The script could couldn’t have been written any better on Sunday at Tournament of Champions as the number one players in the class of 2005 and 2006 were on the court for the championship game at the Dean E. Smith Center on the campus of University of North Carolina. Tasmin Mitchell and Greg Oden were instrumental in their teams run to the finals but only one player brought home the prize.
Spiece Indy Heat vs. New Orleans Jazz
For everyone at the TOC, it was the most anticipated match-up of teams at the entire event. With Greg Oden, who dominated the field all weekend, leading the way for the Indiana based Spiece team and Tasmin Mitchell at the helm of the Jazz, it was a treat to see the best of the best on the same court.
Spiece Indy Heat won nearly every game they played by 20 points heading into the final game but the Jazz did not seem too concerned by that. Both teams traded buckets and fought hard to the final buzzer. With all of the attention being paid to the two superstars, one particular young player stole the show.
Class of 2007 guard Eric Gordon scored a game high 20 points, knocking down four three-pointers in the process. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound shooter has a great looking shot and more times than not, he’s usually good for a score. Gordon will contend for top honors in his class as one of the best off guards in the nation over the next couple of years.
Oden, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, scored 11 points in the victory but his presence alone kept the Jazz defense honest and allowed the Spiece guards to get great looks. Gordon, Mike Conley, Jr. (11 points) and Daequan Cook (10 points) all looked good on the perimeter, scoring buckets when they needed them the most.
Cook is effortless in his shot and he’s continuing to make it difficult to find a better shooting guard in the class of 2006. The No. 6 ranked player has had a tremendous spring and it was only fitting that he helped Spiece claim the tournament title.
Conley ran an efficient offense and with a healthy left shooting wrist, he showed that he could score if needed on the wing, too. The 6-foot-1 point guard also told us that Wake Forest is the leader for his services. Like Cook, Conley is one of the best in 2006. It’s no surprise why the Demon Deacons have been so active in recruiting the youngster.
A deep cut in his elbow from a nasty spill on the cement floor didn’t deter Duke-bound Josh McRoberts from playing aggressively inside the paint and on the defensive end. He’s much more aggressive this AAU season. That can be accredited to his time away from the game with an injured back. He added nearly 40 pounds. That size has given him more confidence and allowed him to spend more time battling under the basket. He finished with 13 points in the final.
After scoring 36 points in the semi-finals against the New York Panthers, class of 2006 stud prospect Daryl Augustine continued his strong offensive effort by dropping in a team-high 17 points in the championship game. He connected on a big three pointer late in the second half to give the Jazz a short lead but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Tasmin Mitchell fought hard to get his 11 points but the rims were unkind to the class of 2005’s No. 1 player. The 6-foot-7 do-everything forward will never be described as a lack of effort prospect. He loves to fight inside for rebounds, points and steals. That was certainly the case on Sunday but a long road to the finals took its toll on him and his teammates. LSU and Kentucky remain his top two schools.
2004 Tournament of Champions All-Tournament Team
MVP of the National Division - Greg Oden, Spiece Indy Heat
MVP of the Select Division - Donnell Lyons, Meanstreets
All Tournament Team - Mike Conley, Jr., Josh McRoberts, Tasmin Mitchell, O.J. Mayo, D.J. Augustine, Jerel McNeal, Greg Paulus, Andray Blatche, Byron Eaton, Jeff Green, Nate Minnoy, Brandon Costner, Korvotney Barber, Jerry-Devon Jefferson, Monta Ellis, Lance Thomas, Tyler Smith, Derwin Kitchen, Wesley Matthews, Brandon Rush, Seketoure Henry, Shane Clark, Jarvis Hill, Eric Devendorf, Gerald Green, Reginald Delk, Eric Boateng, Leo Criswell, Tyrese Rice, Sharad Curry, Danny Green, Rob Thomas, Bobby Frasor, Bryan Mullins, Lawrence Kinnard, Richard Delk, Kevin Swinton, Jovan Adams, Evan Neisler and Mike Schachtner.
Top Five Scorers (Points Per Game)
1. Monta Ellis 34.3
2. Bobby Frasor 30.4
3. O.J. Mayo 27.3
4. Andre Blatche 26.8
5. Greg Paulus 26.8