Brian Bosworth, Central Michigan Recruiting, Cincinnati Recruiting, Cleveland State Recruiting, Connecticut Recruiting, DePaul Recruiting, Florida Recruiting, Florida State, Georgetown Recruiting, Indiana Recruiting, Iowa State Recruiting, Kansas Recruiting, Maryland Recruiting, Miami Recruiting, Michigan Recruiting, Oakland Recruiting, Ohio State Recruiting, Pittsburgh Recruiting, Purdue Recruiting, Rutgers Recruiting, Syracuse Recruiting, UCLA, Virginia Recruiting, Virginia Tech Recruiting, West Virginia Recruiting, Wisconsin Recruiting
‘LIVE IN AC’ REPORT — DAY II
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Thursday at “Live in AC” featured a few big names playing up to their reputations but was mostly about under the radar guys getting a chance to shine. Here’s who caught NBE’s eye on the day.
Top Performance of the Day:
Abdul-Malik Abu (Expressions Elite 2014) – Abu is a big name in New England who deserves to be a big name on the national level. He was a physical force on the 16U level dominating the paint in both games I watched on Thursday. A strongly built 6’8” and 225 pounds, Abu can both post up and blow by defenders off the dribble. He loves contact once around the rim and finished while drawing fouls on multiple plays throughout the day. While Abu is a wide bodied post player, that doesn’t take away from his elite athleticism as both his first step off the dribble and explosion at the rim are of the highest level. He had some of the fiercest and most powerful dunks of the day both rising over defenders and finishing through them. Abu can play anywhere in the country at the college level and his recruitment is starting to show that.
Under the Radar Report:
With so many unheralded names taking center stage on Thursday, let’s look at a group of them instead of focusing on one sleeper.
Jackson Donahue (Rhode Island Hawks 2014) and Sam Donahue (Rhode Island Hawks 2013) – I lump the brothers together because I’d have virtually the same thing to say about both. They can flat out shoot the ball. Neither is a great athlete but both possess high basketball IQ’s and “in the gym” range. Both Donahue’s made shots out to 25 feet throughout the day both off the catch and off the dribble. They are zone busters of the highest degree and should both find a fit to continue that at the college level.
Keion Alexander (Team Adidas Pittsburgh 2013) – While very raw offensively, Alexander’s length and shot blocking ability make him a major presence at the defensive end. At 6’9” with a huge wingspan, Alexander did a good job of waiting for his opponent to commit to the shot before leaving his feet and also competed on the back board at both ends of the floor.
Christian Mekowulu (New Heights 2014) – Mekowulu is a physical 6’7” post player whose motor stood out above all else. His energy and never ending work ethic made him a force on the offensive glass as he tracked down balls well outside his area.
AJ Sumbry (NJ Playaz 2013) – Sumbry is a bit of a forgotten man with so many high profile guys in the Playaz program but he was excellent on Thursday. He cleaned the defensive back board, ran the floor hard, and finished around the rim. Sumbry’s offensive game is limited but to his credit he didn’t try to do things that he wasn’t capable of but rather focused on his strengths.
Devine Eke (Sports U IZOD 2014) – A long and lean 6’6” forward, Eke did his damage after receiving passes at the high post. From there he made the 15 foot jump shot, executed entry passes to teammates in the low post, and blew by his man using one dribble to get to the rim. Eke is an above average athlete with lots of room to grow skill wise over the next two years with Sports U.
Damion Smith (Expressions Elite 2014) – This is likely one of the last times Smith will be referred to as under the radar considering the number of college coaches who were impressed with him on Thursday. A 6’4” wing, Smith couldn’t be kept out of the paint all day as he drove the ball with both hands and finished from a variety of angles around the rim. Mid major and even some lower tier high major programs are sure to be on notice of Smith going forward.
BeeJay Anya (Team Takeover 2013) – Takeover struggled on Wednesday night going 0-2 but turned things around on Thursday in large part due to Anya. The massive big man scores or draws a foul almost every time he gets a post touch. Anya is a player who should have even more success in college than he has at the high school level because an offense will be built around him in the post and he’ll have elite teammates who can feed him the ball down there.
Isaiah Whitehead (Juice All Stars 2014) – While Juice struggled as a team on Thursday, Whitehead’s individual exploits were exactly what’s become expected of him. He’s impossible to stop off the dribble using both power and speed to bully his way into the lane. In addition Whitehead is one of the best tough shot makers in the class consistently hitting step backs and pull-up jumpers with defenders draped all over him.
Mike Young (NJ Playaz 2013) – Young has expanded his game to the perimeter more in recent months but had his most success on Thursday by getting back to his bread and butter of overpowering guys in the paint. He’s an outstanding rebounder on both ends both because of a high motor and huge hands that balls just seem to stick to. Young also scored on the block over both shoulders and defended the post at a high level.
Deandre Bembry (Sports U IZOD 2013) – Bembry is known as a physical combo forward whose athleticism around the rim fuels his success. While he still excelled in that area Thursday, Bembry also consistently made perimeter shots which if he can repeat going forward will take both his game and his recruitment to new levels.
Jaylen Johnson (Dorian’s Pride 2014) – Johnson is a lanky 6’9” forward who vies himself as a SF at the next level. His skill set shows that to be a possibility as he flashed a beautiful stroke out beyond the 3-point line as well as an ability to put the ball on the floor and blow by his defender. Johnson will need to be thrown into the weight room once he arrives on a college campus but appears to have a frame that will allow him to add weight.
BeeJay Anya (Team Takeover 2013) – Anya has most of the country’s elite after his services as the big man mentioned offers from Indiana, Kansas, Ohio State, Syracuse, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Georgetown, Maryland, UCLA, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Connecticut, and DePaul. Coaches from most or all of those programs could be seen tracking his games throughout the day. Anya insists that no one is a leader at this point and said he’s “just taking things one day at a time.” He has no timetable for a decision but said when the time is right he’ll be looking for a place with an excellent strength and conditioning program. That is his main area of focus for improvement and he feels that the right college program could continue his development in that area and turn him into a pro.
Jaylen Johnson (Dorian’s Pride 2014) – While not a household name nationally; Johnson has certainly made an impression on high major coaches in both the Midwest and beyond. He claimed offers from Miami, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Oakland, and Cleveland State along with interest from Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Central Michigan. Johnson acknowledged Wisconsin as a school that stood out from the group both because his mom went there and because of the Badgers high reputation.
Isaiah Whitehead (Juice All Stars 2014) – Whitehead has a who’s who of college basketball after his services holding offers from UCLA, Syracuse, Connecticut, Iowa State, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and “most of the Big East.” In addition Kentucky is actively recruiting Whitehead but has yet to pull the trigger on a scholarship offer. From the group Whitehead says that UCLA, Kentucky, and Syracuse stand out to him but especially Kentucky. He loves the Wildcats system and their ability to turn elite college players into first round draft picks. As of now Whitehead is planning to take his time and make a college decision after next summer heading into his senior season. He admitted, however, that an offer from John Calipari at Kentucky could change that time table and they have to be considered his favorite at this time.
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