Listed as the tallest player on his team, Horner is much more comfortable playing on the wing, where he can take open jumpers or attack the basket down the baseline. But South Jersey Select is thin in the frontcourt, and the athletic JOTS found the weakness midway through the first half and started attacking.
Pope goes about his game in a different manner. The 6-foot-9 combo forward is skilled and can play on the perimeter or in the post. He's very skilled and has improved his ballhandling over the past year, although at times he can overdribble. Tabbed the No. 9 player in the country and No. 4 power forward by Scout.com, Pope is an outstanding talent and terrific athlete, and tonight he flashed his ability on different occasions but appeared to be pacing himself as there is a lot of basketball left to be played this weekend. We had him going for 14 points, five boards, and five assists.
With Blair and Pope going to work, Pittsburgh started to pull away in the second half. SJS started to get frustrated and after a rash of turnovers they trailed the JOTS by 15. However, Dennis Horner continued to play hard... extremely hard.
Still thin, Horner has put a little weight on his 6-foot-8 frame, but not much. However he still got it done against the JOTS. He finished with a game-high 27 points while hitting 6-of-7 3-pointers and 3-of-4 free throws. He hit 9-of-15 shots from the field and also added four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
South Jersey Select wasn't sure they would even be playing in the tournament this year, and it appeared the players wore down, especially Horner. He looked winded and out of shape, but he still exerted maximum effort. He hit the deck for loose balls, battled on defense, and mixed it up in the paint, trying to do all he could to help his team win.
He has a nice stroke from the perimeter, great length, and good athleticism. Horner still needs to add weight to his slight frame, but he figures to be a key contributor down the road for the Wolfpack. With his family and some friends in attendance, Horner all but stated to reporters after the game that he will definitely be wearing a NC State uniform next fall.
South Jersey Select (0-1) will complete pool play tomorrow at 2:00 pm against the Arkansas Hawks and at 7:00 against the New England Playaz. The JOTS (1-0) is one of the tournament's most talented teams figures to be the favorite to win Pool D.