2017 Summer Jam Fest Media

                   

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Live Blog


Sunday | July 23rd

4:12 PM

4:06 PM

SBA ELITE BEATS MIDDLESEX MAGIC 47-46

4:06 PM

Middlesex Magic with the ball under the basket. Having trouble getting it into play and SBA intercepts a pass to Shaughnessy in the corner.

4:05 PM

SBA Elite makes a nice move under the basket and finishes to put them up 1 with seconds to play

4:05 PM

Middlesex Magic playing keep away drained 30 + seconds off the clock. Still lead by 1 in the championship game of the 17u Platinum Division.

4:04 PM

William Yarbrough with a big 15 footer from the right elbow to pull SBA Elite within 1 (46-45) with 1 minute to go in the game

3:58 PM

Mark Natiello is having himself a GAME for SBA Elite. One of the main reasons SBA has been about to stay in it trailing by 3 with 2.22 to play

3:54 PM

On Court 1, Bryce Daley with a beautiful finger roll finish over a defender plus the foul, pushes Middlesex Magic lead to 4 with 4.47 to go in the game

3:51 PM

Black Bear North and DapzKK battling hard, Jacob Godfrey #8 with a nice reverse layup over the arms of a defender. Tied game with 10.00 left on the clock

3:34 PM 

Natiello with ANOTHER basket from three point land putting SBA Elite up 26-22 at the half

3:30 PM

Mark  Natiello hits a three to put SBA Elite up 22-20 with 2.50 left to play in the first half

3:24 PM

Mark Natiello (#25) for SBA Elite is really putting his team on his back and goes on a 6 point streak himself

3:16 PM

SBA Elite is competing with presumably the best team in the bracket. Score 11-15

3:15 PM

Game underway for the 17U Platinum between Middlesex Magic and SBA Elite , already an intense game displaying each teams strengths

3:01 PM

2:47 PM

David Duda with a 3 to answer Oh NOVA #15 Rodericks

1:27 PM

12:35 PM

On Court 3, Maryland Elite is lead Franklin Force by with 12:30 to go in the game. Sean Yoder with a big 3 in the coner to push the lead to 4 points. East Coast Power leading 42 -38

2:31 PM

David Duda with a 3 at the buzzer to end the first half putting his team within 1. Duda has been strong from the perimeter all weekend.

2:25 PM

East Coast Power getting Multiple opportunities to score

2:25 PM

With 3 mins remaining in the first half, Oh NOVA leads East Coast Power 30-24

2:15 PM

East Coast Power looks to rely on their hot perimeter shooting in lefty #2 David Duda and strong combo guard #5

2:03 PM

East Coast Power and Oh NOVA about to play on court 1. both teams look evenly matched u

1:58 PM

DAP2kk trying to seal the deal on the free throw line with 27 seconds remaining in the game. Leads 71-66

1:58 PM

DAP2kk trying to seal the deal on the free throw line with 27 seconds remaining in the game. Leads 71-66

1:50 PM

BBN trying to run sometime off the clock and escape the defensive pressure

1:40 PM

BBN Elite leads House of Hoops by 5 pts with a little more than two mins to go

12:52 PM

12:50PM

THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY SPINS OFF A PICK FOR THREE TO END THE GAME!! Middlesex Magic advances to the finals against SBA

12:45 PM

Adam Freese down with 21 seconds to go after some contact under the basket

12:42 PM

Antonio Rizzuto with a TOUGH finish plus the foul. Knocks down a free-throw to make it a tied game 72 all

12:39 PM

Middlesex Magic leads by 2 points with 3 mins remaining

12:30 PM

Back to Back 3’s by Melik Martin and Adam Freese bring York Ballers back within a 4 point game with 6.56 to play. Environment feels more like a final game with people crowding the court.

12:16 PM

At halftime on court 1, Middlesex Magic leads York Ballers 41-36 Antonio Rizzuto and Tyler Shaughnessy trading baskets back and forth

12:11 PM

12:05 PM

SBA Elite vs Crown is an 11 point game with 10 remaining. Crown trying to handle the speed of Alex Schachne and company.

11:43 AM

East Coast Power Basketball wins 73-59 here on Court 1!

11:34 AM

60-53 ECPB with 2 minutes left on the clock.

11:28 AM

6th Man Warriors are battling back here on Court 1! Down 5 with under 6 remaining!

11:18 PM

https://twitter.com/CoachMC42/status/889323742928793600

11:02 AM

East Coast Power is ahead 36-27 at the halfway point. 6th man continues to try to battle back with the perimeter shot, but can’t answer the ECPB counter attack. More exciting basketball coming your way!

10:43 AM

6th Man Warriors vs East Coast Power Basketball here on Court 1. East Coast Power is up 7 with under 5 in the 1st half.

10:18 AM 

Antonio Rizzuto is at it again. Lockup up his defender on the drive and taking it to the rack on the fast break. Rizzuto is bigtime here folks.

 10:00 AM

New Heights loses to Crown Athletics 85-66 here on Court 3. THIS.IS.SUMMER JAM.

9:45 AM

Bridge City Ballers vs York Ballers on Court 1 is a nail bitter early. York Ballers up 10 with under 3 minutes remaining!

9:25 AM

Good Morning PA! Today is championship Sunday. Make sure you get to the Spooky Nook Sports Complex ASAP to catch the last set of our summer Jam games!

9:06 AM

Saturday, July 22nd

10:40 PM

https://twitter.com/jeanette0878/status/888952047382519809

9:00 PM

SBA Elite vs NJ ShoreShots in a battle of the tri-state powerhouses. Catch it live on  Court 1!

8:45 PM

New Heights win by 30 in a game that seemed so much closer. Moses and company move on to the next round as no team has been able to stop the big man.

8:35 PM

Castle Athletics  win in high fashion! 61-50 is he final in a thriller on court 5.

8:15 PM

Castle Athletics the 5 point lead with a little under 7 remaining. Shoreshots keeping it close here on Court 5

7:55 PM

Moses Brown and Precious Achiuwa are getting ready to play against SJ Hoops Elite here on Court 1. Big crowd for the #1 big in the country.

7:28 PM

Robert Beran #5 of Team Richmond Garner Road is a tall and long big who is not afraid to get down in the pain, draw contact and uses his wingspan to get tips. Do not sit on him behind the arc, he can pull up and hit the three. Only 2019 on the roster.

6:59 PM

Low scoring but tight game between Team Richmond Garner Road 17 Elite and NY Jayhawks 17 – 11 with 3.14 to play in the first

6:50 PM

Sam Many (#32), top scorer of the 5:20 pm game set with 37 pts for Global Squad

6:40 PM

2019 NY Jayhawks big man#31 Chrisopher Ledlum doing some dirty work. Crashing the boards and getting rewarded with strong rebounds.

6:19 PM

Melik Martin finishes with 18 points in its victory over NJ Roadrunners

https://twitter.com/Point3Hoops/status/888916173940809728

6:03 PM

Global Squad Denmark has shown they belong here with the big dogs.  The European squad has been hitting mid range jumpers very efficiently today.

5:34 PM

Castle vs the 6th man warriors on court 19. Malachi de Sousa looking to continue his dominate play against a gritty program. Get there ASAP!

5:00 PM

Brad Bundscuh of SBA Elite has shown he’s able to bang downlow against  tough competition.

4:30 PM

NY Gauchos and Team Silk are underway here on Court 2. Emmanuel Umoffia has the footwork downlow but can he show he can stretch the floor? Find out next here at Summer Jam!

4:05 PM

4:05 PM

SBA Elite vs NY Lightning here on Court 1. Huge matchup with numerous college players coming up soon.

3:20 PM

Hoyas and New Heights drawing a crowd to court 1!

3:12 PM

Hoyas vs New Heights on Court 1. Bigtime matchup here halfway through Day 1.

2:52 PM

Noah Kamba has done a phenomenal job breaking the press today.

2:38 PM

SKATES!!

2:02 PM

Malok Majak is a very interesting prospect here. At 6-7, the class of 2020 SF has been dominate today. With already two dunks in this game alone, Majak is looking to follow his brothers footsteps and pickup some big time offers this weekend.

1:37 PM

Aaron Gao of the NJ Roadrunners was the floor general today as his confidence was strong. Gao is a Sneaky passer with the ability to score on the perimeter and slash to the basket.

1:20 PM

https://twitter.com/thehoopgroup/status/888810203021533184

Malachi De Sousa highlights! #SummerJam #BeElite

1:11 PM

This is the Rizzuto show here on Court 1.. The perimeter sniper has been elite today. The York Ballers have been put on the Division 1 Map here at Summer Jam.

12:45PM 

Global squad Denmark and The York Ballees are getting ready to start up here on Court 1.

11:50 AM

Rens vs PK Flash 17u is a great game going into the half . Rens  are up 26-25 on Court 1.

11:20 AM 

Virginia Blaze pull away and win by 9 in a late offensive run. Up next we have Team Attack vs Team Rebel! Stay Tuned!

11:07 AM

David Duda of The  East Coast Power has been automatic from deep. Duda isn’t afraid to let it fly and has shown that here late.

11:04 AM

Jermaine Hall has 23 here as the Crusaders trail by 1 with under 5 remaining.

10:51 AM

Tight game here at Court 11. 39-37 Virginia Blaze with 9 minutes remaining.

10:33 AM

Jarvis Vaughan of The Virginia Blaze has a couple of dunks here early.

10:19 AM

Big man Brendan Medley Bacon has  a very soft touch down low with deceiving footwork. He’s leading Crusader  nation to a 13-11 lead here early.

9:56 AM

Crusader Nation vs Virginia Blaze here on Court 11.

9:33 AM

Good Morning East Hempfield! It’s our first full day of basketball today and we are looking forward to it! Get to the Spooky Nook Sports Complex ASAP!

Friday | July 21st

10:30 PM

That concludes Day 1 of Summer Jam! Very fun day ahead of us tomrorow so stay tuned!

10:12 PM

Second Half of play here as New Heights leads 28-21. Big half ahead of us here at an already exciting Day 1 of Summer Jam.

9:55 PM

New Heights is on a 15-0 run here. Wrightway Skills are trying to figure out the solution to stopping Moses Brown.

9:47 PM

The atmosphere on Court 1 is electric here. Wrightway skills has been off to a great start of this game.

9:30 PM

9:28 PM

New York’s best duo Precious Achiuwa and Moses Brown are tipping off here on Court 1.

9:06 PM

Antonio Rizzuto scores an Incredible 22 in a win over Castle #SummerJam

9:00 PM

Ronnie Silva has been a 3 point sniper here on Court 1.

8:51 PM

Femi Odukale Jr has been relentless on the drive to the rack. The 6-6  forward isn’t afraid to absorb contact and finish over larger defenders.

8:23 PM

NY Rens G Bryce Wells with a two handed jam to ignite the 11-2 run against The D.C. Blue Devils NH.

8:07 PM

Global Squad China is making a run here on Court 11 as they cut the DTP Elite lead to 7 with a minute to go in 2nd half.

7:52 PM

Middlesex Magic vs NY Jayhawks has had a great start, Magic up 9 in the 2nd half.

7:43 PM
Bryce Daley (#23 Middlesex Magic) has shown his high IQ today, especially in tough situations. The senior has been automatic From midrange here on Day 1.

7:15 PM

7:00PM

Antonio Rizzutto (#0 York Ballers) fresh off Elite Camps is pure shooter who can knock down open and contested 3’s. Handles the ball nicely and is versatile in his play being able to drive, finish or kick the ball out. Nice addition to the backcourt of HGSL’s York Ballers. Finishing on court 1.

6:54 PM

Jordan Preaster (#13 Team Moam) can jump out of the gym crashes the boards and runs the lanes. Has a creative finish to pull it together.

6:50 PM

Lamar Duncan with 26 points for R1 Delaware on court 13. Still time to play.

6:49 PM

6:36 PM

3 point games with 13 mins left to play in the match up between Richmond Garner Road and NY Jayhawks on court 1.

6:32 PM

Brandon McGlynn (York Ballers #4) quick skilled point who plays bigger than his size and can shoot the 3. Plays solid defense and reads passing lanes.

6:20 PM 

Over 50 college coaches already checked in for the weekend including St Joes, Army West Point and Hartford

6:04 PM

Toks Bakare of NJ Roadrunners for 26 points over Bridge City basketball.

5:44 PM

Moses Brown confirmed with  for Summer Jam Fest this weekend!

5:22 PM

4:50 PM

First tip of 2017 Summer Jam Fest Showcase ! Loaded set of game sets tonight and continuing throughout the weekend. Catch up on updates here!

 

Daily Recap


Day 2

Over 200 college colleges and 15 media outlets packed the gym today for the second day of Summer Jam Fest. The much anticipated schedule did not disappoint as top programs like New Heights, NY Rens, Team St8ment, Middlesex Magic, York Ballers and Jayhawks battled head to head.

Saturday had an exciting start with a SJ Blitz and ICC Truth match up ending in a buzzer beater by SJ Blitz’s Samuel Adejumo (#15). Both teams battled the entire game, but SJ Blitz was able to finish off a quick ball in and finish off the glass.

The energy continued throughout the day into a NY Rens and PK Flash match up. PK Flash’s quick offense helped give them an edge on a loaded Rens team. Ultimately, the Ren’s size and physical defense wore PK Flash down and ended in a 12 point victory after a string of Rens foul shots.

One of the last games of the night [7:45pm] between New Heights NYC and South Jersey Elite started off on the slow side but picked up as the time went on. This match up featured a couple of the nation’s top recruit in 7’0 Moses Brown (2018) and 6’9” Precious Achiuwa (2019) and they showed why they are both respectively in the top of their class. New Heights was finding a hard time finishing what would usually be easy layups in the first half — credit to the hard nosed defense played by SJ Elite. Brown had an impressive game continuously using his long size to finish at the rim and to post up the smaller players. The Deveney brothers (Dylan and Connor) were helping their team stay in the game by lighting it up from behind the arc. They were a bright spot for SJ Elite and seem to play well against a bigger team like New Heights. Heading into the second half, the game was still in arms reach with New Heights only holding a 38-30 lead. After an fastbreak Achiuwa dunk the momentum shifted towards New Heights and they never looked back from that. Couple of solid players in Rob Higgins and Omar Silverio, both complete this already stacked team with their abilities to handle the ball and create open shots for themselves off the dribble. Higgins is a dynamic point guard who is hard nosed on the defensive end and is a true playmaker on the offensive side. Silverio can stroke the trey ball nicely and also blow by multiple defenders for a easy two — very athletic and talented. New Heights ended up beating SJ Elite 75-44 but don’t let the score fool you because it felt closer than what it looked.

Day 2 | Player Standouts

#5 New Heights | Precious Achiuwa

Precious Achiuwa is arguably the most well rounded and volume scorer at Summer Jam. Ranked in the Top 25 on every website in the country, Precious’ ranking is without a doubt deserving. The 6-7 Small Forward from St Benedicts slashes to the basket better than anyone and his ability to draw the defensive double team is something unmatched. Holding offers from High major programs around the country, Precious’ has showed he’s ready for the next level.

#2 Shoreshots | Daniel Sofield

The 6’5 shooting guards height is a huge help to his game. Having the ability to “bully” the smaller defender is a trait he abuses on a regular basis. A very underrated rebounder at the 3 position, Sofield crashes the boards like a Power forward.  He has been absolutely brilliant here this past weekend and is looking to continue his success this summer.

#7 Castle Athletics | Malachi De Sousa

6-5 and dangerous, the small forward carries the ball up the court like a guard does. The Castle Athletics savage is a very underrated perimeter threat as he’s hit 2-3 threes per game. De Sousa’s stock has risen dramatically due to Hoop Group events and expect it to rise even more throughout the year at the Power House School South Kent.

#0  New Heights | Omar Silverio 

Game started off slow and Silverio did a great job picking up the offensive slack for his team by getting some easy fast break lay ups and staying in the passing lanes. Hit a couple of 3’s from deep and definitely has a nice shooting touch. Teammates look for him a lot which says a good amount about the type of player you are. Overall a dynamic combo guard with a lot of upside and a load of talent

#23 Wrightway Skills HGSL | Nate Hobbs 

Aside from being an extremely athletic player and a long hang time, he has the ability to score from anywhere on the floor and can be a nightmare match up for some teams. Had a poster dunk over a 7 footer yesterday and followed it up today with an emphatic one handed fast break jam. Creates space for himself and sees the court very well.

#0 York Ballers | Antonio Rizzuto 

Just a solid, solid, player. Started the day off right where he left off yesterday – HOT. Had a tremendous game today handling the ball pressure with ease, penetrating and kicking, shooting with confidence behind the arch, creating his own shot off the dribble/off screens. Tough kid who isn’t afraid to put his body on the line, guards hard and takes charges.

#24 Philly Hurricanes | Yazis Powell

½ of the dynamic backcourt for the Hurricanes, fast in-your-face type of player, not afraid to defend hard and dive for the hustle plays. He let it go from the outside a few times but also quickly blew by defenders finishing for high flying dunks/finishes at the rim. Has quick hands which leads to steals and uncontested fast breaks. Also an unselfish player that makes the extra, but CORRECT pass.

 

Day 1|  Player Standouts

#14 Middlesex Magic | Benjamin McPhierron

Pure shooter, started off the game off hot and hit a couple of long range 3’s – NBA range. Solid, under control, guard that has the ability to handle the ball and defend the ball. Provides good spacing on the floor which leads to efficient ball movement and scoring.

#24 D.C. Blue Devils  | Kevin Fernandez

Very tough player who is undersized but doesn’t let that affect him much. Has great body control and hang with the other players on the court. Hustles for every ball, takes care of each possession and plays hard defense. Capable of scoring off screens, has a good pull up and perimeter game.

#2 New Heights | Robert Higgins

Heck of a defender – guarded the other team’s best ball handler all game – hard nosed and gritty player. Quickest feet and hands I’ve seen on a player all day. Not afraid to get into the paint and draw contact and/or kick out. Shown a little bit of his perimeter game as well but overall definitely held his own out there.

#32 Wrightway Skills |  Charles Coleman

The Umass 7 footer was nothing short of a standout here at The Hoop Group Summer Jam. A big with high major offers, he was able to stretch the floor and score from the perimeter on numerous occasions. Look for him to have a huge weekend here as bigs are unable to guard his long range shot.

#3 DC Blue Devils | Ronnie Silva

The gritty NH guard put on a show today against The New York Rens. While only 5-9, he’s ability to drive in the lane and score in contact is something you don’t see from someone of his size. Silva’s killer crossover puts the defender on skates and is a walking highlight reel. With only 1 Division 2 offer, Silva is looking to get his name out on a national level.

#0 York Ballers  | Antonio Rizzuto

Rizzuto is an absolute bucket. The York Baller scored 22 with a win today against the tough Castle Athletics team. Standing at 6-3, he’s able to use his size to get around defenders and score in traffic. That in addition to a very reliable 3 point shot are his claims to fame. Holding numerous division 1 offers, Rizzuto is definitely a player to keep an eye on this week.

Bigger than Ball Vol. 3: Antonio Rizzuto

Hoop Group’s Elite Basketball Camp is the most popular grassroots basketball camp in the country.  Over 600 young men from 33 states and seven countries travel to the small town of Reading, Pennsylvania for the opportunity to compete against the best of their peers in front of hundreds of college coaches.  All 600 of them share the same dream of one day playing college basketball.  In a camp setting like this, it’s often difficult to stand out amongst other gifted players.  Talent can sometimes disappear in a sea of faces and numbers.

 

To stand out in a crowd, something about you or what you do must be remarkable.  For 6’4” guard Antonio Rizzuto that exceptional trait is his unshakable fortitude.  Rizzuto plays with a toughness and resolute demeanor that is seldom found in players his age.  His team collected an easy 15 point victory in their first game, rallying behind his high energy and unselfish approach.  When we asked Rizzuto about the great performance, on of the first things he mentioned were the numerous times he got on the floor for loose balls.  If he was a baseball player, Rizzuto would have the dirtiest uniform at the end of every game.  

 

We’re not the only ones who have noticed Antonio recently.  Near the beginning of last summer Rizzuto remained relatively undiscovered on the youth basketball circuit.  He now holds scholarship offers from a multitude of Division I schools, including Columbia and Boston University.  Rizzuto credits his perseverance to his high school coach John Eyster.  In spite of being a standout talent as a high school freshman, Antonio failed to make the varsity basketball team. Coach Eyster pushed Rizzuto to improve and build on his natural talent.  Rizzuto is now a top player in the state of PA.  

 

We conducted our Bigger than Ball Q & A interview with Antonio, and touched on what motivates him to strive for greatness and what he hopes to gain from basketball.  

___________________________________________________________________________________

Who’s you favorite basketball player to watch?

Probably Isiah Thomas. He defies the odds.  He’s a small guy and he has to do everything right. I think he’s got everything in his game.  He’s got the ball handling the shot, and he can drop 30 in the NBA.

Who would you say you pattern your game after:

So, this guy didn’t really play in the NBA, but probably Aaron Craft.  I like his game.  When I was growing up I would watch Ohio State play a lot.  He was someone I wanted to be like, always getting on the floor, always being a leader.  

Even as a standout player, everyone has room to get better.  What skills do you hope to improve in your game?

I want to become more of a passing guard, get guys open.  I gotta work on floaters a little bit.  A lot of the time when you get caught coming to the middle and there’s a big guy there, you gotta get a floater in.  Also, I want to just keep improving my jumpshot; getting in the gym and shooting 1000 shots a day.  Me and my father are in there all the time.  

How does your father feel about your success on the court?

He didn’t play at all, but he loves ball.  He works me out whenever I want.  Two of my cousins played D1 at Albany, so he watched them grow up playing from the time they were little until now.  So he loves it.

Where’s your family from?

My grandparents parents came from Sicily.  I have a lot of family out there.

Is your entire family Italian?

Yeah man, my whole family, we got good Christmases.  A lot of good food.  We actually have a wedding coming up, and my grandma makes like hundreds of cookies, so it’s great.   

If you could have dinner with two famous people, who would they be?

Probably Tom Hanks and Lebron.

Where do you work on your game at?

We practically have the key to the gym.  My head coach lives in my neighborhood and the athletic director lives right next to the school, so it’s just a quick text and they give me the key.  But, if for some reason I can’t get in, I just go to the local park, and it has lights; so especially during the summer I’m out there all day.  We’re out there all the time.  

It seems like you spend a lot of time working to get better, what drives you to be great in basketball?

“First off free education, and I mean that seriously.  That’s what’s gonna get me places.  It makes my family proud, and that’s one of the things that keeps me going. I want to keep doing it for that.”

You vs. Lavar Ball one on one:

How’s he gonna play me? Is he gonna back me down or just shoot?  I’m not sure…but I’m competitive and I always go into every game with the mindset that I’m better than the person I’m playing and I’m going to win.  If you don’t think that way when you’re playing then you aren’t thinking the right way.

Who has been the most influential coach you’ve played for?

Gotta be my high school coach John Eister.  There’s a lot of things that come into playing with him.  Hes interesting.  Coming to be a freshman at my school until the point where I am now I’ve grown.  You have to earn playing time…really gotta earn it.  Even if you’re a freshman and one of the top dogs, you gotta earn it.  You have to continue to keep working.  I think that really helped me.  You could be upset about not playing varsity as a freshman, I didn’t play varsity as a freshman, but there’s a difference.  Some people go down on that, and some people rise up.  Looking back on that I’m glad he did it because I had to push myself to get better rather than thinking I’m great right away.  

We noticed you playing right away, you really stood out.  In a gym full of 600 kids at camp, how do you set yourself apart?

Last year when no one really knew me, I think me working harder than everyone else helped.  It’s not even like, yeah I played good or I made my shots.  I think simple stuff like taking charges, diving on the ground help.  I dove on the ground a couple times today.  

What do you look for in recruiting?  What influences you to go to a particular school?

I gotta feel like I’m at home.  I want to feel like the coaches are my friend.  I’m not gonna go somewhere where I’m not comfortable, but I understand a coach is a coach.  I want someone who’s gonna yell at me on the court, then be my friend off the court.  I don’t want someone who’s going to be not my friend on the court and not my friend off the court.  I want someone who can understand me as a person and as a player.  There’s a balance.  So, for instance, you got St. Joe’s.  Phil Martelli’s an awesome guy.  He might yell at you on the court, but he’s gonna be cool with you on and off the court.  The assistants are great also.  

Favorite rapper?

It’s gotta be Drake.  I was actually just listening to him on my way here.

What do you like to do with your free time away from school and ball?

I go to church. I’m Christian.  Other than that? I go fishing.  I like fishing.  My friend, he’s got a boat.  So we always go fishing.  I just got introduced to that.  

Where do you see yourself a couple years from now?

First off, I gotta get my diploma.  I want to start off strong (in college).  One thing I’ve realized is is that you have to start off at the bottom every so often.  When you come from middle to high school you gotta start from the bottom and work your way up.  When you get to college you have to start at the bottom and work your way up.   

What do you hope to do with your life after basketball?

I want to own a business someday, but I don’t know what I want to do with that yet.   I just want  to own something and find something I enjoy.  So much stuff is fun.  I see people doing fun stuff, but they gotta work hard to get there.

What’s some advice you can give to yourself to help you reach your goals?

For me you gotta know yourself.  You have to know your boundaries.  You have to stay true to yourself.  Don’t worry about what other people are doing just so you can be cool.  I gotta stay myself no matter what.  When I go to college I have to be stay the same person I am now.

Bigger Than Ball Vol. 2: Alex Schachne

 

Alex Schachne plays his travel ball with SBA Elite in New Jersey.

-Thomas Hayden
          Within 30 seconds of beginning our interview with Alex Schachne one thing was unmistakably evident. Alex Schachne will be successful no matter what path he chooses in life.  If I read you a list of Alex’s accomplishments, basketball would only make up a small portion, remarkable considering his standout basketball career thus far.  
          Schachne plays high school ball for Coach Mergin Sina at Gill St. Bernard’s High School. GSB High is a well known for its high academic and athletic expectations. Alex is its starting point guard and the definition of a leader: well spoken, confident, and all about winning.  Schachne lead his team to a 24-4 record on the year and a perfect conference record (11-0).  The Knights finished the season ranked one of the top 10 teams in the state of New Jersey.
          Aside from directing traffic on the court, Schachne is using his public speaking voice to guide his peers to greater success in their own endeavors. He held a Tedx talk in his school’s auditorium titled Unlocking Motivation, Applying 10,000 Hours: A Rational Approach to Success, one of the more popular Tedx videos garnering thousands of views on YouTube.
Alex Schachne stood out in our Bigger Than Ball interview, and we have no doubt he will continue to stand out on and off the court.  Here’s our complete Q & A with Alex. Enjoy!
_____________________________________________________________
     Q: How have you enjoyed your first two days at Hoop Group?
     A: It’s been really good. Definitely have enjoyed all the coaches here I like them a lot.  The drills have been good, great to go up and down.  The great thing about Hoop Group is that you guys do a great job of getting coverage, publicity for everyone.  It’s probably the best i’ve seen. There are probably 20 plus coaches at every game. They invited me and made a point that I got here so I came out, and I’m having a good time.

 

     Q: Who’s your favorite NBA player?
     A: Probably Kyrie Irving, he’s crazy with the finishes and the ball handling.

 

     Q: What colleges are showing interest in you right now?
     A: So my goal is to get into an Ivy League school.  I’ve been hearing a lot from Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, Yale just in terms of Ivy League teams.  Other than that I’ve been hearing from some D2’s (Division II), Stonehill, and then a lot of D3’s–Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago…

 

     Q: Would you rather have to  wear the same outfit everyday, or eat the same food everyday for the rest of your life?
     A: Wear the same outfit.  I was thinking about just picking an outfit and just wearing it everyday, as long as I wasn’t going out in public because it reduces the amount of decisions you gotta make so you can focus on more important stuff.

 

     Q: Which NBA player do you think you play like the most?
     A: I would say I probably play like Isiah Thomas, just ‘cause I watch him and how he uses his body in his finishes and how he gets around people.  Obviously for anyone under 6 foot you really try to emulate him.  You know there’s levels and I can see the levels of progression just in how confident I am in doing that stuff.  There are certain times where I feel like, you know, it’s kinda coming.

 

     Q: What do you hope to gain from Hoop Group Academic Elite Camp?
     A: I think I am just trying to kind of polish my game and to get some buzz going into July especially. I want to just keep playing, that way I stay in shape and I’m playing well and I have a lot of confidence  going into July.  Want to really get the ball rolling and pick up some offers and get some options going so I can choose a school.

 

     Q: How have you found a way to have such great success in basketball without being the most athletic or tallest person on the court?
     A: I’ve always been quick, so in terms of athleticism i didn’t quite get the height part, but i got the quickness and explosiveness, and I try to use that as much as I can.  I really feel like i’m at the point to where no one can really stay in front of me if they try to guard me.  As long as I have one maybe two people I feel like I can get by them.  I really work on my handle, my explosiveness with the ball, crafty finishes, maybe a little pull up game, so yeah definitely work on all that stuff.

 

     Q:  If basketball was not an option, what would you want to do for the rest of your life?
     A: So I also played soccer, but non-athletically I do these things called TED Talks.  I did two of them.  I had a Tedx conference at my high school recently.

     Q: What were the talks about?
     A: So my first one I talked about…now this is gonna get kinda deep…my first one I talked about free choice, and the second one I talked about how to succeed in things you set out to do. So, i took pieces from Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers.  It’s about putting your 10,000 hours in, so I kind of took that, and combined it with my own experiences.  It’s actually on youtube, you can check it out.

 

     Q: What motivates you strive for greatness in athletics?
     A: Who motivates me?  Anybody I see.  Anyone that’s on the court with me it’s like a challenge.  I want to prove myself every time I am out there on the court

 

     Q: Would you rather be trapped alone on a deserted island with Lavar Ball or Donald Trump?
     A: Lavar Ball.  He’ll probably find someway to make enough noise where we would get rescued.

 

     Q: What’s your favorite Drake quote?
     A: My favorite Drake quote…I mean I like his old album Views.  I like Views a lot.  Actually, I like Headlines by Drake too.

 

     Q: Who do you look up to the most?
     A: My dad.

 

     Q: What’s your mentality on the court?
     A: Never back down from anyone.  Usually in my head I’m thinking I’m better than that person, so it’s all about believing in yourself, keeping your confidence high, and being  in attack mode all the time.

 

     Q: How do you plan on using the game of basketball to reach your goals?
     A: I wanna use basketball to put myself in the best position possible coming out of college.  Going to the best college I can, academically and athletically, and using that to create connections and  network.  I plan on using that to give myself more opportunities, open more doors, and hopefully 5 years from now I’ll be on my way to starting my own business.

Bigger Than Ball Vol. 1: Deandre Thomas

-Thomas Hayden

Being the writer on staff for the HoopGroup camp I’m charged with the precarious task of interviewing the      pre-teens and young adults of grassroots basketball.  Everyone has a story, a background, and it’s my job to get them to tell it to me without using emojis.  Every once in awhile, a kid’s character will stand out among all others.  Deandre Thomas was one of these exceptions.

The first time play I saw Deandre play was during our tryout games during camp.  Tryout games always take place the first day of camp immediately after sign-in.  They’re only timed, and have no scorekeeper.  Deandre was on the bench at the time, and one of his teammates made a good play, not a crazy play, but good, and he got everyone up off the bench to cheer like they had just won a state championship.

Deandre Thomas is clearly a gifted scorer.  He puts pressure on the defense the entire game, and attacks the basket unlike anyone else I have seen at camp. His natural ability makes him stand out. What sets him apart though, is nothing basketball related.  He plays the game with a cheerful enthusiasm and respect that’s contagious for teammates and makes him extremely fun to watch.

Near the end of the interview I found out what shaped him to person he is today.  Both of Deandre’s parents have been officers in the United States Air Force from the time he was born.  Their no nonsense attitude and firm upbringing appeared throughout our talk in the form of “yes-sirs” and “thank yous”.  Here are the top ten responses from our brief Q & A session.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy the interview as much as I did.

Q: How was your first day at Hoop Group?

A: It was good…got a chance to feel out how the camp will be.

Q: If you had compare your game to one music album, what would it be?

A: Nothing Was The Same-Drake,

Q: If you had to play your favorite player 1v1, you’re wearing flip-flops & they’re wearing roller skates, who wins?

A: Me, he’s wearing rollerskates cannot guard me.  I’d be scared he might roll over my toe though.

Q: You’re making a 3 on 3 basketball team using only super heroes or cartoon characters, who do you take?

A: Superman, Hulk, Green Lantern.

Q: What’s the most important thing you look for in recruiting?

                     “If someone wants me. I’m not worried about name. I want to go to a school that I would choose even if I was not playing basketball.”

 

           Q: How many 5 year olds could you fight before you lost?

           A: I’d never fight a five year old…but if I had to 1000.  The first 200 i’m knocking out one punch.

           Q: Who has been the most influential person in your life thus far?

           A: My dad for sure.  He came from nothing. Grew up in the projects in Brooklyn.  We started off in a one bedroom apartment now we have a five bedroom house.

           Q: What is your dream college?

           A: Syracuse.  I like Jim Boeheim, but he probably won’t be coaching by the time it’s time for me to play.

           Q: What do you hope to gain from Hoop Group Academic Elite Camp?

            A: I want to learn different ways I can come off ball screens.  I want to get better at making the right reads so I can make plays for others.

           Q: What motivates you strive for greatness in athletics?

           A: My Grandmother.  She wants to go to Hawaii before she passes and I’m going to get her there.

2017 Pitt Jam Fest Live Blog

Sunday | April 30th

3:30 PM

That’s a wrap from the Hoop Group 2017 #PittJamFest Live Blog! Thank you everyone for the support and keep following our Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram accounts for more on our tournaments and camps to come! Stay tuned plenty more basketball action to come!

3:29 PM

3:03 PM

2:58 PM

And the 2017 #PittJamFest 17u Platinum champions are the Middlesex Magic winning 79-66 over Jersey Force. Thomas Shaughnessy with an unconscious performance shooting the ball.

2:54 PM

2:42 PM

2:38 PM

https://twitter.com/thehoopgroup/status/858751306735005696

2:32 PM

2:18 PM

Thomas Shaughnessy is having himself an excellent first half leading the Middlesex Magic 47-35 over Jersey Force.

2:09 PM

2:05 PM 

2:00 PM

1:53 PM

1:51 PM 

After an epic comeback Indiana Elite are the 16u Platinum champions of the 2017 #PittJamFest!

1:44 PM

1:40 PM 

Incredible comeback in the 16u Platinum championship as Indiana Elite has overcome a 13-point deficit in a 59-all game right now. #PittJamFest

1:13 PM

Exciting game in the 16u Platinum championship. Albany City Rocks up 36-26 at the half. #PittJamFest

1:02 PM

12:58 PM

Albany City Rocks raining 3s early to get out to a 17-7 lead with 9:08 left in the first half.

12:53 PM

Albany City Rocks getting off to a strong start early with a few 3-pointers. 8-0 lead over Indiana Elite over on court 15.

12:45 PM

Getting ready to tip off the 16u Platinum championship! It’ll be Indiana Elite against Alvany City Rocks EYBL over on court 15 at the #PittJamFest.

12:44 PM

And the Middlesex Magic advance with a 46-41 win over Team Price. 

12:27 PM

https://twitter.com/OhioBuckets/status/858717187678363648

12:23 PM

Our 16u championship game is set! Tipping at 12:45pm we have Indiana Elite Fastbreak taking on Albany City Rocks EYBL for the title. Be sure to follow our Twitter @thehoopgroup for game and score updates and keep tuned in to the live blog!

12:04 PM

11:53 AM

Middlesex Magic up on Team Price 24-16 in the 17u Platinum semis. Multiple guys stepping up to hit outside shots for the Magic.

11:38 AM

11:36 AM

11:26 AM

11:23 AM

And Albany City Rocks EYBL takes this 16u Platinum matchup over York Ballers 53-43.

11:17 AM

Close game coming down to the wire here between York Ballers and Albany City Rocks EYBL! 50-43 with 1:52 left. #PittJamFest

10:54 AM

10:50 AM

Some more last minute score updates here from 17u Platinum… Team Price 67-54 over Maryland’s Finest and DC Blue Devils HGSL 69-57 over Jersey Force – Stein.

10:42 AM

Score updates here from around the tournament… Team Takeover Black defeated Boo Williams 46-42 in 15u Platinum action with 17u Platinum wins going to Middlesex Magic over Team Loaded 757 (49-43) and Jersey Force – Stein over Michigan Warriors (72-61).

10:40 AM

10:31 AM

10:02 AM

Close game on court 16 with 9:54 to go between Michigan Warriors and Jersey Force – Stein 51-44. Multiple college coaches on hand including La Salle‘s John Giannini!

9:26 AM

9:24 AM

9:14 AM

ICYMI here’s a look at our highlights from yesterday! #PittJamFest

9:10 AM

9:07 AM

One 15u Platinum game just went live at #PittJamFest with Team Final – Red winning 64-49 over Bridge City Basketball. 

9:00 AM

8:53 AM

8:50 AM

Some intense 16u Platinum action going on right now at #PittJamFest! College Park Rim Rockers up on NJ Beasts Basketball 58-55 with 3:50 to go!

8:45 AM

Cameron Thomas of Boo Williams on fire right now on court 15! 32 points and counting with 7 made 3s! Boo Williams up 63-59 on York Ballers with 5:07 to go!

8:37 AM

8:36 AM

Good morning hoop fanatics! We’ve fought through the technical difficulties and are back this morning for some championship Sunday action! Follow us throughout the day for updates!

Saturday | April 29th

6:48 PM

6:40 PM

One of the best games of the day tipped off at 10:40 AM with Crown Basketball coming back from a 35-16 deficit to beat Team MOAM 61-60.

6:35 PM

Earlier in the day on court 15 the DC Blue Devils won an overtime thriller against Team Melo – Red in 17u Platinum action. Kevin Fernandez of the Blue Devils hit the shot to send the game into OT.

6:31 PM

A wild game just finished up on court 18 at the #PittJamFest as Jersey Shore Warriors Gold won on a buzzer beater by Luke House to beat Corey Graham Elite 56-55.

6:26 PM

We apologize for the technical difficulties regarding our live blog we have had server issues since the start of the tournament! But we have updates here from throughout the day!

8:43 AM

Close game here on court 19 between Game 7 and the NOVA Cavaliers 30-28. Multiple Big Ten coaches in attendance watching this matchup.

8:33 AM

Action already underway today here at the #PittJamFest! Court 17 has a fast-paced 17u Platinum game going with the Randallstown Rebels up early on the L&L Running Rebels 28-19 with 7:12 left in the first half.

Friday | April 28th

9:07 PM

8:46 PM

8:44 PM

8:07 PM

8:03 PM

Over 20 media outlets here and 50+ college coaches out scouting players right now at the #PittJamFest!

8:01 PM

7:20 PM

The Middlesex Magic defeated The Academy 67-58 in the first game on Court 16 apart of the HGSL Showcase. 6’0″ point guard Thomas Shaughnessy led the way for the Magic with 11 points.

7:11 PM

Team MOAM beats MD3D 71-53 on court 10 here at the #PittJamFest. Dante Treacy of Team MOAM led the way with a game-high 15 points.

6:55 PM

Many D1 coaches on hand including those from Yale, UPenn and Boston University watching the Northern Kings playing Interstate Basketball on Court 12 here at the #PittJamFest!

6:43 PM

6:22 PM

6:10 PM

6:03 PM

We are underway here at the 2017 #PittJamFest!!