George Mason Recruiting
by Alex Schwartz
GALLOWAY, N. J. – The first full day of July’s final Live Period took place yesterday and NBE Sports was back in South Jersey for Live In AC.
We had a chance to see several more teams in action as well as catch a few quality squads for the second day in a row.
Ernest Aflakpui had a nice outing for the We R 1 16s squad. The 6-foot-9 center out of Archbishop Carroll (PA) has a big body with a good overall build and he plays hard. Aflakpui, a class of 2015 prospect, runs the floor very well and looks to contest shots. He is not a great athlete, but can swat some shots.
Levan Alston of Team Final Blue 16s may well have been the best player of the day. The 6-foot-3 combo guard scored at will, dropping 30 points on Team Takeover in the semifinals. Alston has a nice feel for the game, gets in the lane and comes from a basketball family, as his dad played at Temple. The class of 2015 recruit does need to get a bit stronger, but he grabs defensive rebounds and also score in the paint, as he is comfortable with his back to the basket.
Princeton-commit Amir Bell has a chance to be a star in the Ivy League. A class of 2014 prospect from East Brunswick (NJ), Bell has nice size for a player who can play some point, at 6-foot-4. More of a combo guard, Bell does need to show he can shoot the ball consistently. He is a bit thin, but is a solid athlete who can defend multiple positions.
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.
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 Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – The first of three July Live Periods tipped off last night and NBE Sports was in the City of Brotherly Love for the Reebok Breakout Classic. Over 100 players made their way to Philadelphia University for the camp and the first night featured three sets of games.
NBE Sports focused on the games on court one on the opening night and got to see half the teams in action, allowing us to put together notes on quite a few players.
Eric Carter, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Jackson Memorial (NJ), is surprisingly good in transition for a post player. The class of 2014 recruit has a big frame and is adept at drawing fouls, but does have to do some work on finishing. However, he did have a game-high 16 points.
Noah Blackwell of Woodcreek (CA) may not be a big name on a national level, but the class of 2015 prospect is a nice talent. The 6-foot-1 point guard is a solid all-around player who can help his team in a number of ways and has shooting ability.
Class of 2014 combo guard Jeremiah Jefferson of Triple A Academy (TX) showed some major scoring ability. The 6-foot-2 combo guard had the highest point total on Court One on Wednesday, finishing with 18. He can shoot from beyond the arc and simply finds ways to produce.
by Alex Schwartz
MIAMI – The 18th annual Dr. MLK “Stop the Violence” Basketball Classic took place at Miami Central (FL) High School over the past couple days. NBE Sports was in the gym for five of the games on Saturday to see some of the top teams and players from South Florida.
Wadley Mompremier of Miami Senior was the leading scorer in the five games NBE Sports saw, but that is not the only reason he garnered Top Performer honors. A 6-foot-9 power forward who has signed with Ohio University, Mompremier has made some impressive strides in his game since the summer. The class of 2013 prospect is still a bit raw, but the strides in his game are quite evident. He scored off some nice alley-oop plays and consistently used his height to his advantage. Mompremier has superb length to go along with a body that can still add some muscle. The future Bobcat rebounds the ball pretty well and can even grab some boards at the offensive end. Mompremier also displayed the ability to step out and knock down a shot from 3-point range with a pretty nice looking stroke. It was clear on Saturday that Mompremier has a chance to be a superb player down the road in the MAC and Ohio fans should be excited about this pickup.
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.
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.
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.
By Ron Bailey
As a Class of 2014 guard, Romelo Trimble is starting to seriously scrutinize possible future college homes, as they are he. Trimble, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound performer with DC Assault on the circuit and Bishop O’Connell in high school, is positioning himself to indeed by highly recruited.
Per Trimble, during a recent DC Assault workout, he established the list of colleges having offered a scholarship as “Maryland, Rutgers, Villanova, Miami, UNLV, George Mason, Cincinnati and Notre Dame.” He later added a number of schools, like Georgetown have expressed interest, but to date have not offered.
In terms of being recruited, Trimble values straight forwardness, saying “All schools have to be honest with me.” Also important are “going somewhere I’m going to get my chance to play,” as well as “Hopefully developing and get into the NBA.”
By Matt Whitfield
Keith Stevens and his staff at Team Takeover DC welcomed a solid line-up to Bowie (MD) over the weekend to close up the July Live Evaluation period with some showcase games. The family of Team Takeover teams highlighted the field as well as We R One, Team United, Team Melo and others.
NBE Sports was on hand to see many of the top teams on Saturday morning into early in the afternoon and we have a full notebook on recruiting information below.
TEAM UNITED DUO IN HIGH DEMAND
Team United has had a good run this spring and summer on the AAU trail. Much of the credit belongs to their top two players, Kennedy Meeks and Sindarius Thornwell. NBE Sports had the opportunity to talk with both on Saturday morning.
Meeks is a 6-foot-9, big-bodied and very skilled post player. All throughout the live period he displayed a great face-up game and established himself as the best passing big man out of high-major prospects. As for his recruitment, Meeks mentiones schools such as Georgetown, Read more
by Alex Schwartz
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Friday was a day at 11th Grade AAU Nationals where NBE Sports watched a number of games from outside the Gold pools. This allowed us to see some teams that might not be as nationally known and catch some players who might be flying under the radar a bit. However, we did check out some Gold games too and some of our top performers come from those squads too.
Trevin Joseph gets the nod as the top performer of the day on Friday, though several players could put together a nice case for the honor. Joseph is the second straight 2013 shooting guard from Georgia to get the nod, following Ryan Wilkins on Thursday. Joseph is a 6’3 rising senior from Stockbridge (GA) who runs with Gold Coast and is part of a deep, talented backcourt. Joseph showed off some major scoring ability in the night’s final game and it was rare to see him actually miss a shot. A strong player with a very good build, Joseph s a knockdown 3-point shooter and is lethal off the catch. He is a smooth player and is his stroke looks quite good. Joseph is also adept at getting to the basket and he finishes once there. Overall, he is a talented offensive player who could be a stud scorer at the next level.
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by Alex Schwartz
PHILADELPHIA – Reebok restarted its July camp last year after some time off and had some pretty nice talent on display. This year, though, the Reebok Breakout Challenge has gone to a whole new level and is absolutely filled with big-time talent from coast to coast.
NBE Sports was on hand the past two days and had the opportunity to see each and every team. Several usual suspects turned in impressive performances, while some lesser known players also made names for themselves.
Aaron Harrison of Travis (TX) is the best shooting guard prospect in the country and he played like it in Philly. The 6-foot-5, class of 2013 recruit has a terrific combination of skill and athleticism that makes him extremely difficult to contain when he is on his game. While at Reebok, he was absolutely fantastic and basically scored at will. Harrison showed off a lethal stroke from long range right from the get-go, nailing six 3-pointers in the first half of the very first game of camp on Wednesday evening. He has deep range so he cannot be sagged off of too much, but if you play him too tight he is more than capable of getting to the rack off the bounce. Harrison is also adept at drawing fouls around the rim, so even if he misses down low, there is a strong chance he will still get some points for his effort.
By Raphielle Johnson, NBE West coast Editor/Recruiting Analyst
After one round of play on Friday night things got into full swing in Hayward with all teams playing two games on Saturday. There were many players who stood out, most notably a high-major talent from North Carolina. Below are some thoughts and recruiting updates from Saturday’s action.
- Player of the Day: Theo Pinson (CP3 All-Stars)
There were some very good performances on Saturday, but the way in which Pinson played for CP3 earned him this spot. Pinson’s an immensely talented player blessed with excellent athleticism, something he used to his benefit on both ends of the floor.
Offensively Pinson was able to get to the basket off the dribble at will, and he has to be considered as one of the top athletes in the 2014 class. Pinson showed off the ability to finish above the rim, and with some improvement to his perimeter shot he will become even more dangerous at that end of the floor.
On the defensive end Pinson was a major distraction in their win over Alabama Challenge, whether CP3 was playing man or going with their 1-3-1 zone. In the zone Pinson would play up top, and the combo of his quickness and wingspan made things difficult for the Challenge guards.
- Sleeper of the Day: John Davis (Team Final)
Davis played well in both games for Team Final on Saturday, with his effort standing out on both ends of the floor. He isn’t afraid of physical play inside, and he’s more likely to attack the basket than put up a perimeter shot.
Davis also played well on the defensive end of the floor, moving his feet well and working hard on the glass. He mentioned multiple Atlantic 10 and CAA schools in a post-game conversation (more on that info below), and that would be a good level for him with some work on his jumper.
More Player Observations:
- G/F Rondae Jefferson (Team Final)
Jefferson played better in Team Final’s afternoon win over Alabama Challenge, finishing with 15 points, six rebounds and three steals, than he did in the morning defeat at the hands of Team United. Jefferson’s a gifted player, and he’s played the point for lenghty stretches on Saturday, but a little more controlled aggression would help his game in a big way. That happened in the afternoon tilt, as he was more aggressive in looking to make plays.
- G Nigel Williams-Goss (California Supreme)
Not sure there’s a better defensive guard in the 2013 class than Williams-Goss, who will figure prominently in Findlay Prep’s plans next season as well. Williams-Goss also displayed his well-rounded skill set on the offensive end of the floor, but he really stood out defensively. Very good on the ball, he also displayed good awareness of what was going on when his man didn’t have the ball.
- PG Darren Williams (Team United)
Williams played well in Team United’s win over Team Final, accounting for eight points and an assist against Final’s long-armed defenders. Williams displayed good handle and made solid decisions with the basketball, even though he finished with just one assist.
- C Kennedy Meeks (Team United)
Meeks may have scored just four points in United’s win over Team Final but it’s easy to see why much of the ACC (among others) is after this 6-9 ½ big man. Meeks racked up seven assists with just one turnover, playing the high post against the Team Final zone and doing a very good job of turning and facing the basket.
Meeks also grabbed eight rebounds, leading the way for either team. With his build Meeks has no problem with getting physical, but it was good to see how effective he could be as a distributor against a zone defense.
- SG Sindarius Thornwell (Team United)
Talk about an athletic slasher. Thornwell was able to get to the basket off the dribble on multiple occasions, and his ability to finish in traffic played an important role in United’s 2-0 day. He’s at his best in the transition game, and stated that he’s working on improving his perimeter shot this summer. With trips to the NBA Top 100, Kevin Durant and LeBron James camps on his schedule, the chance to do that work against some of the other top players in the country should make Thornwell an even better prospect.
- PG Travon Landry (Alabama Challenge)
Things didn’t go particularly well for the Challenge in their game against CP3, but Landry was one of their better performers on the defeat. Landry made solid decisions with the basketball and knocked down five of seven shots from the field. Had a tough go against Mac Irvin Fire in the evening session however.
- PF Jimmy Taylor (Alabama Challenge)
Already committed to Alabama, Taylor finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in Challenge’s loss to CP3. The 6-10 Taylor ran the floor well and was an active defender in the paint. Chai Baker (19 points, six rebounds) also stood out for Alabama Challenge.
- SG Matthew Madigan (CP3)
Madigan played hard on the defensive end of the floor for CP3, and when he got opportunities to take open shots he knocked them down. Madigan made four of five from beyond the arc in the morning session against Alabama Challenge, but was much quieter in their evening win over E1T1.
- PF Akoy Agau (All-Iowa Attack)
A tough EYBL season for All-Iowa (now 0-17) got even tougher in the second half of their loss to B-More Elite as Agau went down with an injury. In the first half of that game he was quiet offensively, but there really weren’t many options to help take some of the defensive attention away from him. Hard to think that Agau will play again this weekend with the injury.
- PF Bobby Portis (Arkansas Wings)
Like the aforementioned Jimmy Taylor, Portis is committed to an SEC school (Arkansas) and played well in defeat. A long-armed 6-9 forward, Portis has the build of a guy who can put on a few pounds and not have his game be affected negatively. He was able to face up effectively and showed the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers when needed. But the key for Portis is to make sure he doesn’t try to do too much offensively when out on the perimeter, because he got into a little trouble when over-dribbling.
- PF Jordan Bell and SF Roschon Prince (ICP)
Putting these two together since they ran into a very difficult match-up during the evening session: Julius Randle and the Texas Titans. Prince was given the assignment for much of the game, and while he worked very hard it was evident that this wasn’t the best defensive match-up for him (he also had to guard Matt Jones at times).
Offensively Prince didn’t hesitate to attack the basket, and if anything his willingness to mix things up stood out. Bell was saddled with early foul trouble, and while he’s a very good shot-blocker he’s raw offensively. Maybe he can show off a little more on that end of the floor with a better match-up.
- PF Julius Randle and PF Damian Jones (Texas Titans)
Randle and Jones both bounced back from disappointing performances in the Titans’ loss to E1T1 in the nightcap, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds (Randle) and ten points and three blocks (Jones) respectively.
The one concern regarding Randle in the win over ICP: six turnovers. He’s immensely talented and when fully engaged is an absolute man-child. Jones put up a “ten trillion” in the E1T1 defeat, so it was good to see him bounce back with a solid performance. Jones was good as a weak-side defender and ran the floor well.
- SF Matt Jones (Texas Titans)
Jones, who’s already committed to Duke, played well for the Titans in both games on Saturday. Offensively it seemed as if he was quiet…and then you’d look up and see that he scored 18 points. Jones was efficient on that end of the floor against ICP, and was the primary defender on Roschon Prince for much of the game. Duke’s getting a good one in Jones.
- PF Marcus Lee (California Supreme)
Lee is raw offensively, but it’s the other end of the floor where he’s drawn raves all spring. Lee is a good shot-blocker with long arms, and he ran the floor well in Cali Supreme’s evening victory over NY Lightning. How much he progresses offensively will ultimately determine how high he can climb amongst the top big men in the 2013 class.
- PG Parker Jackson-Cartwright (California Supreme)
Jackson-Cartwright played well for Cali Supreme, and while some may point to his size (5-7) as a detriment he displayed good vision at the point. Not sure how much taller he gets but the 2014 prospect is obviously talented. The goal at this point has to be to continue to improve as a floor general, and there’s definitely room for growth in that area.
One thing that was noticeable on Saturday was the number of teams who used an attacking 1-3-1 zone on the defensive end of the floor. Being so used to teams playing 2-3 zones and daring the opposition to shoot, seeing an active zone defense proved to be far more entertaining. CP3 and Team United were two of the teams who used the zone to their advantage on Saturday, and with EYBL also using a shot clock maybe zones of this style become a bit more commonplace.
Sindarius Thornwell says that there isn’t a leader in the race for his services but did mention South Carolina and Memphis. What that means is difficult to tell, but while location isn’t a concern playing in a program that has a family atmosphere and plays an uptempo brand of basketball. From an academic standpoint, Thornwell mentioned sports management and broadcast journalism as academic interests.
Darren Williams mentioned the following six schools: Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, East Carolina and Gardner-Webb. Williams said that the schools were even at this time.
Kennedy Meeks is being pursued by just about the entire ACC at this point. Specific schools he mentioned included North Carolina, Pittsburgh, NC State, Syracuse and Miami in addition to Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame and West Virginia.
JaQuel Richmond said that the following schools are even right now: Oklahoma State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Charlotte, Tennessee and Georgetown. Richmond also mentioned recent phone conversations with Syracuse assistant Adrian Autry.
Troy Williams will most likely make his decision at the end of the summer. While North Carolina and Kentucky remain the top two, he’s still listening to Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgetown. The decision will come down to which head coach Williams has the best relationship with.
John Davis has heard from a number of schools, including La Salle, Massachusetts, VCU, George Mason, Drexel, Towson, Delaware, Rider, Missouri State and Mount St. Mary’s. As for VCU, while Davis didn’t say he’s got a specific order he did say that the Rams’ move to the A-10 gave them a boost in his eyes.
Rondae Jefferson didn’t have a whole lot to say about the schools in hot pursuit of his services, but did mention that he’d likely have an idea of who’s on his list at the Peach Jam.
by Alex Schwartz
HAMPTON, Va. – The Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest kept rolling along on Saturday and NBE Sports was in attendance for the whole day, taking in a number of impressive performances and talking to a handful of players.
Dwayne Morgan: A big-time player in the class of 2014, Morgan is a 6’7 small forward out of Baltimore City College HS (MD) who plays for UA Baltimore’s Finest U16 team. While he did not put up huge numbers in the scoring column against Garner Road- Davis—Morgan finished with 14 points—he made his presence felt in many aspects of the game. He is a stellar athlete with major length and that allows him to be a terrific defender. Morgan blocks shots, gets steals and grabs rebounds. He is also adept at picking up boards on the offensive end, leading to putback dunks and tip-ins. Morgan passes well and has a nice feel for the game. He has all the physical tools one could ask for and if he develops a consistent jumper he has a chance to be an incredible player.
TOP SLEEPER PERFORMER
Ruben Tucker: The biggest surprise NBE Sports has seen thus far at the Southern Jam Fest has been Tucker, a largely unknown 6’2 shooting guard out of Bladensburg (MD). Tucker led the charge as his Maryland Pistons squad knocked off Team Melo (NY) on Saturday morning. He poured in 34 points in the victory and connected on six 3-pointers. Tucker is a bit undersized and has an odd shooting form where he releases from the side, but he simply scores the basketball. He is a solid athlete with a strong frame who can get to the cup if needed in addition to hit long range shots. While he may not be a conventional player, Tucker is flat out productive and gets things done.
By Brian Batko
A full slate of games on Saturday at the Hoop Group Pittsburgh Jam Fest meant a lot more players in action, a lot more eye-opening performances, and a lot more recruiting updates. Below is a rundown of all the players from various classes that NBE caught up with on Saturday at the Jam Fest:
Andrew Harrison (Houston Defenders, 2013, Travis HS) – Regarded as a top five player in 2013, Harrison did nothing to prove otherwise on Saturday. The 6’5” point guard handled the rock, showed off his nasty crossover and great vision, and was able to get his shot off whenever and wherever he wanted. He and his twin brother Harrison listed a top four of Kentucky, Maryland, Villanova, and Baylor but said that doesn’t mean that another school can’t still get into the picture with them.
Aaron Harrison (Houston Defenders, 2013, Travis HS) – Not quite as quick and smooth as his brother, Aaron prefers to play off the ball, spotting up for threes and also attacking the rim. He and Andrew are 100 percent a package deal at the college level, according to them, and whichever school ultimately lands this dynamic duo better have plenty of minutes to go around in the backcourt.
By Matt Whitfield
Gonzaga Head Coach Steve Turner feels good about his team with the playoffs in the WCAC set to begin this week.
“I think we’re having a tremendous season. I’m excited where we are. I think what a lot of people don’t understand is we’re sitting at 24-4 and in 28 games I haven’t played one game with my whole arsenal.”
Nate Britt, Gonzaga’s star Class of 2013 point guard who is verbally committed to North Carolina is one of the players who has sat out some games due to an injury this season, however when he has played he has often been lights out.
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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Now that the National Prep School Invitational has come to close and I’ve had a few days to process all the basketball I watched it’s time to rank the performances from the weekend. Below are player rankings by class based on this past weekend’s performance only. These are not an overall opinion on these players but rather a snapshot based on how they played at Rhode Island College over the weekend. The top spot in 2012 came down to the nation’s two best big men and is a decision I agonized over before finalizing it.
Be sure to check out our daily coverage from a great weekend of hoops at the 2012 National Prep School Invitational:
’12 NPSI – Day Four Report
’12 NPSI – Day Three Report
’12 NPSI – Day Two Report
’12 NPSI – Day One Report
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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.
Those that have watched Mark Williams of Cleveland (OH)’s Benedictine High School and the TNBA East AAU program over the last year have described him as an ‘old-school’ big man. The 6-foot-8, 245-lb big man prospect in the Class of 2013 is not looking to play on the wing, face-up and shoot three-pointers. Instead he plans to go on the low block, fight for position and finish in the paint. He uses his strength and size to carve out space on the boards and to defend in the paint.
Williams drew a lot of interest from college coaches in the summer because of those traits. The willingness to play inside and bring that toughness attracted many programs to take an interest in him. His recruiting has slowed a bit this fall because of injuries, but expect many schools to be checking him ou this season.
“Many colleges didn’t come out this fall because I was injured,” Williamssaid when asked about visits from colleges this fall. “I had a slight fracture in my right shin.”
Still, the list of schools actively recruiting Williams that he is considering is an impressive list with Cincinnati, Indiana, Indiana State, Akron, Kent State, Robert Morris, George Mason, Xavier, West Virginia, Florida State, Central Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Northwestern and Northern Illinois all getting a mention from Williams. The list spans many conferences and levels of Division 1-A basketball, a point he noted when he talked about the possibility of playing outside what we currently know as the BCS conferences.
“Kent State by far…made me understand that you dont have to go to a big conference to play top notch basketball,” Williams said.
Williams, who hopes to work on his athleticism this season as he progresses as a player and has a goal of winning a state title at Benedictine, currently has no favorites, but has an impressive offer list to choose from.
“No favorites just yet,” said Williams, “but Indiana, Ohio, Kent State, Robert Morris, George Mason, Central Florida [and] Toledo [have offered].”
When it comes time for a decision, Williams will likely keep it simple, looking at “location and just a family atmosphere” as factors likely to play the biggest role in his decision.
NBE will certainly keep an eye on Mark Williams this season and the developments in his recruitment. The ‘old-school’ Class of 2013 big man will definitely be one to watch in the next year as he becomes more of a priority for college recruiters.
Bob Huggins and his West Virginia Mountaineers are getting an early start on the 2011-2012 season with an overseas trip to Italy this coming week. With the trip the team is allowed to have 10 practice sessions to prepare for their upcoming games. Bob Huggins also used the time this weekend to bring in a key target of their 2012 recruiting efforts for an unofficial visit as Andrew White came to Morgantown to see things for himself.
“I took a visit to West Virginia the past two days,” White told NBE’s Matt Whitfield this afternoon. “It went real well.”
White had a great summer on the AAU circuit with Team Loaded and quickly became a top target of many programs.