Opening night thoughts from @JustinDYoung at the 2022 Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions
SUWANEE, GA - Opening night of the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions gave us plenty of match-ups of note and plenty of players to see for the very first time. Let’s dive into three quick things from the action at Suwanee Sports Academy.
BIG PLAY BRANDON
One of the most anticipated match-ups of opening night was the pairing of Atlanta All-Stars, a top three team in the HoopSeen Association, and Team Judah Nation from the UA Rise circuit. The match-up did not disappoint.
The scoreboard went back and forth like a teeter-totter throughout the action. Brandon Rechsteiner did what he’s accustomed to doing - he made some huge plays down the stretch. With a pair of threes and a big steal in the clutch, his playmaking was critical in his team’s important opening night win.
I was watching old film from some of our past Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions over the course of the past week and saw Grayson Murphy of Belmont fame doing work with We All Can Go. He was a menace at this prep level before thriving as one of the best mid-major guards in college hoops.
I think Rechsteiner has the same sort of quality to him. He’s a gamer, a killer and competitive when it truly matters. It doesn’t surprise me at all why he’s such a hot target for college programs at the moment. Don’t be surprised to see him draw a long line of college coaches in the summer.
HI, MY NAME IS...
Team Hardaway picked up a big win over Griffin Elite UA Rise on opening night in a really good back-and-forth battle. It was balance across the board and big plays by fast guards that helped seal the deal in the end. However, the active and athletic play of 2024 forward Malik Abdullahi that really stood out.
The bouncy prospect was big on the defensive end of the floor, playing strong vertically, running well in transition and thriving above the rim on hard drives and lobs. Abdullahi used his strength well to put defenders on their heels when he drove hard to the iron for and-one plays.
This was my first time seeing him action and it was hard to not be impressed. It was also easy to understand why Florida Gulf Coast has already offered him a scholarship. He said he's also heard from the likes of Florida Atlantic, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State and Florida A&M.
MARI, THE MAN
One of the best things about having a stage that has 10 years of existence is watching players take their games and level up along the way. We're seeing that now with Dacula (GA)/Georgia Stars wing Mari Jordan. The 6-foot-5 wing has added some serious strength to his frame and he plays well with it. The Georgia-bound prospect was quite impressive on opening night with his perimeter game, hard slashes to the basket and gimmee-the-ball approach. Jordan looked like a man ready for high-major basketball.
A product of nearly all of our platforms at HoopSeen, it was fun to see him in his final year of travel hoops. He's playing the role of a nationally-ranked prospect well and looks like he's hitting his stride at the right time as he prepares for the next chapter.
Jordan could be a player that sees his profile rise even more this summer during the NCAA Live Period events in June and July.