Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tigers join the race for Oladipo

Note: This article was originally published at

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – In order for Missouri basketball to be successful, it needs athletic wings who can create turnovers defensively and run the floor on the offensive end.

Victor Oladipo fits both of those descriptions perfectly.

Oladipo, a 6-5 swingman from DeMatha (Md.) who plays AAU for Team Takeover (D.C.), is a defensive menace who racks up steals and blocks at a high rate. He is very active in the passing lanes and forces deflections and turnovers with his pressure and athleticism. Oladipo is also solid on the glass despite his size.

Offensively, he is deceptively quick and can get to the rim on most defenders. Oladipo is a tremendous finisher who dunks with authority and can also hit the three.

More importantly, however, he is unselfish and a team-first player.

“I wanted to make a name for myself and my team,” Oladipo said after Takeover’s win over Houston Hoops in the semifinals of the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando. “We have been underrated all season long, and now we have a chance to win the whole thing. I’ve played pretty well, pretty solid, but I’m just trying to win games.”

Team Takeover would go on to defeat Team STAT/Each One Teach One in the championship game – Takeover’s U-16 team also won their age group’s title.

The 2010 prospect, ranked as the No. 27 shooting guard in the class, had a long list of potential suitors, including a particular Big 12 school: Indiana, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Providence, George Mason, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Clemson, Missouri, Charlotte and Auburn.

“[Missouri] started recruiting me after the Peach Jam,” Oladipo said, referring to the NIKE AAU tournament held in South Carolina earlier this month. “They like to run with a lot of pressing; they play at a high level. I guess they think I suit their style of play. I like their style of play and I’m looking forward to getting to know them better.”

He added that the Tigers have offered him a scholarship and he might check out the Columbia campus with DeMatha teammate Justin Black, who is from Missouri.

“Yeah, he moved here from there but I might visit this month,” Oladipo said.

Oladipo plans on cutting down his list to 10 at the end of July.

“I want to go somewhere where I can make an impact as a person and as a player right away,” he said. “Somewhere I can call home.

“I want to go where it’s best for me, where it’s the best situation.”

NIKE Peach Jam, July 14

This article was originally written on July 14.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – As the Nike Peach Jam rolled on into day three, it is becoming clear that injuries are becoming the major theme of the tournament. Brandon Knight broke his foot on the first night of the tournament, while Harrison Barnes injured a finger on his non-shooting hand on the first day. James McAdoo has a torn labrum, and 2012 talent Michael Gbinije has a stiff back and tendinitis in both knees. Anthony Wroten sprained his ankle and has been hampered, while Josh Smith is recovering from getting his tonsils removed. Austin Rivers missed most of the second half of last night’s game with a bout of food poisoning, while Reggie Smith also missed a game yesterday with allergy problems.

Even with the bumps in the road, there has still been plenty of fantastic performances and marquee games to watch. Here’s a look at some more of the top players and recruiting notes:

Andre Stringer, 5-10, Jackson Tigers, 2010: Watched Stringer play twice this week. In the first match-up, he was not aggressive and didn’t seem to do much offensively. However, he really came alive today. He does need to work on his left hand as he is very right-heavy, but he is nearly unstoppable when his shot is on. At one point, he knocked down several straight three-pointers, and also got fouled shooting a three. Stringer can pull up from deep and has tremendous range. He also has solid vision and can get to the rack.

Johnny O’Bryant, 6-10, Jackson Tigers, 2011: O’Bryant is a very highly-touted player in the class of 2011, but he was disappointing for the most part. Defensively, he is athletic and can alter and block shots, and he is fairly solid on the glass. However, he was invisible offensively, scoring just six points in his final three games of the tournament. O’Bryant did not see many touches down low and also did not even start for the Tigers.

Kyle Wiltjer, 6-9, Oakland Soldiers 2011: Wiltjer is going to be excellent offensively at the next level. He has great size for his position, as he plays on the wing and has a versatile offensive game. He can be a face-up four-man or even transition to the three if necessary. Wiltjer is a very good three-point shooter who can also run the floor and finish at the basket. He can also post-up smaller defenders and get points in the lane.

Jabari Brown, 6-4, Oakland Soldiers, 2011: A very strong point guard, Brown is a good ball-handler who can get past defenders and into the lane to create shots for himself and his teammates. He has a good build and good size for his position. Brown also has deep range and a nice stroke from three-point range. Defensively, he uses his strength well on the ball.

Jerian Grant, 6-4, Team Takeover, 2010: Grant is developing into a major talent for the D.C.-based Takeover squad, which was the only team to go 5-0 in pool play. He is fast with the ball and is strong going to the basket. Grant can take defenders off the dribble and finish at the rim. He had several nice drives, and also can shoot threes from the perimeter. Defensively, he is aggressive and racks up steals.

Dwayne Polee, 6-7, California Supreme, 2010: When watching Polee, one immediately notices his outstanding length and athleticism. Furthermore, he is a tremendous leaper and finisher who can jump out of the gym. As a result of his natural abilities, he is also excellent on the glass and can block shots because of his reach. Polee has improved his all-around game, getting better at handling the ball and beating defenders for drives. He also can shoot the three on occasion.

Kevin Johnson, 6-9, California Supreme, 2011:
With so much perimeter talent on the roster, Johnson is a perfect complement down low. He is very big and can take up space in the paint. Johnson gets good position in the paint and can catch the ball on the low block. He has some nice post moves and will get points at the rim. Defensively, he is solid and bodies up opponents. Johnson also does a great job keeping the ball up on rebounds.

Shane Southwell, 6-6, New York Gauchos, 2010: Southwell was not very involved on the first day of the tournament, but played much better against All-Ohio Red today. He showed his ball-handling ability and very versatile, all-around game. Southwell hit the game-typing lay-up to bring the Gauchos even late in the game – a contest the Gauchos won when Doron Lamb was fouled on a three-pointer with 0.2 seconds left. Southwell can defend multiple positions and can distribute. However, he turns the ball over too often, getting charges in the lane and throwing errant passes.

Recruiting Notes:

- Marquis Teague: Earlier in the tournament, there was an update on his Facebook saying that he was committing. However, he denied that he was indeed making a decision. “I didn’t write that,” Teague said. “One of my friends did.”
- His list includes Louisville, Ohio State, Indiana, Wake Forest, Purdue, Kentucky
- He said he’s wide-open, but wants to commit before his high school season.

- A source close to Virginia told me that the Cavaliers looking at Matt Derenbecker of Louisiana Select and Justin Miller of St. Louis Eagles 16s. Both attended the Virginia Elite Camp. (Update: Derenbecker committed to LSU shortly after the Peach Jam).

- Jeremy Lamb: Clemson, Connecticut, VCU, Florida State

- Michael Gilchrist: Said that he is wide-open, contrary to popular belief that he is down to Villanova and Kentucky. He also wants to take visits in August, but does not know where yet.

- Jerian Grant: Notre Dame, Providence, Villanova, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Virginia, Virginia Tech
- Wants to see Providence, Oklahoma State and Virginia in August

- Kyle Wiltjer: All the Pac-10 schools, as well as Kansas, Florida, Kentucky
- He’s been to Oregon, Oregon State, and Kansas for its Elite Camp

- Brice Kofane: Harvard, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Wake Forest, Virginia, Miami (Fl.)

- Melsahn Basabe, 6-7, New York Gauchos, 2010: Said he has 11 new offers since his MVP performance at the Hoop Group Elite Camp, including George Washington, Siena, St. John’s, Boston University, St. Bonaventure, Northeastern and Fairfield

- Dwayne Polee: Said he is still committed to USC, but is also interested in UNLV and Arizona
- Said he will make a final decision at the end of the summer

- Nerlens Noel: Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas, Memphis, Indiana, Providence, Wake Forest, Miami
- Said he is getting interest and letters from about 15 schools
- Would prefer to play in the ACC or Big East

- Carlton Brundidge: Top five is Michigan, Michigan State, Miami, Iowa, Syracuse
- Has visited Michigan and Michigan State, and would like to see Miami, Iowa and Syracuse this summer

- Shannon Scott: Clemson, Wake Forest, Connecticut, Florida State, Miami (Fl.), Georgia Tech, Alabama, Georgetown, Syracuse – basically the entire ACC besides Duke
- Has visited Clemson, Georgia Tech and Alabama

- Kevin Johnson: USC, Oregon State, UCLA, Texas – will visit the Longhorns next month

- Trevor Cooney, 6-3, Team Final, 2011: Syracuse, Villanova, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Virginia, Ohio State, West Virginia, Rutgers, Delaware, Maryland
- Has seen them all but Ohio State, but plans on checking out the Buckeyes soon

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NIKE Peach Jam, July 13

This article was originally written on July 13.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – The Nike Peach Jam continued on Monday, as elite AAU teams from across the country got more comfortable and acclimated with the surroundings and facilities – and it showed in the level of play. There were more close games, better-played games and plenty of marquee match-ups. For Big East fans, a big-time battle ensued when the New York Gauchos took on the Playaz, while the Albany City Rocks also took on Team Final. One of the more interesting moments I’ve ever seen in an AAU game occurred in the Gauchos-Playaz game, when NY’s Doron Lamb literally stood near half-court and held the ball for the last five-plus minutes of the first half – for no apparent reason, other than the coaching staff telling him to.

There were plenty of other interesting games and performances throughout the day; here’s a look at some of the major players:

Tobias Harris, 6-8, Albany City Rocks, 2010: Was very, very impressive throughout the day. In his opening game today, despite the loss to Team Final, Harris was exceptional. He showed his complete repertoire, hitting threes from the corner with consistency, as well as getting baskets around the rim off of rebounds or penetration. Harris finished very well at the basket, and was not discouraged even after getting blocked by Mike Gilchrist or Rakeem Christmas. Apparently, he was even better in his second game. “He played good in the first game? Well, he played great [in the night game],” said an ACC head coach.

Brice Kofane, 6-8, Albany City Rocks, 2010: One of the more surprising performers of the day, Kofane didn’t do much offensively – but he didn’t need to. He was absolutely outstanding at the other end, coming in and immediately blocking three consecutive shots against Team Final. He was also a very good rebounder and caused problems all day on the interior. Offensively, he got good position and showed good vision, and even got a few baskets off of offensive rebounds and put-backs.

Rakeem Christmas, 6-9, Team Final, 2011: Christmas didn’t do much offensively against the City Rocks, outside of a few dunks and finishes at the rim. He also ran the floor pretty well, enabling him to get easy points in transition. However, he was outstanding on the defensive end, blocking shot after shot. His length and reach make it difficult for people to go up against him and score, while his athleticism helps him control the glass.

Mike Gilchrist, 6-7, Team Final, 2011: Arguably the best player in the nation regardless of class, Gilchrist showed why during his morning game. He was outstanding offensively, getting to the basket at will and finishing effectively. Gilchrist also got fouled often, and showed off his nice free-throw touch. He was also a menace on the backboards at both ends, and had multiple blocks, including back-to-back blocks of Harris.

Terrence Jones, 6-9, I-5 Elite, 2010: The lefty admittedly did not have a very good offensive performance, but he was solid on the glass and played well defensively. However, I would have liked to see a lot more from him at the offensive end. Jones did not use his size very well, not taking advantage of his edge in height against smaller defenders. When he got the ball, he was not aggressive and did not look for his shot. Defensively, though, Jones blocked several shots and rebounded well.

Brian Richardson, 6-5, Boo Williams, 2010: Richardson was one of the more impressive shooters all day. He was outstanding from behind the arc, although he did get a little shot-happy at times. He has a very nice stroke and deep range, and could also catch and shoot in transition. Furthermore, Richardson showed the ability to take the ball to the basket if a defender does not respect his dribble-drive enough. He also made a couple of solid passes.

Jeremy Lamb, 6-4, Georgia Stars, 2010: One of the biggest surprises of the day, Lamb had a fantastic offensive game and could start seeing some high-major interest if he continues to play like this. According to a high school coach in Georgia, Lamb “killed” them twice during the season and is only getting better. He is long and athletic and can score in a variety of ways. He had several strong takes to the basket and was effective finishing. Lamb can also shoot mid-range and three-point jumpers, and he played well on the glass and defensively, too.

Mike Shaw, 6-8, Mac Irvin Fire, 2011: Despite playing on a loaded Mac Irvin team, Shaw stood out. He is long, versatile and athletic, and he played well at both ends of the court. He had a couple of nice blocks and also guarded the ball well, getting very low in a defensive stance. He played the passing lanes well, and also led a fast break after a steal. He is very solid going to the rim and will drive into traffic if necessary.

Wayne Blackshear, 6-5, Mac Irvin Fire, 2011: Blackshear is a very physical, strong wing who takes it to the basket very well and can finish with contact. He has three-point range, but struggled with his shot today. When driving the lane, though, he is shifty and unpredictable; however, he missed a couple of easy lay-ups today, though. Blackshear is athletic and can run the floor for transition baskets.

Carlton Brundidge, 6-2, The Family U-16, 2011: A well-built, strong-bodied guard, Brundidge is an excellent penetrator who can really get to the basket. Furthermore, Brundidge has deep range and will shoot from three consistently. He can penetrate to the rim and dish it off to teammates for open shots. Brundidge is quick with the ball and shields it well when driving. Defensively, he picks up steals and plays passing lanes well.

Savon Goodman, 6-5, Team Final U-16, 2011: Goodman is apparently receiving high-major and Big East interest, but I was not very impressed with him today. He does not move well without the ball at all, and mostly just stood in the post waving his hand for the ball. He does get good position and uses his size well, but he didn’t get enough touches. When he did, though, he attacked the rim and also made a few nice passes from the high post.

Rod Days, 6-7, Team Florida U-16, 2011:
When watching Days, one immediately notices that he has excellent size for his position. He is long and athletic and can do a lot of things. Days has good dribbling ability, but he knows his limits – he does not hesitate to pass the ball off to a smaller guard. Offensively, he did not show much aggressiveness or utilize his size advantage, but he was very good at the other end of the floor.

Bradley Beal, 6-3, St. Louis Eagles U-16, 2011: Beal, one of the more highly-touted players in the class of 2011 (and probably should be playing on the U-17 Eagles, who could clearly use him), showed off his outstanding shooting ability in his game. He loves hanging out on the wing and getting kick outs or passes in transition so he can hit open shots. He also had a couple of nice baseline drives that led to points. Beal is athletic and can change his shot when in the air. His jump shot, though, is his best asset: he has nice rotation and release, and he gets very nice lift.

Nerlens Noel, 6-9, BABC U-16, 2012: Noel is a fast-riser in the class of 2012 and showed immense potential today. The New Englander is very long and lanky, but he is extremely athletic and mobile for a player his age and size. He can block shots and rebound inside and also showed a nose for the ball when contesting passes to the wings. Noel can run the floor and has solid hands. He can also finish and dunk well down low.

Shannon Scott, 6-2, Southern Kings U-16, 2011: Coming off of a very impressive performance on Sunday, Scott followed it up with another good showing today. He has very good size for a point guard, and he has a good build. Scott is long and can defend, playing solid on-the-ball as well as when guarding passing lanes. He can handle the rock and break pressure by himself, and is also a good distributor. He is a good playmaker and has a nice stroke. However, Scott did dribble himself into trouble at times, leaving himself vulnerable to traps.

Amir Williams, 6-10, The Family U-16, 2011: Williams was not as immediately impressive as his teammate Brundidge, but he has more potential due to his size and skill set. He is tall and long, and he has good physical tools. Williams runs the floor well and also showed some dribbling ability. Offensively, he gets good position and can turn to the basket and finish. On the defensive end, he has good reach and can block shots and rebound.

Recruiting Notes:

- Harrison Barnes: North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Kansas, UCLA, Stanford, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota
- Has visited all of those places besides Oklahoma, it seems
- He said he’s wide-open and not favoring Duke and Kansas

- Tobias Harris: Connecticut, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Florida, Kentucky, Memphis, Notre Dame, Tennessee, West Virginia, Maryland, Louisville
- Has visited Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, and wants to see Kentucky
- Plans on cutting his list to five or six schools after July

- Terrence Jones: Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Georgetown, Marquette, Maryland, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, UCLA, USC, California, Texas, Kansas – all have offered besides Duke and UNC
- Has taken visits to North Carolina, Georgetown, California and Oregon State
- Will narrow list at the end of the summer

- Cameron Clark: Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Arizona State, Memphis, Kentucky, Kansas, Arkansas
- Has visited Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, will check out Arizona and Arizona State soon

- Justin Anderson, 6-6, Boo Williams, 2012: Texas, North Carolina, Duke, Oklahoma, Georgetown, Villanova
- Top three are Texas, North Carolina and Oklahoma
- Has visited North Carolina and Georgetown

- Rod Days: Louisville, Miami, South Carolina, Florida State, Florida, Stanford, Oklahoma, Delaware
- Has visited Louisville, Connecticut, South Carolina, Florida State and Miami, and wants to see Florida
- Top three are South Carolina, Louisville and Stanford

- Doron Lamb: Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma, Marquette, Connecticut, Arizona, Rutgers, St. John’s
- Recently visited Kentucky, and enjoyed his time there
- Has also visited Louisville, but said he does want to go to school there
- Wants to visit Kansas and Oklahoma

- Mike Shaw: USC, Florida, Texas, Louisville, Illinois, Ohio State
- Has visited Texas and Louisville, wants to see Florida and USC
- Said he would like to play in college with teammate Wayne Blackshear; he said they saw Louisville and Texas together

- Michael Gbinije: Did not list any schools, but said he is interested in playing in the ACC

Monday, July 27, 2009

NIKE Peach Jam, July 12

This article was originally written on July 12.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – The premier AAU tournament during the season kicked off today in North Augusta, South Carolina, where 24 of the best Nike travel teams were invited to participate in a four-day tournament, better known as the Peach Jam. There is also a U-16 division, where 16 teams will battle in a “Sweet Sixteen” tournament.

As usual, the Peach Jam brought together every big-time coach in the country, as well as the top talent in the classes of 2010, 2011 and 2012. If one uses’s rankings, the top three players in the class of 2010 are in attendance, as well as five of the top 10 and 11 of the top 20. In the class of 2011, six of the top 10 players will participate, while several of the more highly-touted members of the class of 2012 are also here.

Here’s a look at some of the top performers on day one that NBE checked out:

Doron Lamb, 6-4, New York Gauchos, 2010: Lamb is such a smooth offensive player who can glide to the basket when driving through the lane. He is a very good finisher who can score with contact. Lamb’s length enables him to be a solid defender, gathering deflections and steals. He is also a decent passer who can handle. He is definitely one of the better offensive players in the class.

Jason Morris, 6-6, New York Gauchos, 2010: Morris seemed a little frustrated at times with the zone that Team Florida was playing, but his fearlessness going to the basket was noteworthy. He was not afraid at all to take on bigger defenders and got fouled several times. He was very aggressive and finished well. Morris also moves around very well without the ball.

Wilfried Yaguete, 6-7, Nike Team Florida, 2010: Yaguete was very impressive at June’s Rumble in the Bronx, but he was not as effective today. However, he was far better than teammate Anthony Lee, who could not do much against the Gauchos today. Yaguete was active on the backboards and showed a decent mid-range jumper. He is athletic and got good position for rebounds against opponents. He had some strong finishes around the basket too.

Adreian Payne, 6-9, All-Ohio Red, 2010: Payne was not impressive at all in the match-up we saw him in. He is extremely long and lanky, but rarely was involved offensively and was not aggressive when he got touches. Payne has the ability to face-up and shoot from the foul line, but his length helps him in the post when backing down defenders.

Anthony Wroten Jr., 6-5, Seattle Rotary Select, 2011: Wroten had a slow start against All Ohio Red, but he really picked it up in the second half, finishing with 13 points – 11 coming in the latter period. He was hampered by a sprained ankle, so he had difficulty driving to the basket, but he was effective on pull-up three-pointers. He is acrobatic when going to the rim, and has the ability to kick it out to an open teammate.

Josh Smith, 6-9, Seattle Rotary Select, 2010: Smith is another player who started slowly – I barely noticed him in the first half. However, in the second half, he matched Jared Sullinger fairly well. Smith had multiple blocks, and also had some solid put-backs and finishes offensively. This was his first game in weeks as he was out getting his tonsils removed, so he was still getting his legs back; he also lost 20 pounds while sitting out. As a result, his energy level seemed a little low and he struggled to keep Sullinger off the glass.

Phil Pressey, 5-10, Team Texas Elite, 2010: Pressey is a very quick point guard with excellent handle who can get to the rim whenever he wants. However, he is somewhat out of control once he beats his defenders and was caught under the rim on more than one occasion. Pressey also has decent range and can knock down threes. Once he contains his quickness, he is going to be tough to guard.

Cameron Clark, 6-6, Team Texas Elite, 2010: Clark was impressive from the opening tap. He is very athletic and can score in a variety of ways. He constantly looks to attack the basket whenever he gets the ball and is able to get into the lane against defenders. Furthermore, his explosiveness enables him to finish. He has a nice mid-range game and can also finish on the baseline. Clark is also a solid passer.

Myles Mack, 5-9, Playaz U-16, 2011: Despite a loss to Mac Irvin Fire, Mack had one of his better performances. He finished with 31 points, most coming in the second half when the Playaz needed points in a hurry. He was unstoppable, scoring in the lane against bigger defenders and with contact. He hit a three from the corner while getting fouled, pulled up and knocked down a three from about 23 feet, and also hit a fadeaway jumper off the glass. His quickness and passing ability were also on display.

Harrison Barnes, 6-8, Howard Pulley, 2010: One of the top-ranked players in the class of 2010, Barnes is hindered by the fact that his supporting cast is mediocre. They try to force him the ball, which in turn leads to double-teams and difficulty getting scoring opportunities. As is, Barnes is a phenomenal scorer who can get points in a variety of ways. He is excellent at posting up and turning to the hoop, and he can take defenders off the dribble. Barnes is also athletic and had an impressive follow dunk.

Marquis Teague, 6-0, Spiece Indy Heat, 2011: The younger brother of former Wake Forest star Jeff, Marquis is ultra quick and can get into the lane against any defender. He is very fast with the ball and can get baskets in transition on his own. Teague is quick to the rim and knows how to finish with both hands. He also had a couple of nice passes off penetration. Teague is also very good at changing directions, shifty with the ball.

DeJuan Marrero, 6-6, Spiece Indy Heat, 2012: A rising prospect, Marrero was involved in numerous plays throughout the game. He can drive to the basket, but struggled to finish at times. He can also shoot jumpers, but needs more lift and rotation on his release. Marrero is very active and can get rebounds at both ends. He picked up several offensive rebounds, and also had a very nice roll to the basket after setting a pick.

Keala King, 6-5, California Supreme, 2010: As usual, King was extremely smooth who showed the ability to get to the basket and finish with both hands. Also, King posted up on multiple occasions, either turning and scoring or kicking it out to an open teammate with his excellent vision and passing ability. King can handle the ball effectively and also is solid on the boards.

Gary Franklin, 6-2, California Supreme, 2010: The former USC commit was not as aggressive as he should have been, and he acknowledged that after the game, saying that he was trying to get his teammates more involved and passed up shots in order to accomplish that. Still, he showed his quickness and strength when going to the basket, as well as his three-point shooting ability.

Michael Gbinije, 6-6, Team Takeover, 2011: He immediately stood out as soon as I started watching Team Takeover play. He is an outstanding offensive player who can score in so many ways. His jump shots were rimming out, but he was still able to get to the basket at ease. Gbinije was very tough to stay in front of, as he is very shifty with the ball and in the lane, with jump-stops and ball fakes. He had a very impressive move under the basket for a basket.

Victor Oladipo, 6-5, Team Takeover, 2010: Oladipo is an absolute defensive menace. He is very active in the passing lanes and forces deflections and steals with his pressure and athleticism. He can also block shots and is excellent on the glass. Offensively, Oladipo is deceptively quick and can get to the rim and finish. He had multiple dunks after beating his man.

J-Mychal Reese, 6-0, Houston Hoops, 2012: A player that has been covered already for a couple of years, Reese is a dynamic lefty who can play both guard spots. He played off the ball with Houston Hoops, and showed his offensive repertoire. On one play, he double-crossed two defenders and got into the lane before failing to finish. Reese finished in transition well, and also knocked down perimeter jumpers. He also picked up a few assists.

Recruiting Notes:

Jason Morris:
Clemson, Georgia Tech and Stanford are the ones showing him the most interest, but he wants to wait and see which other schools offer.

Brandon Knight, 6-3, Team STAT (Each One Teach One), 2010: Said that he was completely wide-open, but when asked, said that Duke, Florida and Kentucky are recruiting him as hard as everyone else.

Anthony Wroten Jr.: Favorites are Villanova, Louisville, Seton Hall, St. John’s
- Said that he wants to come to the east to play college basketball

Josh Smith: Offers from every Pac-10 school, Louisville, Texas, Syracuse, North Carolina, Duke

Keala King:
Stanford, Arizona, California, Oregon State, Kentucky, Connecticut, Washington
- Has visited Stanford Elite Camp and also visited USC
- Top four are Stanford, Arizona, Oregon State, Kentucky

Gary Franklin: Washington, California, Stanford, USC, Connecticut, Arizona, Baylor, Oklahoma

Adriean Payne
: Offers from Dayton, Xavier, Arizona, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Michigan State, with interest from Florida and Connecticut.

Phil Pressey: Connecticut, Florida, Baylor, LSU, Arizona, UCLA, Missouri

AAU Super Showcase

Got back from the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando this morning after a solid four days of watching some of the best U-16 and U-17 teams and players in the country. Highly-touted prospects like Jared Sullinger, Reggie Bullock, Will Barton and Kyrie Irving represented the 2010 class, while 2011 was represented by Mike Gilchrist, Austin Rivers, Rakeem Christmas, Bradley Beal, Kentavious Caldwell and Marquis Rankin. Even 2012 stars DaJuan Coleman, L.J. Rose, J-Mychal Reese and Andre Drummond were featured.

Of course, the main story was arguably the top two AAU teams in the country -- All-Ohio Red and Team Final -- being knocked out early in bracket play. Each One Teach One -- sans Brandon Knight and James Bell -- reached the championship against Team Takeover.

In the coming days, I will have much more on the top players, teams and recruiting notes and tidbits I gathered in Lake Buena Vista at the Wide World of Sports complex at Disney.

Also, the next tournament I will be covering is the Summer in the City at St. John's University, featuring a plethora of quality teams, including New Heights, Playaz, Metro Hawks, Team Philly, Team NJ ABC, Juice All-Stars, New York Panthers, Team Phenom and Long Island Lightning. It was originally a three-day tournament, but earlier today it was announced that it would be condensed to a one-day event on Friday, focused on the U-16 and U-17 teams.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hoop Group Team Camp, July 10

This article was originally written on July 10.

READING, Pa. – With a mass exodus of players from the Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia, it was the perfect time to check out the Hoop Group Elite Team Camp at Albright College in Reading, Pa. The tournament began on Thursday, and by the time NBE arrived on Friday, pre-tournament favorites St. Patrick’s, Bishop McNamara, Neumann-Goretti, Xaverian, Jamesville-Dewitt, Roman Catholic, North Catholic, Boys & Girls and Archbishop Carroll were all already in the consolation bracket. Despite that, we were able to catch a few of those teams in the loser’s bracket, as well as the remaining top teams in the winner’s bracket.

Kyrie Irving, St. Patrick: Irving looked phenomenal in the game we saw him in, as he completely dominated a depleted Neumann-Goretti squad. He started off the game with a drive and dish for a basket, followed by a three. His most impressive play, by far, was an instance when he caught the ball behind him with his right hand, spun and switched the ball to his left hand and finished with a lay-up. He was aggressive going to the basket, was hitting his jumpers – both mid-range and behind the arc – and was distributing the ball well. Certainly the best player at the camp.

Shawn Oakman, Penn Wood: The big man did not show much offensively, but he rebounded the ball and played defense well. He blocks and alters shots, and boxes out for boards. If he was more involved offensively, he would have been more impressive, because he can pass out of the post well too.

Aaron Brown, Penn Wood: Brown looked excellent throughout the day, as he was nearly impossible to stop going to the basket. The lefty barreled his way to the rim over and over, and finished or got fouled nearly every time. He did not show much on his jump shot, and was overly selfish at times. However, when driving to the lane, he was outstanding. If he develops a jumper, he will be even better.

Joey de la Rosa, St. Raymond’s:
Similar to what we’ve seen of de la Rosa before, he struggled to finish inside but showed potential because of his size and his length. He doesn’t get position inside often enough, but had a nice pump fake and finish off of one dribble.

Nkereueum Okoro, St. Raymond’s: Okoro, who said he is attempting to make a transition from the four to the wing, struggled somewhat against Penn Wood. He worked the high post well, but seemed to force his drives to the basket. He is crafty with the ball when going to the rim and can also distribute it to his teammates. Okoro moves well without the ball and can rebound.

Daniel Stewart, Neumann-Goretti: Against Bishop McNamara, Stewart was very impressive, running up and down the floor and finishing very well inside. He also dominated the backboards and even showed a mid-range jumper. However, he struggled mightily against St. Patrick’s, who had players to match his size and athleticism. He was clearly frustrated when he could not get easy lay-ups inside, and his face-up game is still not there.

Derrick Stewart, Neumann-Goretti
: Similar to his brother, he was a lot more effective and impressive against Bishop McNamara than against St. Pat’s. He works the foul line and the high post well, and his face-up game is maturing. He moves very well without the ball and is an absolute menace on the backboards. If he continues to improve – and develops a more consistent jump shot – he will be better than his brother.

Cedrick Lindsay, Gonzaga: It still boggles my mind that Lindsay is so under-recruited. He has a very good body and is strong for the point guard position. He can beat his defender off the dribble and is a tough finisher at the rim. His jump shot is inconsistent, but he has the ability to knock down shots. Lindsay can run the offense and distribute the ball to his teammates, and his strength allows him to be a solid defender.

Ameen Tanksley, Imhotep Charter: Tanksley is widely-regarded as one of the top five or 10 players in Philadelphia for next season, but we did not see that today. The lefty struggled at both ends of the floor, not getting involved much offensively and getting beat at the other end of the floor. However, he is clearly athletic and has the ability to finish inside and also hit shots in the mid-range.

David Appolon, Imhotep Charter: Like nearly everyone on Imhotep, Appolon struggled mightily in their blowout loss to Gonzaga. He can run the floor well and is aggressive offensively. He can post up in the half-court and finishes at the rim. However, he sometimes has trouble with his footwork at times. He did have a nice pump-fake move and basket off the dribble.

Recruiting Notes:

- Kyrie Irving:
Duke, Kentucky, Virginia, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, Marquette, Indiana, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Texas A&M.
- Has visited Indiana, Connecticut and Texas A&M.

- St. Raymond’s coach Oliver Antigua said that Okoro has been receiving interest from St. John’s, Kentucky, Pitt and Arizona.

- Antigua also said that de la Rosa is receiving looks from Pittsburgh, Providence, St. John’s, Virginia Tech and Massachusetts.

- Cedrick Lindsay: Penn State, Davidson, Brown, VCU, Richmond

- Aaron Brown: Providence, Villanova, St. Joseph’s (offer), La Salle (offer), Temple (offer), Maine, UTEP, Penn State (offer), Virginia

- Imhotep Charter coach Andre Noble said that Tanksley has been getting interest from Pac-10 and Atlantic-10 schools.

- Noble also discussed Appolon and Erik Copes, saying that Appolon has offers from Towson and Delaware, while Copes is getting interest from George Washington, La Salle and Temple.

Nate Lubick to Decommit?

This article was originally written on July 9, and updated on July 10.

PHILADELPHIA -- Georgetown commit Nate Lubick is not going to end up a Hoya after all.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Lubick is going to decommit from Georgetown and will look elsewhere.

"He is re-opening his recruitment," the source said.

Lubick, a 6-8 forward from St. Mark's (Mass.), announced his commitment to the Hoyas in early October of last year.

A versatile big man who can run the floor, Lubick is ranked No. 47 by He plays AAU ball with the New England Playaz.

A source with knowledge says that Lubick was considering Michigan and UCLA strongly before choosing Georgetown, but does not know where he will be looking for a second destination. Notre Dame could be a possibility, the source said.

Updated version on NBE:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- All day, word of Nate Lubick decommitting from Georgetown hung around town, as well as gyms in Philadelphia, Reading and other points where college basketball coaches have gathered during the opening of the July evaluation period.

NBE debunked the rumor, following Lubick’s game with the NE Playaz today.

“I’m committed to Georgetown,” said Lubick, a big shooter who’s been working on improving his quickness and ability to defend different positions this summer.

When asked if he was considering re-opening his options, Lubick shook his head repeatedly, giving a quick “no.”

The rumor began to circulate on Wednesday evening and seemed to be confirmed on Thursday in Philadephia.

“He is re-opening his recruitment,” a source told NBE’s Jeff Borzello at the Reebok All-American Camp in the Philadelphia University Gallagher Center.

Asked by NBE’s Chris Dokish this morning to comment, NE Playaz head coach John Carroll stated, “Right now Nate is committed to Georgetown. What he does in the future is up to Nate. If you know what I’m saying. Is that a fair way to say it?”

Still, others continued to speculate on Lubick’s future.

One major college assistant head coach at the event, who is not recruiting Lubick, predicted to us rather matter-of-factly, “He will [de-commit], plus he will eventually go to Duke”.

A source with knowledge says that Lubick was considering Michigan and UCLA strongly before choosing Georgetown, but does not know where he will be looking for a second destination if he does open it back up.

Notre Dame could be a possibility, the source indicated.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reebok All-American Camp, July 9

This article was originally written on July 9.

PHILADELPHIA – The Thursday of the Reebok All-American Camp at Philadelphia University is always the best day to attend. The biggest names in the college basketball coaching fraternity come to check out the talent on hand. Amongst the coaches in attendance today included John Calipari of Kentucky, Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun, Memphis’ Josh Pastner and Mississippi State’s Rick Stansbury. Many of the more recognizable assistant coaches, namely Pittsburgh’s Brandin Knight and Kansas’ Danny Manning, were also in the stands in Philly.

With potential scholarship offers from colleges across the country on the line, nearly every player in the camp wanted to make a statement. Here’s a look at many of the players NBE checked out on Thursday.

Tarik Black, 6-8, Ridgeway High School (Tenn.), 2010:
One of the more impressive big men at the camp, Black was very tough to stop once he got the ball down low. He has an excellent jump hook that he used to get points over and over. He also has a variety of other post moves that he showed throughout the camp, beating his defenders for easy baskets. Black is athletic and a very solid rebounder who can crash the offensive glass and block shots. He needs to work on his face-up game, though.

Tyrone Johnson, 6-3, Plainfield (N.J.), 2011: The dual-sport star is arguably the most underrated point guard on the East coast, according to an on-looker. He can create for himself and for his teammates with his crafty and quick drives to the lane. No matter what, Johnson finds ways to get to the basket and is good with the ball. His jump shot is inconsistent, though.

Rahkeem Brookins, 5-11, Roman Catholic (Pa.), 2010: An extremely quick and shifty guard, Brookings is a big-time scorer at the guard position. He can beat his defender and get points at the basket, and can also shoot threes from the perimeter. Brookins likes going left and uses both hands effectively. However, he is too small to play the two and doesn’t pass enough to play the point.

Walter Lemon, 6-3, Fenger High School (Ill.), 2010: The lefty was not very aggressive but showed the ability to drive to his right and get into the lane. He had a couple of nice finishes and a baseline pull-up jumper.

Keith Coleman, 6-9, Cheltenham High School (Pa.), 2011: He struggled mightily against Tarik Black, getting beaten over and over for baskets. He’s not a great rebounder and failed to box out on multiple occasions. Offensively, Coleman did not get position very well and, as a result, received few touches. Coleman did run the floor well, though.

Waverly Austin, 6-11, God’s Academy (Fla.), 2010: Austin
is extremely long and athletic and had a few eye-opening finishes in transition. He can run the floor very well and has good hands when catching the ball. On the other hand, though, Austin is completely undisciplined, picking up numerous unnecessary fouls and trying to jump over opponents for rebounds.

Jerrelle Reischel, 6-5, Pt. Pleasant Beach (N.J.), 2011:
Reischel, who was injured a couple of weeks ago when we saw him at the Hoop Group Showcase, played decently, taking outside shots and knocking a few of them down. He also drove to the basket well and had an excellent block.

Rodney Hood, 6-8, Meridian Senior High (Miss.), 2011: Hood was very unimpressive – to many people in the stands. He did not move around without the ball at all, and was not efficient once he received it. He stayed on the perimeter for most of the games, and attempted mid-range jump shots. He had a nice crossover and pull-up jumper and a nice diagonal pass, but struggled otherwise.

LaQuinton Ross, 6-8, Murrah High School (Miss.), 2011: Ross does not look like he’s improved that much in the past year. He had several questionable shots, pulling up off the dribble for 22-footers over defenders on more than one occasion. However, he does run the floor very well and is very versatile. He can drive past his defender with the dribble and finishes at the rim. Ross is aggressive driving to the basket and has deep range.

DeMarco Cox, 6-9, Yazoo City High School (Miss.), 2010: Cox, also a highly-touted football player, has a big body and is tough to move off the block. However, he does not have many post moves and doesn’t create shot opportunities for himself. He grabbed a few rebounds and defended fairly well, but he did not get enough touches to make an impact.

Jelani Hewitt, 6-2, North East High School (Fla.), 2010:
Hewitt caught my eye immediately with his style of play. He is shifty and explosive going to the basket, although sometimes it looks reckless and out of control. He can get into the lane on most defenders and has good handle. Hewitt also pulled up from deep and showed a decent mid-range jumper.

Derrick Wilson, 6-1, The Hotchkiss School (Conn.), 2011: Another strong and quick point guard, Wilson has a good build and got to the basket at will. His mid-range jumper is effective and can knock down shots when pulling up off the dribble. Wilson is aggressive at the offensive end, and can find open teammates. He can play both guard spots, but is better suited when controlling the tempo at the point. He is also a very solid defender.

J.J. Moore, 6-5, Brentwood High School (N.Y.), 2010: Moore did not show much of his excellent outside jumper today, but his athleticism was certainly on display. He had a couple of great drives and finishes at the basket, and also grabbed rebounds because of his tremendous leaping ability. However, Moore needs to improve his dribbling ability.

Sterling Gibbs, 6-1, Seton Hall Prep (N.J.), 2011: Gibbs looks better and better every time I watch him. He looks so much more confident and aggressive than a summer ago, showing no fear when driving to the basket and creating his own shot. He is quick with the dribble and can beat defenders. Expect him to keep improving.

Jason Carter, 6-7, Thurgood Marshall High (Tex.), 2010: Carter went against DeMarco Cox in the match-up I watched him in, and struggled at both ends. Cox is much bigger than him, and Carter was forced to defend him down low. He actually played him fairly well, knocking away entry passes and keeping him off the glass. However, on the other end, Carter was ineffective. He attempted pull-up jumpers and outside shots, despite the fact that he is much better suited to play inside.

Tyler Olander, 6-8, Worcester Academy (Conn.), 2010:
The surprisingly athletic big man was clearly frustrated with his lack of touches, even commenting on the unusual “ball distribution” after the game. When he did get the ball, though, he was effective. Olander can score down low and run the floor in transition. He is also a decent passer and is active on the glass.

Tyreek Duren, 6-1, Neumann-Goretti (Pa.), 2010: Extremely quick and shifty at the point, Duren was inconsistent most of today. He struggled early on, but became more aggressive as the day went on. Duren had several nice passes to teammates and beat defenders off the dribble when necessary. He also knocked down a perimeter shot that kept his defender honest. Duren needs more lift on his jumper, though.

Tom Droney, 6-6, Seawickley Academy (Pa.), 2010: Droney doesn’t do anything that stands out, but he can handle the ball well and is a good passer. He does the little things well, and is fundamentally sound. When given the opportunity, he shows a nice touch.

Marquez (Luke) Cothron, 6-9, Flora McDonald High (Ala.), 2010: One of the more disappointing players I watched, a source who has seen Cothron before noted that it was the worst he’s ever seen him play. Of course, many big men struggled during the camp, as the guards as a whole did not get them touches. Either way, Cothron did not move without the ball and was not aggressive when he did touch it.

Ryan Rhoome, 6-8, Cardozo (N.Y.), 2010: Rhoome is a rising prospect in the class of 2010, and he showed flashes of his ability today. He gets good position down low and makes himself available for teammates to make entry passes. Once he gets the ball, he can pass to the open man out of the post or go to the basket. Rhoome needs to run the floor more consistently though.

Recruiting Notes:

- Rodney Hood: Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Florida, Mississippi State, Baylor, Alabama, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette

- Tyrone Johnson: Georgetown, Villanova, Rutgers, UNLV, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Kentucky, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Florida
- Has visited Georgetown, Villanova and Rutgers – his top three

- Tarik Black: Doesn’t give school lists because of erroneous reports in the past, but did mention Connecticut

- A source close to the Marquette program said that the Golden Eagles are looking at both Jason Carter and Michael Cobbins – two Texas prospects

- Derrick Wilson: Ohio State, Stanford, Georgia Tech (offer), North Carolina, Washington (offer), Rutgers (offer)

- Jelani Hewitt: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Alabama, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Auburn

- Tyler Olander: Providence, Vanderbilt (offer), Connecticut (offer), Stanford, Penn State, Oregon State, La Salle (offer)

- Pe’Shon Howard: Harvard, Arkansas, Stanford, Virginia Tech, St. John’s, Rutgers, Marquette, South Florida

- Ryan Rhoome: St. John’s, Providence, Rhode Island, Georgia Tech, Villanova, George Mason, LIU
- St. John’s is his current leader

- A source with knowledge of the situation said that J.J. Moore will transfer from Brentwood High School, on Long Island, to South Kent (Conn.).

- Sterling Gibbs: Indiana (offer), Pitt (offer), St. John’s (offer), DePaul (offer), Seton Hall (offer), Rutgers (offer), Villanova, Oklahoma, Virginia, Virginia Tech
- Has visited Pittsburgh and Villanova, wants to visit DePaul, Indiana, Oklahoma and possibly ‘Nova again
- Contrary to previous reports, Gibbs said that Villanova is not his favorite and that he is wide open

Tyrone Garland to Va. Tech

This article was originally written on July 9.

PHILADELPHIA — Virginia Tech might have found its next point guard in a long line of excellent floor generals.

Tyrone Garland, a 6-1 2010 prospect from John Bartram High School in Philadelphia, has decided to commit to the Hokies.

“It was the right place for me to focus at,” Garland said at the Reebok All-America Camp in Philadelphia. “There’s a good coaching staff, and my family and coaches liked it there.”

There is a press conference scheduled for 5:15 p.m., where Garland will make his announcement official.

He said that he chose the Hokies over La Salle, Temple and Nevada. At the Rumble in the Bronx in June, Garland said he also had interest from Nebraska, Drexel, St. Bonaventure, Memphis, Seton Hall, Rutgers and Western Kentucky.

“I can make a good impact there,” he said. “I’m going to be bringing good shooting and I can be a coach’s point guard. I play defense and I play hard.”

Garland said he informed Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg a couple of days ago of his decision.

A source close to the Virginia Tech program told me on Thursday that “we are very excited to get that one.”

Garland reportedly played very well at the Virginia Tech Elite Camp when he attended. It was his second time at the Blacksburg campus, as he also visited last summer.

As is the case with many highly-recruited prospects, Garland was happy to finish the process.

“I just wanted to get it over with,” he said. “During the games today, I was thinking about it. I wasn’t really into the game.

“I’ll be much more relaxed now. I’m excited.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reebok All-American Camp, July 8

This article was originally written on July 8.

PHILADELPHIA – The July live evaluation period made another stop on Wednesday, as coaches and scouts from around the country headed to Philadelphia for the Reebok U All-American Camp at Philadelphia University. The first two days were closed to the media, but NBE was on hand – along with dozens of coaches – to check out the action in the City of Brotherly Love.

The talent level was down considerably from last year, with many of the nation’s top players in the Midwest at the King City Classic and the adidas It Takes 5ive Classic. Still, there were plenty of high-major stars in attendance – both on the court and in the stands.

Devon Collier, 6-8, St. Anthony (N.J.), 2010: Played well in his first game, grabbing rebounds at a high rate and crashing the offensive glass for put-backs. He didn’t show off his versatility and handle as much, but he had a good baseline drive and dunk. He also had an up-and-under for a basket and foul.

John Johnson, 6-1, Girard College (Pa.), 2011: The guard with the knuckleball three reminds me a lot of Scottie Reynolds – from the way he looks to the way he plays. He can drive to the basket and finish, but is a streaky jump shooter. Johnson is a quick guard who can beat his defender.

Tyree Johnson, 5-9, Penn Wood (Pa.), 2010: Johnson seems to have grown stronger and bigger since last season, but is still quick. He has very good handle and can run the break effectively, finishing himself or dishing to a teammate. Johnson takes excellent care of the ball too.

Ashton Pankey, 6-9, St. Anthony (N.J.), 2010: Pankey played very well early on, affecting shots with his long arms and athleticism. He is a solid player inside and can finish around the rim. Pankey was very aggressive going to the basket and scored several baskets. He also had a nice face-up jumper from around the perimeter.

Dave Coley, 6-2, Thomas Jefferson (N.Y.), 2010:
As usual, Coley showed off his strength and quickness over and over. He has great handle and can beat his defender. However, Coley does need to work on his jump shot, as he struggled to knock down perimeter jumpers. Furthermore, he needs to cut down on his turnovers and play more in control.

Myles Mack, 5-10, Paterson Catholic (N.J.), 2011: Mack played very well in the games that I watched him in. He ran the team with effectiveness, driving to the basket for easy lay-ups or finding open teammates for baskets. Mack was at his best when pushing the ball in transition and pulling up for three-pointers or running a fast break. If his jump shot was falling, he would have been unstoppable.

Kyle Anderson, 6-7, Paterson Catholic (N.J.), 2012: He played fairly well, but did not have much prediction. He stole the ball from Dave Coley on an attempted crossover and a nice pass to a cutting teammate. The most impressive thing he did was defend the post.

Jaylen Bond, 6-7, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.), 2011: Bond is something of a mystery to evaluators that have seen him multiple times. He has great size for his position and a very versatile, all-around skill set. He can score inside and knock down jump shots from the perimeter. He is athletic and can rebound and defend. However, he struggles to produce – the numbers simply aren’t there.

Devonte Newbill, 6-4, Strawberry Mansion (Pa.), 2010: Newbill was at his best when running up and down the floor and finishing baskets in transition. He had several lay-ups off of fast breaks and most of his points came in a full-court setting. In the half-court, he struggled with his jumper when his crafty driving ability was taken away.

Isaiah Sykes, 6-5, Finney High School (Mich.), 2010: Sykes did not show much at all. He ran the floor well and grabbed a few rebounds, but the lefty was mostly invisible. He did not look for his shot at all, and mostly took a few dribbles and immediately passed the ball. Sykes needs to develop more of a perimeter game for someone his size.

Shabazz Napier, 5-11, Lawrence Academy (Mass.), 2010: The New England point guard is skinny and needs to add muscle, but he has good handle and changes directions very well. He is very shifty with the ball and is tough to keep out of the lane. Napier is a good passer and had a few kick-outs off penetration.

Aaron Brown, 6-3, St. Benedict’s (N.J.), 2010: Brown was arguably the most impressive player of the morning session. He was nearly impossible to stop going to the basket, driving past any defender who stood in his way for easy lay-ups. He was at his best in transition, pushing the ball and beating lazy defenders to the rim. He had a couple of drives spanning the length of the court. Brown does need to work on his shot, though.

Jarrod Davis, 6-6, Lakewood (N.J.), 2011:
Davis wasn’t as aggressive as he is with his high school team, but he showed flashes. He had a nice penetration and dish as well as a nice drive to the basket for a lay-up. However, his perimeter shot looked terrible, as he missed two three-pointers – badly.

Sidiki Johnson, 6-8, St. Raymond’s (N.Y.), 2011: Johnson, a “warrior” as described by more than one on-looker, rebounded the ball well and defended, but struggled mightily offensively. He was called for a travel three straight possessions and forced his drives to the basket. He needs to work on his footwork.

Pe’Shon Howard, 6-3, Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 2010:
Howard, a very strong, physical player with excellent size and build for the point guard position, had a solid game. He defends well because of his physicality and is tough to keep out of the lane because of his strength. Howard can hit perimeter shots and is also a very good passer.

Cameron Ayers, 6-4, Germantown Academy (Pa.), 2010:
Ayers does all the little things. He does not stand out with explosive drives to the basket or no-look passes to cutting teammates, but he can do everything. He has a nice mid-range jumper and can handle the ball well. Ayers defends very well and can guard multiple positions.

Chris Coleman, 6-11, Mt. Zion Academy (N.C.), 2011: The new Florida International-commit looked much better at the All-American Camp a year ago than he did today. He added weight and did not pick up much athleticism. He did not get too many touches and when he did, was ineffective.

Stacey Poole, 6-5, Andrew Jackson High School (Fla.), 2010:
The five-star prospect had a slow start but really picked things up as the game went on. He is a versatile scorer who can get points going to the basket or hitting mid-range jumpers. Poole runs the floor very well and can finish at the rim in transition or in the half-court. He is athletic and can rebound the ball very well. Poole had several acrobatic finishes and can use both hands.

Andre Henley, 6-6, Brehm Prep (Ill.), 2011: The lefty had his moments, but did not stand out too much. He made a couple of nice passes, one a look-ahead pass for a transition lay-up, the other a nice bounce pass to a cutter. However, he was too loose with his handle and missed a lay-up.

Davontay Grace, 6-1, Thomas Jefferson (N.Y.), 2011: Grace is a bulldog of a point guard who is tough to keep out of the lane when he wants to get to the basket. He has a stocky build but is physical and strong. Grace is quick to the rim and protects the ball well when driving. He can pull-up off the dribble for jumpers and can also finish very well when in the lane.

Recruiting Notes:

- John Johnson:
Virginia Tech (offer), St. Joseph’s (offer), St. John’s, Marquette, La Salle (offer), UCLA, Clemson, Notre Dame (offer).

- Isaiah Sykes: Syracuse, Oklahoma, Michigan, South Florida, Tennessee, Michigan State

- Stacey Poole: Clemson (offer), South Carolina (offer), Indiana (offer), Connecticut, Louisville, Kentucky, Miami (offer)
- Wants to visit UConn, L’Ville and UK in August

- Aaron Brown: Virginia Tech, Virginia, Harvard, Penn, Temple, Auburn, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall

- Davontay Grace: Providence, Villanova, West Virginia, St. John’s, Marquette, Virginia Tech

- Tre Bowman: Marquette, Penn State, Xavier, Duquesne, UCF, Maryland, La Salle, Clemson, Villanova

- Devonte Newbill:
La Salle, Drexel, Marquette, DePaul, Niagara, Nebraska, Temple

- Dave Coley: Fairleigh Dickinson, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Hofstra, St. John’s, Kent State, George Mason

- Sidiki Johnson: Connecticut, Arizona, Kentucky, Wake Forest, St. John’s, Providence, Pittsburgh, West Virginia

- Cameron Ayers: Clemson (offer), Georgetown, Virginia, Michigan, Temple (offer), La Salle (offer), Saint Joseph’s (offer)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hoop Group Elite Camp, July 7

This article was originally written on July 7.

READING, Pa. – The Hoop Group Elite Camp Session I continued on Tuesday, with plenty of talented players putting on impressive performances. The player pool was watered-down because of the other tournaments and camps going on around the country – Reebok U All-American Camp, Lebron James Skills Academy, adidas It Takes 5IVE Classic – but that does not take away from the dozens of quality prospects in attendance. With all-star nominations on the line and a multitude of coaches watching closely, the games were more hotly-contested and intense.

Here are some evaluations of many of the more talented players in attendance:

Naofall Folahan, 6-10, Notre Dame Prep (Mass.): The first center drafted at the camp, Folahan could very well end up being the best player at the camp. Extremely tall and long, Folahan is very athletic and finished two alley-oops in impressive fashion. He can run the floor well and has good hands. He has decent post moves and showed off a turnaround jumper. Folahan also showed a nice free-throw touch and had a couple of outstanding blocks. On the other hand, he needs to finish better.

Kareem Thomas, 5-11, Christ the King (N.Y.): Although Thomas does not seem much time playing behind Corey Edwards at CTK, he was impressive in Reading. He is very quick and an adept dribbler who can get past defenders. Thomas has an excellent pull-up jumper and is a steady floor general. He has a smooth game and is a very solid passer. Thomas can also finish with both hands once he gets to the rim.

Matt Miller, 6-3, Mount St. Joseph’s (Md.): An impressive shooter, Miller showed deep range and got hot early on from beyond the three-point line. He has decent handle as well. However, he failed to box out a couple of times and also was beaten defensively.

Mustafa Jones, 6-0, Neumann-Goretti (Pa.): Another excellent shooter, Jones showed a better off-the-dribble game than we’ve seen from him previously. He has a quick dribble and can create his own shot. Jones also moves very well without the ball, looking to get free for shots.

Khalid Lewis-El, 6-2, Trenton Catholic (N.J.): Lewis-El didn’t get much of an opportunity to show all of his skills, but he had solid handle and made a couple of nice passes. He was not overly aggressive and was out of control on his one fast break attempt.

Dwaun Anderson, 6-3, Sutton’s Bay (Mich.): The athletic lefty reportedly showed his explosiveness on Sunday, but he looked a step slow on Tuesday. He was beaten defensively and was out-hustled to a loose ball. Offensively, he took it well to the basket and finished strong at the rim. Furthermore, he posted up well for a guard. He was not as aggressive as we would have liked to see, though.

Daniel Stewart, 6-6, Neumann-Goretti (Pa.): Did not see as much running and dunking as we did at the Hoop Group Showcase in Neptune, N.J. last week, but he did show off a good face-up game – something he needs to develop to be effective at the next level. He beat defenders off the dribble and finished with contact.

Vaughn Allen, 6-7, TBD:
One of the best offensive rebounders I’ve seen this summer, Allen had several second chance points to keep himself involved and active throughout the game. He is very athletic and is hungry for the ball – on multiple occasions, he leaped over and around defenders to get rebounds. Allen runs the floor very well and can finish around the basket. He also has a pretty good handle and shields the ball well when driving to the rim.

Austin Colbert, 6-8, St. Patrick’s (N.J.): A very long and athletic forward, Colbert is going to get better as he matures and gets older. Still, he is a good rebounder and shot-blocker who can also dribble the ball a bit. Colbert also runs the floor well.

Eli Carter, 6-1, St. Anthony (N.J.): At the Rumble in the Bronx, Carter lit up Team NJABC for Sports University, but he did not have the same sort of impact here. He did have a nice pull-up in transition and a crafty drive to the basket, but he did not get much of a chance to do anything else.

Jayon James, 6-6, TBD:
The versatile Paterson product is undecided on where he will be headed next year, but hopefully he is more consistent than he was today. As always, he handled the ball very well for his size, and showed off his point guard skills. However, he forced too many shots and did not pass the ball enough. James turned it over too often when driving to the basket. On the positive side, he boxed out well and got offensive rebounds and put-backs.

Theo Boyomo, 6-8, Kent School (Conn.): Boyomo was impressive in the chances he had today. He showed several nice post moves, including back-to-back jump hooks in the early going. He did not show if he could go over his right shoulder as well, but he was effective turning to the left. He also had a nice face-up jumper and a good up-and-under finish at the rim.

Deon Jones, 6-4, TBD: The brother of Virginia’s Jeff Jones, Deon has a good all-around game. He plays – and looks – bigger than 6-4, as he blocks shots and rebounds well around the rim. Furthermore, he can handle the ball and had a nice drive and dish to an open teammate. Jones also ran the floor well.

Shaq Duncan, 6-8, Frankford (Pa.): Duncan was one of the more impressive players today, as he completely dominated the intriguing 7-3 Blake Vedder. He is a face-up big man who can drive to the basket and had several nice reverse lay-ups, using the rim as a shield against Vedder. He runs the floor very well and can catch the ball and finish at the basket. Duncan has a mid-range jumper and is not afraid to take defenders off the dribble. Defensively, he was solid and he also rebounded well.

Blake Vedder, 7-3, Impact Basketball Academy (Nev.):
One of the more interesting prospects at the camp, Vedder struggled against the much quicker and more athletic Shaq Duncan. He was constantly beat for baskets, and did not take advantage of his edge in size. However, he does do a good job of keeping the ball up and made a nice pass to an open cutter. Vedder needs to learn how to use his size better, at both ends of the floor.

Coaching Notes:

- Division-I schools represented on Tuesday (and some Monday that I forgot to mention) included: Georgetown, St. John’s, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Boston College, Virginia, Memphis, Temple, Rhode Island, Old Dominion, Drexel, St. Bonaventure, St. Peter’s, Lafayette, Albany, Northeastern, Iona, Coppin State, Davidson, UMBC, Rider, Duquesne, Loyola (Md.), Hampton, Mount St. Mary’s, Central Connecticut State, New Mexico State, Holy Cross, American, Vermont, James Madison, Boston University, NJIT, La Salle, Towson, Penn, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Charleston, LIU, George Washington, Elon, Liberty, Lehigh, Howard, Columbia, New Hampshire, Army and VMI.

Recruiting Notes:

- Malik Thomas: Seton Hall, Drexel, Niagara, Hofstra, Siena, Quinnipiac
- Visited Seton Hall recently, enjoyed his trip, met with Bobby Gonzalez and several of the players
- Plans to visit Drexel in August

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hoop Group Elite Camp, July 6

This article was originally written on July 6.

READING, Pa. – The most important – and busiest – period of the recruiting calendar kicked off Monday, as high school prospects and college coaches began their month-long journey around the country. While most of the top players went to the LeBron James Skills Academy in Ohio, the Hoop Group Elite Camp also had its share of talent in attendance at Albright College.

Here’s a look at some of the top players – out of about 700 – that NBE checked out on the first day Division-I coaches were allowed to attend:

Khalil Murphy, 6-7, APEX Academies (N.J.): It was the tale of two performances for Murphy. When I first saw him play, he seemed out-of-shape and the sort of guy who could definitely improve his conditioning. However, after a few possessions, he showed how versatile and talented he is. He can handle the ball fairly well, makes excellent outlet passes and can defend multiple positions. He’s also quicker than he looks and can finish down low.

Tyler Harris, 6-5, Half Hollow Hills West (N.Y.): Tobias’ younger brother showed a better stroke than I saw from him at the St. John’s Elite Camp on Wednesday, and demonstrated his range. He also pump-faked defenders who didn’t respect his dribble-drive enough. However, he does not have much explosiveness and is a step slow. On the other side of the ball, he is a good defender because of his length.

Mike Buffalo, 6-2, Wings Academy (N.Y.): Buffalo was very impressive offensively, scoring the ball in a variety of ways. He does have an awkward-looking jump shot because of its rotation, but he knocked down a long-range three as well as a mid-range pull-up. He was at his best driving to the basket, though, finishing well at the rim. On one occasion, he drove past Tyler Harris and used his body to completely knock Harris out of the play and clear the way for an easy deuce.

Malik Thomas, 6-7, Wadleigh (N.Y): The lanky wing recently visited Seton Hall, but he will need to play better if he wants to make an impact at the Big East level. He is extremely skinny and needs to put on a lot of muscle. He seemed timid at times and got beat off the dribble and outmuscled defensively. On the positive side of things, he is long and has athleticism, and also showed a solid pull-up.

James Bourne, 6-6, Bishop O’Connell (Va.): The big man from the mid-Atlantic showed a great drop step and very solid footwork with his back to the basket. He gets very good post position and makes himself available for entry passes. Bourne has good hands and can finish effectively.

De’Mon Brooks, 6-6, Hopewell (N.C.): The athletic forward from North Carolina can finish very well, and showed an impressive reverse lay-up right off the bat. He is a good rebounder and gets second opportunities for himself. Furthermore, he had a couple of nice blocks defensively and demonstrated solid handle.

Marcus Romain, 6-3, Thomas Jefferson (N.Y.): Romain seems like he can be a very, very good player if he gets a little more seasoning. He is very thin and did not get pushed around a little bit, but his offensive game is well-rounded and impressive. He has good one-on-one moves, and can beat defenders off the dribble. Romain also hit a nice pull-up jumper while getting fouled, and also showed the ability to finish at the rim with contact.

Aishon White, 6-2, Nia School (N.J.): With DeShaun Wiggins on his team, he did not have a chance to touch the ball that much – and no, that’s not a compliment to Wiggins. However, he had several nice cuts to the basket and ran the floor very well for transition baskets. He ran the pick-and-roll well and showed good hustle. White also gets good lift on his jumpers, and has a good-looking stroke.

Mike Poole, 6-6, St. Benedict’s (N.J.): Poole struggled throughout much of the contest NBE watched him in, getting to the basket on several occasions but failing to finish. He beat his defender and got open shots, he just couldn’t knock them down. As usual, Poole showed off very solid versatility and all-around game, but nothing in particular stood out.

Devin Brooks, 6-0, St. Raymond’s (N.Y.): An extremely quick point guard, Brooks has tremendous handle and can get past his defender with an assortment of dribbling moves. He finished at the rim once getting into the lane. However, he did seem out of control at times, and turned it over too often.

Shane Southwell, 6-6, Rice (N.Y.): When perusing the 60-plus team rosters at the camp, arguably the top player on paper was Southwell. However, while he did demonstrate his versatility and all-around game, he was not as aggressive at either end as he is with his AAU team, the New York Gauchos. He did show his ability to defend multiple positions, but did involve himself too often offensively.

Ishaq Pitt, 6-3, Ridge (N.J.): A player who certainly made his presence felt offensively was Pitt, who had a handful of basket-and-fouls during the course of the first half. He got to the basket at will and finished with contact on multiple occasions. He has a strong body for a guard and uses it well.

Aquil Younger, 5-10, West Catholic (Pa.): Another very quick point guard, Younger was very difficult to stay in front of. He has a great handle and gets into the lane often. Younger has good vision and is a very solid and flashy passer. However, he struggled to finish and missed multiple open opportunities at the rim.

Joel Brokenborough, Hodgson Votech (Del.): The versatile swingman played well at both ends of the floor, defending solidly on-the-ball and also finishing offensively. He had an impressive dunk in one of the games and can score. He is active and aggressive at each end. Brokenborough also showed a flash of his pull-up, mid-range jumper.

Melsahn Basabe, 6-7, St. Mark’s (Mass.): Had hoped to tune in to his match-up with big man Shaq Duncan, but Duncan did not show up until the later session. Still, Basabe rebounded the ball well and had a good follow at the rim. He cut well to the basket and caught the ball for chances around the rim. However, he needed to be more aggressive at both ends, as he missed several chances to block shots and also did not actively try to score. Furthermore, he’s clearly not comfortable handling the ball and was beaten off the dribble by smaller but quicker opponents.

Coaching Notes:

- On the Big East side of things, coaches from Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Villanova and Rutgers kept a close eye on several players.

- It was a mid-major feeding frenzy in Reading on Monday, as coaches from Albany, Siena, Hartford, Delaware, Towson, Marist and many other schools were in attendance.
Representatives from Atlantic-10 schools Saint Joseph’s and Temple were also spotted by NBE.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Live Period, Part I is Over

Got back about an hour ago from my 10-day trip up-and-down the east coast for the first part of the July evaluation period. I was in Reading, Pa. for the Hoop Group Elite Camp, then went to Philadelphia University for the Reebok U All-American Camp. After that, I stopped back in Reading for the Hoop Group Team Camp before heading down south for the best event of July. The Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. -- a gathering of 24 of the best Nike AAU teams at the U-17 level, and another 16 at the U-16 level -- was nothing short of outstanding.

Expect plenty of coverage here on March Madness All Season in the coming days with articles and stories from throughout the week. Of course, you could just go to the NBE Basketball Report for day-by-day, on-site coverage from me and the other writers at NBE from the past 10 days.

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Catching Up With...Mike Taylor

At the St. John’s Elite Camp on Wednesday, nearly anyone with a chance to stack his claim as the best player in New York was in attendance.

If his performance in Queens was any indication, Mike Taylor has a good chance to carry the baton for the class of 2011.

The 6-3 combo guard from Boys & Girls High School in Brooklyn is a highly-touted prospect with
a long list of prospective schools.

When asked what schools he was considering, he listed West Virginia, UNLV, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Louisville, St. John’s, Rutgers, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Georgetown and Marquette as possible destinations. Boys & Girls assistant coach Elmer Anderson told Adam Zagoria on Tuesday that Indiana and Providence have also offered Taylor.

Taylor, who plays AAU ball with the U-16 Metro Hawks, said he would rather go away to school than stay in the area.

“I just want to get out of the environment,” he said after the Elite Camp.

It was not Taylor’s first time at St. John’s, as his team had played there during the season. However, he has not taken any official visits, and does not have any planned in the near-future.
Taylor did say, though, that he would like to see Virginia, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh.

“Education [is my main priority in a school],” he said. “In case basketball doesn’t work out, I need something, so education is important.”

Despite an online report saying that Taylor would not attend any of the major camps this summer besides the Elite Camp at St. John’s, Taylor said he would be playing at the Hoop Group Elite Camp in Reading, Pa. this week, as well as the Nike Peach Jam in Augusta, S.C. He also said that he would be heading to Orlando with the Metro Hawks for the AAU tournament there in late July.

With a strong performance this summer and during the school season, don’t be surprised to see Taylor as the top player in New York City come 2011.

Friday, July 3, 2009

St. John's Elite Camp Recap

Although the idea of Elite Camps – where colleges and universities invite prospective recruits to a basketball camp and use it as basically an unofficial visit – is questioned and discussed throughout the NCAA ranks, the talent at most of them is second to none. Where else can you find Myles Mack and J.J. Moore in the same backcourt? Or Kyrie Irving and Jayvaughn Pinkston as a dynamite inside-outside tandem? That was the case at the St. John’s Elite Camp Wednesday night on its Queens, N.Y. campus.

37 players attended the Elite Camp, including many of the top players from the area. It began with stretching and then continued with a couple of hours of drills. There were ball-handling drills, shooting drills, fast-break drills and other variations of those. After that, there were scrimmages. The players were broken up into four teams, and each team played two games apiece. Here’s a short look at several of the Big East targets in attendance.

Ashton Pankey: Showed a decent face-up game, ran the floor pretty well.

Devon Collier: Demonstrated a nice handle, could beat defenders off the dribble. He shot some outside shots, showing decent range. He is also a very good defender who can block shots.

Jayvaughn Pinkston: One of the best players at the camp, Pinkston was very difficult to stay in front of. His combination of quickness and strength was unparalleled. He had several nice acrobatic finishes, but also failed to distribute the ball effectively. Moreover, he complained to the referee after non-calls.

J.J. Moore: Extremely smooth player, Moore looked outstanding in the drills. He was dunking everything and then showed off his smooth jumper. He’s very athletic and finished very well at the rim.

Myles Mack: He shot the ball well during drills and the games, and looked very solid with long-range pull-up jumpers in transition.

Kyle Anderson: Had a very nice no-look pass as well as a steal and a lay-up at the other end. In one of the drills, however, he demonstrated a very slow release on his pull-up jumper.

Kadeem Jack: Ran the floor well, had a couple of nice dunks. Also showed some post moves with his back to the basket.

Michael Taylor: Very good ball-handler, doesn’t turn it over much when dribbling. Gets past defenders with ease and can finish at the rim. Was very effective beating his man off the dribble and getting into the lane.

Derrick Randall: Was very impressive throughout the day. Got excellent position down low, and showed off a variety of post moves. Also rebounded the ball well.

Joey de la Rosa: Has the size and potential to be very good, but right now he needs a ton of improvement. He is very awkward with the ball and his footwork is extremely inconsistent. He had a nice block and a couple of rebounds, but he failed to finish several times.

Kyrie Irving: Came late to the Camp, but was clearly the best player there. He is so smooth with every aspect of his game. Got to the rim whenever he wanted and also showed a nice mid-range jumper.

Jermaine Sanders: Versatile scorer who can get points in a variety of ways. Also rebounded the ball well.

LeBrent Walker: Good size for his position, and was impressive when given the opportunity. However, he did not get the ball enough during the scrimmages, which limited his opportunities. He is very good off the dribble and can get into the lane and finish.

Sidiki Johnson: Didn’t get to see him play, but saw that he had a solid performance in his second game.

Melsahn Basabe: Relentless on the offensive glass. He is extremely active crashing the boards for tip-ins and put-backs.

Shane Southwell: Does everything pretty well. He is a very good defender who can guard
multiple positions and can also block shots. Had a nice drive and dish, and showed he can handle the ball.

Tyler Harris: Didn’t see much from him, but noticed he had somewhat poor form on his outside shot.

Kamari Murphy: Active on the glass, has some good post moves. Had a nice bank shot in one of the drills and can also score. He gets good position with his back to the basket and makes himself available for entry passes.

Jordan Allen: Can handle the ball and does a little bit of everything.

Nkereuwem Okoro: Runs the floor very well and gets put-backs and other points around the rim. He can score in a variety of ways and is very adept at finishing at the basket. Hit a buzzer shot to give his team the win in the second scrimmage.

Tariq Carey: Very smooth guard can handle the ball and finish around the rim. He drives past his defenders consistently and has the athleticism to get points in the lane.

Corey Edwards: Very impressed with his game. He is very quick and is difficult to stay in front of. Looks to create for himself and his teammates nearly every time he touches the ball, and can get to the rim on nearly any defender. Has very good vision and finds the open man with his passes. He is very quick. Did get a three-point attempt blocked by a bigger defender, though, so I’m not sure how well he can shoot the ball.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hoop Group HBC Metro Summer Showcase Recap

The Hoop Group Metro Showcase in late June is always a good opportunity to get a very early look at next year’s high school basketball circuit – mainly in New Jersey, but also in New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. In 2008, St. Patrick (N.J.) won the championship, a prelude to their victory in the Tournament of Champions this past spring. Unfortunately, this year will be somewhat different, as no champion was crowned in Neptune, N.J. this past weekend.

A brawl near the end of a semi-final match-up between Paterson Catholic (N.J.) and Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) forced the tournament directors to end the tournament early. Paterson was dominating Neumann when the brawl occurred, so they received a berth in the title game. In the other semi-final game, St. Pat’s easily gained a spot in the championship, pulling away from Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) in the second half. Both St. Pat’s and PC were crowned co-champions as a result of the premature finish.

Despite the lack of a singular champion, there were plenty of standout performers from the weekend. Here’s a look at some of them:

Myles Mack, Paterson Catholic, 2011: The highly-touted guard really struggled with his shot all weekend, missing most of his long-range jumpers. The normally knock-down shooter gets tremendous lift on his shots, but couldn’t hit them this weekend. He’s not overly aggressive driving to the basket, but showed a decent pull-up jumper. With his size, though, he’s going to need to develop more of an ability to play the point. He did show flashes of solid passing.

School List: Fordham, DePaul, Virginia Tech, Virginia, St. John's, Xavier

Kyle Anderson, Paterson Catholic, 2012: One of the top-ranked players in the class of 2012, Anderson is a very versatile performer who can play a variety of positions. He has the ability to play the point, although he did say many people are telling him he can’t play the one anymore. He’s still a step slow at this point, but he can get into the lane and is a good passer. Furthermore, he has good athleticism and can rebound well.

School List: Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Xavier, La Salle, Texas, Florida, Wake Forest

Fuquan Edwin, Paterson Catholic, 2010: The recent Seton Hall-commit played some of the best basketball I’ve seen him play this weekend. He was nearly unstoppable at scoring the ball, putting up 31 and 28 in separate games. The most impressive thing about his performances was his jump-shot; it has improved greatly over the past couple of years. He still needs to work on his form, but he was knocking down threes and jumpers all weekend – to the point Lakewood (N.J.) was referring to him as “shooter” every time he touched the ball.

School List: Committed to Seton Hall

Derrick Randall, Paterson Catholic, 2011: Randall, a solid big man, is adept at getting position and moves around well in the post, with or without the ball. He can finish well inside, with both hands. Randall has a strong body that he uses to score over inferior opponents. He does play solid defense, but he had a propensity to commit touch fouls that forced him to head to the bench with early foul trouble. As the lefty gets more disciplined, he will be very solid down low.

School List: St. John's, DePaul, Providence, Villanova, Miami (Fl.)

Tyreek Duren, Neumann-Goretti, 2010: One of the most impressive players for Team Final at the Rumble in the Bronx, Duren was far less aggressive at the Hoop Group Showcase. He has tremendous dribbling ability and quickness, and can get into the lane on nearly any defender. Duren also has excellent vision and finds the open man with efficiency. He did not show much of a jump shot, but he has the ability to knock down outside shots.

School List: Virginia Tech, Baylor, Miami, Temple, LaSalle, St. Bonaventure, Providence, Virginia -- Virginia Tech and Baylor are the favorites

Daniel Stewart, Neumann-Goretti, 2010: The athletic forward obviously needs to develop more of a game outside of six feet, but he was outstanding this weekend, running the floor, dominating the backboards and finishing anything he could get his hands on. He had dozens of dunks and lay-ups and was difficult to stop once he got the ball with his back to the basket. He has decent post moves with a soft touch down low, but his 6-6 size will force him to expand his game.

School List: Providence, Houston, UMBC, Siena, Fairfield, Delaware, Robert Morris.

Derrick Stewart, Neumann-Goretti, 2012: The younger brother of Daniel is a similar player – athletic, versatile, can rebound extremely well – but also needs to expand his game somewhat to be a contributor at the next level. Of course, Derrick is two years younger than Daniel and still growing. He crashes the offensive glass very effectively, but does need to finish around the basket better. He missed a few lay-ups off of put-backs. He doesn’t have much range, but did knock down a three.

School List: St. Joseph's, Oregon, Temple

Sterling Gibbs, Seton Hall Prep, 2011: Gibbs, fresh off of his gold medal-winning appearance with the U-16 national team, made a killing at the free-throw line this weekend. Nearly every time I looked over, Gibbs was toeing the charity stripe. He has grown considerably, in size, since last year, but his jump shot still needs work. He can knock down outside shots, but he pushes the ball somewhat, leaving him vulnerable to taller defenders blocking his shots. Gibbs is more confident than last season, and he was more effective getting into the lane, whether to finish or pass. However, his off-ball defense is questionable and he needs to become more explosive.

School List: Confirmed that Villanova is his favorite, but said he was wide-open. Also mentioned Indiana, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Oklahoma, St. John’s, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Penn State.

Shaq Stokes, Lincoln, 2011: Without Lance Stephenson, James Padgett and several other key players from the past few seasons, Lincoln is going to take at least one or two steps back next season. The go-to-guy for the Railsplitters – based on this weekend – is undoubtedly going to be Stokes. He carried the team most of the time, including a 37-point performance in their quarterfinal loss to Seton Hall Prep. He blew past anyone that tried to guard him, and finished effectively in traffic. He had several lay-ups with contact, and was solid from the free-throw line. Stokes has a strong body and a good build, which enables him to get baskets around the rim.

School List: Auburn, Florida, Villanova, Arizona and "a lot more"

Jarrod Davis, Lakewood, 2011: Davis is a rising prospect in the class of 2011, but he was inconsistent this weekend. He played well against Newark Eastside in Lakewood’s overtime victory, but was held to four points when going against Paterson Catholic. He settled for jumpers too often, and did not knock down many of his three-point attempts. Davis is athletic and can get into the lane, but he was not aggressive enough. He also stood around most of the time offensively, especially against PC’s 2-3 zone defense. He has the ability to handle the ball and made a couple of nice passes, but his lack of aggressiveness against Paterson – a team with players of equal size and athleticism – was alarming.

School List: Kentucky, Virginia Tech, St. Joseph's, LaSalle, Rutgers, Penn State, Syracuse, Villanova, Georgetown, Maryland, Houston, UAB, St. John’s, Marist, Rice, Connecticut, Indiana

Tariq Carey, Newark Eastside, 2012: One of the rising players in New Jersey basketball, Carey looked smooth with the ball and was not afraid of going up and finishing around the rim with contact. He had good drives to the basket, both down the lane and baseline. The athletic guard showed a semblance of a mid-range game, and also had an excellent play where he spun around a defender and drove to the rim. Defensively, he plays the passing lanes well. However, he did not show much of an outside shot, consistently driving past defenders instead.

School List: SMU, St. John's, Siena

Aaron Bodie, Newark Eastside, 2012: Bodie was a surprising performer this past weekend. He is extremely athletic and showed excellent leaping ability. The long, 6-6 forward used his supreme athleticism for multiple eye-opening dunks and finishes around the rim, as well as blocked shots and rebounds. Defensively, he is very solid, due to his length. He intercepted several passes and also drew a charge. Bodie gets decent position and has good hands for a young player.

Jarelle Reischel, Point Pleasant Beach, 2011: Because of a groin injury, Reischel only played about three minutes in the team’s opening-round game against Gill St. Bernard’s. He reportedly will be out two to three weeks as a result. However, he did show solid range on his jump shot despite not being able to run or jump effectively. Reischel can handle the ball, but does not seem overly comfortable taking defenders off the dribble. We will have to check him out once he recovers from his injury.

School List: West Virginia, Providence, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Maryland, Kansas, Oklahoma, Penn State, Monmouth

Austin Colbert, St. Patrick’s, 2013: One of the next high-major products out of the famed St. Pat’s program, Colbert is very long and lanky, but showed outstanding potential for when he gets older. He rebounds the ball very well, boxing out and grabbing the ball off the backboard. Furthermore, he keeps the ball high, not allowing smaller guards to steal the ball. Defensively, he needs to be more aggressive, as he did not attempt to block shots very often. Offensively, he showed the ability to finish in the fast break as well as off of put-backs. Although he is young, he got good position down low, but needs to develop some post moves. He’s certainly a name to watch out for in a couple of years.