Ball State Recruiting
by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – The Reebok Breakout Classic rolled along all day Thursday and NBE Sports had the opportunity to see 10 of the 12 teams in action on the day.
As was the case on Wednesday night, some lesser known players made noise and some top recruits also showed what they can do.
Future Louisville Cardinal Shaqquan Aaron showed why he is one of the best wings in the nation in the class of 2014. A 6-foot-8 small forward out of Rainier Beach (WA), Aaron is a high-level scorer who poured in 29 points in the morning game and kept playing well after that. Although thin, Aaron is very long, has a smooth game and is a quality athlete. He does a nice job in transition and is a tough player to keep out of the paint. Aaron even showed the ability to play some point guard.
Not many players in the class of 2015 are smoother on the court than Dwayne Bacon. A 6-foot-6 prospect who can play anywhere from the one to the three, Bacon has a really good frame and does a nice job of finishing at the rim, even in traffic. Bacon, who is headed to IMG Academy (FL), is a good athlete with quality body control who can knock down the midrange pull-up.
Jacobi Boykins of Lakewood (FL) is an impressive all-around offensive player. The 6-foot-5 class of 2014 shooting guard is a bit thin and needs to add some bulk, but he is a solid athlete with good bounce. Boykins is a quality shooter with a nice looking stroke who can also score at the rim some.
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Now that the National Prep Showcase has concluded it’s time to take a moment and digest everything that I witnessed in New Haven this weekend. One thing that jumps out is that the talent level in New England is at an all time high. While many players are imports from other areas of the country a large part of rosters on New England prep times are made up of local talent. Most notably, Nerlens Noel in 2013 and Noah Vonleh in 2014 both have a chance to become the top player in their class nationwide. These two separated themselves from everyone else at this event both with their current production and with their long term potential.
Past those top two, Ricardo Ledo deserves more recognition for his performance on Friday night. Ledo’s ability to score has never been questioned but his intangibles and whether or not he is a winner have long been debated. Against La Jolla Prep he not only scored from everywhere on the floor but he proved to be the vocal leader of a talent rich South Kent team. He specifically seems to have taken on somewhat of a mentor role for talented junior Chris Thomas. According to South Kent head coach Kelvin Jefferson Ledo has been everything he could have asked for and more both on the floor and in the locker room. He has taken Thomas under his wing in a sense and has been an incredible positive influence. If this progression continues, Ed Cooley landed an even bigger star than already thought.
By Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – The 2011 July Live Evaluation Period kicked off on Wednesday and one of the events that NBE Basketball Report was in attendance for was the Reebok Breakout Challenge. Featuring players from coast to coast in four different classes, there was no shortage of talent.
At least nine Big East schools were on hand at Philadelphia University during the course of the day, including Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard, and some of the players they were watching took the time to discuss their recruitment with NBE on Wednesday.
The New York native said all of those schools have offered except for UCLA. He also noted that his most recent offer is from another Pac-12 school, Washington.
DeJuan Marrero is a versatile forward in the Class of 2012 that has drawn a solid following over the years playing with the Spiece Indy Heat AAU program in the Midwest. Marrero, who currently stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 205 pounds, is difficult to defend due to his inside-outside ability at the offensive end. The forward out of Gary (IN)’s Bowman Academy has a strong body and is relentless inside. He is a factor on the backboards at both ends and can make plays in the lane. What makes him even tougher is that he has solid ball-handling ability and can beat defenders off the dribble to finish at the rim inside which he showed NBE on the AAU trail last season.
Marrero’s Bowman club played a tough schedule this season that included Chicago powers Simeon, Whitney Young and De La Salle. Despite losing in the sectional finals to Morgan Township, 53-49, the young Eagles had a season that Marrero was satisfied with and hopes to build on next year.
“I enjoyed this season even though we lost in Sectionals,” said Marrero. “The highlight game that I enjoyed the most was when we play against Chicago Simeon, which was the first game of the season. Going into my senior year my goal is to win one more state championship.”
Expect Marrero to be a highly visible player on the spring and summer AAU circuit running with the Spiece Indy Heat program. Many schools will likely pay close attention when the evaluation period in July rolls around to get a look at the versatile and energetic forward in action to see if he will fit in their programs. Marrero is looking forward to the chance to play agains the top competition across the country.