April 29, 2007

King of the South, Day 2

NASHVILLE - The King of the South tournament at David Lipscomb University in Nashville concluded Sunday with several quality games as champions were determined in the respective age groups. Here are some news and notes from Sunday's play, including an update on Chris Singleton, currently the 41st ranked played in the 2008 class according to Rivals.com.

Singleton update

Chris Singleton continues to be one of the top players in the 2008 class as he propelled his Atlanta Celtics squad to the 17-and-under title in this weekend's play.

The Celtics defeated Inner Strength, 63-60, in Sunday's championship game.

Singleton talked at length about the current status of his recruitment and seemed to mention one team more often than any other: Tennessee.

The Volunteers and then Indiana were the top two schools Singleton mentioned while also adding Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Florida among others. Singleton noted that LSU and Kentucky may also be entering the picture as well.

Singleton has been to Knoxville twice now and said each time he came away impressed.

"It was just a tremendous atmosphere. I was there for the Vandy game and the Florida game. I was there when Pat Summit sang 'Rocky Top' and all that," Singleton said. "I don't know what to say about Coach Pearl. He's just a cool guy."

As for Indiana, Singleton had some positive comments about the Hoosiers as well.

"Indiana has a new coach and a new staff and I know that they are trying get back to the past success of that program," Singleton said.

Singleton was pleased with his team's effort and performance this weekend compared to what was a somewhat disappointing outing last week at the Kingwood Classic, where they also lost the services of big man with an injury.

"We lost a lot of close games last week. It was tough for us when he went down. I'm glad we got back some of our confidence back this week," Singleton said.

More Atlanta Celtics

Delwan Graham, who paced his Atlanta Celtics with 20 points in the first round win over the MidState Ballerz, is hearing from a large list of schools right now including Georgia (offer), Florida State, Florida, Kansas State, Tennessee, South Carolina (offer), Clemson (offer), Virginia Tech and Virginia among others.

"I'm really in no rush right now with recruiting," Graham said. "I just want to take my time and make the right decision."

A 6-foot-6 lefty, Graham said there were several things he wanted to work on this spring and summer to improve his game.

"I think right now, I'm good at getting to the hole and scoring. I think I can also dish and penetrate well but right now one thing I want to work on is being a better right-handed shooter."

Of course another of the Celtics that will continue to garner much attention is 6-foot-9 Derrick Favors, the no. 3 player in the 2009 class according to Rivals.com.

While Favors will surely be one of the most sought-after prospects in 2009, he isn't giving too much insight now into schools that are at or near the top his wish list.

"It's still just everybody really. To be honest, I just like everyone at this point," Favors said.

What does Favors feel is making him such a desired commodity in the 2009 class?

"I think they like the way I play defense and rebound and block shots," said Favors, who displayed all those areas this weekend.

And at this point what does he need to improve?

"I need to work on my offense and my jumper. That is still coming together," Favors said.

Best game of the day

Given the factor fatigue plays in Sunday competition at these events, arguably the day's best game was in the semifinals between the Atlanta Celtics and Southeast Elite-Memphis. The Celtics rallied for a 54-51 victory behind 16 points from Graham and 14 from Singleton.

Southeast Elite-Memphis was paced by 21 from 6-foot-5 guard Rockeem Henderson and 6-foot-10 Arnette Moultrie.

Southeast Elite-Memphis held the lead for most of the contest until the very late stages. It was then that both Graham and Singleton began to rally their squad. Each made several keep baskets down the stretch while Singleton snared a key rebound in the waning seconds.

Mitchell hits from perimeter

While his team fell to the Atlanta Celtics in the quarterfinals, Hoop Planet's Tony Mitchell put on quite a display in the 52-49 loss.

The 6-foot-6 Mitchell scored a game-high 28 points as he connected on eight 3-pointers in the contest. His ability to consistently knock down shots from the perimeter allowed Hoop Planet to get back into the contest after facing a double-digit deficit at halftime.

"My shooting is just a big part of my game, I've been working on it a lot recently," Mitchell said.

Mitchell mentioned a host of schools among his suitors and added that Cincinnati, South Carolina and Alabama had extended offers at this point.

That's not to say, however, that Mitchell is leaning one way or the other.

"Man, I'm wide open right now. Wide open," Mitchell said.

Text messaging

With the recent NCAA ban on text messaging between coaching staffs and prospects, the majority of players this weekend did not support the new legislation. In fact many said they just didn't figure how the new regulations made much sense, at least to them.

"To me, to tell you the truth, I don't really get it. It limits a way of communicating," Singleton said. "It sort of made things easier when you could use texts to ask questions and get information and all that. Now you will have to call them and that's not always the easiest way."

Singleton provided a clear example of when text messaging was a great advantage.

"I've had visits where coaches will tell me time and place and directions and all that. Also if any things have changed," Singleton said. "Now that will have to be all over the phone."

Even more Celtics

The Celtics 16-and-under team captured its division of the King of the South with a 65-55 victory over the Birmingham Storm and DeMarcus Cousins, Rivals.com's top player in the 2009 class.

The Celtics' Terrance Shannon at times outshone Cousins as he had a game-high 26 points which included several power inside moves when defended by Cousins on the interior. Manny Atkins added 19 for the Celtics.

Cousins, at times a little frustrated with the pace of the game, finished with 20 for the Storm.

Shannon, who pulled double-duty by participating with the Celtics 17-and-under team in its championship game, currently has a long list of favorites.

Among them are Alabama, Florida, Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Xavier, Tennessee Tech and Toledo.

"I really don't have a favorite, just want to play ball," Shannon said.



 

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