CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Tournament of Champions on the campus of the University of North Carolina found its breakout player and some of the powerhouse teams showed signs of dominance as pool play wrapped up Saturday with the playoffs ahead Sunday.
Josh Hairston (6-9 PF/Spotsylvania, Va., Courtland), Tyler Thornton (6-2 PG/Washington, D.C., Gonzaga), Eric Atkins (6-2 CG/Baltimore, Md., St. Joseph’s) and Darryl Traynham (5-8 PG/Upper Marlboro, Md., Henry Wise) led DC Assault. Hairston and Thornton are committed to Duke, Atkins to Notre Dame.
Shaquille Thomas (6-8 WF/Beckley, W.V., Mountain State Academy) and Isaiah Epps (6-2 PG/Plainfield, N.J.) led the Playaz Basketball Club of New Jersey. Both players will be transferring from their current high schools next year to a yet do be determined destination. Thomas is the nephew of NBA player Tim Thomas and is wide open in his recruitment while Epps is committed to Pittsburgh.
Nate Lubick (6-9 PF/Southborough, Mass., St. Mark’s), Naadir Tharpe (6-1 PG 2011/Wolfeboro, N.H., Brewster Academy) and Dajuan Coleman (6-9 PF 2012/Syracuse, N.Y., Jamesville-Dewitt) put the New England Playaz atop its pool. Lubick is committed to Georgetown while Tharpe and Coleman are national targets with them being two of the country’s best in their class at their positions.
P.J. Hairston (6-6 SG 2011/Greensboro, N.C., Dudley) and Melvin Tabb (6-8 CG/Raleigh, N.C., Enloe) topped the stat sheets for the CP3 All Stars of backyard North Carolina.
The big gun of pool play is Chris Jones (6-1 CG/Memphis Stallions/Memphis, Tenn., Melrose) with games of 28, 42 and 50 points.
CLASS OF 2010
Andre Stringer (5-10 PG/Jackson Tigers/Jackson, Miss., Forest Hill) – Scored 20 points in team’s comeback win over Memphis Magic. A pair of 3-pointers during the comeback scramble in the final minutes sealed the day for the floor leader. He set the tone early finding teammates and pressuring the ball defensively, then went quiet toward the middle but asserted himself in a big way down the stretch. Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State, Marquette and USC have made headway as he’ll wait out the process through the summer for sure.
Jalen Courtney (6-8 PF/Jackson Tigers/Jackson, Miss., Provine) – Scored 10 points in win. Responsible for punching some shots out and boosting the intensity on the defensive end en route to the comeback. Committed to LSU.
Joe Jackson (6-0 CG/Memphis Magic/Memphis, Tenn., White Station) – Scored 21 points, including 15 in the second half in team’s loss to Jackson Tigers of Mississippi. Tried to take command and beat the traps and press but coughed it up twice down the stretch. Started slow missing his shots but turned it up after halftime, going to the baseline and at the rim with his left hand and then knocking down a pull-up jumper to get himself going. One of the top scoring point guards in the country.
Tarik Black (6-8 PF/Memphis Magic/Memphis, Tenn., Ridgeway) – Scored 8 points in team’s loss. Ball didn’t go inside much so his touches were limited and struggled to get into a flow early when he did catch it. Post defense was needed against the horses and he gave a full effort to block out and defend in the half court. One of the better power forwards in a deep group at his position.
Jayvaughn Pinkston (6-6 CF/New Heights/Brooklyn, N.Y., Bishop Loughlin) – Scored 16 points in win over Dallas Heroes of Texas. Used his big frame and light feet to score on the similar sized frontline, be it starting outside and going off the dribble or inside with his back to the basket. St. John’s, Tennessee, Marquette, Villanova came to see him in April.
Derrick Williams (6-7 PF/New Heights/Jersey City, N.J., St. Anthony) – Scored 15 points in win. Wide body overpowered smaller frontline on glass and had decent touch around the rim. Listed Marquette, VCU, Maryland, Fordham and Manhattan.
Ryan Harrow (6-0 PG/Atlanta Celtics/Alpharetta, Ga., Walton) – Scored 34 points in win over Memphis Stallions. Shot, speed and skill offset small frame. Hit 3-pointers from all over the court, went to the rim and adjusted for scores, delivered some highlight passes and picked the pockets of opposition. Committed to North Carolina State and one of the better scoring point guards in class.
Trae Golden (6-0 PG/Atlanta Celtics/Powder Springs, Ga., McEachern) – Scored 31 points in win over Memphis Stallions. Typical outing from he and Harrow in an uptempo game. Scored it with ease weaving in and out of traffic and hit his share of three’s. Pttsburgh, Marquette, Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Connecticut and Georgetown in the hunt for a projected late summer/fall decision.
Khyle Marshall (6-6 SF/Florida Rams/Pembroke Pines, Fla., Flanagan) – Scored 22 points to lead team in win over Brandon Bass Elite of Texas. Active on the baseline with follow-ups and short jumpers. Hustled in transition for finishes on offense and challenges on defense. Miami, Florida State, Kansas State, Auburn and Houston have made headway.
Fabricio de Melo (7-0 C/Florida Rams/Weston, Fla., Sagemont) – Big man ran into some foul trouble early that limited much of a look at him. Below the rim player right now but aggressive in carving out space. Rising prospect visited Louisville and Syracuse recently and will be national target with his combination of size, feel and potential.
Keith Appling (6-2 CG/Michigan Mustangs/Detroit, Mich., Pershing) – Tough night for himself and the team, struggling to make anything work and got mercy ruled by Grassroots Canada. Went the passive route instead of overly pressing to shoot as he faced some pressure defense in the backcourt. Committed to Michigan State.
Alex Gauna (6-9 PF/Michigan Mustangs/Detroit, Mich., Pershing) – Built a rebounding reputation and did it well along with his ability to hunt the ball and convert on putbacks. Committed to Michigan State.
Kaleb Clyburn (5-10 PG/Team Florida/Montverde, Fla., Academy) – Lefty point guard made smart plays down the stretch of team’s win and showed a tight handle that kept possessions alive in crunch time. Floor leader with grades has Dartmouth, Princeton, Columbia along with interest from Virginia Tech, Florida State, Central Florida, and Jacksonville.
Keith McDougald (6-2 CG/Team Florida/Jacksonville, Fla., Bishop Kenny) – Strong guard served as a respectable weapon from 3-point range to open up the lane for team’s bigs to work. College of Charleston, Florida Atlantic, Butler, Santa Clara and Mercer all have interest.
Jordan Manuel (6-8 CF/Eric Gordon All Stars/Indianapolis, Ind., Central) – Solid defensively, rebounded, and hit some timely shots in the lane against the zone en route to 15 points in team’s win. Cincinnati, Dayton, Louisville, Indiana, Michigan State and Xavier tracking him.
J.J. Moore (6-5 SF/New York Panthers/Brentwood, N.Y.) – High-flying wing had the jumper working, got active inside for follow-ups and gave a solid defensive effort. Hofstra, Stonybrook and Albany visited him in April while picking up feelers recently from Pitt, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas, USC and Central Florida.