NBE Basketball Report
Xavier Recruiting

NIKE GLOBAL CHALLENGE: USA WEST EDGES USA SOUTH FOR TITLE

July 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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CHINANU ONUAKU MAKING TOP SCHOOLS TAKE NOTICE THIS SUMMER

July 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

ADIDAS INVITATIONAL — DAY TWO

July 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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…

Standouts:

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.

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REEBOK BREAKOUT CLASSIC — DAY II

July 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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2013 NBPA TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CAMP — FINAL RECRUITING NOTES

June 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Whitfield, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)’s 20th Anniversary of the NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp kicked off Wednesday at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville and concluded over the weekend. Media was allowed to begin attending sessions on Thursday and NBE was back on the road and in attendence.

The NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp was created by the NBPA in 1994 to assist elite high school student-athletes in the development of their basketball and life skills. Throughout the last 20 years, the Camp has grown into one of the most highly touted and renowned camps of its kind and has seen hundreds of its participants go on to successful NBA careers. You can follow the camp on Twitter @Top100Camp and be sure to follow @NBESports for all of our updates as well.

To close our recruiting updates, NBE caught up with Craig Victor, Satchel Pierce, Khadeem Lattin, Abdul-Malik Abu, Brandone Francis, Skal Labissiere, Chinanu Onuaku, Kevon Looney, Trevon Blueitt and Trayvon Reed, which you can see below…

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2013 NBPA TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CAMP — RECRUITING NOTES (PART II)

June 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Whitfield, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)’s 20th Anniversary of the NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp kicked off Wednesday at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Media was allowed to begin attending sessions on Thursday and NBE was back on the road and in attendence.

The NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp was created by the NBPA in 1994 to assist elite high school student-athletes in the development of their basketball and life skills. Throughout the last 20 years, the Camp has grown into one of the most highly touted and renowned camps of its kind and has seen hundreds of its participants go on to successful NBA careers. You can follow the camp on Twitter @Top100Camp and be sure to follow @NBESports for all of our updates as well.

In our first Top 100 Camp report yesterday we had recruiting updates on Stephen Zimmerman, Malachi Richardson, Leron Black, Myles Turner, Reid Travis and Devin Robinson. In our second edition, read on below for updates on Thon Maker, Jaquan Lyle, Ja’Quan Newton and MARYLAND-commit Romelo Trimble impressed in his effort…

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2013 NBPA TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CAMP — RECRUITING NOTES (PART I)

June 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Whitfield, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)’s 20th Anniversary of the NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp kicked off Wednesday at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Media was allowed to begin attending sessions on Thursday and NBE was back on the road and in attendence.

The NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp was created by the NBPA in 1994 to assist elite high school student-athletes in the development of their basketball and life skills. Throughout the last 20 years, the Camp has grown into one of the most highly touted and renowned camps of its kind and has seen hundreds of its participants go on to successful NBA careers. You can follow the camp on Twitter @Top100Camp and be sure to follow @NBESports for all of our updates as well.

IN our first recruiting notebook we take a look at the latest from

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NEW YEAR’S JUMP-OFF EVENT RECAP

January 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

TOP PERFORMER

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.

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ELITE ’14 GUARD D’ANGELO RUSSELL LIGHTS UP ROSELLE CATHOLIC; TALKS RECRUITING

January 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

ROSELLE, N.J. – D’Angelo Russell stole the show at the Roselle Catholic (NJ) Hoops for Troops Basketball Classic last night.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting finished with 21 points, including 17 in the second quarter. It was during that period that he connected on five 3-pointers during about a five minute span.

The No. 12 ranked player in the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75 helped lead Montverde Academy (FL) to a 77-51 victory over the host, Roselle Catholic.

“I feel like I try to step up and make big-time plays for my teammates and for myself and I just felt like it was the opportunity to go,” Russell said of his second quarter outburst.

Asked how often he gets in a zone like that, Russell replied, “I try to as quick as I can. The atmosphere was great, so adapting to the atmosphere was just what I try to do, and that’s what happened.”

The elite Class of 2014 guard talked in a bit more detail about what playing in front of a big-time crowd means.

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2012 VILLA CLASSIC RECAP

December 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

GLENSIDE, Pa. – Five teams from New York City, four from Philadelphia and one from New Jersey made their way to Arcadia University yesterday for the sixth annual VILLA Classic. Although most of the games ended with lopsided scores, there was still some nice talent on display.

TOP PERFORMER

There are several players who could stake claim to this honor, but we are going to go with Brandon Austin. The future Providence Friar was not amongst the players who dropped 20+ points, but he turned in the best all-around performance. The versatile senior from Imhotep Charter (PA) is capable of playing multiple positions, but, as he showed on Saturday, he is best suited at the point guard spot. Austin is capable of both scoring the ball himself—he finished with 18 points against Lincoln (NY)—and facilitating things for others. He runs the offense quite adeptly and is a superb defender. The 6-foot-6 Austin locked up and forced steals, but he was also able to block shots around the rim. His combination of size, skill and length allows him to impact the game in multiple ways. Additionally, the No. 47 ranked player in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Top 125 has a nice feel for the game.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (11/26/2012): CLOSING OUT EARLY SIGNING PERIOD COMMITMENTS

November 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

Signing week is now in the books, but a number of other 2013 players made their college commitments since our last Recruiting Notebook on Monday. Some popped before the signing period ended and some after it.

The best senior to come off the board in the past few days is Brandon Austin of Imhotep Charter (PA). Austin is a 6-foot-6 point guard/small forward and he is now a future Providence Friar, per his Twitter account.

A long, versatile player with an impressive skill set, Austin was at one point committed to Penn State. Ranked No. 47 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125, Austin picked the Friars over Texas and UConn.

Manhattan got an incredibly huge coup in landing JUCO stud Chris Thomas of Chipola College (FL). The news was broken by Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. Thomas is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who was at one point ranked amongst the top 10 players in high school in the class of 2012 before opting to take a unique route and enrolling at a junior college.

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’14 BIG MAN ANDRE WALKER HAS PLENTY OF COLLEGE INTEREST

November 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Now that the Class of 2013 is able to sign their Letters of Intents to officialy close their recruitment, the Class of 2014 will move more toward the focus of coaches, fans and scouts. The recruitment of the big men in any class is usually the slowest to come into focus, however one talented big man in the Class of 2014 has already gathered a strong following of interested college programs.

6-foot-10, 210-pound Andre Walker caught the eye of NBE reporters a few times last summer on the AAU trail as the Bullis School (MD) prospect was on the circuit with the always talented DC Assault program. Now back in the home environment of his high school, plenty of schools have made contact to let him know they will be following his development.
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D’ANGELO RUSSELL UPDATE: LIST LENGTHENS FOR ELITE ’14 SCORING GUARD

November 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

D’Angelo Russell has solidified his position as one of the lite prospects in the Class of 2014 at every stop on the summer and spring AAU trail and throughout a decorated high school and prep career. The current Montverde (FL) Academy standout completed the summer ranked #12 by NBE’s National Recruiting Analyst Brian Bosworth in the NBE Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75.

Russell has the complete skill package as a 6-foot-4+, 180-pound shooting guard. He can create off the bounce for himself and others. He is strong enough to get to the rim and finish through contact and he can hit the perimeter shot consistently out past the three-point arc. Russell is also not afraid to defend and will do so with effort consistently. While his goal is to win a national title with Montverde this season, he can’t help but look forward to his final year on the AAU circuit ahead where he will plans to either play with E1T1 out of Florida or All-Ohio Red closer to his home in Kentucky.
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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (11/15/2012): ’15 KARL TOWNS UPSTAGES SIGNING PERIOD OPENING

November 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

It is rare that the biggest news to come out of signing week involves a player who cannot sign a Letter of Intent for another two years, but one could argue that is the case thus far. That is partially due to the lack of major commitments and partially due to the fact that the news from the sophomore class is pretty big.

Here is a look at some of the bigger stories of the week, some from yesterday, the first day of the early signing period, and some from the days leading up to it.

We start it with the aforementioned sophomore who has grabbed the headlines. In news that looks to have been first reported by Joseph Thompson of SEC Basketball Recruiting, Karl Towns, Jr. has decided to announce his college decision on December 4th. A 6-foot-10 power forward/center out of St. Joseph’s Metuchen (NJ), Towns is one of the best prospects in the nation regardless of class. He is ranked No. 3 in the NBE Sports Class of 2015 Post-July Top 25.

Towns has most of the nation’s elite programs coming after him and basically has his selection of schools. There has long been some chatter about Kentucky when it comes to Towns and the Wildcats could be the favorite here.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (11/12/2012): COUNTDOWN TO SIGNING DAY IS ON

November 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

The early signing period is set to begin on Wednesday and that means class of 2013 recruits will finally be able to make their verbal commitments official.

Despite the approach of the signing period, the past few days have been fairly quiet on the recruiting front. However, there was one major commitment from an elite prospect.

Noah Vonleh of New Hampton (NH) committed to the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday night, in news first reported by Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. Vonleh had been ranked No. 6 in the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-Summer Top 75 before reclassifying back to the 2013 class.

Now that he is in the senior class, Vonleh may well be amongst the top-10 players in the 2013 class and he is a huge addition for Tom Crean’s program. The 6-foot-8 power forward’s pledge to IU comes only a few weeks after he trimmed his list to six schools. The other finalists were Georgetown, Ohio State, North Carolina, Syracuse, and UConn.

Another player in the NBE Sports 2014 Top 75 also made his commitment recently. Scout.com’s Brian Snow broke the news that Melvin Swift, Jr. of Yates (TX) had popped to Xavier. The 6-foot-7 junior power forward checks in at No. 59 in the rankings and is a big pickup for the Musketeers.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (11/9/2012): ORANGE CONTINUE TO SIZZLE ON RECRUITING TRAIL AHEAD OF ACC MOVE

November 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

The two biggest high school hoops stories to come since our last Recruiting Notebook are both out of the class of 2014.

First off, Chris McCullough became just the second player in the top 25 of the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75 to make a college decision. The 6-foot-9 power forward from Brewster Academy (NH) pledged to Syracuse, in news that looks to have been first reported by CuseNation.com.

McCullough is a native New Yorker and a high school teammate of recent 2013 Syracuse pledge Ron Patterson. McCullough is ranked No. 22 in the NBE Sports 2014 Top 75.

The Orange may not be done in 2014 as NBE’s 19th best player in the class, Isaiah Whitehead, has narrowed his list to 10, per ESPN, and the Orange remain one of the leaders.  The final 10 for the NYC guard are:  Syracuse, St. John’s, Rutgers, Kentucky, Louisville, Arizona, Maryland, Florida, Kansas and UCLA.

Dakari Johnson was the other 2014 stud to make news this week, except, well, Johnson is no longer a member of that class. Johnson has made the decision to reclassify to 2013, per Garrett Tucker of Future150.com.

The 6-foot-10 center from Montverde Academy (FL) was ranked No. 3 in the NBE Sports 2014 Top 75. He is the third top-20 player to reclassify from 2014 to 2013 in the past few months, following Andrew Wiggins, Noah Vonleh and Wayne Selden.

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FRESH OFF MARYLAND VISIT, DECISION NEARS FOR RODDY PETERS

October 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ron Bailey

October 15, 2012 – Fresh off a Friday visit to University of Maryland, where he took in the Terp’s Midnight Madness celebration, on Sunday Roddy Peters shined some light on his recruitment status. His suitors need to take note, as then he noted a decision would likely be reached, “Probably in another two weeks”. A web rumor today, suggests Peters is planning on announcing his future college choice tonight. Anyway you cut it; things are coming to an end.

What about his visit to College Park for Midnight Madness, a celebration of everything Terp Hoops, one that is replicated all over the country by schools? (That day is the first a team can actually come together in a coaches supervised fashion).

“It went real good. The players were nice. The celebration was nice. The coaches were nice,” replied Peters, a Class of 2013 guard, one that attends Suitland HS (MD) and hit the circuit with DC Assault this year.
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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (10/11/12) — COMMITMENT ROLL CONTINUES

October 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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by Alex Schwartz

Major commitments have continued to roll in over the past few days and there does not appear to be an end coming in the near future.

The biggest commitment to come down since Monday’s Recruiting Notebook was that of Karviar Shepherd. Not only is Shepherd a high-level prospect, but he has a chance to be somewhat a program changer at his future institution.

Shepherd, a 6-foot-9 center out of Prime Prep (TX), ended his recruitment by pledging to in-state TCU, according to ESPN.com’s Reggie Rankin. The Horned Frogs are entering their first year in a BCS conference and are also under a first year head coach. However, Trent Johnson now has himself a player to build around in the Big 12, as Shepherd is ranked No. 14 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125.

Shepherd showed at that 2012 Adidas Invitational last July his ability to score with both hands, make great passes from the post and refined footwork that most college big men would be jealous of. Shepherd also protects the rim and rebounds both ends of the floor at an elite level. NBE’s National Recruiting Analyst also wrote that Shepherd has the potential to be a dominant low post scorer at the college level after watching him perform in Indianapolis to kick off the July evaluation periods.
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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (10/4/2012) — HARRISON TWINS DECISION DUE TODAY

October 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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by Alex Schwartz

Quite possibly the best package deal in high school basketball history will have a destination today. Top-four ranked twin brothers Andrew and Aaron Harrison are set to announce their college intentions and will be choosing between Kentucky, Maryland and SMU.

The 6-foot-5 guards from Travis (TX) had long been working with a top five that also included Baylor and Villanova, but they have narrowed it down to a final trio. The general belief though, is that it is truly a two-horse race between Kentucky and Maryland.

UK is on a roll under John Calipari, as he is four for four in Lexington, Ky. in signing the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. He has led Kentucky to two Final Fours and the Wildcats are the reigning national champion. UK has also churned out a plethora of first round picks under Cal and it is the winningest program in NCAA basketball history.
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THE HOOP GROUP’S FUTURE ALL-AMERICA CAMP – TUESDAY RECAP

August 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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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.

TOP PERFORMER

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.
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