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2012 HOOP GROUP ELITE CAMP – TUESDAY
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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Hoop Group Elite Session II kicked off a day before the live period and gave players from the Northeast and around the country a chance to showcase their skills in a high intensity camp setting. The collection of talent put together by the Hoop Group staff was impressive to say the least with high major talent all over the place. A select group of players managed to separate themselves from the pack led by a pair of scoring guards who dominated game play.
Top Performers of the Camp:
Shadell Millinghaus (Albany City Rocks 2013) – Millinghaus is a truck with the ball in his hands, flying up and down the court while defenders bounce off him on his forays to the rim. His combination of power and speed is unusual from the guard position and it allows him to overpower most opponents on the perimeter. He’s at his best grabbing defensive rebounds and starting the fast break himself by taking off with the ball. Millinghaus is just as likely to dunk on someone’s head at the rim as he is to make a crafty pass thru traffic to a teammate for an easy bucket. His advancement this spring and summer has been remarkable and has solidified his status as a top 50 player in the 2013 class, currently ranked #33 in the NBE Class of 2013 Pre-July Live Period Top 75.
Isaiah Whitehead (Juice All Stars 2014) – While Millinghaus dominated the afternoon slate of games, Whitehead was the top performer from the evening games. He was simply unguardable off the dribble getting to the basket whenever he pleased. Whitehead finished in every which way imaginable once he got into the paint to the point that it almost looked like he was inventing new acrobatic shots on the fly. While I would normally nitpick that he made shots around the rim more difficult than they had to be, Whitehead made all of them regardless of difficulty so it’s hard to question him. He also made jumpers well past the three-point line and rebounded at a high level for the guard position. My only concern is Whitehead’s tendency to float when he doesn’t have the ball. He will become an even more dominant scorer if he can learn to operate without the ball and create scoring chances that way. Whotehead checked in at #27 in the NBE Class of 2014 Pre-July Live Period Top 40.
Sleeper Performance of the Camp:
Shaquille Scott (BC Eagles 2013) – Scott was the first name to make a big impression at camp as he had everyone running around trying to find out who was wearing number 749. The 6’5” wing is explosive off the dribble and tries (usually successfully) to dunk everything in the paint. He didn’t flash much of a perimeter shot but honestly got past his man off the dribble so consistently that it wasn’t necessary. He will be a player I want to watch further both throughout July and next year at The Robinson School (NJ.)
Junior Etou (DC Assault 2013) – Etou is a combo forward in the process of transitioning from the power forward spot out to the wing. If Wednesday morning’s game action is any indication the transition is going quite well. Etou made jump shots out to 18 feet and showed an ability to beat his man off the dribble. He also dominated the back boards against bigger front line players and scored inside through contact without a problem. If his handle and overall perimeter skills catch up to his athleticism over the next year, high majors will be lined up to secure his services.
Marcus Derrickson (Team Takeover 2015) – The best long term prospect I saw at this event, Derrickson is a man among boys despite playing against older competition. The 6’7” combo forward toyed with defenders throughout game play on Tuesday looking his best as a facilitator from the post. Derrickson had the skill and strength to score at will from the block but chose to get teammates involved by using his vision from the post to find shots for others. He easily played to his national top 10 ranking and may even have room to move up as he is currently #8 in the NBE Class of 2015 Pre-July Live Period Top 15.
Jevon Thomas (Team Melo 2013) – Thomas is lightning quick from the point guard position and can carry a team for stretches when he gets hot from outside. That was the case on Tuesday as he buried four consecutive three-pointers in the 2nd half of a game with each one looking more ridiculous than the last. Shot selection and overall decision making from the point are areas where Thomas can improve but his athleticism and scoring ability are second to none for the position.
Kahron Ross (Arkansas Hawks 2014) – A slender point guard with a high basketball IQ, Ross stood out even though the camp setting doesn’t highlight his strengths. He’s not going to blow you away with above the rim finishes but Ross is a pinpoint passer who really makes others better. He found angles to create passes in transition that I couldn’t see until they happened and routinely got layups for his teammates.
Cassidy Ryan (CIA Bounce 2014) – The Canadian forward was an unknown to me entering play Tuesday but he is certainly on my radar now. The 6’7” physical specimen attacked hard off the dribble and was too strong for opponents at the rim. He has an excellent blend of power and athleticism for a kid his size which will serve him well as time progresses. I’ll need a more extended viewing to project an exact level for Ryan but he’s at least a mid-major player.
Josh Reaves (Team Takeover 2015) – A teammate of Derrickson’s at Paul VI, Reaves played well off the big man by making perimeter shots. The slender 6’4” lefty buried multiple 3-pointers by creating space after feeding Derrickson in the post and getting it back from his big man. I’d like to see more off the dribble in future viewings but Reaves is certainly a young name to keep an eye on.
Lamarr Kimble (Team Final 2015) – In camp settings everyone tends to look for their own offense so when a player like Kimble plays like a true point guard and sets everyone else up, it stands out. The 6’0” rising sophomore showed great poise and leadership, setting his team up in offensive sets. He was crafty in screen and roll sets and rewarded big men for running the floor.
Will Ferguson (Team Takeover 2013) – Ferguson is a super athletic combo guard who was deadly from midrange on Tuesday afternoon. He has a very quick first step which he used to create space and then elevated over defenders to get off jump shots from 12-18 feet. Ferguson can expand his game by learning to play at different speeds and facilitating for others a bit more.
Shavar Newkirk (Team Scan 2014) – The New York City point guard had a very strong day on Tuesday by repeatedly beating defenders off the dribble and making plays in the paint. He flashed a nice floater and the ability to pass in traffic once surrounded by big men in the lane. Added strength and more consistency on his 3-point shot could vault Newkirk up another level in his recruitment.
Shadell Millinghaus (Albany City Rocks 2013) – Millinghaus somehow remains under the radar despite a monster spring season. He has the most contact with Oregon, Penn State, La Salle and Iona while Tennessee, Mississippi and Cincinnati are also involved. The powerful guard can play just about anywhere and schools that figure that out quickly will have themselves a steal.
Isaiah Whitehead (Juice All Stars 2014) – One of the best scorers in the 2014 class, Whitehead has had the attention of high major schools for a few years already. He lists a pair of dream schools in Syracuse and Kentucky with the Orange having already offered. Whitehead listed head coach Jim Boeheim as his main recruiter from SU while assistant Orlando Antigua has been the lead for UK. In addition to these two at the top of his list, Whitehead also listed offers from Rutgers, Iowa, Iowa State and UCLA.
Junior Etou (DC Assault 2013) – Etou will be leaving Arlington Country Day (FL) next year and finish his high school career at Bishop O’Connell (VA.) The combo forward already has a host of high major schools after his services as he claimed offers from Cincinnati, Miami, Memphis, West Virginia, Temple, Kansas, Arizona and Maryland. He plans to take his time and sign in the spring of next year as he really hasn’t delved into the recruiting process all that much to this point. He’s looking for a school that can offer him a chance to play immediately and wants to be recruited as a SF as opposed to a PF.
Jevon Thomas (Team Melo 2013) – Thomas has moved on from his commitment to Dayton as they were looking for a guard in the 2012 class and both parties will be going in different directions for 2013. He is mulling interest from UNLV, Kansas State, Penn State, Oklahoma State and Seton Hall. Thomas is looking for an up and down system that allows him to show off his open court skills and says location doesn’t matter because he’s already been away from home for 2 years at high school so he’s adjusted to it.
Kahron Ross (Arkansas Hawks 2014) – The rising junior point guard has yet to receive his first scholarship offer but has high interest from some high major Southern schools. Arkansas, Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Memphis have all been in contact since June 15th but none have pulled the trigger on an offer as of now.