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May 27, 2007

Tournament of Champions: Champions crowned

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- After a hard fought trip to the championship game, Indiana Elite staked claim to another big tournament championship. Team Breakdown had to hold off an in-state rival to win the 16 and under division.

Third time is the charm

Indiana Elite's biggest strength is its depth and versatility. Both positives came into play for the Hoosier State program as it cruised to a 71-50 victory over King of the Court to claim the 2007 Tournament of Champions.

Tyler Zeller lived up to his five-star status as he scored 13 points on five of six shooting from the floor. The 7-footer stepped up to the challenge on the biggest stage and capped off a strong weekend in North Carolina.

Paired against Xavier bound 7-foot center Kenny Frease, Zeller responded nicely to a subtle challenge from the Ohio native. Shortly after tip-off, Frease bumped Zeller with some force and it must have caught the attention of the Indiana native.

Zeller responded by scoring against his position rival and ran the floor with an extra bounce in his step. Frease, however, missed his first six shots from the floor thanks in large part to Zeller's length. Frease finished with four points and only hit one field goal in the contest.

Lewis Jackson confidently ran the team with precision and poise. The 5-foot-9 floor general didn't let the game get out of hand and distributed the ball like a guy that has played for the hardware before.

The tournament victory is the third major title for the Indiana Elite this spring. Jackson piloted all three championship teams. When he was absent, Indiana Elite didn't take home the hardware.

Future Arizona forward Emmanuel Negedu stepped out of his normal comfort zone and drilled home a pair of three-pointers in the victory. Mix that with his freakish athleticism, his addiction to playing hard from end to end and one of the most chiseled frames in the country and you have a difference maker. Negedu finished with 12 points in the victory.

Delvon Roe was outstanding in the defeat, scoring the ball any which way he wanted. The Michigan State commitment shined at the Dean E. Smith Center to the tune of 27 points on 11 of 20 shooting from the floor, including three made three-pointers. At the end of the day, though, Roe just couldn't do it by himself.

King of the Court was without the services of Anthony Crater, an Ohio State commitment, and Korie Lucious, a Michigan State pledge. Crater was out with an injured wrist while Lucious had to leave early to catch a flight back to his native Milwaukee. Crater had been playing good basketball, particularly in King of the Court's semi-final win over the Atlanta Celtics.

Florida finale in 16U

It was an all Florida final for the 16 and under championship as Team Breakdown and the Marquis Daniels Showtime Ballers locked horns for a highly competitive battle. After a back and forth game for the first 25 minutes of the game, Team Breakdown separated themselves in the second half and held on for a 83-71 win.

David Loubeau was outstanding the championship game, as he scored 30 points on nine of 12 shooting from the floor and 12 of 15 from the foul line. The 6-foot-7 forward also grabbed 12 rebounds.

Loubeau scored at will against the under-sized Marquis Daniels team. He converted the shots you'd expect a high-major big man to make inside and even put in a couple of mid-range jumpers.

Freshman guard Brandon Knight added 18 points in the victory.

More News & Notes from the TOC

It was a breakout weekend for Georgia big man Kenny Hall. The 6-foot-8 class of 2009 from Redan High School shined for the Georgia Stars 16 and under club. Paired against nationally-ranked big man Stephen Van Treese on the main court at the Dean E. Smith Center, Hall shined.

The rugged forward scored 17 points against Van Treese and did so with an array of moves. Hall converted on a good looking hook shot, made a three-pointer and a couple of baseline jumpers. Known as a prospect at the mid-major range around Atlanta, Hall elevated his game this spring and solidified his status as a big timer in the Peach State's loaded 2009 class. Hall is already being courted by Kentucky, UCLA, Cincinnati, Clemson and Tennessee.

Van Treese was no slouch himself, as he scored a team high 21 points, including a facial dunk over Hall. The long and bouncy big man from the famed Lawrence North High School in Indiana was the stabilizing force in this game for Indiana Elite, one of the best 16 and under clubs in the country.

Van Treese owned the offensive boards and showed a couple of nice moves with the dribble towards the basket. The 6-foot-9 forward has a tough guy approach down low and that could be his calling card down the road. He's making a nice recovery from a battle with mononucleosis.

As good as that match-up was, the top scorer in the game was Georgia Stars guard Adrian Coleman. The 6-foot-3 sophomore guard scored 29 points in the defeat and did so in a variety of ways. Ideally, he'd like to attack the basket at a constant clip. That is where he gets a lot of his points. But the younger brother of former Cincinnati forward DeAndre Coleman is improving as a shooter.

In fact, he's been a 20 point per game scorer all spring. Like Hall, Coleman is a target for a number of high-majors. He certainly established himself as such last weekend.

While his 13 points against the Georgia Stars didn't make many blink, D.J. Byrd was a major factor in the consolation championship game. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 23 points in the final. The North Montgomery High School product was the best player on the floor with a number of other Division I players on the hardwood. Xavier and Indiana have both offered.

Keep an eye on Indiana Elite's other big man Jordan Prosser. The 6-foot-8 native of Illinois is a high-major guy that continues to grow on any one that sees him play. He's a perfect Big Ten post player.

The Marquis Daniels Showtime Ballers don't have a sure-fire high-major prospect on the roster but there are a number of talented prospects on the squad. The team plays incredibly well together and happy to share the spotlight on any given moment.

Emarri Bailey, Dexter Fields, William Green and Charles Ford all stepped up on Sunday. Bailey, a 6-foot-5 wing from Arlington Country Day scored 22 points against the Playaz in the semi-finals and was a difficult player to defend.

Fields, a bowling ball of a guard, added 17 points, including a powerful dunk over a defender that no one saw coming. Ford, a 6-foot shooting guard, added 17 in the victory.

The Playaz were paced by Tamir Jackson, who scored 26 hard earned points. Most of his scores came at the line. The 6-foot-2 combo guard from St. Benedict's picked up the slack from Dominic Cheek, a top 25 player in the class of 2009, who struggled on offense. Cheek finished with a modest 13 points.

Brian Oliver added 20 points in the defeat. It has been a productive spring for the 2009 forward from William Penn (Del.) High School. He does a little bit of everything in games.


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