Reflections Back on the last/final day of the 2014 Haeco Invitational Basketball Tournament(Now with Photos)

Haeco Tournament Chairman Worth Holleman said he was just waiting to exhale, but he would not release that last gasp of air, until the final whistle blew and all of the hardware/trophies had been handed out…

When it was all said and done and Mr. Holleman could exhale without the threat of being impaled, you knew success had come again to the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center….

Mr. Holleman did not want to get stuck with a second place tag and he, along with his crew of noble Greensboro Sports Council members, all came home winners with nothing but first place feelings, as the 2014 tournament came to a close….

Lots of hard work turned in by men like Rob Goodman and Demp Bradford along the media and press front lines, as they manned the crisis-control center and interacted among the brain-trust that kept the tournament flowing/moving….

Lots of talent out there this week, but just from an observation standpoint, the youngest player in the tournament might have been the top prospect out there amongst the men and women….

Elissa Cunane, the young freshman center/post player from Northern Guilford, at maybe 14 years old max, might just be the next top hoops model from Guilford County….

Hard to teach that 6’3 and she is still growing, you think???

Not here to down-grade the rest of talent that was in the tournament, but the colleges start looking at these kids when they are in the 7th or 8th grade and you just know that Cunane is already on the radar of most of the East Coast college coaches at the DI level….

We have plenty of Mid-major prospects out here and the colleges are hot on their heels, but I’m not sure/sold on the abundance of major DI prospects out there, for the boys and girls when you start to take a realistic look at the overall lay of the basketball land/talent….

Harry Giles and Kwe Parker over at Wesleyan will be going somewhere at the top DI level, but these days you have/see more of those Mid-major opportunities than you do the chances of making it at the top level of NCAA hoops….

Lots of the kids are going Mid-major and they will have tons of chances there…..

I was very impressed with the play of Will Dillard, from Greensboro Day in the men’s championship game…Will had a little bit of a coming out party and he had a major impact on the Bengals taking their fourth straight title….Will can get up and his ball handling skills have risen, as he has become more involved with the overall GDS offense….Will’s brother Reggie went the Presbyterian route and something like that would not be a bad route for Will….

On the men’s side a kid that I thought had a great week was Jalen Seegars from Page…I almost wrote down Jalen Spicer, and I could have listed Jaylen Gore, but right now the name to leave with you is Jalen Seegars…Just loved his complete game with rebounds, blocked shots, hustling after loose balls that were about to go out-of-bounds along the sidelines and at the baseline, plus Seegars scored plenty of points to help his team and was working on the inside, the outside and he threw down a couple of monster dunks in the 3rd place game, as Page was taking care of business vs. Smith…Not sure how far he will go and if he will continue to grow, but Seegars sure got my attention and he was not out there trying to draw attention to himself, he was just going to work and doing his job….

We got big men going to the Mid-majors with Peter Agba(GDS) going to Akron and Xavier Hill-Mais(Page) headed to Oakland(Michigan) and Darius Moore from GDS is going the Mid-major path too….Spoke with Agba on Monday night and just a very nice mild-mannered young man, who plays very hard when he hits the court, but had nothing but good things to say about everyone at the end of the tournament, with special praise for the efforts of Hill-Mais and Reggie Davis(Northwest Guilford)…

Spicer and Gore from Northwest Guilford will get good long Mid-major looks and they should do well at the next level and while looking over these young men, we must not over-look the fact, that all of them were on the All-Tournament team, with the exception of Hill-Mais….

There are many other kids out there that will be getting college looks and for local kids like Hendon Hooker at Dudley, and Diondre Overton at Page, it will come down to, “Do you want to play football or basketball in college?”, and right now, I see both leaning toward football….It might change for Overton, since he is picking up the point guard spot in a good way, but he will have to weigh his options between now and the end, or even the beginning of 2016….If he goes football, he could be out by January 2016, but with his love of basketball, you just feel like he would stick around and finish up the hoops with his friends, but those college coaches have much more say, than we do here….

On the girls side of the court, you know Cunane is going to keep on getting lots of attention and she does something that many of us look for in a player from the jump street and it does not even apply to the jump, it is the shot….Cunane can hit free throws….Watch any player, male or female and if they can hit free throws, they can be a hit playing college basketball and if the tall players can hit free throws, that is like “money in the bank”….

Cunane can drain the foul shots…I used to love to hear that word “Drain-O”, when somebody would nail a long outside shot and you need to enforce and open up a can of “Drain-O” every time you go to the line and Cunane is working to drain those free throws….Morgan Pointer is a “BIG” for NWG and she can hit the free throws and she should be able to hit the Mid-major level of college play….Not sure what spot she will play in college, just depends on what a certain team is looking for….Pointer somewhere near the paint, but maybe at a three or four spot….Hayley Barber and Toni Tucker from NWG are not post players, but they are very good guards, with one at the point(Barber) and the other at the two-spot(Tucker as the shooter) and both are solid college prospects at the Mid-major level….Not really sure if we have a low-level Major level, but with the game that Barber and Tucker have, they will be playing college ball if they pursue it….In the end, DIII might be in the works, but not at this time, got to think a level larger, with 2 years left on your high school contract…

Kasey Johnson and Sydney Wilson at Northern Guilford might be exploring their possibilities and DIII might be there for them and that is not a bad deal when you look at that DIII education and what it can mean when you pick up/receive your diploma….

There are three sets of sisters at Page and that still makes your mind spin every time you try to keep up with the Pirate ladies…The Kargos, the Caspers and the Heards and in the old days of women’s basketball, when they played six on six, you could have had the entire crew on the floor for you filling out your team/lineup at one time….Somebody out of that bunch of six will end up playing college basketball and you may see up to 2-3 or maybe even 3-4 that hit the college floor at some level whether it be DIII or mid-level DI….

Greensboro Day will have Tamera Thorpe in college next year at the Mid-major level somewhere and she may already be signed up, but I don’t remember the spot and the Brady kid, Mahlon Brady….She is young, she is fairly tall and she can hit free throws(with the arc of St. Louis)…That is a go for me, if she continues to work on and improve on her game….Gloria Smith-Bunch was another shooter from Greensboro Day that caught my attention and she has very good strength and range…

Plenty of talk from me and now time for you to add-on/add-in your opinion….Probably left a few people out and maybe missed a few of my free throws, so you pick up the slack and let’s see what you have to say….

Photos of Haeco MVP’s in their Post Game Interviews.
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  1. Not sure what year she is, but I have seen some college inclinations from the Rebecca Little kid from Grimsley….

    All depends on how hard they want to work between now and then…NWG has some more kids that might want some of those college spots….

  2. Andy regardless of the tournament rules for all tournament, what would your all tournament team look like? Now that we are half way through the regular season and going into conference play, what are your top teams and top players. If you were starting an all-star team today to play, who would make your top 5 or 7 man roster.

  3. I told someone yesterday that if you give me Jalen Spicer and Jaylen Gore, we could head down to Florida Street or Spring Valley Court and wrap up in the six feet and under category…If you give us Jalen Seegars and he stoops down to in under the six foot rule, then I can step aside and let them run it…Maybe bring back Jalen Gavin and he could run the three-on-three sixteen win by two with Spicer and Gore…

    Will try to have something more detailed and realistic up here for you later on today…

    Thought Sydney Wilson might have had a chance to be on All-Tournament for Northern….Had a very good game Saturday….Wilson and Johnson off and Cunane and Lomax on and that’s how it went there….

    What was it, Tucker, Pointer, Lomax, Cunane, Thorpe and Barber MVP…..Not a bad group and we will look at more later…..

    Boys was Spicer, Gore, Seegars, Moore, Dillard and Agba MVP….Big game Monday got Will in there and Seegars had big game Monday too….If NWG would have, good chance Spicer would have been MVP…..Reggie Davis or Sam Covington might have been waiting in the wings for NWG….

    Saw where John Puryear had 27 points for Grimsley on Monday and Page did a good job on JP in Game One back on Friday….

    My ‘Unsung Man of the Tournament?”…..How about that Brian Free at 4’10 for Ragsdale….Got to give that kid his props for hanging in all over……Cunane at 6’3 and Brian Free at 4’10, that might be the long and short of the tournament….Xavier Hill-Mais(Page) and Kendric Lowe of Smith were both listed at 6’8, but sometimes they don’t look that tall, because they are so big, as far as their build goes….

    Brian Free at 4’10 really does look small and makes you think back to Tyrone “Mugsy” Bouges at 5’3 and Spud Webb at 5’6 and those guys were small, but Free is little, but he works very hard and he plays BIG……

  4. “Tyrone” Andy has seen a lot game from teams in the Haeco and outside of that tournament (which I am sure you have not). Just interested in his list of teams and players that would make his list. Boys would likely include the big guy from SW and maybe a guard, the kid over at Eastern Guilford, Hooker from Dudley, maybe a Spicer or Gore from NW and a couple of players from WES such as Harry or from GDS such as Darius or Peter. Girls would likely include players such as Thorpe from GDS, Pointer from NW, Cunane from Northern, the PG from WES, the PG from SW, and maybe a guard from Dudley. Top team would clearly be boys GDS, WES, SW, and NW. Girls NW, NG, GDS and Dudley.

  5. Andy, you are on point with your reflections to a degree. While I agree that (Will Dillard) showcased some of his talents last night and had a major impact on the Bengals taking their fourth straight title, I tend to believe (although I’m a little bias) that this is just the beginning of what we can expect from Will (High-flying) Dillard. With continued hard-work, perseverance, determination and of course faith, I strongly believe (Will Dillard) will have an opportunity to play ball at any school he chooses. Will is not only passionate about the game, but is also determined to become one of basketball Greats! In the words of his granddad, William (in time) will be a force to be reckoned with! With that being said, I would like to congratulate GDS on winning the 2014 HAECO Invitational Basketball Championship! #GoBengals! #ProudAunt!

  6. First and foremost you have to take K.J. Langley at Southwest Guilford and Quayson Williams has come right back and is playing great for Eastern Guilford, today I would go with Seegars from Page and my power forward all night long would be Peter Agba from Greensboro Day and you have to have Spicer from NWG as the pure point with Harry Giles and Kwe Parker from WES and I have been impressed with the scoring attack by/from DeShaun Taylor at Western Guilford and Hooker has stepped up his game at Dudley and give me Brian Free from Ragsdale as my backup point guard what about John Brewer over at Caldwell Academy and Jack Emerick at Northern Guiford has been scoring at a very good pace early in this year, plus trying to get as many possible in here you can add-in John Puryear at Grimsley and Aaron Simpson at Smith….But still can you imagine Smith if J.J. Watson would have returned??? J.J. Watson may have come back to be the top player in Guilford County this season…Now 6’3/180 averaging 18.5ppg out in California…

    Leaving a few players out, but we will focus on the girls top players in our evening session….

    Give us your best of the rest for the boys, everyone?????

    *****Here is thought that hit me today….I think Will Dillard could be as good as Kwe Parker if Will keeps on growing and gets much stronger…..Anybody with me on this one???*****

  7. Dr. Wilson, before I read your post, I had just written a bit more about Will….

    Did you get to hear our broadcast of the tournament on the internet?????

    Hope you got to listen in down in Georgia, I think it is, and Will had a whale of dunk in the Championship Game that got me thinking….

  8. For the teams we will have some new polls(boys and girls) out for you on this Friday and for the girls talent we have seen the three with NWG stand out with Barber, Tucker and Pointer, plus Dudley has Esscence Abraham back full strength now, at least that is what we are hearing, and Southeast has been getting great work from Kayla Phifer, Northern has the backbone of Wilson and Johnson, with Cunane coming on fast, while we see Monk leading at SWG, Destiny Timberlake at HP Andrews, Houser and Cadlecek at Caldwell, Lucky Rudd and take your pick at New Hope, Tamera Thorpe is staying strong at GDS, and the younger kids like Smith-Bunch, Brady and Ellie Baldwin are looking better, plus we have Purvis who left NGFS and landed at New Hope too, with the kid Rebecca Little coming along at Grimsley, Callie Patterson is showing up good at Eastern Guilford, Dinah Neal and Michelle Jeffries are bringing Northeast back around and with Page it will be the Kargo kids up top and in the corners for those threes, Ragsdale has the Rawlingson young lady that everyone has spoken so well about, plus who have we left out???

    The Morris kid at Dudley is going to be tough no matter what, Katie Lewis at SEG has become a good scorer in the wake of Kara Shutt, and we could go on and we will as the season moves on…..The best young prospect out there could well be Cunane at Northern, but NWG has a very tall and very good player waiting in the wings in NWG Middle School, in Ralph Kitley’s daughter…Ralph is the principal at NWG High School and he played on a NCHSAA 2-A State Title team at Salisbury and he was the starting center for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons while in college and he is in the neighborhood of 6’10, so you know his daughter is going to keep on growing….Athletic Director Rod McCollough has a daughter playing at Smith, maybe Destiny McCollough and she has a lots of promise too…..

    Just a few names to pass around and I’m sure more will be arriving soon….

  9. Andy, I was tuned in no doubt! You and your partner always do an excellent job on giving us (internet listeners) play by play interactions of the game. For that, I am most grateful! Keep doing what you do best, which is providing relevant sports news, not only in the Greensboro area, but around the nation. I looking forward to teaming up with you one day!

  10. Probably shouldn’t post on websites that “will high flying dillard” is determined to be an all time great in the sport of basketball. Just because thats so much to fill the kids mind with. He’s a nice player, but if people keep saying these things publicly, when/if he doesn’t have the offers of “any school he chooses” or become even a top player in the country, he will get a lot hate because people place these high expectations on a kid. But…he’s a 6’2 small forward in my opinion which isn’t worth much but that’s the general consensus about Will. He had a great game though.

  11. Let’s hope Will keeps on working on his outside shot, which I’m sure he will, because that outside shot helped get Reggie Dillard where he is today…Reggie was tall early and did not grow much more, but he could still shoot the lights out and even though he is currently injured and out of the Presbyterian lineup, he should make a full recovery and be back in the Blue Hose lineup next season….Soon as Reggie gets off of those crutches, I’m sure he will start a hard and strenuous rehab program….There was some more height back in the Dillard family somewhere, maybe Will will surpass the 6’2 mark…

    If he keeps playing hard he will play at the next level somewhere…..Work hard Will and I’m sure he will…Will has big feet, but it seems most basketball players all do…..Nice shoes too…..

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