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Budding stars revealed
by George Rodecker / April 10, 2004

While American rock 'n' roll legend and local resident Bruce Hornsby watched the tourney, the afternoon consolation game saw spirited play as Norfolk Sports got the better of Sales Systems 87-72.

Norfolk was paced by another fine effort from Jackson Vroman, who scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Gerald Fitch added 19 and had 11 assists. Darius Rice, who replaced the injured Rich Melzer (hip pointer), scored 15 points, six rebounds and two steals in a redeeming performance.

For Sales, James Thomas saw his minutes increase to 25 and netted 19 points and 12 boards.

In the semifinal nighttime doubleheader, Beach Barton prevailed over Tidewater 90-87 in a nail-biter. Michel Morandais delivered his second strong game with 20 points and seven rebounds. Brian Boddicker continued his hot shooting, adding 18 points. Marcus Douthit had 10 boards to help out.

For Tidewater, Bryant Matthews contributed 23 points, and was helped by Spencer Ross’ 16 points and Shawnson Johnson 14 point-11 rebound effort.

In the nightcap, Norfolk Naval ran all over MD Design and came away with a lopsided 109-75 victory. Desmond
Farmer
led the way with 29 points and got big help from Tony Bobbitt (24 points, six steals).

MD was led by Velimir Radinovic, who totaled 15 points and eight rebounds. Andre Brown came up big again as he had another double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.

CAMP DEFINES DRAFT

While several players have begun to define their stock here, it may continue to be a tourney devoid of first-round players, but chock full of second-round opportunities for the now 30 NBA teams here watching.

An informal poll on who are the top performers in camp reveals the following top 10 players:

Desmond Farmer, Southern California
Andre Brown
, DePaul
Bryant Matthews
, Virginia Tech
Brian Boddicker
, Texas
Nigel Dixon
, Western Kentucky
Marcus Douthit
, Providence
Michel Morandais
, Colorado
Jackson Vroman
, Iowa State
James Thomas
, Texas
Erik Daniels
, Kentucky

INSIDE THE PLAY

Darius Rice held his head down after losing two games and being on the first team eliminated. But an injury to Rich Melzer has given Rice another opportunity, as he shot 5-9 after a gloomy 3-21 in the first two games.

Andre Brown was a McDonald’s All American, but four years of play at DePaul provided few reminders of that lofty status. Here in two games, he’s already launched his redemption tour with solid play. A word rarely used to describe his effort – aggressive – has been the hallmark of his game.

Desmond Farmer has established himself as the top player in camp to date. Inside the 29 point-5 assist effort was 11-14 shooting – of which 4-6 was beyond the arc – and those five assists were underscored by no turnovers. In his first game, Farmer was a vocal player, shouting encouragement to his teammates and urging them to play harder. In a me-first camp, those leadership skills go a long way as most players only seem to care about dunks, points and poses.

If Farmer is the best player in camp, then Nigel Dixon is the most intriguing. Once a 400+ pound behemoth at
Florida State, he has “trimmed” down to 320 pounds. The loss of weight has given him some agility and he
appears to carry the weight well enough. His play has become spirited and many pro scouts realize that if he
drops to 275, he may have an ability to play at the next level.

DOWN TO THE WIRE

A complete wrap-up will follow today’s consolation and championship games as well as a follow-up camp recap
with comments by several NBA scouts, GMs, and player personal types.

George Rodecker is in his twelfth season of providing expert analysis on the NBA Draft. He has been diligent in pursuing analysis by acquiring the consensus opinions of experts. Rodecker also writes for Basketball Times, Eastern Basketball and College Hoops Insider, as well as consulting privately with several pro teams and leagues around the globe

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