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May 26, 2007

Tournament of Champions: Friday

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Day one is over at the Tournament of Champions at the University of North Carolina. With three sessions of games, the action was light but the some starts shined bright in ACC country while a couple of guys are separating themselves from the pack.

Straight to the point

If there was anything to learn from Friday night it was this: UMass has a major steal in point guard David Gibbs. The 6-foot-2 guard form West Simsbury (Conn.) Masters Prep School was clearly the biggest surprise on Friday night.

Travis Ford spent the spring shadowing the floor general, according to Connecticut Basketball Club coach Pat Sullivan. Odds are, Ford will be an even bigger presence come July. Gibbs is a big timer. He committed in October and the pledge received little fanfare. Understand this: Gibbs is a high-major guy.

One courtside observer tabbed him a Darren Collison clone. Great call. Gibbs is track fast. He's a good shooter (four triples against DC Assault). He's athletic and showed flashes of good defense. It doesn't hurt that Gibbs wears number two just like the UCLA guard.

Gibbs scored 25 points against the Assault and added roughly seven assists and similar numbers as a rebounder. In a class that lacks good point guards, Gibbs is a talented guy and he's a major get for the Minutemen.

Gibbs had help on his side as fellow guard Chris Prescott did some damage. Slick with the ball, the 6-foot-2 guard from Northwest Catholic in West Hartford, Conn., scored over 20 points in the victory.

He said he has offers from UMass, Rhode Island, St. Joe's and Fordham while Seton Hall, Wake Forest, Pitt and others are looking at him.

Vargas continues upswing

It seems that every time Eloy Vargas steps onto the floor, he gets better. On Friday night, the 6-foot-10 forward from Team Breakdown was knocking down three-pointer after three-pointer, showing off good ball-handling skills and a skilled inside post game.

Vargas, the No. 46 ranked player in the country, matched Terrence Jennings, a top 10 prospect step for step and did a fine job against the bouncy 6-foot-9 forward. Vargas tallied 25 points to Jennings's 16.

The list remains the same (and long) for Vargas. Pittsburgh, Maryland, Clemson, Louisville, Miami, Florida State, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana and Minnesota were all mentioned by the four-star prospect.

Other notables from Friday

Recent Georgia commitment Howard Thompkins has a set of hands that are soft but strong and a versatile game that can go in and out. The 6-foot-8 forward is playing with a lot of weight off of his shoulders and he's looking much more comfortable on the floor now that he knows where he is going for college.

Atlanta Celtics forward Chris Singleton said he has six schools on his short list. Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisville, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Cincinnati are looking at him.

Rutgers bound guard Mike Rosario lit it up from deep, scoring on four three-pointers and finished with 26 points. The 6-foot-2 guard said Friday night was one of the first outings in nearly two months because of a bum ankle. He didn't play like it.

Rosario is a confident scorer and could very easily assume an important role for the Scarlet Knights after his career at St. Anthony. He knows how to play his position on both ends of the floor.

Youth movement

The CP3 All-Stars leaned on the strong play of a couple of 2009 prospects. Combo guard Earnest Ross, of Panther Creek High School in nearby Cary, N.C., is an eye-catching prospect because of his chiseled frame. He scored 10 points but the 6-foot-3 guard has some game and will certainly be tracked by the big boys because of his body and raw potential.

Point guard C.J. Harris of Mt. Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. scored a team high 17 points in a tough defeat. The 6-foot-2 prospect is a confident guard that will be charted by the ACC schools. He's a guy that can go in, go out, can play the role of the shooter or set guys up. There are a lot of positives on his side.

Watch Atlanta Celtics center Derrick Favors long enough and you are bound to see sheer greatness with subtle moves. The 6-foot-8 sophomore from South Atlanta High School was doing work with his left hand on the offensive end of the floor and was a shot disrupter on the defensive end of the floor. Try knocking him off of his game. He doesn't get rattled.

Pe'Shon Howard is only a freshman but the 6-foot point guard doesn't play like one. In a blowout loss with King of the Court 16 and under team, the St. Edward's product shot the ball well, blew by his man with the dribble and stayed strong in a tough loss. We'll be hearing a lot about this young man over the next three years.

News & Notes

Jarrett Mann told Rivals.com that he will commit to Stanford on Saturday. The 6-foot-4 guard does his best work on the baseline. He attacks very well with the ball and can either score or find his slashers en route to the basket.

Kenny Boynton rolled his ankle early in the first half of Team Breakdown's game against Play Hard Play Smart. The five-star guard will likely be out for the weekend.

Arizona Cactus Classic star Demar Derozan is in the field for the weekend. The spring Southern Cal commitment is playing with D.C. Assault.

Former Wake Forest and current New Orleans Hornets star Chris Paul was in the house to his see the team he sponsors, the CP3 All-Stars.

On tap

Saturday's games have several windows of opportunity to see a number of talented young players. Rivals.com will be on the sidelines to see some talented 2009 and 2010 prospects.


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