Bob Gibbons TOC 2023 Sleepers & Stock Risers

The historic Bob Gibbons Tournament Of Champions took place May 13th through May 15th with a great group of programs from the Southeast and other regions coming down to Suwanee Sports Academy to compete for championships in different brackets. With a wide collection of talent in action, there was a lot to see. Here are some of the less-heralded 2023 prospects who impressed with their play.

6’7” Stephen Olowoniyi (Alabama Fusion)

It had been close to a year for me since watching Olowoniyi live; after averaging over 10 PPG at the EYBL Indianapolis session last month, he was aggressive as ever at Bob Gibbons. Olowoniyi immediately sticks out with his physical tools. He has long arms and is an impressive overall athlete. He gets off the floor very quickly off of 2 feet and is fluid moving laterally, allowing him to guard inside & out. His athleticism is put to full use as he gives a lot of effort as a rebounder and is great in the dunker spot, showing no fear in challenging anyone at the rim. Although still raw offensively, Olowoniyi did had good moments of touch with his left hand in the paint and showed potential of face-up ability against slower forwards from 10-12 feet. His progress will be worth tracking.

6’2” Kyler Daugustino (Mid Ohio Pumas Gilliland)

Daugustino’s stellar spring continued at Bob Gibbons despite the Pumas being short-handed and having an earlier exit than they would have liked. At Run N’ Slam, I missed some of his big scoring games. That was not the case this time around as he went off for 30 in the Pumas’ win on Saturday afternoon. Daugustino has a strong, sturdy build that is hard for many high school guards to handle. He’s physical & crafty going to the lane and is effective scoring in traffic because of those qualities as well as his ability to convert on a variety of unorthodox shots from 8 feet & in. Daugustino has shown that he can man both guard spots, possessing good vision & passing feel while also keeping defenses honest with his perimeter shooting. His point outputs are notable, but he also makes an impact defensively; his strength is an asset on that end and he has pesky hands. I expect Daugustino to have a good number of suitors before summer’s end.

5’11” Devaki Garr (Tennessee Tigers)

The only viewing I got of the Tigers was on Friday night, but Garr made sure that it was worth it.  The team came out flat-footed, entering a 12-0 hole early in the 1st half. That turned around in the snap of a finger thanks in large part to the offensive production of Garr. He first got himself going from the outside with a quick release on some deep 3-pointers and that gave him & the rest of the Tigers group a nice boost. Garr lacks height but he has electric speed that makes him a blur in transition and it was on display numerous times in this game; he is bouncy & energetic on the defensive side of the ball, which creates those opportunities in the open court. Once he got in a groove, Garr also used his quickness in the halfcourt to make things happen offensively. He’s hard to keep in front and the combination of all these aspects led the Tigers to an eventual 20-point victory. I hope to get another look at him and this team soon.

6’5” Mason Etter & 6’4” Kyle Walters (Atlanta Allstars)

The Allstars have multiple prospects who are getting well-warranted attention so far this spring, but Etter and Walters have both been a little unsung. With the ascension of Brandon Rechsteiner and the buzz now surrounding him, the Allstars need others to step up in the backcourt and these two did just that at Bob Gibbons. Both of them score in limited dribbles and move well without the ball. Etter asserted himself offensively more than he had when I watched the Allstars previously this spring, looking for his shot often and not thinking twice about it. His mid-range game was particularly effective and he made his usual energizing hustle plays. Walters was reliable from beyond the arc, showed good decision-making, and found transition opportunities. He just knows where to be on the court. Continuing to produce at a level similar to this will go a long way for the Allstars when they have big matchups in July.

6’3” Grant Whitaker (Griffin Elite)

A player who I first watched during the summer of 2020 with the Georgia Stars & NYBA, Whitaker has resurfaced with Griffin Elite and looks to be fitting in very well with their group. In the 2 games I watched, he averaged 13.5 PPG in efficient fashion. He has good size for a guard with a 6’3” frame that has filled out considerably over the last 2 years. Although he has some PG abilities with his ball-handling and crisp ball movement, his scoring boost was most notable at Bob Gibbons. Whitaker has made some tweaks to his 3-point shot and looks to be more confident & effective from beyond the arc; he connected on multiple 3’s in both games. When he attacks off the dribble, Whitaker is crafty while playing off of 2 feet and using either hand to convert in traffic. Being with this Griffin Elite group should result in stability & consistency for him, which will help his recruitment in July.

6’7” Julian Walker (BCB)

There is going to be a huge void left at North Gwinnett with the graduation of their talented 2022 class. After waiting his turn & learning this past season, he looks ready to be a major contributor as a senior. Given his height, he’s very agile and mobile. Walker has length, is light on his feet, and gets off the floor quickly. Combining all of these qualities makes him a versatile defender with the ability to switch on to guards away from the basket as well as contesting shots actively at the rim to bother offensive players. Now while he’s really valuable on the defensive side, Walker is taking some encouraging steps with his offensive game as well. On Saturday afternoon he showed he could catch & finish with both hands and his footwork looked to be improved. He has a lot of tools to work with and tap into that should catch the eyes of coaches during the summer months.

6’7” Johnny Papadakos (Florida Pro)

Papadakos was a perfect complement to the Florida Pro backcourt at Bob Gibbons. They possess a multitude of guys who can get downhill and create off the bounce; Papadakos gives them a forward who isn’t confined to the paint and opens things up for those drivers. At 6’7”, he was a serious pick & pop threat throughout the weekend. Opponents had to worry about containing the ball-handler, leaving Papadakos open on the perimeter where he has a very reliable outside shot. It’s simple, consistent, soft, and with his height he can get it off at almost anytime. He also has touch & potential from around 15 feet. Aside from his shooting, I thought Papadakos helped Florida Pro down low on defense with his smarts by walling up and timing shots & rebounds. He’ll be even more effective in that area as bulks up. Papadakos came down from Canada this past year and isn’t well known right now but that should change before long.

6’5” Harris Jackson (Judah Nation)

The start of the spring was a bit slow for Jackson in April UA Rise games. He picked up his level of production significantly at Bob Gibbons, beginning the weekend with a particularly strong game against the Atlanta Allstars. He’s a physical 6’5” on the wing and used that size advantage well in the Friday night matchup. Jackson showed toughness sticking his nose in for traffic rebounds and loose balls while also initiating contact on straight line drives where then finished through hits multiple times. Some streaky outside shooting was mixed in as well and Jackson’s level of activity never dropped off during the game, finishing with 23 points & 7 rebounds. A performance like this against a team with lots of talent is encouraging; having similar games in the future will warrant attention.

These last few guys shouldn’t really count since they’re unsigned 2022 prospects so I’ll keep it short, but they could be good late additions for various programs. De’Shayne Montgomery & Jaiden Miller from Florida Pro and Cristian Carroll from TSF Elite earned recognition with their play at Bob Gibbons. Montgomery’s length, strength, and athleticism made him a problem slashing from the wing and created mismatches for opponents while Miller was quick with the ball in his hands and scored in different ways. Carroll has been having a big spring with TSF Elite, showing parts to his game that weren’t as evident while at Osborne. He has a cut body with long arms, is shooting the ball very well, and is facilitating the break effectively. There are still schools looking for guys and these 3 are worth digging into more.

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