* Jason Horton, the sophomore point guard from Cedar Hill, played in the 8 a.m. game with his Team Texas. The pass-first floor general is the younger brother of senior Daniel Horton, who was in the McDonald's All-American Game last week. "I was proud of him – glad to see him in the game – he worked hard for it," Horton said. He mentioned an early three top schools of Arizona, Texas and North Carolina.
The Horton family knows the UNC staff well, particularly Doug Wojcik, who recruited Daniel. In fact, had Raymond Felton not inked with the Tar Heels, Jason said there was a good chance that Daniel would have gone to Carolina. "He wanted to go to North Carolina – grew up wanting to go there," he said.
* We were looking forward to seeing Shannon Brown of the Illinois Warriors, but the highly touted junior guard was hobbled by a leg injury and did little of note before taking a seat on the bench for the rest of the game.
* After watching the Kappa Magic last night, we wanted to get another look at Reyshawn Terry and Chris Paul. Riverside Church led the Magic the entire way, forcing Paul to look to create more points on his own. The West Forsyth (N.C.) point posted 20 points, shooting 6-for-15 from the field (3-for-9 3pt) and dishing out three assists.
Terry again seemed out of his element, for whatever reason. His stat line read two points (shooting 1-for-5), three rebounds, two assists and two blocks – ending with a technical foul and he then fouled out. "That's just not the same kid," analyst Dave Telep muttered, having raved about Terry several weeks ago at the state championship game.
Terry fared better in the afternoon, totaling 14 points (4-10 FG, 2-5 3pt) and three boards, but we honestly expected more from him this weekend after his recent hype. He no doubt has the body and athleticism, but wasn't in the flow on offense and was foul prone on defense. Telep reports that Terry had a stomach virus, which may help explain his performances. We're not about to pass judgement based solely on this weekend …
* One of the new big names in the Class of 2003 is going to be Chris Richard, a 6-9, 235-pound post player from Lakeland (Fla.) Kathleen. We talked a little about him in last night's article, noting that while he didn't necessarily have the offensive skills, his size, strength and explosiveness made him a menacing presence in the paint.
Well, today he scored 23 points in an afternoon matchup with the New Jersey All-Stars. He mentioned a bunch of big-name schools last night that were showing interest, and today he added that Florida offered him a scholarship several days ago. The secret is out – Chris Richard is a coveted big man.
* Boo Williams' sophomore point Marquie Cooke led his team's comeback from a double-digit deficit against the Charlotte Royals, though they ended up losing by one. Most striking about Cooke is his mature game and build, for a sophomore, and his silky jump shot.
* Houston Hoops got a battle from the scrappy Albany City Rocks team, but the Houston club is absolutely loaded with talent. Taurean Minor is a powerful guard ranked as one of, if not the, best point man in the class of 2003.
Joining Minor in the backcourt is 6-3 sophomore Daniel Gibson, who sports both a unique hairdo and a fantastic game. He opened the contest against Albany by scoring a whopping 14 points in the first four minutes, drilling threes when the defender played off him and blowing by the hapless guards when they played him tight. He's lightening quick and remarkably smooth, gliding across the floor. Certainly a 2004 star you'll hear a lot more from soon. Had it not been for the fact that his talented teammates wanted the ball, too, who knows how many points he could have put up.
Kendrick Perkins didn't make the trip with Houston, so Ndudi Ebi, the thin 6-10 forward, had to play center. Schools such as Duke, Arizona and North Carolina are after Ebi because of his agility and versatility, as a post or perimeter player. However, he's not at his best when at center, and was reminded of this by Albany's Rashaun Freeman, a strong 6-8 senior headed to UMass in the fall. Freeman scored 29 on Ebi, and handed out a heavy dose of trash talking.
* Give credit to Ebi, though, as he recovered quite well in the evening session, the first round of the playoffs. Houston faced off with the South Carolina Ravens, who feature 6-10 sophomore stud Ra'Sean Dickey.
Dickey is one of the stars of 2004, by means of brutish strength coupled with athleticism and refined post moves. He had 30 points and 18 rebounds on Friday night, and an easy 21 and seven on Saturday afternoon.
There was less bounce in Dickey's step on Saturday night and Ebi got the best of him, blocking several of his shots and holding his own in the paint. Dickey had 11 points (3-9 FG) and three boards, while Ebi poured in 19 points, seven rebounds and 10 blocks.
In one highlight sequence, Ebi caught the inbounds pass, beat the press on his own and threw down a dunk – then raced back upcourt to halt the Ravens fast break by swatting a layup attempt into the bleachers.