I got to spend the entire day on Saturday at the 17 and under AAU state in Memphis.
I had the opportunity to see each of the eight participating squads play two times each and I chose 20 players who's performances were noteworthy.
They will be listed alphabetically.
Kendall Anthony (Liberty Tech) Tennessee Future Stars
Playing with another team this weekend, Ant 2.0 remained the model of consistency. A leader and arguably the best ball-handler in the state, Ant showed a bit more of a scoring side than we have previously seen.
Michael Bradley (Tyner Academy) Tennessee Tigers
The improving big man has an outstanding soft touch and showed some range out to three point land. He moves well and really gives effort on both ends of the floor. I would like to see him more productive on the boards which will come with added strength.
Marquinton Brown (Lausanne) Memphis Trotters
Quick and aggressive, Brown was one of the scoring leaders for the weekend with his tough forays to the bucket and a decent mid-range game. His ability to finish towards the glass despite contact was impressive.
Teraes Clemmons (Mt. Juliet) Team Nashville
Knocking down jumpers from near and far early in the day, Clemmons was deft from verywhere with his smooth lefty stroke. He had a couple of nice drives to the bucket with clever finishes and an array of nice moves I would like to see more of.
Montez Fifer (Southwind) Memphis Stallions
Very important role player for the Stallions and their run to the title. Fifer gives you effort and depending on the matchup can score some points with his hustle and work on the glass. The kind of player who helps you win games and championships.
Andre Hollins (White Station) Memphis YOMCA
Great size and body on this youngster as he scored majority of his points off the dribble. Was the hero in the big win on Saturday knocking down the game winning foul shots. Can score from the perimeter. As the teams top scoring option he needs to understand how to get himself open when the opposing team is keying on him in crucial times of the game.
Nino Johnson (White Station) Memphis YOMCA
Big body and very smart. Skilled inside and love how he keeps his rebounds high and knows where he is on the court. His scoring will come as his experience grows and then the sky is the limit. Wonderful footwork.
Tarius Johnson (Liberty Tech) Mid-State Ballerz West
I cannot tell how pleased I am with the progress of T.J. Always one of the top effort guys in the state, he has added a nice jumpshot, with range easily out to three, and has made himself a legit two guard for the next level. His stock is on the certain rise.
"Mighty" Chris Jones (Melrose) Memphis YOMCA
Jones did'nt light up the scorebook like he did the previous weekend but he still managed to drop about 23 per game and led his team to the title. He never quits on defense and has a knack for making steals with his effort. He showed glimpses of point guard with some fancy passing to cutting teammates.
Fred Lee (Maplewood) Team Nashville
Stayed at the point the entire weekend and did a marvelous job for his squad. His scoring opportunities were still plentiful and he did a very nice job on the defensive side of the floor. His demeanor on the court has improved significantly.
Nick Mason (Southwind) Memphis Stallions
One of the best shooters in the state, Mason was knocking things down in the first game but seemed to not be involved in the offense as much in the second. I would love to see him become more aggressive offensively and use his special gift as a weapon to make his all around game better.
Jo Northington (Manassas) Mid-State Ballerz Central
Had his thing going in the second game with his sweet stroke. Showed some improvement off the dribble with some tough drives from the wing. I think we are about to see the very best of Jo as the summer rolls along.
Cottrell Peterson (Manassas) Mid-State Ballerz West
A rebounding machine,Peterson goes hard after every carom be it his area or the other side of the lane. He found some difficulty in scoring in the post which would be corrected by some better footwork. His effort is without question and he is a valuable member of any team with his speciality.
Carter Sanderson (Lipscomb) Tennessee Tigers
Even with everyone iin the gym knowing he is the shooting option, Sanderson still knocks down tough contested threes with ease. He has good strength and is a much better on ball defender than he is credited for. As he develops his game off the dribble his value continues to climb.
Cory Stanton (Springfield) Tennessee Tigers
Quick and explosive this lead guard proved to be one of the most electrifying players in the event. He was a terror on the defensive side of the floor and no one could remain in front of him as he made his way to the bucket. Tough and fearless, Cory proved he is a big time player who should be on the radar.
Antwuan Van Lier (Hunters Lane) Tennessee Future Stars
Not sure if the first name is correct but we loved the steady and smart play of this emerging guard. He had a nice outside touch and seemed in control of things despite the rapid nature of what was happening around him.
Robert Wade (Maplewood) Team Nashville
I cannot say enough good things about Robert. He was awesome in the opening game of the day scoring around 25 points on a dazzling array of short jumpers and tough put backs. He is blocking shots with ease and using his extreme athleticism to make himself a dependable scorer. His demeanor on the court is much improved and it shows in his consistent play.
Marvin Williams (White Station) Memphis YOMCA
Marvin has the best hands in the state his ability to carve out space and score is a tool very hard to teach. A supremely soft touch anywhere in the paint makes him a capable scorer at anytime in the game.
Kaneal Windom (JCM) Mid-State Ballerz West
The talented lefty showed he was not afraid to take the big shot and gave us some versatility shooting from three or stopping on a dime to drill a soft lefty mid-range stroke. Tough defender who is a valuable asset to any team with his toughness and hustle.
Brandon Wright (Hillcrest) Memphis Stallions
Plays much larger than his 6'5 frame on the interior. He has long arms and seems to always find the tough offesnive carom and lays it in softly. A decent lefty stroke accounts for a number of his points and an all out aggression on both ends of the floor make him a valable commodity for any team. As he improves his game from the wing to the bucket we will see Wright on our radar.
Welcome to the 16th annual Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions.
One of the single best events in the entire country, this event covers over 20 sites including the Dean Dome on the campus of North Carolina, Cameron Indoor Stadium, home to the Dukies and North Carolina State.
In the 17 and under division four teams with some Tennessee hoopsters take the court on Friday night with an eye on ending up on Sunday playing under the banners that read, Worthy, Perkins and Jordan.
Memphis is well represented with three squads including the Memphis Magic Elite, the Memphis Stallions and the M33M. Over in Nashville the Celtics are the fourth squad in the event.
Joe Jackson (White Station) leads a very talented Magic squad. The 5'11 rising senior is at his best in these large events and his supporting cast is solid to say the least.
Tarik Black (Ridgeway), Chris Crawford (Sheffield) and Ronald "Tank" Brown (Raleigh-Egypt) lead a host of players who want to make a name in this prestigious event.
The Memphis Stallions come to Carolina sporting a solid squad led by Mighty Chris Jones (Melrose), A.J. Cunningham (Cordova) and Nick Mason (Southwind).
A M33M sighting for this event features a hodge-podge of players from numerous states including Tennessee. Mardracus Wade (Mitchell), Tim Peete (Central) and Adonis Thomas (Melrose) round out a superb triumvirate for the Mike Miller squad.
The Celtics should be full strength for the first time since Real Deal. Casey Prather (Jackson Northside), Austin Hollins (Germantown) and Ish Sanders (Cleveland) lead the Celtics who will need a big weekend from their inside crew of "King" Arthur McMillan (Hillsboro) and Cody Henegar (Marion County).
Moving to the 16's the lone representative will be the Nashville Celtics. They will however be playing without Kedren Johnson (Marshall County) who is still nursing a bad foot. Look for a huge effort from their sparkplug, Kendall "Ant 2.0" Anthony (Liberty Tech).
The Memphis YOMCA 15's will bring their formidible talent to the event along with the Nashville Celtics to represent in the 15 and under division.
Cameron Golden (Ridgeway) leads a balanced YOMCA attack while the Celtics appear to be healthy for the first time this season. Class of 2013 stalwart Cornelius Elder (Ensworth) is worth the price of admission. The Celtics will look for big games from their inside boss David Howard (MBA).
To find out more information and schedules go to www.bobgibbons.net.
Adonis Thomas (Melrose), the top ranked player in the Class of 2011 in Tennessee, has been selcted to participate in the "first ever" U16 Developmental National Team under the heading of USA Basketball.
The Developmental National Team will begin training camp in June at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
From there a group of finalists will be selcted to compete in the 2009 U16 FIBA Americas Championship in Mendoza, Argentina.
Congrats to Adonis on this outstanding opportunity.
A gem, a sleeper, whatever we are calling them nowdays are players who were basically under the radar for their high school careers, but got the attention of some college coaches be it from our site or a friend of a friend, regardless they finally got some notice.
Lewis Jones (Carver) was one of those players. Not playing in the summer for various reasons, the 6'4 guard was basically unknown on the national scene. His scoring exploits in high school were no mystery, as we featured him weekly on our list of top scorers and even named him West Tennessee Player of the Week one one occassion.
No longer can Jones be under the radar as the Memphis guard has inked on the dotted line and will suit up next season for the Purple Aces of Evansville.
Coach Marty Simmons will welcome the steady and athletic big guard to the Missouri Valley program.
The signing of Jones gives the Class of 2009 a cool 22 with at least three to four more pending.
The inagural String Music Showcase left a couple of our Tennessee favorites just a tad short at the finish.
One short week after blistering the Atlanta Celtics to bring home the gold at the Real Deal in the Rock, the depleted Nashville Celtics 16's fell in the final to the Derek Smith All-Stars.
Playing without Kedren Johnson (Marshall County), who sat out the weekend with a foot injury and Bobby Parks (St. George's), who was injured during the tourney, the Cetlics simply did'nt have enough firepower to bring home the 'ship this time around.
Stepping up in the absence of the missing stars, Kendall Anthony (Liberty Tech) once again rocked with his performance.
"Ant Version 2.0" controlled the tempo of the game when he had the rock and proved he could score when his team needed tough buckets. DeAndre Barnette (Liberty Tech) had a fine tourney ,dropping seven threes in one contest, but proving he could play consistent the entire weekend.
Levi Randolph (Alabama) is the steady force on this Celtics squad. Scoring from inside and out he remains a go to guy even when the big dogs are in the lineup.
Alex Polythress (Clarksville Northeast) continues to impress with high basketball acumen and his workmanlike efforts on the glass. His offensive game is coming along nicely and he has a knack for passsing quickly out of the double team. He is as advanced a freshman in the post as we have seen, great high school coaching has been a benefit for this young man.
The Mid-State Ballerz South had some quality moments in the event ,special mention to Odgra Bobo (Liberty Tech), who played very well over the course of the weekend. Other Ballerz who deserve some ink include: Dion Fair (Bearden), Jacob Lloyd (Westview), Joevantae Arnold (Liberty Tech) and Jaeland Lawson (Bearden).
Miles Davis (Webb School) played a vital role in the success shared by his Team Nashville mates in this event. The 6'4 worker gave maximum effort on both ends of the floor, scoring on easy putbacks because of his efforts on the glass. He showed toughness in a very physical event.
Andre Brown (Clarksville Northwest) was a beast on the interior crashing the boards, getting easy putbacks and working hard defensively. Bre Hughes (Hillsboro) played a fearless game, making tough passes and getting his teammates involved.
Darryl Clack (Maplewood), despite his thin frame, was a frequent visitor to the glass, cashing in on some second chance points and showing a nice soft tournaround shot inside. Weldon Garlington (Brentwood Academy) played with passion on defense and shot it well from deep. He is fast and can pull-up from 15 on the dead sprint. Watch his progression as the summer moves along.
Over in the 15's the Memphis Select simply ran out of gas in the finale falling to All-Iowa Red 73-56. Jarnell Stokes (Central) was a man on the interior. His work on the boards continues to be on a high level while he gets a great deal of second chance buckets because he uderstands positioning.
Fred Yarbrough (Dyer County) caught the eye of my collegue with his hustle and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor. He can score in a multitude of arenas and has a knack for grabbing long rebounds and finishing hard.
The Nashville Celtics 15's also had a nice showing loosing in the semi's to the eventual champion. Vari Craig (Riverdale) and Jarvis Webster (Columbia Central) both had solid showings, while Austin Blackwell (MBA), John Ross Glover (USJ) and Cornelius Elder (Ensworth) played tough.
Elder is a Class of 2013 point guard who is a slight to behold. His command of the game at this young age is fun to watch and he is fearless in his approach to the game. This will be a good one for years to come.