Kent State Recruiting
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
While the Peach Jam took a long break during the afternoon on Saturday, 15U semifinal action at the Nike Elite Invitational more than filled the void. Elite talents both known and unknown had a chance to shine and here’s a sample of who impressed.
Top Performer of the Afternoon:
Thomas Bryant (Team Scan 2015) – Bryant is still far more prospect than player but his ceiling is enormous and all his incredible tools were on full display on Saturday. Growing rapidly and nearly 6-foot-10, the Rochester (NY) native who attends Bishop Kearney High School moves like a guard and possesses some guard skills on the offensive end. He is very comfortable shooting the ball out to 18 feet, and can handle and attack off the dribble. Bryant also backed his man down in the post but needs major work on his footwork when navigating on the block. Perhaps his most impressive offensive move came as a ball handler in a pick and roll when he turned the corner and dropped off a pretty bounce pass to his rolling teammate. Very few pros at Bryant’s size have that level of skill so for a 15 year old to flash it is borderline ridiculous. He also protects the rim and projects as an elite shot blocker but does need to become much more physical. Bryant can be bullied for position and doesn’t rebound as well as he should because of that but added strength and a better understanding of how to use that strength should clean that up.
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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Sunday in Indianapolis concluded a great week featuring all the premier Adidas sponsored teams in America. Champions were crowned with Eric Gordon All Stars (15U), Louisville Magic (16U), and Florida Elite (17U) taking home the hardware. Players from those clubs and others managed to shine on the brightest stage.
Top Performance of the Day:
Kasey Hill (Florida Elite 2013) – verbal to Florida – The week belonged to Kasey Hill and he capped it with a signature performance in a semifinal victory over Dream Vision. With most of his team looking sluggish, Hill took matters into his own hands erupting for 46 points in the best individual performance I’ve seen this year. Dream Vision tried every perimeter defender they had on the roster and Hill burned them all exploding by guys off the dribble, pulling up for 3-pointers, and grinding his way to the free throw line. As he had been all week, Hill was devastating in pick and roll sets where his greatly improved jump shot combined with his elite quickness make him an impossible cover. When defenders went under the screen, he buried the long ball and when they followed him over it he turned the corner and finished at the rim. Billy Donovan had a noticeable grin sitting court side because he knows that he has one of America’s best players coming to Gator country to run the show.
On the college basketball recruiting trail July is a month unlike any other. Scholarships are earned at all levels of the sport during AAU tournaments and exposure camps as thousands of Division 1-A coaches hit the trail looking for the next generation of players for the programs they head or assist with. Stories of unknown players putting it together at the right time to earn a free college education are numerous. While at NBE Basketball Report we spend most of our time following the high-major world of recruiting, the real grind this month is at the mid-major and lower lever. Assistant coaches are scouring gyms across the country and when they find a player they like tucked away in some event nobody knows about, they hold their breath they do not have the big breakout at AAU Nationals or a bigger event later in the month.
The story of Jeremy Lamb, who was picked in the NBA Lottery portion of the 2012 NBA Draft last night, has been a story retold several times this week. Entering the Peach Jam in July 2009 Lamb was a coveted mid-major recruit. However a big week on a big stage in front of college coaches pushed his recruitment higher, much to the frustration of the mid-major assistants that had been working on him for months prior.
Who will be those stories this July? In just two weeks the stories will begin to be written once more. Two players hoping they find themselves as the main subjects are Kaison Randolph and Mark Williams. NBE caught up with each recently as they prepare to embark on the July recruiting period.
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
The National Prep School Invitational kicked off Thursday morning at a new venue of Rhode Island College after a number of years at the University of Rhode Island. The shift was made due to new NCAA rules not allowing tournaments of this nature to take place in Division-I gyms but the always well run event didn’t miss a beat. Eight games filled the schedule on Thursday with the nation’s No. 1 team Brewster Academy facing off against St. John’s Northwest Military Academy in the headliner. Two players faced off head to head in that matchup and they share top billing today after fantastic performances.
Co-Headliners of the Day:
Jakarr Sampson (Brewster Academy 2012) – Sampson played as well as I’ve ever seen from him in Brewster’s victory this afternoon. He has always been potent using a couple dribbles to attack the rim and showcase his absurd athleticism. Today, Sampson punished defenders for playing off him by consistently knocking down mid range jumpers from 12-18 feet. When that shot is falling he becomes basically unguardable because combined with his driving ability leaves defenders to pick their poison. On top of all his impressive offense, Sampson was the catalyst for Brewster defensively playing the top of their full court press. His length and quickness caused turnover after turnover often leading to rim shaking dunks. Undefeated Brewster was frankly in a bit of trouble before going to the press and letting Sampson wreck havoc. He made it obvious why he is one of the most sought after uncommitted players remaining in the 2012 class.
Aaron Ross (St. John’s Northwest Military Academy 2012) – A onetime Arkansas commit, Ross played like one of the nation’s bet forwards against the loaded frontline of Brewster. He tallied 30 points and 9 rebounds by mixing 3 point shots (3-7) with hard drives to the basket. Ross has the quickness to take his man out on the perimeter but also the strength to go to work on the low block. This combination gave Brewster fits all day as they tried various defenders to slow down the big man. Only Jakarr Sampson had any success but even he gave up his share of hoops against Ross. Finding balance between inside and outside will always be important for Ross as he doesn’t want to hunt jumpers and ignore his physical advantages. He also needs to be more committed defensively and will have to define a roll on that end. He is a little bit between a 3 and a 4 right now but needs to be a 4 defensively in my mind. Regardless of position he’s a beast and showed that off today.
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Each day at the City of Palms Classic seems to be more intense than the last. Today started off slowly with a mostly empty gym but it slowly filled up as the night wore and the semifinal matchups approached. When it was time for the tip of Montverde Academy and Grace Prep in the 1st semifinal there wasn’t an empty seat in the building. Through a delay when a power outage sapped the scoreboard, constant breaks to wipe up an increasingly slippery court, and a wildly overheated Florida gym, high level basketball remained the focus. A select group of players stood a cut above the rest and they are outlined below.
Top Performance of the Day:
Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian 2013) – In the final game of the night with a chance to play for the title on the line Randle was brilliant. He tallied 31 points and 15 rebounds on 12 of 18 shooting while facing consistent double and triple teams in the post. Randle’s game has evolved as his skills have developed and while he still makes his living down low he showed the ability tonight to lead the break and facilitate offense for others from the perimeter. His shooting range now extends to the college 3 point line and he can comfortably handle the ball enough to help his guards break the press. Offensively, Randle has very few holes in his game but on the other side of the ball he does still need work. He has a tendency to sulk after a turnover and then miss a defensive assignment because he hasn’t let the play go. While not uncommon for a young player, stars of Randle’s caliber are held to a higher standard. If cleared up, there is nothing standing in his way from overtaking Jabari Parker as 2013’s top prospect.
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.
By Alex Schwartz
MARYLAND OFFICIAL VISIT THE PLAN FOR ELIJAH MACON
If you are looking for a big man to rebound and defend in your Class of 2012 recruiting efforts, 6-foot-9 power forward Elijah Macon could be your man. Yes, he can also finish around the cup and is by no means a major weakness offensively, but his offensive skill set down low is still developing. However, what Macon does do quite well is rebound and defend, two things that are very important. A well built post player with a strong frame, Macon, for the most part, understands his strengths and weaknesses and does not force things. He plays solid interior defense and is an overall sound player who does a lot of the little things.
Miami, West Virginia, Iowa, South Florida, Cincinnati, Xavier, USC and Dayton were the offers listed by Macon this past weekend while playing in the AAU National Championships for the All-Ohio Red program in Orlando. He also mentioned Memphis, Maryland, Georgetown, Kansas and Florida, noting that he has more offers and interest.
By Raphielle Johnson
With the second ten-day open period of the month on the back end it would have been easy for teams still playing to perform in a sluggish manner. But that didn’t happen on Wednesday, especially at the Desert Duel Memorial Tournament where a few games needed overtime to render a decision. One of those games was the matchup between Long Island Lightning Blue and Seattle Rotary Select, with the Lightning making up a four-point deficit in the final 30 seconds of regulation and going on to win by the final score of 69-65.
The guard tandem of Kareem Canty (2012; postgrad) and Melvin Johnson (2012) made crucial plays down the stretch with both being able to get to the rim off the dribble. Canty’s more of a scoring point who was also to make some nice passes to his big men after beating his man off the dribble, and the pull-up jumper he says he’s been working on was on display as well.
By Matt Whitfield
The Hoop Group’s Session One Elite Camp wrapped up on Friday afternoon with a series of championship games and all-star contests. The camp’s Top 20 All-Star game draws the most interest and NBE spotted staff members from South Florida, Quinnipiac, Cornell, Wagner, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Rutgers, Drexel, Rice and Villanova.
One of the Top 20 All-Star participants was Quenton DeCosey, an athletic 6-foot-5 wing from St. Joseph of Metuchen (NJ) and the Team Izod/Sports U AAU travel program. DeCosey told NBE on Friday he has offers from Rice, Seton Hall, Temple and Towson. Virginia, West Virginia, St. John’s, Georgetown, St. Joseph’s and Rider are showing interest.
By Lauren Kirschman
College coaches were allowed at the Lebron James Skills Academy on Thursday for the first time and the turnout was as expected. A who’s who of college coaches were in the stands at the University of Akron’s James A. Rhodes Arena and they were not disappointed as the level of play at the camp has been very high. NBE is finishing up its coverage of the camp this morning and then will be on our way to the next stop on the evaluation trail. After yesterday’s afternoon session we had the opporunity to speak with Gary Harris (’12) and Terry Rozier (’12) as both have been putting in some impressive work this week. Both players have certainly helped their recruiting stock and will likely see an increased level of interest on the trail as they finish out the month and begin to work through the recruiting process.
Rozier lets NBE in on who his leaders are while Harris tells NBE he is continuing to be recruited for football as well as hoops…
by DOUG FERGUSON
Hanner Parea: F (Indiana Elite)/6-8/200
Committed to Indiana
There is nobody in the Class of 2012 who has the athletic gifts that Parrea does. He has fans holding their breath at what he will do next. It doesn’t show in his numbers at times however due to his lack of fundamentals. His is frequently outrebounded by more fundamentally sound opponents due to lack of boxing out.
Dejuan Marrero: F (Spiece Indy Heat)/6-5/220
School List: Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Marquette, Michigan, Minnesota
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum is Marrero who was possibly the best technically sound rebounder in the gym. He could stand to have a tad more touch around the basket which is where he should stay offensively.
Marcus Paige: G (All-Iowa Attack)/6-0/160
Committed to North Carolina
Can’t help but draw comparisons to current Tar Heel point man Kendall Marshall. Paige is a little more athletically gifted than Marshall while he is not quite as crafty with the ball.
Major Canady was raised in ACC Country.
The 6-foot-3, 195 pound point guard prospect has long dreamed of suiting up and playing in the league he grew up watching in North Carolina. “I would really like to play in the ACC,” says Canady, “growing up in Carolina that’s all I saw.” Canady, if the interest he’s receiving — along with his athleticism and body — is any indication, will probably get that chance when the time comes for him to make a college decision.
This summer’s Grassroots circuit will go a long way towards Canady reaching that goal, with coaches from the ACC — not to mention the Big East, Big Ten and A-10 — all ready to be courtside to see if Canady can handle his business on the court at a projected high major level.
Wake Forest‘s staff is said to love him and most of the assistants on the Demon Deacon bench have already seen him play. Canady says that come July, head coach Jeff Bzdelik also plans to watch him play for the BSA U-16 squad (Canady will play with the 17′s at Bob Gibbons). In fact, Canady recently spent some quality time on the scenic campus of Wake Forest with his father and sister. And all of the Canady clan came away from the trip extremely impressed.