SJF Day 2 Top Performers


It was a long day at Spooky on Saturday. Over 12 hours of games were played today and many teams are drawing closer to their championship goals. Here are some players who stood out:

Devante Cross; Jersey Force; 2016

 He’s a walking highlight reel. Cross is one of the most athletic guards we have seen all year, and he put on a show for coaches and spectators yesterday. He threw down a number of big time slams, and also showed good burst off the bounce and a solid middle game.

Jordan Hardwick; Expressions Elite; 2017

He hits the glass often, and many of the times it turns into a huge putback dunk. Hardwick is another walking highlight, and he showed it in his 14 point outing in Expressions win over VA Elite. He’s a menace in transition, and can protect the rim with his length and athleticism too.

Jahlil Jenkins; Uncommon Bulls; 2017

He keeps getting better, and the West Virginia point guard continues to impress coaches with his ability to shoot it and run the point. Jenkins was lights out from deep yesterday, despite a tough loss to Team Legacy, and college coaches continue to take interest after he picked up his first three offers last week.

Christian Schmitt; Pittsburgh Nets; 2016 

They hung in there with the NJ Playaz for about 30 minutes, and it would’ve been the upset of the tournament. Schmitt was instrumental, as the 5’11 combo guard hit tough shots from all three levels on the way to 18 points. He showed some serious moxy down the stretch, and never took a bad shot the whole game.

Afanna Offor; Team Loaded 434; 2016

This team is stacked with shooters, and it was Offor’s turn last night. The 6’4 wing from Blue Ridge School was 5-for-7 from deep in their second game of the tournament, showing tremendous range off the catch. He also impacts the game defensively with his ability to move laterally with such a big frame.

Bryan Knapp; Team Legacy; 2017 

He doesn’t look like it, but Bryan Knapp is a killer that will rip your heart out. In their matchup with the Uncommon Bulls, he went for 20 points in the first half, hitting pull ups all over the floor and knocking down the deep ball when left open. He finished with 25, and they wouldn’t have upset the Bulls without his big first half. 

Brandon Edmunds; VA Elite; 2017

We knew he could shoot from last weekend, but the rest of his game was really impressive as well. Edmunds did hit five threes, and he showed some serious guts in their loss to Expressions Elite. At just 5’11, Edmunds was battling on the defensive boards, and he got back to take two big charges that ignited his team. He was big for his team in ways that didn’t show up on the stat sheet. 

Ejike Obinna; Uncommon Bulls; 2017

 He was in foul trouble early against Team Legacy, but he came back in a big way in their second game of the day with 23 points. He’s still working on the offensive end, but he makes an impact with his size at 6’10, especially on the boards and the defensive end. He’s a high major kid in the making.

 Jaleel Simmons; House of Hoops; 2016

This is the second week in a row that Simmons has put his team on his back, and they came up just short. Despite a tough loss to the Philly Vipers, Simmons showed another level of toughness, and his ability to get to the basket and finish through contact is second to none. It will take a lot of heart to stop a freight train like him. 

Nassir Barrino; NJ Playaz; 2015 

He was a menace defensively down the stretch in their win over the Pittsburgh Nets, getting more than a few steals that led to easy layups. Barrino is the kind of guard you want, one that will sit down and turn his man all the way up the court. He moves his feet well, and on the offensive end he consistently finished tough takes through traffic.

Jack Herron

Vantage Hoops Analyst

Greater Richmond Area

Ejike Obinna: A Stock on the Rise

Despite only playing basketball for two and a half years, 2017 Ejike Obinna has been one of
the most impressive big men at the Hoop Group Elite Session One. He may lack some of the experience and skill of the other bigs, but the 6’10 Virginia Academy center makes up for it with a never ending motor and a competitive will to win.

“I love competition,” Obinna said about playing against the more experienced players. “I love to play against college bound guys, even if it’s the NBA guys, I’m not afraid of anybody. I love to experience it all.”

Obinna is a physical specimen with a good frame around 240 pounds. He clogs the lane defensively, protects the rim and rebounds well on both ends outside of his area. He is constantly sprinting the floor whether it’s rim running on offense or getting back in transition defensively, and he believes that playing hard is what is going to get him to his ultimate goal.

“I want to get a scholarship to play college ball,” Obinna said. “I feel like playing hard is going to get me there.”

Obinna already holds interest in a number of high major programs including Penn State and Georgetown, and his tremendous size and upside are going to make him a coveted prospect. He truly is a star in the making.