Robert Morris Recruiting
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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Friday afternoon in North Augusta brought 16U pool play at the Peach Jam along with a quick stop at the Nike Invitational. Here’s who managed to standout while NBE was watching.
Top Performer of the Afternoon:
Obi Enechionyia (Team Takeover 2014) – At 6’8”, the athletic forward showed off both an inside and outside scoring package. He flashed major bounce around the rim with a few ferocious dunks along with swatting away countless attempts at his own basket. While his work in the paint alone would have made Enechionyia a very intriguing prospect, he was also able to step out and make jump shots past the college 3-point line. The combination of owning the paint and being able to draw big men away from the rim by spacing the floor make it easy to project Enechionyia at the high major level for his college future. He needs to continue refining his ball handling and overall skill package and frankly could end up playing on the wing if his skills improve quickly enough.
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Able to boast current NBA and college players such as Jordan Williams (Nets), Alex Murphy (Duke), Naadir Tharpe (Kansas), Anthony Ireland (Loyola Marymount), and Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona) among others, the NE Playaz have a rich history of talent in New England. Their current crop made it clear at the Elite 75 that they are adding to the program’s impressive tradition. Nine current players received invitations including Jarred Reuter (2015 F/C), Djery Baptiste (2015 C), Jeff Spellman (2014 G), Adrian Oliveira (2013 PG), Aaron Falzon (2015 F), Cane Broome (2014 PG), Collin McManus (2105 F/C), Ian Sistare (2016 G/F) and Aaron Calixte (2013 PG.) Young big men ruled the day as Reuter and Baptiste both managed to separate themselves from the pack.
Jarred Reuter – Reuter was among the strongest players at the event and used that strength to be a bully in the paint. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound big man out of Tabor (MA) Academy has already established himself as a high priority for major powers in college basketball which speaks to his long term potential. Read more
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.
By Brian Batko
The Hoop Group’s Pittsburgh Jam Fest came to a close Sunday with some very intense semifinals and championship games. Many of the usual suspects who had been playing well all weekend continued to do so on Sunday but one squad of 2014 players in particular stepped its game up an extra notch and NBE has the rundown.
Caleb Martin and Cody Martin (Team Loaded NC 16U, 2014, Davie) – Even more so than the Harrison brothers in the grade above them, these two 6’6” wings have extremely similar bodies and games. In fact, at this point in their development, they play almost exactly alike. They’re both fairly slender but appear to have the frame to really add strength and muscle. In leading Team Loaded (NC) to the 16U championship on Sunday, the two uber-talented North Carolina natives showed off a nice mix of skill and athleticism and played very well off of each other. Both are good passers that like to work in the high post and on the wing slashing to the basket. They also attack the glass and are active on defense. Their jump shots are decent right now but could certainly improve. In a competitive quarterfinal game against a solid Team Work (OH) squad in the morning on Sunday, Cody finished with 14 points, a handful of rebounds, and a couple of steals while Caleb put up 19 points including a couple of threes and several boards as well.
Also like the Harrisons, Caleb and Cody are 100 percent a package deal as far as their recruitment goes. Still early for the rising juniors, they already have offers from North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech and are hearing from the likes of North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Xavier, Clemson, Kansas, and Georgetown. Both said they can see themselves in the ACC but that they’d like to wait and take as much time as they can before making their decision.
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.
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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
The first three days of the National Prep School Invitational were dominated by Steven Adams and his Notre Dame Prep squad. The 2012 big man from New Zealand erased any concerns after his foul-plagued showing at the Hoop Hall Classic and cemented his status as one of 2012’s top players. On Sunday it was time for another 2012 big man to steal the show and make his case for the #1 overall ranking in the senior class. With the gym buzzing and filled to a capacity that it saw at no other time all weekend the Tilton School and REDA (Ontario) took the floor at 1:30 PM. Nerlens Noel jumped center for the Tilton School sporting his trademark bright pink Nikes and his high top fade and put on the best show of the weekend.
Top Performance of the Day:
Nerlens Noel (Tilton 2012) – This was Noel’s first national appearance since announcing his intentions to graduate this year as a member of the 2012 class early Thursday morning. Providence fans packed the gym to see him as they made the cut of his seven final schools along with Kentucky, Syracuse, Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina. Dominance doesn’t even begin to describe the defensive effort put forth by Noel as he tallied 10 blocks to go along with countless more altered shots. It reached a point where REDA coaches could be heard screaming at their players who even attempted to challenge the big man as a shot in the lane against Noel was basically a turnover. Perhaps the most telling statistic of his dominance was on the scoreboard. Noel played the majority of the game’s first 29 minutes at which point REDA had only scored 19 points. At that time Nerlens went to the bench in a blowout victory and in the remaining 11 minutes REDA was able to put up 29 points. His defensive prowess is certainly nothing new but Sunday’s was a particularly stunning performance even by his high standards. Offensively Noel looked better than ever and as crazy as it sounds was literally playing point guard for his Tilton team during the 2nd half. He brought the ball up the floor every time and got his team into their offense sometimes breaking his man down off the dribble and other times running a play for someone else. I’m not suggesting that Noel is making a drastic position change but it was an indicator of how far along his ball handling and passing skills have come in the last year. Once only a defensive standout, Noel’s offense is catching up seemingly by the day.
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.
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.
By Raphielle Johnson
With the second ten-day open period of the month on the back end it would have been easy for teams still playing to perform in a sluggish manner. But that didn’t happen on Wednesday, especially at the Desert Duel Memorial Tournament where a few games needed overtime to render a decision. One of those games was the matchup between Long Island Lightning Blue and Seattle Rotary Select, with the Lightning making up a four-point deficit in the final 30 seconds of regulation and going on to win by the final score of 69-65.
The guard tandem of Kareem Canty (2012; postgrad) and Melvin Johnson (2012) made crucial plays down the stretch with both being able to get to the rim off the dribble. Canty’s more of a scoring point who was also to make some nice passes to his big men after beating his man off the dribble, and the pull-up jumper he says he’s been working on was on display as well.
One of the players that has made a quick ascension in the Class of 2013 in recent weeks is St. Anthony;s of Jersey City (NJ) guard Hallice Cooke. After playing well in the early July events on the East Coast, Cooke and his teammates at Sports U./Team Izod made a major splash by taking home the 16U crown at the UA Summer Jam presented by NY2LA Sports. Their championship run was culminated last Friday afternoon with a 51-48 win over the Illinois Wolves to take home the 16U Platinum Bracket Championship.
NBE was able to catch up with Cooke this afternoon to get his thoughts on the impressive early July run and hear the latest on his recruitment, which is starting to explode rapidly. Another impressive 10 days to close July and Cooke could become one of the most heavily recruited players on the East Coast in the 2013 class…
NBE Basketball Report (NBE): What is your current height and weight?
Hallice Cook (HC): I’m 6’3 and my weight is 175.
NBE: Where do you live?
HC: I live in Union City, New Jersey
NBE: Can you talk about what is the best part of attending St. Anthony’s and playing for Coach Hurley?
By Alex Schwartz
READING, Pa. — Featuring over 60 high schools from seven different states, The Hoop Group Elite Team Camp drew numerous Division I coaches to Albright College. At least half of Big East was represented there Sunday, the second and final day of the camp.
Head coaches from both of New Jersey’s Big East programs, Rutgers and Seton Hall, were in attendance along with at least one assistant. NBE Basketball Report also spotted or was informed that assistants from Cincinnati, DePaul, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Villanova and West Virginia were in Reading.
Amongst the attractions for the Big East schools were Kyle Anderson ’12, Nate Britt ’13, Reggie Cameron ’13, Hallice Cooke ’13, Will Ferguson ’13, Shep Garner ’14, Amile Jefferson ’12, Kris Jenkins ’13, Ja’Quan Newton ’14, Villanova-commit Daniel Ochefu ’12, Stanford Robinson ’13, Terrence Samuel ’13, Shamiek Sheppard ’13, Kavon Stewart ’13, Mike Young ’13, and more.
By Matt Whitfield
The return to the summer basketball camp scene by Reebok has been well received. The competition and talent level is certainly solid at the Gallagher Athletic Center on the campus of Philadelphia University. NBE took in the action for the most part of the day Thursday and was able to touch base with many of the players to learn the latest on their recruitments. While the camp had a strong group of Mid-Major+ prospects, there was more than a fair share of players who will land at higher levels in college. Below is a rundown of who we caught up with yesterday.
Rysheed Jordan (Robert Vaux HS/Players Teaching Players)
There was a lot of hype centering Jordan entering the camp and many scouts, reporters and college coaches were anxious to get a look at him. He did not disappoint as the 6-foot-3, Class of 2013 point guard has all the look of a sure fire high major recruit. He has definitely noticed the increased attention of late.
“I think I’m blowing up,” said Jordan of the recent influx of recruiting attention. “I’m easing my way up.”
The live July evaluation period is right around the corner. Once again NBE will be out in full force during both 10-day recruiting periods, stretching from East to West and North and South to keep up with all the recruiting information. It is always a fun process to see what college coaches are out on the recruiting trail and who they are watching.
In the meantime, the phones of top prospects in the Class fo 2013 have been ringing off the hook as colleges are permitted to contact a recruit once a month on the phone or via email. June 15th was the first day contact was allowed and programs wasted little time reaching out to prospects.
“Santa Clara called me at 12:00 on the dot,” said Tyler Ennis. “Oregon State, Santa Clara and Iowa State all did.”
Ennis is a 6-foot-3, 178-pound guard who plays on the AAU spring and summer circuit with CIA Bounce out of Canada. He attended St. Benedict’s in Newark (NJ) last season and has had a busy early summer season with trips to LA for the Pangos Camp and to the University of Virginia campus for the recent NBA Top 100 Camp. His play has drawn very good reviews and it shows in the latest list of schools that have been in contact since the 15th.