NBE Basketball Report
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July 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth

The single elimination playoffs got underway Thursday night at the Peach Jam with four quarterfinal match-ups. The run-and-gun acrobatic show of the Oakland Soldiers against Kyle “slow-mo” Anderson and his New Jersey Playaz Club was too much to pass up so that’s where I planted myself. “Slow-mo” gave a Herculean effort ending up just 1 rebound shy of a triple double but in the end the Soldiers athleticism was simply too much to overcome and they advanced to the semifinals. Players from both teams showcased their talents for the bevy of college coaches in attendance.

Dominic Artis (Oakland Soldiers/2012) – Artis is a short statured point guard who has been getting reviews this spring as potentially the best point that the West coast has to offer. His play in this game made it easy to see why. He drained deep three pointer after deep three pointer both of the catch and off the dribble finishing 6-9 from behind the arc. In addition Artis is quick and crafty with the ball constantly working his way into the paint and creating scoring chances for teammates. He served as the engine that made this high powered Soldiers offense go leading his team both vocally and with his play on the floor.

Kyle Anderson (Playaz Basketball Club/2012) – What more can be said about Kyle Anderson that hasn’t been said already? He was brilliant against every defender on the Soldiers roster. They threw bigger guys at him and he used his deadly crossover to get into the paint. They threw shorter, quicker defenders at him and he went down to the right block and went to work. It seemed like every player on the Oakland Soldiers got a chance at stopping Kyle Anderson and every one came away shaking their head. Scouts can critique Anderson’s foot speed all they want. He is a winning basketball player who with excel at any college he chooses thanks to his toughness, basketball IQ, and leadership.

Brandon Ashley (Oakland Soldiers/2012) – Ashley was fantastic again Thursday night planting himself in the low block and going to work. His right handed jump hook is his go-to move and he used it time and again in this game. Also very active on both backboards, Ashley posted 18 points and 11 rebounds in the win while also showing outstanding form at the free throw line for a big man converting 10-13.

Myles Davis (Playaz Basketball Club/2012) – Davis did what he does best in this game, stroke the ball from long range. He knocked down four of seven three-pointers including a couple huge ones during his team’s second half rally. What I like most about Davis as a shooter is his unwavering confidence. Whether he’s made five in a row or missed five in a row he is just as ready to pull the trigger and his form is just as pure.

Friday morning the players were back at it for the semifinals in what was the culminating day of a grueling week for players, coaches, and scouts alike. The first match up featured the Georgia Stars headlined by frontcourt mates Tony Parker and Alex Poythress going against Memphis YOMCA and there bruising front court of William “Shaq” Goodwin and Jarnell Stokes. Unfortunately for Georgia, Poythress was nursing an ankle injury from the day before and clearly didn’t look like himself. YOMCA was able to advance to Friday night’s final with relative ease 78-64. In the second semifinal Nerlens Noel and his BABC team took on the Oakland Soldiers. Noel continued his assault on anyone standing in his way and led his group to a 74-60 win that wasn’t even as close as the 14 point margin would indicate. All four teams were filled with high major talent but some stood a cut above the rest.

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Nerlens Noel (BABC/2013) – Noel put on a defensive show that had college coaches in attendance looking at each other in disbelief. He let the Soldiers know from the get go that the painted area belonged to him and anyone coming into it would have to face the consequences. Of the first four shots the Soldiers attempted Noel blocked two and severely altered the other two. The tone had been set and BABC never looked back. Noel’s final stat line read 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 blocks. Beyond the 11 blocks, Noel broke the Soldiers spirit. They are normally a team that gets in the lane and dunks on everyone but they played tentative and afraid of the big man the entire game. Nerlens Noel was the top player at this year’s Peach Jam, period.

William “Shaq” Goodwin (Memphis YOMCA/2012) – Listed at 6’8” 230 pounds, Goodwin was simply too physical for anyone on the Georgia Stars roster. He camped out on the low block from the game’s opening possession and put on a clinic at how a big man with a strength advantage should go about his business. He bullied defenders en route to the rim and finished with jump hooks and power dunks. Ending up with 29 points and 12 rebounds on 12-16 shooting Goodwin owned the paint from start to finish in leading his team to victory.

Martavious Newby (Memphis YOMCA/2012) – 6’3” 200 pounds and built like a rock, Newby was the best on ball perimeter defender I saw this week. He is so much stronger than almost any guard he faces up against but is also faster than most of them as well. He seems to truly relish the defensive side of the ball and gave the Georgia Stars back court fits with his constant pressure. He took charges, he deflected balls, he forced bad passes and just generally wrecked havoc with his intensity and toughness. Offensively his perimeter shot needs work but the same strength that fuels him defensively allows him to finish well in the lane. Newby punctuated the YOMCA victory with a powerful left handed throw down on the break in the game’s final minutes.

Tony Parker (Georgia Stars/2012) – Parker is a wide bodies post who has very soft hands an excellent footwork for such a big man. He scored the ball in a variety of ways in the low block using spin moves, shot fakes and a soft jump hook. He also crashed the offensive glass for 2nd chance points and even showed range on his jump shot to 17 feet. Parker’s effort was inconsistent during the game which is likely a result of his conditioning. While he has lost weight since I last saw him the process is not complete and he needs to continue to work on his body to enhance his development as a player.

Rene Castro (BABC/2013) – Castro mans the point for BABC standing at 6’2” 170 pounds. He doesn’t try to do anything flashy but rather makes the simple pass, the simple shot, and the simple play. Castro’s handle probably stands out as his strongest physical skill as he routinely broke the Oakland Soldiers press by weaving his way through traffic and then finding a teammate for an easy look on the other end. His mental makeup is what makes him such an efficient point guard though. Castro plays with a calm demeanor leading his team at both ends of the floor. He has a very high basketball IQ seeing the game a couple steps ahead and making plays using his smarts.

Aaron Gordon (Oakland Soldiers/2013) – Of everyone I saw this week, Gordon did the best job finishing in the lane with Nerlens Noel in his way. Everyone else on the Soldiers team appeared tentative but Gordon used his superior athleticism to explode at the rim and finish through contact. It didn’t work every time as Noel got a couple of his attempts but Gordon was never fazed and kept coming strong. He finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds all in the first half before his second half was basically erased by foul trouble.

College Coaches in Attendance:

Oakland Soldiers vs. Playaz Basketball Club – Billy Donovan (Florida), Steve Alford (New Mexico), Sean Miller (Arizona), Kevin Willard (Seton Hall), John Thompson III (Georgetown), Steve Lavin (St. John’s), Mike Montgomery (California), John Calipari (Kentucky), Dana Altman (Oregon), Frank Haith (Missouri), and Lorenzo Romar (Washington) were the big time head coaches courtside. Assistants from Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Xavier joined them.

Georgia Stars vs. Memphis YOMCA – Head coaches on hand for the first semifinal included Josh Pastner (Memphis), Lorenzo Romar (Washington), Dana Altman (Oregon), John Calipari (Kentucky), Billy Donovan (Florida), Brad Brownell (Clemson), Jim Baron (URI), and Bobby Cremins (College of Charleston). They were joined by assistants from Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU, Texas, and Iowa.

BABC vs. Oakland Soldiers – Head coaches still around to watch the second semifinal included Sean Miller (Arizona), Lorenzo Romar (Washington), Dana Altman (Oregon), Mike Montgomery (California), Billy Donovan (Florida), Mark Turgeon (Maryland), and John Calipari (Kentucky). Assistants hailed from schools including Iowa, Texas A&M, Syracuse, UNLV, and Missouri.

Recruiting Updates:

Myles Davis – Answering rumors that he might commit this week, Davis confirmed that had the Playaz made the championship game he was going to commit live on national television. Now that they’ve been eliminated he will late until likely mid-August when he will decide between his final four of Xavier, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia.

Brandon Ashley – Ashley hasn’t trimmed down a list and said he plans to do so after getting home from the Peach Jam either on Saturday or Sunday. He did mention that the two schools recruiting him harder than anyone else are Oregon and Arizona.

Prince Ibeh – Ibeh stated that he is “wide open” but schools pursuing him the most aggressively are Texas, Maryland, Baylor, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, and Florida.

Marcus Hunt – Hunt stated that he has offers and interest from schools in major conferences around the country including the Big East, ACC, and SEC. He doesn’t have a refined list of any kind but that from the Big East Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Connecticut are showing the most interest.

Rene Castro – Castro told me that he will not be returning to Beaver Country Day next fall. He hasn’t decided which school he will attend and is still weighing his options but the Tilton School where BABC teammates Nerlens Noel, Goodluck Okonoboh, Georges Niang, Dominque Bull, and Wayne Selden all attend is definitely in the mix. On the college front Castro mentioned interest from Boston College (offer), Seton Hall (offer), Harvard, Temple, Northeastern (offer), and Umass (offer.) From that group he stated that Seton Hall stood out as a school that was “giving him the most love.”

Dominique Bull – Bull, a former Rhode Island commit, still holds an offer from URI as well as interest from BYU, Missouri State (offer), Penn State, Hofstra (offer), VCU (offer), and Miami.

Goodluck Okonoboh – With Noel, Niang and co. ahead of him, Okonoboh has not seen much time for BABC’s 17U team this week at the Peach Jam. Yet, the Class of 2013 big man has a host of high major interest from Syracuse (offer), Minnesota (offer), Providence (offer), Pittsburgh (offer), Harvard, Michigan, and Connecticut.

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