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‘LIVE IN AC’ – FINAL REPORT
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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
The inaugural “Live in AC” event came to close by crowning champions at the 15U, 16U and 17U levels last Friday afternoon. The youngster division was taken by Team Final (PA) after a championship game victory over the NJ Playaz. Team Takeover DC swept the two older divisions defeating Expressions Elite (MA) for the 16U crown and Sports U (NJ) for the 17U. Stars from all these programs and others stood out on the road to the title and here is our final report from the Nl Playaz hosted event in Atlantic City.
Top Performance of the Day:
Josh Hart (Team Takeover 2013) – Hart’s physicality and aggression from the wing fuel everything that Takeover wants to do. His constant motor and “whatever it takes to win” attitude are a perfect fit for the hardnosed program. Offensively Hart puts pressure on the opposition with straight line drives at the rim. He finishes with both hands and welcomes contact once in the paint. On the defensive side of the ball he often takes the challenge of the other team’s top scorer and has the ability to be a shut down type guy. Hart also rebounds extremely well for his position often starting the break after a defensive board.
Sleeper Performance of the Day:
Spencer Weisz (Sports U IZOD 2013) – Weisz is known as a catch and shoot guy but his best value is actually in his basketball IQ in my eyes. He does a great job of reading passing lanes defensively and jumping in front to start the break. In those transition opportunities Weisz continually made the right decision as far as when to pass to create the easiest look. Shooting and smart decisions make it no surprise that many of the nation’s top academic schools have interest in the 6’4” wing.
Dion Wiley (Team Takeover 2014) – Wiley was Takeover’s best player in the championship game victory over Expressions Elite. The 6’5” powerful wing made deep jump shots well past the 3-point line including three straight during a crucial second half run. He also rebounded, played physical defense, and shared the ball but it was Wiley’s stroke that jumped off the page in the win.
Lamar Kimble (Team Final 2015) – Kimble’s mastery of high ball screens is incredibly unique for such a young player. The high IQ point guard is quick enough to turn the corner and then picks apart the remaining defense and finds open shooters all over the floor. Kimble can also make floaters in the paint but is best distributing from that spot as his vision and passing accuracy are among the best I’ve seen from the 2015 class.
Abdul-Malik Abu (Expressions Elite 2014) – The best player in the 16U field throughout the week, Abu and his team came up short in the title game but he still managed to dominate inside. Post-ups, right hand drives, and loud finishes are staples of Abu’s offense which was unstoppable the entire tournament. It also has to be mentioned that Abu is fasting for religious reasons this month and cannot eat or drink ANYTHING throughout the day while playing multiple games. The fact that he’s even been playing is somewhat miraculous and to be the best 16U performer in the field just speaks to his incredible talent.
Rondae Jefferson (Team Final 2013) – While Team Final didn’t end with the outcome they’d hoped, Jefferson’s individual talent was on display. His passing remains his biggest strength as the 6’6” lefty guard reminds me so much of Tony Wroten when he drives hard to his left and whips passes to teammates. Jefferson’s ceiling will be determined on the improvement of his jump shot. It remains a crucial weakness and higher level defenders will exploit it by going under every screen unless improved.
Josh Brown (Sports U IZOD 2013) – Brown was the key to a morning semifinal victory over Team Final attacking consistently and being an absolute pest on defense. His quickness off the dribble was a major problem and after beating the initial defender Brown did a great job of sharing the ball and keeping all his scorers happy.
Malachi Richardson (Team Final 2015) – Elite just begins to describe Richardson. The 6’5” wing continued to prove himself as one of 2015’s best players by leading Team Final to the 15U chip. Richardson has a fantastic all around game from the wing and has the potential to be a star on both ends of the floor. His length and athleticism combined with a great understanding for the game separate him from his peers at this stage.
Obi Enechionyia (Team Takeover 2014) – I was a huge fan of Enechionyia after seeing him at Peach Jam dominate with bounce around the rim and shooting skills from long range. The 6’8” forward showed me even more in Atlantic City by facilitating off the dribble and setting up hot teammates. A power forward now, he showed signs of being able to progress to the small forward down the road which would only enhance what is already a high major skill package.
Josh Hart (Team Takeover 2013) – Hart has seen a terrific AAU season cause his recruitment to explode. After finishing off a championship win he caught up with NBE and listed schools like Villanova, NC State, Kansas State, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Connecticut, Miami, Penn State, Indiana, Memphis, and Temple. Of that bunch Hart mentioned relationships with the coaching staffs at Villanova and Cincinnati as two that stood out from the group. They still have plenty of company in his recruitment as Hart mentioned wanting to visit Villanova, Rutgers, UConn, Indiana, Memphis, and Temple at some point in August. He has already been on campus at NC State.
Dion Wiley (Team Takeover 2014) – The MVP of the 16U championship game caught up with NBE afterwards to discuss the main schools involved with his recruitment. He mentioned offers from Georgetown, Maryland, and Rutgers along with heavy interest from UMASS, Cincinnati, Miami, and Virginia Tech. As of now staying close to home is important for Wiley and for that reason he considered Georgetown and Maryland as his favorites right now. He did acknowledge that his priorities could shift in the next two years but for now location is a major factor.
Lamar Kimble (Team Final 2015) – Still too young to be hearing from colleges himself, Kimble’s coaches have had their phones ringing quite a bit. Villanova, Syracuse, Temple, La Salle, St Joe’s, and Penn have all reached out and are sure to be joined by a host of high majors as time goes on. Kimble is an elite point guard prospect who can run the show at top level programs.
Malachi Richardson (Team Final 2015) – Already a high major priority in the Northeast, Richardson’s coaches have taken calls from Miami, Rutgers, Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova, and UConn. As a scoring guard with pro-type potential Richardson should have his choice of just about any college program as his recruitment progresses over the next few years.