NBE Basketball Report
Hofstra Recruiting

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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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (1/14/2013): ACTION HEATING UP ON RECRUITING TRAIL

January 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

After a long swoon during the holiday season, things have picked back up in a hurry on the recruiting trail. One of the nation’s best big men made his pledge and several, as did a top-notch junior guard and several other players.

Dakari Johnson of Montverde Academy (FL) became yet another part of the star-studded Kentucky recruiting class. The 6-foot-10 class of 2013 center picked the Wildcats over Georgetown and Syracuse.

Johnson had been ranked No. 3 in the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75, but he has since reclassified up to 2013. UK already has four additional top-15 commits in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125, as John Calipari is putting together his, if not the­ best class yet.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (1/4/2013): LERON BLACK OPENS UP RECRUITMENT; BEN SIMMONS COMING TO USA & MORE

January 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

Things continue to be slow on the recruiting trail, but there is still a bit of high school hoops news from the past week or so to go over.

First off, Leron Black of White Station (TN) has decommitted from Baylor, per John Martin of the The Commercial Appeal. Black is a 6-foot-7 power forward who ranks No. 13 in the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75. He was amongst the top non-senior players in American who had made a decision, but he is now back on the board.

Kameron Rooks of Mission Hills (CA) tweeted his intentions to attend Cal. Rooks is a 7-foot class of 2013 center who picked the Bears over a few other programs in the Pac-12. His father is former Arizona standout Sean Rooks.

Hofstra picked up a pledge from 6-foot-1 guard Iverson Fleming, per Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Fleming is a class of 2013 prospect from New Brunswick (NJ).
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ORLANDO AAU REPORT – WEDNESDAY

July 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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by Alex Schwartz

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The third and final Live Evaluation Period of July got underway on Wednesday and NBE Sports was present at the ESPN Wide World of Sports for the 11th Grade AAU Nationals. Although due to the new July format there are not quite as many talented teams in action, there are still numerous quality squads in the event. There were several players who stood out on the first day of the tournament.

TOP PERFORMERS

Derrick Griffin is an absolutely elite level athlete with truly incredible leaping ability. A 6’6 power forward from Terry (TX), Griffin is a 2013 prospect who has committed to Texas A&M as a football player. A member of the Houston Defenders, Griffin put on an absolute show in the squad’s nationally televised game on Wednesday night. He as a great body, pretty good length and is both strong and powerful. He threw down a number of very impressive, crowd pleasing dunks and also swatted shots at the other end of the floor. Griffin rebounds the ball well and is an effective interior presence despite his relative lack of height. He is an exciting player to watch and he will have a nice career on the hardwood in the SEC if he plays both sports.
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‘LIVE IN AC’ REPORT – DAY I

July 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

While “Live in AC” is only in its inaugural year that didn’t stop New Jersey Playaz director Jimmy Salmon from putting together quite an impressive field of talent. I’ll be camped out at the main Stockton College site throughout the tournament which features most of the 17U action with some of the younger guys sprinkled in. Here’s who caught my eye on Wednesday night.

Top Performance of the Day:

Rysheed Jordan (Philly Pride 2013) – An electric scoring combo guard, Jordan played in two games on Wednesday night and was the best player on the floor in both including a matchup with Team Final that featured a bunch of high major talent. While Jordan refers to himself as a combo guard it’s his ability at the point that stands out to me. He has unique athleticism for someone running the show and is able to use his physical advantages to explode past defenders and work his way into the paint. Jordan is best in the open floor when his physical tools can shine and his vision in high paced action also stands out. He has a great feel for the action in an up and down game and has a way of gliding through traffic and creating angles with his speed. In half court sets, Jordan punished defenders for playing off him by knocking down deep jumpers and then blew past them when they tried to press up on him. His decision making and knowledge of how to efficiently run a team still need work but Jordan’s physical tools already make him a high major priority.
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2012 REEBOK BREAKOUT CAMP REPORT

July 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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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.

TOP PERFORMER

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.

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2012 LEBRON JAMES SKILLS ACADEMY RECAP – SATURDAY

July 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Contrast in communication sticks out

by Raphielle Johnson

The LeBron James Skills Academy, and other events like it, provide scouts and media with the opportunity to watch both collegiate and high school players work out in an instructional environment.

The final leg of Nike’s skills academy series, the LeBron camp features 24 college and 93 high school basketball players.

One area that has displayed a stark contrast between the two groups through two days has been on-court communication.

While the college players, be it in drills or in scrimmage situations, consistently communicate with each other the same can’t be said for the the high school stars.

This isn’t incredibly surprising, but if anything the need for instructors to consistently remind the high school players of the importance of on-court communication underlines a major difference between the two levels.

An action as simple as calling out a screen for a teammate may not seem like a big deal, and in many instances pure athletic skill trumps the intangibles when evaluating young talent.

But those “little things” can ultimately be the difference between simply having a shot at being a pro and being able to make an impact as one. This will be something to keep an eye on as the high school players begin scrimmage play on Sunday afternoon.

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CLASS OF 2014 INTRO: KYLE WILLIAMS

June 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

With college basketball coaches being able to be on the road this April for the first time in several years to evaluate prospects, recruiting at this stage this year seems to be well ahead for the rising senior class than in recent memory. Along with the head start in getting a look at their top 2013 targets, college coaches also had the opportunity to take a glance at 2014 and younger players this past April. That has meant a more meaningful June 15th date for the rising junior class as college coaches got a good look over a two weekend period at prospects and their early phone calls and texts to prospects were likely chosen from what they actuall saw.

One name that is new to many recruitniks that they should begin to learn in the Class of 2013 is Kyle Williams. College coaches definitely know the name and by judging from the list of school making early contact with the 6-foot-9, 225-pound big man out of Freeport (NY), his recruitment could blow up quickly.

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NBPA TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL CAMP NOTES (CHAMPIONSHIP DAY)

June 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ron Bailey

Bodies were aching – just ask the body prep (message, stretching) crew – during Saturday, the final day of NBAPA Top 100 play. With a championship on the line, players wanted to compete, at all costs.

Speaking of that ‘chip, the camp’s Thunder team captured it, defeating the Mavericks in a thrilling final. NBE Basketball Report again has the goods of that day.

Most Impressive Performer – You heard rumblings about this guy, but many times rumblings are rife with more hyperbole than substance – there have been a number of tall players hailing from Africa that seem to fall into that category. Well, accepting the risk of being premature, Senegal’s Mamadou N’Diaye appears to be the real thing.
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NBPA TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL CAMP NOTES (FRIDAY)

June 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ron Bailey

Following are a few observations/thoughts from Friday, the second NBAPA Top 100 Camp day open to media personnel, where one BIG EAST-commit had the camp stop and stare on more than one occassion…

Standout PerformerAquille Carr, the 5-foot-6 Class of 2013 point guard showed why he’s one of the most electric performers in high school America, and also why he can also be puzzling. All in the same contest.

First, the good: Carr finished today averaging 16 points, three assists and three rebounds over two games, in spectacular fashion. During the day’s first set of games, Carr, battling with fellow Class of 2014 guard Tadrick Jackson, coming down and hit a number of impossible shots around the hoop, including leaners and through contact. He also finished via layups, including one in which while on the break he simply dipped his shoulder, got under the defender’s shoulder and blurred to the cup. It was startling.
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BIG SUMMER AHEAD FOR ANDREW CHRABASCZ WITH BABC

June 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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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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2012 RUMBLE IN THE BRONX RECAP (PART II)

June 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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NYC GUARDS SHANE RECTOR & DAYSHON SMITH SEE RECRUITMENT RISE

June 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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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CLASS OF 2014 INTRO: KAHARI BEAUFORT

June 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It seems often we run into New York City kids who are attending prep schools in Connecticut or other states in New England. Well, Kahari Beaufort, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound guard in the Class of 2014, is currently taking a different route. Beaufort is a native of East Hartford (CT) and is currently attending St. Raymond’s in the Bronx and playing his AAU ball for the NY Lightning program.

NBE got a chance to see Beaufort in action last July with the NY Lightning in Las Vegas and Beaufort did a good job of getting to the rim off the dribble and he was solid defensively as well. A true combo guard with a solid reputation as a scorer, he told NBE he really likes to play either role in the backcourt.

“[I like] point guard because I like to handle the ball or shooting guard because I can really shoot it and I can create my own shot,” he told NBE Sports tonight. “People say I was just born to score.”

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‘WHOLE BIG EAST’ & MORE ON ’14 NYC F CHRIS MCCULLOUGH

June 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Chris McCullough burst onto the national recruiting radar last summer with a series of strong performances during the month of July, first at the Hoop Group Elite Session 1 Camp and the Hoop Group team camp playing with the Salisbury (CT) School. McCullough built up a strong following and next thing you knew college coaches were making sure they knew where his team SCAN AAU squad would be playing throughout the open evaluation periods of July last year.

Fast-forward to a year later and McCullough is regarded as one of the elite prospects in the Class of 2014. The NYC native is once again making the rounds with Team SCAN on the AAU circuit and beginning this weekend his camp tour is also picking up as he headed west for the Pangos All-American camp in California.

This past high school season the 6-foot-9, 207 pound forward scored 26 points in the New England Class A Basketball Championship game and led the Salisbury School to it’s first ever title. Considered a hybrid forward, McCullough filled NBE in on that he is working to fine tune everything in his game.

“Going to the rim [is my strength],” he said. “I need to improve my overall game.”

Last summer McCullough told us he made unofficial visits to UConn, Providence, Rutgers and St. John’s. He also at the time told us that schools that offered were St. John’s, Providence, Rutgers, Florida, Iowa State, Syracuse, Temple and Hofstra in addition to interest from Arizona, UMass, North Carolina, Seton Hall, Pittsburgh and Kansas State. As we head into this summer period McCullough is just taking the recruiting aspect as it comes, not really looking at things very seriously on that front yet.

“I’m wide open in my recruitment,” he recently told NBE. “The whole Big East, Temple, Iowa State, Hofstra, Arizona [and] Kansas [have offered].”

With the June 15th date of when college coaches can begin unlimited texting and calls of Class of 2014 players, you can be certain Chris McCullough will be a hot target of some of the biggest names in college basketball. Additional scholarship offers are certain to pour in for this elite prospect who cites “coaches and style of play” as the factors that will be most important in his eventual college decision. NBE will certainly make our way to see Team SCAN in action and follow up in July with how the recruiting process is going for Chris McCullough. Stay tuned…




THE HOOP GROUP’S PITTSBURGH JAMFEST: DAY TWO

April 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.
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BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR ISAIAH WATKINS ON SPRING AAU TRAIL

April 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

This weekend starting Friday evening colleg coaches will hit the road for AAU events across the country. Stops in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and areas far and wide will be popular destinations for Division 1-A head coaches and assistants as they are allowed to evaluate talent for the first time in the busy April AAU schedule in a few years. While the intensity of the action is likely to be ratcheted up a few nothches, CIA Bounce big man Isaiah Watkins is taking it all in stride.

The 6-foot-8 Watkins attends St. Benedict’sPrep in Newark (NJ) and performing in front of college coaches is a regular event for him and his Gray Bees teammates. It was one of the reasons why he chose to attend a school like St. Ben’s and play with a powerful AAU program like the Canadian CIA Bounce program, which participates in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL).

Yet, Watkins is looking forward to showcasing his improvement as a player, but also has goals for himself to continue to impove against the top flight competition he will be facing.
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NJ PLAYAZ SPRING FLING REPORT — PART III

April 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

After two days focused on the 17U tournament at Spring Fling, the 15U teams joined the party for Championship Saturday and ended up stealing the show. Team Takeover (DC) walked away with the Gold Championship in the 15U division and looked as strong as any 15U team in memory. They led the talent charge from the 2015 class but were joined by members of Team Scan, NY Lightning, and Albany City Rocks.

Top Performance of the Day:

Marcus Derrickson (Team Takeover 2015) – After sparking my interest Friday night, Derrickson convinced me of his elite status on Saturday winning tournament MVP honors after leading his team to the championship. The 6’7” 225 pound forward was unstoppable all tournament flashing NBA 3 point range on his jump shot as well as being the strongest 15U player in the paint. He was the dominant rebounder in every game he played in showing equal effectiveness on both ends of the floor. After proclaiming Derrickson a top 100 prospect after last night’s action I’m ready to go quite a bit farther and say he looks safely like a top 25 guy in 2015. IF he continues to grow and ends up a few inches taller that projection would go even higher.
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NJ PLAYAZ SPRING FLING REPORT — PART II

April 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

After a small slate of games Thursday night the 2012 Spring Fling came back with a long, full day on Friday. Pool play wrapped up, playoffs began, and contenders were separated from pretenders. Here is a sampling of the incredible level of talent of hand.

Top Performance of the Day:

Kuran Iverson (NY Lightning 2013) – Iverson is a name that’s been on the recruiting front for a few years already and he’s developed a reputation as an elite talent who struggles with consistency and doesn’t always utilize his natural gifts. Today he was sensational. Name a high level play that can be made on a basketball court and Kuran Iverson made it today. He rebounded above the rim. He blocked multiple shots in the lane. He went coast to coast and dunked on a defender. He made 4-5 perfect no look passes. He beat defenders off the dribble and finished in the lane. He hammered down a couple ridiculous alley-oops. When Iverson plays with energy and effort as he did today, he is basically unstoppable. His perimeter shot is still inconsistent at best and he settles for it too often but when he’s in attack mode on both ends of the floor like today Iverson is special.
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