Pooley’s Picks: College Basketball Recruiting Process

Pooley’s Picks

College Basketball Recruiting Process

Qualifications:  The college basketball recruiting process is a tough thing to navigate.  There are plenty of traps along the way and most people feel at least a little overwhelmed by the process.  However, one of the reasons parents and players struggle in the recruiting process is because they make mistakes.  These mistakes are common and if it is your first time through the process, frankly easy to make.  This edition of Pooley’s Picks we’ll dive into the ten most common mistakes in the college basketball recruiting process.

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

Weak Academics: Too often players think that recruiting is all about basketball.  Not knowing the academic requirements of schools you want to go to costs many student athletes.  On top of this, having weak junior or senior years after a strong start leaves many good students on the wrong end of Ivy/Patriot recruiting.  See, the Ivy and Patriot leagues recruit based on a players Academic Index, with each school having slightly different requirements.  The Academic Index factors your GPA and your SAT or ACT scores together to give you a score out of 240.  The calculations are a little complicated, but basically what you need to know is the better you do on both your grades and the test, the easier it is to recruit you.  Therefore, its probable that some high academic kids will actually be taken over players they are less talented than in order to allow those schools to meet requirements.  Other schools like Stanford, Northwester, Vanderbilt in Division 1 also have higher academic standards than just being a qualifier.  Finally, most D3 schools operate completely within the confines of their schools admissions process.  If you aren’t a good enough student to get it, it doesn’t matter what you play like.  Even the top D3’s who can assist student athletes in admissions, don’t have free-reign and may only be able to take one player a year that doesn’t live up to standards.

Short and Sweet: Do well in school so you don’t limit your choices.

We’re Just Working on His Game: There is nothing more important than getting better.  However, in order to get recruited at the right level it isn’t all about instruction and development.  Players have to go to the right events and be exposed to the right people to be accurately recruited.  Too often I’ve heard people say “we aren’t doing {insert event} because Johnny needs to work on his game.”  This is not the way to get to the right college.  The more a player can be seen (in the right light) by different colleges, the more likely he is to go to the appropriate level.

 Short and Sweet: Get to the right events often, the more visibility the better.

Pitt Jam Fest One of many AAU Tournaments to aid the college recruiting process

He HAS to Play for ‘XYZ’ AAU Team:  Wrong! There is never just one answer or one group of answers on the AAU circuit.  I would argue it is extremely important for everyone to play with an AAU team.  However, just because one team wins more games or goes to a certain group of tournaments does not make it the right fit for everyone.  My rule of thumb, if you aren’t a top seven player on your team, you’re not on the right team.  Players going to a tournament with 100 coaches and playing five minutes isn’t as good as going to an event with 25 coaches and playing twenty minutes.

Short and Sweet: Play with a team that lets you shine but goes to the right tournaments.

 

Image result for hoop group elite summer camp

Elite Camps can be a great supplement to summer exposure

He Doesn’t Need Camps or Clinics: Never get caught up in the thought that AAU and High School basketball are enough.  Many players will be recruited from their High School teams.  Many more will be recruited from their AAU teams.  Some players will find the college basketball recruiting strongest at camps or clinics.  Each player is different and college coaches like to see kids on multiple platforms.

 Short and Sweet: Camps and Clinics are an important supplement to high school and AAU.

 

This Event Doesn’t Have Anyone Watching My Kid:  With the amount of games and events that kids attend today, you’re bound to attend one or two without a multitude of college coaches.  Don’t let who it APPEARS is watching you to effect how you play.  College coaching is a network and often a coach at one division will communicate with coaches in other divisions if they see a kid they like.  Second, and perhaps more important, scouting services are all over.  Many scouts will look like an average fan or parent, but often attend events to find players people don’t know about, or re-evaluate guys they have seen before.  Don’t get caught playing lazy or with an attitude by one of these gentlemen see that it can hurt you.

 Short and Sweet: You don’t ever really know who is watching, always play like the college of your dreams is there.

 

He is underrated:  Every player in the county, except for the kid ranked #1 in his class is “underrated.”  Every kid that isn’t getting recruited to Duke and Kentucky is “under the radar.”  The truth is, most kids are getting recruited to the right level.  If your son has a lot of D3 interest and no D2 or D1 interest, it is likely that is where his skill set is the best fit.  As long as you are attending the right events and getting in front of coaches and scouts, the chances are the recruitment is accurate.  Are there exceptions? Absolutely.  Don’t let any one person tell you that your son isn’t good enough, but PLEASE be as objective as possible.  There’s an old adage that states: A player’s coach thinks he’s one level higher than he is, a player’s parents and the player thinks he’s two levels higher than he is.  Just about every person involved in college basketball recruiting does it as a full-time job.  Listen to as many people in this space (coaches, scouts, event operators) as you can, and don’t fixate on the one piece of information you like to hear.  Aggregate all the info you get and remember, you may know your kid better than everyone else, but the experts know everyone else better than you do.

 Short and Sweet: Get as many opinions as you can, and do your best to be objective.

 

My Kid is better than THAT level:  A variation of the mistake above, too many people get caught up in classifying their kid as ‘better’ than a school or group of schools.  Before you say this ask yourself: “Have I seen enough basketball at this level to be accurate?”  Maybe the answer is no, then go watch a game.  If you think your kid is too good to play in the Patriot League, go watch a top level Patriot team play a game.  If you think your son is too good to play in the NE-10, go watch a playoff game in that league.  Most of the time you’ll be surprised just how good the basketball is.  Be careful when putting down leagues too, it is possible your son ends up at that level or similar, which is an accomplishment not a failure.  College basketball is an incredibly hard sport to get recruited in, with just about every high school in the country offering it and only 12 spots on most college rosters.  Any recruitment is a blessing and an accomplishment, never take it for granted.

 Short and Sweet: Know what each level really looks like, before passing judgement on recruiting.

 

My son stopped this player and he is ranked here:  No one cares.  Trust me on this one.  The player on player comparison in one game, is a very bad litmus test for how good your son is.  Most scouting services and college coaches completely dismiss this.  Your son (and the other player) will not be judged on just one performance, especially with so many other factors determining how players play in a game.  Playing against good competition day-in and day-out is what you should be focusing on.  The college recruiting process should never come down to one match up and if there are schools that buy into that, they aren’t the schools you want your son to go to.  What if as a senior he’s scoring 15 points a game and gets out played during the practice before the championship game by a freshman?

 Short and Sweet: The college recruiting process is about being consistent and making lasting impressions, not one time

 

We’re not entertaining interest from those schools:  If you know about a school and don’t have any interest tell the coach.  Sometimes the best thing to hear as a recruiter is no.  However, if you don’t know anything about the school, try to learn more.  Even if you think your son is better than that level, you should always have a plan if his recruiting doesn’t go the way you expect.  If you think your son is a D1 player, but doesn’t have the interest yet, pick a few D2/3 schools and find a couple fits.  The Division 1 schools may come around.  If not, he’ll have a place to go to school where he can play, get an education, and enjoy college.

 Short and Sweet: Give yourself options in the college recruiting process, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

 

Not being Proactive: Too many parents and players are passive about the thing that is most important to them: their college basketball recruiting process.  Be your own advocate.  Clean-up your social media, change your voicemail to be professional, get game tape, and send colleges your schedule.  Find schools you like and help them recruit you.  Schools aren’t going to offer you a scholarship on the spot, but certainly will take notice and evaluate you if you make it easy for them.  Plan out a spring and summer schedule with good events and play on a good AAU team, get a game tape and highlight video (game tapes are still the most important).  This will give you the best shot.  Don’t ever get “under recruited” because you didn’t do your job.

 Short and Sweet: Be aggressive and take control of your recruitment.

 

 

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 – 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.

 

Pooley Picks – Top New Jersey Basketball Players by Productivity

Pooley Picks

Top New Jersey Basketball Players: 10 Most Productive

Qualifications: There are a lot of ways to discuss Top New Jersey Basketball players, here we are talking strictly production.  The players below aren’t necessarily the Top 10 players in New Jersey, but rather players I’ve projected to put up the biggest numbers adjusted for competition. You cannot be on the list if you’re projected to average less than 10 points per game or if your only strength is scoring the ball (players who are projected for low assist AND rebound totals don’t qualify).  Lastly, we have adjusted for competition: Big numbers against a weaker schedule won’t get you in over someone with comparable numbers are against top teams.

Players are in no particular order. Please enjoy the first installment of Pooley Picks.

Nate Pierre-Louis: Nate’s an extremely physical guard who has the keys to the kingdom at one of New Jersey’s top schools.  Look for Nate to have big scoring nights on top of his ability to creep up near double digit assists and rebounds on some outings.  In addition to the situation being right at Roselle, Nate can also flat out play.  This guard can score from all three levels, distribute, and get big buckets in big games. It will be fun to watch the Temple commit this season as he proves he’s one of the top New Jersey basketball players.

Most productive when: He out hustles all competition and gets teammates involved consistently

Least productive when: Teams pack the lane and jumper doesn’t fall

Stat Line Projection: 21.1 ppg / 4.7 apg / 6.1 rpg / 3.4 spg / 0.8 bpg

 

Justyn Mutts: Big man for St. Augustine’s has the potential for some monster nights in 2016-17.  Proving himself with one of the best teams in NJ last year, Mutts had a 22-10-7 game against undefeated St. Anthony’s; along with multiple double-doubles and plenty of 5+ block games. High Point is getting a stat-stuffer with Mutts.

Most productive when: He plays inside then out and stays aggressive on the O-boards

Least productive when: Teams can force him to 15 feet plus and box out.

Stat Line Projection: 17.9 ppg / 1.7 apg / 10.1 rpg / 1.4 spg / 3.1 bpg

 

Scottie Lewis: Scottie has the chance to have the best stat sheet in New Jersey both in an individual game and over the course of the season.  A human highlight reel, he can also do everything and will be in a situation at The Ranney School where he has to for them to be successful.  He’ll get plenty of shots and even more rebounding and assist opportunities.  Even with adjusting for competition, Scottie will have such good numbers he is a no-brainer for this list. Looking ahead, watch for him to start creeping into one of the top New Jersey basketball players ever.

Most productive when: When he’s in the open floor and help-side defensive situations

Least productive when: Teams slow the game and play triangle and two against him and teammate Bryan Antoine

Stat Line Projection: 19.4 ppg / 5.1 apg / 11.1 rpg / 4.7 spg / 2.8 bpg

 

RJ Cole: Tough for anyone on a Coach Hurley team to make the list, as his teams often feature extremely well disciplined and balanced teams.  However, this seems like a year where one player may be required to do a little more for them to be as successful as they’ve been in the past.  Lucky for the Friars, Cole, a top New Jersey basketball player, is set up for one of those years.  RJ is a heady point, whose jump shot has turned a corner.  The lefty, committed to Howard, should have some big games against some of the best teams the Northeast has to offer.  May not boast the stats of some of the other players on the list but will score or assist on a huge % of his teams buckets.

Most productive when:  He’s given space on the perimeter or in ball screen situations

Least productive when: His team needs to grind out wins in the 40s and 50s

Stat Line Projection: 15.4 ppg / 5.7 apg / 3.4 rpg / 2.9 spg / 0.4 bpg

 

Elijah Barnes: Looking to repeat as Shore Conference Champs, Mater Dei’s 6’7” big man can do a little bit of everything.  Most importantly, Barnes can do a lot of rebounding and scoring.  Elijah put up decent numbers on an extremely well-rounded, well-coached team last year.  Barnes is poised for a huge individual season (along with teammate Kenny Jones) in 2016-17. Princeton looks to be getting a tough big man who can do a little bit of everything.

Most productive when:  He’s attacking the glass, inside of 15 feet and then steps out

Least productive when: He falls in love with perimeter game or floats on the floor

Stat Line Projection: 18.7 ppg / 2.7 apg / 11.4 rpg / 1.6 spg / 2.4 bpg

 

Jalen Carey:  With Immaculate Conception getting better and deeper there may be a few less opportunities to score, but Jalen’s overall game should flourish.  Arguably the best scorer in New Jersey (I wouldn’t argue against it), Carey is an explosive athlete, with some of the best downhill moves in high school basketball as well as a consistent mid-range shooter with a developing 3-pt jumper.  Expect some games in the 30’s and a lot of wins for his high school team this year, led by the only junior on the list.

Most productive when:  He has the ball in his hand. Period.

Least productive when:  He’s forced off the ball and required to only shoot long jump shots.

Stat Line Projection: 22.6 ppg / 3.9 apg / 7.1 rpg / 3.6 spg / 0.9 bpg

 

Bryan Antoine: Bryan is a scoring PG who just happens to be 6’4” with an unbelievable feel for the game.  Considering he’s going to touch the ball every possession this season I know big games are on the way.  Huge scoring and assist numbers are a certainty from Bryan, in a league where guys will not be able to stay in front of him.  Along with teammate Scottie Lewis, and an older and stronger supporting cast, look for these big numbers to translate into wins against tougher teams deep into 2017.

Most productive when:  He can get going from deep and consistently get to the line.

Least productive when:  Teams can force contested jump shots and guard w/o fouling.

Stat Line Projection: 24.6 ppg / 6.1 apg / 6.4 rpg / 3.8 spg / 1.1 bpg

 

Gabe Stefanini:  The Italian import had a breakout 2016, both in HS and AAU.  The 6’3” Columbia commit, can play three positions and is hard to stop at all of them.  Not the fastest guard, Gabe’s game is built on deception, a high basketball IQ, and an ever improving jump shot.  His numbers may not be as gaudy as some of the others on this list, but with an extremely deep Bergen Catholic roster and tough schedule, look for Gabe to be balanced in all 5 major categories and lead the crusaders to a lot of wins.

Most productive when:  He plays under control, with his head up, and gets to the foul line.

Least productive when:  He forces early in games and gets into his own head.

Stat Line Projection: 14.1 ppg / 5.1 apg / 6.3 rpg / 2.7 spg / 0.6 bpg

 

Nick Richards: From a production standpoint, I was close to leaving Nick off the list.  For years, Nick has been a top recruit in the nation, and currently holds the number one spot in New Jersey; however, the statistics and impact on the game up until now hasn’t always been there.  That is about to change though.  With this being his senior year, his team playing perhaps the toughest schedule of any team in New Jersey, a recent commitment to Kentucky, and Pat’s losing inside factors Fatir Hines and Cyril Langevine: Nick will be up for more minutes, blocks, rebounds, and points. Not to mention the fact his game has made great strides the last few months.

Most productive when:  He stays out of foul trouble and runs the floor rim to rim.

Least productive when:  He gets caught in that middle 8-15 ft. range

Stat Line Projection: 12.6 ppg / 0.9 apg / 12.1 rpg / 1.6 spg / 4.1 bpg

 

Elijah Olaniyi is one of the top New Jersey Basketball Players

Elijah Olaniyi is one of the top New Jersey Basketball Players

Elijah Olaniyi: Definitely a surprise to some on the production list, but Elijah has begun to separate himself from other NJ wings.  The Stonybrook commit has taken a below average jumper and turned it into a strength.  The energizer bunny, he not only plays hard every second, but he has a nose for the ball.  Never afraid to attack the rim or take tough shots, Elijah will jump about 50% in scoring and slightly improve on an unreal rebounding campaign in 2015-16, which include five consecutive double-doubles. If you watch him play he’ll convince you he’s a top New Jersey basketball player.

Most productive when:  He takes and makes good shots and gets to the foul line

Least productive when:  Opposing Teams can keep him off the glass and out of transition

Stat Line Projection: 15.1 ppg / 2.3 apg / 10.9 rpg / 2.1 spg / 1.1 bpg

 

Top 5 Snubs:

Tavon Jones – Unbelievable competitor and scorer.  Will lead Linden to another long playoff run.

Reason: I’m only allowed to have 10 players on the list.

Bourama Sidibe – Big time prospect who will rebound and block shots with the best of them.

Reason: Very difficult schedule will limit scoring opportunities; aggressive play will lead to foul trouble.

Deng Gak – Top level prospect, who developed a ton last year with Blair and PSA.

Reason: Don’t see him cracking 10 pts or reb with a great five at Blair who can all score and rebound.

Ja’Quaye James – One of the best scorers in the state in 2015-2016 and a good enough distributor.

Reason: Teams will start to key on little guard, assist and scoring numbers could dip.

Justin Minaya – Originally on the list, great all around guard with a bright future.  Major sleeper!

Reason: He’ll have better numbers than a couple on the list, but adjusting for competition hurts.

 

Other Notes:

Difficult to leave Jordan Pierce off a list of top New Jersey basketball players.  However, when it comes to productivity I don’t know if he’ll have the other stats.  Jordan plays hard and records a lot of double-doubles.  The big three at Hudson (Quinerly, Muhammad, King) are all unbelievable talents.  However, for Marinello’s team to win they will share many of the stats needed to be on this list.  Isaiah Wong will be a front runner for this list next year, Notre Dame guard is great.

Patrick School guards (Harris, McClary, Walker) will be in a Hudson Catholic like scenario: talented backcourt, with only one ball. Big nights but not enough counting numbers for Rice’s big three.  George Visconti, crazy scorer who had 5 30 point games last year, just doesn’t quite have the strength of schedule but could average 25+ again this year. Finally, Nazreon Reid, a top 10 player to watch for certain but I don’t expect consistent enough numbers to justify jumping one of the other candidates.

Social Media’s March Madness Winner

Tom-Izzo-cutting-down-the-nets

As famous as Selection Sunday has become in America, the day that follows is almost just as popular. Coined by some as “Bracket Monday,” the day following Selection Sunday is filled with over-analyzing college basketball seasons and thousands brackets filled out across the country. In what is looked upon as one of the most open pools in recent years, it appears as if anyone can put together a six game winning streak and make a run to the championship.

On Monday, we took to social media to see who our followers thought would be crowned champions in early April. Here’s what we found:

Teams Receiving One Vote:

i IonaGaels Oregon-O-logo Yale_Bulldogs_Logo Holy_Cross_Crusaders.svg Providence_Friars_logo.svg Uconn_Huskies_logo2013 UALRTrojans

westvirginiamountaineers

XavierMusketeers Texas_Longhorns_Logo Miami_Hurricanes_logo.svg 2000px-Michigan_Wolverines_Logo.svg Virginia_Cavaliers_sabre.svg

 

 

 

Teams Receiving Two Votes:

Indiana_University_(Athletics)_logoOklahoma_Sooners_logoSeton_Hall_Pirates_Logo.svg

 

 

Teams Receiving Three Votes: 

Villanova_Wildcats_Logo.svg Kentucky_Wildcats_2005_logo

 

 

Runner Ups (9 votes each):

University_of_Kansas_Jayhawk_logo.svg UNC-TARHEELS-LOGO-psd12408

 

 

NCAA Champions, according to Social Media (10 votes):

 

Michigan_State_Spartans

It’s hard to hard to bet against a Tom Izzo coached Michigan State team in March, and it appears our followers are smart enough to know so. Izzo has led the Spartans to seven Final Four appearances in 19 NCAA bids, including one last season in Indianapolis. Will the Spartans win the extra two games it could not last year? Or will one of these other teams knock them off in the process. Only time will tell. One thing is for sure though, it should be another exciting three weeks! Let the madness begin…

Spring Jr #HGShowdown Recap

showdown

The Spring Junior Showdown kicked off Saturday morning as teams from all over the east coast made up four different age brackets. The U11, U12, U13 and U14 pools commenced, with each team glimmering with hope of making it to Sunday night.

What started as distant hope for some programs, turned into shear reality as pool play progressed into the later stages. Teams from Pittsburgh and the Jersey Shore were among the many that impressed throughout the round robin games.

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11 & Under

The 5th grade age bracket proved to be the most diverse in the tournament, as three of the six pool play games were decided by ten points or less. Pools this talented made for two tremendous Final Four match ups: NJ Shoreshots Nitro took on Jersey Force, and Ocean Elite would test themselves against nationally ranked Havoc City.

NJ Shoreshots Nitro 40 Jersey Force 32

The Force kept it close in the first half with scrappy defensive play. The halftime score only had Nitro leading 21-12. Jersey Force gave it their all for every minute, especially Jay Ratner who had 8 points in the contest. Unfortunately for Force, they were never able to gain a lead, as Nitro held took care of the ball and had several timely buckets from guard, Ben Roy. Ben, who had 12 points on the game, was asked about the win and responded, “It was good, but we’re coming for that championship trophy!”

Havoc City 44 Ocean Elite 40

The widely recognized Havoc City had high expectations heading into the tournament, and were intent on reaching them. However, Ocean Elite had plans of spoiling those plans. Elite took advantage of every opportunity and found themselves in a tight game at halftime. The game stayed close throughout, and both teams looked like prime contenders for a championship. Harold Taylor was the difference maker, and a big reason Havoc City was able to win the close game. He explained the team’s effort down the stretch, “We aren’t here to just play for a title, we want to win one.”

CHAMPIONSHIP: NJ Shoreshots Nitro 32 Havoc City 18

The scoring was sparse in the 11U Championship as defense was the main focus of both coaches. Coach Cooper and the Shoreshots added a zone concept to their man to man defense, in order to keep Havoc City and their quick guards out of the lane, “We were able to keep them out of the lane, and rebound well defensively… That was the key.” He said after the game.

The Shoreshots were led by standout guard, Issac Hester who had 16 points and was awarded the MVP. Harold Taylor led Havoc City with 8 points.

Nitro

 12 & Under

The 6th grade age bracket consisted of four pools, all of which had an undefeated participant: The Metro Mavericks, Jersey Force Fagan, NJ Shoreshots Elite, and Basketball Stars America. Those four teams squared off in the highly anticipated semi-finals.

NJ Shoreshots Elite 55 Metro Mavericks 44

Early in the first half it looked like the Shoreshots would run away with the game thanks to their athleticism and defensive pressure. They built their lead to 11 at the four minute mark in the first thanks to Jaylen Blakes, who finished with 16 points in the game. Metro didn’t back down however, and came back to cut the lead to five at the break, highlighted by a remarkable 3-point buzzer beater by Aaron Geller.

The pressure  was set squarely on the Shoreshots to respond, and they did just that.  A revamped defensive effort in the second stanza helped them hold their opponent to only 18 second half points. Geller finished with 16 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Shoreshots, who were determined to get to the championship.

Jersey Force Fagan 51 Basketball Stars America 44

Coach Fagan’s gritty Force team jumped out to an early 8-2 lead and forced BSA to take an early timeout. The Force looked impressive early with daunting pressure on defense and tremendous ball movement against the BSA zone.

At the half, it looked like Jersey Force had the game well in hand, but BSA had other plans. Adu Thiero led a spirited comeback with 13 second half points to cut the lead, and BSA was in business. Both coaches had spirited messages for their teams with the game on the line.

Down the stretch, Sam Fagan and his teammates hit some clutch free throws to keep their team ahead and take them to the championship. Fagan finished with 13 along to lead the team.

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CHAMPIONSHIP: Jersey Force Fagan 56 NJ Shoreshots Elite 41

            The Championship game featured two gritty teams, fueled by their defense. Jersey Force took the lead on some miscues by the Shoreshots and never looked back. Shoreshots star, Jaylen Blakes did his best to keep the team in it with 17 points but they were never able to close the gap. Sam Fagan had his team clicking on all cylinders as he finished with 17 points of his own, and the MVP trophy.

12U Champs - Jersey Force

12U Champs – Jersey Force

13 & Under

The 7th grade age bracket also had four pools, and following suit, they had the four pool winners go undefeated. However, there would be one team who captured the attention of every viewer at Hoop Group Headquarters. After dominating in pool play, Basketball Stars America were the heavy favorites heading into the semi-final; they a point differential of 145 heading into the elimination round. Jersey Force, NJ United and St. Michael’s looked to defy the odds in Sundays’ contests.

NJ United 46 Jersey Force 39

NJ United jumped out to a lead thanks to balanced scoring and tenacious full court pressure, and held a five point advantage going into the half. The game went similarly in the second half, and was the most competitive of any semi-final game during the tournament.

Force’s Jakari Spence kept his team in the game throughout with a 21 point scoring effort and strong leadership. At the 5 minute mark, the game was within 3 points, but Luke Ungur found himself ahead of the pack for two easy lay ins that all but sealed the NJ United win. His coach said after the game, “When Luke can get out in transition and make lay-ups he is great.”

Basketball Stars America 57 St. Michael’s 28

St. Michael’s and BSA started the game mirroring each other with full court pressure and were able to force turnovers. Half way through the first, BSA held an 11-8 lead in the defensive standoff.

A quick timeout by BSA allowed them to make some adjustments which lead to a few transition baskets for the 13u squad. BSA started to flex their muscles and show why they were the favorite, and the lead started to lengthen. Theodore Gadsen and Francisco Paulino led St. Michael’s with 7 a piece, but didn’t have enough to overcome the deficit. Isaiah Smith was the star of the show, dropping 17 points for the winning side.

 CHAMPIONSHIP: Basketball Stars America 55 NJ United 33 

NJ United did not seemed phased by BSA’s semifinal game. They took care of the ball early in the game and attacked the glass relentlessly. They only trailed by two points with 7 minutes left in the half before BSA turned up the heat and ended the half on a 23-4 run.

BSA’s impressive intensity didn’t slow down in the second half as their lead went as high as 28. Nate Cullo was awarded the MVP, finishing the championship with 12 points and a handful of rebounds. BSA coach told us after the game, “Hustle and energy, that’s all it takes. We had both this weekend.”

Nate and his teammates were eager to address the win after the game, “Defense and energy are so important! If we make good passes and play with intensity we can beat anyone.” Young guard, Adu Thiero said.

13U Champs - BSA (Pittsburgh, PA)

13U Champs – BSA (Pittsburgh, PA)

14 & Under

 The 8th grade age bracket sported three undefeated  teams. The fourth bracket presented an interesting scenario, with all three teams going 1-1 during bracket play. Due to a tiebreaker, it was the West Orange Knights who advanced into the semi-finals with Jersey Force Korellis, Collegeville Jaguars, and NJ Soldiers.

Jersey Force Korellis 54 Collegeville Jaguars 34

Jersey Force program looked to capture their second title of the tournament as their 14U team took on an underrated Collegeville team. The Force catapulted out to a 13-0 lead on blistering ball movement and sharp shooting, and they looked to be cruising early on. The Jaguars fought and scrapped but as halftime approached the Force were still in control.

Their disciplined style of play was too much for Justin Addensewu, 11 points, and the Jaguars who were unable to breach the double-digit lead. Ian O’Connor led the Force attack with 12 points.

West Orange Knights 59 NJ Soldiers 45

 The first half was a back and forth affair, with each team taking the lead three separate times. West Orange tried to use their length to disrupt the Soldiers defensively, and with 6 minutes left in the half they finally broke through. After a deep 3 by Jason Larrnengh, West Orange got a turnover then an and-1 lay-up to push the lead to 10.

The second half had much of the same as Stephon Sheard led the way with 16 points for the Knights. West Orange finished the game strong as the final score read 59-45. Santino Georgio led the Soldiers with 11 points.

CHAMPIONSHIP: West Orange 52 Jersey Force Korellis 35

The heavyweight bout in the top age bracket of the Spring Jr Showdown featured West Orange and Jersey Force. Both teams came in after convincing semi-final wins and warranted confidence.

West Orange threw the first punch, kicking off the first 6 minutes with a 14-4 lead. As expected, the Force fought back and went into the second half down just 6. If the game ended there we would have anxiously waited for the judge’s decision.

In the second half, it was only fitting that the game would be decided by a short run by either team. It was the Knights who emerged through a stretch much like the semi-final one. A three followed by a forced turnover, and another lay-up extended the lead to 13. The West Orange coach explained, “Defense is about heart and determination. We had it.”

West Orange held the trophy high after their 17 point win and watched lead guard, Stephon Sheard be crowned as tournament MVP. After the game Stephon said, “We moved the ball really well in the second half and got good shots. We kept playing hard defensively all day.”

Jersey Force guard Jason Hogarty led the Force with 11 points, but was disappointed they couldn’t get the win, “I thought we played a little tense early on, and just couldn’t recover. Going forward we just need to play hard every second and not take anything for granted.”

14U Champs - West Orange Knights

14U Champs – West Orange Knights

—Final Thoughts—

The Spring Jr Showdown was loaded with top talent this weekend. Teams in every age bracket showed their potential to be tough opponents on any given occasion. However, as the week wore long their were a few attributes that coaches can’t teach and players can’t learn. The length and athleticism of each winning team was an elite characteristic. After four or five games in a 48-hour span, legs get weak and minds get tired, but size never shrinks.

It would be an understatement to say the fans this weekend were phenomenal. They packed the seats of Hoop Group Headquarters and vibrated the walls with ringing enthusiasm. Refs threw on the zebra shirts and worked as hard as these young athletes did throughout the weekend. All of these attributes are invariably what the Hoop Group stands for on a daily basis. Thank you to the fans, players, coaches and everyone else who make events like these possible. The next Showdown will be next weekend when we see a crop of older teams come through. Should be another great weekend of hoops!

– Brent Pelella (@CTHoops News)

#HGSKILLS QUOTES OF DAY








Hoop Group Skills – Stars of the Summer

Throughout the summer Hoop Group Skills Camp has been naming a Hoop Group Skills Star of the Day. The star of the day can be any camper who has stood out not only during that day’s games but also in station work, individual competitions such as Hot Shot or 1-on-1 games, and our Early-Bird Workouts.

During our first three Hoop Group Skills Camps we have named 14 Skills Stars (pictured below). With July wrapping up, we look forward to seeing who will be our Skills Star of the Day during Hoop Group Skills Camp IV (August 10 – 14), our final Skills Camp of the summer.

If you haven’t reserved your spot please CLICK HERE .

Boys Skills 2014 cover (1)











#BeElite Poll of the Day-July 16

Here is today’s question: which kind of basketball would you rather watch? College or NBA? Each have their strengths and weaknesses, but we want to hear from you! Click the image and let us know your thoughts.