Tracking the College Stars of the Future
Saturday, March 16, 2002
By Thad Mumau
Courting Brawny Enloe Junior
East Carolina has a real shot at one of the
best of a very good crop of high school junior basketball players in North
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
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
"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.
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."
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02/23/2007 02:39:43 PM