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April 20, 2008

Howard Pulley takes Kingwood crown

HOUSTON, TEXAS-A talented, deep and disciplined Howard Pulley squad cruised to a Kingwood Classic championship behind the steady play of Royce White.

As one of the tournaments most consistently productive players, White was the go-to guy once again for Howard Pulley in its 69-58 win over Team Jones. In a game where the outcome was never in doubt after the opening buckets, White scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Throughout the event White found different ways of scoring. He attacked the basket from the high post with strong dribble moves and wheeled for buckets with his back to the basket in the low post. Then to top it off, he shot the ball well from the wing.

An extremely efficient player who avoids negative plays, White has a Chuck Hayes/Carlos Boozer quality to his game.

One of the best athletes in the 2009 class, Howard Pulley's Rodney Williams appears to be in the process of finding more ways to utilize his athleticism. His defense is improving as his four blocks in the championship game attests to. He also scored 11 points on 5-6 shooting in the final, but failed to utilize his athleticism on the boards, going without a single rebound in the game.

Team Jones was paced by talented 2010 prospect Terrance Jones. The 6-foot-7 lefty guard started out hot, scoring Team Jones' first seven points of the game. Playing the point the majority of the time while on the court, Jones appeared to fatigue and finished with 12 points on 5-9 shooting. Three of his four misses were the product of settling for contested three-pointers instead of attacking the rim.

Team Jones post player Steven Bjornstad contributed eight points on 4-6 shooting, seven rebounds and three blocks. At 6-foot-10, Bjornstad is skilled around the basket and difficult to score over. Reluctant to take an outside shot, Bjornstad also needs to gain a tougher edge to his play, especially as a rebounder, but expect him to be pursued by high majors.

Athletic 2010 wing Terrance Ross struggled for Team Jones, scoring only five points on 2-7 shooting.

Howard Pulley gained its berth into the finals with a 64-58 win over Branch West Seniors in the semifinals. White led Howard Pulley with 16 points.

Team Jones took down the Carolina Celtics 66-53 in its semifinals game. Ross led Team Jones with 11 points while Jones and Bjornstad scored ten points each.

The Cetltics were paced by Khris Middleton with 13 points. The long wing has a smooth stroke from outside and can also do damage in the midrange.

Some loose change

Look for Kansas State to make a strong push for a commitment from Latavious Williams, who was one of the top talents in the event.

Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith took in the Howard Pulley games on Sunday. Minnesota is a likely destination for Royce White and Rodney Williams.

Recent Clemson commitment Milton Jennings looked the part of a top 2009 prospect Sunday. During one stretch, the 6-foot-9 skilled four man knocked down a three from the wing then stole a pass on the press and dribbled right into a pull up three that went down. Next possession he was down on the block and sank a turnaround baseline jumper.


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