Ryan Kelly was steady throughout.
Mason Plumlee was outstanding when it mattered most.
That was the result of one of the best individual matchups of the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions AAU event Sunday at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
Both players scored 22 points. Kelly, a 6-foot-9 forward from Raleigh’s Ravenscroft High, staked D-One Sports to a nine-point, second-half lead.
Kelly is considering North Carolina, which recently offered a scholarship, along with N.C. State, Wake Forest, Davidson and other schools. Plumlee, the Arden, N.C., Christ School big man who has committed to Duke, scored 13 points in a three-minute period to help Indiana Elite erase the deficit and win 68-62 in a quarterfinal game.
"We didn’t stop playing hard," said D-One guard John Wall. "We just stopped communicating. We weren’t finishing plays like we were in the first half, and that kind of wore down on us."
Plumlee and Indiana Elite were ousted in the semifinals by the Atlanta Celtics. In an all out-of-state final, the Celtics defeated Team Breakdown of Florida 72-62.
But the Tournament of Champions still proved an excellent springboard for talent from the Carolinas:
-- Kelly emerged as a potential McDonald’s All-American, joining Wall and Plumlee in that category. Once viewed as frail, he now scores in the post against even the strongest opponents. He knows how to get his shots and has a face-up game that he said he doesn’t always get to show at Ravenscroft because his high school team needs him in the post.
-- Milton Jennings of Summerville, S.C., scored 47 points in a game for Beach Ball Select on Saturday night. He is committed to Clemson and has a chance to be the Tigers’ first McDonald’s All-American in 18 years.
-- Guard C.J. Harris of Winston-Salem Mount Tabor established himself as an ACC-caliber player. He helped the CP3 All-Stars reach the quarterfinals while teammate and North Carolina commitment Reggie Bullock was out with tendinitis in his quadriceps.
-- In the 15-and-under age group, eighth-grade guard Tyler Lewis of Forsyth Country Day and the Charlotte Royals caught the eye of All-Star Sports analyst Bob Gibbons and others working the tournament. At 5-foot-9, he was the smallest player on the roster, but he is fearless.
-- The United Celtics of Charlotte won their four-team pool over competition from Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan. Charlotte-area talent on that roster included South Mecklenburg’s Ian Miller and John Parham; North Mecklenburg’s Andre Marhold; East Mecklenburg’s Titus Robinson; Evelyn Mack’s Hassan Whiteside; Ardrey Kell’s Miguel Cardona; Myers Park’s Benjamin Cherry; Olympic’s Adam Hunt, and Concord Cannon’s Jarell Eddie.
Other notes of interest from the Tournament of Champions:
-- Derrick Favors, regarded by most as the nation’s top prospect in the Class of 2009, sat out the final 11 minutes of the second half of the Atlanta Celtics’ semifinal win against Indiana Elite.
Favors was called for an intentional foul for flooring Purdue-bound guard D.J. Byrd with an elbow. Favors returned for the championship game and scored 20 points despite foul trouble in a performance that should solidify his top ranking.
-- Duke target Kenny Boynton scored 29 points to lead all scorers in the final game. Boynton made five 3-pointers.
-- Ken Tysiac
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Ryan Kelly was steady throughout.