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July 14, 2007

Peach Jam notes: Big men battles

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Cleaning out the rest of our notebook from Friday's action, we take a deeper look into some great big men match-ups as well as other news and notes from the Nike Peach Jam.

Big man battles

There were a couple of fun big man match-ups that were fun to watch on Friday morning.

The top ranked player in the event, Greg Monroe of Louisiana Select, absolutely dominated his match-up with Xavier Gibson of the Georgia Blazers. Monroe put in 25 points to Gibson's three. It was that kind of body of work.

Monroe used his length well as he attacked from the wing with the dribble. To Gibson's credit, he was playing the Louisiana star step for step and also used his length but Monroe seemed to always get the shot off and in.

Jim Calhoun, John Thompson, John Brady, Billy Donovan and Johnny Dawkins all sat on the sidelines to see the match-up.

A game later and a court over, Midwestern centers Michael Dunigan and Wisconsin center Jared Berggren. Dunigan scored 20 points. Berggren recorded a goose egg.

Dunigan, one of the most physical big men in the country can intimidate anyone with his strength and power on the defensive end. He certainly stuck to his strengths in this match-up. But he's also shining on the offensive end here in North Augusta.

Odds & Ends

There isn't a more lethal scoring backcourt in the tournament than Team Texas. Willie Warren, Rotnei Clarke and Chris Babb have a field day each game out on the wing. All three are assassins from deep. Warren torched YOMCA Memphis for 35 points on Friday night. Clarke added 18. Babb, a New Mexico commitment, has mid-major star written all over him. One sideline observation from coach's row: "Babb has Chris Lofton written all over him."

The Y was quick to match it's strengths in the backcourt. Class of 2009 stud Leslie McDonald poured in 24 points of his own. He didn't shy away from the challenge. Usually a quiet and efficient scorer, McDonald jumped right into the up and down style and shot a high percentage. He's a smooth operator. McDonald's speedy backcourt mate Gentry Hines added 18.

In terms of sheer production, Lance Goulbourne is one of the best players in North Augusta this week. The 6-foot-7 forward has proven himself as a post scorer, a mid-range shooter and a power guy around the rim. Goulbourne dominated the Charlotte Royals for nearly 30 points and he did it with assistants from Marquette, Vanderbilt, St. John's and Jamie Dixon, Fred Hill, Rick Pitino and John Beilien watching.

One of the reasons why the Georgia Blazers are such a successful AAU team is the team's overall balance. Sure, they have some major focal points in Xavier Gibson and point guard Andre Young (who has been one of the most watched mid-major guards in the tournament). But guys like Reggie Shepherd, a 6-foot-4 strong-bodied guard from Columbus (Ga.) Kendrick, and Steve Peterson, a 6-foot-4 wing from Columbus (Ga.) Jordan, are both valuable contributors. Mid-majors are all over these guys.

Illinois commitment Jereme Richmond put 25 on the South Carolina Ravens in the 16 and under division. The 6-foot-6 inside-out threat picked his spots and just made the local team crazy because of his versatility. The Ravens have a future star in the making in point guard Eric Smith, a mature 2010 point guard from Charleston, S.C.



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