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NEW YEAR’S JUMP-OFF EVENT RECAP
by Alex Schwartz
HACKENSACK, N.J. – Eight teams made their way to Hackensack (NJ) High School on Sunday for the New Year’s Jump-Off. The quartet of games featured only teams from the Garden State, but there was a great deal of talent on display, including a few players headed to high-major programs.
Reggie Cameron of Hudson Catholic is the easy choice of who turned in the day’s best performance. The 6-foot-8 small forward dropped 30 points and may well have had more if he shot more the fourth quarter had the game been close. Cameron, ranked No. 62 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125, also grabbed 12 rebounds, distributed the ball well and made his presence felt on defense. A big-time shooter from long range, the future Georgetown Hoya really had his shot going in this game. He has such a smooth stroke and possesses the size to get it off over most defenders. Cameron also scored from midrange and at the rim. The senior even displayed the ability to play the point, which is something he has not really done before. He blocked shots, found open teammates for buckets and was the best low post player in the game, despite being a three man. Cameron led his team to a 70-53 victory over Pope John XXIII and put on in absolute show in his home city of Hackensack.
TOP SLEEPER PERFORMER
Myles Powell of Medford Tech is not a particularly well-known player, but the class of 2015 prospect really impressed on Sunday. Powell, a 6-foot point guard, is a capable scorer who can connect from all three levels. He is a superb 3-point shooter, yet he did not always settle for shots from the perimeter. Powell displayed the ability to attack the basket, utilizing his sturdy build and quality handles. He is a pretty active player overall and while he is more of a scorer, he can definitely get teammates involved. Powell can find the open man and get him the ball, but in truth he may be a bit more of an undersized combo guard. Either way, there is no question that Powell is a nice offensive talent who made his mark at this event, despite a 77-57 loss to Medford Tech (NJ).
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Bryce Aiken is a freshman point guard who is generously listed at 5-foot-8 and is very thin as well, but he can flat out play. The Pope John XXIII star wowed the crowd with his handling ability, floor vision and 3-point stroke.
Isaiah Briscoe of St. Benedict’s is a 6-foot-3 point guard who ranks as one of the top players in the class of 2015 and he showed some of the reasons why on Sunday. Briscoe has a smooth game, gets to the rack with ease, finishes through contact, and plays under control.
Josh Brown, a future Temple Owl who attends St. Anthony’s, was one of the bright spots in poorly played 35-15 win over Newark East Side. The 6-foot-3 class of 2013 point guard showed off some shooting ability in addition to his skills as a lead guard.
Eli Cain, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Medford Tech (NJ), showed off a smooth game and the ability to score the rock at all three levels. The class of 2014 prospect has a strong frame, good body control and does not shy away from contact.
Hallice Cooke was the other player who stood out a bit for St. Anthony’s, as the Oregon State signee displayed some nice passing ability. A 6-foot-3 shooting guard, Cooke is best known for his 3-point shot, which he did connect on, but it was good to see him distribute as well as he did.
Mustapha Diagne ran into some foul trouble and that limited his minutes for Pope John XXIII, but when the 2015 prospect was on the court, he impressed. A 6-foot-9 power forward who runs the floor adeptly, Diagne rebounds the ball well and has some nice moves in the low post.
Tyler Ennis was the most highly-regarded prospect to take the floor on Sunday and the Syracuse-bound 6-foot-2 point guard did not disappoint. A 2013 prospect from St. Benedict’s (NJ), Ennis was almost unstoppable going to the rim and he had several nice finishes once there.
Joel Hernandez, a 6-foot-3 2013 shooting guard, could not do quite enough to keep Teaneck in the game against St. Benedict’s, but he impressed anyway. A tough kid who knocked down several threes, Hernandez repeatedly got to the rack and drew quite a few fouls in the 86-64 loss.
Shakir Lindsey might be just 5-foot-7, but the class of 2013 point guard from Teaneck is one of the toughest players you can find. He is extremely quick, handles the rock well, attacks the basket with purpose, and can connect from beyond the 3-point line.
Jamik Moore of Hackensack was the high scorer on the day, pouring in 35 points to go along with 16 rebounds. Moore is a 6-foot-4 class of 2013 power forward who does most of his damage around the rim, in part due to his sturdy frame.
Chris Myers does not necessarily look the part, as he is generously listed at 5-foot-10 and is rail thin, but he can really shoot the rock. A 2013 point guard from Hackensack, Myers showed the ability to knock down shots from beyond the 3-point line throughout his team’s game.
Mike Young, a 6-foot-8 power forward headed to Pitt, was another part of the trio that fueled St. Benedict’s to victory. The class of 2013 prospect demonstrated his superb inside-outside game, as he showed he can score with his back to the basket as well as knock down jumpers.
There was a large coaching turnout at Hackensack High School, including several head coaches. Delaware’s Monte Ross, George Mason’s Paul Hewitt, Robert Morris’ Andy Toole, Rutgers’ Mike Rice, St. Joe’s’ Phil Martelli, Villanova’s Jay Wright, and Wagner’s Bashir Mason were all on hand. Ross, Toole and Wright were each accompanied by an assistant . . . Other Division I schools represented were UConn, Drexel, Farleigh Dickinson, Fordham, Marist, Pitt, and Sacred Heart . . . New York Knicks wing JR Smith was in the house, as was New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and former NBA player Kerry Kittles . . . Talented 2013 forward Jermaine Lawrence did not play for Pope John XXIII due to a wrist injury.
Bryce Aiken listed early scholarship offers from Delaware, St. Francis (NY), Detroit, and Manhattan. The freshman said he is also receiving interest from Syracuse, Kansas, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s, UConn, and others. At this point in his recruitment Aiken said does not have any favorites. Seton Hall and Manhattan are the two schools that he has visited and there are no other trips currently planned. Aiken said his senior year is when he will probably make his college choice.
Isaiah Briscoe listed scholarship offers from Villanova, Florida, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, DePaul, Baylor, Arizona, Virginia, and Syracuse. He noted that there were others as well that he could not recall. Briscoe said that Maryland, Florida State and Kentucky are showing him interest, but have yet to offer. Asked what he is looking for in a school, Briscoe replied, “Open court [system and] I just want to go where they love me.” He added that location and weather will not be factors for him. At this point, the standout sophomore remains unsure of his timetable for a commitment.
According to his high school coach, Jason Hasson, Mustapha Diagne has scholarship offers from Rhode Island, West Virginia, La Salle, Rider, George Mason, and Cleveland State. Hasson said Cleveland State was the first school to offer, while Rhode Island’s offer on Saturday night is the most recent one. Most of the offers have come in over the past month, Hasson said, adding that Syracuse, Villanova and Rutgers are among the schools showing interest who have yet to offer. Hasson said that Diagne, who came over to the US from Senegal three to four months ago, has yet to visit any schools and is not even thinking about his recruitment at this point.
Jonathan Williams, a 6-foot class of 2014 point guard from St. Benedict’s (NJ), listed a lone scholarship offer from VCU. However, he said he also has interest from Wisconsin, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Xavier, Richmond, Virginia, and Quinnipiac. Williams tabbed VCU, Rutgers and Xavier as his favorites right now. The only schools he has tripped to are VCU and Seton Hall and he does not have any other visits planned. Williams is actually from North Carolina, so location will not be a factor for him. Rather, he said, “Wherever I think I fit in [and] my style of play.” As for a commitment, he plans to make his decision “at the end of the season.”
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