I attended the first two days of the tournament during which I watched the first eight games of the main tournament. There was some excellent basketball being played by some future stars. You can click on the link below to read more information about the tournament. I am neither a scout nor a recruiting analyst but here are some of my observations of some of the teams and players. Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section as I enjoy reading about other’s experiences and opinions.
1) Word of God – They are an excellent team with a great coach. They have a top notch PG in John Wall and a talented young center in CJ Leslie. They have speed, skill and experience. Their main weakness is consistent outside shooting, but strangely a a zone does not work against them. They use patience and good passing to work the ball in to the heart of the zone to get easy shots (as opposed to shooting threes). If you have the chance to see them play then do yourself a favor and go. Their gym is small but the atmosphere is exciting and the basketball superb.
2) Kinston – They have a great coach and play hard. They are another fun team to watch. They have at least two players that will play division one basketball (Bo Ingram and Reggie Bullock).
3) Knightdale – This is the smallest team I have ever seen play (and this includes my private high school team from the 80s). They start 4 players 6 feet or shorter but they play as hard as any team I have watched. It is almost impossible not to pull for them. Their sparkplug was Antonio Moffit who is generously listed at 5 feet ten inches tall. Against Ravenscroft (who plays three players 6’10” or taller) he would drive the lane and somehow get his shot off. He was an amazing player to watch.
4) Taft – This is the second year in a row they have been in the tournament. They had more talent last year but a better team this year. They have a good PG in Larry Drew and a great shooter in Bryce Smith.
5) Ravenscroft – I wanted to see them play as they have 3 juniors 6’10” or taller but I was dissapointed. Their problems are 1) only one of the big men have any skill 2) they do not have a PG and 3) no one could hit a three. If they could get a top PG to play for them next year they could be a very good team.
1) John Wall – This is probably the fastest player I have seen in more than 20 years of watching high school basketball. He has a great handle and body control. This allows him to beat his man off the dribble and get his shot off in traffic. He also has good court vision allowing him to get the ball to the right player at the right time. He loves to play defense and is a shut down defender. He plays hard and rarely leaves the game. He drives left almost exclusively and needs to work on his jump shot but is a talent that I would love to see play for NCSU. No matter what school he goes to he will be the best guard on the team.
2) CJ Leslie – He is a big, talented sophomore who has verbally committed to NCSU. He has some good moves around the basket, excellent athletic ability and works very hard on both ends of the court. He has a lot of potential and will improve (especially given the excellent coaching he is receiving). I expect his rankings will improve as he gets older. He will be a very good small or power forward, depending on how big he grows.
3) Larry Drew – I was anxiously awaiting the match up between Drew and Wall. I fully expected Wall to abuse Drew but was surprised at how well Drew fared. Wall was able to drive the lane pretty easily but Drew was also able to get past Wall who is a good defender. Drew is a pass first guard with good speed and a decent shot. My guess is he will average about 8-10 points and 5-6 assists for his college career. He will be a good guard and I would be thrilled if he would go to State instead of UNC.
4) Ryan Kelly – He is a 6’10” junior who plays for Ravenscroft. He has excellent moves, hands and body control around the basket. He was virtually unstoppable on the block. I would love to see how he does against someone his own height. He needs to put on some weight but will be an excellent PF at the next level.
5) Reggie Bullock – This sophomore plays at Kinston. He is a 6’6” guard that has a very nice, smooth stroke. He looks very comfortable shooting the ball and will be a very good player. He was not “THE” player on his team so I did not get a great feel for how good he will be.