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by Alex Schwartz
AIKEN, S.C. – The second Live Evaluation Period of July tipped off on Wednesday night and NBE Sports was in the building at USC Aiken for the Peach State Summer Showcase.
While the tournament might not get as much hype as Nike Peach Jam does, Peach State is also loaded with talented prospects. Several of those players stood out on opening night and NBE Sports caught up with a few guys as well.
John Egbunu might not be 7-foot like he is listed, but the future South Florida Bull is an impressive player nonetheless. The Class of 2013 center out of Eagle’s Landing (GA) is a rugged interior presence who simply gets things done around the cup. Egbunu turned in an impressive performance for Douglas Brothers Elite in a victory over Birmingham Ice Xpress and was extremely difficult to defend in the low post. He finishes well and does a great job of grabbing offensive rebounds and then putting the ball back in the cup for an easy deuce. Possessing strength and power, Egbunu is also capable of throwing down a big-time dunk, as he most certainly showed on Wednesday night.
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.
Clearing out the notebook from some recent updates we have gathered from players in the Class of 2013. We have updates below on Josh Brown, the Sports U/St. Anthony’s (NJ) point guard that recently de-committed from Temple, Terrence Samuel, a NYC point guard who has been hearing the most for a couple schools since June 15th and Sam Singer, a scoring guard out of Florida who has a long list of schools looking to track him this summer.
Read on below for the lastest on each…
JOSH BROWN COLLECTING OFFERS
When news circulated that Josh Brown was backing off his verbal commitment to Temple which he made last Fall, we knew it wouldn’t be long before his recruitment started to take off. Brown had been very impressive every time NBE saw him during the season at St. Anthony’s as well as on the spring AAU period with Sports U. When we caught up with Brown yesterday he shared with us the schools that have been in contact with him since his decommitment, which also coincided with the June 15th opening of the unlimited contact period.
Over the last several years much has been written on the shortcomings or pitfalls of the fly-by-night prep schools that seem to come out of the woodwork each year across the country. Some are termed diploma mills or accused of funneling their players to certain programs or conferences.
At the complete opposite spectrum of the schools that operate in the gray areas of the sport is Northfield Mount Hermon. If anything, the program could be accused of funneling its players to a certain conference…the Ivy League!
A tremendous mix of academics and athletics makes Northfield Mount Hermon special. In the last several years the program headed by John Carroll in Northfield (MA) has been a virtual factory of Ivy League basketball players. NMH is considered the best combination of academics and basketball in the United States and in the 2010–2011 season eight NMH alums were in the Ivy League, more than any other school in the nation. That number contines to rise with players like Evan Cummins, Joe Sharkey, Jvonte Brooks and Armani Cotton in recent years following the path and will continue to attract players to the program, like Anthony Dallier, who are looking for similar opportunities.
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.
Parker vs. Randle highlights day
By Raphielle Johnson
Nike saved the “best” for its final regular season session of Nike EYBL, with the top two players in the class of 2013 facing off on Sunday afternoon. Jabari Parker and Mac Irvin Fire went toe-to-toe with Julius Randle and the Texas Titans, but a furious second half rally for the Chicago-based team fell just short. Behind 23 points and 13 rebounds from Randle and Matt Jones adding 19 and eight rebounds, the Titans won 63-59 to move into a tie for third in Division C with Mac Irvin.
That was a big win for the Titans from a Peach Jam standpoint as well, as the result guaranteed them a berth in the 24-team tournament to be held in July. A loss would have dropped them into a three-way tie with CPE and E1T1 Elite, and while all three would most likely advance (four at-larges join the top five in each division) it’s better to simply take care of business yourself instead of relying on help.
Jones had the assignment of guarding Parker in the first half while Jackson Forbes helped out in the second, and the nation’s top-ranked player seemed to settle for perimeter jumpers a bit too much. But he did guard Randle on the other end in the first half, and to be frank both seemed to be pressing in the first 16 minutes. But Randle’s teammates, most notable Jones, came up big as they led by as many as 18 in the first half.
Sam Singer, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard from Ransom Everglades High School near Miami (FL), has been turning heads on the AAU circuit all spring with Gold Coast AAU. Known most for his ability to score off the ball, NBE saw Singer on Day Two of the Hoop Group’s Pittsburgh Jam Fest where his ability to play on the ball helped spring an upset over Philly Pride in an exciting contest. Singer has very intriguing size for a back court prospect which he uses to get into the line and finish or draw many trips to the free throw line as well as a nice looking shooting stroke that is improving out past the three-point arc. What NBE saw from him in Pittsburgh was what he felt were his greatest strengths are as a player.
“I’m a true combo guard and my ability to make shots and create for others and basketball IQ are my strengths,” he said. “I’m working hard this offseason on my athleticism and defensively.”
By Brian Batko
The Hoop Group’s Pittsburgh Jam Fest came to a close Sunday with some very intense semifinals and championship games. Many of the usual suspects who had been playing well all weekend continued to do so on Sunday but one squad of 2014 players in particular stepped its game up an extra notch and NBE has the rundown.
Caleb Martin and Cody Martin (Team Loaded NC 16U, 2014, Davie) – Even more so than the Harrison brothers in the grade above them, these two 6’6” wings have extremely similar bodies and games. In fact, at this point in their development, they play almost exactly alike. They’re both fairly slender but appear to have the frame to really add strength and muscle. In leading Team Loaded (NC) to the 16U championship on Sunday, the two uber-talented North Carolina natives showed off a nice mix of skill and athleticism and played very well off of each other. Both are good passers that like to work in the high post and on the wing slashing to the basket. They also attack the glass and are active on defense. Their jump shots are decent right now but could certainly improve. In a competitive quarterfinal game against a solid Team Work (OH) squad in the morning on Sunday, Cody finished with 14 points, a handful of rebounds, and a couple of steals while Caleb put up 19 points including a couple of threes and several boards as well.
Also like the Harrisons, Caleb and Cody are 100 percent a package deal as far as their recruitment goes. Still early for the rising juniors, they already have offers from North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech and are hearing from the likes of North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Xavier, Clemson, Kansas, and Georgetown. Both said they can see themselves in the ACC but that they’d like to wait and take as much time as they can before making their decision.
RECRUITING NOTEBOOK: ANTHONY BENNETT HOLDING LIST STEADY, CHINONSO OBOKOH TAKING VISITS & SCHOOLS WATCH YOUNG LAMONTA STONE
The big news of the college basketball recruiting world was delivered by St. Anthony’s senior guard Kyle Anderson who ended the speculation of his college destination with a simple announcement via twitter:
RT @KyleAnderson5 -Had a great family meeting. I’ve decided to be a UCLA BRUIN!!
Anderson’s announcement came on the eve of his birthday, the planned date of his college decision. Seton Hall (tickets) head coach Kevin Willard had made one last pitch to Anderson and his family with an in-home visit, but it was not enough in the end for the Pirates to land the recruiting coup of the early Fall.
It was a big weekend on South Bend (IN) with the Michigan State football team coming to town to face the Irish. Notre Dame (tickets) head basketball coach and staff took advantage of the big football weekend to host some key recruiting targets, including Jamesville-Dewitt (NY) High School forward Tyler Cavanaugh.
“The experience and environment on campus was amazing,” Cavanaugh told NBE’s Matt Whitfield by text this morning.
When talking about face-up four men in the Class of 2012, Cavanaugh is one of the first names that should come to mind. The 6-foot-7 power forward is a knockdown 3-point shooter with a smooth stroke and he is also a superb finisher around the basket. Cavanaugh has a great basketball IQ and rarely makes bad decisions with the ball. He is tough defensively and his motor is always running at full force. A good enough athlete, Cavanaugh can handle the ball and get to the hoop off the bounce. A great teammate who does all the little things, Cavanaugh is truly talented player. If he improves his quickness and agility, he could develop into a big-time player – traits that all have attracted the Irish staff and earned Cavanaugh a scholarship offer from Notre Dame (Irish Fan Gear).
“They say I am a basketball player not locked in a position at this time,” Cavanaugh said. “I was very impressed by the opportunity.”
Cavanaugh has also previously told NBE that he plans to take official visits to Wake Forest, George Washington and Davidson. Syracuse (tickets) also recently offered and he was expected to visit the Orange campus as well this fall. Next weekend Cavanaugh plans to take an official visit to Wake Forest.
There was some talk that the recent verbal by Jerami Grant could impact the recruitment of Cavanaugh with the Orange. Cavanaugh refuted that notion and is till very much considering the home town Syracuse (Orange Fan Shop) program.
“Yes, I am still considering SU because Jerami is a different player than I am,” said Cavanaugh. “We are players that could play beside one another.”
NBE will continue to closely follow the recruitment of Jamesville-DeWitt’s Tyler Cavanaugh as he continues the visit and recruiting process this Fall.
By Alex Schwartz
BRANNEN GREENE SETS LOUISVILLE VISIT; PLANNING OTHER TRIPS
Pushing 6-foot-7, Brannen Greene is a mismatch on the wing due to his height and refined skill set. The Monroe (GA) native is a solid athlete with a good build who can do quite a bit with the ball in his hands. Greene has a high basketball IQ and good court vision, allowing him to hit the open man in position to score. His handle is superb and he can get through the defense on the way to the rack. Greene finishes pretty well at the rim and is crafty down low against the big bodies. He has nice form on his jumper, though he has yet to become a truly consistent shooter from deep. Greene puts in effort at the defensive end and can cause problems on the perimeter due to his length.
Greene has seen his stock explode as much as anyone in the Class of 2013 this summer and he a school list to prove it. He said that he has offers from Louisville, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, Marquette, Florida State, Florida, Connecticut, Kansas, Ohio State, Memphis, South Carolina, the equivalent of such from Harvard as well as “a lot more.”
By Raphielle Johnson
By the end of the last college basketball season it was best to simply expect the unexpected. The same could be said for this weekend in Las Vegas, which has produced an unexpected champion in the Kansas City 76ers. The 76ers won the Las Vegas Fab 48 by beating Team Breakdown (Florida) in Monday night’s title game.
While the stands weren’t filled to brim as they were last summer (Oakland Soldiers tend to bring out the crowds), there were a few college programs represented in the coaches area with 2013 wing Ishmail Wainright the primary focus.
Ben Howland (UCLA) and Steve Lavin (St. John’s) were both there to watch Wainwright, who considers Earl Watson (who has connections to both as he played at UCLA under Lavin) to be an older brother and mentor. Other programs represented include Western Illinois, George Mason, Kansas, Missouri, UC Irvine, South Florida, Cal Poly, Nebraska, UM-KC and Creighton.
Could Andre Drummond be on a college campus next fall? Possibility was not ruled out on Saturday
By Brian Bosworth
After the Bob Gibbons’ Tournament of Champions field was trimmed at the last minute, many teams were left scrambling for a new home for Memorial Day Weekend. Thankfully, the NERR Invitational sprung together quickly and some of the nations’ top amateur players had a venue to display their talents. Saturday’s action was chock full of future college stars as high profile programs Connecticut Basketball Club (CBC), NE Playaz, Mass Rivals, New Heights, Team Philly, and a host of others were in action. A few players proved themselves to be a cut above the rest and they are outlined below.
Andre Drummond (CBC 2012) – Drummond stands at 6’10” 275 pounds and he is the best high school basketball prospect in the country regardless of class. While often criticized for inconsistent play and a lack of dominance neither issue showed itself on this day. In an afternoon contest with Drive 4 Stardum Drummond had 20 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 7 rim shattering dunks. He showcased his full arsenal of skills and truly punished the opponent with his incredible force. Three of his monster dunks came on offensive rebound tip-ins but to simply call them tip-ins doesn’t do them justice. Drummond rises above everyone else on the floor in traffic with his hand easily above the box, grabs offensive boards, and hammers them down all in one fluid motion. It’s the kind of play that maybe 20 people on the planet could pull off and Drummond is an 18 year-old kid who just finished his Junior year of high school.