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.
by Alex Schwartz
HACKENSACK, N.J. – Eight teams made their way to Hackensack (NJ) High School on Sunday for the New Year’s Jump-Off. The quartet of games featured only teams from the Garden State, but there was a great deal of talent on display, including a few players headed to high-major programs.
Reggie Cameron of Hudson Catholic is the easy choice of who turned in the day’s best performance. The 6-foot-8 small forward dropped 30 points and may well have had more if he shot more the fourth quarter had the game been close. Cameron, ranked No. 62 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125, also grabbed 12 rebounds, distributed the ball well and made his presence felt on defense. A big-time shooter from long range, the future Georgetown Hoya really had his shot going in this game. He has such a smooth stroke and possesses the size to get it off over most defenders. Cameron also scored from midrange and at the rim. The senior even displayed the ability to play the point, which is something he has not really done before. He blocked shots, found open teammates for buckets and was the best low post player in the game, despite being a three man. Cameron led his team to a 70-53 victory over Pope John XXIII and put on in absolute show in his home city of Hackensack.
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, NBE West coast Editor/Recruiting Analyst
After one round of play on Friday night things got into full swing in Hayward with all teams playing two games on Saturday. There were many players who stood out, most notably a high-major talent from North Carolina. Below are some thoughts and recruiting updates from Saturday’s action.
- Player of the Day: Theo Pinson (CP3 All-Stars)
There were some very good performances on Saturday, but the way in which Pinson played for CP3 earned him this spot. Pinson’s an immensely talented player blessed with excellent athleticism, something he used to his benefit on both ends of the floor.
Offensively Pinson was able to get to the basket off the dribble at will, and he has to be considered as one of the top athletes in the 2014 class. Pinson showed off the ability to finish above the rim, and with some improvement to his perimeter shot he will become even more dangerous at that end of the floor.
On the defensive end Pinson was a major distraction in their win over Alabama Challenge, whether CP3 was playing man or going with their 1-3-1 zone. In the zone Pinson would play up top, and the combo of his quickness and wingspan made things difficult for the Challenge guards.
- Sleeper of the Day: John Davis (Team Final)
Davis played well in both games for Team Final on Saturday, with his effort standing out on both ends of the floor. He isn’t afraid of physical play inside, and he’s more likely to attack the basket than put up a perimeter shot.
Davis also played well on the defensive end of the floor, moving his feet well and working hard on the glass. He mentioned multiple Atlantic 10 and CAA schools in a post-game conversation (more on that info below), and that would be a good level for him with some work on his jumper.
More Player Observations:
- G/F Rondae Jefferson (Team Final)
Jefferson played better in Team Final’s afternoon win over Alabama Challenge, finishing with 15 points, six rebounds and three steals, than he did in the morning defeat at the hands of Team United. Jefferson’s a gifted player, and he’s played the point for lenghty stretches on Saturday, but a little more controlled aggression would help his game in a big way. That happened in the afternoon tilt, as he was more aggressive in looking to make plays.
- G Nigel Williams-Goss (California Supreme)
Not sure there’s a better defensive guard in the 2013 class than Williams-Goss, who will figure prominently in Findlay Prep’s plans next season as well. Williams-Goss also displayed his well-rounded skill set on the offensive end of the floor, but he really stood out defensively. Very good on the ball, he also displayed good awareness of what was going on when his man didn’t have the ball.
- PG Darren Williams (Team United)
Williams played well in Team United’s win over Team Final, accounting for eight points and an assist against Final’s long-armed defenders. Williams displayed good handle and made solid decisions with the basketball, even though he finished with just one assist.
- C Kennedy Meeks (Team United)
Meeks may have scored just four points in United’s win over Team Final but it’s easy to see why much of the ACC (among others) is after this 6-9 ½ big man. Meeks racked up seven assists with just one turnover, playing the high post against the Team Final zone and doing a very good job of turning and facing the basket.
Meeks also grabbed eight rebounds, leading the way for either team. With his build Meeks has no problem with getting physical, but it was good to see how effective he could be as a distributor against a zone defense.
- SG Sindarius Thornwell (Team United)
Talk about an athletic slasher. Thornwell was able to get to the basket off the dribble on multiple occasions, and his ability to finish in traffic played an important role in United’s 2-0 day. He’s at his best in the transition game, and stated that he’s working on improving his perimeter shot this summer. With trips to the NBA Top 100, Kevin Durant and LeBron James camps on his schedule, the chance to do that work against some of the other top players in the country should make Thornwell an even better prospect.
- PG Travon Landry (Alabama Challenge)
Things didn’t go particularly well for the Challenge in their game against CP3, but Landry was one of their better performers on the defeat. Landry made solid decisions with the basketball and knocked down five of seven shots from the field. Had a tough go against Mac Irvin Fire in the evening session however.
- PF Jimmy Taylor (Alabama Challenge)
Already committed to Alabama, Taylor finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in Challenge’s loss to CP3. The 6-10 Taylor ran the floor well and was an active defender in the paint. Chai Baker (19 points, six rebounds) also stood out for Alabama Challenge.
- SG Matthew Madigan (CP3)
Madigan played hard on the defensive end of the floor for CP3, and when he got opportunities to take open shots he knocked them down. Madigan made four of five from beyond the arc in the morning session against Alabama Challenge, but was much quieter in their evening win over E1T1.
- PF Akoy Agau (All-Iowa Attack)
A tough EYBL season for All-Iowa (now 0-17) got even tougher in the second half of their loss to B-More Elite as Agau went down with an injury. In the first half of that game he was quiet offensively, but there really weren’t many options to help take some of the defensive attention away from him. Hard to think that Agau will play again this weekend with the injury.
- PF Bobby Portis (Arkansas Wings)
Like the aforementioned Jimmy Taylor, Portis is committed to an SEC school (Arkansas) and played well in defeat. A long-armed 6-9 forward, Portis has the build of a guy who can put on a few pounds and not have his game be affected negatively. He was able to face up effectively and showed the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers when needed. But the key for Portis is to make sure he doesn’t try to do too much offensively when out on the perimeter, because he got into a little trouble when over-dribbling.
- PF Jordan Bell and SF Roschon Prince (ICP)
Putting these two together since they ran into a very difficult match-up during the evening session: Julius Randle and the Texas Titans. Prince was given the assignment for much of the game, and while he worked very hard it was evident that this wasn’t the best defensive match-up for him (he also had to guard Matt Jones at times).
Offensively Prince didn’t hesitate to attack the basket, and if anything his willingness to mix things up stood out. Bell was saddled with early foul trouble, and while he’s a very good shot-blocker he’s raw offensively. Maybe he can show off a little more on that end of the floor with a better match-up.
- PF Julius Randle and PF Damian Jones (Texas Titans)
Randle and Jones both bounced back from disappointing performances in the Titans’ loss to E1T1 in the nightcap, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds (Randle) and ten points and three blocks (Jones) respectively.
The one concern regarding Randle in the win over ICP: six turnovers. He’s immensely talented and when fully engaged is an absolute man-child. Jones put up a “ten trillion” in the E1T1 defeat, so it was good to see him bounce back with a solid performance. Jones was good as a weak-side defender and ran the floor well.
- SF Matt Jones (Texas Titans)
Jones, who’s already committed to Duke, played well for the Titans in both games on Saturday. Offensively it seemed as if he was quiet…and then you’d look up and see that he scored 18 points. Jones was efficient on that end of the floor against ICP, and was the primary defender on Roschon Prince for much of the game. Duke’s getting a good one in Jones.
- PF Marcus Lee (California Supreme)
Lee is raw offensively, but it’s the other end of the floor where he’s drawn raves all spring. Lee is a good shot-blocker with long arms, and he ran the floor well in Cali Supreme’s evening victory over NY Lightning. How much he progresses offensively will ultimately determine how high he can climb amongst the top big men in the 2013 class.
- PG Parker Jackson-Cartwright (California Supreme)
Jackson-Cartwright played well for Cali Supreme, and while some may point to his size (5-7) as a detriment he displayed good vision at the point. Not sure how much taller he gets but the 2014 prospect is obviously talented. The goal at this point has to be to continue to improve as a floor general, and there’s definitely room for growth in that area.
One thing that was noticeable on Saturday was the number of teams who used an attacking 1-3-1 zone on the defensive end of the floor. Being so used to teams playing 2-3 zones and daring the opposition to shoot, seeing an active zone defense proved to be far more entertaining. CP3 and Team United were two of the teams who used the zone to their advantage on Saturday, and with EYBL also using a shot clock maybe zones of this style become a bit more commonplace.
Sindarius Thornwell says that there isn’t a leader in the race for his services but did mention South Carolina and Memphis. What that means is difficult to tell, but while location isn’t a concern playing in a program that has a family atmosphere and plays an uptempo brand of basketball. From an academic standpoint, Thornwell mentioned sports management and broadcast journalism as academic interests.
Darren Williams mentioned the following six schools: Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, East Carolina and Gardner-Webb. Williams said that the schools were even at this time.
Kennedy Meeks is being pursued by just about the entire ACC at this point. Specific schools he mentioned included North Carolina, Pittsburgh, NC State, Syracuse and Miami in addition to Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame and West Virginia.
JaQuel Richmond said that the following schools are even right now: Oklahoma State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Charlotte, Tennessee and Georgetown. Richmond also mentioned recent phone conversations with Syracuse assistant Adrian Autry.
Troy Williams will most likely make his decision at the end of the summer. While North Carolina and Kentucky remain the top two, he’s still listening to Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgetown. The decision will come down to which head coach Williams has the best relationship with.
John Davis has heard from a number of schools, including La Salle, Massachusetts, VCU, George Mason, Drexel, Towson, Delaware, Rider, Missouri State and Mount St. Mary’s. As for VCU, while Davis didn’t say he’s got a specific order he did say that the Rams’ move to the A-10 gave them a boost in his eyes.
Rondae Jefferson didn’t have a whole lot to say about the schools in hot pursuit of his services, but did mention that he’d likely have an idea of who’s on his list at the Peach Jam.
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.
South Dakota State beat Western Michigan earlier today 82-76 in a game that saw WMU’s 6’10″ sophomore center Matt Stainbrook go for 32 points. The Jackrabbits had no answer for “Big Stain” a lefty with a variety of post moves (although they all usually end up going over his right shoulder) and a soft touch who torched SDSU on 14-16 shooting from the floor and 4-5 from the free throw line.
Meanwhile, the victorious Jackrabbits got 32 points of their own from the splendid junior point guard Nate Wolters (who lit up the Broncos last year in Kalamazoo for 28 in a losing effort).
Both Stainbrook, a lightly recruited big man out of Ohio who’s at WMU because a former assistant talked head coach Steve Hawkins into watching him late in the recruiting period, and Wolters are players for college fans to keep an eye on as the season progresses and their teams compete for conference titles.
We didn’t get much of a chance to write about Akron’s beatdown of Mississippi State the other night. The Zips, led by Quincy Diggs on offense and Zeke Marshall on defense, controlled the SEC group for the full 40 minutes before winning by ten. Akron coach Keith Dambrot was kind enough to join us following the win for our new podcast called “The Experience” which will be available online tomorrow (keep your eye out for it).
Myself and Lauren Kirschman will be doing the podcast throughout the season and hope to bring you interesting discussions that you won’t get anywhere else.
The second podcast has been scheduled for tomorrow morning with a coach who has a Final Four on his record. I’ll also be checking out Wisconsin Green Bay vs Duquesne tomorrow afternoon before driving up the block to catch Pitt vs Rider in the evening (Robert Morris drilled Rider by 26 last night). Green Bay features a really talented sophomore big in 7’1″ Alec Brown, while the Dukes have a sophomore star of their own in TJ McConnell.
Watched Wright State and Ohio State Friday night in a game that the Buckeyes won handily. Not sure if Ohio State is a top-3 team as of yet. They have three really good players and a lot of inexperienced parts, but those three players (Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft and William Buford) are special, just not sure this team is as good as Thad Matta’s previous team that featured David Lighty and had Dallas Lauderdale backing up Sullinger. Time will tell.
Wright State will be up and down all year but they have a really strong first year core of Reggie Arceneaux, Tavares Sledge and Kendall Griffin. Arceneaux is a 5’8″ jet who battled Craft and Shannon Scott all night long. Sledge is a 6’9″ athlete with a body who’s capable of defending and rebounding at a high level already (I think he had 8 in 16 minutes vs OSU) while Griffin will be a steady 2/3 for the Raiders for the next four years. Sophomore big man AJ Pacher has vastly improved his game as well. Wright State has Cole Darling and Matt Vest out with injuries right now and needs their two first-year junior guards (Julius Mays and John Balwigaire) to play well if they want to compete and win games. One thing that’s different about Wright State’s team from last years squad is that Arceneaux is the only Raider who can break his man down off the dribble consistently, while last year’s team had two real creative guys off the bounce in Vaughn Duggins and N’Gai Evans.
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.
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 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.
College basketball is a year-round sport. In the summer there is news of players coming and going from programs to keep track of, a busy recruiting season and more and more summer leagues that offer the players a chance to stay sharp against high-level competition. While many incoming freshmen just celebrated their high school graduation in the last few weeks and even days, many are already on a college campus and competing in the summer leagues and attending classes with their new teammates.
Today we take a quick run through some of the latest stories in the BIG EAST that touch on each of those subjects…
In Mike Helfgot’s Recruiting Notes in the Chicago Tribune there is an update on 6-foot-2 rising junior Jaylon Tate, who recently confirmed rumors he will be transferring from De La Salle High School to Chicago Simeon. At Simeon Tate will join a loaded roster that includes classmates Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn and senior Steve Taylor. All four players are considered sure-fire high-major recruits.
As for Tate, Helfgot reports that has offers from Northwestern, Providence and Xavier, according to his mother, Arisa Johnson, with several other high-majors such as DePaul, Marquette, Tennessee, Florida State and, as of this week, UCLA, expressing serious interest.
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.