By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Saturday in Indianapolis was all playoff action at the Adidas Invitational and with higher stakes came stronger performances. All three age groups (15U, 16U, 17U) were represented at the main gym and players from all ages and all places managed to stand out. Here’s a sampling of who impressed.
Top Performers of the Day:
Daniel Hamilton (Dream Vision 2014) – The younger of the pair of brothers on Dream Vision’s 17U squad, Daniel is two inches taller and significantly longer than his older brother. While Daniel’s set of tools on the offensive end is not quite as refined as Isaac, he does have the middle game down to a science. He’s best scoring on runners or floaters going in either direction often using the back board from unusual angles. Hamilton has range out to the 3-point line but is consistently more successful when he puts the ball on the floor and pressures the defense off the dribble. Added strength, improved ball handling skills, and better shot selection can spring board Hamilton’s game to the next level.
Contrast in communication sticks out
by Raphielle Johnson
The LeBron James Skills Academy, and other events like it, provide scouts and media with the opportunity to watch both collegiate and high school players work out in an instructional environment.
The final leg of Nike’s skills academy series, the LeBron camp features 24 college and 93 high school basketball players.
One area that has displayed a stark contrast between the two groups through two days has been on-court communication.
While the college players, be it in drills or in scrimmage situations, consistently communicate with each other the same can’t be said for the the high school stars.
This isn’t incredibly surprising, but if anything the need for instructors to consistently remind the high school players of the importance of on-court communication underlines a major difference between the two levels.
An action as simple as calling out a screen for a teammate may not seem like a big deal, and in many instances pure athletic skill trumps the intangibles when evaluating young talent.
But those “little things” can ultimately be the difference between simply having a shot at being a pro and being able to make an impact as one. This will be something to keep an eye on as the high school players begin scrimmage play on Sunday afternoon.
With college basketball coaches being able to be on the road this April for the first time in several years to evaluate prospects, recruiting at this stage this year seems to be well ahead for the rising senior class than in recent memory. Along with the head start in getting a look at their top 2013 targets, college coaches also had the opportunity to take a glance at 2014 and younger players this past April. That has meant a more meaningful June 15th date for the rising junior class as college coaches got a good look over a two weekend period at prospects and their early phone calls and texts to prospects were likely chosen from what they actuall saw.
One name that is new to many recruitniks that they should begin to learn in the Class of 2013 is Kyle Williams. College coaches definitely know the name and by judging from the list of school making early contact with the 6-foot-9, 225-pound big man out of Freeport (NY), his recruitment could blow up quickly.
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.
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.
By Alex Schwartz
HACKENSACK, N.J. – The New Year’s Jump-Off at Hackensack High School featured four games to bring in the year 2012. Included were some of the Garden State’s perennial powers and NBE Basketball Report was on hand for two-plus contests.
In addition to taking in the action, we were able to catch up with a couple of standout juniors for recruiting updates.
GAME RECAPS & STANDOUT PERFORMERS
NBE caught the end of the Teaneck/St. Patrick’s game, in which the Highwaymen knocked off the Celtics in overtime. Junior guard Joel Hernandez hit a buzzer beating three for Teaneck to send it to OT and knocked down two of three free throws in a tie game with one second left in the extra session. He and St. Patrick’s junior wing Jared Nickens were named co-MVPs.
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.
Could Andre Drummond be on a college campus next fall? Possibility was not ruled out on Saturday
By Brian Bosworth
After the Bob Gibbons’ Tournament of Champions field was trimmed at the last minute, many teams were left scrambling for a new home for Memorial Day Weekend. Thankfully, the NERR Invitational sprung together quickly and some of the nations’ top amateur players had a venue to display their talents. Saturday’s action was chock full of future college stars as high profile programs Connecticut Basketball Club (CBC), NE Playaz, Mass Rivals, New Heights, Team Philly, and a host of others were in action. A few players proved themselves to be a cut above the rest and they are outlined below.
Andre Drummond (CBC 2012) – Drummond stands at 6’10” 275 pounds and he is the best high school basketball prospect in the country regardless of class. While often criticized for inconsistent play and a lack of dominance neither issue showed itself on this day. In an afternoon contest with Drive 4 Stardum Drummond had 20 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 7 rim shattering dunks. He showcased his full arsenal of skills and truly punished the opponent with his incredible force. Three of his monster dunks came on offensive rebound tip-ins but to simply call them tip-ins doesn’t do them justice. Drummond rises above everyone else on the floor in traffic with his hand easily above the box, grabs offensive boards, and hammers them down all in one fluid motion. It’s the kind of play that maybe 20 people on the planet could pull off and Drummond is an 18 year-old kid who just finished his Junior year of high school.