Tournament Of Champions recap
ESPNU 100 SF Devonta Pollard dominates as best player on the championship team
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Traditionally one of the nation's best spring traveling team events, the Tournament of Champions (TOC) field was derailed when the NCAA enforced a rule preventing AAU tournaments from playing on college campuses. As a result, the TOC field was trimmed down and many of the powerhouse teams that normally power this event passed.
However, the three-day tournament produced a worthy champion in the Southern Phenoms and was the platform for a series of high-level individual performances.
Devonta Pollard (DeKalb, Miss./Kemper County)
2012, SF, 6-foot-7, 200 pounds | Team: Southern Phenoms
It was Pollard's weekend as he not only was the most impressive, physical specimen at the tournament, he was also the best player on the championship team. Pollard's athleticism at both ends was on display. Much of his game is above the rim but to label him an "athlete" would be missing the boat. Pollard has feel, skill and a motor. We witnessed him stat stuff his way to the MVP of the tournament.
Tyler Lewis (Winston Salem, N.C./Forsyth Country)
2012, PG, 5-11, 160 pounds | Team: Team Loaded
College: NC State
In one of the spring's best games, the little wizard hung 47 points on Garner Road. Lewis is growing up before everyone's eyes. He's no longer the floppy-haired, vertically-challenged quintessential point guard. He punched his player's card a long time ago and he's a showstopper. Others have more upside, few own the guts and respect of his peers like Lewis commands.
T.J. Warren (Durham, N.C./Word of God)
2012, SF, 6-7, 215 pounds | Team: Garner Road 17s
Few have turned in the spring and summer Warren has. His top two scoring games here were 41 points and 39 (championship of "B" division). Scoring is one thing, but to do it with skill, in an economical fashion is another. Warren's strength allowed him to get good shots and his jump shot was dialed in. He put up big numbers without hogging the ball and within the flow of his team's offense.
Ryan Arcidiacono (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy)
2012, PG, 6-3, 185 pounds | Team: PA Playaz
Plagued by back problems this spring, the TOC was Arcidiacono's first event in a while. In a nutshell, Arcidiacono captains a good, not great AAU team, and enjoys every minute of it. He doesn't have elite finishers, yet he makes people around him better. Toughness isn't an issue and his jump shot is improving. With high-level talent around him, Arcidiacono will be a contender to lead the Big East in assists.
Josh Scott (Colorado Springs, Colo./Lewis-Palmer)
2012, C, 6-10, 215 pounds | Team: Colorado Chaos
There's nothing flashy about his game. He plays on the block and has good touch. He's the kind of guy who gets 20 and 10, while taking care of his responsibilities and helping his team win.
Marc-Eddy Norelia (Orlando, Fla./Olympia)
2012, PF, 6-5, 180 pounds | Team: Florida Elite
As long as he resists the urge to play at the highest level, Norelia has a chance to impact the elite mid-major level. The Haitian's been playing the game for two years, is exceptionally long and is in constant motion.
Devin Thomas (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin)
2012, PF, 6-7, 225 pounds | Team: Mid Penn Motion
In a year flush with big men, Thomas is managing to operate below the radar -- for now. The lefty keeps it simple. He's got post moves, runs the floor and he's long on energy. At 6-7, he owns a passion for rebounding.
Players to watch
Anton Gill (Raleigh, N.C./Ravenscroft)
2013, SG, 6-3, 170 pounds | Team: Garner Road
In reality, the elite shooting guard had his ups and downs during the tournament as he sought out his game, following a spring injury. However, with the championship on the line, Gill proved he's one of the state's best in the 2013 class. Gill knocked down a deep 3-pointer to give his team a one-point win in the U-16 division. The son of a former East Carolina player, Gill has solid grades, personality and game to be a coveted recruit.
Josh Newkirk (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God)
2013, PG, 6-1, 170 pounds | Team: Team United
Speed thrills and not only is Newkirk fast, but he's elusive in the lane. He led his team to the "B" championship in the U-16 division. The strength of his game is his ability to beat his man off the dribble. He's difficult to guard, scores with ease and is improved as a shooter.
Cody Martin and Caleb Martin (Mocksville, N.C./Davie County)
2014, Wings | Team: Team Loaded
The pair of small town twins has a bright future. They're talented athletes with a steady floor game. Difficult to identify individually, they seem to take turns taking the lead and share the spotlight. Both can pass, go off the bounce and score. They have plenty of room to get stronger, but own good basketball frames.
• Each class has its share of "safe" prospects. Future Florida Gator Michael Frazier (Tampa, Fla./Plant) is a shooter and perimeter marksman. He's low-maintenance, a worker and young man of character. He'll be easy to coach and rely on at Florida.
• Tip of the cap to the South Florida Panthers, a collection of solid mid-major prospects who worked their way to the championship game at the TOC before falling to the Southern Phenoms.
• Terry Henderson (Raleigh, N.C./Neuse Baptist) saved his best for last and helped spark Garner Road in a playoff run.
• Tons of colleges are expressing interest in Andrew White (Chester, Va./Miller School). He's a Top 100 prospect and much improved. Once the big boys hit the circuit, they'll see him and quickly agree.
• Clemson recently accepted a commitment from shooting whiz Patrick Rooks (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian). He plays for a high school team that produced Steph Curry, Seth Curry and the lineage continues with this lefty.
• Kahari Beaufort (Pomfret, Conn./Pomfret School) is a young lead guard. He comes off the bench for Long Island Lightning but brings intensity at both ends. He's not easily intimidated and has the ability to be a high-major guard.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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