Alex Schwartz, Florida Recruiting, Kentucky Recruiting, LaSalle Recruiting, Marshall Recruiting, Miami Recruiting, Minnesota Recruiting, Ohio State Recruiting, Penn State, Providence Recruiting, St. Joseph's Recruiting, Syracuse Recruiting, UCLA, VCU Recruiting, Villanova Recruiting, Virginia Recruiting, West Virginia Recruiting, Xavier Recruiting
THE HOOP GROUP’S FUTURE ALL-AMERICA CAMP – TUESDAY RECAP
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by Alex Schwartz
READING, Pa. — The Hoop Group’s Future All-American Camp is one of the top events for young players on a yearly basis. Featuring some elite rising sophomores and freshmen in addition to kids from the two classes below, the 2012 camp is loaded as usual. NBE Sports was on hand at Albright College for the games on Tuesday and got to see numerous players in the classes of 2015 and 2016. Some of the standouts were players who are already well-known, while many others are guys who are just beginning to make names for themselves.
Sylvester Ogbonda is a native of Nigeria who said he came over to the United States just nine or 10 months ago. Additionally, he said he has only been playing basketball for about two years. Despite being new to the game, Ogbonda is a force to be reckoned with around the rim. A 6’10 center who attends National Christian Academy (MD), Ogbonda has a game well beyond his years and his experience level. The class of 2015 prospect has a great body and obviously some exceptional height for his age. He is comfortable with his back to the basket, has a nice spin move and can score in the low post. Ogbonda even showed the ability the to step out and shoot the ball from midrange. Although he is just a bit slow laterally, Ogbonda runs the floor really well and clearly makes an effort to get up and down the court. He plays quality defense and does a superb job of blocking and altering shots. Overall, he is a very talented player with some major upside and he has a chance to be one of the best big men in the nation in his class.
TOP SLEEPER PERFORMER
Walker Wilson was probably the best player on the floor, performance-wise, in the final game that NBE Sports watched on Tuesday night. Despite the presence of a number of more highly touted players also on the court in the contest, Wilson impressed with his ability to impact the game. A class of 2015 prospect who attends tradition-rich St. Anthony’s (NJ), Wilson is a tough kid around the basket. A 6’5 power forward, Wilson is a touch undersized right now, but considering his age he certainly has ample time to grow. Wilson works hard on the glass and does a nice job of grabbing rebounds. Additionally, he puts in effort at the defensive end of the floor and makes his presence felt. Wilson is definitely a player who deserves to be monitored over the next few years.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Gerald Blount was another member of the 2015 class at St. Anthony’s (NJ) who impressed on Tuesday. A 6’5 power forward with a pretty good body, Blount is a kid who works hard around the rim. He also possesses a nice spin move that he can utilize in he paint. Blount is simply a kid who finds ways to get things done on the court.
Isaiah Briscoe showed why he is considered one of the elite players in the class of 2015 on a national level. A 6’2 point guard out of St. Benedict’s (NJ), Briscoe has a strong build, a nice handle a quality feel for the game. He plays under control, sees the floor well and does a nice job of working on the perimeter on defense.
Thomas Bryant is another one of the very best players in America in the class of 2015. The 6’9 power forward has a good body and superb athletic ability to go along with an extremely good handle for a player his size. Bryant, who attends Rochester’s Bishop Kearney (NY), turned in the play of the day when he partially blocked a shot, grabbed the ball, dribbled up the floor, spun past his defender, and scored at the rim.
Vaughn Covington is only in the class of 2016, but the 5’9 point guard sure plays like someone a lot older. Covington, who will go to Neumann-Goretti (PA) for high school, has a smooth game, handles the ball well and plays under control. His midrange jumper was not falling, but his stroke from that distance looked good and he was able to connect from deep.
Sam Green, who is headed to Bishop McNamara (MD), is another talented player in the class of 2016. A 6’5 power forward with a strong body, Green is tough down low, rebounds quite well and is pretty skilled. He displayed a nice hook shot and is comfortable with his back to the basket, showing nice ability to back his man down and score. Additionally, Green can connect from midrange.
Kason Harrell of Hempfield (PA) was one of the lesser known players who impressed on Tuesday. A 6’3 shooting guard in the class of 2015, Harrell is a talented scorer who can really get to the cup. He has a nice spin move that he can utilize to beat his man off the bounce. Harrell has some shooting ability and is a productive overall player.
Franklin Howard is one of the top backcourt players in the country in the class of 2015. A 6’4 combo guard out of Paul VI (VA), Howard has a silky smooth game, nice court vision and quality passing ability. He is a pretty good athlete with superb body control and a stellar feel for the game. Howard can really get to the basket off the bounce.
Connor Jack, a 6’6 power forward out of Berks Catholic (PA), is the younger brother of 2012 Penn State commitment Donovon Jack. A class of 2015 recruit, Jack is one of then hardest working guys around the rim that you will find. He is a tough kid who does a very nice job of grabbing rebounds at both ends of the floor.
Curtis Jones of Highland Springs (VA) is yet another player in the class of 2016 to keep an eye on, as he can flat out play. A 6’1 combo guard with some real nice athletic ability, Jones is quite adept at getting to the rack off the dribble. He is a quality scorer and has a body that will be able to add bulk over time.
Lamarr Kimble of Neumann-Goretti (PA) is a pure point guard who does a fantastic job of distributing the basketball. Kimble, who stands 5’10, has a great feel for the game and stellar court vision. The 2015 prospect finds open teammates in positions to score the ball. Kimble is not just a facilitator though, as he is also a capable shooter from 3-point land.
Ryan Lawrence is a 6’3 shooting guard in the class of 2013 who it seems is transferring from St. Benedict’s (NJ) to Bishop Loughlin (NY). He has a nice head fake and can knock down pull-up jumpers from midrange. Lawrence is a productive player with a thick build who is adept at getting the the basket off the bounce.
Taj Price is still growing into his body, but that does not stop the 6’5 power forward from producing. A class of 2015 prospect out of Newark Eastside (NJ), Price has a very good frame and nice length. He does a superb job of scoring the basketball down low and showed off the ability to toss in a hook shot.
Thomas Bryant is an elite prospect in the Class of 2015, but the Rochester (NY) native has not really begun the recruiting process at all at this point. Bryant was not sure of what specific schools are recruiting him at this point and mentioned he knows of no scholarship offers, but said he knows he has interest from ACC and Big East programs. Bryant has yet to take any unofficial visits and there are none planned at this time either. Bryant will consider academics and “what the coach can teach” him when weighing his options. He added that location will not be a factor in his eventual choice.
Levi Cook is a 6’9 center in the class of 2015 who comes from a non-traditional basketball state in West Virginia. The rising sophomore from Liberty (WV) has a great deal of high-major interest, despite not being from a hoops hotbed. Cook listed scholarship offers from West Virginia, Marshall and Northern Kentucky to go along with interest from UCLA, Minnesota, VCU, Florida, Ohio State, Providence, and others. When asked about his favorites, Cook listed a half dozen schools before stating that he likes them all equally. However, the big man did concede that there is one at the top of his list, saying, “Probably West Virginia.”
Thus far, Cook has visited West Virginia, Ohio State and VCU. He plans to return to all of those schools plus trip to Florida and Marshall. Cook, who plans to commit whenever he feels ready, discussed whether he feels any pressure from people to stay in-state. “Honestly, they would like to me to go to West Virginia or Marshall, but the people that are close to me, they’ll be happy and cheer for me wherever I go,” Cook said.
Lamarr Kimble claims no offers at this point, but said he is garnering interest from Villanova, Syracuse, Penn State, La Salle, St. Joe’s, Miami, Xavier, and Virginia. Kimble lists no favorites and the only school he has visited so far is Providence, on a trip he said came last summer. He has no additional trips scheduled. He is currently thinking that he will make his college decision on his birthday, September 28th, of his junior year of high school. Location will not a be a factor for Kimble in his school choice.
Sylvester Ogbonda was unsure of what schools are recruiting him, as he said his coach handles that. However, there are a couple schools that the rising sophomore big man is most interested in. “I like Syracuse basketball because they’re all long and run down the floor and all that,” Ogbonda said, “and everybody wants to go to Kentucky.”