Arizona Recruiting, Arkansas Recruiting, Florida Recruiting, Gonzaga Recruiting, Kansas Recruiting, Marquette Recruiting, memphis Recruiting, Mississippi State Recruiting, Notre Dame Recruiting, Oklahoma State Recruiting, Texas A&M Recruiting, Texas Recruiting, UTEP
REEBOK SHOWDOWN CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP – SATURDAY
By Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – With the Reebok Breakout Challenge complete, the Reebok Showdown Series Championship took center stage on Saturday at Philadelphia University. Featuring numerous superb AAU teams from coast to coast up into Canada, there was talent all over the gym.
NBE Sports was on hand to take in the action, as well as speak with a few players about their recruitment.
Jarrel Marshall is not a huge name in recruiting circles and he is not a high-major prospect, but that does not detract from his performance in the first game of the day NBE Sports saw. A 6’6 combo forward for the NY Panthers, Marshall poured in a game-high 26 points in his team’s loss to M33M. Although Marshall, who is going to South Kent (CT) for a post-grad year, was unable to lead his team to a win, he certainly did all he could. He seems to have really improved his perimeter game and was consistently knocking down shots from mid to long range. Additionally, he can bang down low at both ends of the court and is a productive overall player.
TOP SLEEPER PERFORMER
Noah Blackwell also turned in an impressive performance in a defeat, as the 2015 point guard saw his NorCal Pharoahs team fall to the NJ Roadrunners. The 6’0 rising sophomore from Woodcreek (CA) needs to take better care of the basketball, but he has a feel for the game that is well beyond his years. Blackwell has good court vision and does a superb job of distributing the ball to his teammates. He utilizes the no-look pass well, too. Blackwell has a good handle, a strong frame and can knock down shots from outside at times.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Derrick Griffin, a 6’6 power forward from Terry (TX) is considered a better football prospect than basketball prospect, and that is a major statement considering his talent on the hardwood. A 2013 prospect who has committed to the Texas A&M football program, Griffin possesses freakish athleticism and unreal leaping ability, allowing him to play bigger than he truly is. Griffin has a chiseled frame and is strong around the basket. He threw down a number of major dunks for the Houston Defenders in this one.
Dwayne Benjamin is another basketball player who is also a standout on the gridiron. The prep school-bound 6’5 small forward really impressed in both Play Hard Play Smart games that NBE Sports saw. A talented wing who can really shoot the ball from deep, Benjamin also possesses the ability to attack off the bounce. Additionally, he works on the defense end and contests shots.
Keith Frazier actually struggled in the first half of the game that NBE Sports saw, but then he turned it up to a whole new gear in the second session. A smooth scorer on the wing, Frazier is a 6’4 shooting guard out of Kimball (TX) in the 2013 class. The DJH5 player can hit shots from outside the 3-point arc and he also attacks the cup extremely well. He did a fantastic job of getting to the rim and then drawing fouls to get to the line.
Stephen Vasturia is going to be a player that Notre Dame fans really enjoy watching, as the 6’5 shooting guard combines major effort with impressive skills. A 2013 recruit out of St. Joseph’s Prep (PA) who runs with the Jersey Shore Warriors, Vasturia always seems to make plays and get the job done. He is versatile enough offensively to slide to either the one or the three and he is very capable of piercing through a defense on his way to the bucket.
Austin Nichols of Briarcrest Christian (TN) has made some major strides in his game over the past year and it is clear why he has such big-time interest. A 6’8 class of 2013 power forward, Nichols has a great skill set for his size. He has a competent midrange game, so he is a matchup nightmare for defense. Nichols does a great job of rebound the ball and can grab boards at both ends of the floor. He also excels at running the floor.
There were not nearly as many high-major schools represented on Saturday as there where during the two days we were at the Breakout Challenge . . . Penn State’s Pat Chambers was one of the few high-major head coaches in the gym . . . Former NBA player Darryl Dawkins was in attendance watching Sports U, as he works with the program as a trainer . . . Despite his team deciding not to play in the tournament, Rysheed Jordan was in the gym as a spectator watching the action . . . Also there watching games was Marist guard Isaiah Morton . . . D-One Sports had a class of 2017 player, 5’6 point guard Myron Carmon, playing up four years at the U17 level and he more than held his own
Dwayne Benjamin committed to UTEP in the class of 2012, but did not sign a Letter of Intent Instead, Benjamin is back on the market and will be going to prep school and reclassifying to 2013. He is set to attend Future Prep—formerly known as Stoneridge Prep—in Harbor City, Calif. As for why he taking the extra year, Benjamin said, “I just didn’t get the offers that I thought I deserved so I’m just gonna try again.” Additionally, Benjamin said that he is not qualified academically and that also is part of the reason he will do a post-grad year. The talented wing mentioned that he has some junior colleges recruiting him, but does expect to qualify after a PG year.
In addition to UTEP and the JuCo programs, a couple of other colleges are expressing interest in Benjamin. Play Hard Play Smart coach Glen Basped said that Gonzaga and Arizona have recently entered the mix for Benjamin. Asked if he is still open to attending UTEP, Benjamin replied, “Oh yeah, I’m always open to coach Tim Floyd.”
Keith Frazier is widely considered one of the top wings in the nation in the class of 2013 and he has a list worthy of that status. Frazier could not remember all of the schools on him, but mentioned offers from Arizona, Texas A&M, Memphis, Texas, Oklahoma State, Marquette and Kansas. He has no favorites and said he will commit “probably last minute.”
As of now, the schools that Frazier has had the chance to visit are Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M and Arizona. He has no additional trips planned at this point.
Trey Thompson is a well-regarded big man in the class of 2014, but the 6’9 center from Forrest City (AR) has a surprisingly short school list. Thompson said that Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi State and Memphis are the only colleges involved with him right now. He also noted that the Razorbacks and Gators are the lone two programs to offer him a scholarship. Thompson has no favorites and no timetable for a commitment. The only school he has visited thus far is Arkansas, but he is expecting to change that.
“I plan on taking a couple visits next year to probably Florida, Mississippi State and Memphis,” Thompson said. “Memphis is right down the street from my high school, so that should be fun.” Thompson noted that he lives about 45 minutes to an hour away from Memphis and is actually closer to the Bluff City than he is to the University of Arkansas. However, location will not be a factor for Thompson. He also touched on whether or not Arkansas Hawks AAU teammate IJ Ready being committed to Mississippi State will impact him, saying, “Not really, he’s one of my teammates [so] if I do choose Mississippi State [there is] gonna be some good chemistry.”
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