by Alex Schwartz
GALLOWAY, N.J. – The third and final Live Period of July is underway and NBE Sports is back on the road.
On Wednesday, we took in the action at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey for the Live In AC event.
The way Abdul-Malik Abu has played this summer despite fasting for Ramadan is extremely impressive. The 6-foot-7 power forward has shown no signs of exhaustion and played quite well. A class of 2014 recruit, Abu is a powerful player with a good build who moves well on the hardwood. The Kimball Union Academy (NH) prospect can throw down some major one-handed dunks, is fairly active on defense and can be vocal at times on the court. The Expressions Elite standout has really improved as a player over the past year, and even the past couple months.
Eric Anderson of The Haverford School (PA) is a player who simply knows how to get the job done. A 6-foot-6 small forward who runs with the Jersey Shore Warriors, Anderson has a pretty solid build and can shoot the ball some. He works in the post well and is capable of sliding to the four if needed. Anderson, a class of 2014 prospect, plays hard and also showed the ability to provide a bit of assistance at the point guard position.
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.
Wes Clark became a top 100 guard the old fashioned way — through extremely hard work and an attention to detail when it came to honing his craft.
Defensively, Clark will sit down and get into his man like few other guards with his accolades.
The perimeter star comes from two highly successful programs out of the Detroit area — The Family is his Grassroots/AAU squad while Romulus High is the jersey he represented during his high school season (Terry Mills, Grant Long and John Long are three of many Romulus studs to light up scoreboards throughout the years).
Missouri had a pipeline back in the day with Michigan prep players, but a recent hire by head man Frank Haith may have reignited and brightened a path that’s been somewhat dim for a number of years. Wes Clark was on Missouri’s radar for sure, but when Haith hired Rick Carter as an assistant from Western Michigan on August 14th, the pursuit of Clark was taken to another level. Carter is a bulldog, a grinder in the classic basketball/gym rat/junkie sense.
Like so many assistants at the mid major level, all he ever needed or was looking for, was a chance at the highest level (no Rob Murphy, not the NBA, the SEC or any other high major league). But first he had to pay his dues and, as things always seem to go in the basketball world, also have a little luck with who he ran into along the way. The assistant got his start on the Michigan AAU scene with the Mustangs before moving on to Michigan State in a managerial role for Tom Izzo (I remember seeing him constantly around Izzo when I was writing a book back in the day). He parlayed that into an Operations job at Fairfield for a year before becoming an assistant in his second season in the MAAC under Ed Cooley. Carter left Fairfield after two years to study under veteran coach Steve Hawkins at Western Michigan. Hawkins is a guy who in recent years has had assistants hired away by the programs at Michigan, Iowa State, Alabama, NC State and now Missouri. And relationships definitely played a role in Carter’s break.
One of the friendships Carter developed while at Fairfield was with Tim Fuller. When Ryan Miller left Mizzou suddenly to take a huge promotion at Auburn about a month ago, I imagine Fuller was in Haith’s ear about Carter, and the prospects the 33-year-old assistant might be able to get the Tigers “in” with rather quickly. Carter is a hard worker in the scouting and coaching department as well, but he’s also known Romulus coach Nate Oats for 12 years, and that had to be a plus (not to mention the talent coming up in Michigan over the next few years).
I tweeted about Carter’s addition at Missouri on August 8th.
He was officially hired on August 14th.
Wes Clark committed to Missouri on August 29th.
Carter finally got his chance — in the SEC — and in his first turn at bat hit a monster rope off the center field wall.
Haith and company now have their heir apparent to Phil Pressey at point guard… thanks to a nice assist from their new addition.
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Able to boast current NBA and college players such as Jordan Williams (Nets), Alex Murphy (Duke), Naadir Tharpe (Kansas), Anthony Ireland (Loyola Marymount), and Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona) among others, the NE Playaz have a rich history of talent in New England. Their current crop made it clear at the Elite 75 that they are adding to the program’s impressive tradition. Nine current players received invitations including Jarred Reuter (2015 F/C), Djery Baptiste (2015 C), Jeff Spellman (2014 G), Adrian Oliveira (2013 PG), Aaron Falzon (2015 F), Cane Broome (2014 PG), Collin McManus (2105 F/C), Ian Sistare (2016 G/F) and Aaron Calixte (2013 PG.) Young big men ruled the day as Reuter and Baptiste both managed to separate themselves from the pack.
Jarred Reuter – Reuter was among the strongest players at the event and used that strength to be a bully in the paint. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound big man out of Tabor (MA) Academy has already established himself as a high priority for major powers in college basketball which speaks to his long term potential. Read more
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
The Rumble in the Bronx got back into swing on Saturday at gyms all over the greater NYC area. I had the opportunity to take in the action at both Baruch College in the morning and John Jay College in the evening. While younger players in the 2014 and 2015 classes stole the show for much of the day it was still a member of the 2013 class who gets top billing for Saturday.
Top Performance of the Day:
Dayshon Smith (NY Lightning 2013) – Affectionately called “Scooch” by just about everybody, Smith is an old school New York City point guard. He uses spins, hesitation moves, crossovers, and herky-jerky head fakes to constantly work his way into the paint and make plays. Once inside he’s equally likely to use a soft floater, explode towards the rim, or whip a pass out to a 3 point shooter at any and all angles. While his physical skills are impressive it’s the mental side of the game where Smith truly separates himself from the competition. He has a unique understanding of when to get others involved and when to look for his own offense. In the first half of a Saturday night victory Scooch ran the show and got everyone else the ball in spots where they could be successful. Then down the stretch of the second half with the outcome still in the balance he took matters into his own hands and seemed to score on every possession down the floor. This is not the first time I’ve seen Smith master the balance of keeping teammates happy for 3.5 quarters and then closing the game out himself in the final moments. It’s unusual for players at the high school level to already understand that just because they can get their own shot any time doesn’t always make it the right decision. Scooch is ahead of the game in this area and it’s a mindset that will continue to serve him well at the next level.
by Alex Schwartz
ENGLEWOOD, N.J. – Shane Rector and Dayshon Smith are two of the top New York City natives in the class of 2013. Both point guards, Rector and Smith have different styles of play, but they each get the job done on the hardwood.
On Friday night, NBE Sports had the opportunity to catch up with both of the Big Apple floor generals while at City Sports for the first round of games in the 2012 Rumble in the Bronx.
Rector, who stands 6-foot-1 and attends St. Raymond’s (NY), listed scholarship offers from Providence and Hofstra. The Playaz Basketball Club standout also named Arizona, Iowa State, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, North Carolina State, Stanford, and UMass as programs involved in his recruitment.
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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.
By Ray Mernagh
St. Raymond 68 Paul VI 61
Daniel Dingle (Temple)
Brought it early and often and it was needed with his teammate Kkereuwem Okoro suffering with an intestinal ailment. Dingle finished at the rim and stretched the defense out in spots (he was 1-2 from deep). Dingle played with a high motor that allowed him to grab 4 offensive rebounds and go to the line 13 times (he made 8). In 25 minutes the future A-10 product finished with a workmen-like 21 points and 15 rebounds. Dingle handles the ball well for his size of 6’7″ and had several and 1 opportunities throughout the game while always coming up with a basket when St. Rays needed one. Passed out of post on one possession, followed the play and got position for offensive rebound, then snatched rebound and got to line and hit both tries.
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
When a who’s who of the college coaching profession is on hand a show is expected. And 2013 prospect Jabari Parker provided that and then some in Mac Irvin Fire’s win over Worldwide Renegades in the evening session of the Las Vegas Fab 48 at Bishop Gorman. Parker showed off his vast array of skills in front of the likes of Dave Rose (BYU), Oliver Purnell (DePaul), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Bruce Weber (Illinois), Buzz Williams (Marquette) and Tom Izzo (Michigan State) among others.
Also playing well in the win for Mac Irvin were 2012 forward Steve Taylor and 2012 guards Aaric Armstead and Derrick Randolph. Taylor won’t be graded on the same level as Parker but make no mistake about it, the young man is skilled. Taylor showed off the ability to step out and attack the rim, doing a solid job of playing with contact and knocking down mid-range shots. Randolph, while he looks shorter than his listed height of 5’9”, is the kind of winning player that all successful teams tend to have.
Randolph was highly competitive at both ends of the floor, setting up teammates for easy baskets on quick drives to the basket and disrupting the Renegades defensively. Armstead may not have had the impact scoring-wise that some of the other players had, but he did the little things especially on the defensive end. And 2013 DePaul commit Billy Garrett Jr. proved to be a tough matchup due to his crafty handle and ability to knock down a variety of shots.
With the Hoop Group’s Elite Camp Session I concluding on Friday evening, the action continued on the campus of Albright College in Reading (PA) on Saturday with the Elite Team Camp, also hosted by Hoop Group, tipping off. A break from the norm of camps and AAU competitions, this July live period event features high school teams going head to head in front of very interested college coaches. The games certainly have a different feel than the normal summer contests and an impressive field only increased the interest of scouts, media, coaches and fans to come by the Albright campus on this beautiful summer day.
Just perusing the names of the schools in the national bracket and you knew you were in for a treat. Traditional Philadelphia powers Neumann-Goretti and Roman Catholic are in the field as well as Friends Central, Westtown and Penn Wood from the eastern half of the Keystone State. Upstate New York was represented by Jamesville-Dewitt outside of Syracuse and Rochester’s Bishop Kearney High School. The DC-area came strong with Gonzaga, St. John’s, Bishop McNamara, Largo, Paul VI, Patterson and more. New Jersey powers St. Anthony’s and Hudson Catholic came to play and New York City had Xaverian and South Shore. That is just a fraction of the teams on hand…
Matt Whitfield spent most of the day in Reading and will have plenty to report on. Below are just a few of the recruiting updates he accrued on this busy Saturday of basketball action…
by Alex Schwartz
READING, Pa. – The July Live Evaluation period kicks off today, but NBE Basketball Report’s coverage of the month began yesterday with the first day of Hoop Group Elite Camp. With players from 25 states (plus DC) as well as 14 foreign countries, there is talent from all over the map at Albright College this week.
One of the top young players at camp is 2014 star Ja’Quan Newton, a 6-foot-1 point guard out of Neumann-Goretti (PA). Newton said he is already garnering interest from Villanova, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Kansas, Miami, Penn State, St. Joseph’s, and others.
The July live evaluation period will be an important one for Brian Bernardi. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard out of Xaverian High School in New York City already has several solid mid-major programs putting scholarship offers on the table and it is expected schools from high-major conferences will also be tracking his progress this month during the two 10-day live periods.
The current school list for Bernardi is long and includes a variety of schools throughout the college basketball spectrum. Boston College, Xavier, Hofstra, Virginia, Fordham, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, Temple, Siena, Fairfield, SMU, Boston University , East Carolina, Marist, James Madison, Manhattan and Wagner were listed as the programs actively recruiting him.
College basketball is a year-round sport. In the summer there is news of players coming and going from programs to keep track of, a busy recruiting season and more and more summer leagues that offer the players a chance to stay sharp against high-level competition. While many incoming freshmen just celebrated their high school graduation in the last few weeks and even days, many are already on a college campus and competing in the summer leagues and attending classes with their new teammates.
Today we take a quick run through some of the latest stories in the BIG EAST that touch on each of those subjects…
In Mike Helfgot’s Recruiting Notes in the Chicago Tribune there is an update on 6-foot-2 rising junior Jaylon Tate, who recently confirmed rumors he will be transferring from De La Salle High School to Chicago Simeon. At Simeon Tate will join a loaded roster that includes classmates Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn and senior Steve Taylor. All four players are considered sure-fire high-major recruits.
As for Tate, Helfgot reports that has offers from Northwestern, Providence and Xavier, according to his mother, Arisa Johnson, with several other high-majors such as DePaul, Marquette, Tennessee, Florida State and, as of this week, UCLA, expressing serious interest.
By Lauren Kirschman
Recruiting rundown of some of the top names from this past weekend’s Pittsburgh Jamfest put on by the Hoop Group…
Jalen Robinson (2012)
AAU Team: All-Ohio Red
Height: 6’7″, Weight: 215
Considering: Wisconsin, UCLA, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Iowa, Penn State, DePaul, Cincinnati, Ohio University, Tennessee, Michigan
Elijah Macon (2012)
AAU Team: All-Ohio Red
Considering: West Virginia, South Florida, USC, Cincinnati, Tennessee
Offers from: South Florida, USC
Height: 6’7″, Weight: 200
Leaders: West Virginia and Cincinnati
Shooting almost can be considered a lost art in this day and age in the sport of basketball. A pure shooter that can knock down shots from the perimeter is viewed as a commodity. With the three-point line acting as the great equalizer in the game today, college coaches will take notice when a player establishes himself as an elite pure shooter in his class.
This spring and summer on the AAU circuit Xaverian (NY) High School shooting guard Brian Bernardi hopes to establish himself as just such a player in the Class of 2012. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound sniper averaged over 16 points a game, eclipsing the 20-point mark eight times, including a season-high 24 in an 81-64 win over a St. Raymond’s team stacked with Division 1-A prospects. According to one of his coaches his reputation as a pure shooter is well-entrenched in the NYC area.
“Hands down, best shooter in city,” Chris Alesi told NBE yesterday. “According to [long-time Xaverian High School] coach Jack Alesi, [Bernardi is the] best [shooter] to come out of Xaverian since Chris Mullin. If there are five better pure shooters in the country, I’d be surprised.”
College coaches have already come to see Bernardi work out and the list has been impressive.
By Matt Whitfield
Last summer the Team Takeover 17U squad led by Keith Stevens took home the inaugural Nike Elite Youth Basketball League championship by capturing the Peach Jam Championship. This year the 16U team in the Takeover family looks poised to follow the same championship path with a collection of supreme athletes that really grind it out on both ends of the floor. Watching on Saturday at the Playaz Spring Fling to kickopff the 2011 AAU travel season I couldn’t believe how many skilled athletes the team had. In their 2 P.M. games versus Positive Direction, the DC-area squad jumped out to an 11-1 lead and then built a 27-9 halftime lead, despite being thrown together as a team just this weekend literally.
As impressive as the score was, the most impressive thing I thought was how many kids could flat out play, and score, if they had to. This was a well-balanced machine where it was not just a handful of kids controlling the rock all game, it was a team effort.
“Their playing hard,” said Kenneth Johnson the coach of Team Takeover’s 16U squad. “They have a good connection, but I feel like we have four high major guards. They kind of push our team, we got nice wings…It’s always a little bit difficult when you come up here for your first tournament it’s a running the clock type situation. You got 12 players trying to gel. A lot of our guards just finished up their high school season. We have a few guys that played for DeMatha they just finished two days ago. We had to come up here for our first tournament, so we haven’t thrown too many of our sets in. Next week is our training camp and we’re going to have to tighten things up with our offensive sets and get our defensive concepts down.”