After a full three days of action at the 2017 Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, I’ve finally had a chance to process all of my notes from the action-packed weekend. What a weekend it was, too. There were a lot of lessons learned from the tournament. Here are my biggest takeaways from the event.
Team ball was alive and well. Florida Elite won a 17U bracket gold title thanks to unselfish play and executing the right play over the flashy play. Several other teams fell into the same category. Not surprisingly, the Atlanta All-Stars shined as a fundamentally strong team that valued balance. Team Knight was the most talented team in the field from top to bottom with college level prospects.
If you’ve read anything from my event notebooks or tweets, you know I’ve been begging to spot shooters. They showed up at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. Three-pointers were flying at a rapid clip and finding their way to the bottom of the nets. It was a welcomed sight to behold.
Once again, the young kids impressed at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. That seems to be the case year in and year out. The underclassmen division is a great stage for our team to see who has next in the South. The class of 2019 and 2020 was terrific in the tournament this year. The Georgia Stars and Atlanta Celtics younger teams are stacked (see below). I like the Team Knight younger squads. The Florida program is loaded in the next couple of classes. The Upward Stars 16U group reminds me a lot of their teams they had a couple of years ago - rich with Division I talent. The Showtime Ballers 15U are as big of an underclassmen team you’ll find in the 2020 class. Game Elite’s younger programs have some worthy next-man-up players in the wings. The South is healthy moving forward. That’s a good thing.
We see a point guard at our spring events dominate the field and jump start his recruitment for the July evaluation period. It happens every year. This year’s guy is Louisville Magic point guard Andrew Taylor. I liked him in April when he played with Twenty Two Vision in Dallas. I loved him here in Atlanta when he piloted the Magic. Taylor is a big-time NCAA tournament mid-major point guard. He’s a shooter, a great half court guy and someone who keeps getting better and better.
DJ Burns (Georgia Stars 16U/2019) may have been the best big man in the entire event. The Rock Hill, South Carolina native played his best basketball that I’ve seen out of him in the three years of watching him. Burns was brilliant.
I’d love to see Dwon Odom (Atlanta Celtics 15U/2020) play KyKy Tandy (Louisville Magic/2019). The two underclassmen guards displayed the best first steps of anyone in the entire tournament. Both were deadly in their attack to the rim. Both were dominate and unstoppable.
My MVPs from the 16U and 15U groups were Marcus Watson and Brandon Boston, respectively. The Georgia Stars program have some bonafide studs in these two. Watson was absolutely dominant in the 16U division. As one of my trusted high school coaching friends said, “Watson just launches himself to the rim.” That’s the best way to describe his game. He’s part Jaylen Brown and part Dante Scott (former Memphis wing). Boston continues to impress me with his length, decision-making, competitive spirit and overall skill set. He’s quite a talent and guy that just seems to keep getting better and better.
As we start to formulate our 2020 depth chart for the state of Georgia, Atlanta Celtics center Walker Kessler will be high on our list for big men. The Landmark Christian center had a good weekend of work with the Celtics. He’s one of the best post players in the South’s 2020 class and a guy that I look forward to seeing more of moving forward. He’s a high-major prospect.