2017 Pitt Jam Fest Live Blog

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.

Saturday | April 29th

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!!

Pooley’s Picks: New Jersey Tip-Off

Pooley’s Picks

2016 New Jersey Tip-Off Preview

Qualifications:  Sticking with the theme of high school events we have NEW JERSEY BASKETBALL BACK!  Nothing like the start of basketball season in NJ and nothing like the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  This week we’ll have a little different approach to Pooley’s Picks.  No specific qualifications this week, just some pointers for people to watch out for during this event and really the rest of the season.

Picks are in no particular order. Please enjoy the fifth installment of Pooley’s Picks.

2016 New Jersey Tip Off

The 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off: Ten great match ups. 5 of the top 7 teams in NJ.

The Event: For years (17 to be exact), the Hoop Group has put on the NJ Tip-Off.  Each year, it features high-profile match ups and top-tier talent. The event itself is well run and the venues are always excellent.  The 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off will be very much the same.  First, Eric Kessler and Dave Fedor have a ton of experience running events, and more importantly a ton of knowledge of the teams.  When you get the best teams together to start the season it is important to have a great setup and planning.  This event will have that and more.


HC of Pope John at 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off, Vincent Johnson, while at Lehigh.

Vincent Johnson: Vincent was named the head coach of Pope John after former coach Jason Hasson left for Pennsylvania.  “Chico” as many know him, is a great coach with an unbelievable background in basketball.  More importantly, he is a good friend of mine and an excellent mentor to many young ball players.  The #1 thing I’m excited for at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off is to watch Coach Johnson in his head coaching debut.  Now, he has been matched up with Roselle Catholic, a staple at the top of the NJ rankings.  Don’t be surprised if Coach Johnson and his young, talented squad can keep it close.

2016 New Jersey Tip-Off participant Mike Morreale

2016 New Jersey Tip-Off participant Mike Morreale

Michael Morreale:  The 6’5″ 2017 senior is one of my favorites.  He is an excellent player, known both for his excellent athleticism and long range jumpers.  Entering his senior year, he’ll be a valuable asset for Coach Mergin Sina and the Knights.  Look for Mike to knock down a couple threes and convert on a jam or two.  More than that, look for Mike to make the big play at the end.  Defensively Mike is one of the best around, guarding point guards right on down to centers.  More importantly, he is a great kid and a great teammate.  No question that at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off everyone will enjoy watching Mike.



Blair v Linden: Earlier in the year, in the first installment of Pooley’s Picks I predicted the most productive players in New Jersey.  This match up features (admittedly) my biggest snub: Tavon Jones.  I can’t wait to watch Tavon in his first opportunity to prove me wrong.  The big guard can do it all and will have a huge test against one of my favorite backcourts on the east coast.  Let’s not forget the match up also features two great coaches: Phil Colicchio and Joe Mantegna.


Bergen Catholic v St. Benedict’s:  Mark Taylor’s team is led by impressive Syracuse commit Bourama Sidibe and fab frosh Noah Farrakhan.  Billy Armstrong’s team is led by two senior guards Gabe Stefanini (Columbia) and Taj Benning (Fairfield).  Something has to give here.  This is the most evenly matched game of the weekend, and one I really am excited to see.  Look for the X-factor, 6’8″ freshman Matt Zona, to jump onto the New Jersey seen.


Ja’Quaye James:  The small, heady PG will have his work cut out for him against Newark East Side.  First, the Red Raiders are one of the best defenses at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  Second, they are led by senior stopper Elijah Olaniyi and sophomore stud Anas Amos.  However, none of that matters to James, who has been taking on the country’s best for years.   Watch for some highlight reel excitement, some up-tempo basketball, and a lot of buckets from James.


Hun vs Union Catholic:  Just a solid match up.  Union Catholic is tough and physical, Hun is tough and physical.  Guard play from both schools will be the difference in the game.  Hun will try to keep Jordan Pierce of the offensive boards and Union Catholic will need to keep Tyler Washington and Desmond Cambridge away from the rim. Freshman guard Niels Lane, who got a lot of minutes at PSA Cardinals Showcase just two weeks ago, is another X-factor.


Calistus Anyichie 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off commit

Calistus Anyichie 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off commit

St. Mary’s Elizabeth Bigs: Certainly not a group the casual fan would talk about, but I think that’s about to change.  Both bigs, Calistus Anyichie and Casmir Ochiaka, have big upside and great coaching.  Perhaps a little underrated right now, I’m looking for them to have a breakout 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  As the season continues, look for colleges to start taking notice as well.

Jabri Abdur-Rahim: First of all, it’s not often you get to see a freshman play major minutes in a High School game.  Second of all, it’s less often you get to see a top player nationally impact a game.  Finally, both of those two will come together for the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off, as Abdur-Rahim will do his best to live up to the hype.


Samba Diallo:  Will BLOW UP this season.  Been hearing his name a lot lately in some basketball circles.  Samba has started coming into his own. First, look for this kid to have his first big game of the year at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  Then, look for him to finish his sophomore year with all of the offers.  The big lefty can do it all, and legitimately play 4 different positions.


Special Guest this week, Event Director Eric Kessler:

Pooley’s Picks – 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

Pooley’s Picks

2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

Qualifications:  This week we’ll have a little different approach to Pooley’s Picks.  Often, with working at the Hoop Group, I’ll get to travel and see different events.  This past weekend I was able to get down to The Hill School and watch the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase.  The event was loaded with coaches, talent, and great moments. The following are a selection of the Top 10 things I took away from the showcase.

Picks are in no particular order. Please enjoy the fourth installment of Pooley’s Picks.

Chase Audige: The 6’4″ junior from Hill was very impressive in the win over Isaiah Christopher Academy.  Chase had some electrifying plays, but was also a consistent scorer willing passer.  The wing is quickly going from a high potential kid, to a star.  Look for Chase to continue to develop over the next year and look for Hill to have an extremely successful year under coach Seth Eilberg.




Tyler Jones: The 5’11” senior from Peddie had 20 in an overtime win against Canada Top Flight Academy.  The guard can do it all, and has a much improved jump shot with excellent form and rotation.  Tyler earned his MVP late in the game scoring crucial buckets and running the show.  Thus far uncommitted: Tyler may be a guard that could be on a lot of scholarship schools radars as the HS season draws to a close.

Canada Top Flight Academy (Ottawa) at the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

Canada Top Flight Academy (Ottawa) at the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

International Flavor:  The 2016 PSA Prep Showcase featured a little basketball from our friends to the north.  Canada Top Flight Academy probably didn’t have their best showing but kept Peddie on the ropes into overtime.  2017 Lual Akot impressed, hitting a couple of deep threes and flushing a couple dunks in traffic.  Overall CTA came down and represented well.  Look forward to see what they have to offer as the season continues.



Walter Whyte: The 6’6″ BU bound guard was tough as he always is.  Carrying St. Luke’s at times, Walter rebounds, scores, handles to ball, and plays defense.  The senior also did what seniors have to do: lead.  Walter was under control and facilitated Coach Gladstone’s game plan all night. An impressive win for St. Luke’s against a talented and well coached Hun School.



Mohammad Bamba: The 6’11” uncommitted senior is the real deal.  The entire Westtown team is the real deal.  Going up against a very good St. James team Mo looked like the NBA prospect that he is.  He blocked shots, scored, rebounded, and most importantly looked comfortable after coming back from injury.  He really is fun to watch.  Worth the trip to the 2016 PSA Prep Showcase just for him.  Lucky for us there was much more.



The Venue: The Hill School was the perfect venue for the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase.  The gym has a throwback feel, with excellent baskets and a redone floor.  Looks a little like a gym out of the movie Hoosiers with one high rise set of bleachers separated from the court by a 3 foot high padded wall.  On top of that the event felt full, but not crowded, and was loud with a good atmosphere during the close games.




View from the packed coaches section at the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

College Coaches:  The 2016 PSA Prep Showcase was loaded with college coaches.  An entire area of the bleachers was dedicated to the college recruiters and it was close to full for every game.  D1, D2, D3, JUCO, and scouts were all on hand to take a look at some of the top talent.  John Calipari, NCAA defending champ Jay Wright, Buzz Williams, Fran Dunphy, and Phil Martelli, were among the few who evaluated and scouted.



Hamidou Diallo: The 6’6″ senior is as sought after as anyone.  Up to #11 in the class of 2017, “Hami” got to the rim all night long.  The explosive guard is one of those players who can score in a variety of ways and create energy on the defensive end of the floor.



Atmosphere: First, the college coaches, next the fans, then the players, this had it all.  There was just an atmosphere of elite basketball and the feel that you get from seeing kids in HS who will be on TV in a few years.  NERR’s National Prep Showcase always signals the start of high school basketball for me.  This event had a similar feel to me: teams early in their season competing at a high level.




Noah Collier, 6’7″ at Westtown, a top 2020 at the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

The Freshman: Not necessarily something you think of when talking about a Prep Showcase.  However, the freshman that I got to see in limited minutes were excellent.  Westtown’s Noah Collier is a great kid, with a ton of upside, who can play multiple positions.  His ceiling is exceptionally high, and he even knocked down a couple jumpers.  Seth Berger’s son, backup guard TJ Berger, played limited minutes but showed a lot of potential on and off the ball.  Backcourt mate Seyon Kpaan, looked good in some extended minutes.  Niels Lane played more minutes for a freshman on a Hun School team than I’ve seen.  Coach Stone has some confidence in that youngster, who moves well and has a good feel for the game.  Much better 2020 representation than you would think with so many talented upperclassmen.


Special Thanks to Hoop Major for the videos and helping me cover the event in this article.  Ian Finnen is a rising star, and is going to be very good at whatever he decides to do.

Special shout out to Terrence Williams and the rest of the PSA Cardinals family for running a great event and being so media friendly.  Look forward to this event in the years moving forward.


And of course as always, everybody’s favorite:

Pooley’s Picks – Best Shooters Available

Pooley’s Picks

Best Available Shooters: 10 Best From Long Range

Qualifications:  Every college coach has made the statement: “We need guys who can shoot.”  Every analyst and basketball fan has noticed the value of the three point shot.  It’s not rocket science, if you can recruit a guy who can flat out shoot from three, you’ll win.  This list sets out the best available shooters.  Three point shooting is the only thing being explored here.  This is not a list of the best players who can also shoot.  Simply, the best shooters who are unsigned seniors from Maine to Virginia.  Prep schools are included in this.  If you graduate in 2017 and are on of the best shooters available: you’re on this list.  If you’re a college coach, you should be all over these 10.

Players are in no particular order. Please enjoy the third installment of Pooley’s Picks.



Matt Donahue: Matt is a catch and shoot nightmare.  He’s 6’2″ and is a great compliment to a scoring guard who can draw attention.  You can tell he works his ass off and it shows in what he can do beyond the arc.  He moves well without the ball and is excellent coming off a down screen or staggered double.

Range 21′ Quick Release B+ Form B- Off The Dribble B+ Catch and Shoot A



Thomas Binelli:  If we’re isolating shooting the rock Thomas Binelli is someone who can do it at any level.  Every bit of 6’7″ Binelli thrives outside the three point line.  Great off the catch and the dribble, leaning in and fading away, Binelli is a SHOOTER! A bunch of schools have overlooked the big guy, but someone will come around.

Range 24′ Quick Release B- Form A- Off The Dribble A- Catch and Shoot A



Reese Mona: Most people might describe Reese Mona, 6’3″ senior at St. John’s, as a role player.  Ask those same people to list guys they don’t want taking the last shot against their team: Reese Mona.  The guard is among the best available shooters specifically because he hits big shots and does it against the best of competition.

Range 21′ Quick Release B+ Form B- Off The Dribble B+ Catch and Shoot A



Devin Jensen: Devin Jensen, 6’4″ senior at Manasquan, has the purest release possible.  Watching Devin shoot is just fun.  While he can do more than just shoot, his 3-pt jumper is the deadliest around.  Range, a high release, excellent form, and ZERO conscience is what makes Devin one of the best available shooters.  Tall shooters like him won’t stay available for too long.

Range 26′ Quick Release A- Form A+ Off The Dribble A- Catch and Shoot A

George Pappas: A Maine representative on the list, George Pappas can shoot and he knows it.  The long guard is tough and can get busy from deep. After graduating from Union Catholic, George now attends Gould Academy in Bethel Maine.  George won’t ever turn down a look and uses his jumper to set up the rest of his game.

Range 23′ Quick Release A Form B+ Off The Dribble A- Catch and Shoot A

Charles Falden:  Falden can do more than just shoot, but is at his best from long range.  Surprising that someone who can stick it like Falden doesn’t have a laundry list of offers.  However, this guard probably won’t be under-recruited for long (Coach Myers and Massanutten known for helping recruits).  Look for Falden to shoot at a high clip from three this season and lock up offers sooner rather than later.

Range 22′ Quick Release B+ Form B- Off The Dribble A Catch and Shoot B+

Dom Fragala: Dom is a tough, heady guard, who you simply cannot leave open.  The 5’11” combo has range for days and dets up a lot of his shots off the bounce.  Dom plays through contact and has a lot of experience getting his shot off against taller defenders.  Dom hits big shots and certainly is one of the best available shooters.

Range 22′ Quick Release B+ Form B+ Off The Dribble A Catch and Shoot B+

Michael Speight:  First, Speight has been a Hoop Group campers for years.  He elevated his game this past year and was selected as one of the Top 20 all-stars at Elite 1.  Most of the difference with Mike comes with a new found consistency on his 3-pt shot.  Always dangerous, Mike now is much more consistent, that’s what makes the Wise guard one of the top available  shooters.

Range 22′ Quick Release B Form B+ Off The Dribble A- Catch and Shoot A-

Andre Rafus: The big lefty has bounced around a little but, but his threes rarely do.  The long, 6’8″ wing, with tremendous form and a quick release has landed at Lake Clifton.  Highly touted, and probably the highest recruited player on this list, Rafus is one of the top available shooters for sure.

Range 21′ Quick Release B+ Form A- Off The Dribble B- Catch and Shoot A

Jamil Pasha:  “Jamie” is admittedly a kid I haven’t seen a lot, but every I have he’s stroked it.  The 6’2″ Bishop Ireton senior, has range and is smooth as can be.  With a high release point and his ability to hunt shots make him a must have on this list.

Range 22′ Quick Release B- Form A- Off The Dribble B- Catch and Shoot A

Quick Rant About Shooters:  Every college coach says they want shooters and there are some out there who genuinely recruit them.  However, what I see more of is college coaches recruiting kids who can shoot.  They like a kids overall game and they say “and he can shoot”.  Unfortunately, I think this is backwards.  College coaches need to be recruiting kids that are SHOOTERS, and saying things like “and he can play”.  Most of the time when you recruit a non-shooter, they don’t turn into a shooter.  However, when you recruit a shooter there is room for things like ball handling, Bball IQ, Body, and defense to come along once they enroll.  It’s hard for a non-shooter to become a shooter, it’s easier for a kid to get in better shape or learn an offense.  Shooting is as much an art as it is a science and guys need to be recruiting kids who are shooters.  Over half of the schools in Division 1 don’t shoot 35% from behind the three point line.  Recruit one of the kids we’re talking about today and turn that around!

Dissenting Opinions:

Pooleys Picks – Top Northeast Backcourts

Pooley Picks

Top Northeast Backcourts: Maine to Washington, DC

Qualifications: Backcourts are the back bone of high school basketball teams.  In this weeks installment of Pooley’s Picks we dive into the Top Northeast Backcourts, Maine to DC.  Qualifications are simple: The be one of the Top Northeast Backcourts you have to be a team projected to win a lot of games with at least a top-notch point guard and shooting guard.  Wings will be considered especially if they share a load of perimeter scoring or ball handling. Depth will be considered, but no where near as much as the starters, who usually play a large majority of minutes in HS games.  This list is for high schools only (Friends/MAPL league schools will qualify).

Top Northeast Backcourts are in no particular order. Please enjoy the second installment of Pooley’s Picks.


Gonzaga (Washington, DC): Gonzaga has a rich history of great basketball teams and competes in the best high school league in the country.  This years backcourt may be one of the best ever for the Purple Eagles.  Featuring two elite scoring point guards, Gonzaga will be tough to guard and to score against.  Chris Lykes, a 2017 Miami commit, and Prentiss Hubb, a 2018 top ten PG in the country, will run the show and lead a strong backcourt supporting cast.  Also look for Myles Dread, Eddie ScottAnwar Gill, and fan favorite Mike Myers to have standout seasons.  Hard to find a deeper, tougher, and more well-rounded than the Purple Eagles in 2016-2017.

Quote: “They have a great ability to play off of each other, but more importantly they understand how to let the other take the lead…If one is having a great scoring night, the other is always able to have a great facilitating night.” – Steve Turner, Head Coach Gonzaga College High School

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring B+ Shooting A- Passing A- Athleticism B-
Defense A- Rebounding B- Experience A Depth A+ Bball IQ A



Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, NJ): Hudson Catholic has one of the Top Northeast Backcourts on talent alone.  Add that to the fact that their guards are extremely well coached while still given the freedom to make plays and you have a great combination.  Lead by the big three of Jahvon Quinerly, Luther Muhammad, and Louis King this team will press, drive, and shoot their way to being a top team in NJ.  Complimented by star senior Tyheem Burno look for Hudson Catholic to play four guards at times.

Quote: “Hudson Catholic has a lot of Experience going into 2016-17.  Considering the teams these guards have played in the last two years, and the balance between Quinerly’s distribution and shooting, and Muhammad’s athleticism, defense, and raw scoring…I don’t see many backcourts in the northeast being better than them.” – Pat Lawless, NCAA Certified Scout MADE Hoops

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring A- Shooting B+ Passing B+ Athleticism B
Defense A Rebounding B Experience A- Depth B Bball IQ B+



Patrick School (Hillside, NJ): Coaches Mike Rice and Chris Chavannes have their own three-headed monster in the backcourt this season.  The pre-season #1 team in New Jersey may also have the most balanced backcourt in the country.  Lead by an extremely underrated PG in Jordan Walker, a lights-out shooter in Jamir Harris, and a physically gifted downhill guard in Marcus McClary, the Patrick School will never be outgunned at guard.  Al-Amir Dawes will bring energy, skill, and scoring in bunches off the bench to supplement an already electric bunch.

Quote: “We’re excited about the backcourt we have this year.  Many have experience at the national level and they’re all tough kids who love to win. I like my guys matched up against anyone.” -Mike Rice, Head Coach Patrick School

Report Card

Ball Handling B Scoring B+ Shooting A- Passing B+ Athleticism B+
Defense A Rebounding B+ Experience A Depth B- Bball IQ A-



 John Carroll (Bel Air, MD): John Carroll boasts perhaps the best Point Guard in the country in Immanuel Quickley.  Complimenting him is the up-and-coming Montez Mathis.  Between the two they give you everything you need in the backcourt.  When your looking among the top Northeast backcourts something from each team on this list has to separate them from the pack and with these two its length.  Opposing teams will have a really rough time getting past these two.  Add to the mix Junior Farquhar and this team is going to be fun to watch.

Quote: “John Carroll is not only fun to watch, but they can teach you something about how to play.  All there guards are creative, aggressive, and determined.  Lead by Quickley, I would be shocked if this team doesn’t have a huge edge at the guard position in just about every game. – Zack Curran, Director of Marketing Hoop Group

Report Card

Ball Handling B+ Scoring A- Shooting B- Passing B+ Athleticism A
Defense A- Rebounding B+ Experience B+ Depth C+ Bball IQ A-

Paul VI (Hyattsville, MD): Paul VI may have the most balanced backcourt in the country.  With Pitt commit Aaron Thompson running the show, long-athletic Brandon Slater hitting triples and slashing, and Anthony Harris doing a little bit of everything, this backcourt will be a nightmare to defend.  Adding to the depth is highly-touted freshman Jeremy Roach.

Quote: “…as skilled and fast as we are on the perimeter, the most impressive thing about this group is how quickly the ball moved and how willing they are to defend.” – Glenn Farello, Head Coach Paul VI.

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring A- Shooting A Passing A Athleticism B+
Defense A- Rebounding B+ Experience A- Depth B+ Bball IQ A



Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, PA): Imhotep is known for is pressure defense and tough hard nosed guards.  2016-2017 is no different for the Panthers as they boast two of the top guards in PA.  David Beatty and Darron Russell can do it all, and with help from Bernard Lightsey.  Also look for Chereef Knox (forward who’s developed into a big wing) and Donte Scott to be key contributors as well.

Quote: “We feel we have a very good backcourt.  Dave, Daron, and Bernard…Expect a lot from them on both sides of the court.  When they play well, we feel good about our chances to win.” – Andre Noble, Head Coach Imhotep Charter

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring A- Shooting A Passing B+ Athleticism B+
Defense A Rebounding A- Experience A- Depth B Bball IQ B+

Westtown (West Chester, PA): The top two hear are already household names.  Both with size, scoring, distributing, and shooting there are very few guards anywhere that can compare with Randolph and Reddish.  As long as these two bring it every night and stay out of foul trouble, Westtown will have an edge at guard.  Noah Collier, an athletic and talented freshman will start for the Moose. For depth, Coach Berger will look to two freshman to give him valuable minutes: Seyon Kpaan and TJ Berger.

Quote: “Our backcourt of Cam Reddish and Brandon Randolph is not only super talented, but also really together.  Anytime you have two future pros in the backcourt, it’s a pretty special thing.” – Seth Berger, Head Coach Westtown

Report Card

Ball Handling B+ Scoring  A+ Shooting A Passing B+ Athleticism A
Defense  A- Rebounding A Experience A- Depth C+ Bball IQ A-

Blair (Blairstown, NJ): Everyone knows the top two guards at Blair: Anthony Mack and Matt Turner.  Perhaps a new-comer may propel this group into the best guards in the country, keep an eye on Junub Char Chuol.  Chuol has a lot of upside and some buzz around him.  The two known guards Mack and Turner, compliment each other nicely: Turner a strong tough slasher and Mack having one of the best jumpers in the country.

Quote: “Two guards with excellent size, college ready right now.  Both guards can score the ball, get to the rim, defend, rebound and shoot with range.  Blair backcourt would be a difficult matchup for any team in the country.” – Jay Gomes, Publisher NJHoops.com

Report Card

Ball Handling B- Scoring B+ Shooting A Passing B+ Athleticism A-
Defense  A- Rebounding A Experience A Depth B- Bball IQ A-

Neumann Goretti (Philadelphia, PA): Lead by simply the best pure Point Guard in the country, Neumann Goretti is a top Northeast Backcourt for sure.  First, when your leader is also your most talented player, any team is in a good spot.  Second, when your team has a history of being well disciplined and making the extra pass you’re nearly unstoppable.  Finally, look for young guard Christian Ings to have a breakout season.

Quote: “Neumann’s backcourt may not have as many names as some of the other teams.  However, when you have the right name everything just falls into place.  Quade Green will lead the tough guard play of Neumann all year long, he’s so good alone, he makes any group tremendous.  Neumann compliments Quade enough to be in the mix.” – Steve Keller, Owner National Recruiting Report

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring B+ Shooting B+ Passing A+ Athleticism A-
Defense  A- Rebounding B Experience A- Depth C+ Bball IQ A


Bishop Louglin (Brooklyn, NY): Markquis Nowell certainly leads the charge here, but this NYC school has guards all over the place.  A team that could legitimately play four guards at once watch Loughlin live off of transition, penetration, and three-point shooting this season.  Watch out for Keith Williams lighting up the scoreboard, guards Tyrese Gaffney and Jordan Thomas all over the floor, and wing Adrien Nunez drilling big shots.

Quote: “Bishop Loughlin’s backcourt duo is one of the best on the east coast. Junior PG Markquis Nowell is a high level playmake and class of 2017 Cincy commit Keith Williams has shown he can score in a variety of ways and dominate the game. These two will be a big reason why the Lions receive national attention this year.” – Pat Lawless, NCAA Certified Scout MADE Hoops

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring A- Shooting B+ Passing B+ Athleticism A-
Defense  A- Rebounding B+ Experience A- Depth A Bball IQ A-

New York City Guards Aren’t Dead By a Long Shot:

I keep hearing this talk about how NYC guards aren’t what they used to be.  I’m starting to think that’s silly.  They may not have more than one team on this list, but that’s because the talent of one city is spread a bunch.  Christ the King’s Tyson Walker and Jose Alverado are studs.  St. Ray’s has one of the best guards in Isaiah Washington (complimented by Dallas Watson and Omar Silverio). Saquan Singleton (Scanlon) and young Posh Alexander (Our Savior Lutheran) are two more.  Finally, you get to Molloy and WOW: Cole Anthony and Khalid Moore!  I know this list may not reflect it from a team backcourt… but if you’re looking for guards, New York City is still one of the first stops you have to make.


Other Notes:

Special thanks as always to Steve Keller and the National Recruiting Report, certainly he is the star of the show.  Also, thanks to the coaches who helped with some information and quotes on there teams.  Thanks to Jay Gomes of NJ Hoops and Zack Curran here at HG.  Finally, a big thanks to Pat Lawless for some information and breakdown.  Follow all the guys above on their twitters (linked above) and follow me HERE.


Corey Floyd: Jr. Elite Player of the Day



Corey Floyd
Team Rio National

Scouting Report: Corey is a prospect with unlimited potential.  Every time he steps on the floor, CJ is one of the most athletic players, giving him an advantage against most competition.  However, he is much more than just an athlete.  CJ has a solid handle and is consistent shooting the ball out to three point range.  He does the most damage in transition, attacking down hill and using his size and quickness to attack the rim.  He is also a lock down defender on the defensive end and loves to track down shots in transition.  If he continues to work and grow into his body, CJ can end up being a top tier player in the class of 2022.

Events Attended: Metro Jr. Elite, Hoop Group Tournament of Champions, Hoop Group Showdowns

#HGSkills Jr. Elite Weekend: Stars That Shined

On July 22nd and 23rd, Hoop Group Skills Camp hosted their annual Jr. Elite Weekend, for rising 5th 9th graders, to end the month of July. Our Jr. Elite Weekend brought in the games next generation of stars to the Poconos to compete on the courts and make a name for themselves prior to entering High School. Campers were coached on the courts and during workouts by current High School and College coaches, giving them a preview of the workouts and intensity needed to play at the next level. Hoop Group Skills hosted players from some of the top AAU programs in the country, including the Riverside Hawks, Albany City Rocks, Team Green, Stamford Peace, Jersey Shore Warriors, NY Lightning, TTG, among others. The National Recruiting Report supplied players of their strengths and weaknesses on the court and where to focus their development to become complete players. Although no player is a finished product, we wanted to recognize those whose play stood out during the Jr. Elite Weekend.


#1 Sam Knudsen- Sam had a solid showing at the Jr Elite weekend. He consistently knocked down the mid-range jump shot while knocking down the occasional 3-point shot.

#3 Bakim Azemi- Bakim is a tough, hard-nosed player with a blue-collar work ethic. He does all the little things that coaches love. He has a good midrange jumper and a high basketball IQ that was displayed all weekend.

#4 Jaylen Britton- Jaylen is a crafty left-handed point guard that controls the tempo of the game. He is a pass first PG that looks to get into the lane and find the open man. He has very good leadership traits at a young age.

#7 Jack Bailey- Jack is a solid all-around player with a knockdown jump shot. On every possession Jack competes and rarely takes a play off. He has a high basketball IQ and a huge ceiling at such a young age. Jack always seems to make the right decision on the court.

#9 Jaylen Douglas- Jaylen is a quick guard who scores the ball in a variety of ways. He is a very good spot up shooter with good range that knocked down many shots at the Jr Elite weekend. He has a good understanding of the game.

#10 Robert Footman- Robert is an attack first point guard that can knock down an open shot. He had much success scoring the ball at the Jr Elite weekend.

#11 David Niang- David is a strong, athletic big with great length. He was one of the top rebounders at the Jr Elite weekend. He needs to continue working on his post game, finishing through contact, but makes his impact felt on each possession.

#12 Xavier Samuels- Xavier is a gifted athlete with great speed and quickness. He has an explosive first step attacking the hoop with the ability to be an elite defender. He is a big time scorer when he attacks the hoop and does not settle for jump shots.

#13 Amari Mills- Amari is a talented, athletic guard who pushes the ball well in transition while always making the right decision. In the half court setting, Amari showed a variety of different moves beating players 1 on 1 off the dribble while also finding the open man.

#14 Honor Huff- Honor is a quick, shifty guard with a great handle. He sees the court extremely well with a pass first mentality. Honor wants to take and make big shots, which he did down the stretch of many games for his team.

#27 Cameron Jones- Cameron is the player every team wants. He moves the ball very well, talks on both ends of the court, and has a strong basketball IQ. Cameron was the leader of his team over the weekend and really took pride in encouraging and uplifting his teammates.

#30 Carter Strauss- Carter had a solid Jr Elite weekend. He was very coachable and followed directions well when being coached. He has a good understanding of the game and high basketball IQ.

#31 Ian Werner- Ian displays very good ball handling skills that helped him see the court and distribute the ball to the open man throughout the weekend. Ian showed the ability to knock down jumpers

#32 Dontae Prescott- Dontae is a crafty guard with great vision and court awareness. He has potential to be a great team leader and floor general if he is more vocal and positive. Dontae needs to be in attack mode at all times.

#34 Robby Gaymon III- Robby is a fundamentally sound guard with a solid basketball IQ. Over the weekend, Robby consistently locked down the opponent’s top player and showed signs of an elite defender.

#35 Paul Bochterle- Paul is a southpaw shooter with a high basketball IQ. He is fundamentally sound offensively but relies on his left hand more often than not. He has the potential to be a great scorer but needs to improve with his weak hand if he wants to get to that level.

#41 Kevin Degnan- Kevin is a play making guard that can knock down jumpers. He is constantly in attack mode looking to get into the lane and find the open man. Kevin showed the potential of being an All-Shore Conference player at RBC.

#42 Isiah Carroll- Isiah is a long athletic wing/forward. He uses his length to his advantage as he shut down some of the top players throughout the Jr Elite weekend. Isiah has a knack for going up and getting the ball on both ends after a missed shot.

#44 Nymere Whitalker- Nymere had a strong weekend defensively at the Jr Elite. He had very active hands on the ball, which led to many deflections and steals for his team. Offensively, he sees the floor well and looks to get his teammates involved.

#45 Makhi Upshur- Makhi has a nice combination of size and speed which helped him throughout the weekend. He had a strong defensive effort and showed signs of becoming an elite defender. He is strong with the basketball and uses his strength to get into the paint.

#47 Kurt Gray- Kurt is a knockdown shooter. He hit shot after shot at the Jr Elite weekend and uses his shooting ability to stretch the defense.

#48 Davon Lee- Davon was one of the top players at the Jr Elite weekend. He scored the ball in a variety of ways. He is a very sound shooter and an even bigger threat attacking the rim. He can become a dangerous player to watch in the future.

#49 Jayson Pilsitz- Jayson had a strong showing at the Jr Elite weekend. The combo guard was very good at getting into the lane and hitting a pull-up jumper or finding his teammates. He was solid on the defensive end causing turnovers and creating havoc for the opponent. He is a player to keep an eye on throughout his high school career.

#50 Amir Jackson- Amir is a solid point guard who can score the ball but most importantly sees the whole floor and makes the right decision. He can attack the hoop going either left or right while finishing at the rim.

#51 Juan Adames- Juan had a very good showing at the Jr Elite weekend. He is a smooth, athletic guard with very good ball handling abilities. Time after time, Juan created opportunities for his teammates by getting into the lane and finding the open man.

#52 Aaron Sterling- Aaron had a very productive weekend on both ends of the court. He displayed very good leadership qualities, always communicating on defense and encouraging his teammates. On the offensive end he has a solid jump shot and good understanding of the game.

#53 Kerry Glover- Kerry was one of the top shooting threats over the weekend. He consistently made big shots for his team. Kerry is constantly in attack mode on the court and is shaping up to be an intriguing prospect when he enters high school.

#55 Jaden Jones- Jaden is a talented guard who showed unselfishness and the ability to create and find the open man. He is solid defender with a knack for making plays.

#56 Jack Boyle- Jack was very impressive over the Jr Elite weekend. He has a very good handle and showed the ability to beat players 1 on 1 off the dribble while finishing at the rim in traffic.

#57 Kevin Loughlin- Kevin was solid on both ends of the court throughout the Jr Elite weekend, displaying a high basketball IQ. He is a strong physical player that can play both inside and out and can stretch the defense hitting a 15-20 foot jumper.

#58 Terance Crowley- Terrance is an outstanding shooter from the perimeter with deep range. He hit many big shots for his team during the Jr Elite weekend. He has great vision and understands the game very well.

#59 Jose Burgos- Jose is a natural scorer with the ability to fill up the stat sheet in a variety of ways. He is an excellent facilitator and shows promise of becoming a great leader.

#60 Pablo Quinones- Pablo has a smooth jump shot with great mechanics. He uses his body well when getting into the lane and drawing contact.

#62 Trey Autry- Trey was very efficient over the weekend scoring the ball in a variety of ways. He showed nice touch with the ability to stretch the defense and hit an outside shot with good range.

#85 Quinn Parker- Quinn displays a high basketball IQ on both ends of the court that allows him to always be in position to make plays. His size and court awareness helped him standout during the Jr Elite weekend.

#86 Jordan Schoen- Jordan showed strong flashes off creating off the dribble and getting to the rim. He showed great court awareness and leadership skills by communicating and constantly talking on defense.

#87 Khai Champion- Khai is a big, strong combo guard. He was a knockdown shooter all weekend and very skilled finishing at the rim. Khai has a high ceiling and is a prospect to keep your eye on in the near future.

#89 Ben Tarek-Kaminker- Ben brings great leadership qualities to the court by setting up teammates, talking on both ends, and being a positive influence to his team. He displays good ball handling skills and looks to get in the lane and create for others. Ben sees the floor very well and makes good decisions.

#90 James Thompson- James displayed his athleticism on both ends of the court during the Jr Elite weekend. He is very good at running the floor and finishing in transition. James made many plays on the defensive end resulting in deflections, steals, or turnovers.

#91 Ian Mccauley- Ian brings a competitive spirit to the court. He runs the floor very well and gives the maximum effort every possession. He is a solid rebounder and always puts a body on his man.

#92 Jack Lish- All weekend, Jack showed the ability to rebound and run in transition while finishing at the rim. He displayed good court vision and consistently made the right play.

#93 Ben Wojnarowski- Ben brings a basketball savvy and high IQ to the court. He can consistently hit the mid-range jump shot with very good touch inside. Ben showed a nice baby-hook move over his left shoulder in the paint.

#94 Jake Koretz- Jake is a smart basketball player who makes good decisions with the ball. He can consistently hit the mid-range and three-point jump shot.

#95 Jadon Green- Jadon displayed a strong work ethic on both ends of the courts. He is solid defensively and brings a lot of intensity with the ability to become a lockdown defender if he puts in the time.

#98 Demarco Bruce- Demarco was one of the top defenders at the Jr Elite weekend. He has the ability to get into the lane, make the right decision, and finish at the rim.

#99 Marcus Jalen Tippens- Marcus has a solid frame that helps him finish in the paint with contact. He has a nice fluid release on his jump shot with good range.

#101- Paul Ampah- Paul is a gifted athlete with good length. He is strong on both sides of the ball rebounding. Paul made some very strong post moves this weekend but needs to continue working on his footwork. Paul will need to add muscle in the weight room this off-season to really propel his game to the next level.

#102 Jason Collazo- Jason brings a lot of energy and effort every time he steps on the court. He is a solid rebounder that is undersized for his age but gets the job done. Jason needs to work on his post moves and continue extending the range on his jump shot.

#107 Callum McNear- Callum was one of the hardest workers at the Jr Elite weekend. He is a tough on-ball defender that created turnovers and bad shots for his team. Callum brought a lot of energy and passion that his team fed off of.

#109 Aris Rodriquez- Aris is a quick shifty combo guard. He is very effective attacking the glass and finishing with contact. Aris displayed good court vision throughout the weekend.

#110 Rene Rodriguez- Rene is an athletic combo guard that can score the ball in a variety of ways. He does a great job rebounding and was one of the better rebounding guards at the Jr Elite weekend.

#117 Xavian Baker- Xavian was one of the top rebounders during the Jr Elite weekend.  He is a big time scorer off of offensive rebounds. Xavian needs to continue developing his post moves, which will add to his already talented game.

#119 Raelyn Bobea Reyes- Raelyn showed the ability to finish around the rim and in the paint. He has a very good ball fake, which time and time again got defenders up in the air. On the defensive end, he was consistently talking, boxing out, and rebounding the ball.


Think you are the games next star? Prove yourself on the court during our 4 day Jr. Elite session in the Poconos, from August 18th-21st. Over 100 players are already registered to showcase their talents and compete on the courts. Call 570-992-6343 to learn more!

Tyree Pickron: Skills Star Player of the Day

Tyree Pickron
10th Grade
Archbishop Wood (PA)

Scouting Report: Tyree does an excellent job of using his body to fight off defenders and finish around the rim. He shows good balance on the court and has knows how to change speeds. He uses his length and athleticism to create turnovers and pressure his man on defense.

Events Attended: Philly Jr. Elite, Philly Top 100, Future All-American Camp, Elite 2
**Note**: Pickron was named 1st Team All-Jr. Elite in Spring 2015, and also was selected to the Top 20 at Hoop Group Elite Camp 2.

Hoop Group Archives: Tyree Pickron


Mikeal Jones: Skills Star Player of the Day


Mikeal Jones
9th Grade
Roman Catholic (PA)

Scouting Report: Jones, the 6’6 wing/forward, is one of the top prospects in Pennsylvania. He uses his strong build matched with a versatile skill set to be effective on the floor, with the ability to play multiple positions. He can score on the block, with his back to the basket, but also can be an effective scorer from the wing.

Events Attended: Metro Jr. Elite (most recently), Future All-American Camp
**Note**: Jones was named 1st Team All-Jr. Elite in Spring 2015, and also was selected to the Top 20 at Future All-American Camp

Hoop Group Archives: Mikeal Jones

Bryan Antoine: Skills Star Player of the Day


Bryan Antoine
9th Grade
Ranney School / Team Rio

Scouting Report: Antoine, the highly touted freshman from Team Rio, is a one-of-a-kind athlete that plays well above the rim. He has an explosive first step that allows him to get to the rim at will, but also uses this to get off his deadly mid-range jumper. Antoine can stretch the floor with his 3 point shot, making him a tough cover for opponents. On the defensive end, he has all of the tools of an elite, lock-down defender, making him the total package on the court.

Events Attended: NYC Jr. Elite, Metro Jr. Elite, Metro Top 100, Spring JamFest
**Note**: Bryan was named 1st Team All Jr. Elite (8th grade) in the Spring of 2015. He also was a member of the Spring JamFest Champions Team Rio.

Hoop Group Archives: Bryan Antoine