Keeping Tabs on Tabb

Not that his reputation requires any reinforcement, but rising prep school star, Josh Tabb, is proving Bruce Pearl can pick them out as well as he can coach them up.

The least heralded of Pearl's highly acclaimed first signing class at Tennessee, Tabb is playing lights out for Harmony Community School, a prep school national basketball power in Cincinnati, Ohio.

As starting point guard, Josh Tabb, 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, has paced the Hurricanes to a 28-4 record with two games remaining in the 2005-2006 season. His stats — 12 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals per game — don't begin to sum up his talent or approximate his value to Harmony's high-profile program.

"He's such a complete guard," said Canes' head coach Rodney Crawford. "He does the little things to make the team a better team. He played straight point guard. He's a big, big point guard. We posted him up a lot."

Tabb's size affords him many of advantages on the court, but it doesn't prevent him from doing any of the things expected of a lead guard.

"He controls the tempo," said Crawford. "He pressures the ball and guards the best players we played against. He's great out on the perimeter. He can do a lot of stuff.

He's a very strong defensive player. He's well rounded completely well rounded, the half-court game, the transition game, he does both well."

In addition to being able to beat guards down in the paint, he can bust zones from the perimeter.

"He's definitely got range as a shooter," Crawford stated. "He hits his threes probably about 35 percent. He's a good free throw shooter, too. He hit about 75 percent this year from the foul line."

Tabb also has the athletic skill to play anywhere on the perimeter, or to punctuate the fast break with a high flying slam dunk.

"He can play anywhere out there on the perimeter," Crawford stated. "He could be a one, two or three. He can defend or play any of those positions. His leaping ability is extreme. He can really dunk the ball. He goes over the top of people to dunk the ball. I'm not sure on his vertical, but it's at least in the high 30's. He can post up and shoot over defenders, too."

As Harmony has rolled over opponents, Tabb's game has picked up steam and he's currently playing the best basketball of his life.

"The last couple of games he's really turned it on," Crawford explained. "He scored in the 20's both of those games. He could have scored a lot more this year, but we have so much power that he chose not to."

Power is a an understatement, but it explains why Tabb has reigned in his game in order to realize his team's potential. The Canes have two guards —Deonte Vaughn and Marcus Rhodes ranked in the nation's top 20 prospects in the Class of 2006 and two others — Tabb and Tyrone Appleton — ranked in the top 100 nationally. Vaughn, Rhodes and Appleton were all Mr. Indiana basketball candidates in 2005, while Tabb was a Mr. Illinois basketball candidate. Many experts regard the Hurricanes' back court as the best in America.

The Canes front line is just formidable. In fact, it's bigger than Tennessee's with a lineup that features 6-foot-8 forward Alex Tyus, 6-7 forward Jonathan Avory and 6-10 center Tearon Hill.

Given such an outstanding array of firepower, It's not surprising the Canes are closing in on 30 victories this season, or that they set the Ohio single game scoring record with 144 points.

Over the next four years, Big Orange basketball fans will grow to fully appreciate Pearl picking up this Tabb.

COACHING POOL

The head football coach at Harmony Community School is none other than former Tennessee DB David Pool. He also serves an assistant coach for the Canes' basketball team. A native of Cincinnati, Pool played under Johnny Majors at UT. Pool was named to the first team All-SEC Freshman Team and was a member of Tennessee's 1985 Sugar Bowl and SEC Championship squad.


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