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Tracking the College Stars of the Future
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Hoops Recruiting Report
Saturday, March 16, 2002

By Thad Mumau
Special Correspondent

East Carolina Courting Brawny Enloe Junior

©2002 Bonesville.net

East Carolina has a real shot at one of the best of a very good crop of high school junior basketball players in North Carolina.

Anthony "P.J." Tucker is a 6-5, 240-pound forward with a small forward’s height and a power forward’s physique. Calling him a combination forward is quite accurate because he has a combination game.

Tucker averaged 24.6 points, 13 rebounds and two rebounds this past season for Raleigh (NC) Enloe High School, which finished 17-7. Five of the losses were to teams that made the state playoffs. Enloe lost in the second round of the 4-A playoffs after going 10-0 in the Triangle Alliance Conference.

Tucker had a phenomenal season. Double-doubles were nothing for him; in fact, he was a 20-20 guy in several games — scoring at least 20 points and grabbing 20 or more rebounds. He pulled down 23 against Leesville Road and 22 against Raleigh Broughton (with 6-10 Duke-bound Shavlik Randolph) as a sophomore.

There were many highlight performances for Tucker during his junior season, but the best might have come against Garner when he threw in 38 points and had 24 boards. He scored more than 30 points six times this past season.

"He is a tremendous rebounder," Enloe coach Tommy Moore said. "P.J. just wants the ball more than anyone else, and that’s one reason he gets it so much of the time. He is all over the boards. He jumps pretty well and is a quick jumper. He can go up, come down and get back up again while most guys haven’t gotten up the second time.

"P.J. is also as strong as can be. He bench presses around 230 pounds, and we’re hoping he will be up to 300 by the time he’s a senior. His strength really shows when he is up in the air extended. A lot of players will get knocked off the ball while they are in the air. But he gets hit while he’s up there, and it doesn’t faze him."

Although he is very strong, Tucker does basketball’s finesse things well.

"He handles the ball extremely well," Moore said. "Sometimes the pressure was tough, and P.J. helped get the ball up the court for us. Despite his size, he is not slow and really has pretty good quickness.

"He made some incredible moves in transition, including some spin moves that were unbelievable. I think he could play on the perimeter. He scores a lot inside, but he also has a good jump shot. He has quick feet and can go out and guard people out on the floor."

East Carolina has offered Tucker a scholarship and so has UNC-Wilmington, but they have considerable competition.

"Wake Forest and Clemson have hinted that they will offer," Moore said, "and P.J. has heard from Cincinnati, Saint Louis and Florida State. There have been occasional letters from Duke. Coaches from Charlotte, East Carolina, UNC-Wilmington, Clemson and Wake Forest have seen Tucker play."

Asked if it would be impossible for East Carolina to beat out Atlantic Coast Conference schools for Tucker, Moore replied, "No, not at all.

"I think P.J. is the type of kid who wants to play right away. So he will be looking at his opportunities. I don’t think he will choose a school just because it’s in the ACC.

"Besides, Conference USA is a great conference, too. Playing people like Cincinnati, Louisville and teams like that would make for a strong schedule."

The Enloe coach said he thinks Tucker and Corey Rouse are friends. Rouse, a 6-7 small forward from Kinston (NC) High, signed with the Pirates in November.

"I don’t see P.J. committing before next year," Moore said. "He has some work to do in the classroom in order to qualify (for freshman eligibility)."

Tucker has taken the SAT once and fell short of the required score of 820.

"He hasn’t made any kind of list," Moore said. "He went to East Carolina for a game and liked it there. But there is no leader or anything like that right now."

Send an e-mail message to Thad Mumau.

Click here to dig into Thad Mumau's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 02:39:43 PM
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