State Farm TOC Player Evaluations

Posted on 02. Dec, 2009 by Nolan Shulman in High School

It was a dynamite week in Peoria, Illinois, home of the State Farm Tournament of Champions. It gave us an excellent opportunity to watch and evaluate some of the game’s brightest young stars. After countless hours in the gym, and lots of highly competitive games, here are the players I felt stood out.

Cory Joseph | Findlay College Prep | PG | 6-3 | 2010

Cory was the tournament MVP and for good reason. Cory sets the tempo for Findlay both offensively an defensively. His pressure on the ball is outstanding, which limits opposing point guards from making good entry passes. This in turn makes it very difficult to establish an inside presence against the Pilots. He’s got great hands, is very disciplined, and his hard work rubs off on everyone else. Offensively Cory was tremendous as well. He pushed the tempo, shot the ball at a high percentage, and didn’t commit many turnovers. He scored the ball both frequently and efficiently, netting 72 points in 3 games. His production allowed the defending champs to escape 3-0.

Tristan Thompson | Findlay College Prep | PF | 6-9 | 2010

Thompson was a beast on the boards in all three games. He snatches the ball at it’s highest point and establishes excellent position on the offensive end. Thompson also looks to be more fit than he was in the summer. He looks faster up and down the court and seems to be more explosive when jumping. He did an excellent job offensively, attacking the rim off the bounce and finishing with authority. It was nice to see such a consistent effort and performance from Tristan every time he stepped on the floor.

Nick Johnson | Findlay College Prep | SG | 6-2 | 2011

Nick is an explosive athlete with a polished offensive repertoire. He has unbelievable range and excellent form on his jump shot. What makes Nick special is that he combines his pure shooting stroke with the ability to get in the lane and create offense. Whether that’s finishing it on his own with an acrobatic play or finding one of his teammates who’s shot ready in the corner, Nick makes sound plays in the paint. Defensively he looks to have embraced coach Peck’s take no prisoner mentality and seems to have more intensity and better footwork. He really got after it on both ends of the court. He’s a whole lot better on the defensive end right now than he was in the summer when he played for the Drew Gooden Soldiers. I was extremely impressed with Nick’s improvement in all facets of his game.

Godwin Okonji | Findlay College Prep | C | 6-8 | 2010

Godwin surprised me more than any other player in this tournament. His defense was absolutely incredible. Against IMG he completely shut down Dwight Powell, making sure Dwight never got any touches near the basket. He showed his ability to guard multiple positions, also guarding QEA’s Quincy Miller out on the perimeter. He moves his feet really well for a big guy, and uses his power to make it very difficult for opposing big men to establish good position. He rebounded the ball and altered numerous shots around the goal.

Jabari Brown | Findlay College Prep | SG | 6-4 | 2011

Jabari was another Pilot who did an outstanding job on both ends of the floor. He didn’t have much opportunity to handle it, but made his shots when Cory found him, did an excellent job in transition, and played outstanding defense. Jabari is able to show off more of his game in the summer, where he teams with Nick on the Drew Gooden Soldiers. He’s capable of playing the point and running an offense. That being said, he plays the role he’s given without complaining and did an outstanding job.

Quincy Miller | Quality Education Academy | SF | 6-9 | 2011

Quincy put on a heck of a show this week in Peoria. He demonstrated his versatility, making big plays in the post and on the perimeter. Quincy looks to have improved his handle since I last saw him in the summer, which is allowing him to create his own shot with a lot more effectiveness. He’s extremely long and understands how to establish post position despite his wiry frame. What impressed me most about Quincy this week was his ability to put QEA on his back at key moments. This was especially evident down the stretch of the Findlay Prep game, as Quincy made big shot after big shot to keep the Pharaohs alive. They came up a bit short, but it certainly wasn’t because of Quincy who scored 31 points in the contest.

Stargell Love | Quality Education Academy | PG | 6-2 | 2010

Stargell is excellent when he asserts himself on the offensive end. He gets up and down the court extremely fast, and when he plays aggressively, QEA is very difficult to contain in the open court. He has a body built for contact and is a difficult to stay in front of. One thing with Stargell is that he has the tendency to disappear for stretches of the action. When he was into it and being aggressive, QEA was unbelievably tough. They proved it against the #1 team in the country. When Stargell was in “killer” mode, QEA played Findlay toe to toe. Only problem was that he didn’t play that way the entire game.

Dwight Powell | IMG Academies | C | 6-11 | 2010

Dwight was outstanding all week despite not getting much help from his teammates. With IMG having a lot of difficulty feeding the post, Dwight showed off his perimeter game quite a bit this week. He showed an ability to take his defender off the bounce, displayed range to 20 feet, and displayed quickness I didn’t know he had. He also threw down the dunk of the weekend, posterizing a guard on Brehm Prep in transition. I would have liked to see him operate closer to the basket as he’s much more affective around the rim, but he showed off a very advanced perimeter game. Defensively Dwight was Dwight. He protected the rim, played excellent help defense, and showed excellent lateral quickness when guarding face-up four’s. It wasn’t a good week for IMG in the win column, but Dwight was excellent.

Cameron Clark | Sherman | SF | 6-7 | 2010

Cam got absolutely no help from his teammates this week. They got down so fast, that Cameron was forced to force the action and play outside his comfort zone. He’s blessed with all the skills you look for in an offensive three. He can shoot it from deep, he’s long, he’s athletic, and he can score in a variety of fashions. Playing one on one and putting the team on his back isn’t really his game and it showed. He’s much more impressive in the AAU circuit when the talent around him is better. Either way, defense is non negotiable in any setting and I thought Cameron looked to be coasting at times. It was probably due to frustration, but the effort could have been higher.

Michael Shaw | Chicago De La Salle | PF | 6-8 | 2011

Shaw is an athletic freak with an unlimited ceiling. He’s superb running the floor, finishes in traffic, and does an outstanding job protecting the rim. Although he didn’t score like he was capable of this week, he chipped in all the little things for De La Salle. He blocked shots, rebounded, and took a lot of the defensive attention off his teammates.

Dylan Ennis | Lake Forest Academy | PG | 6-0 | 2011

Dylan was a leader in every sense of the word. He was extremely vocal, always providing his Lake Forest teammates with positive direction. He also made sure guys understood their assignments and looked to be an extension of the coach on the floor. Leadership isn’t the only thing Dylan brings to the tabel. Kid can ball too. He was excellent in transition, almost always finding a teammate for an easy deuce. He’s one of those guys who doesn’t need to score to be a factor on the court. His best game of the tournament might have come against Culver Military Academy, a game where Dylan scored just one point. That’s not to say he can’t score. He proved he can scoring 16 points in a win vs. Chicago De La Salle. Defensively Dylan was also superb, making sure his teammates new their defensive rotations, and forcing the opposing point guard into the heart of the help. A very impressive week for the Lake Forest Floor General.

James Siakam | Brehm Prep | SF | 6-7 | 2011

James is an extermely smooth wing player who possesses everything you look for in a three man. He can shoot it, he can rebound on both ends of the floor, he can slash to the rim, and he plays hard. That’s about all you can ask for if your a coach. James can impact the game in so many different fashions that he always finds a way to be effective. He’s an explosive leaper, connecting on a few ferocious jams throughout the week. He’s also unguardable in transition as he welcomes contact and finishes despite it. One of my favorite wings in the country.

Max Bielfeldt | Peoria Notre Dame | PF | 6-8 | 2011

Max won’t blow you away with athletic ability, nor will you see the potential for him to greatly improve. What Max does bring to the table is production. He broke the tournament record pulling down 59 rebounds in 4 games. He also did a nice job scoring out of the post, displaying soft hands, good feet, and brute power. He made 10 footers facing the basket, he made power moves right near the rim……guy just flat out got in done in every game he played.

Chier Ajou | Culver Military Academy | C | 7-1 | 2011

Chier is a very intriguing prospect. Heck, most 7 footers are. He looks relatively limber running the floor, and seemed to understand where to be and when. The thing that impressed me most about Chier is his ability to pass out of the post. Chier is very unselfish, maybe even to a fault. When you’re 5 inches taller than the guy guarding you, you’ve got to take it to him and make him pay. I’m not sure Chier has that kind of confidence yet. If he can develope a killer instinct, he could certainly make so noise in the future.

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2 Responses to “State Farm TOC Player Evaluations”

  1. Ty

    03. Dec, 2009

    Michael Shaw? His team lost every game and he’s way over hyped. A lot of skill, not a lot of game.

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  2. Ty

    03. Dec, 2009

    No Tyler Les? He made every three he threw up

    Reply to this comment

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