Live Blog: Future All-American Camp Day 2

Future All American Live Blog Day 2
Hoop Group will be providing daily online coverage of Elite camps in the form of “live blogs,” recognizing outstanding achievements at camp, and keeping you informed of all the latest Hoop Group Elite happenings.

In these live blogs, Hoop Group staff will note camp standouts, spectacular plays, daily schedules, and more. While the bulk of updates will be text entries from writers, keep an eye out for video highlights and interviews, quotes from players, exclusive photos, and Twitter updates.

Today’s Schedule

8:09 PM – It’s prime time for today’s games with all three locations being fully used at Albright. Donvon Love (TBA / Providence, RI) has been impressive in his first night game, quickly attacking the hoop while altering his approach as the defense crashes on him. The 2016 combo guard has an old school scoring swagger to him with a calm and confident demeanor. He’s displayed great shooting form and court vision as well. —@CraigManfra

7:17 PM Position-specific work is still going on, and players seem to be responding well to the instruction. While station instruction is a daily fixture at Hoop Group Elite camps, the idea of breaking down players into position-specific drills is slightly out of the ordinary. Elite director Chad Babel is enjoying the session. “This is cool,” Babel said. “We’re really getting into some important, specific skills and everyone is buying into it right now.” @Edgar_Walker

6:49 PM- Players have now broken into one of our three position camps; Big Man, Shooting, or Backcourt. These specific breakout sessions provide an opportunity for the players to gain valuable advice on what aspect of the game is most important to them. Within each position camp there are several small groups, each with two Hoop Group coaches to provide a small ratio between player and coach to maximize learning. —@CraigManfra

6:00 PM- Coming back from dinner, games can sometimes be sluggish and slow. That wasn’t the case for rising 8th grader Griffin Kornaker (Webster Schroeder / Webster, N.Y.) and his team tonight, as they were playing aggressively and being very vocal with one another on both sides of the ball. Kornaker has excellent court vision and plays very under control from the point guard position. @Edgar_Walker

5:26 PM- There has been a lot of talk about the heavy Canadian presence here at Future All-American camp. Canada has become a hotbed for basketball talent in recent years, and the skill level of the players here at camp has been excellent. @Edgar_Walker

4:46 PM- Hoop Group Elite camps offer unparalleled exposure at their camps, and Future All-American is no exception. Although the live recruiting period is over and thus college coaches are not in attendance, scouting services and media members still help players gain publicity and make a name for themselves. ESPN is in the house today, as recruiting expert Adam Finkelstein (also the head of New England Recruiting Report) is on hand to watch the action here at Future All-American Camp:



4:05 PM- As the day goes on, the players continue to step their games up. ESPN’s #7 player in the 2015 class, Thomas Bryant (Bishop Kearny /Rochester, PA) has certainly not disappointed in game play. The athletic big man put on a dunking show in his last game with a combination of fast break and in the post slams. Bryant has continued his progression in the post, displaying great footwork and a warrior’s mentality at the hoop. —@CraigManfra

3:57 PM- Joshua Reaves (Paul VI, Va./ 2015) continues to gear up for the coming season with strong play during the second day of camp. Reaves, who transferred to Paul VI from Middlesburg, Va. after last year, expects to play 2/3 and come off the bench for Panthers.
In addition to sharpening his skills, attending Hoop Group camps in Reading this summer has given Reaves a chance to play with his future teammate Marcus Derrickson (Paul VI, Va./ 2015). They played together on Day One’s tryout team and did the same during Elite II. —@pfebbraro

3:29 PM- Tyheem Harmon (Imhotep Charter, Pa./ 2015) just flashed his speed as he brought the ball end-to-end and to put his team up by 12 as afternoon play contiues. —@pfebbraro

2:23 PM— Former Division I basketball coach Pat Kennedy is giving a lecture to the campers right now about mentally preparing for the rigors of the recruiting process and the college game, much of which begins with one simple variable: attitude. Kennedy stressed that players who want to work hard, hustle, and show coaches their willingness to play the game will be more highly regarded than those with a bad attitude. Want a coach who knows the college basketball scene? Kennedy coached the game for forty year at schools that include Florida State, Towson, and Iona. –@DanielJMartin_

1:31 PM— One of the great things about Hoop Group camps, and this one in particular, is the way coaches are quick to help players develop their game and constructively shape the way a camper approaches basketball. During one sequence late this morning, a player had two straight possessions down the floor where he rushed his shot. During a break in play, a coach brought the player to the side and told him about being more selective on his shots. The next time down the floor, the player passed, which opened up the defense and he ended up getting the ball back, getting a good shot, and scoring. –@DanielJMartin_

1:04 PM- A 6-6 rising freshman, forward Jarvis Doles, Jr. (Mount St. Joseph / Baltimore, MD) has been playing inside, but has impressive athleticism and mobility, suggesting that he could play on the wing at the high school level. Doles is cleaning up on the boards and setting very good screens right now, leading his team in a tight three-point game with three minutes remaining. @Edgar_Walker

12:07 PM- One of the top players nationally in the Class of 2015, point guard Isaiah Briscoe (St. Benedict’s Prep / Newark, N.J.) is here and playing very well. He’s delivering good passes to open teammates, and starting the break when appropriate. Briscoe does very well at coaxing defenders into leaving their feet, and drawing contact to get to the foul line. @Edgar_Walker

11:35 AM- See the players who had the strongest performances on Day One in our Outstanding Performers article, which was posted earlier this morning and will be created each day of camp.

11:05 AM- Stone Scarcelle (Spring Ford, Pa./ 2017) and Matthew Glassman (Lurgio MS, N.H./2017) have both displayed an excellent work ethic through the first half of day two. Scarcelle has played well on the boards while Glassman has distributed the ball well. —@pfebbraro

10:54 AM- We’ve put together some stellar video mixtapes this summer at camps (Elite Session II mixtape) and tournaments (Philadelphia tournament tour mixtape). We’re back at it for Future All-American Camp, as @DaveKrupinski is filming right now. The link to the final product will be posted, and judging by some of the plays we’ve already seen thus far, the video should be a great one. @Edgar_Walker

10:07 AM- The first set of games has just tipped off, and the pace of play is already quite fast. Rising freshman guard Gianni Ford (Our Savior New American / Centereach, N.Y.) is playing well, making good plays as ball handler in the pick-and-roll. @Edgar_Walker

9:37 AM- The youngsters are downstairs in Bollman Center this morning, working through their station rotations. The drills during station work are not specialized, meaning that players work on multiple skills during one drill. They are not simply taking a jumper or making a bounce pass, as they have to handle the ball through an obstacle, perform a pump fake, make a cut, or add some other wrinkle to the traditional exercise. @Edgar_Walker

9:00 AM – Day 2 is underway as the athletes visiting the Albright campus work on their technique and form in our work stations. These morning drills are specifically great for the younger students as we focus on the fundamentals of the game. The 6th and 7th graders in attendance may be in the upper tier of talent for their class but without continuously learning new skills the right way this potential may never fully unfold.

Our optional early bird workouts this morning showed a great turnout of about half the camp! Kids came focused and ready for a long day of summer hoops. Stay tuned here and our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)  for more camp updates and exclusives. —@CraigManfra

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Unsung No More: Raritan Roundballers Surprise at Summer Jam Fest

Prospect-loaded programs set out to Philadelphia from as far as Canada and China, yet the one team that was continuously the hot talking point for visiting coaches was a little-known Jersey program from just 50 miles north on US-202.

The surprise story of the tournament that enthralled all attendees was the fantastic team play, and I emphasize the word “team,” of the Raritan Roundballers, as they unexpectedly worked their way to the 17U Championship game.

This group of unsung heroes was not on anyone’s list of must-watch teams or favorites to win, yet again and again they proved their worth and demanded attention in the final rounds of this highly competitive tournament.

The program was founded in 2010 by former Rutgers Director of Basketball Operations Dennis Gregory. The 17U roster was assembled of players from around the Raritan area, who have performed strongly both on the court and in the classroom. In fact, six members of the team had attended the Hoop Group Academic Elite Camp earlier this summer, which only allows entry to high school players with a GPA of 3.25 or higher.

The Roundballers’ Cinderella run at Summer Jam Fest began with them winning their team pool, which actually made for their fifth consecutive tournament pool they had won. The team drew a tough first-round draw against the Connecticut Basketball Club (CBC), who was favored to win their region of the bracket.

With a team effort the Roundballers controlled the game and won decisively, 72-49.

Rising senior guard, Steven Weidlich (Watchung Hills HS / Class of 2013) led the Roundballers with a 27 point (Seven 3PTs) attack. This impressive performance from beyond the arc was no fluke, as he had sunk eight and six 3-pointers prior in pool play. He continued on a legendary perimeter shooting run to be the tournament’s leading three-point scorer, averaging over 6.4 treys per game.

When asked what he thought of his Summer Jam Fest best three-point scoring average, Weidlich said, “My team is sharing the ball well, without that we wouldn’t be winning. That is the reason I am capable of hitting those threes”.

Steven Weidlich

Steven Weidlich averaged over six three-pointers per game at the Hoop Group Summer JamFest

As Weidlich’s thoughts reflect, each game they played unselfishly and as a team, with everyone doing their part to give the best chance of winning. The players trusted and believed in each other, and their performance showed it.

Ball movement was machine-like at times, constant vocal reinforcement was heard on both sides of the ball, and good shot opportunities were consistently being passed to a teammate for great shot opportunities. This team-first mentality was easily seen in facilitating point guard Matthew Farrell (Class of 2014) and high energy big man Riley Calzonetti (Class of 2013).

Not surprisingly, these two selfless players won Hoop Group’s Team Camp a week earlier as part of the Point Pleasant Beach HS fielded squad.

Three-point sniping Weidlich commented on how they’ve been beating their opponents by intensely saying, “Anyone is capable of beating anyone. Doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we believe we can win!”. Their next challenge would prove to be their most doubted and memorable one.

Powerhouse New Heights NYC had steam rolled to the Semi-Finals and a “David vs. Gloliath” match-up against the Roundballers. The 12:30 PM tipoff brought loads of curious onlookers, national media coverage, and over 60 college coaches from conferences ranging from the Big East to the Ivy League.

The New Heights team was much quicker and taller than the Roundballers, and its high-major talent littered roster was a major reason for several Division I recruiting coaches to be in attendance.

The team friendly pass-first mentality worked very well for the Roundballers as they had earned a large lead toward the end of the second half and fought off the aggressive full-court pressure of New Heights. This crucial 17U semifinal game went to the wire, but smart team decisions and a big block by 6-foot-6 forward Michael Rubayo (Montgomery HS / Class of 2013) with just 50 seconds remaining helped Raritan hold on for the surprise victory, final score 50-48.

Now that this central New Jersey team with players who had yet to pick up Division I interest had completely shook up the gold bracket and earned themselves a trip to the 17U Championship Game, it had everyone in the gym talking Raritan Roundballers basketball.

Director of the National Recruiting Report, Steve Keller, even tweeted out:


Although the Roundballers ended up losing in the finals to a very talented, athletic, and of course favored New Rens (N.Y.) team, they certainly made the most of their opportunity at Jam Fest and left a lasting impression on all involved.

Seconds after losing the much desired Jam Fest Championship, Roundballers Coach Kurzinsky emphasized to his players, “When we win as a team, we all win. Because we won as a team we had big time D-1 coaches watching our games thinking there’s gotta be something special about this team and its’ players that has them keep on winning!”.

This just goes to show that a team can achieve much greater things than a collection of great individuals.

Follow Craig Manfra on Twitter: @CraigManfra

Live Blog: West Virginia Jam Fest Day One (7/18)

Hoop Group’s West Virginia Jam Fest is an intense two-day tournament, featuring 72 of the nation’s best AAU teams.

Hoop Group will be providing daily online coverage of this Jam Fest in the form of “live blogs,” recognizing outstanding achievements at camp, and keeping you informed of all the latest Hoop Group Elite happenings.

In these live blogs, Hoop Group staff will note tournament standouts, spectacular plays, college coaches in attendance, and more. While the bulk of updates will be text entries from writers, keep an eye out for video highlights and interviews, quotes from players, exclusive photos, Twitter updates, and more.

See Updated Schedule and Brackets and Game Results

10:51 PMAlex Papesch (St. Ignatuis (OH) HS/ Class of 2013) scored 16 points to lead TNBA East (OH) to a 64-43 victory over PA Pump and Run (PA) in the final game of 17U-bracket play at University High School in Morgantown, WV. —@pfebbraro

10:41 PM Stephen Brown (Christ Chapel (VA) HS/ Class of 2014) scored a team-high 14 points to lead Team Takeover Murphy (DC) to a 61-59 win over the Virginia Rapids (VA) in the 17U bracket. Brian Snyder (Chantilly (VA) HS/ Class of 2013) of the Rapids finished with a game-high 17 points. —@pfebbraro

10:00 PMMichael Beck scored a combined 39 points in leading the Bayside Ballers (PA) of Erie, PA to victories over TNBA East (OH) and PA Pump and Run (PA). Click on the following link for more information on Beck and McDowell (PA) High School. . —@pfebbraro

8:10 PM – In the second round of the 17U bracket, Pittsburgh Team Adidas squeaked by DG Warriors in an exciting Overtime victory, 55-52. Although on the losing side of things, Chris Scott (Nordona HS/Northfield, OH) performed well for the second time today. The 6’6 Forward had a strong presence in the paint scoring 19 points and collecting 6 rebounds. Scott has certainly made an impression so look for his name to be in today’s Outstanding Performers article posted later tonight. – @Craigs_Lists

6:00 PM – 2013 forward Thomas Bonacum (Scotch Plains Fanwood/Fanwood, NJ) put on a show by scoring 35 points for Jersey Hot Shots. Unfortunately Bonacum’s efforts were not enough has the DG Warriors won this 17U first round match up, 62-56. Rising Senior guard Chris Carter (Bedford HS/Bedford, Ohio) carried the Warriors with 22 points to put them inline for their next game against Team Adidas (PA). – @Craigs_Lists

4:15 PM – In the 16U Bracket, game 1 between Bayside Ballers and TNBA East (OH) was a barn burner that ended in the favor of the Ballers, 65-56. Rising Junior, Michael Beck, showed a strong scoring game by stroking 20 points, including 2 three pointers. Andy Stromenger also contributed with 24 points for the Ballers. At the Morgantown HS Gym 2, TNBA West (OH) beat Pittsburg Basketball Club decisively by 15 points due to a strong interior game. – @Craigs_Lists

12:00 PM – Registration is under way and AAU teams from as far as Albany, NY to Lexington, KY are checking in for this highly competitive tournament. Stay tuned here for all the top performing team and individual player updates. – @Craigs_Lists

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