by Alex Schwartz
MIAMI – The 18th annual Dr. MLK “Stop the Violence” Basketball Classic took place at Miami Central (FL) High School over the past couple days. NBE Sports was in the gym for five of the games on Saturday to see some of the top teams and players from South Florida.
Wadley Mompremier of Miami Senior was the leading scorer in the five games NBE Sports saw, but that is not the only reason he garnered Top Performer honors. A 6-foot-9 power forward who has signed with Ohio University, Mompremier has made some impressive strides in his game since the summer. The class of 2013 prospect is still a bit raw, but the strides in his game are quite evident. He scored off some nice alley-oop plays and consistently used his height to his advantage. Mompremier has superb length to go along with a body that can still add some muscle. The future Bobcat rebounds the ball pretty well and can even grab some boards at the offensive end. Mompremier also displayed the ability to step out and knock down a shot from 3-point range with a pretty nice looking stroke. It was clear on Saturday that Mompremier has a chance to be a superb player down the road in the MAC and Ohio fans should be excited about this pickup.
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.
We still have some stories on individual players from the recently completed NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp to publish and get up on the site in the coming days, but also felt it is a good time to clear out the notebook with some tidbits collected over the weekend outside of the Top 100 camp…
COACHES CALLING DEVON HALL
Last week we published our Class of 2014 Intro: Devon Hall so readers could get a better idea of who Devon Hall is. The 6-foot-5, Class of 2014 point guard is a Virginia Beach (VA) native that attends Cape Henry Collegiate School and performed well on the Boo Williams AAU club in the 17U Nike Elite Youth Basketball League this spring. So it came as no surprise to hear that his number was punched in early and often into the phones of college coaches once the clock struck Midnight on June 15th and players in the Class of 2014 could be contacted by colleges.
Over the last several years much has been written on the shortcomings or pitfalls of the fly-by-night prep schools that seem to come out of the woodwork each year across the country. Some are termed diploma mills or accused of funneling their players to certain programs or conferences.
At the complete opposite spectrum of the schools that operate in the gray areas of the sport is Northfield Mount Hermon. If anything, the program could be accused of funneling its players to a certain conference…the Ivy League!
A tremendous mix of academics and athletics makes Northfield Mount Hermon special. In the last several years the program headed by John Carroll in Northfield (MA) has been a virtual factory of Ivy League basketball players. NMH is considered the best combination of academics and basketball in the United States and in the 2010–2011 season eight NMH alums were in the Ivy League, more than any other school in the nation. That number contines to rise with players like Evan Cummins, Joe Sharkey, Jvonte Brooks and Armani Cotton in recent years following the path and will continue to attract players to the program, like Anthony Dallier, who are looking for similar opportunities.
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.
Parker vs. Randle highlights day
By Raphielle Johnson
Nike saved the “best” for its final regular season session of Nike EYBL, with the top two players in the class of 2013 facing off on Sunday afternoon. Jabari Parker and Mac Irvin Fire went toe-to-toe with Julius Randle and the Texas Titans, but a furious second half rally for the Chicago-based team fell just short. Behind 23 points and 13 rebounds from Randle and Matt Jones adding 19 and eight rebounds, the Titans won 63-59 to move into a tie for third in Division C with Mac Irvin.
That was a big win for the Titans from a Peach Jam standpoint as well, as the result guaranteed them a berth in the 24-team tournament to be held in July. A loss would have dropped them into a three-way tie with CPE and E1T1 Elite, and while all three would most likely advance (four at-larges join the top five in each division) it’s better to simply take care of business yourself instead of relying on help.
Jones had the assignment of guarding Parker in the first half while Jackson Forbes helped out in the second, and the nation’s top-ranked player seemed to settle for perimeter jumpers a bit too much. But he did guard Randle on the other end in the first half, and to be frank both seemed to be pressing in the first 16 minutes. But Randle’s teammates, most notable Jones, came up big as they led by as many as 18 in the first half.
by Alex Schwartz
HAMPTON, Va. – Kendrick Nunn of Simeon (IL) High School is one of the top guard prospects in the class of 2013. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder, who runs with Mean Streets on the AAU circuit, spoke with NBE Sports on Sunday at the Nike EYBL Session #2.
Nunn said that he holds scholarship offers from Texas A&M, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa State, Memphis, UCLA, Illinois, DePaul, Missouri, and others. In addition, he is garnering interest from Kansas.
The rising senior has no favorites at this point, but has taken visits to Ohio U., Illinois, Memphis, and Texas A&M. Nunn has no visits planned, but that does not mean he will not be taking any trips in the near future.
By Brian Bosworth, National Scouting Analyst
The National Prep Showcase was back in full swing on Sunday with top teams like Brewster Academy, New Hampton Prep, and the Tilton School all in action. While the rosters of most prep schools in this event are dominated by seniors and post-graduate players it was a pair of underclassmen that stole the show on Sunday.
Co-Headliners of the Day:
Nerlens Noel (Tilton School 2013) – With college coaches such as John Calipari (Kentucky), Steve Lavin (St. John’s), and Ed Cooley (Providence) on hand to watch him play Noel put on quite a show Sunday night. Having already established himself as the premier defensive big man in America during the summer with BABC, Nerlens showcased an expanding offensive game that brings his upside to a new level. He played on the wing for much of the first half and repeatedly used a deadly right to left crossover to attack the rim and finish with his left hand. Despite being right handed he seems to prefer using his left to finish around the basket and did so with startling efficiency in this game. If Noel can continue to develop his offensive skills to complement his defensive brilliance he will give Jabari Parker a serious challenge for the spot of #1 overall player in the class of 2013.
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.
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.
Shaler Area High School rising junior (Class of 2013) guard Geno Thorpe has picked up new scholarship offers and interest after a solid summer on the camp and AAU circuit. The 6-foot-3, 175-lb guard made the rounds with the NJ Playaz 16U team and plenty of head coaches were there to see him and his teammates play throughout the schedule. Still, Thorpe is not satisfied with himself and is working hard to improve.
“I have to get stronger and improve my shot,” said Thorpe when asked by NBE what he has improved the most this summer, showing the will to keep improving.
Marquette just recently joined the mix and Baylor is believed to be close to offering a scholarship, but hasn’t quite yet at this point Thorpe told NBE this afternoon.
“No Baylor has not offered yet until I meet [their] head coach,” said Thorpe. “I didn’t talk to any new schools this week besides Marquette.”
Thorpe still lists no favorites in the recruiting process at this time, but did mention he will be visiting Wisconsin, likely in September. Earlier this summer there was some chatter on the worldwide web that Thorpe could be deciding as early as next month, but he would not commit to such a time frame leaving the possibility a decision could come any time, now or later.
“No time period [for a decision],” he said. “It could be at any time and I think the coach[ing] staff, the style of play and academics will be the factors on my desicion.”
In the meantime Geno Thorpe will continue forward with the recruiting process and with a goal of a state title this season for Shaler to work towards. NBE will continue to follow his process closely.
By Raphielle Johnson
The only thing better than the two best teams in an event playing in the title game is those teams putting forth a game for the ages. And that’s exactly what happened when the Mac Irvin Fire and New Jersey Playaz 17U teams met in Tuesday’s title game at the Desert Duel Memorial. Despite trailing by as many as 26 points early in the second half the Playaz found a way back, ultimately winning the game in overtime by the final score of 70-62.
Things most certainly didn’t look good for the Playaz at the start as Mac Irvin jumped them out of the gate thanks to the combination of solid offensive execution and the Playaz’s inability to make shots. The squad from Chicago had everything rolling, especially 2013 stud Jabari Parker who hit just about any shot imaginable in the first twenty minutes.
Steve Taylor (2012) was able to slash to the basket, DePaul commit Billy Garrett Jr. (2013) and Derrick Randolph (2012) made plays in the backcourt and Aaric Armstead (2012) was also a factor. A dunk just before the halftime buzzer made the score 43-20, and a Parker three in the first minute of the second half pushed the lead out to 26. To say the least things did not look good for the Playaz was an understatement.
By Alex Schwartz
The action continues in Orlando with the AAU Super Showcase for the 15U and 16U heating up on Saturday. On Sunday the 17U division gets going stronger as well and more and more college coaches are arriving at the ESPN Wide World of Sports venue. In this afternoon’s notebook we take a closer look at the recruitment of standouts such as Kavon Stewart, Geno Thorpe, Davon Reed, Kendrick Nunn and we take a look at the impressive games of Dakari Johnson, Aquille Carr and Phil Booth. Read on below for the detail…
At 5-foot-11, NJ Playaz/Hudson Catholic point guard Kavon Stewart might not have elite height for a point guard, but what he does have is a fantastic feel for the game and the ability to lead a team. A pure point, Stewart gets others involved and has superb floor vision. He is able to find the open man and get him the basketball in a position to score. Stewart has a solid build, though he could add a bit of muscle. The 2013 prospect has a nice mid-range game which keeps the defense honest.
By Lauren Kirschman
About this time last year Steve Taylor was a mid-major-plus player who had the potential to be a high-level prospect. With good size and length, allowing him to be effective defensively as a result, Taylor was trying to find his position offensively. After a year of development with Simeon High School and an impressive spring on the AAU trail with Mac Irvin Fire he has realized the potential and has very much become a high-level prospect, coveted by two BIG EAST programs in the Midwest as well as many other programs.
Taylor’s inside-out game at the forward position is a tough match-up and he continues to develop into a classic small forward that has certainly drawn his share of observers at the Lebron James Skills Academy this week and one can be certain coaches will follow him throughout this July. Taylor spent some time with NBE this afternoon to give us his thoughts on his recruitment and game…
By Lauren Kirschmann
The 2011 Lebron James Skills Academy hosted by Nike is underway once again on the campus of the University of Akron. Scouts and media members have converged on James A. Rhodes Arena for the first full day of workouts for the college and high school players who received invitations to the camp. Tomorrow we can expect the intensity to be ratcheted up another notch as the college coaches will converge upon the arena as the July evaluation period frenzy comes to Akron.
NBE’s Lauren Kirschman made the trip into Akron this morning and will be bringing NBE readers continuous coverage into Friday afternoon with recruiting updates and notes on some of the top players in action. So stay tuned right here at NBE for all the important news & notes from the July evaluation period.
In Lauren’s first update from the camp, she catches up with Kendrick Nunn (’13) and Alex Poythress (’12) to learn the latest from the pair as they embark on the July evaluation period journey:
By Lauren Kirschman
Recruiting rundown of some of the top names from this past weekend’s Pittsburgh Jamfest put on by the Hoop Group…
Jalen Robinson (2012)
AAU Team: All-Ohio Red
Height: 6’7″, Weight: 215
Considering: Wisconsin, UCLA, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Iowa, Penn State, DePaul, Cincinnati, Ohio University, Tennessee, Michigan
Elijah Macon (2012)
AAU Team: All-Ohio Red
Considering: West Virginia, South Florida, USC, Cincinnati, Tennessee
Offers from: South Florida, USC
Height: 6’7″, Weight: 200
Leaders: West Virginia and Cincinnati
By Ray Mernagh
The Hoop Group’s traveling caravan of scouts, event promoters, camp directors, and future coaches returned once again to Pittsburgh Friday for their now annual stop.
The group’s Pittsburgh Jam Fest has been one of the primary stops on the April Grassroots circuit for a number of years now as it always brings loaded fields, timely starts and a buzz to this city for all the hoop junkies withdrawing from the sudden end to the college and high school season.
Along with revitalizing that dreaded hoop-rock itch (I showed up at 6:30 or so after a full workday planning on picking up my creds, catching a few halves of action and bouncing, but ended up staying until the last games and interviewing DJ Fenner from the DC Assault as the clock ticked towards Saturday) Friday night at the J-Fest always produces a player that makes you say o-k-a-y.
Last night, for a lot of us sitting along the baseline, Deontae Hawkins of All-Ohio Red was that kid.
The first kid to really pop during opening round play.