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.

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