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May 28, 2004
TOC: Opening Night
Paulus & Blatche
The Tournament of Champions opened up with Duke commitment Greg Paulus playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the Syracuse/Rochester Rap against Team Orlando. Coming through with 27 points, Paulus, the No. 11 ranked player in the class of 2005, helped his team overcome a sluggish start to win convincingly.
Paulus made a bunch of free throws and scored from all over the field. He did, however, have a bunch of tournovers with his high risk/reward passing.
As good as Paulus was, the most impressive player on the court was Rap big man Andray Blatche. The No. 12 ranked player in the class of 2005 took the ball to the basket with either hand from behind the arc. He passed the ball extremely well up the court, and he showed some impressive NBA style back to the basket, mid-range moves.
Speaking of the NBA, Blatche had a lot to say about the NBA after his 19 point performance. The plan is to get stronger while also improving his ball handling and outside shooting while prepping at South Kent. If he is then projected as a first round pick, he will enter the draft.
If not projected as a first round pick, UNC, Syracuse, UConn, West Virginia, and Georgetown are the schools in the lead with Syracuse being the front runner.
Although he was not quick off his feet to contest shots in this game, Blatche has the potential to be a tremendous presence inside with his length. He also has the hands, body control, and skill base to be a presence away from the basket.
A more detailed update on Blatche and many other prospects at the TOC will be forthcoming on RivalsHoops.com.
Short Stint for No. 1
In the second game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the No. 1 ranked player in the class of 2005 Tasmin Mitchell did not have the game he would have liked to have although his New Orleans Jazz team won easily over the NC Gators second team.
Mitchell fouled out with over 9 minutes to play in the game on a blocking call on the other side of half court. During his time on the floor, Mitchell was most impressive when gathering defensive rebounds and busting out with the dribble to lead the break and then making the assist pass for the score.
He was not as active on the offensive boards. But Kenneth Cooper, 6-foot-10, 230-pounds, was all over the offensive and defensive glass against an undersized Gators team with no one over 6-foot-6 in the lineup.
Darryl Augustine, the No. 12 ranked player in the class of 2006, did a solid job running the point for the Jazz. Augustine listed LSU, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Duke off the top of his head after the game.
Texas Tech commitment Terry Martin was also very good for the Jazz. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard can both shoot it and handle it. He should score some points in the Big 12 for Coach Bobby Knight.
Mustangs Playing Strong
In one of the final games of the night at the Wilson Recreation Center on the Duke campus, the Dallas Mustangs came away with a hard fought victory over Team Richmond.
The pure shooting Booker Woodfox lit it up from behind the arc. The 6-foot shooting guard was not as effective inside the arc.
Point guard Byron Eaton played a very good all around game in leading the Mustangs. The No. 46 ranked player in the class of 2005 shot the ball well, got into the lane, found teammates, and did a good job defending a very quick and sharp passing Tyrese Rice.
Providing the defense and offense inside the arc for the Mustangs was Gary Flowers, the No. 38 ranked player in the class of 2005. Flowers, a 6-foot-8 small forward, blocked shots, rebounded, and scored.
He still needs to get stronger and improve his perimeter skills, but Flowers has the makings of a very good combo forward. Right now he is listing Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, and Cincinnati.
Stay on line with RivalsHoops.com this weekend for more coverage of the Tournament of Champions.