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HOOP GROUP END OF SUMMER CLASSIC RUNDOWN – 17U EDITION
By Brian Bosworth
The 17U brackets at Hoop Group’s End of Summer Classic featured some familiar names along with some newcomers as many young players were playing up. The NJ Playaz were the big winners capping their successful summer with a triple overtime victory in the platinum bracket final over New Heights. Players from those teams and others stood out on this day.
Savon Goodman (NJ Playaz/2012) – verbal to Villanova – Goodman had one of the best performances I’ve seen out of him all summer on the last day of the live period. He was up to his usual tricks of cleaning both backboards, running the floor hard, and finishing with authority at the rim. Those skills have defined his game and will make him a fan favorite at Villanova. Today he mixed in some perimeter skills that I hadn’t previously seen from him. Goodman knocked down numerous jump shots including some corner 3s and once he established the jumper used a shot fake to explode past defenders to the rim. If he can continue improving his perimeter game and become a full time small forward, Goodman would jump his game up to a different level. He has NBA athleticism but only the size to contribute at small forward at that level so it will be interesting to track his progress in this area.
Mike Young (NJ Playaz/2013) – Normally a member of the Playaz 16U squad, Young was playing up with the big boys today and he didn’t disappoint. Mike Young rebounds everything. He really attacks the ball as it comes of the rim both offensively and defensively and gets to balls that are well outside of his area. Rebounding is his best skill at this point and the one that translates the best from one level to the next so expect Young to be a big time rebounder at the high-major level in college. Offensively, he didn’t show much away from the rim but was very effective at finishing inside. Foul calls were tough to come by on this day but Young thrived with the added contact and finished plays on layups and power dunks with defenders draped all over him. He looks the part of a prototype power forward at the next level and can expand his game even further by improving his offensive skill set.
Isaiah Briscoe (NJ Playaz/2015) – The 2015 class is not a misprint. Briscoe is a 6’2” point guard who will be attending St. Benedict’s in the fall. Despite not yet playing a minute of high school basketball, Briscoe was not out of place at all playing at the 17U level. He shows good burst off the dribble repeatedly beating his man to the rim. Also, Briscoe plays with the mentality of a much older player not forcing anything and making the simple pass instead of trying to win the game on one possession. He is an elite prospect and has an opportunity to be one of the top players nationally in the 2015 class.
Chris Obekpa (New Heights/2012) – Enter the paint at your own risk. Obekpa quickly established himself as the events premier shot blocker and solidified that status as the day went on. He blocked shots both on the ball and from the weak side. He blocked shots with both his left and right hands. He blocked shots both below the rim and well above the rim. Chris Obekpa blocked just above every shot that was attempted in the painted area. He runs the floor very well and can finish around the rim with power dunks and soft lay ins alike but that’s the extent of his offensive repertoire at this point. He’s a run and jump athlete who works very hard on both ends and controls the paint defensively. High-majors from around the country should be fighting for his services.
Jamel Artis (Baltimore Elite/2012) – Artis is a big guard standing at 6’6” and while he can play both guard positions his true calling seems to be at the point. He is a mismatch nightmare at that spot because he is just too big for defenders to handle. He has a good combination of power and speed which allow him to work his way into the lane repeatedly. Artis is a skilled passer both in transition and in half court ball screen sets. Probably his top skill right now is his toughness on the glass which he exhibits on both ends of the floor. Despite playing point guard for Baltimore Elite, Artis was unquestionably their best rebounder today. He loves contact inside and finished through it multiple times both on drives and offensive rebounds.
Jevon Thomas (New York Gauchos/2012) – Recently de-committed from St. John’s, Thomas took to the floor with the Gauchos today and while the team struggled as a whole he was very efficient offensively. Thomas is a blur with the ball in his hands and his coast to coast speed fueled the breakneck pace at which the Gauchos like to play. He finished plays both at the rim and by pulling up for mid range jump shots but didn’t show range past 16 feet. He needs to continue improving the range on that jumper to keep defenders from constantly going under screens at the next level but otherwise Thomas easily looks the part of a high-major point guard.
Kyle Anderson – It has been known for some time that Anderson’s list includes 5 schools: St. John’s, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Florida and UCLA. With fellow 2012 point guard Dominic Artis committing to UCLA earlier in the month it had been rumored that they would fall from Anderson’s list but he insists that is not the case. However, UCLA was the only one of the 5 schools not in attendance today and their absence could be telling. Billy Donovan (Florida), Kevin Willard (Seton Hall), John Thompson III (Georgetown), and assistants from St. John’s sat courtside at all 3 of Anderson’s games. Steve Lavin (St. John’s) reportedly intended to be here but is stuck at LAX because he lost his wallet and was unable to board a plane so he sent the assistants in his place.
Mike Young – Young confirmed as earlier reported by NBE’s Matt Whitfield that he entered July with offers from Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall and Rutgers. After a successful month with the Playaz the interest has picked up considerably. He still holds the original 5 offers and has now heard from Miami, Florida State, Florida, Syracuse, Temple, Georgetown, St. John’s and many others. Young stressed that he is wide open in his recruitment, has no clue when he wants to commit, and has no narrowed down list of any kind or any timetable as to when he will narrow that down.
Brian Bosworth is a new contributor to NBE and lives in Connecticut and is a self-described ‘high school hoops junkie.’ You can see more of his work from this spring and summer, including his excellent coverage from the IS8 spring league, at his blog: Bosworth Hoops. Look for more from Brian at NBE in the future.