Scouting the Tournament of Champions

On Saturday, Crazie-Talk and a few friends were lucky enough to get to the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. The annual event is hosted at Duke, UNC, and NC State. Fortunately, quite a few recruits on Duke’s radar played games in Cameron. Among them were top 2012 targets Alex Murphy and Shabazz Muhammad, as well as two 2011 prospects in combo guard Quinn Cook, who happens to be Nolan Smith’s god-brother, and Marshall Plumlee, who happens to be the third and final Plumlee brother. Check out video highlights (courtesy of our good friend Peter) and our own scouting reports after the jump.


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Murphy likes to be assertive in taking the ball to the rim at every opportunity. He was very successful in doing so and was fouled a lot of his attempts, resulting in a handful of and-1s. He wasn’t hitting his free throws in this game though, finishing 3-8 from the line. The outside shots were not falling either, and he came up empty from beyond the arc. However, his handles are quite good for someone his size, and this helps him when he decides to take it to the rim. His team used him as their primary ballhandler when their starting point guard was on the bench. He isn’t afraid of contact either and likes to drive into the body of his opponent. As a result, he went to the line more than anyone else in the game. Defensively, he did a very good job of staying alert and switching on screens and having active hands. On the offensive end, he was sometimes prone to standing on the wing and waiting for something to happen, without a whole lot of motion. Probably not one of his best games overall but it gave a good feel of what he can bring on the court.

Bottom Line: The staff is very high on Alex, and for good reason. He could fit into the niche carved out by legends Mike Dunleavy and Kyle Singler very well. After speaking with him briefly after his game, Murphy mentioned that he would be taking an unofficial visit with his family today. Here’s to hoping he falls for Gothic Wonderland.

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Muhammad, fresh off of a 30-plus point performance on Friday night, played extremely well in Dream Vision’s matchup with Team Philly. This looked to be a marquee matchup heading into the weekend, but Team Philly’s star wing Amile Jefferson (who is also on Duke’s radar) was unable to play. Although there is a bevy of talented wings in the 2012 class, Muhammad seemed to be as good as advertised. He has ridiculous athleticism and a smooth jump shot. That combination allowed him to score more than 20 points in a plethora of ways. An aggressive lefty, Shabazz can also finish strong at the rim. From what we were able to see, Shabazz is definitely worth the hype.

Bottom Line: Shabazz Muhammad is easily one of the top players in his class, and rightfully so. Duke will have to battle with Kansas and UNC, among others, in his recruitment, but Shabazz seemed to enjoy the confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium.

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Cook started off slowly, with some turnover troubles early on. However, he soon readjusted, and he excelled in DC Assault’s transition offense. After he settled down a bit, the turnovers diminished and his handles tightened up. Cook has no problem with the ball in his hands, using an array of crossovers and spin moves to get around his defender. One of his favorite moves is a spin move to right, transitioning into a pull-up jumper which he used effectively. There really wasn’t anyone on the opposing team who could contain him. His free-throw shooting was also good, but he struggled from long range. Although he excels in transition, he sometimes tries to make too much happen in the half court set and can run into trouble if he drives into multiple defenders. However, he can finish with either hand and has a varied repertoire of offensive moves off the dribble. Defensively, he had no troubles keeping up with quick guards and even snagged a couple of rebounds away from the opposing team’s front line.

Bottom Line: It seems that Quinn is much more of a combo guard than he is a traditional point guard (a la Nolan Smith). He is a gifted scorer with great ball handling skills, but he lacks size at 5’11. Regardless, Cook is a high major player who will excel in a system that thrives on transition offense. It’s no surprise, then, that he’s getting heavy interest from UNC. Look for Cook to remain on Duke’s radar, but with the stable of guards already on the roster, it seems unlikely that Duke will be a major player in his recruitment.

Marshall Plumlee (Center – Class of 2011)

Saturday’s matchup with Long Island Lightning was definitely not one of Marshall Plumlee’s best games for Indiana Elite. Still, we could see flashes of what makes him a high major recruit. Plumlee is very vocal on the court, constantly calling out help defense and screens. His length can be a big issue for the opposition, but during this game, the other squad constantly took it to Plumlee and the Indiana Elite frontline with great success. Marshall could be a little more assertive in using his height and agility to grab boards, and in this game, the smaller Long Island bigs managed to pull down a lot of offensive boards. Naturally, comparisons need to be made to his older brothers, Mason and Miles. All three brothers share their uncanny agility and athleticism for near 7-footers. This was apparent in Marshall’s game today when he surprised the defense by storming to the rack and finishing with a two-handed slam. From what we saw, however, he might not have the same kind of ups as Mason and Miles, but he is also slightly taller than them, being a legitimate 7’0. As a result, Marshall is more of a traditional back-to-the-basket center instead of a F/C combo like his older brothers. He has a go-to move in a spin into a baby hook that he attempted a few times this game. At this point, however, he is pretty lanky and can still be pushed around by opposing bigs. Also, like his brothers, he has the tendency to pick up cheap reaching fouls, which caused him to sit for most of this game in foul trouble.

Bottom Line: Marshall still has a ways to go before his body is ready for the college game, but he’s definitely got the potential to become a very good player. Although Duke has already taken a center in Tyler Adams in the Class of 2011, the Devils should not be discounted in Marshall’s recruitment. The fact that his two older brothers have had very positive experiences thus far in their careers is undoubtedly an important factor that Plumlee will consider. That said, playing in the shadow of two older brothers may be something that leads Marshall away from Durham. Look for Duke to remain in the mix for MP3 until it’s all said and done.

Other Names to Watch

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to see all of the guys on Duke’s radar playing at T.O.C. Some of these included:

  • Andre Drummond, a 6’9 PF/C in the Class of 2012. Ranked near the top of his class by most recruiting services, Drummond has been likened to a younger Amar’e Stoudemire. Andre, a Connecticut native, has been on UConn’s watch list for quite a while. However, in light of recent allegations against Calhoun’s program, Drummond may be looking to go elsewhere.
  • J.P Tokoto, a 6’6 SF in the Class of 2012. Tokoto attended Duke’s first Elite Camp last summer and has been on Duke’s watch for quite some time. Tokoto, who hails from Wisconsin, also lists UNC, Kansas, and Kentucky, among others. Ole Roy has been in hot pursuit of Tokoto, presumably in anticipation of Prince Harriet’s early entry to the NBA. But don’t count Duke out yet: J.P. (which stands for Jean Pierre), like the aforementioned Alex Murphy, will be taking an unofficial visit today.
  • Chasson Randle, a 6’2 PG in the Class of 2011. Duke has recently reached out to Randle, and his recruitment is still in its early stages. But if the campaign to make Austin Rivers a Blue Devil somehow falls short, look for Randle to get a serious look from the staff.

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It looks like the summer of 2010 will be an eventful one in terms of recruiting (…wink wink). We’ll be doing our best to stay up to date everything. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to contact us at email@crazie-talk.com!