Austin Rivers and JP Tokoto are definitely the real deal. Yesterday, at the Brandon Jennings Invitational, I had the pleasure of being courtside while JP Tokoto and Austin Rivers showed their skills against two elite teams.
Tokoto played against Lincoln (Brooklyn, NY) and Rivers played against Boys and Girls (Brooklyn, NY).
Tokoto didn’t start or play the first quarter; apparently he missed a team meeting while getting his hair cut. Roy Williams, UNC Basketball Coach, probably was not too pleased, as he had come solely to watch Tokoto play.
Tokoto still impressed the crowd, filled to capacity, as the Tokoto and Rivers games drew nearer. In the end Tokoto’s team lost, most likely due to the fact that Tokoto had not played the whole first quarter and Lincoln built a lead. He finished with 22 points, many coming off of mid-range shots right in his defender's face.
Two things that impressed me most about Tokoto were his ability to shoot with defenders in his face and the fact that he got rebounds over Lincoln’s seven-foot tall Jordan Dickerson. Tokoto could be one of those 6’6" guys that average near double-doubles. Depending where he goes after his senior season and who they have down low, Tokoto could pull down eight to 10 rebounds per game. He will definitely have success in the NBA as well.
It became established that the reason most people were there was for Austin Rivers. I look over at one of the doors leading to the locker room and suddenly there were 100-200 kids swarming the entrance. In the midst of the madness I saw Mr. Austin Rivers signing autographs.
As the Winter Park game drew closer, even more fans filled the gym, with some standing on the sides and others standing in the entrances. Rivers had packed the gym, and these fans wanted a good show from Rivers and his team.
Rivers did not disappoint. It was the only close game of the day, being decided by a last second putback made by Jeffland Neverson of Boys & Girls. The guards of Boys & Girlswho were defending Rivers did all they could, but the Duke-bound star still scored an event-high 35 points, even though there was a hand or two in his face every time he shot. Twelve of Rivers’ 35 points came off of three-pointers, a few being far enough back to be considered a three in the NBA. The game was so good that two MVP awards were given with Rivers getting the MVP for Winter Park and Mike Taylor (Rutgers) for Boys & Girls.
Cameras from Fox Sports Net were taping the game, so check your local listings to see this thrilling game and to also see if the shot at the end counted.
Other notable players were; Mike Taylor, Boys & Girls, finished with 17 points; Aaron Brown (College: West Virginia) , Penn Wood, finished with 21 points; Mycheal Henry (College: Illinois), Chicago Orr, finished with 24 points; and Shakir Brown, St. Frances, finished with 27 points.