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May 27, 2004
Tournament of Champions Preview
The 2004 Reebok Tournament of Champions is ready to roll. With 128 teams spread out over 21 gyms across the North Carolina Triangle of Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh, basketball junkies will be able to get their fix throughout Memorial Day weekend. The No.1 players in the class of 2005 (Tasmin Mitchell) and 2006 (Greg Oden) will be in attendance along with a number of other nationally ranked prospects.
The main gyms will be at the Dean E. Smith Center on the campus of North Carolina, Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University and the Reynolds Coliseum and the Carmichael Gym at NC State.
The Spiece Indiana Heat might have the deepest roster on the AAU circuit, featuring Oden, the No. 1 player in the class of 2006, Duke-bound Josh McRoberts, Daquan Cook, Mike Conley, Jr. and a host of fantastic players from the class of 2007.
The New Orleans Jazz also boast a top prospect in Mitchell, who finally steps into the national spotlight at the TOC. The Jazz have been relatively quiet on the AAU circuit up to this point. Mitchell be joined by 2006 stud Darryl Augustine and others.
In Pool C, The Playaz come to the Triangle with a loaded roster, including Brandon Costner, Ryan Ayers, JR Inman, Jawan Carter, Wayne Ellington, Gerald Henderson and many others. In terms of sheer talent, the Playaz are one of the toughest teams around. After their strong showing at the Southern Invitational, they believe they are peaking at the right time despite their slow start.
Players such as Eric Devendorf of the Michigan Hurricanes, Lance Thomas of the New Heights Warriors and Kendrick Price of the New England Playaz highlight Pool D.
The Illinois Fire is one of the hottest teams on the AAU circuit, winning the Spiece Run N Slam and playing deep into the Kingwood Classic. Guards Tony Freeman, Nate Minnoy and Jeremy Pargo are supported by DeAndre Thomas and Robert Eppinger. Joining the Fire in Pool E are the Jackson Panthers. Big man Cyrus McGowan and class of 2007 prospect Biko Paris are two of the headliners.
Duke-bound Greg Paulus will make his first return to Cameron Indoor since verbally committing to the program last fall. He's teamed up with Andray Blatche, one of the top prospects in the class of 2005. They will compete in Pool F.
Led by the rising prospect Bobby Frasor, the Illinois Wolves will compete in Pool G as they defend their 16-under championship from last year's TOC. Joining them in Pool G are the Arizona Magic. Lawerence Hill, Joey Shaw, and Harvey Perry highlight the line up.
Courtney Fells, who made a name for himself at the Kingwood Classic, is expected to play alongside Monta Ellis with the Magnolia Stars in Pool I.
Byron Eaton's Dallas Mustangs are coming off a championship at the St. Louis Eagles event last weekend and will play in Pool J.
Other top players expected to participate in the TOC are Gerald Green, Jovan Adams, Chad Millard, Jordan Wilkes, Gary Flowers, Bryan Harvey, Rousean Cromwell, Terrence Williams, Joe Darger, Marcus Johnson, Henry Dugat, Reginald Delk, Jamal Boykin, Richard Delk, J.P. Prince, Ben McCauley, Brayden Bell, Leo Criswell, Abdul Hererra, Derwin Kitchen Anthony Mason, Jr., and Seketoure Henry, Sead Odzic and Bryan Mullins, among others.
RivalsHoops.com will be in attendance all weekend. Stay logged on to RivalsHoops.com for daily updates and reports.