by Alex Schwartz
HAMPTON, Va. – The Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest got underway on Friday at the Boo Williams Sportsplex and NBE Sports was on hand to take in the action. Throughout the night, we saw several standout performances and got to speak with a few players at the event.
Anthony Barber: The 6’2 point guard out of Hampton (VA) was absolutely sensational for Boo Williams in a blowout victory over the Stafford Hoyas to open up the event. Barber did basically anything he wanted with the ball and was nearly unstoppable when it came to getting to the rim. He scored at the basket, hit open teammates for layups, knocked down 3-pointers, and displayed a nasty crossover. Barber, an elite prospect in the 2013 class, had the look of a top 10 player as he dominated the game from start to finish in a number of different ways.
TOP SLEEPER PERFORMER
Rockell Lee-Vaughn: A little-known 5’9 point guard out of Springarn (DC), Lee-Vaughn had a superb showing in Metroball DC’s victory over East Coast Fusion. The class of 2012 prospect is clearly undersized, but he has a strong frame and quality quickness that help him make up for it. He can really hit shots from beyond the 3-point line and is also adept at making pull-up jumpers. Lee-Vaughn is a tough kid who also has some major leaping ability.
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.
by Alex Schwartz
Daiquan Walker and Karonn Davis might not be the biggest names in Philadelphia basketball right now, but there is no question that both of them are talented players.
Walker is a 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior point guard at Constitution High School, while Davis is a 6-2, 190-pound junior point guard at Friends Central School. On Tuesday, NBE had the opportunity to see both players in action and catch up with them to discuss their recruitment and more.
Although Walker had just nine points, his heady play was a key part in Constitution’s 61-53 victory over Council Rock North (PA). He split time at the point, but showed a superb feel for the game when at the one to go along with a quality handle.
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.
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.