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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Mass Rivals is another of New England’s dominant AAU programs that was well represented at the Elite 75. Kaleb Joseph (2014 PG), Dmitri Floras (2014 PG), Idris Taqqee (2014 SG), Tyonne Malone (2016 SF) and Josh Sharma (2015 F) all suited up and were joined by injured stars Noah Vonleh (2014 F, ankle) and Jeremy Miller (2015 F, concussion.) Both Vonleh and Miller told me they expect to be healthy and ready to go for the kickoff of the July live period at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis. Chris Baldwin (2015 F) was also invited to the event but stayed home to nurse a sore back.
Of the Mass Rivals guys in attendance Kaleb Joseph had the best day attacking the basket in early drills and getting everyone else involved once five-on-five action got going. He caught up with NBE before things started to discuss his expanding recruitment. Read more
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.
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.
There are a lot of new faces within the St. Benedict’s Prep basketball program in Newark (NJ) this season. From new head coach Mark Taylor to Class of 2015 must-see point guard Isaiah Briscoe and more new talent on the Gray Bees’ roster it is an exciting new era for the program in Newark. One player that still seems to be under the radar nationally is Isaiah Watkins, another member of the Canadian AAU program CIA Bounce that will look to excel this year for Taylor’s squad.
“What drew me to St. Benedict’s was the goal of becoming better,” Watkins told NBE earlier this evening. “Improving every day and hopefully being able to win at the highest level possible.”
The improvement of Watkins has been ongoing through the spring and summer according to Nolan Shulman, National Recruiting Analyst of Flagrant Fouls and Editor-in-Chief of the Ultimate Recruiting Handbook which is the authority on Canadian basketball prospects. Shulman also noted that Watkins will come to work every single day at St. Benedict’s, which should only enhance his goal of improving.
By Alex Schwartz
ALLENTOWN, N.J. — Although the Summer Shootout is not necessarily well-known outside of New Jersey, the event is filled with quality teams and talented players on a yearly basis. The 2011 edition was no different, as NBE Basketball Report took in some of the action on Saturday and got to catch up with a handful of Big East recruits.
Isaiah Watkins, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward, really saw his stock increase this summer. A class of 2013 prospect who hails from Toronto and is in his first year at St. Benedict’s (NJ), Watkins already lists a number of high-major offers.
Watkins said that Santa Clara, Missouri, Arkansas, Cincinnati and Virginia have all extended scholarship offers to him. In addition, he is hearing from Harvard, Ohio State, Georgetown, Michigan, Elon, Lafayette, Niagara, Villanova, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Temple, West Virginia, Kansas and more.
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.”
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
PHILADELPHIA – The 17th annual Rasual Butler All-City Classic took place last night at Benjamin Franklin High School in Philadelphia. The top players in the Philadelphia area took the court for three games, one for each of the high school classes besides the outgoing seniors.
The first contest was the Freshmen Game and the White team defeated the Black team by a score of 94-78 in a matchup of 2014 standouts. The MVP from the victors was 6-foot-5 power forward Jamal Custis of Neumann-Goretti (PA) with 18 points. Eric Anderson was named White’s MVP, as the 6-foot-4 small forward from Haverford (PA) dropped 15 points.
The Defensive Player of the Game award went to the White team’s Conrad Chambers, a 6-foot point guard out of Friends Central (PA). He was the game’s top scorer with 19 points. It was Black’s Malik Smith, a 5-foot-10 point guard from Del Val (PA), who won the Unselfish Player trophy.
Other double-digit scorers for the White team were 6-foot-2 combo guard Ja’Quan Newton and 5-foot-11 point guard Troy Harper. The Neumann-Goretti (PA) teammates had 10 points apiece. For the Black team, 6-foot-1 combo guard Shep Garner and 6-foot-2 combo guard Rashann London, teammates at Roman Catholic (PA), had 14 and 12 respectively. In addition, 6-foot-2 shooting guard Malik Starkes of Olney (PA) added 11.
The second game was easily the best one, with the Black team winning 93-86 in the Sophomore Game featuring 2013 players. The MVP from the winning side was 6-foot-6 small forward Rondae Jefferson of Chester (PA) who had 18 points. For the White team, the MVP was 6-foot-2 shooting guard Rysheed Jordan of Vaux (PA) who also had 18.
The Defensive Player of the Game honor was given to 5-foot-6 point guard Yahmir Greenlee of Boys’ Latin (PA), a member of the White team. Stephen Vasturia, a 6-foot-3 combo guard from St. Joseph’s Prep (PA) on the Black squad, won the Unselfish Player honor. In addition to Jefferson and Jordan, both Black’s 5-foot-10 point guard Britton Lee of Roman Catholic and White’s 6-foot-5 power forward BJ Johnson of Lower Merion (PA) had 18 points.
Three other players finished the game with double figures in the points column. Shafeek Taylor, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Roman Catholic, scored 15 points for Black, while 6-foot-3 combo guard Miles Overton of St. Joseph’s Prep had 14. Finally, 6-foot-8 center Zac Tillman of Shipley School (PA) finished with 11 points for the White squad.
As usual, the Spring Fling hosted by the NJ Playaz and Jimmy Salmons was a great event, bringing in most of the top teams of the Northeast to kick off the AAU season. Here are some more of the recruiting updates Matt Whitfield collected from his time down on the New Jersey shore this weekend…
Nate Britt, a left-handed point guard who attends Gonzaga High School in DC is already a well-known name on the DC Assault for a Class of 2013 prospect. Britt rattled off a school list that includes Villanova (offer), Georgetown (offer), Texas, Arizona (offer), Seton Hall (offer), Duke, Virginia, UCLA and Virginia Tech.
Britt has made unofficial visits to Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Seton Hall.
“Definitely the Big East is my favorite conference because it’s close and that’s the best conference in the NCAA right now,” Britt told Matt Whitfield Saturday.
Britt’s classmate at Gonzaga and DC Assault teammate Kris Jenkins is a bull inside. The 6-foot-5 power forward is a top rebounder and finisher in the paint among Class of 2013 prospects. Off the top of his head, Jenkins mentioned Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Boston College, Miami, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Georgetown as the schools recruiting him.
Jenkins has taken unofficial visits to Virginia Tech and Virginia.
It seems as though Kyle Anderson has been with the NJ Playaz forever. The Class of 2012 G/F is starting his last AAU season and remains one of the most coveted recruits in the class. Anderson told Matt Whitfield on Saturday that Seton Hall, UCLA, Villanova, Georgetown, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Miami and Virginia Tech have offered while Duke and North Carolina have interest. On Friday night his Dad told NBE that Seton Hall is “recruiting (Kyle Jr.) the hardest.”
Expect this one to me one of the most covered recruiting stories if the year.
Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia (PA) is home to Brandon Austin. The Class of 2013 prospect is running with Team Philly on the AAU circuit and is a player we expect to rise in profile nationally this summer. With his size (pushing 6’6) and smooth skill set, Austin can play all three perimeter positions and excels with the ball in his hands with great vision and delivery. It is no wonder that Villanova, Syracuse, Drexel, West Virginia, Rutgers and Pitt are some of the schools he could remember off the top of his head showing interest in him.
The always productive Dom Hoffman was in action this weekend with Hoop Heavan. The 6-foot-7 junior (Class of 2012) out of Gil St. Bernards, where he eclipsed the 1,000-point mark this past January, told NBE Friday that Penn, Lafayette, Bucknell and Rider are the four schools he is considering right now. Hoffman has been to each school and would be a very good addition to any of those programs.