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2016 Basketbull Hoopfest Team Review

2016 Basketbull Hoopfest, Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA

 

Thoughts on teams:

 

Putnam Science Academy: Putnam Science has a special team to say the least. Everyone knows about senior guard Hamidou Diallo and rightfully so. He’s a high major guy, can shoot the ball, has a high IQ, is a floor leader, oh yeah, and he can dunk the ball. He’s everything you could want from a 2 or even 3 guy. Junior guard Eric Ayala didn’t play much of the first half, but in the second half he showed that he means business. He’s a bigger guard, and is arguably the best defender in the country. He’s a tough player who isn’t afraid to do the dirty work and mix things up. Being that he’s only a junior, he’s got a lot of even more better basketball coming, pulling in most recent offers from Indiana and Memphis in the last week. Senior forwards Alexis Yetna, Isaac Kante, and Malik Ondigo are the height of this team, and they have a big presence down below. Ondigo is a tough, big, underrated guy who gets tons of second chance buckets. Kante has a great hook shot and is great in the post. Yetna is a great big presence under the basket, and also gets second chance buckets. KeAndre Fair is an underrated guard, who can shoot. Anything near the arc is his specialty. He can light it up, and next to Diallo they light it up. Fair is not the most underrated player on this team however. Jaheam Cornwall is a high major player. He’s small but tough. He is fast, flat out fast. He’s got college ready handles. He’s skilled and smart. He’s a great floor general, but can pull up if need be. Do not sleep on Jaheam Cornwall.

 

Cheshire Academy: Things begin and end with Chol Marial, but there’s Jeff Allen, Rich Kelly, and Nick Neihls in between. Allen is a tough SF, and he knows his role on the floor. He’s looking to make that extra pass, and can get the second chance bucket, or pull down the rebound. Kelly is a quick and crafty guard. He plays a very up-tempo game, and can shoot the three. You may recognize the name Neihls, as Nick is younger brother to Central Connecticut State PG, Austin Neihls. Shooting must run in the family because Nick Neihls can shoot. He’s underrated, and isn’t afraid to guard the best player on the opposing team. Marial played just as the rankings promise. He can block any shot within reach, and most of them are as he stands at 7’1. He can grab any rebound, and he makes second chance buckets look easy. He’s a high major player, and has years of high school basketball left to play.

 

New Hampton School: Things are clicking for New Hampton. Even without Kristers Zoriks (St. Mary’s) there right now, they are doing well. Junior PG Shandon Brown is excelling in his first season in the AAA. When he’s running the floor with senior Grant Robinson and Anthony Gaines (Northwestern) it’s a scary guard combo. Grant Robinson is a quick and smart guard that will be a steal for any college. Anthony Gaines is playing the best basketball yet right now. He was doing absolutely everything, running the floor, playing phenomenal defense, and of course, shooting from behind the arc. Senior forwards Walker Miller (Dartmouth) and Khalea Turner-Morris are a force to be reckoned with down below. Miller is unstoppable when he wants to put back, and Turner-Morris will block any shot within his range, not to mention he has a college ready body, and can pull in rebounds. With all of this said, Kimani Lawrence (Arizona State) is a shooting machine. If he gets the ball in his hands, that ball in going in the hoop. He’s looking a lot stronger, and knows it, and is shooting the ball great, and driving to the basket strong. With new coach Nick Whitmore, he’s making a special team at New Hampton.

 

South Kent School: South Kent is a younger team than usual with standout juniors Anthony Nelson, Christian Hickson, Malachi De Sousa, and Jared Whitt. De Sousa was the standout however; he’s big, young, and athletic. He’s got a very high ceiling, and looks ready to excel. Nelson was a great shooter from the 10-15 ft. range. He’s going to have a great season. Senior guards Kevin Smith and Alex Vilarino are a fantastic combination. They both are get-a-bucket sort of players. They make it happen, whether it’s giving the assist or driving to the basket themselves. Nick Washington is a college ready forward. He’s the complete player, he can defend any position, and while he may not look it, he’s fast. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.

 

Lee Academy: First things first, this team can shoot the lights out. This is the best team they have ever had. Shaquille Walters (Santa Clara) is the core of this team. He’s a great passer, and knows where everyone is at all times. He knows when to make that extra pass, or when to get a bucket himself. Miks Antoms and Arnolds Krauklis are scary from behind the arc, and almost can’t miss. The three-point shot is what kept them in this game and will be what makes them a team-to-beat come March. Big things are happening at Lee and no one should underestimate this team.

 

St. Thomas More School: To be honest, this is most certainly and rebuilding and learning year the Chancellors. E.J. Anosike (Sacred Heart) is the core of this team. He’s a versatile big, that’s got his best basketball ahead of him. And while he’s 6’7, he’s a force in the post. Tyrei Randall (Rider) is who holds it down from behind the arc, and if a shot’s possible, he’ll find a way. Senior guard Maceo Jack is another shooter. He’s great from the 15 foot range, and can drive the ball hard and fast. Senior PG Ty’jon Gilmore is and underrated guard in New England. He stands at 6’1, and has the handles of a veteran college guard. His IQ is high and college coaches need to and are going to take notice. Now looking into the St. Thomas More future, they have a sophomore guard, Jared Garcia who lights it up from behind the arc. He’s got years left to play in AAA and is going to be a high major player; schools need to get at him while they can. He’s only going to get better.

 

Northfield Mount Hermon: Northfield Mount Hermon is a deep team. Sophomore center, Max Lorca-Lloyd and junior forward Chuck Hannah were out with injuries, but that didn’t stop them from being up by almost 40 at one point. Senior forward Matt DeWolf (Brown) was on fire from down below. He’s unstoppable and isn’t afraid to dribble the ball around and find a way. Another senior forward Tomas Murphy (Northeastern) is definitely coming into his game. He was playing with a lot of confidence, and played a lot tougher than he has in the past. Senior guard Andrew Platek (North Carolina) is seriously only getting better. He just can’t miss from behind the arc, and isn’t afraid to drive and challenge a forward. Senior guard Kellan Grady (Davidson) is another guy who’s playing with a lot of confidence, and rightfully so. He’s a threat to shoot from anywhere, but he was hitting a lot of good 10 foot shots, he’s versatile. Senior guard Jordan Sechan (Bucknell) is another guy who’s going to see a lot more playing time as the year goes on. He’s getting smarter and tougher. His best basketball is yet to come. Junior guard Kai Toews just became a starter and he earned it. He’s a smart guard; he makes the pass most people don’t think is possible. He’s ready for his first year in the NEPSAC and is ready to make some noise. Junior guard Zach Light is another guy who’s ready to play, he’s a smaller guy, but his energy level is high, and he’s got some impressive ball handling skills. Junior forwards Davis Franks and Nate Laszewski are a bright future down below for NHM. Laszewski can light it up from behind the arc, and he’s a big guy, he’s also a high major guy. Franks is another big guy who’s going to learn from some of the best, and won’t have a hard time proving that he’s going to be one of the best forwards in New England.


New York, NY - August 18, 2016: Under Armour Elite 24 (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Under Armour Elite 24 Recap

The annual Under Armour Elite 24 events took place this past weekend, with the highlight of the weekend being the Elite 24 game on Saturday night at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 2. This game is fast paced, high level match up of some of the best rising juniors and seniors respectively. The teams this year were Team Drive and Team Clutch. The notables players are as follows.

 

Trevon Duval, 2017 PG, TBD- At this point it is a known fact that Trevon Duval will get the ball through the rim at will. Tonight was no different, he ended that game at the same pace he started with. He was getting to the rim at will, and had a number of good dunks in the start of the first half. He’s a high major player playing his best basketball and any school that lands him is getting a winner. Duval ended the game with 25 points & 9 assists.

 

Hamidou Diallo, 2017 SG, Putnam Science Academy- Diallo is a walking highlight real. He had the crowd hyped up during warm-ups and only carried that every into the game with his usual dunks. This is not to take away from his ball handling skills, and his all round game IQ. He can shoot the ball solidly from 3 point range, and guard an opponents best guards as well. He’s got an all around game that is irreplaceable. Diallo had 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals & 2 assists.

 

Silvio De Souza, 2018 PF, IMG Academy- The big man was on fire tonight. His presence in the post was made known at all times, making second and third change put backs at will. It must be mentioned that De Souza is only a rising junior and it will be exciting to watch him grow as a player these next couple of years. De Souza had 16 points & 8 rebounds on the night.

 

Zion Williamson, 2018 SF, Spartanburg Day School- Williamson won the dunk contest not even 24 hours before playing the Elite 24 game. That did not stop him from showing that he had something to prove in this game. He’s absolutely dominant on both ends of the floor, getting putbacks, rebounding, passing, he’s a high level player who can do it all. Williamson had 23 points, 6 rebounds & 3 assists.

 

Nick Richards, 2017 C, The Patrick School- Richards was a man amongst boys in this game. Not only does he have the height, but his body is getting bigger, in a great way. He made his presence known on almost every possession. Richards had 10 points & 9 rebounds.

 

Jalek Felton, 2017 PG, Mullins High School- The North Carolina commit was fresh off winning the 3-point shoot out the night before, but this did not slow him down in his scoring by any means. Felton had to be the quickest player in this game. He has many fast break points, but also blew by any defender in his path. This speed, along with some impressive ball handling skills made Felton an absolute dominant guard in this game. Felton had 16 points, 4 assists & 3 rebounds.

 

 

Austin Wiley, 2017 C, Spain Park High School (Auburn)- The Auburn commit had himself a game. Making his presence known in the post, and playing against some bigger guys in Nick Richards and Moses Brown. He has good on the glass, grabbing rebounds, getting second chance buckets, and even showed off some handles. Wiley had 22 points & 12 rebounds.

 

Isaiah Washington, 2017 PG, St. Raymond’s High School- Washington was originally not even selected to be in the Elite 24 game, and ended up going for a game high 36 points. He was definitely playing the role as ‘Hometown Hero’ in this game. The crowd loved him and he did not disappoint. His ball handling skills are one of a kind, and he will get to the basket at will, against any opponent. He’s expected to have a huge senior year, as one of the summers biggest stock risers.

 

photo cred: Under Armour


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Oak Hill Academy Crowned Number 1.

Oak Hill Academy (62) vs. La Lumiere (60):

Oak Hill came out hot in this absolute thriller of a Dicks Nationals High School Championship Game against La Lumiere. They definitely had seemed to have knocked some rust off. Many thought that with the losses of Harry Giles and Joe Hampton to ACL injuries that this Oak Hill squad would crumble. Their 45-1 record will tell you that they certainly knew how to fill those big holes in their roster. Oak Hill was in an incredible rhythm until they blew an 18-point lead, which lead to the overtime. Braxton Key took home MVP honors from this tournament. He was playing big, and was getting to the glass and basket at will. Key had just short of a double-double with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist. Khadim Sy is another big man who has having a strong game. He missed a couple important free throws, but made up for that with getting the game winning tip-in in overtime. Sy had 9 points, 9 rebounds. Matt Coleman started the game off strong, getting to the basket, making good passes, and shooting 3’s. Coleman finished with 8 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. Lindell Wigginton was also having a great shooting day. He had 16 points, 5 rebounds. Oak Hill will graduate 4 seniors big men, Braxton Key (Alabama), Mario Kegler (Mississippi State), Khadim Sy (Virginia Tech), and Rodney Miller (Miami).

La Lumiere wasn’t looking as fast and aggressive as they have the past two days. They seemed out of synch for much of the first half. Within the first two minutes Jeremiah Timon dislocated his shoulder and was rushed to the hospital. This was a huge loss for La Lumiere, seeing as how Tilmon is usually their top rebounder. James Banks was also in foul trouble for the whole game, eventually fouling out during overtime. Banks finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Kevin Zhang got much more playing time than usual with both Tilmon and Banks not playing their usual minutes. Zhang finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Brian Bowen was not playing to his potential for the first half of the game. After halftime he came out a different player. He was shooting great and getting to the basket. He was the true reason for La Lumiere making a comeback in this game, and lead them into overtime. Bowen finished with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists. Freshman point guard Tyger Campbell is one guy who always was cutting the rim, facilitating his team mates, and making good decisions for such a young player. Campbell had 12 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. Isaiah Coleman-Lands had an exceptional game as well, hitting some important 3-point shots. He finished with 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists. Brandon Cyrus also added another 5 rebounds, 3 points. La Lumiere will graduate 2 seniors, James Banks (Texas) and Brandon Cyrus (DePaul).


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Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals Day 2 Recap

Montverde Academy (47) vs. La Lumiere (55):

La Lumiere once again came out fast paced, but very out of rhythm. Brian Bowen struggled for the first half of the game. He was playing a bit too fast then he’s used to and therefor turned the ball over multiple times. During the second half he slowed down and hit some very smooth mid-range jumpers. Jeremiah Timon found himself in some foul trouble as well, but still finished with 6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 assist. It was Freshman point guard, Tyger Campbell who really put the team on his back up halftime. He was playing a very quick and aggressive game, therefor making fast drives to the basket. He was made out to be a target by the Montverde defense and he handled that extra pressure very well. The halftime score was 35-34 Montverde. When the second half started it seemed everyone on La Lumiere came to play. Texas commit James Banks had a much better day today ended with 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Brian Bowen had himself a near double-double with 16 point, 9 rebounds, 3 assists. Tyler Campbell finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals. Other guys who had notable performances were Brandon Cyrus, who had 5 points, 7 rebounds. Junior forward Kevin Zhang also shows great potential, with good size and tons of upside.

 

Montverde found themselves really battling more than they’re used to. Freshman guard RJ Barrett was off today, going 0-10 from the field. Bruno Fernando also seemed to be out of rhythm, he finished with 2 points, 5 rebounds. The team had a lot of great passing going on which led to Ohio State commit Micah Potter’s 11 points, 4 rebounds. But Montverde went 8-26 from the free throw line. Simi Shittu was having himself a good game, being active on the glass he pulled down 10 rebounds, adding in 6 points, 2 assist, 2 steals. Silvio De Sousa was definitely the shining start for Montverde today, he was excellent on the glass, grabbing rebounds, dunking the ball. He had 15 points, 5 rebounds. Montverde is no stranger to this tournament and therefor may have been thought to be a shoe-in for the championship game, but there 18-70 shooting was not going to get them the win on this day.

 

Oak Hill Academy (47) vs. Miller Grove (46):

It almost seemed as though Oak Hill had met their match. They came out strong to start the game. But during the second half Miller Grove crawled their way back into this game, but Oak Hill would not allow them to complete the second upset of the day. Right from the start Junior guards Matt Coleman and Lindell Wigginton were cutting to the basket full throttle. Their passing was what really stood out, they were unselfishly facilitating the team. Coleman had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, while Wigginton had 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists. Braxton also had a tremendous game with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assist, and not the mention the game winning block. Khadim Sy was also active on the glass, battle through to the rim he had 10 point, 7 rebounds. We’ll see if Oak Hill can finally knock all the rust off for the championship game against La Lumiere.

 

Miller Grove started this game very slow and didn’t seem to find their rhyme until the end of the second quarter. They overall are a smaller team and knew how to use that to their advantage. Guys like AUB football commit Raylon Richardson, Colin Young, and UConn commit Alterique Gilbert all had great games. Gilbert had 19 points, 2 rebounds, Richardson had 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and Young added in 6 points, 3 rebounds. Not many have even heard of Miller Grove until this tournament and they definitely have made a national statement that they belong here. They won a state championship in Georgia this year, and now have shown the nation that they are in fact one of the top basketball programs in the country.


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Dick’s Sporting Goods HS Nationals Day 1 Recap

The 2016 Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals is closing out the 2015-16 high school basketball season with a bang. Eight of the top ranked high school boys teams across the nation venture to New York with a chance to be crowned as the best of the best.

La Lumiere (60) vs. St. Benedict’s(59):

La Lumiere came out very strong to start the day, and the first game of the Dicks High School Nationals Tournament. They were playing with sense of urgency.  They were dominant on the inside, blocking shots, finishing at the rim. They struggled with the ball in the second quartering, turning it over multiple times. Brian Bowen really came to play right from the start. He would drive hard to rim, shoot the 2 or 3. He finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. The Texas commit James Banks was active defense, having the game winning block, and was active on the glass pulling down 8 rebounds, and adding 4 points. The DePaul commit Brandon Cyrus had 6 points, 4 rebounds. Other notable players were Junior Jeremiah Tilmon who was just short of a double-double having 10 rebounds, and 9 rebounds, and Freshman Tyger Campbell, a small, shifty point guard who had 9 points.

 

St. Benedict’s started the game off looking a little blown away by the speed and aggressiveness of La Lumiere. They were turning the ball over numerous times during the first quarter, allowing La Lumiere, and Brian Bowen especially to get the easy baskets. St. Benedict’s made an incredible effort to always try to crawl their way into the lead, but La Lumiere would always have an answer for them. Junior David Beatty who is said to be their best player went 1 for 12 from the floor today, and 1 for 7 from 3-point range. James Scott, who’s headed to Kennesaw State had 18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists. Bourama Sidibe added a double-double with 12 rebounds, 13 points, 2 assists, and George Washington commit Arnaldo Toro had 10 points, 8 rebounds.

 

Oak Hill Academy (81) vs. Wasatch Academy (64):

 

Oak Hill was down 0-10 to start this game. They hadn’t had a practice for 17 days, and hadn’t had a game for almost a month. To say the least, they looked rusty. They didn’t find their rhythm until the end of the second quarter. They ultimately come out on top once they started getting good looks from 3-point range and the guards were getting much more aggressive, driving to the basket. Junior guards Matt Coleman, Lindell Wigginton, Devontae Schuler, and Creighton commit Ty-Shon Alexander put on a show. Coleman had 7 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, Wigginton had 17 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, Schuler had 13 points, 3 assists, and Alexander had 11 points, 1 assist. This is not to say that the forwards presence wasn’t felt. Virginia Tech commit Khadim Sy was ruthless on the glass, adding a double-double of 10 rebounds, 13 points. Alabama commit Braxton Key was doing it all adding in 12 points, 7 rebound, 4 steals, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.

 

Wasatch Academy came out hot, getting good 3’s and 2’s to hit. They couldn’t withhold the combination of the big forwards, and the shifty guards from Oak Hill however. They put up a tremendous fight, their passing was unreal. Josip Vrankic had the game high 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists. Jeff Baradziej was looking good from the 3, having 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists. Utah State commit Koby McEwan had 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists. Watch out for Wasatch Academy in the future as they may make a name for themselves as one of the best basketball teams from the West.

 

Montverde Academy (70) vs. Providence Day (54):

 

Montverde came out colder than ever. They were down 12-15 after the first quarter. Once they started to have a strong full court press however, they started causing turnovers and their big were having a field day. With the huge group of forwards that include Bruno Fernando, Silvio De Sousa, Simi Shittu, and Micah Potter. Fernando had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, De Sousa had 10 points, Shittu had 8 points, 5 rebounds, and Potter added 3 points, 2 rebounds. The guards were also impressive, although Montverde may not be known for them just yet. Freshman point guard RJ Barrett had a game high 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, clearly making a statement and a name for himself. He is definitely a guy to keep track of in the years to come. Devonta Jordan also had a good game, he was quick to the basket, and is a good transition player, therefor he added 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.

 

Providence Day saw glimpses of a chance to make a run against Montverde but could not capitalize. They were hot from beyond the arc however. Tennessee commit Grant Buchmiller only played 1 minute of the game, which could play a factor in this loss. Sophomore starting point guard Devon Dotson is a name you’ll hear a lot in the future, he recently received another from UNC, and he had 11 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists. Other notable players were Grant Williams who had 12 points, 8 rebounds, and Isaac Johnson who added 8 points, 6 rebounds.

 

Miller Grove (67) vs. Findlay Prep (65):

 

Miller Grove just won a state championship in Georgia, defeating High Point Christian who’s known for Kentucky commit Bam Adibayo and Boston College commit Ty Graves. There may be only one guy from Miller Grove who anyone has heard of, Alterique Gilbert, the McDonald’s All-American and UConn commit. He has at the McDonald’s game just last night, getting on a plane in Chicago at 5:30 AM, and arriving in New York at 11 AM. For most people this would mean it would be a sluggish day. For Alterique Gilbert it meant he would have 2o points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals. This by no means is to say that this game was a blow-out. The game remained neck and neck until the very last second. Miller Grove does have a rather small roster, having their tallest player stand at 6’7”. They are incredible shooters however. Raylon Richardson who fouled out had 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, Colin Young had 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assist, and Nauqante Hardy added another 8 points.

 

Findlay Prep is a much bigger name with a much more highlight reel roster, consisting of Juniors P.J. Washington, Markus Howard, and  Skylar Mays. All of which had incredible games. Mays was aggressive, driving to the basket at will, having himself 21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Howard, who’s a strong point guard, was shooting the ball well, and passing the ball well. He had 13 points, 3 rebounds. Washington was looking strong, finishing at the rim. He added a double-double of 15 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 assists. Their game plan was to keep Miller Grove out of the paint, and stop them from driving to the rim. This worked until Miller Grove started to force their way to the rim or would settle for 3’s that hit their mark.