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by Alex Schwartz
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The 2012 11th Grade AAU Nationals tournament continued rolling along yesterday, and NBE Sports was there yet again to take in the action. Check out our rundown of the day’s action below and see which Big East school’s head coach saw two of his commits turn in impressive performances. Also, learn which under-the-radar prospects impressed on the second day of the tournament.
Ryan Wilkins gets the nod as Thursday’s top performer over several worthy candidates, including one of his SEC-bound teammates. A 6’2 shooting guard out of Effingham County (GA), Wilkins is a smooth player in the backcourt whose game you almost have to love. A class of 2013 prospect who is now playing with the South Georgia Kings, Wilkins dropped in 20 points in the game we watched. He knocked down four shots from long range, but he is by no means just a long range marksman. Wilkins is quite capable of getting to the basket off the dribble and can utilize his quality crossover to help him do so. He possesses solid leaping ability and showed he will take a charge at the defensive end. Wilkins has just one scholarship offer at this point, but that needs to change. Low-major to mid-major programs should be all over Wilkins, who can flat out produce.
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.
By Raphielle Johnson
The first open weekend of the spring/summer meant action throughout the country, including Las Vegas with Sin City hosting three events. The biggest of the three was the adidas VIP Exclusive Run, which featured most of the nation’s best programs under the three stripes banner.
The program that stole the show this weekend at adidas was the Florida Rams, whose 16u and 17u teams both won championships. The 17 and under team is well-known by this point, as they’re led by one of the country’s top prospects in the 2013 class in Chris Walker.
A slender forward who can run the floor and finish with the best of them, Walker played well on both ends of the floor for much of the weekend and likely had one of the early frontrunners for dunk of the AAU season. But he had plenty of help as well, especially from Florida commit Kasey Hill.
The 2013 point guard ran the show for the Rams, displaying the ability to get to the basket off the bounce at will. Hill also did a good job of distributing the basketball, setting up Walker and Kansas commit Brannen Greene frequently.
Thaddeus Hall can score the basketball. Nobody would need to look any further than his second round of the PSAL Class AA playoffs performance last week. The 6-foot-5, 195-lb senior for Thomas Jefferson High School scored 34 first half points to lead his team to to an 86-76 win over Robeson. Hall finished with a career-high 39 points, including six three-pointers, in the contest. Like a true leader, Hall praised his teammates in the aftermath, although he still admitted the first half outburst has been the highlight of his year so far.
“My season is going great,” Hall told NBE. “[I] can’t believe how much the underclassmen [are] stepping up [and] playing this good. My highlight of the season is scoring 34 in the first half on Paul Roberson [last Wednesday].”
Hall followed up the 39-point explosion with 25 more in Sunday’s win over Wadleigh in the quarterfinals. The back-to-back performances has led to a scholarship offer that has really gotten his attention.
by Alex Schwartz
READING, Pa. – The July Live Evaluation period kicks off today, but NBE Basketball Report’s coverage of the month began yesterday with the first day of Hoop Group Elite Camp. With players from 25 states (plus DC) as well as 14 foreign countries, there is talent from all over the map at Albright College this week.
One of the top young players at camp is 2014 star Ja’Quan Newton, a 6-foot-1 point guard out of Neumann-Goretti (PA). Newton said he is already garnering interest from Villanova, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Kansas, Miami, Penn State, St. Joseph’s, and others.
The July live evaluation period will be an important one for Brian Bernardi. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard out of Xaverian High School in New York City already has several solid mid-major programs putting scholarship offers on the table and it is expected schools from high-major conferences will also be tracking his progress this month during the two 10-day live periods.
The current school list for Bernardi is long and includes a variety of schools throughout the college basketball spectrum. Boston College, Xavier, Hofstra, Virginia, Fordham, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, Temple, Siena, Fairfield, SMU, Boston University , East Carolina, Marist, James Madison, Manhattan and Wagner were listed as the programs actively recruiting him.
Shooting almost can be considered a lost art in this day and age in the sport of basketball. A pure shooter that can knock down shots from the perimeter is viewed as a commodity. With the three-point line acting as the great equalizer in the game today, college coaches will take notice when a player establishes himself as an elite pure shooter in his class.
This spring and summer on the AAU circuit Xaverian (NY) High School shooting guard Brian Bernardi hopes to establish himself as just such a player in the Class of 2012. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound sniper averaged over 16 points a game, eclipsing the 20-point mark eight times, including a season-high 24 in an 81-64 win over a St. Raymond’s team stacked with Division 1-A prospects. According to one of his coaches his reputation as a pure shooter is well-entrenched in the NYC area.
“Hands down, best shooter in city,” Chris Alesi told NBE yesterday. “According to [long-time Xaverian High School] coach Jack Alesi, [Bernardi is the] best [shooter] to come out of Xaverian since Chris Mullin. If there are five better pure shooters in the country, I’d be surprised.”
College coaches have already come to see Bernardi work out and the list has been impressive.