Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hoop Group Elite Camp Recap

As the “live” recruiting season for college coaches came to a close at the end of July, there was still one event to attend: the Hoop Group Elite Camp in Ewing, New Jersey.

Coaches from a variety of levels gathered at The College of New Jersey from July 28-31 to watch and scout upwards of 125 players, most of which came from Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. It was more of a camp environment, as the teams had stations and drills to participate in, as well as practices with the teams they were placed on. Furthermore, the players stayed in the dorms at TCNJ, and ate meals in the dining hall.

Although some of the top players who were expected to come were at tournaments in other locales across the country, there was still plenty of talent on-hand to watch.


Aaric Murray (6-foot-10): Murray is quickly developing into one of the best, and most-wanted, big men in the country. He is very athletic at both ends of the floor, crashing the offensive glass and finishing at one end, and blocking shots at the other. He goes up strong offensively and can finish aggressively. He also has a developing face-up and mid-range game to keep defenders honest. He is hungry for the ball and is very solid rebounding the ball. Murray has a strong body and can dominate the paint.

Coaches such as Fred Hill Jr, Bob Huggins and Jamie Dixon were all front and center watching Murray on Wednesday.

School List: Temple, LaSalle, Villanova, St. Joseph’s, West Virginia, St. John’s, Kentucky, Rutgers, Connecticut, Marquette, Indiana, Pittsburgh, among others

Devon Saddler (6-foot-2): The first thing one notices about Aberdeen (MD) product is his body: he is very strong and has broad shoulders. The 6′2 guard is a difficult match-up because of his strength and build. He has a good handle and can get into the lane against defenders. Furthermore, he can finish around the rim against shot-blockers. He is not afraid to shoot the ball from behind the arc, and has solid range. He runs the floor well, and made several nice passes in transition. A very strong July has new mid-majors entering his recruiting picture nearly every day.

School List: Central Florida, DePaul, TCU, Providence, Quinnipiac, Towson, and Drexel

Erique Gumbs (6-foot-8): Going up against Murray, one might assume that Gumbs was at a disadvantage – not so fast. Gumbs more than held his own against the more heralded Murray, blocking shots on the defensive end and finishing strong around the rim offensively. He is very long and is a very good defender and rebounder. Although he does not run the floor that well, he is athletic and can sky for loose balls and finishes. Gumbs doesn’t get great position offensively in the post, but he can get the ball and turn to the basket. Once he gets the ball down low, though, he is difficult to defend. However, his teammates had a very tough time entering the ball to Gumbs in position for him to score.

School List: George Mason, Providence and Towson are his current leaders and Pittsburgh, Penn State, George Washington, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, Delaware, Delaware State, Temple and Penn are others showing various degrees of interest.

Calvin Newell (6-foot-1): A strong point guard from Pennsylvania, Newell constantly showed the ability to get to the basket and finish around the rim. He has a nice build and is more muscular and stronger than other point guards. He is also very quick, and is difficult to stay in front of. He is a physical defender and can push opponents off the ball just by bodying them up. He is a very good passer who has solid vision, both in the half court and on the break. However, he had a tendency to make lazy entry passes at times.

School List: Newell indicated that Siena and Seton Hall were his top two and others of interest included Robert Morris, Miami (Fl.), St. Francis (Pa.), Quinnipiac and Providence.

Raynor Moquete (6-foot-2): Heading into the game I saw Moquete in, I was informed by several people that he was somewhat inconsistent and rarely performed to his peak. Afterwards, it was obvious they were wrong – on this day, at least. Moquete absolutely put on a show. He was knocking down shots from everywhere on the court: three-pointers in a half court setting; deep pull-up jumpers in transition; fade aways from the corner; mid-range jump shots; tough shots in the lane; finishes around the basket. He also plays solid defense, and can handle and pass the ball.

School List: Davidson, Virginia Commonwealth, Pittsburgh, NJIT, Princeton, Fordham, Florida International, Manhattan

Adam Johnson (6-foot-6): On the opening play of the game, Johnson was beat on a backdoor pass. However, after that, I’m not sure Johnson made another mistake. He is extremely athletic and can really finish around the rim. He takes it to the basket strong and can get shots off even with contact. He is a match-up problem due to his skill set, versatility and 6-6 size. He has a good pull-up jumper and is scrappy on the glass. He hustles and plays solid defense.

School List: Texas A&M, Florida State (favorite) North Carolina St., South Alabama

Isaiah Philmore (6-foot-7): Clearly one of the more talented players at the camp, Philmore does everything well but did not really dominate as much as he could have. Offensively, he has a versatile game, showing the ability to score in a variety of ways. He can post-up defenders, as well as take them off the dribble and finish around the rim. Philmore also had a nice mid-range game and has a decent stroke. In general, he is a major match-up problem for defenders. Defensively, he is a good shot-blocker that changes shots with his athleticism. He can rebound at both ends very well, and can also handle the ball and pass. He runs the floor well, is unselfish and hustles for loose balls.

School List: Virginia Tech, Virginia, South Florida, Providence, Massachusetts, George Washington, Michigan, Temple, Saint Joseph’s, Auburn, Kansas State, Central Florida

Brandon Romain (6-foot-2): The lefty guard is very impressive going to the basket, and is nearly impossible to keep out of the paint. He can finish in a variety of ways, including reverse lay-ups and leaners in the lane. He also can shoot the ball from the perimeter, not allowing defenders to sag off of him. Romain has a decent handle and can pass the ball well. On the other hand, he is not effective with his right hand and goes to his left most of the time. He over dribbles at times and forces shots when he gets into the lane. In fact, he was something of a ball-hog early in the game.

School List: Rhode Island, Central Florida, St. Bonaventure, Duquesne, South Florida (favorite)


Dave Coley (6-foot-2): After seeing Coley play several times with the Juice All-Stars, his AAU team, and then seeing him at the Elite Camp, one thing is clear: Coley might be one of the most versatile players in New York City. With Juice, he plays forward and can even bang inside. At the camp, however, he was strictly a point guard – and a very good one at that. He is very strong and quick, and is very difficult to stop going to the basket. He has decent range, but is clearly better when taking defenders off the dribble. He leads the break very well, and his athleticism allows him to corral rebounds at one end, go coast-to-coast quickly, and finish strong. He is also a good defender who picks up steals. One negative, though, is the fact he is always talking (i.e. complaining) to the referees.

School List: Hofstra, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence, Lehigh

Anthony Mayo (6-foot-7): Despite having only one school showing real interest right now (Mount St. Mary’s), Mayo should expect the offers to pile in sooner rather than later. He is an outstanding rebounder at both ends of the floor, and really controlled the glass. He is only 6-7, but plays like a player a few inches taller. He is athletic and long, and can grab boards over most opponents. Offensively, he is still developing but he showed the ability to finish around the rim. He runs the floor well, but needs to work on his hands.


Isaiah Morton (5-foot-8): Forget his height – Morton can flat-out play. He is extremely quick and has a very fast handle that is tough for defenders to keep up with. He has great vision to find the open man, and is a very good passer. He is shifty with his dribble and is difficult to contain on the perimeter and in the lane. He is not afraid to drive to the basket and can finish against bigger defenders. Morton is also a decent albeit inconsistent three-point shooter, and can pull-up for mid-range jumpers. He has a surprisingly strong-looking body and does not back down despite being undersized.

School List: Maryland, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Villanova, Saint Joseph’s


  1. i just got into high school basketball.i just seen this kid from philly,a point guard name DESHON'BIGGIE'MINNIS.i think will be the best point guard in the country.he's in the 2010 class.i haven't seen much on him on the net.i guess he's under the radar at the moment.the way he plays he can't be under the radar to long.

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  3. happened to be in town for the july 28-31 hoop group elite camp.saw alot of talent,they had east and west divisions both very the west saw a 5'10 point guard class of 2011 trevor gilliam from powhatan,va. who was a beast floor leader,quick hands,lightning
    quick up the floor good finisher and deep range on his jumpshot.he made the all star team and well he should .not on the internet sites but should be he is a player.ran the pick and roll like a college player,cant believe he has a year left goes to a school called blessed sacrament huegonot in va.way underrated for his ability a under the radar prospect for real