Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tournament hardly all-star

With no players committed to Duke or North Carolina and just one N.C. State commitment in the field, the Reebok Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions didn’t have as much star power as in the past few years.
The class of 2008 also lacks a marquee name such as Greg Oden, Kevin Love and O.J. Mayo, who added excitement to the tournament in recent years. Watching the class of 2008 helps you appreciate the college freshman class from last season, which was headlined by Oden, Kevin Durant and Brandan Wright.
Veteran talent analysts said it might have been the best freshman class ever. The class of 2008 won’t share that distinction. There still were a lot of interesting players from a Carolinas perspective at the Tournament of Champions:
-- Tyler Zeller of Washington, Ind., was most valuable player for leading Indiana Elite to the title and picked up a scholarship offer from North Carolina.
-- Elliot Williams of Collierville, Tenn., has a scholarship offer from Duke and is an explosive scorer off the drive.
-- Forward Romero Osby of the Southeast Elite is a slashing driver who has received phone calls from North Carolina but no scholarship offer. He also has received interest from several other top schools.
But there wasn’t a player in the tournament who appeared certain of being an NBA lottery pick after one year of college.
EYE ON THE REFS: Charlotte’s Jamie Luckie, who referees in the ACC and Big East, supervised officials at the Tournament of Champions.
The tournament and the elite summer camps provide an opportunity for young referees to work and get instruction from more experienced officials.
Speaking of officiating, two new rules will have opposite effects for college basketball referees in 2007-08:
-- Eliminating one position on each side of the lane on free throws will make it easier to enforce rules against the pushing and shoving that occurs on rebounds.
-- Moving the 3-point arc back one foot will cause problems because the women’s arc stayed at 19 feet, 9 inches. Some courts will have those two arcs plus the NBA arc, and that will cause a problem for referees.
-- Ken Tysiac