Commentary

Battle of the Classes was no contest

North Carolina's elite, including Melvin Tabb, dominated South Carolina's best

Originally Published: September 14, 2009
By Paul Biancardi | Scouts Inc.

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Saturdays in September usually mean football on the South Carolina campus, but this weekend some of the best basketball players from North Carolina squared off against the best of South Carolina in the first annual Carolina Battle of the Classes. Twelve players from each respective class (2010, 2011 and 2012) from each state had the opportunity to compete against each other. The North Carolina players swept the event in all classes.

Standout players

Melvin Tabb, PF, 2010, 6-8, 210
(Raleigh, N.C./Enloe)
College: Wake Forest

The No. 63 overall player in the Class of 2010 is a hard-working power forward who understands what he does well and doesn't deviate from his strengths. Tabb makes his mark with his ability to rebound and defend the low post. Thanks to his great hands and college-ready body, he makes and maintains contact in the low post, where he scores most of his points. He also gets a lot of second-chance putbacks. Defensively, he looks to stay between his man and the bucket while understanding help concepts for his teammates. His positive, coachable attitude will enhance his production at the next level.

Bernard Sullivan, PF, 2011, 6-7, 190
(Huntersville, N.C./Mecklenburg)
College: Undecided

This lefty is an active and productive forward. In transition, he runs the floor with good effort and finishes at a consistent rate thanks to his length and athletic ability. He thrives in an up-tempo game but is still effective in the half court. He can also drive against bigger defenders and either get to the rim or earn his way to the free-throw line, where he has a smooth-looking stroke. However, he needs to add a jumper to his attack. Defensively, he is active blocking shots.

Marquis Rankin, PG, 2011, 6-1, 160
(Charlotte, N.C./Zebulon B. Vance)
College: Undecided

This ESPNU Super 60 point guard is quick and speedy and can really push the ball foul line to foul line. He is always looking to advance the ball to an open teammate and possesses a second gear to blow by defenders off the dribble. His bread-and-butter move is the left-to-right crossover dribble, which often leaves defenders standing still. He is a capable 3-point shooter who needs to become more consistent behind the line. In pick-and-roll situations, he waits on the screen, as good point guards should, then attacks the big man and scores or delivers the assist. His basketball IQ is high, and he is always aware of the clock. Defensively, he can pick-guard the length of the court but needs to turn his man more in the back court. Off the ball, he anticipates passing lanes well and has a knack for the steal. He brings energy and excitement to his team.

Player to watch

Kadeem Green, PF, 2010, 6-8, 190
(Charlotte, N.C./United Faith Christian Academy)
College: Undecided

He dominated the game on the defensive end of the floor. The shots he didn't block, he certainly changed or altered. He gets excited when he blocks the shot, but he needs to understand how to keep the ball in play to start the fast break. He is very athletic and on his drives he uses his quick jumping ability along with his length to finish at the rim. His offensive repertoire is developing and he shows a jump hook in the paint. As he gets stronger and works on his ball skills, he will receive more notoriety.

Surprise

Torry Craig, SF, 2010, 6-5, 190
(Great Falls, S.C.)
College: Undecided

Watching him warm up, you could see his skill. Craig is a small forward who can score inside and outside. Over the years he has played inside, and now he's getting out on the perimeter more with confidence. He demonstrates a great-looking stroke from deep, and with his length and bounce he can shoot over defenders with ease. He also gives a good effort on the offensive glass, often flying in from the perimeter to give his team second-chance points. Defensively, he blocks shots and offensively he is working on his penetration game. He has played football in the past, so he hasn't been part of the recruiting circuit until now. The mid-majors should be calling soon.

Notes

P.J. Hairston (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley Senior) reminds me of a young Jerry Stackhouse because of his ability to blow by bigger defenders with a quick first step. The junior can also punish smaller defenders in the post or shoot from deep. The UNC commit is ranked No. 12 in the ESPNU Super 60.

• Class of 2012 PG Tyler Lewis (Statesville, N.C./Forsyth Day) played an incredible floor game and showed he's an adept passer. On the opening tip of the game, he executed a beautiful give-and-go. He is always thinking one possession ahead.

• More players to monitor from the Class of 2012 in the Carolinas include SG Julius Hamilton (Charlotte, N.C./West Charlotte), SF T.J. Warren (Durham, N.C./Riverside), high-flyer Montrezl Harrell (North Edgecombe), Dee Brooks (Spring Valley) Jordan Roper (Irmo) and Travis Hammond (Richland East).

• North Carolina players Anthony Gill and Akil Mitchell are a pair of excellent-looking prospects for Charlotte Christian. Jordan Downing (Hopewell), who is committed to Davidson, plays a tough game on the court. He shows a good basketball IQ along with the ability to score with the drive or jumper. South Carolina native Damien Leonard (JL Mann) can certainly light it up from the outside with the best in his class but needs to expand his game.

Josh Corry (Gaffney, S.C.) is a tough point guard who can make 3s, drive to the basket and finish through contact when he gets to the rim. He is a solid, all-around scoring point guard who really played well and had a good showing. He played his tail off and played every possession with intensity. One other thing he does is get to the foul line a lot and makes his free throws, which is the sign of a good guard.

Paul Biancardi, who spent 2007-08 as an assistant coach on Rick Majerus' staff at Saint Louis University, is the national recruiting director for ESPN Scouts Inc. He has 18 years of coaching experience at the Division I level. He was an assistant at Boston University, Boston College and Ohio State before becoming the head coach at Wright State, where he earned Horizon League Coach of the Year honors in the 2003-04 season. He is on the selection committees for the Gatorade National Player of the Year award and the McDonald's All-America Game. John Stovall also contributed to this report.

Paul Biancardi

Basketball Recruiting