The nice thing about the Tournament of Champions is that it gives you an opportunity to check out tons of great players just by walking to the next court. Here are a few more players I had the pleasure to watch last weekend.
Dwight Howard II *
East Point Ga
(6'11" 235 PF): The total package. He has the size, speed and personality that
should make him a top 3 pick in the NBA draft next year. He is an amazingly
polished player to only be in the 11th grade. Dwight seems to be a
well grounded person who intends to make a decision next spring.
State, Duke, Georia Tech and FSU are possibilities.
DeMarcus Nelson * Huntington Ca (6'3" 195 SG): This is my 4th
time watching DeMarcus, and for the first time he looked less then super human.
Roy Bright and the Hurricanes obviously had him flustered which resulted in 4
turnovers and a couple of missed baskets and a 40 point blow-out. He still
showed some shake and bake within 15 feet of the basket and he had a step back
jumper that was spectacular.
Cornelio Guibunda * Stamford Ct (6'9" 210 C): The Flames were down by 21
with 12 minutes left to play and they stormed back in part because of Cornelio's
complete domination of the boards. I'm not sure how many he had, but I would bet
he had a least 15 against a powerful frontline of DC Assault. He stated that
Virginia is his leader.
Jared Gaither * Greenbelt
Md (6'9" 280 C): Poor man's Glen Davis, but he still a big man's big man at 6'9" 280. Jared
is just huge & massive and he knows how to use his size in the paint.
If he catches it down low, forget about it. It's going in or he will get the
foul. He had to sit out for a faster player in the game with the Connecticut Flames. The Flames were down by 20 only to come back and win it in OT with a stifling press. Maryland is involved of course. They just love huge, massive players.
Bobocar Thiam * Washington
DC (6'7" 180 WF): He is DC's "after" picture for
Gather. Thiam is a slim big man that has the hops and is as quick as they come.
He ran the floor as good as any small forward I saw in Chapel
Hill. Bobocar is one of those players, that if you added weight, he might get worse. Leave 'em light!.
Shaun Livingston * Peoria
Il (6'7" 180 PG/SG): This is a player that
has it all. Height, quicks, hops and plenty of range on his shot. He is listed
by the insiders as the number 1 PG in the class of 2004. I concur although he
mainly played the 2 on Saturday with Cerasoli playing the 1. He lit up Randoph
Boys Club for 30 points from all parts of the court. Mid-range, long 3s, and
dunks. He is a strong 180 pounds. He is fearless when he takes it the hole.
Outstanding player. He lists Arizona, Florida, Duke and others.
JoaKim Noah * New York
NY (6'10" 200 F): Son of tennis star Yannick
Noah. Tall player with long arms. As you might imagine, Noah has plenty of
athletic ability. He needs more bulk but I like his potential. He plays real hard as a big man and he was not afraid to take it in on Glen Davis, the biggest man in the tournament. Can you imagine if he had taken up tennis like his father. At 6'10", his overhead smash would come from about 12'. Awesome!
Providence is involved.
Andre Black * Syracuse
NY (6'10" 220 F). Another talented big man
for the Panthers. Black is strong enough to work inside and he did so against
Glenn Davis and Louisiana Sports on more than one occasion. Runs the floor with
ease. He has a ton of potential. Yale,
Glen Davis * Baton Rouge La (6'8" 345 C): Another massive big man.
Nickname is "Big Baby", but make no mistake, there is no baby in
Davis' game. He runs and plays like
he is a hundred pounds lighter which is part of his 5 Star appeal. Unstoppable
in the blocks. It will be tough for anyone to get him out of the state of
Louisiana and LSU. He is that big.
Robert Simpson * Durham
NC (6'9" 220 PF): Plenty of height and a good
weight for a Junior. Has a nice frame to add additional size in the future.
Robert moves well from baseline to baseline. Didn't get a lot of touches in the
game I saw him, but when he did he showed more finesse then power. Nice player.
He says Kentucky and FSU are in
touch with him.
Simon Harris * Raleigh,
NC (6'4" 205 SG): Son of NC State coach Larry
Harris. Simon is a big guard with the body of a linebacker. He has skills and
reminds me some of past NC State guard Marshal Williams. I talked to Simon after
his game with the Travelers and he told me that it is his dream to play for NC
State and his father and he would walk on if they needed him at State so
he would not use up a scholarship.
Jamaal Shuler * Jacksonville
NC (6'4" 175 SG/SF): Jamaal never got his
game going in the two games I watched him. As a matter of fact, I never saw him break a sweat. He looked to be athletic and was spiderlike on the floor. He was an All-State player as a junior. He will have a hard time getting off the bench of a deep NC Gator team. NC State, GT, ECU and
others are reportedly involved.
JamesOn Curry * Burlington,
NC (6'3" 175 PG/SG): JamesOn never looked to
be on, in the games I watched. This was quite puzzling. I watched JamesOn with
the Gator 16 year old team last year, and he was the assist man, driving and
dishing. He also had the stroke from all over the floor. He was shooting 3s,
mid-range jumpers and dunking. This year he seems to of grown and he looked
taller than the 6'3" listed. He has filled out some and he looked slower because
of it. He did show a nice 3 stroke a time or two, but he also struggled as the
point man against Corey Brewer. I counted 3 turnovers against Corey.
Cedric Simmons * Supply, NC (6'10" 215 C): Cedric just gets better and
better every time I watch him. He is bold in the paint taking it right at or
around defensive big men. He also showed a nice stroke from 14-15 feet. He will
grab a ton of rebounds when he gets on the floor for the Wolfpack. Pack fans
need to be excited about this commitment.
Alex Galindo * Newark,
NJ (6'8" 195 SF): I watched Alex and I tried
real hard to like his game, but against an Athletic Houston Westside team, Alex
never found his place. He looked a step slower than what the game called for.
Playaz had him playing the 4 spot and he is no where near strong enough at 195
to get it done in the paint. Rutgers,
NC State, UConn and other are
Dave McClure * Ridgefield,
NJ (6'5" 195 SF): I'm not sure why Danny
Ferry (during the Duke days) comes to mind when I saw Dave play but that's who
pops in my head. He has a knack for being where his team needs him defensively.
Offensively, he never got it going but he did grab a few rebounds and made a few
sweet passes in a losing cause against Westside. However, like Alex, he really
never adjusted to the speed that Westside played. I would like to see David and
Alex a couple more times to be fair with them.
J.R. Smith * Ridgefield Ct (6'6" 220): He is the star for Playaz. He
lit up Westside for 30 points when I watched him. Everything you have heard
about Smith is true. He plays the game with intensity and he score just about
anyway he wants to. Great athlete and is deserving of all the attention he is
receiving from the likes of UNC, Duke and Maryland. We heard NC State is
involved as well.
Pump N Run
Enrico Tucker * San Diego, Ca
(6'0" 180 PG): If there is a better defensive point guard in the class of 2004,
I have yet to see him. Rico plays in your face ‘D' that forces the issue for
opposing guards. I have seen him take more than one guard right out of his game.
He also showed me for the first time, a consistent stroke offensively. He was 6
for 8 from the field which included some strokes from beyond the arc. His dad
told me that NC State was no longer recruiting him. Whoever Rico chooses, they
will be getting a player who is just going to get better and better. He is
upside is tremendous. Good luck to Rico.
Troy Mathis * Laurinburg,
NC (6'1" 195 PG): Super fast and athletic
guard who was a handful for Gavin Grant and his New York Ravens. He was
explosive anytime he got his hands on the ball. We didn't chart him but he had
to have 25 points against the Ravens. He scored in bunches. Gained a reputation
last season when he scored 80 points in one game.
Johon Adams * Chattanooga
Tn (6'5" 210 SF): According to Dave Telep,
Johon is the son of a former Wolfpack woman basketball player. He is still young
and is playing on the Travelers as a 10th grader, so next year should
be his year on the AAU circuit. He didn't play much, but when he did, he played
some heads up in your pocket defense.
Nolan Richardson IV * Tulsa Ok (6'2" 180 SG): While he may be listed as a 2 he played the entire game I
watched him at 1. He has a nice handle and he uses it to with some good looking
spin moves. He has good size and a ton of court savvy. He finished with 19
points with three 3s in the game I watched. He is getting some looks from
Kentucky and a few
Ryan Schnieder * Lakeland,
NY (6'6" 190 SF): Ryan is a good mid-major
prospect. He has the stroke from beyond the arc and he has a good feel for the
game. He has good court vision that enables him to make crisp and timely passes.
He was the stand-out player for Westchester against Rico
Tucker's Pump & Run. Colgate, Bucknell and some of the MAC schools are