The best 2024 TN prospects from the 2022 Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions
Twenty-two years ago I scouted my first Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. The venue has changed over the years but it is still one of my favorite events of the summer scene. Let's check out who shined at this year's event from Tennessee.
Somto Cyril (Hamilton Heights)
EAB Tennessee 3SSB
All eyes on the big guy. On every court that the champions of the 17U Division played all eyes were on this burgeoning phenom. His defensive prowess changes everything for the opposition. His shot blocking ability is next level, his timing is impeccable and he disrupts game plans with this threat. Opposing coaches have to scheme for his natural gift and that is a coveted trait for all levels to follow. He crashes the boards, gets exciting putbacks but has a tendency to get into foul trouble, which can cause him to lose focus on the task at hand. His body language has improved drastically since last season and when he is fully engaged and running the floor, there are few better at cleaning up the mess. His footwork is coming along, he is catching the ball cleanly and making decisions more decisively. The game is so guard and wing oriented that he doesn't get many scoring chances in the half court so his offensive production comes from offensive stick backs and rim rattling dunks in transition. He is a special talent, his ability to alter a game plan with merely his presence is something to behold.
Denaj Kimber (Fulton)
Emerald Force 16U
Emerging lefty combo guard was a must see at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. Denaj and his twin brother have a chemistry that is exciting to observe. Denaj seems to be more comfortable with his role as the lead guard although he can play either backcourt spot with equal effectiveness. He is particularly effective on the defensive side of the floor. His length and anticipation make him a terror on the press and in the half court. He can score off the dribble, understands the nuisances of the game and has an above average basketball IQ. Its very hard to talk about one of these kids and not include the other as they compete and play as one cohesive unit. I cant wait to see what's in store for them.
Taj Kimber (Fulton)
Emerald Force 16U
This kid has an edge to him that has been fun to observe over the past few seasons. A lefty who, as you will see if you read further, has an identical twin. The two of them have a basketball language of their own. Taj can play either guard spot but was on fire from deep during the event, he moves very well without the ball, getting easy back cut buckets and always making the correct decision with the ball. Defensively he is a master on the press, getting steals and deflections and turning defensive into offense. He is of slight build but has a toughness that contradicts that physical attribute and a winners mentality that never concedes to anything but the victory. He is deliberate with his attacks and led his squad to a very solid finish at the event.
Nicholas Long (East Hamilton)
Tennessee Tigers 2024
I was very impressed with the progress made by this young man since the last time I observed him in action. He has very nice size and length, he ran the floor, he goes after rebounds, keeps the ball high and showed enough offensive prowess to finish around the bucket. He can put the ball on the floor and has a bevvy of workable post moves to get buckets with his back to the basket. His outside shot is a work in progress as his mechanics need to be refined with some tweaking of his motion. He will need to work on his hand strength as he lost several scoring chances simply by not catching the ball. I like his effort and his attitude and look forward to watching his progression.
Parker Robison (McCallie)
Tennessee Tigers 2024
Small guard with a solid basketball IQ and understanding of the game. He showed leadership qualities by getting his squad into their offense against bigger and often much more athletic opponents. He is a tempo kid who thrives on the emotions of the game, good or bad. He showed a very nice pull-up shot, a must have for any small guard but will need to add some range to his shooting touch to make him more of a competitive offensive weapon. He had a tendency to pick up his dribble much to quickly when attacked and ironically got a bit dribble happy when not pressured. He knows how to change pace, he is unafraid to attack and despite his small stature, he will chest up to any defender. I like his effort and his attitude. His game will come along as quickly as his confidence and strength improve.