The 21st annual Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions concluded this past weekend in Atlanta with some fine representation from our boys in Tennessee. Here's what went down.
Team Thad 17s
Team Thad finished as the only team from the Volunteer state to finish in the Gold Bracket of the tournament. The boys from the Bluff City finished the event at 3-1 falling to E1T1 83-80 in the quarter-finals.
Team Thad cruised through the initial portion of the event with big wins over the Georgia Threat, Douglas Brothers and the Florida Flash.
Jordon Varnado (Haywood) and Naba Echols (Mitchell) were both selected to the prestigious all-tournament team from Team Thad.
Nick Marshall (Lexington) played his best basketball since the Knox Vegas tournament. The rising big man showed hustle and determination, blocked shots, kept possessions alive and played with the energy that will make him a must have for college coaches at all levels.
Jermiah Martin (Mitchell) also had a standout event. His efforts in the win over the Florida Flash were the difference in winning the ball game. He scored from the perimeter and was a pest on the defensive end.
It would be remiss to not mention the contributions of the bundle of energy known as Milik Smith (Memphis Overton).
Nashville Celtics 17s
The Celtics started very strong with big wins over the Jacksonville Knicks and the Upward Stars Atlanta before falling in their final two contests to the dangerous Georgia Stars and the talented South Georgia Kings.
New addition Chad Culbreath (Ripley) really turned some heads with his ability to score the ball. The rising senior took scoring honors in the opening game victory with 19 and added 16 in the other win. He was selected to the all-tournament team as well. Once he embraces the duties of a lead guard in this new system he could be a real find for someone.
Jalen Duke (MLK) led the Celtics with 19 in the win over the Upward Stars while Ricky Dunnaway (Oakland) finished with 15.
Duke and Will Shelton (Hardin County) added 12 apiece in the opening round win over the Knicks.
Grant Teichmann (Brentwood) had another solid event knocking down big shots and playing tough defense.
Tennessee Chosen Few 17s
The Chosen Few started and ended the TOC with victories including a tough opening round win over Team Winston. Stanley Valentine (Hampton) scored the game winner from the charity stripe after a tough drive to the bucket with time winding down.
TCF fell to the powerful Florida Elite in their second game before losing a tough one to Team Forrest.
They rebounded with a 67-64 victory against the Upward Stars Charlotte to close on a high note.
Jordan Bowden (Carter), Kelvin Jackson (Fulton), Brady Nease (Union County) and Kordell Henderson (White County) all had moments of standout play during the event.
Tennessee Tigers 17s
The Tigers finished in the Copper bracket with a 1-2 record starting out against a very tough Upward Stars squad before falling to the Henry County Ballers in their second tilt. The Tigers closed strong with a huge 69-38 win over the Georgia Ballers.
Dakota Quinn (Davidson Academy) was again a player who drew some notice with his skills on the perimeter and going to the basket. John Payne (Cookeville) was solid on the perimeter knocking down several deep threes while Colt Nokes (Gordonsville) did his work on the glass and defended at a high level.
Team Thad 16s
Team Thad surged out to a fast start with big wins over the Durham Hurricanes, the Atlanta Swish and Team Power before falling to Game Elite in the quarter-finals of the Gold Division.
Demonte Person (Kingsbury) and Ryan Pippens (Arkansas) were both selected to the 16 and under all-tournament squad.
Micah Thomas (Briarcrest) would prove to be one of the subjects of discussion in this age group. The highflying wing put on a classic show against Team Power finishing with 20 points and 20 boards including several poster dunks with the approval of the on looking crowd.
Music City Kings 16s
The Nashville based Kings got their Gibbons experience off to a rousing start with wins over the South Georgia Kings and the Georgia Ballers before falling to two of the best teams in the events the eventual champion Southern Stampede and the Game Elite.
DeQuan Summers (Hillwood) and Patrick Murphy (Independence) were both sighted for their outstanding play throughout the tournament.
Coaches also mentioned the consistent play of rising junior big man Isaiah Blacksmith (East Nashville).
Tennessee Tigers 16s
The Tigers rolled out of the gate with a huge opening game win over the Taylored Athletes but fell short against two of the best teams nationally in this age group with the Atlanta Express and E1T1.
Kenny Bunton (Walker Valley) had a solid tournament and for his efforts was named to the All-Tournament team. Caleb Hollander (Homeschool) played solid throughout the event leading the Tigers in scoring.
Nashville Celtics 16s
Cedriontis Wilson (Blackman) had an outstanding weekend at the TOC and for his efforts was named to the 16 and Under All-Tournament team.
The Celtics finished 2-2 in the bronze bracket starting with a win over E1T1 Blue then falling to the Georgia Stars and the Under Pressure Soldiers before bouncing back with a win against Team Forrest.
Desmond Cambridge (Ensworth), D.J. Wilkes (Liberty Tech) and Maleek Sain (Marshall County) were all lauded for their efforts over the course of the event.
Tennessee Triple Threat 16s
The Triple Threat opened their Gibbons experience with a win over Team Winston but fell in the next two against some very tough squads in Team Power and the Atlanta Swish.
Josh Jones (Walker Valley) had a solid event leading the team in scoring at close to 20 per game including a huge 35 point effort in the opening game victory.
Coaches were quick to applaud the efforts of Cole Copeland (Bradley Central), Kentrell Ware (Cleveland) and T.J. Constant (Walker Valley).
Tennessee Chosen Few 16s
Patrick Good (David Crockett) and Matt Halvorsen (Dobyns-Bennett) led the charge as the TCF finished 1-2 in the bronze bracket with losses to Greg Monroe Assists and the Taylored Athletes before winning against the CC Force.
Middle Tennessee Stars 16s
The Stars finished strong after falling into the bronze bracket with an opening game loss to Game Elite. The Murfreesboro crew closed hard with wins over the Boynton Heat and the Showtyme Boys.
Jerrell Reeves (Oakland) had an outstanding event finished with a double/double in every game.
Coaches applauded the efforts of several others including Quinton Armstrong (LaVergne), Darius Sparks (LaVergne) and Christian Dewitt (Blackman).
Music City Stars 16s
Much like the Middle Tennessee Stars these Stars also fell in their opening game against Team Impact dropping them into the bronze bracket where they proceeded to take care of business with wins over the Atlanta Select and the Atlanta Express Red.
Thomas Booker (East Nashville) and JaVaughn Craig (McCallie) were the scoring leaders for the Stars while Gage Upshaw (Baylor) and Jordan Wilson (MBA) kept things together defensively and on the boards.
Coaches also mentioned the contributions of newcomer Charquise Buchanan (Pearl Cohn).
Chattanooga Elite 16s
Bradley McCurdy (Bradley Central), Ryan Montgomery (Chattanooga Central) and Peyton Parker (Bradley Central) were all lauded for their effort as the Elite finished at 1-2 in the bronze bracket.
The Elite captured a win against Innerman Bates but fell to Team Forrest and the Association Canada.