Telep: T.O.C.: Day One Report

Opening night at the Tournament of Champions featured a big scoring output from Chase Budinger and a comfortable win for Gerald Henderson and The Playaz.

2006 CHECKLIST

Gerald Henderson (pictured), SF/SG, Playaz: His pal Wayne Ellington told us last week to watch out of for him because with the decision to attend Duke out of the way, Henderson was ready to get back to the business of ball. In a 16-point effort, Henderson led a route of Inner Strength. Basically, "G" started hot, finished strong and was hooping it up and feely quite comfortable for a Blue Devil in the Dean Dome.

Chase Budinger, SF, So Cal All-Stars: The high-point man of the night in games we caught with 33 did it on the perimeter and in transition. The all-american volleyball star had himself a 20+ point first half and connected on 2-for-4 from downtown in a contest where he shot 3's and lay-ups against an overmatched Alabama Challenge squad.

Willie Walker, PG/SG, Illinois Wolves: He led the Wolves with 21 points (5-12 FG) and made 8-of-9 from the line. He's a bonafide Top 100 player who can slide over and handle either spot. The reason why we think he's a PG long term is that his smoothness with the basketball is evident and he's an excellent passer. Right now on the Wolves he doesn't have the luxury of playing with a great finisher so many times his passes don't yield buckets.

Wayne Ellington, SG, The Playaz: His first game in the Dean Dome yielded 15 points (6-for-14 FG, 1-for-7 3s) in a route of the Alabama Challenge; the scorebook had him officially with 18. Like Henderson, he did his thing early and watched a good portion of the second half from the bench with the game firmly in check.

Doug Wiggins, PG, Connecticut Basketball: We charted him with 15 points on the night and you could tell it wasn't a vintage game for him as he shot just 6-for-19 from the floor and 3-for-9 from deep. What's to like about him is that he's long and has the ability to get by guys and meander his way into the paint for scores.

NEWS & NOTES

Jerry Smith sat out Friday's action with a bruised tailbone. The Playground Warriors guard could be closing in on a decision. "I'm getting pretty close," Smith said. Louisville, Wake Forest, Wisconsin and Tennessee are the schools. He's visited all but the Vols and he'll do that the first weekend in June. As for a leader? "Wake Forest is leading," Smith said. …

Here's a nugget to jot down: after a recent visit to Hargrave, Tyler Smith has decided to take his game to the Chatham, Va., campus for a fifth year next season. … Matt Hill of the Connecticut Basketball Club said that he's getting hit up by Siena, Hartford, Seton Hall and Sacred Heart. …

New Orleans Jazz guard D.J. Augustin described his opening effort as "raggedy." The point man said "there are no real leaders" and listed Texas, Wake Forest and LSU. … Teammate JeJuan Brown, a 6-foot-7 power forward, said Mississippi State, Auburn, and Miami were recruiting him the hardest. …

Wolves guard Willie Walker listed Ohio State, Wake Forest, Miami and North Carolina State. Miami is recruiting him as a shooting guard since they landed Edwin Rios. …

SCOUT'S SEAT

D.J. Augustin never seemed to get into the flow for the New Orleans Jazz in his opening game. … Dinero Thomas, a New Orleans Jazz wing, was smoking mid-range and 3s in his first night out. … Matt Hill of Connecticut Basketball Club is a nice looking mid-major PF who can be counted on to block some shots. …

Schneider All-Stars.com were paced by shooting guard Lawrence Westbrook's 21 points. Westbrook shot 7-for-18, including 3-for-7 hits from downtown. …


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