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BIG SHOTS ALL-AMERICAN CAMP REPORT

July 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (1/25/2013): BERRY GIVES TAR HEELS HEAD START ON ’14 CLASS & MORE RECRUIT NEWS

January 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

While the last week or so has not been crazy on the recruiting trail, it has certainly not been as slow as the holiday season. The rundown includes a few high-major programs adding 2013 commitments, a powerhouse getting a 2014 pledge, USA Basketball releasing some big news and more.

We begin with the 2014 pledge, which came from Joel Berry, the No. 20 prospect in the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75. Berry, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Lake Highland Prep (FL), has popped for North Carolina, per Alex Kline of TheRecruitScoop.com. He is a major pickup for the Tar Heels and is the highest ranked committed player in the NBE Sports 2014 rankings.

Amida Brimah, a 6-foot-11 class of 2013 center committed to UConn, per Coast 2 Coast Hoops. Brimah attends Archbishop Carroll (FL), after transferring over from Monsignor Pace (FL). He is a bit under the radar and fairly raw, but has some definite upside and can really impact the game when he is in the groove.

Jerron Wilbut of St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy (WI) is off the board to Seton Hall, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Wilbut is a 6-foot-3 class of 2013 shooting guard who is in a post-graduate year after attending Downers Grove South (IL).

Sticking with the news on ZagsBlog.com and the current BIG EAST, Rutgers picked up a commitment from South Kent (Conn.) point guard Shane Rector.  The 6-foot-1 Rector is the first commit in the 2013 class for Mike Rice and the Scarlet Knights.

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2012 PEACH JAM REPORT — CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY

July 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

Championship Sunday in North Augusta capped an amazing 2012 Peach Jam by crowning champions in both the 16U and 17U divisions. The Texas Titans defeated the Southern Stampede in double overtime to win at the 16U level. A few hours later the Oakland Soldiers were crowned EYBL champions after defeating CIA Bounce 51-50 to capture the 17U title. In those games and the 17U semifinals before them, some players separated themselves from the competition. Here’s who stood out to NBE.

Top Performer of the Day:

Andrew Wiggins (CIA Bounce 2014) – While his team came up a point short of an EYBL title this day, this tournament, and the entire EYBL circuit have belonged to Andrew Wiggins. In the morning semifinal Wiggins looked passive and a non factor for much of the game until his team needed him down the stretch. He turned a tight game into a double digit lead in a matter of minutes by scoring at will in the game’s biggest moments. In the title game Wiggins’ stat line wasn’t his best of the week (7-22 shooting, 23 points) but his dominance was as evident as ever. The Soldiers had two future pros to throw at Wiggins defensively in Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson and frankly neither one stood a chance. He was too quick, too strong, too explosive, and too good for every elite defender that was thrown at him all week. Stanley Johnson was the best defender in this tournament and even he couldn’t handle Wiggins. While I’ve been on record since last year’s Peach Jam that Wiggins was the top prospect regardless of class, the 2012 Peach Jam erased that debate in everyone’s mind. Everyone else in America is looking up at Wiggins and the gap is rather substantial.
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2012 PEACH JAM REPORT – DAY IV (PART A)

July 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

17U teams concluded pool play on Saturday morning and many of the games had major playoff implications. Here’s who stood out on the courts NBE was camped out at.

Top Performance of the Morning:

James Young (The Family 2013) – With John Calipari, Bill Self, Tom Izzo, and a host of other high major coaches watching courtside, Young showed why he is such a coveted wing in the 2013 class. He finished with 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists remaining in constant attack mode throughout his team’s win. Young’s 19 free throw attempts are a perfect indication of how aggressive he played throughout not settling for jumpers but rather forcing the issue in the paint. At a well built 6’6” he has the ability to overpower other wing players at the high school level and to shoot over them from the perimeter. In addition to grinding his way into the paint all game Young also buried deep shots going 5-6 from behind the arc mostly off the dribble. He uses a tight crossover to create space and then rises over his defender to sink shots. A clear cut top 10 player in the 2013 class, Young has his choice of basically any college program in the country.
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2012 PEACH JAM REPORT — DAY I

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

While the 17U action for the EYBL crown will have to wait until Thursday, the 16U play kicked off Wednesday night. NBE was focused on Pool D for the night and had the chance to watch all four teams in the pool. The early game featured Southern Stampede defeating Each 1 Teach 1 while the night cap was a Texas Elite victory over The Family. A bunch of players managed to shine in the double dip led by a 2015 big man from Texas.

Top Performer of the Night:

Elijah Thomas (Texas Elite 2015) – In a head to head matchup with highly touted big man Diamond Stone, Thomas got the best of his friend who runs with The Family. He made a point to mention after the game that he was looking forward to the contest with Stone because he felt Stone had outplayed him earlier in the season at the Nike Elite 100 camp in St Louis. Thomas wanted another opportunity to prove that he was every bit the player and prospect that Stone is and did just that on Wednesday night. He’s an ambidextrous player who I legitimately thought was left handed for the entire first half until I watched him shoot his free throws right handed. Thomas is big, strong, and finishes everything in the paint with his left (off) hand. He welcomes and often initiates contact in the lane showing an ability to draw a foul and then finish anyway. Thomas can continue developing his game by expanding his range and furthering his set of moves on the low block but is already a very effective big man on strength alone.
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2012 ADIDAS INVITATIONAL – SATURDAY RECAP

July 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

Saturday in Indianapolis was all playoff action at the Adidas Invitational and with higher stakes came stronger performances. All three age groups (15U, 16U, 17U) were represented at the main gym and players from all ages and all places managed to stand out. Here’s a sampling of who impressed.

Top Performers of the Day:

Daniel Hamilton (Dream Vision 2014) – The younger of the pair of brothers on Dream Vision’s 17U squad, Daniel is two inches taller and significantly longer than his older brother. While Daniel’s set of tools on the offensive end is not quite as refined as Isaac, he does have the middle game down to a science. He’s best scoring on runners or floaters going in either direction often using the back board from unusual angles. Hamilton has range out to the 3-point line but is consistently more successful when he puts the ball on the floor and pressures the defense off the dribble. Added strength, improved ball handling skills, and better shot selection can spring board Hamilton’s game to the next level.

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2012 ADIDAS INVITATIONAL – FRIDAY RECAP

July 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

Friday at the Adidas Invitational brought pool play to a close and marked the start of playoff action. It also allowed a chance to view some of the tournaments younger talent as the 15U pools wrapped up at the main site I’ve been stationed at. Star performances became the norm with one Texas big man standing out as top dog on the day.

Top Performer of the Day:

Jordan Mickey (Urban DFW Elite 2013) – The 6’9” post player was unstoppable in an afternoon playoff victory dominating the paint from start to finish. Mickey has outstanding footwork on the block and can score over either shoulder with either hand. He uses spins, drop steps, and a host of other moves keeping the defense on its heels all the time with his wide array of options down low. Mickey also succeeded from the high post where his 15 foot jumper is deadly and he can use 1 dribble to attack the rim. Still a bit on the slender side, a college weight room will do wonders for Mickey’s development and he projects as a go to low post scoring option within his first couple years on a high major college campus.
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2012 ADIDAS INVITATIONAL – THURSDAY RECAP

July 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

The Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis brings together all the Adidas sponsored AAU teams from around the country and in doing so collects one of the largest pools of talent of any tournament all summer. It was on full display throughout the day Thursday with high major talent playing in front of college coaches. A selection of players was able to separate themselves from the pack led by a pair of teammates from the Memphis area.

Top Performers of the Day:

Leron Black (Team Thad 2014) – Black is a 6-foot-7 power forward who has a motor that runs nonstop. His energy wore down the opposition to the point that he was beating his man down the floor every single time. Team Thad’s offensive system is similar to that of the old Loyola Marymount teams of the late 80s and early 90s that routinely scored over 100 points on the college level. They run and run and run until they can’t run anymore and over time this style wears down the opponents. Black never wore down himself but rather got stronger as the game went on dunking on four consecutive possessions at one point in the second half. His energy and smile on the court are infectious as the whole team seemed to rally around him after he got going in the 2nd half. Black even showed a developing face up game beating taller opponents off the bounce on his way towards more dunks at the rim. On top of the big finishes, he’s also a fantastic rebounder both in and out of his area, particularly on the offensive end. Every college program in the country that plays and up tempo style should be banging down Black’s door begging him to become part of their family.
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2012 RUMBLE IN THE BRONX RECAP (PART III)

June 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

The Rumble in the Bronx came to a close on Championship Sunday with winners being crowned in the 15U, 16U, and 17U divisions. The NJ Playaz took down the 15U crown, Team Scan the 16U, and Sports U was named 17U champions after a thrilling triple overtime win over arch rival NJ Playaz. I was camped out at John Jay College on Sunday which featured some early 16U playoff action followed by 17U semifinals and finals. While Sports U used a balanced attack en route to the championship, the Playaz had the day’s best performer in the losing effort.

Top Performance of the Day:

Shane Rector (NJ Playaz 2013) – As mentioned the Playaz lost a heartbreaker to Sports U in the championship game but Rector was a dominant force individually throughout the day on his team’s path to that game. His improvement over the past 12 months has been fun to watch and speaks to Rector’s tireless work ethic. A year ago at the Rumble I wrote about Shane after he scored 25 or so points without taking a shot outside of 4 feet. His game used to be all to the rim with little to no outside shot in his arsenal. Fast forward a year and the 3 point shot has become a major weapon for Rector as defenders can no longer go under the screen without being punished. He has also improved drastically as a floor general running a team and being a leader. No longer just an athletic combo guard, Rector has successfully made the transition to a full time point and his recruitment should soon reap the benefits.

NBE’s Alex Schwartz was able to catch up with Rector Friday night, along with Saturday’s Top Performer Dayshon Smith, to get the latest on the recruitment of two of the spring’s fastest rising guards, not only out of NYC, but in the nation: NYC Guards Shane Rector & Dayshon Smith See Recruitment Rise.
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HIGH SCORING ’13 G ZACH LAVINE HAS A FAVORITE

May 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the top prospects in the Class of 2013 on the West Coast is Zach LaVine, a 6-foot-4, 165-pound guard attending Bothell (WA) High School. LaVine has brought comparisons to Steph Curry as a silky-smooth scorer with a slender frame. LaVine enjoyed the recent April evaluation period on the AAU trail where college coaches were out on the road.

“[It was] good to see the coaches out there,” LaVine told NBE. “I just hope they saw all the aspects of my game.”

Speed and scoring ability are always the immediate aspects that stand out with LaVine’s game. He is also a slick passer with a feel for setting up his teammates. There are also areas of his game the rising senior point guard continues to work at improving to prepare himself for the college game in the future, but most of his attention goes toward improving his frame.

“I’m trying to get stronger,” he said.

College coaches have long been aware of LaVine, especially in the Pac 12 conference, but his recruitment has gone national in the recent months. Missouri, Baylor and Texas have recently come into his recruitment and Louisville offered toward the end of the season. Those schools can be added to his long list of other offers that come from Arizona, Arizona State, Washington State, California , Colorado, Gonzaga, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington. As has been the case for some time, one school on the West Coast continues to lead the pack for his services.

UCLA is my favorite right now,” said LaVine.

LaVine is not quite ready to pull the trugger as he plans to play out the AAU season with Friends of Hoop out of Seattle and asses the situation at that time in regards to his recruitment.

“I think I’ll pick toward the end of AAU season and just comfortability level [will be the biggest factor],” he said of a decision timeframe and likely deciding factor in a school.

College coaches will be back on the road in July and at that time NBE hopes to catch Zach LaVine in action as well. Stay tuned here for any news on his recruitment as this talented Class of 2013 scoring point guard could be off the board by summer’s end. Will UCLA seal the deal? We shall find out!

AREA CODES EASTER CLASSIC REVIEW

April 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Raphielle Johnson

This past weekend the sixth annual Easter Classic was played at multiple locations in Phoenix. It was a good opportunity to check out some of the better talents in the region, with teams from New Mexico and California also taking part.

And with some of the top prospects showing up it was a good opportunity to ask recruits an important question when it comes to basketball on the West Coast:

What’s wrong with the Pac-12?

The league’s been down for a couple of years now, and with 11 of the conference’s top 20 scorers from this past season moving on there will be a lot of pressure on some highly touted newcomers to pick things up (Arizona likely being the team many pick to win the conference next season).

2013 wing Payton Banks, who played at Orange Lutheran with Arizona signee Gabe York, feels that the conference will bounce back in 2012-13 and the Wildcats are a big reason why.

“[This year] was a bad year for the Pac-12, but this year will change a lot,” remarked Banks when I asked him the question.

2014 point guard Brian Beard and 2013 forward Chancey Hill both pointed to recruiting as the biggest problem for the conference, with Beard citing conference teams being outworked by the likes of Long Beach State and San Diego State while Hill said that the conference needs more diversity (geographically speaking) in recruiting.

Personally speaking, the recruiting issue is where the problem lies when it comes to the caliber of play in the Pac-12 in recent years. Lots of teams throughout the country have players leave school for the NBA after one or two seasons, making those recruits expected to spend three and four years on campus even more important.

Look at national champion Kentucky. While one could definitely argue that the Wildcats were talented enough to win with their youngsters this season, there’s no ignoring the role that senior Darius Miller played on that team. And from a recruiting standpoint there’s Kentucky and then everyone else she looking at who’s coming in annually.

Arizona and Indiana both welcome in outstanding classes this summer, but John Calipari and his staff do a good enough job to bring in a new team that can contend for a national title every year.

If you’re not able to do that you’d better be able to get a good mix onto campus, and that hasn’t happened for the Pac-12 outside of Arizona’s Elite Eight run in 2011. Can the conference come back? Sure it can, provided they win some important recruiting battles for the best talent on the West Coast.

But it’s also going to take the development of players who don’t fall into the “one and done” or two-year categories. That can’t be forgotten when discussing what the conference needs to do in order to return to the pinnacle of western basketball while also regaining national respect.

As for the action there were some high-level products on display, and below are updates on their recruitment along with other standouts this weekend.

G Payton Banks (2013)

Banks is a high-level wing who is on the radar of many of the top teams on the West Coast. A versatile guard with size, when Banks decides to attack the basket with authority he’s a tough player to deal with. That’s the key for him: being in attack mode consistently. Banks holds offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Penn State, USC, UTEP, Washington and Washington State.

G Brian Beard (2014)

The 2014 pass-first point guard was solid if not spectacular for the Compton Magic Black. Speaking with Beard on Saturday, he says that his goal this summer is to improve his perimeter shooting and thus become a bigger threat to opponents offensively. Recently the schools who have shown “medium-to-high” interest are Marquette, Oregon State and San Diego State with none having offered.

G Richaud Gittens (2013)

Gittens is one of three players on the Arizona Stars who stood out this past weekend, displaying some very good athleticism in the open floor. A left-hand dominant player right now, Gittens wants to improve his right this spring/summer. He’s looking for a bigger school that plays an up-tempo style of basketball, and currently has received interest from Colorado State, Drake, UCSB and Weber State. Obviously with his goal being to land at a larger institution this is going to be a big summer for him.

F Chauncey Hill (2013)

The Fairfax product had a good weekend in Phoenix, showing off a high-level motor and finishing ability above the rim. The key for Hill will be how he goes about expanding his offensive repertoire, something than can also be said for club teammate Jordan Bell (who played with ICP in a different event this week). Speaking with Hill, who said that he tries to model his game after Kenneth Faried, he’s looking to become more of a wing player skill-wise as he spends the majority of his time in the paint. Boasting a mohawk that’s dyed blonde on top, Hill has received interest from Colorado, Fresno State, Marquette, San Diego State and Washington but no offers as of yet.

G Jaron Hopkins (2013)

Hopkins is one of the best perimeter prospects on the West Coast; how he’s been unranked by multiple scouting sites is one mystery that’s difficult to explain. If Hopkins gets a step on his defender he’s going to the rim and he’s going with authority. He says he’s been attempting 500-600 jumpers a day in hopes of improving that aspect of his game. Hopkins currently holds offers from the likes of Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Pennsylvania, Penn State, San Francisco and Washington State, with interest from Harvard, Stanford and UCLA. Hopkins is aware of the coaching situation at Colorado State (Tim Miles moving on to Nebraska) but that’s something he’s left to his father, also noting that Miles has been in contact with his father since taking over at Nebraska.

G Dorian Pickens (2014)

Pickens is a smooth wing who was able to score in a variety of ways for the Arizona Stars. The recent recipient of an offer from Arizona State, Pickens knocked down perimeter jumpers while also showing off his mid-range game. He’ll need to get better at attacking the basket so opponents can’t play him too close, and he says he’ll also be working at becoming a better defender. He’s looking for a school with good academics that provides a family atmosphere while playing an up-tempo style of basketball. In addition to the ASU offer, Arizona, Boston College and Indiana have shown early interest. When asked if the high number of transfers at Arizona State (12 in three years) would affect how he viewed Herb Sendek’s program Pickens said no, stating that he’s just going to focus on how he meshes with the coaching staff.

F Pablo Rivas (2014)

Rivas is a 6-6 forward with very good athleticism as he’s also a wide receiver for his high school’s football team. And despite his wiry frame Rivas showed off some of the physicality gained from playing football, as he was more than willing to bang with opposing big men. Rivas runs the floor well and has room for growth from a skill standpoint; another summer spent working on his game could yield positive results when it comes to what he’ll be able to do offensively. Looking to major in engineering in college (mechanical and computer being the two disciplines he’s most interested in), Northern Colorado has shown some interest in Rivas. He did say that his “dream school” is Memphis, but this is going to be a big summer for him in terms of improving his skill set if he wants to draw the attention of the future Big East member.

F Paul Watson (2013)

Watson was solid but had a tough weekend due to the fact that he had to play center. To say the least the wing prospect who has received offers from high major programs is not a center. Watson’s a good scorer from multiple areas on the floor but for his sake hopefully they can get some size to help him out. But that doesn’t mean that Watson isn’t’ using this as an opportunity to add to his game, as he’s working on a turnaround jumper and a sweep-through move. Watson currently holds offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Fresno State, Oregon State and Texas Tech, and Arizona, Duke, New Mexico State, UNLV and USC have shown varying levels of interest.

Other Players of Note

G Bryce Alford (2013)

The New Mexico verbal commitment may be known by many for his famous lineage, but he’s a very good player in his own right. Alford played off the ball for much of the weekend, doing a good job of finding looks on the perimeter. Needs a little more work creating off the dribble but to be fair he didn’t man the point much for the Danny Granger Hurricanes.

G Malcolm Allen and G Marcus Allen (2013)

Twins from Las Vegas, these two played well this weekend alongside Jaron Hopkins and Paul Watson. Both are good athletes, with Malcolm showing a little better when it came to getting to the basket. Keep an eye on these two as the spring/summer rolls on, and that should be easy to do given the attention being heaped upon Hopkins and Watson from a recruiting standpoint.

G Sedrick Barefield (2015)

A member of the Compton Magic’s 2015 squad, Barefield is going to be one of the best guards in the country regardless of class by the time he’s a senior. Already ranked among the best guards in his class, Barefield is very good at finding quality looks. Good handle, good shooting form and a solid defender as well.

F Joe Boyd (2013)

The former New Mexico State verbal has bulked up some to match his 6-9 height, and he’s got the strength needed to bang inside. Still has to work on his mid-range jumper and free throw shooting, but he’ll be a good get for someone at the low to mid-major level with a solid spring/summer. At last check (a couple of months ago) New Mexico State remains high on his list, although depending on what happens with Marvin Menzies and the Colorado State opening maybe that changes.

F Kendall Lauderdale (2015)

He’s with Barefield on a Compton Magic 2015 team that recruiting fans are going to want to keep track of in the coming years. Already standing at 6-7, Lauderdale displayed a very good motor in the paint and good athleticism as well. Having his jersey ripped to the point where it looked like something Tarzan would wear didn’t slow him down either (they eventually gave him a new jersey. He’ll be one of the many high-major products on this roster with continued growth and development.

G Dikembe Martin (2016)

Martin can get to the basket off the dribble and while he’s got some work to do on his perimeter shot he was able to knock down a few jumpers as well. His best work may have come in the distribution area, where he set up fellow 2016 prospects Jace Rivera and Martin Tombe inside. This was as part of a Compton Magic 2016 class team that managed to beat a 17U squad on Saturday, and they’re only going to get better.

G Bubba Mears (2012)

Mears hasn’t been able to drum up enough interest scholarship-wise but the 5-9 point guard is a good athlete who also played football in high school. To describe Mears as a “bulldog” defensively would be more than accurate, as he helped lead the Tucson Heat seniors past the Compton Magic Black on Saturday afternoon. Offensively he did a good job of running the show, setting up teammates for quality looks while also using his quickness to get to the basket. Not sure if he goes D-1 due to the height, but he’d be a good late addition for a team in need of a point guard.

G Cullen Neal (2013)

Like teammate Bryce Alford, Neal’s the son of a coach (UNM assistant Craig Neal) who can also get the job done on the court. Neal, a Saint Mary’s verbal, was on the ball for most of the weekend for the Danny Granger Hurricanes and while his shot selection left something to be desired at times there’s no doubt that he can make plays. He’s got good size for a point guard, and he’ll be a very good addition when he steps onto the SMC campus next summer.

G Jeff Van Dyke (2013)

He was one of the good perimeter shooters on a tough Gamepoint 17U Black squad. Very good in catch and shoot situations this past weekend, Van Dyke was also able to create some good looks off of the dribble as well. High-major 2013 big Kameron Rooks didn’t play with them this weekend, which likely opened some things up for Gamepoint’s other 2013 prospects. 2012 wing Nathan Wright spent most of his time inside as a result.

F Arren Wells (2012)

While Alford and Neal are the headliners for the Danny Granger Hurricanes they’ve got some good 2012 big men who are still on the market with Wells being one of them. A good athlete who can finish above the rim, Wells had no problem getting physical inside. Not sure what level he ends up playing at as a college freshman, but with the first open evaluation period coming up in less than two weeks western teams in need of some late size should make it a priority to check in on the Hurricanes.

2012 NATIONAL PREP SCHOOL INVITATIONAL — DAY FOUR

February 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

The first three days of the National Prep School Invitational were dominated by Steven Adams and his Notre Dame Prep squad. The 2012 big man from New Zealand erased any concerns after his foul-plagued showing at the Hoop Hall Classic and cemented his status as one of 2012’s top players. On Sunday it was time for another 2012 big man to steal the show and make his case for the #1 overall ranking in the senior class. With the gym buzzing and filled to a capacity that it saw at no other time all weekend the Tilton School and REDA (Ontario) took the floor at 1:30 PM. Nerlens Noel jumped center for the Tilton School sporting his trademark bright pink Nikes and his high top fade and put on the best show of the weekend.

Top Performance of the Day:

Nerlens Noel (Tilton 2012) – This was Noel’s first national appearance since announcing his intentions to graduate this year as a member of the 2012 class early Thursday morning. Providence fans packed the gym to see him as they made the cut of his seven final schools along with Kentucky, Syracuse, Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina. Dominance doesn’t even begin to describe the defensive effort put forth by Noel as he tallied 10 blocks to go along with countless more altered shots. It reached a point where REDA coaches could be heard screaming at their players who even attempted to challenge the big man as a shot in the lane against Noel was basically a turnover. Perhaps the most telling statistic of his dominance was on the scoreboard. Noel played the majority of the game’s first 29 minutes at which point REDA had only scored 19 points. At that time Nerlens went to the bench in a blowout victory and in the remaining 11 minutes REDA was able to put up 29 points. His defensive prowess is certainly nothing new but Sunday’s was a particularly stunning performance even by his high standards. Offensively Noel looked better than ever and as crazy as it sounds was literally playing point guard for his Tilton team during the 2nd half. He brought the ball up the floor every time and got his team into their offense sometimes breaking his man down off the dribble and other times running a play for someone else. I’m not suggesting that Noel is making a drastic position change but it was an indicator of how far along his ball handling and passing skills have come in the last year. Once only a defensive standout, Noel’s offense is catching up seemingly by the day.
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HOOPHALL CLASSIC 2012: MONDAY RECAP

January 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

The 2012 Hoophall Classic came to a close on Monday highlighted by four national games all broadcast live on national television. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky front man John Calipari were front and center all day each flagged by two assistants. They were joined by a host of other coaches all trying to make an impression on the many uncommitted talents in action. While Shabazz Muhammad, Jabari Parker, Tony Parker, and others were the focus of these coaches, a senior guard who has already made his college decision stole the show and he receives top billing today.

Top Performer:

Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei 2012) – signed with UNLV – After watching Reinhardt for a week at the City of Palms in Florida last month I came away seriously underwhelmed. He struck me as a player that forced shots, was careless with the ball, and cared more about making the flashy play than the right play. After dropping 35 points on a Hoophall Classic record tying nine three-pointers it’s safe to say he has changed my mind. Reinhardt got in the flow early with an easy dunk and once he found a rhythm the shots just kept falling and falling. Equally adapt off the catch or the dribble he made shots from well beyond the college 3 point line and was able to get enough elevation on his shot to make them over defenders. Not exclusively a shooter (although it was clearly his calling card today) Reinhardt used a low, tight crossover to get in the lane and finished a pair of floaters over help defenders. He also showed passion and aggression on the defensive end forcing Uconn commit Omar Calhoun into a miserable 6-22 shooting day. For now I’m willing to label Reinhardt a streaky shooter that has the ability to single handedly take over a game when he’s on a hot streak. If he can string together consistent performances like today’s I’ll be forced to simply label him a great shooter.
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CRC CLASSIC GAME RECAP – GAME OF THE DAY (MATER DEI – GILL ST. BERNARD’S)

January 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ray Mernagh

Gill St. Bernard’s 76, Mater Dei 73 OT

There were supposed to be a lot of stars on the floor in this one.

Mater Dei was ranked #8 in the country coming into the game by whomever thinks they’re qualified to rank high school teams nationally (not really sure how it’s possible with the volume of teams etc but whatever) while Gill St. Bernard’s was kind of licking their wounds from a 2-2 trip to the City of Palms (which was so excellently covered by my guy Brian Bosworth).

Well, the biggest star in this game was a big man by the name of Dominic Hoffman who will soon become a nightmare for all the coaches in the Patriot League once he arrives at Bucknell in late summer. The game was the best of the day and it really wasn’t close — Mergen Sina from St. Bernard’s coached the hell out of his team and they responded by playing harder and smarter than Mater Dei and ultimately being rewarded with a much deserved W in overtime.

Dominic Hoffman 2012 6’7 Center (Bucknell)
Hoffman might be 6’7″ but he plays 6’10″. High energy player with a motor to match. Crashes offensive boards. Runs rim-to-rim. Blocks a lot of shots with his timing and long arms. Hits 18 footer. Has post moves and counter post moves that he uses to score consistently down low. Excellent in the two man game with either Jaren Sina or Alex Mitola all night. Would Not Let His Team Lose! Finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks. Outstanding performance of the day (along with Kris Jenkins).

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2011 CITY OF PALMS REPORT — TOP PLAYER PERFORMANCES

December 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

Now that the 2011 City of Palms Classic has come to a close it’s time to put some measure on what I saw this week. Below are player rankings by class based on performances from this week alone. While they do impact my overall perception of these players, they are rankings strictly of what I saw in Florida this week.

Top 2012 Players:

1. Isaiah Austin (Grace Prep) – signed with Baylor – Austin was more committed to play inside on offense than he has been in the past and still rebounded and blocked shots at the highest level. He looked poised to challenge Shabazz Muhammad for top player in the class throughout the rest of the reason.

2. Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman) – It speaks to Muhammad’s talent that after a subpar week by his standards he still slots in at # 2. He was the most persistent scorer at the tournament, getting his points every way imaginable.

As for his recruitment, Muhammad told NBE on the opening day of the event that he has no timetable for a decision and sounds as though he’ll wait right up until the spring signing period to make his call. He listed an up-tempo style and a program that gets its players to the next level as the two most important factors in his decision making process. When the time comes Muhammad will be choosing from his final 6 of UCLA, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, UNLV, and USC.
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CITY OF PALMS REPORT — DAY FOUR

December 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

Each day at the City of Palms Classic seems to be more intense than the last. Today started off slowly with a mostly empty gym but it slowly filled up as the night wore and the semifinal matchups approached. When it was time for the tip of Montverde Academy and Grace Prep in the 1st semifinal there wasn’t an empty seat in the building. Through a delay when a power outage sapped the scoreboard, constant breaks to wipe up an increasingly slippery court, and a wildly overheated Florida gym, high level basketball remained the focus. A select group of players stood a cut above the rest and they are outlined below.

Top Performance of the Day:

Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian 2013) – In the final game of the night with a chance to play for the title on the line Randle was brilliant. He tallied 31 points and 15 rebounds on 12 of 18 shooting while facing consistent double and triple teams in the post. Randle’s game has evolved as his skills have developed and while he still makes his living down low he showed the ability tonight to lead the break and facilitate offense for others from the perimeter. His shooting range now extends to the college 3 point line and he can comfortably handle the ball enough to help his guards break the press. Offensively, Randle has very few holes in his game but on the other side of the ball he does still need work. He has a tendency to sulk after a turnover and then miss a defensive assignment because he hasn’t let the play go. While not uncommon for a young player, stars of Randle’s caliber are held to a higher standard. If cleared up, there is nothing standing in his way from overtaking Jabari Parker as 2013’s top prospect.
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EARLY SIGNING PERIOD CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS – PAC 12

November 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

Next up on our look at the early signing period results by conference is the Pac 12. Sean Miller has quickly put his stamp on the program at Arizona and reeled in not only the best class in the conference to date, but one can make the argument that the four-player class signed by the Wildcats this period is the best in the country (NBE will reveal their #1 choice tomorrow).

Here is a look at what has transpired on the recruiting trail out West so far…

Top 5 Big 12 Recruiting Classes for 2012:

1) Arizona
Commits – Brandon Ashley (PF), Kaleb Tarczewski (C), Gabe York (SG), Grant Jerrett (PF)
–Sean Miller hit a homerun with four top 50 players. The only possible knock is that Ashley and Jerrett play the same position and could struggle sharing the court but that’s really nitpicking.

2) UCLA
Commits – Kyle Anderson (PG), Jordan Adams (SF)
–Ben Howland was able to draw the East Coast’s top player across the country in point guard Kyle Anderson.

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ALEX CARUSO CUTS LIST TO TWO SCHOOLS FOLLOWING VISIT

September 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the most impressive Class of 2012 prospects NBE came across in the early summer stage of the AAU and camp scene was Alex Caruso, a 6-foot-5, 170-pound shooter extraordinaire from College Station (TX). His strong play at the Pangos All-American Camp solidified his status as one of the nation’s top prospects and solidified his spot in the NBA Top 100 Camp later in the month. As for his play at Pangos, it’s reached a point of “what can’t he do” by day two. Caruso showed he was much more than just a lights-out shooter and he can do a number of things on the floor to help his team win. Whether it’s scoring from the perimeter, finishing above the rim or setting up the open teammate Caruso gets it done.

Now it looks like Caruso is nearly ready to get things done on his recruitment as well. This past weekend he had an excellent visit to Colorado and that followed an official visit to Texas A&M the weekend before. The trips have Caruso on the verge of making his college choice as he is not looking to make any more trips.

“No more visits,” Caruso told NBE this evening. “A&M and CU is only two left. [The are] pretty even. A&M [has a] slight, slight advantage.”

Caruso, who attends A&M Consolidated High, literally right down the street from Texas A&M, has long been thought as an Aggie lean, so it is no surprise they appear to be in the driver’s seat in his recruitment. Colorado, though, at least gave something for Caruso to think about in the process.

Colorado was great, learned a lot and had fun,” he said of the visit. “Probably the team chemistry [impressed me the most], it was really strong.”

Caruso also mentioned the strong fan support of the CU students during the football game as standing out to him on the trip. Now that he has seen his two favorites, has the list of factors for his decision or time frame to decide changed any?

“Not totally, I just know everything I can about both schools and what they have to offer, so I’m just taking it day by day.”

Will Texas A&M lead wire to wire and close the deal by adding Alex Caruso to their Class of 2012 recruiting efforts? Or will Colorado come in late and steal the prize out from under their former conference rival? Time will tell and NBE will follow this recruitment until the very end, which might not be all that much longer!




2011 ORLANDO AAU NOTEBOOK (PART 10): ELIJAH MACON, KALE ABRAHAMSON & MARTAVIOUS NEWBY UPDATES

August 2, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

By Alex Schwartz

MARYLAND OFFICIAL VISIT THE PLAN FOR ELIJAH MACON

If you are looking for a big man to rebound and defend in your Class of 2012 recruiting efforts, 6-foot-9 power forward Elijah Macon could be your man. Yes, he can also finish around the cup and is by no means a major weakness offensively, but his offensive skill set down low is still developing. However, what Macon does do quite well is rebound and defend, two things that are very important. A well built post player with a strong frame, Macon, for the most part, understands his strengths and weaknesses and does not force things. He plays solid interior defense and is an overall sound player who does a lot of the little things.

Miami, West Virginia, Iowa, South Florida, Cincinnati, Xavier, USC and Dayton were the offers listed by Macon this past weekend while playing in the AAU National Championships for the All-Ohio Red program in Orlando. He also mentioned Memphis, Maryland, Georgetown, Kansas and Florida, noting that he has more offers and interest.
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2011 ORLANDO AAU UPDATE (PART 5): CHAMPIONSHIP DAY FOR 17U SUPER SHOWCASE AHEAD

July 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Alex Schwartz

It is championship day at the 17U AAU Super Showcase in Orlando on Wednesday afternoon. At noon, Team Takeover DC will meet the Houston Defenders in one semifinal match-up while BABC will take on Hoop Heaven Elite at 3 PM in the other semifinal. The winners will meet in the Showcase ttile game scheduled for 7 PM and it will be televised by ESPNUI.

Last night ESPNU had a made-for-TV ‘highlight’ game in Orlando putting Texas PRO and the Georgia Stars on display for television viewers. NBE caught up with some of the top names from the highlight game, including Alex Poythress, Danuel House and Danrad ‘Chicken’ Knowles, to get the latest in their recruitment. Also a pair of 2013 guards, Stephen Vasturia and Allerick Freeman, are profiled in today’s report…

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