Slam Dunk: Day 2 Report

Francis and Bookout

* The wakeup call rang approximately 20 times this morning before any of the IC staff in Room 111 of the Sleep Inn budged. Five hours of shut-eye apparently didn't suffice. Such is the price you pay for hanging out at the Slam Dunk suite past 1:00 a.m. drinking Yuenglings, and then posting the day's report a couple hours later.

* The early morning (9:15am) arrival at Cape Henlopen gym was specifically to make sure we caught the Tabor (Torin Francis) vs. Stroud (Kevin Bookout) matchup. Analyst Dave Telep dubbed the contest "Who Wants to be a McDonald's All-American?" Bookout had notched 39 points and 19 boards the night before, while Tabor arrived in Lewes after a third-place finish at the City of Palms tournament in Florida. Tabor was clearly the more talented squad, pulling away in the second quarter, and winning 78-57. Bookout (18 pts, 13 reb) and Francis (18 pts, 8 reb) were their usual efficient selves, but Francis had a far superior supporting cast. "Basically, the story of the game was that Tabor just had too much firepower for the smaller Stroud team," IC's Clint Jackson said. "They had trouble finding ways to get Bookout the ball inside and credit Francis for a great all-around game. He sprinted the floor and regularly beat Bookout down the court for some easy buckets."

Chris Quinn

* But while the focus was on Francis and Bookout, a slight 6-1, 160-pound Tabor sophomore was just as impressive -- and we're not just saying that because we know his dad. Khaliq Gant drilled six of his nine three-point attempts en route to 20 points. The displaced Georgia-native is certainly a player to watch in the class of 2004. "Khaliq's quickly solidifying his reputation as one of the best three-point shooters in the country, even as a sophomore," Jackson said.

* The late morning game between Salem (Va.) and Coffman (Ohio) produced a good point guard battle between John Gilchrist, who's signed with Maryland, and Notre Dame-bound Chris Quinn. Quinn, a relative unknown who doesn't look the part (of a Big East point guard), raised a fair share of eyebrows. His stellar court vision and pinpoint shooting accuracy guided Coffman to a 66-59 win, as he contributed 29 points (12-20 FG) and six assists. "You wouldn't be able to pick him out before the game as a star player, but once the game starts he does a lot of everything," said IC's Jeff Goodman. "He shoots well from the perimeter, gets to the hoop, made his teammates better by creating open shots and showed that he has recovered well after missing the summer with a broken foot." Gilchrist, meanwhile, was very assertive on the offensive end, much more so than last night, when he was visibly upset with his performance. The future Terp put up 31 points (11-18 FG) on short jumpers and aggressive drives to the hoop, and hit the boards hard for 10 rebounds. His 4 assists and 6 turnovers could have been improved, but better teammates at the next level will help turn those stats around.

J.J. Redick

* Rasheed Al-Kaleem signed with Florida in the fall before anyone knew who he was. The 6-4 shooting guard from Charlestown (Mass.) didn't travel the AAU circuit, and Gator headman Billy Donovan snatched him up fast. Thursday afternoon was the first opportunity for most coaches and analysts to get a look at the unknown Boston product. Unfortunately, the first look happened to be on an off day for Al-Kaleem. He's reportedly a great shooter, but they didn't fall today, as he was 3-14 from the field (3-10 3pt) for 11 points. And besides the jumpers, he didn't show much else. His team pulled off a big comeback in the final minutes against Sanford (Del.), turning a 61-50 deficit with three minutes left into a 68-67 win. Sanford junior Will Sheridan posted a solid 20 points and 15 boards.

* We've seen enough J.J. Redick over the past year to know the basics, which he again demonstrated in Cave Springs' (Va.) afternoon game against Oxon Hill (Md.) -- he can shoot (6-9 3pt), he can dribble and drive (10-19 FG), he can pass (7 ast) and he can hit the boards (6 reb). What he can't do, however, is single-handedly win the game. His 29 points were not enough, as a running, long-range, potential game-winner clanged off the rim as time expired. Oxon Hill 65, Cave Springs 63. "He needs to be more selfish," Telep muttered, and he was right, but it's hard to tell Redick to ignore the wide open teammates when he's triple-teamed. Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski was sitting courtside to watch the future Blue Devil sharpshooter.

Matt Walsh

(Clint authored the following two notes …)

* The Germantown trio (Lee Melchionni, Matt Walsh and Ted Skuchas) were fan favorites from the moment they stepped on the floor at the Cape Henlopen Gym. And they didn't disappoint, with a 15-point win over Memphis East (Tenn.), fueled by a 15-3 fourth quarter advantage. The versatile Walsh showed that he's got incredible range on his three pointers and had his way with the smaller Memphis East guards off the dribble. He drove fearlessly to the rim and seemed to have the ball in his hands most of the time on offense. He ended the game with 23 points (2-5 from the arc) and 11-12 from the charity stripe. Melchionni had a fairly quiet game, but contributed 11 points, 4 boards and 4 steals. He always seems to look better in the high school setting as opposed to the run and gun summer style of ball. The 6'11 Skuchas looked much better -- especially on the offensive end. He dropped 10 points and secured 9 rebounds. He finished pretty well inside and played with consistent intensity.

* While Daniel Horton is certainly not going to win any beauty pageants, the 6'3 Michigan-bound combo can shoot, score and run the break. He out-quicked about everyone on the floor, shot well from three-ball land and led the high octane Cedar Hill (TX) squad with 28 points, 5 dimes and shot 5-10 from the arc. And his brother, Jason wasn't bad either. The smaller (6'1, 160 pounds) sibling came off the bench and provided sound passing, superb ball-handling and he's got his brother's quickness. Look for him to be one of the better pure point guards in the class of 2004.

Nate Robinson

* The last game of the evening proved to be the best. Rainier Beach (Wash.) vs. Inglewood (Calif.). While the Stewart twins, Lodrick and Rodrick, were the focus of everyone's pregame attention (see other article today on their performances), their point guard Nate Robinson had the biggest day. During warm-ups, analyst Russ Blake was raving about Robinson. "I'd take Nate over both of the twins," he said. "He could be the strongest guy his size that I've ever seen." The lightening quick power point, who doubles as a star running back on the football team, totaled 26 points, scoring on jumpers and driving for baskets and floaters -- many of them over Inglewood's franchise player, 6-10, 230-pound D'Angelo Collins. "He came out of nowhere, what can you do?" Collins said postgame. "We didn't have no scouting report on him." And they certainly didn't have an answer for him, either. After Robinson took over in the fourth quarter, giving Rainier Beach the lead, they held on down the stretch for a 60-57 win. Collins, meanwhile, showed the NBA scouts in attendance his impressive array of skills. He had 23 points, including three three-pointers and about a half-dozen powerful dunks, 18 rebounds and four blocks.

* After 15-straight hours in Cape Henlopen gym today, it's already been a long two days here at Slam Dunk to the Beach. Meanwhile, Lewes, Del. is getting hyped for the unveiling of Lebron James tomorrow evening. The mere sight up him in the stands today caused a big stir.

Inside Carolina Top Stories