by Alex Schwartz
GALLOWAY, N.J. – Ben Bentil of St. Andrew’s (DE) is a player who is not particularly focused on his recruitment.
The class of 2014 power forward, originally from Ghana, lets a couple people close to him handle much of that that aspect of his life.
“I kind of don’t know . . . I don’t pay much attention to that,” Bentil said while at Live In AC of who has offered him. “I pay more attention to my academics, so whatever it is with college stuff is up to [St. Andrew’s coach Terrell Myers] and my mom.”
Myers said that Bentil has offers from Providence, Georgetown, St. Joe’s, Rutgers, Temple, and North Carolina State, plus interest from Miami.
Bentil, who has no favorites, said there are no schools that he speaks with the most.
“No, I’m still open,” Bentil said. “I got one more year, so I’m still open, trying to see my chances.”
The 6-foot-8, 225-pounder said he has had the chance to check out a few college campuses so far.
“I haven’t taken no official visits,” Bentil said, “but I went up to BC and I went up to Georgetown to hang out because I wanted somewhere to work out.”
He went on to add, “I’ve been to St. Joe’s because I used to live right around the street. So, I played with the boys sometimes. I’ve been around Villanova too because it’s around the street and people go up there to play. All the college players were at one time high school players, so we were all friends. So, I still go up there to play.”
Bentil said that he is looking to get out on a few more visits to some schools in the near future, but has none actually scheduled yet.
“Not yet, I’m planning on visiting Georgetown and Miami and Providence,” Bentil said. “Those are three that I’m probably going to visit.”
The rising senior also spent some time discussing just what it is that he is looking for when it comes to his future college.
“First of all, I just really [want] great academics. Studying is one of my big priorities, so that’s what I want to look at first,” Bentil said. And then second, I just want to be on a team that will just let me play, let me play my game. A team that will let you play through mistakes, teach you how to learn through your mistakes and just get you better.”
When he says “my game,” Bentil talked about just what way he plays when he steps out on the court.
“Defensive player, that’s how most of the coaches know me,” Bentil said. “The offense will take care of itself most of the time. Every sport I play, that’s what they said, defense first.”
Location will not be a factor in Bentil’s recruitment and he does not yet have a timetable for a commitment.
“I don’t know. It’s all up to my mother,” Bentil explained. “I got to talk to her first and I don’t want to commit basically [just because] of basketball. I just want to commit [because] of looking at the academic stuff. I’m still unsure, I wanted to major in business management, but I’m still kind of unsure if I want to do that.”
Bentil, who said he has a 3.4 GPA, went on to explain why business management is a major that appeals to him.
“Since I was growing up I’ve always wanted to be a person that tried to invest in something and make a lot of profit out of it,” Bentil said. “So I think business management if kind of a [road] to go and it can help me in the future after basketball is over.”
The talented frontcourt prospect went to shed some more light on his game. He started by saying that defense is his main strength and went on to add, “The offense takes care of itself, but right now, as of this summer, I’ve kind of tried to work on my jump shot a lot, which has improved.
“I’ve always been able to shoot, but I didn’t shoot a lot. So now my coach was like, ‘Just shoot it. Get in the rhythm of shooting it.’ And I see it’s working and so I got to improve on that and then just keep going to the basket.”
Bentil also touched on the aspect of his game that he does not feel is quite as far along as the rest of his arsenal.
“I’d say the biggest weakness is—every player has a weakness—I would say the biggest weakness is kind of knowing when to take a shot and when not to,” Bentil said. “I just, sometimes I get really indecisive, but I’m working on it. I grew up a lot up from that.”
by Alex Schwartz
GALLOWAY, N. J. – The first full day of July’s final Live Period took place yesterday and NBE Sports was back in South Jersey for Live In AC.
We had a chance to see several more teams in action as well as catch a few quality squads for the second day in a row.
Ernest Aflakpui had a nice outing for the We R 1 16s squad. The 6-foot-9 center out of Archbishop Carroll (PA) has a big body with a good overall build and he plays hard. Aflakpui, a class of 2015 prospect, runs the floor very well and looks to contest shots. He is not a great athlete, but can swat some shots.
Levan Alston of Team Final Blue 16s may well have been the best player of the day. The 6-foot-3 combo guard scored at will, dropping 30 points on Team Takeover in the semifinals. Alston has a nice feel for the game, gets in the lane and comes from a basketball family, as his dad played at Temple. The class of 2015 recruit does need to get a bit stronger, but he grabs defensive rebounds and also score in the paint, as he is comfortable with his back to the basket.
Princeton-commit Amir Bell has a chance to be a star in the Ivy League. A class of 2014 prospect from East Brunswick (NJ), Bell has nice size for a player who can play some point, at 6-foot-4. More of a combo guard, Bell does need to show he can shoot the ball consistently. He is a bit thin, but is a solid athlete who can defend multiple positions.
by Alex Schwartz
GALLOWAY, N.J. – Isaiah Briscoe has been considered one of the top players in America in the class of 2015 for quite some time now, and his offer list is evidence of that.
Speaking at Live In AC, Briscoe said he holds offers from Arizona, Florida, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, DePaul, Miami, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, UCLA, Villanova, Syracuse, Florida State, Virginia, and others.
Briscoe listed Kentucky and Duke as two schools recruiting him that have yet to offer.
The class of 2015 prospect discussed what schools are coming at him the hardest right now.
“Arizona, Florida’s coming at me pretty hard,” Briscoe said, “Syracuse of course, Seton Hall wants me to stay home, Pittsburgh.”
Briscoe also talked about just what it is that he is looking for in his future college program.
“I want to play my freshman year. I’m looking for somewhere I could play at least 25-plus minutes,” Briscoe said. “And I’m going to compete wherever I go, so I want the ball in my hands as a freshman and I just want the coach to trust me on the court and just believe that I could run a team.”
The 6-foot-3 point guard went on to discuss the visits he has taken thus far.
“Arizona, I’ve visited to Arizona twice. I’ve visited Syracuse of course,” Briscoe said. “I’ve visited Virginia. I think I’m going to visit Florida in August, I don’t know yet.”
Brioscoe said he does not have any other trips planned besides the one to Florida.
As for his timetable for a commitment, Briscoe said, “I have to figure out what high school I’m going to first.”
After attending St. Benedict’s (NJ) his first two years of high school, Briscoe will be transferring next year.
Asked where things stand with where he is headed, Briscoe said, “I don’t know, I was going to go to Findlay [Prep], but something else happened.”
Of the Nevada powerhouse, Briscoe added, “They said they ran out of room or something like that.”
Briscoe said Our Savior New American (NY) and Pope John XXIII (NJ) are two of the schools he is considering. His father also noted that they will be taking a visit to Union Catholic (NJ) on Tuesday.
The rising junior also said that he will “most likely” take a visit out to Brewster Academy (NH).
Briscoe went on to shed some light on his high school decision.
“I kind of want to start my own path and just do my own thing instead of following a trend and doing what everybody else is doing,” Briscoe said.
The Garden State prospect feels he could accomplish that at a few different schools in the area.
“Any local school, I think that I would be starting my own path because all the ranked guys are going to go to Huntington [Prep in West Virginia or] Findlay and everywhere else,” Briscoe said. “So I think I can do something locally and maybe win a couple championships in my state.”
As for when he will have his choice made, Briscoe said, “Probably when I come back from Vegas, within three days from that I will know what school I’m going to.”
by Alex Schwartz
GALLOWAY, N.J. – The third and final Live Period of July is underway and NBE Sports is back on the road.
On Wednesday, we took in the action at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey for the Live In AC event.
The way Abdul-Malik Abu has played this summer despite fasting for Ramadan is extremely impressive. The 6-foot-7 power forward has shown no signs of exhaustion and played quite well. A class of 2014 recruit, Abu is a powerful player with a good build who moves well on the hardwood. The Kimball Union Academy (NH) prospect can throw down some major one-handed dunks, is fairly active on defense and can be vocal at times on the court. The Expressions Elite standout has really improved as a player over the past year, and even the past couple months.
Eric Anderson of The Haverford School (PA) is a player who simply knows how to get the job done. A 6-foot-6 small forward who runs with the Jersey Shore Warriors, Anderson has a pretty solid build and can shoot the ball some. He works in the post well and is capable of sliding to the four if needed. Anderson, a class of 2014 prospect, plays hard and also showed the ability to provide a bit of assistance at the point guard position.
by Alex Schwartz
WASHINGTON – The 2013 Nike Global Challenge featured just one native New Yorker who actually goes to high school in the Empire State: Khadeen Carrington.
NBE Sports caught up with the class of 2014 prospect on the final day of the event to talk about his recruitment and his game.
Carrington listed scholarship offers from Connecticut, St. John’s, Wake Forest, and Seton Hall. He said Virginia is another showing interest in him, as well as others he could not recall.
At this point in time, there are no schools standing out to Carrington.
“No, no favorites,” he said. “I’m just weighing my options right now, [I will] see what’s best for me.”
UConn and St. John’s are the only two schools Carrington said he has visited so far. He is looking to take a visit to Cincinnati next month, noting, “It’s planned already, I just got to confirm it with the coach.”
Carrington went on to share just what it is that he would like to find in the place he will call home after high school.
“I’m looking for great coaches,” Carrington said, “great people to be around, somewhere I could develop my game.”
The 6-foot-2 shooting guard also has a certain style of play that he would like to be a part of at the next level.
“Yeah, I like to go up and down,” Carrington said. “I like to play in the open court. That’s how I get most of my buckets.”
One thing that will not play much of a part of Carrington’s college selection is where a school is located.
“If somewhere far is the best situation for me, I’ll go,” Carrington said. “It’s not really a factor for me.”
Carrington went on to share whether he plans on creating a shorter list of schools at some point before he goes ahead and makes his college decision.
“Yeah, I’m going to cut my list down, Carrington said. “I plan on committing before the school season, probably get it out of the way.”
The rising senior would like to sign his paperwork in the early period and talked about why that is the case.
“So I could stay focused,” Carrington explained, “not have to worry about visiting schools, anything like that.”
Asked if there are any coaches he has developed the best relationships with so far, Carrington responded, “No, all the coaches I talk to right now, they’re pretty cool.”
There are a few schools in particular that Carrington has noticed following him the most on the circuit this month.
“In July, Cincinnati, Seton Hall has been there a lot, Wake Forest,” Carrington said. “That’s three that’s been watching me a lot.”
Carrington also spent some time discussing the type of player he is on the hardwood.
“Getting to the rim,” Carrington said of his primary strength. “I like to get out in the open court, get fouls, go to the foul line. I like to go up and down.”
As for the other side of spectrum said, “The weakest is having a consistent jump shot. I got to work on that in August, getting ready for the season.”
Carrington also shared what he is doing to improve his jumper.
“I take shots every day, take shots on the gun, shots off the dribble,” Carrington said. “That’s what I do.”
Finally, Carrington discussed what it meant to him to wear the red, white and blue of the United States at the Nike Global Challenge.
“It means a lot, a lot of great players wore the USA colors and I’m just another one,” Carrington said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
by Alex Schwartz
WASHINGTON – The Nike Global Challenge came to a close on Saturday, with USA West winning 98-95 over USA South to take the crown.
NBE Sports was in the house to take in the action from three of the day’s four games. While there, we put together some observations of players in attendance, tracked what coaches were in the gym and talked to a few players for recruiting updates.
Due to his religious beliefs and practices, Abdul-Malik Abu is fasting from sunrise to sunset during the July Live Periods for Ramadan. Despite playing without eating or drinking, the 6-foot-8 power forward was productive and showed off a quality motor. A class of 2014 recruit from Kimball Union Academy (NH), Abu has a good build and is tough in the post. Abu, who was playing for Team Pan-Africa, also showed that he has some ability to step out and shoot the ball, even if that is not his forte.
Indiana-commit James Blackmon of Bishop Luers (IN) was easily one of the best shooters at the entire event. An elite marksman from beyond the arc, the 6-foot-2 shooting guard is lethal when left open. Blackmon, a class of 2014 prospect, can get hot in a hurry and is capable of putting on a show when he is in the groove, as he was on Saturday for Team USA Midwest.
Bonzie Colson of St. Andrew’s (RI) is an undersized power forward at 6-foot-5, but he can flat our produce. The class of 2014 recruit was pretty productive for Team USA East and displayed the ability to score down low. His thick build helps him make up for what he lacks in height and he can use his frame to his advantage.
by Alex Schwartz
HYATTSVILLE, Md. – The Big Shots All-American Camp at DeMatha Catholic High School features some talented players from all over the country.
NBE Sports was there to take in the action on Thursday and got to see eight of the 10 teams play as well as noticed quite a few college coaches in the gym.
Darian Bryant of St. John’s College HS (DC) may not have a true position, but is best suited as a small forward right now. Regardless of what spot he plays, the 6-foot-4 class of 2014 prospect brings great effort when he steps on the floor and is a strongly built player. Bryant attacks the cup well and runs the floor adeptly. He needs to show he can shoot it consistently, but he did knock down at least one 3-pointer in the game we saw.
Class of 2014 prospect Lloyd Burgess might be limited athletically, but he has a big frame, quality height and he plays pretty hard. The 6-foot-10 center from the Christ School (NC) works around the rim and can get some points down low.
Kiair Crouch, a class of 2014 recruit, is a pretty quick player who can get in the lane and attacks the rim adeptly off the dribble. The 5-foot-10 point guard from Columbia (GA) has a pretty solid build and also showed he can hit a pull-up 3-pointer in transition.
Trevor Dunbar of St. Ignatius (CA) is only 5-foot-9, but the class of 2014 prospect is a nice player. The point guard has a thick build that helps him make up for being undersized a bit. Additionally, he accelerated well and does a good job of getting into the lane.
by Alex Schwartz
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. – When Mass Rivals needed him on Wednesday at The Hoop Group Summer Classic East, Kaleb Joseph stepped up.
The class of 2014 point guard has a three-point play in the final 20 seconds of regulation and then a floater at the overtime buzzer to give his team a 57-55 win over House of Sports in the first round of the tournament.
After the game, Joseph took the time to discuss his recruitment, saying he has offers from “most of the ACC, a lot of the Big East schools, some Big Ten schools.”
Joseph has no favorites right now and while there had been some reports about him having a time five at one point, he says that was not the case.
A 6-foot-2 point guard from Cushing Academy (MA), Joseph said there are no schools in particular coming at him the hardest.
“All the schools that are recruiting me are coming at me real hard,” Joseph said. “All the coaches that are recruiting me are always at the games. The coaches are always the games, I see the head coaches here. I’m just, I’m happy.”
As for whether there is anyone he speaks to most often, Joseph remarked, “No, they’re all coming at me pretty hard.”
Joseph went on to discuss just what it is that he is trying to find when it comes to selecting a college.
“I’m just looking for a good fit. That’s big for me,” Joseph said. “I want a good relationship with the coaching staff and I want to win. I want player development. I want coaches who are going to push me to my limits and help me get where I want to be at the end of the day.”
One thing that will not be a consideration for Joseph is a school’s location.
“No sir, I just want the right fit for me,” Joseph said. “I’m not going to pass up on a good opportunity just because of location.”
The rising senior said that he has only had a chance to get out and visit some of the colleges in his area thus far.
“I’ve visited local schools, the ones that are right around my house, Boston College and Providence. I’ve been up to UConn,” Joseph said. “Those are the only schools, just because they’re right in my backyard.”
Asked if he has any trips planned, Joseph replied, “I’m going to worry about that after the AAU season.”
Joseph is also not thinking about a timetable at this point in time.
“I’m in no rush,” he said. “I’m just going to take it day by day. I’ll see after this AAU season where it all takes me.”
The talented floor general also spent some time discussing his game, starting with his chief fortes on the court.
“I’d say my leadership,” Joseph began, “getting into the lane, finishing around the basket, and my midrange game.”
Of his primary weakness, Joseph said, “I’d like to be more consistent every game. I think that’s more of a mental thing. I don’t want to take any plays off.”
Joseph also shared what his goal is for this summer and it is a lofty one.
“Prove I’m the best point guard in the country,” Joseph said. “I haven’t done that yet. This is my last AAU season . . . and I’m just ready to do it.”
by Alex Schwartz
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. – With one Live Period in the books, the second of the month got underway yesterday night. NBE Sports was in the house at the Competitive Edge Sports Complex for The Hoop Group Summer Classic East.
While there, we had the chance to see five games featuring teams from the Northeast and took down some notes on player performances as well as tracked what college coaches were in the gym.
Bryce Aiken checks in at just 5-foot-9, but the class of 2016 prospect is a player. Aiken, who runs with the Team Scan 16s, is pretty quick and can get to the cup off the dribble. He is a crafty player who is capable of shooting it from long range some. Aiken is reportedly transferring to The Patrick School (NJ) for his sophomore year.
Mike Auger of the Mass Rivals is someone who certainly looks the part of a player when he is on the hardwood. The 6-foot-6 forward has a great build and fairly long arms. Auger, a class of 2014 prospect, needs to work on polishing up his overall skill set.
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – While the Reebok Breakout Classic is in the rear view mirror at Philadelphia University, there is still more basketball being played there this week.
The Showdown made the school its primary home on Saturday and NBE Sports was there to take in the action.
Peyton Allen of Glenwood (IL) checks in at 6-foot-4, but the class of 2014 shooting guard has a sturdy frame and plays bigger than he truly is. Allen, who runs with the Southwestern Illinois Jets Orange, works hard around the rim, can grab rebounds and provides good effort on the court. He also has a solid looking shooting stroke.
Eric Anderson of the Haverford School (PA) and the Jersey Shore Warriors is a productive small forward who can score at the rim. The 6-foot-6 class of 2014 recruit has a sturdy frame and is crafty with the ball when in the paint.
Gerald Blount may not have ideal size right now for a power forward, but the 6-foot-5 class of 2014 prospect still makes an impact on defense. Blount, who attends St. Anthony’s (NJ) and plays for the Sports U 16s, has a good frame and does a nice job of blocking shots.
Traci Carter of the We R 1 16s and Life Center Academy (NJ) is a 6-foot point guard who does a good job of scoring at the rim. Carter, a class of 2015 prospect, is a bit thin, but does have a solid build overall. He is a good enough athlete who can get to the cup off the dribble.
Donte Divincenzo of the Team Final Black 16s is a skilled offensive player in the class of 2015. A 6-foot-3 combo guard out of the Salesianum School (DE), Divincenzo has a smooth game and rebounds the ball well at the defensive end, especially for his position. The rising junior has a solid frame and can connect from beyond the arc. Boston College, St. Joseph’s and Rhode Island have extended scholarship offers since the live period ended this past weekend to join La Salle and Delaware, who previously offered. Pittsburgh is also beginning to show interest as well.
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – If Chinanu Onuaku’s last name rings a bell, well, it should.
The class of 2014 prospect is the younger brother of former Syracuse standout Arinze Onuaku.
However, the Riverdale Baptist (MD) prospect said that Syracuse is not involved in his recruitment.
As for who is recruiting him, Onuaku listed scholarship offers from Seton Hall, DePaul, Xavier, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, Maryland, Kansas State, Rutgers, George Mason, Pittsburgh and Miami.
The 6-foot-10 center claims no favorites right now, but does know what he is looking for in a school.
“Good education,” Onuaku began, “good coaching staff, a winning program and that I’ll be able to play early.”
Location will not be a factor for Onuaku, who said that Xavier, DePaul and Seton Hall are coming at him the hardest. He noted that there is no coach in particular with whom he has the best relationship.
Thus far, Onuaku has been on unofficial visits to Maryland, Seton Hall and Georgetown. He has no other trips planned at this point.
As for his timetable for a commitment, Onuaku remarked, “Probably in the middle of the season or after the season.”
Onuaku also spent some time talking about his game and noted that he sees himself as either a power forward or a center.
Regarding his chief strength as a player, Onuaku said, “My defense, my blocking and my defensive rebounding.”
On the other hand, Onuaku said that he thinks his hook shot is likely the primary weakness he has on the court.
The rising senior also discussed his summer, beginning with his experience at the Reebok Breakout Classic.
“It’s been good, it’s been long,” Onuaku said on day two. “We’re tired right now, but we still got to play through it and get W’s.”
Onuaku, who wound up being named to the camp all-star game, shared his goals for the month.
“Just to get better in all aspects of the game and help my team, [DC Assault], win in tournaments,” Onuaku said.
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – Rashad Vaughn is one of the most highly sought after players in the nation in the crop of rising seniors.
A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Minnesota, Vaughn holds offers from some of America’s elite basketball programs.
While at the Reebok Breakout Classic, Vaughn said he has been offered by Kentucky, North Carolina, Baylor, Kansas, UCLA, Minnesota, Iowa State, Tennessee, and more.
Vaughn, who claims no favorites at this point in time, talked about what he is searching for in a school.
“Just the relationship with the coach, they play my style of play and if I’m going to come play right away and who I’m going to be playing with and stuff like that,” Vaughn said.
Location will “not at all” be a factor for Vaughn, who went on to discuss who is coming at him the hardest.
“Really everybody, that’s why I [have not] narrowed my list yet because it’s hard,” Vaughn said. “I got good relationships with basically all the schools that’s recruiting me.”
Thus far, Vaughn has been on visits to UCLA, Iowa State and Minnesota. He does not have any other trips planned.
“Sometime probably after the senior year season,” Vaughn said of when he plans to make his commitment and going on to confirm that he will sign late.
The scoring wing is planning to trim down his list before he makes his decision.
“Probably at the end of summer I’m going to try, going to try to narrow my list,” Vaughn said.
He noted that “probably about eight” schools will make the cut, but there are none that he knows are definitely in yet.
“I’m not even up to that right now,” Vaughn explained. “I haven’t even thought about it.”
Vaughn recently made the decision to transfer from Robbinsdale Cooper (MN) to Findlay Prep (NV) for his senior year and he discussed that choice.
“My parents and I, we all decided that would be a good spot for me,” Vaughn said, “and it’s better competition for me in practice and out.”
As for what his time at the Reebok Breakout Classic was like, Vaughn said, “It’s been fun, I’ve been going against people, we’ve been competing and I’ve been just hanging out with my guys. So, it’s been fun.”
Vaughn, who would go on to be a co-MVP of the camp all-star game, discussed the type of player he is.
“I can play more than one position and I can score,” Vaughn said. “So, I think that’s probably the strongest parts of my game.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Vaughn remarked, “[My biggest] weakness is [not] being efficient, [not] taking good shots and I’m working on my motor, not taking no plays off.”
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – Emmanuel Mudiay of Prime Prep (TX) has been regarded as one of the top players in the class of 2014 for a few years now.
The 6-foot-5 point guard is a target of many high-major programs and discussed his recruitment while at the Reebok Breakout Classic.
Mudiay said he holds offers from “pretty much everybody,” but there are no schools at the top of his mind right now.
Asked if any schools are coming at him particularly hard, Mudiay replied, “They’re all the same.”
When talking about what he is looking in for in a school, Mudiay listed a single main point.
“Just wherever will bring the best out of me,” Mudiay said.
The rising senior added that location is not a factor for him and discussed whether there is a certain style of play he is hoping to find.
“Not at all,” Mudiay began, before adding, “I mean, I’m a fast-tempo guy I’m sure that will benefit me too, so I’ll look at that.”
Arizona, Baylor and SMU are the only schools that Mudiay said he has visited so far, but he does have one additional trip planned.
“I’m going to Kentucky for the [Midnight] Madness,” Mudiay said, adding that he has nothing scheduled prior to that.
As of now, there is no coach with whom Mudiay feels he has developed the best relationship with.
Of his timetable for a commitment, Mudiay said, “I don’t know right now.”
Mudiay also spoke about his experience at the Reeebok Breakout Classic, where he may well have been the most highly touted player in attendance.
“Without God this wouldn’t be possible, so it’s a great blessing to come out here and play against the top competition,” Mudiay said. “So, it was cool.”
The Lone Star State prospect took home co-MVP honors of the camp all-star game and spoke about what that means to him.
“It’s a blessing,” Mudiay said. “Like I said, all the glory belongs to God. Without him this wouldn’t be possible. So I just thank him every day for this opportunity.”
As for his goals for the summer, Mudiay said, “Just keep getting better, that’s really it.”
The talented backcourt prospect also touched on the type of player his is, beginning with his main fortes on the court.
“Making my teammates better, getting to the rack,” Mudiay said. “Midrange, I’m working on that. So that’s [a few] things I’m good at.”
Of his primary weakness, Mudiay said, “Probably playing hard at all times. Sometimes I’ll take plays off, but that’s one thing I’ve been working on, that’s one thing they’re hard on me about.”
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – The 2013 Reebok Breakout Classic came to an end on Friday and NBE Sports was in attendance yet again.
Each team played three games and we were able to see nine of them in action. The day was capped off by a fast-paced, high-scoring all-star game at night.
Chris Clover is a class of 2015 shooting guard from St. Joseph’s Prep (PA) who possesses a quality frame. The 6-foot-4 rising junior has a pretty nice looking stroke and can connect from beyond the arc.
Jeremiah Jefferson of Kennedale (TX) is player who finds ways to produce could have made a strong case for being in the all-star game. A 6-foot-2 scoring combo guard, Jefferson is a quality shooter who is capable of getting his points from all three levels.
The main thing that elite 2015 small forward Derrick Jones needs to do is add a consistent jump shot to his arsenal. The 6-foot-5 prospect from Archbishop Carroll (PA) did knock down a couple of 3-pointers on Friday, though. However, his calling card is still clearly his elite athleticism. Jones is tough to keep out of the paint, has good body control, uses the baseline well, and is a big-time dunker.
Trayvond Massenburg, a 6-foot-8 power forward from local Vaux (PA), is a player who is capable of scoring in the paint and also has the ability to step out and shoot it some. The class of 2014 prospect has a frame that should be able to add some muscle.
Emmanuel Mudiay was co-MVP of the all-star game and deservedly so. The 6-foot-5 point guard from Prime Prep (TX) got to the rim at will and was basically impossible to stop off the bounce. The class of 2014 recruit has superb body control at the rim and is a major athlete overall.
Future Maryland Terrapin Jared Nickens of the Westtown School (PA) has really broadened his offensive game over the past year. A 6-foot-6 class of 2014 prospect who can play shooting guard or small forward, Nickens has really improved his ability to score off the bounce. He possesses a nice shooting stroke, as noted in the Day I recap, and has a pretty smooth game.
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – Devin Robinson of Christchurch (VA) is a player who really saw his stock skyrocket in the spring and now is loaded with high-major looks.
The class of 2014 prospect spoke about his recruitment and more while at the Reebok Breakout Classic.
Robinson listed scholarship offers from Indiana, Connecticut, Providence, Florida State, Rutgers, VCU, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Miami, noting that there are others as well.
In addition, the 6-foot-8 prospect said that there are a few schools expressing interest that have yet to offer him.
“Duke just came on the scene,” Robinson began, “Louisville, Florida, and UNC are the newest.”
Robinson went on to talk about what those schools are waiting on before extending him a scholarship opportunity.
“They just got to see me more,” Robinson said. “I don’t think they have seen me in-person yet. So, they’re just looking to come out in the July period and see me play in-person.”
At this point, Robinson claims no favorites and said that all of the schools are coming at him equally hard.
Robinson has been on unofficial visits to Georgetown, Virginia Tech and VCU thus far and has no other trips planned.
The rising senior does not have a commitment timetable and also has not considered whether he would like to sign early or late.
As for what he is looking for in a school, Robinson said, “Great coaching staff, a playing style that fits me, if I’m going to actually play, great campus, fans, and all the above.”
Robinson went on to elaborate a bit on just what style of play he is trying to find in a college program.
“I like the run and gun, I like getting up and down the floor,” Robinson said.
The Old Dominion State wing noted that location will not be a factor for him in his collegiate decision.
Robinson also spent some time talking about his game, including what he feels he does best on the court.
“Strongest part is [that] I’m a great team player,” Robinson said. “I like to get my teammates involved, I’m a leader and I can shoot the ball a little bit.”
On the other side, Robinson said, “Weakest [part is] probably my strength. I got to play [with] more of a high motor [as well].”
Lastly, Robinson discussed what he is looking to accomplish this summer.
“My goal for the summer is just to finish off [at the] top of my class,” Robinson said.
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – Wade Baldwin of St. Joseph’s Metuchen (NJ) is one of the best players in the Garden State in the class of 2014.
A 6-foot-3 combo guard, Baldwin took the time to speak with NBE Sports about his recruitment while at the Reebok Breakout Classic.
Baldwin said that he holds offers from Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Seton Hall, and Minnesota.
The rising senior, who claims no favorites, listed USC, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Rutgers, and Georgia Tech as the programs coming at him the hardest. He also mentioned that UConn is involved in his recruitment.
Asked if there are one or two schools pursuing him the most vigorously, Baldwin replied, “No, it’s pretty much all together [even], so they said expect an offer from them and all that. So, we’ll see.”
Baldwin said that a school’s location is “not at all” a factor for him in his recruitment, but talked about what he is looking for in a college.
“Just a player and coach relationship,” Baldwin began, “good campus life and somewhere that’s going to set me up for the following years.”
Although his relationship with coaches is vital to him, he said there is “no one in particular” with whom he has developed the strongest bond.
Baldwin said he has been on unofficial visits to Rutgers, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia, adding, “that’s all I remember right now.”
He has yet to take any official trips, but plans to change that in the near future.
“I’m doing all the officials in August,” Baldwin said, adding that he does not have any scheduled.
Baldwin did say that he knows where he would like to visit unofficial, but would not reveal the names.
“That’s a secret right now,” Baldwin said.
With the first July Live Period just getting underway, Baldwin also talked about what his goals for the summer are.
“Just making my teammates better,” Baldwin said, “obviously picking up more looks for myself and improving in everything in my game.”
Baldwin said of the strongest points of his game, “I think [they are] attacking the basket and distributing the ball.”
As for his chief weakness, he did not want that to be known, saying, “I don’t want to give that out.”
by ND Kendrick
Indianapolis, IN – Day two of the second July “live period” was in full swing on Thursday and NBE Sports joined coaching staffs from numerous college programs at the adidas Invitational in the Circle City.
Here is a rundown from Thursday’s long day of action…
Stephen Zimmerman (Dream Vision 17) – Zimmerman continues to demonstrate why he may have the brightest future amongst all the bigs in his class. He has a soft shooting touch out to the stripe and an unblockable left-handed jump hook. Defensively his timing is excellent as he blocked away a number of shots. He is still very left hand dominate.
Jeremie Tyler (Indiana Elite 17s) – Tyler is beginning to step his game up to another level. He pushes the ball in transition off the dribble or pass with great pace. Changes speed and directions using the speed and inside out dribble with either hand.
Goodluck Okonoboh (Mass Rivals 17s) – Okonoboh plays with a great deal of passion and effort in the paint. He does a good job of using his body to establish prime position in the paint. He runs well and has plenty of athleticism to catch and score around the basket. Louisville coach Rick Pitino and Indiana coach Tom Crean were very attentive.
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – Derrick Jones of Archbishop Carroll (PA) has established himself as an elite forward prospect in the nation’s crop of rising juniors.
A 6-foot-5 small forward with big-time athletic ability, Jones has offers from some top-level programs.
While at the Reebok Breakout Classic, Jones said he has been extended scholarship offers by Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Villanova, Temple, Rutgers, St. Joe’s, Penn State, Kansas State, and Seton Hall.
Jones said that the offer from Kansas “came like two weeks ago” and the one from Kentucky came on around Wednesday.
The class of 2015 prospect talked about what it means to garner offers from those types of programs.
“It means a lot knowing now I can play at any type of level,” Jones said. “Just going up there, if I wanted to I could go to Kentucky or Kansas or Syracuse or a school like that.”
Jones said he does not think there are any schools recruiting him that have yet to offer and also noted that he has does not have any favorites.
As for what he is looking for in a school, Jones remarked, “A big fan base, a good coaching staff and a big facility.”
The lone visit that Jones said he has been on thus far was a trip to Temple about two months ago.
“It was great,” Jones said of the Temple visit, “just going out, seeing the campus and everything, talking to the coaches.”
Jones said he does not think he has any additional trips scheduled right now and also is without a timetable for a commitment.
The Keystone State prospect also spent some time talking about his game, beginning with his chief strength on the hardwood, which he said is “probably getting to the basket.”
As for his main weakness, he said, “Probably my jump shot,” and went on to talk about what he is doing to improve that.
“I’m in the gym up at St. Andrew’s [in Delaware] with a shooting machine,” Jones said.
Jones said that he compares his game to that of recent NBA Draft lottery pick Michael Carter-Williams and explained why.
“Because he’s lanky, he’s like 6’6, 6’7 and he can get to the basket,” Jones said.
The high flying wing also talked about his experience at the Reebok Breakout Classic.
“It’s great, just having to play against all the top players and some of the top players in the country,” Jones said, “just going out there and playing.”
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – The Reebok Breakout Classic rolled along all day Thursday and NBE Sports had the opportunity to see 10 of the 12 teams in action on the day.
As was the case on Wednesday night, some lesser known players made noise and some top recruits also showed what they can do.
Future Louisville Cardinal Shaqquan Aaron showed why he is one of the best wings in the nation in the class of 2014. A 6-foot-8 small forward out of Rainier Beach (WA), Aaron is a high-level scorer who poured in 29 points in the morning game and kept playing well after that. Although thin, Aaron is very long, has a smooth game and is a quality athlete. He does a nice job in transition and is a tough player to keep out of the paint. Aaron even showed the ability to play some point guard.
Not many players in the class of 2015 are smoother on the court than Dwayne Bacon. A 6-foot-6 prospect who can play anywhere from the one to the three, Bacon has a really good frame and does a nice job of finishing at the rim, even in traffic. Bacon, who is headed to IMG Academy (FL), is a good athlete with quality body control who can knock down the midrange pull-up.
Jacobi Boykins of Lakewood (FL) is an impressive all-around offensive player. The 6-foot-5 class of 2014 shooting guard is a bit thin and needs to add some bulk, but he is a solid athlete with good bounce. Boykins is a quality shooter with a nice looking stroke who can also score at the rim some.
by N.D. Kendrick
Indianapolis, IN – The first July “live period” kicked off on Wednesday night and NBE Sports joined coaching staffs from numerous college programs in the Circle City to scout the prospects at the fifth annual Adidas Invitational.
This first night was highlighted by a star power match-up with Craig Victor of the New Orleans Elite going at Kevon Looney and his Milwaukee Running Rebels squad. In a sloppy contest, Victor willed his team to 60-50 win.
Rex Pflueger (Compton Magic 16s) – Pflueger understands how to play. He scores in a variety of ways, from three-point land, driving to the basket and getting to the free throw line by creating contact. He is a great rebounder and utilizes his court awareness to get in position for rebounds out of his area. His defense is not as advanced as his offensive game. Great frame.
Damontrae Jefferson (Milwaukee Running Rebels 17s) – Jefferson is a firecracker. He is extremely quick and makes great decisions. Despite his size he has a big heart (or mouth). He shoots the ball well, can shoot it from distance and gets the ball wherever he wants. He also defends, has quick hands and creates steals.
Ladamion Keys (New Orleans Elite 17s) – Keys is about a raw as they come with a hell of a ceiling. He is a very good rebounder and possesses nice instincts around the basket. He is capable of running the floor, but is not very fluid when doing so. He is a name to remember.
Mario Kegler (MBA Hoops 17s) – Didn’t get a great look at Kegler (2016), but in the limited viewing he was constantly putting pressure on his defender because he could get to the rim off the dribble with ease. Kegler can score in the lane with pure basketball moves. He has great touch and body control around the rim. Need a better look. Will update through the tournament.
Tyree Griffin (New Orleans Elite 17s) – Griffin has a pretty tight handle and is a creator off the dribble especially at end of clock situations where he can change speeds and directions with ease for scoring opportunities for himself or an open teammate. He is willing to battle. High motor kid.
Names to remember:
Elijah Mayes 2015 (Memphis Pure Magic)
Terrance Smith 2014 (Memphis Pure Magic)
Chase Jeter 2015 (Dream Vision)
Nnamdi Okongwu 2015 (Dream Vision)
Coaches in attendance:
John Groce (Illinois), Dave Rice (UNLV), Steve Donahue (Boston College), Thad Matta (Ohio State), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Tim Miles (Nebraska), Tom Crean (Indiana), Bob Huggins (West Virginia), Steve Lavin (St. Johns), Marty Simmons (Evansville) Tommy Amaker (Harvard), Andy Enfield (USC), Sean Miller (Arizona), Mike Krzyzewsk (Duke), Rick Pitino (Louisville) and many more.