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DECISIONS NEAR FOR BALTIMORE ELITE DUO ARTIS & MCNEIL
Post-Peach Jam announcement set for Charm City Pair
By Ron Bailey
Nike’s Peach Jam has become a milestone event on the grassroots circuit, given its status as that companies’ summertime championship of their sponsored Elite Youth Basketball League. Of course coaches from across the country attend, chasing some of the countries’ boys best high school basketball talent.
A pair of B’More guys are using it as yard marker, per se. In a sense the goal line.
“I’m going to decide after Peach Jam,” revealed Class of 2013 forward Jamel Artis at the recently concluded Nike Skills U Camp, of his announcement timetable. Still dripping sweat after a game, he noted “Pittsburgh, La Salle, Miami, NC State, Providence” are the schools on his list, with La Salle and Pitt having tendered scholarship offers.
Though Pittsburgh will soon be an Atlantic Coast Conference institution, Artis did indicate “I always wanted to play in the BIG EAST,” when asked specifically about the conference. Jamel on criteria for choosing a school: “Honestly, guys I can trust – coaches and players. Guys that play hard every night, that are going to give it a 100%. And I just want to win…win a championship.”
Artis considers himself a “point forward”, and for good measure, as he possesses significant passing ability for a player standing 6’7” and weighing 220 pounds. Of dropping dimes, the East Baltimore product that calls that city’s Belair section home said “I take a lot of pride in that. That’s one thing I do best.” In addition to finding people, Artis can hit mid-range jumpers, solidly pat the rock, and has a decent feel for the game.
He also understands conditioning is an issue – Jamel laughed and agreed when asked if the food at Vermont Prep packed on a few extra pounds. He cited three other points of needed improvement, as “I have to stop clutching” his jump shot, and “I have to rebound more”. In terms of lateral quickness, Artis revealed “I’m quick at times, but I can get a little quicker.”
Jamel’s Class of 2013, Vermont Prep and Nike Baltimore Elite teammate DaQuein McNeil displayed adequate lateral quickness during Skills U action, but seemed early on not to trust his offensive game. When asked if that was the case, McNeil allowed it was, noting “Yeah, came out and missed my first two jump shots. I came back and picked it up soon.” He was obviously frustrated, but did consent to the interview, displaying both competitiveness and a sense of professionalism.
McNeil is a combo guard that can hit the open jumper and drive. Equally (or more) as important to his game is an ability and willingness to scrap and defend, as DaQuein never stops battling. Basically he’s repping his city’s ethos.
This West Side B’More guy should expand his jumper’s range well beyond three point range, and continue his strength development, thereby allowing him to finish through contact. At 6’3” and weighing 185 pounds, as a combo guard in college ‘Day-Day’ will surely face it.
Both Artis and McNeil are both on the clock so to speak – Peach Jam takes place this week. It will be interesting where these Baltimorians end up.
Extra: McNeil and Artis are scheduled to play July 16th in Baltimore, against the Harrison Twins from Houston, Aaron and Andrew. Click here for more info, via i95Ballerz.com.
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