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.
*********Follow NBE Sports on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NBESports*****
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Friday afternoon in North Augusta brought 16U pool play at the Peach Jam along with a quick stop at the Nike Invitational. Here’s who managed to standout while NBE was watching.
Top Performer of the Afternoon:
Obi Enechionyia (Team Takeover 2014) – At 6’8”, the athletic forward showed off both an inside and outside scoring package. He flashed major bounce around the rim with a few ferocious dunks along with swatting away countless attempts at his own basket. While his work in the paint alone would have made Enechionyia a very intriguing prospect, he was also able to step out and make jump shots past the college 3-point line. The combination of owning the paint and being able to draw big men away from the rim by spacing the floor make it easy to project Enechionyia at the high major level for his college future. He needs to continue refining his ball handling and overall skill package and frankly could end up playing on the wing if his skills improve quickly enough.
*********Follow NBE Sports on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NBESports*****
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
While the Elite 75 is only for New England talent, three members of the NY Lightning who have been playing for high school teams in Connecticut received an invite. Kuran Iverson (2013 G/F), Jason Boswell (2013 G/F) and Dayshon Smith (2013 PG) all made the trip to Lowell and all three had impressive performances on the court during Friday’s camp.
Kuran Iverson – Iverson has been making strides all spring and continued his upward progression with another impressive day at Elite 75. I would expect high majors from all over who may have backed off on Iverson to take another look in July after his dominant spring. The NBA-level talent is undeniable in the 6-foot-8 forward who attends Northwest Catholic in Hartford (CT) and if he can follow up his spring with a consistent summer, he’ll be one major step closer to realizing his massive potential.
Andrew Chrabascz, a 6-foot-7 forward weighing 235 pounds out of Cushing Academy in Massachusetts, enters the summer AAU and camp season with plenty of eyes on him. Top mid-major programs galore have been recruiting Chrabascz and will hold their breath as he hits the AAU trail with powerful BABC for the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League championships at the Peach Jam and end of July events in Orlando (FL). High major programs continue to track the multi-faceted game of Chrabascz, who is a skilled power forward.
One thing is certain, Chrabascz will produce. He is almost like a Georges Niang-lite, whose production last year with BABC on the AAU trail pushed his recruitment from the mid-major range to a schoalrship to Iowa State with plenty of other programs in hot pursuit when he made his decision. On the Oakland leg of the EYBL regular season, Chrabascz showed he is continuing to work towards being an effective face-up 4, and his shooting out to 17 feet or so is worthy of such a position. He was also willing to go inside and mix it up, effectively working on the glass at both ends and also finishing in traffic.
by Alex Schwartz
HAMPTON, Va. – The Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest kept rolling along on Saturday and NBE Sports was in attendance for the whole day, taking in a number of impressive performances and talking to a handful of players.
Dwayne Morgan: A big-time player in the class of 2014, Morgan is a 6’7 small forward out of Baltimore City College HS (MD) who plays for UA Baltimore’s Finest U16 team. While he did not put up huge numbers in the scoring column against Garner Road- Davis—Morgan finished with 14 points—he made his presence felt in many aspects of the game. He is a stellar athlete with major length and that allows him to be a terrific defender. Morgan blocks shots, gets steals and grabs rebounds. He is also adept at picking up boards on the offensive end, leading to putback dunks and tip-ins. Morgan passes well and has a nice feel for the game. He has all the physical tools one could ask for and if he develops a consistent jumper he has a chance to be an incredible player.
TOP SLEEPER PERFORMER
Ruben Tucker: The biggest surprise NBE Sports has seen thus far at the Southern Jam Fest has been Tucker, a largely unknown 6’2 shooting guard out of Bladensburg (MD). Tucker led the charge as his Maryland Pistons squad knocked off Team Melo (NY) on Saturday morning. He poured in 34 points in the victory and connected on six 3-pointers. Tucker is a bit undersized and has an odd shooting form where he releases from the side, but he simply scores the basketball. He is a solid athlete with a strong frame who can get to the cup if needed in addition to hit long range shots. While he may not be a conventional player, Tucker is flat out productive and gets things done.
By Raphielle Johnson
The first open weekend of the spring/summer meant action throughout the country, including Las Vegas with Sin City hosting three events. The biggest of the three was the adidas VIP Exclusive Run, which featured most of the nation’s best programs under the three stripes banner.
The program that stole the show this weekend at adidas was the Florida Rams, whose 16u and 17u teams both won championships. The 17 and under team is well-known by this point, as they’re led by one of the country’s top prospects in the 2013 class in Chris Walker.
A slender forward who can run the floor and finish with the best of them, Walker played well on both ends of the floor for much of the weekend and likely had one of the early frontrunners for dunk of the AAU season. But he had plenty of help as well, especially from Florida commit Kasey Hill.
The 2013 point guard ran the show for the Rams, displaying the ability to get to the basket off the bounce at will. Hill also did a good job of distributing the basketball, setting up Walker and Kansas commit Brannen Greene frequently.
By Brian Batko
A full slate of games on Saturday at the Hoop Group Pittsburgh Jam Fest meant a lot more players in action, a lot more eye-opening performances, and a lot more recruiting updates. Below is a rundown of all the players from various classes that NBE caught up with on Saturday at the Jam Fest:
Andrew Harrison (Houston Defenders, 2013, Travis HS) – Regarded as a top five player in 2013, Harrison did nothing to prove otherwise on Saturday. The 6’5” point guard handled the rock, showed off his nasty crossover and great vision, and was able to get his shot off whenever and wherever he wanted. He and his twin brother Harrison listed a top four of Kentucky, Maryland, Villanova, and Baylor but said that doesn’t mean that another school can’t still get into the picture with them.
Aaron Harrison (Houston Defenders, 2013, Travis HS) – Not quite as quick and smooth as his brother, Aaron prefers to play off the ball, spotting up for threes and also attacking the rim. He and Andrew are 100 percent a package deal at the college level, according to them, and whichever school ultimately lands this dynamic duo better have plenty of minutes to go around in the backcourt.
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
After two days focused on the 17U tournament at Spring Fling, the 15U teams joined the party for Championship Saturday and ended up stealing the show. Team Takeover (DC) walked away with the Gold Championship in the 15U division and looked as strong as any 15U team in memory. They led the talent charge from the 2015 class but were joined by members of Team Scan, NY Lightning, and Albany City Rocks.
Top Performance of the Day:
Marcus Derrickson (Team Takeover 2015) – After sparking my interest Friday night, Derrickson convinced me of his elite status on Saturday winning tournament MVP honors after leading his team to the championship. The 6’7” 225 pound forward was unstoppable all tournament flashing NBA 3 point range on his jump shot as well as being the strongest 15U player in the paint. He was the dominant rebounder in every game he played in showing equal effectiveness on both ends of the floor. After proclaiming Derrickson a top 100 prospect after last night’s action I’m ready to go quite a bit farther and say he looks safely like a top 25 guy in 2015. IF he continues to grow and ends up a few inches taller that projection would go even higher.
Thaddeus Hall can score the basketball. Nobody would need to look any further than his second round of the PSAL Class AA playoffs performance last week. The 6-foot-5, 195-lb senior for Thomas Jefferson High School scored 34 first half points to lead his team to to an 86-76 win over Robeson. Hall finished with a career-high 39 points, including six three-pointers, in the contest. Like a true leader, Hall praised his teammates in the aftermath, although he still admitted the first half outburst has been the highlight of his year so far.
“My season is going great,” Hall told NBE. “[I] can’t believe how much the underclassmen [are] stepping up [and] playing this good. My highlight of the season is scoring 34 in the first half on Paul Roberson [last Wednesday].”
Hall followed up the 39-point explosion with 25 more in Sunday’s win over Wadleigh in the quarterfinals. The back-to-back performances has led to a scholarship offer that has really gotten his attention.
After two days filled with local contests and a sampling of girl’s games, the Hoophall Classic took to the national stage on the boys side Saturday. Traditional powers like Oak Hill Academy, Gonzaga College Prep, St. Patrick’s and DeMatha Catholic headlined the action at Blake Arena in Springfield. Many players improved their stock on Saturday but none more than an undersized big man from Gonzaga College Prep.
Kris Jenkins (Gonzaga 2013) – Jenkins had a breakout performance on national TV a week ago at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, West Virginia and backed it up today at the Hoophall Classic by dominating an individual matchup with Riverside’s Ricardo Gathers. Jenkins is 6’6” at best but still has great strength for the power forward position. This allows him to hold his own defensively while causing all kinds of problems for opponents on the offensive end. He did the majority of his damage on midrange jumpers but showed that his range extends to the 3 point line knocking down a pair of triples. Jenkins was productive from the opening tip until the final whistle not even allowing an errant Ricardo Gathers elbow to the face to slow him down. After scoring at will on top 10 sophomore Jahlil Okafor and top 30 senior Ricardo Gathers in the past week, it’s safe to say that Jenkins can contribute at the high major level.
As teammates with Sports U/Team Izod on the AAU circuit as well as with Hall of Famer Bob Hurley’s St. Anthony’s of Jersey City (NJ) program, Class of 2013 guards Hallice Cooke and Josh Brown have seen their recruiting profiles expand greatly over the last several months.
Brown exploded on the scene right before our eyes at the Rumble in the Bronx back in June. While many people took note of who did not show up at the Rumble, it was clear that Brown did show up and his play stood out. Brown showed he is a freak of an athlete and used his superior athleticism to make plays in all facets of the game. He’s a strong rebounder and once he grabs a defensive board it’s off to the races. An absolute blur in the open court, Brown is just as likely to dunk on an unsuspecting defender’s head as he is to make a simple bounce pass to a teammate for an easy score. In the half-court, he is simply devastating in pick and roll sets as he uses his speed to turn the corner and get to the rim and is also very adept at drawing the double team and whipping a pass to the screener for a layup.
One of the players that has made a quick ascension in the Class of 2013 in recent weeks is St. Anthony;s of Jersey City (NJ) guard Hallice Cooke. After playing well in the early July events on the East Coast, Cooke and his teammates at Sports U./Team Izod made a major splash by taking home the 16U crown at the UA Summer Jam presented by NY2LA Sports. Their championship run was culminated last Friday afternoon with a 51-48 win over the Illinois Wolves to take home the 16U Platinum Bracket Championship.
NBE was able to catch up with Cooke this afternoon to get his thoughts on the impressive early July run and hear the latest on his recruitment, which is starting to explode rapidly. Another impressive 10 days to close July and Cooke could become one of the most heavily recruited players on the East Coast in the 2013 class…
NBE Basketball Report (NBE): What is your current height and weight?
Hallice Cook (HC): I’m 6’3 and my weight is 175.
NBE: Where do you live?
HC: I live in Union City, New Jersey
NBE: Can you talk about what is the best part of attending St. Anthony’s and playing for Coach Hurley?
One of the stories of the first 10-day live evaluation period recently concluded was the play of the 16U NYC New Heights team. The squad coached by Kimani Young took the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis (IN) to open the period and then were victorious in the Hoop Group’s Summer Classic in King of Prussia (PA) as well. The players have definitely cherished the opportunity they have with New Heights and their success has been noticed by many college coaches.
“The oppurtunity to travel the world and play in front of college coaches for free,” is what 6-foot-3, 198-pound (rising) junior guard Terrence Samuel told NBE over the weekend when asked what he like dmost about being part of the New Heights program.
Samuel has seen his stock soar recently. After a few good performances on the early spring AAU period word was out that he was a player coaches should keep an eye on and those that came to check him out were not disappointed with what they saw.
“Pitt, Villanova, Cincinnati, Louisville, Arizona, Iowa State, Rutgers [and] Oregon State,” said Samuel when asked about offers received, noting many came since July began. He also mentioned VCU, Virginia, Temple and St. John’s as schools expressing new interest recently.
By Alex Schwartz
READING, Pa. — Featuring over 60 high schools from seven different states, The Hoop Group Elite Team Camp drew numerous Division I coaches to Albright College. At least half of Big East was represented there Sunday, the second and final day of the camp.
Head coaches from both of New Jersey’s Big East programs, Rutgers and Seton Hall, were in attendance along with at least one assistant. NBE Basketball Report also spotted or was informed that assistants from Cincinnati, DePaul, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Villanova and West Virginia were in Reading.
Amongst the attractions for the Big East schools were Kyle Anderson ’12, Nate Britt ’13, Reggie Cameron ’13, Hallice Cooke ’13, Will Ferguson ’13, Shep Garner ’14, Amile Jefferson ’12, Kris Jenkins ’13, Ja’Quan Newton ’14, Villanova-commit Daniel Ochefu ’12, Stanford Robinson ’13, Terrence Samuel ’13, Shamiek Sheppard ’13, Kavon Stewart ’13, Mike Young ’13, and more.
The July live evaluation period will be an important one for Brian Bernardi. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard out of Xaverian High School in New York City already has several solid mid-major programs putting scholarship offers on the table and it is expected schools from high-major conferences will also be tracking his progress this month during the two 10-day live periods.
The current school list for Bernardi is long and includes a variety of schools throughout the college basketball spectrum. Boston College, Xavier, Hofstra, Virginia, Fordham, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, Temple, Siena, Fairfield, SMU, Boston University , East Carolina, Marist, James Madison, Manhattan and Wagner were listed as the programs actively recruiting him.
Shooting almost can be considered a lost art in this day and age in the sport of basketball. A pure shooter that can knock down shots from the perimeter is viewed as a commodity. With the three-point line acting as the great equalizer in the game today, college coaches will take notice when a player establishes himself as an elite pure shooter in his class.
This spring and summer on the AAU circuit Xaverian (NY) High School shooting guard Brian Bernardi hopes to establish himself as just such a player in the Class of 2012. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound sniper averaged over 16 points a game, eclipsing the 20-point mark eight times, including a season-high 24 in an 81-64 win over a St. Raymond’s team stacked with Division 1-A prospects. According to one of his coaches his reputation as a pure shooter is well-entrenched in the NYC area.
“Hands down, best shooter in city,” Chris Alesi told NBE yesterday. “According to [long-time Xaverian High School] coach Jack Alesi, [Bernardi is the] best [shooter] to come out of Xaverian since Chris Mullin. If there are five better pure shooters in the country, I’d be surprised.”
College coaches have already come to see Bernardi work out and the list has been impressive.
A loaded field has come to the Jersey Shore this weekend for the annual Playaz Spring Fling, but on by Jimmy Salmons’ Playaz Club program. The event kicks off the spring AAU travel season and while most are focused this weekend on the events in Houston (TX) with the Final Four, Matt Whitfield has made the trip to Neptune (NJ) to get an early look at most of the top AAU programs from the East Coast at one event. Sneaker affiliation lines are crossed for this event as all comers are welcomed.
The host Playaz have their 17-U and 16-U squads participating and the top NYC-based programs such as the NY Gauchos, New Heights, Long Island Lightning and NY Panthers as well as other powerful programs such as Team Takeover DC, DC Assault, Team Philly, NE Playaz, CT Select, Baltimore Elite, Sports University/Team Izod, Team NJ ABC, Pa Playaz and more are all in the 32-team 17U field this weekend.
On Friday evening LI-Lightning’s 6-foot-6 forward Daniel Dingle of St. Raymond’s HS in the Bronx updated NBE on the latest with his recruitment.
The Class of 2012 is planning a trio of visits this month.
Daniel Dingle feels he has some unfinished business to attemd to before his high school career at St. Raymonds’s in the Bronx (NYC) is done. Like his teammate and fellow Class of 2012 prospect Nkereuwem Okoro told NBE earlier today, the sting of losing in overtime to Christ the King in the CHSAA Class AA semifinal earlier this month has fueled Dingle to be ready to get over the hump in his senior season.
“We played well all season; just came up short in the semifinals,” Dingle told NBE today. “The highlight was just going hard everyday with my teammates that I love. The main goal is to win a city championship and a state title (next year).”
With Okoro, Shane Rector and Dingle expected to return along with several other key performers from this year’s team, the Ravens should be well-stocked for coach Oliver Antigua to reach their lofty expectations. The 6-foot-7, 220-lb Dingle is excited to keep working to reach those goals with his teammates.
“The past season went well, we really created a strong bond amongst each other,” he said.