottery pick next year, and although he's maybe not what McGrady was just yet, I can see how some feel he may go straight out of high school to the NBA.

Randolph Morris 6-11 Junior Atlanta Celtics: Yea, that's right, the Celtics start three kids along the front court who stand 6-11, 6-10, and 6-8 respectively. That being said, we didn't think Morris was on the same level as his two teammates Howard and Smith. Randolph has a terrific frame right now, probably the best of the three, but is still a work in progress. He wasn't assertive on offense or defense, and frankly didn't do much on either end. Maybe it was an off-night for the big man who's rumored to be a heavy lean to Paul Hewitt and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, but we'd like to see him play with more intensity while showing SOMETHING to his game. Either way, we'll undoubtedly see these Celtics again in the playoffs on Saturday night.

Pack Pride Top Stories