Glaxo: Day 1 Report

The first day of the Glaxo Invitational took place at the Reynolds shoebox on the campus of NC State.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The first day of the Glaxo Invitational took place at the Reynolds shoebox on the campus of NC State. The ghosts of the ACC's storied past was merging with the promising potential of the ACC's future in the oddly elongated gymnasium.

The holiday season is full of a lot of food, a lot of gift giving, and a lot of high school basketball. The Glaxo is traditionally one of the stronger tournaments of the season and while this year's entry was not quite as star studded as in year's past, there was still plenty of talent to thrill the several thousand fans in attendance.

Game 1
Kinston(NC) vs. St. Andrews(RI)
One of the best things about these tournaments is seeing players you've never heard of emerge. This game was a perfect example. Kinston is led by highly touted junior Jeremy Ingram. The 6'3" Ingram had a very quiet 15 points. So quiet in fact it was barely above a whisper. Ingram was content to hoist 3 pointers and just hang out beyond the arc. He did not move particularly well without the ball and only drove on a couple of occasions.

Ingram was overshadowed by the St. Andrews backcourt. Here's where the fun begins, because I had never heard of these two guys. Abdi Lidonde is a 6'3" sg who had a game high 27 points. This kid displayed a total offensive game - explosive drives to the basket, mid range pull ups, long three point bombs. He can fill it up and he can do it in a hurry. He has a very nice stroke and a good handle. Kinston loves to trap and Limonde had little trouble getting around the pressure.

Which leads directly to impressive sophomore pg Emery Outland. Outland is listed at 6'1" but is probably closer to 6'0." This kid was very impressive. I was shocked with his poise. He did not put up flashy numbers (11 points, 5 or 6 assists) but his command of the game was absolute. He was able to streak past the Kinston pressure with ease and set up his teammates perfectly. Outland did not look for his shot much although he did show a nice stroke on the two threes he hit. He's quick, he's smart and he can really run an offense. His handle can be a little loose sometimes, but Outland just has a great knack for making the right pass every time down the court.

St. Andrews won the game 84 to 70.

Game 2
Wake Forest-Rolesville(NC) vs. Bishop O'Connell (VA)

O'Connell's Brian Johnson (44, right) and teammate Ernie Lomax (20, left) try to double Wake Forest's Eric Williams in the post
I had not seen future Demon Deacon big man Eric Williams since the Bob Gibbon's Tournament of Champions in May. But I had been hearing rumors: Williams was trimmer and more fit. Williams was scoring from mid range and running the floor easily. Well it is true that Williams has lost a little more weight and did seem to be more fit. But that was the only rumor that turned out to be true. Here's what Williams' offense consisted of against O'Connell: catch, spin, drop step, dunk. That was pretty much it. He did have a couple of put backs, but he never took a shot outside of two feet from the basket. Wake Forest-Rolesville kept the tempo pretty slow throughout to keep Williams from having to run up and down the court. Williams isn't the slowest guy on the court, but he's not winning any footraces. That being said, Williams is very good at using his strength on the blocks. O'Connell double teamed him for most of the game. They completely played off of one man to put a defender in front of and behind Williams. Yet Williams still finished with a game high 22 points and 11 rebounds. O'Connell was simply not strong enough to contain him inside. Catch, spin, dunk. Catch, spin, dunk.

O'Connell's Brian Johnson (left) goes up for the opening tip against Wake Forest's Eric Williams

This was my first chance to see UNC recruit Brian Johnson. Johnson is a 6'9" sophomore who plays center for O'Connell. Johnson is lean and graceful and gets off the floor quickly for blocks and putbacks. Johnson is a good athlete, not extremely explosive, but he gets where he needs to be easily. Just a sophomore, Johnson needs to work on his post moves, but he did have a nice up and under move and a sweet turn around jumper. The kid has range out to 15 feet. His shot reminds me of Bob McAdoo. In fact, although not as athletically explosive, I thought Johnson was similar to McAdoo in a lot of areas. I was most impressed with Johnson's hands. A very good passer out of the post, on one play Johnson was double teamed and quickly found a cutting teammate for a layup. He also caught several tough passes in the post. Johnson did not guard Williams much but Williams spent a good portion of the game trying to deny Johnson. Johnson was able to use his foot speed and quick! hops to score over Williams. Johnson finished with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. Towards the end of the game, Johnson got caught against Williams one on one and it wasn't pretty. On both occasions, Williams gave Johnson the Shaq shoulder and Johnson went flying to the ground. No foul was called and Williams scored on both possessions.

Marcus Ginyard is a 6'5" pg for O'Connell. Like St. Andrews' Outland, I was shocked by this youngster's poise. Ginyard is only a freshman, but he runs the offense like a seasoned veteran. Athletic with a good handle, Ginyard's potential is limitless. He's a big pg who reminded me of Jeff McInnis. He has great court vision and uses his height to see over his defender and find the open man and also uses his size to help out on the boards.

Wake Forest was able to control the tempo and held on to win 64-58.

Game 3
Broughton (NC) vs. Roberson (NC)
Shav was Shav. Quiet at times, dominant at times, double teamed all the time. His skills are undeniable and often jaw dropping. I don't really have anything to add. The big man finished with 31 points as Broughton won.


-I missed the final game of the day but DeMatha 63-55 over Millbrook.

-Programs were 4 bucks. Somebody please call the Rumble in the Bronx and tell them 20 dollars is ridiculous.

-Good crowd to see the local teams. Special props to the Wake Forest fans. A very vocal group.

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