Tokoto gets lots of attention

Staff WritersJune 18, 2010 

— North Carolina's Roy Williams didn't wait long to call J.P. Tokoto.

Just one minute after NCAA rules allowed coaches to call Class of 2012 prospects for the first time on Tuesday, Williams was on the phone with Tokoto, a 6-foot-6 wing from Monomonee Falls, Wis. Williams offered Tokoto a scholarship. By the end of the day, coaches from Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Miami and Texas also had called to offer scholarships.

"It's definitely flattering to hear from all these coaches," Tokoto said Thursday at the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp at the University of Virginia.

Tokoto had spoken with Williams before Tuesday, but he said that was only during phone calls initiated by Tokoto, in accordance with NCAA rules. Tokoto said he has been impressed with how Williams inquires about his family and academics rather than just basketball.

"North Carolina itself, it's just a very historical school," Tokoto said. "Being shown interest even as a sophomore, it's just amazing. I didn't take it in until I got the actual offer, and I was just like, 'Wow.'"

Duke offered Tokoto a scholarship even earlier, after he attended the Blue Devils' elite camp last summer.

Tokoto hasn't narrowed his list of prospective schools, and said he doesn't want to show any favorites at this point.

Pack's class impresses Bello: Deuce Bello, a combo guard from Greensboro, has N.C. State on his list of college choices with three other ACC teams, Cleveland State and Baylor.

Bello said the addition of freshmen Ryan Harrow, C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown helps the Wolfpack's chances.

"That helps them a lot," said Bello, who's ranked No. 91 in the class of 2011. "Especially Ryan Harrow and C.J. Leslie, that's a great combo right there."

Bello scored 10 points for the Jazz in the first game on Thursday morning in a 100-75 loss to the Rockets.

Bello teamed with ACC targets Tyler Lewis (Wake Forest, N.C. State, Virginia), Cody Zeller (Wake Forest, UNC) and Adjehi Baru (Maryland, Virginia Tech) and showed a surprising ability to create shots for others.

At 6-3, Bello has a skinny frame and long arms. He's more of a scoring guard than a point guard, but he's working on his passing, he said.

"I was trying to get everyone involved," Bello said.

Bello said he has already visited Clemson and plans to visit Maryland, Miami, Baylor, Cleveland State and N.C. State.

The Wolfpack, which has four scholarships available for the class of 2011, has offered him a scholarship, he said.

One potential factor in Bello's college choice - he calls Brian Clifton his "mentor." Clifton, a club team coach, also helped former Raleigh prep star John Wall in his recruiting process.

Hokies unlikely choice for Lewis: Virginia Tech offered Tyler Lewis a scholarship when the Statesville guard was in eighth grade. Lewis doesn't think he'll end playing college basketball for the Hokies, though.

"They picked up [Charlotte native] Marquis Rankin," said Lewis, who's one of the top point guards in the class of 2012. "He's a point guard in the class of 2011, so they really don't need one in the class of 2012."

Lewis didn't rule out playing his college ball in the ACC or Virginia.

"I like coach [Tony] Bennett a lot," Lewis said. "He's a good guy."

UVa is latecomer to the Lewis party. The 5-11 pass-first point guard lists Charlotte, N.C. State and Wake Forest as possible choices.

"It's too early," said Lewis, who finished his sophomore season at Forsyth Country Day.

jp.giglio@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8938

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