Jr. Elite Weekend I: Stars that Shined

2015 Jr. Elite I: Recap & Scouting Reports

This weekend, Hoop Group Skills Camp hosted some of the top players along the East Coast for our first of two Jr. Elite Sessions of the summer. Throughout the fall, winter, and spring, the Hoop Group staff attends and hosts AAU tournaments in order to find strong youth players to compete at Jr. Elite. The weekend consists of a combination of skill development, college-style practices, and game-play for rising 6th-9th graders. The purpose of Jr. Elite is for campers to separate themselves from other players their age and begin to make a name for themselves before entering High School. Our staff was made up of Division II/III NCAA and High School coaches, who are passionate about teaching the game to young players. This weekend’s event had players represented from seven (NY/NJ/PA/MD/VA/SC/CT) states along the East Coast. The National Recruiting Report was on-hand to provide player evaluations. Listed below are scouting reports on some of the top performers at Jr. Elite. While we stress to participants that no player has “arrived” and does not need to constantly improve their game, these players showed great potential, and the ability to be household names in the near future if their development continues.

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Session I: Stars that Shined


#60 Malcolm Sidebottom – A developing freshman guard with good size and speed. He rebounds the ball well and has the ability to go coast to coast and finish.

#22 Carson Davis – He’s only in the fourth grade but he shows great creativity and a solid IQ. Look for him to make some noise in the near future.

#62 Ian DiPietro – As a ninth grader, Ian has good size, speed and above average ball skills, along with a great attitude. He should have no problems making his JV team next year.

#2 John Willis – John has a competitive spirit that coaches’ look for. He has a great attitude and is active on the court. His motor allows him to create extra possessions for his team.

#50 Josh Gonzalez – Gonzalez is as solid as they come. He does not make many mistakes on either end of the floor. He knows his strengths and does not vary from these.

#46 Naim Taylor – Taylor is a selfless player on the offensive end. A solid on-ball defender and rebounder, he can fill up a statsheet in numerous categories.

#16 Jalen Leach – Jalen is a defensive stopper and can guard his opponent’s top scorer. Few can match his level on intensity on the defensive end. He competes hard and has an endless motor that creates good things for his team.

#133 Marcus Von Reicklinghausen – Marcus is a true G/F that can play inside and out. Already over 6’2’’, he takes smaller guards to the paint and uses his size to score. With a forward matched up on him, he attacks with the ball from the wing. The Ridgefield, CT standout is a name to keep up with in the next few years.

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#97 Trevin Midgette – Trevin has a great ball handling ability for a big man. He can create his own shot and score off the catch and off the dribble. Midgette projects as a bigger-wing as he enters high school, causing matchup problems on a nightly basis.

#3 Derrick Burnside – athletic guard who attacks the rim off the bounce. He easily gets to the paint and has a nice floater over forwards. He is a capable 3 point shooter, which helps keep the defense honest and sets up his drive.

#95 Lloyd Baskin – Long, athletic big man. Baskin is a physical player down on the block. Defensively, he protects the rim well and is constantly altering shots, while controlling the glass. He possesses good hands and feet. He runs the floor well and gets great positioning inside. Lloyd has unlimited upside and is a player coaches need to know about at Bishop McNamera (MD) in the WCAC.

#99 Jack Pettit – The talented combo guard won Co-MVP on the weekend. Jack has a very tight handle and is efficient with his moves and the basketball. He has a strong pull-up jumper off the dribble, but can also finish around the rim with either hand. Pettit’s most impressive attribute is his work ethic and ability to lead his teammates. St. Peter’s Prep (NJ) is getting a good one.

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#58 Bennet Waters – Waters has a quick first step and likes to attack the defense off the dribble. Defensively, he is very active in passing lanes, getting numerous deflections and steals to start fast breaks. He is a capable 3 point shooter, but his game will be even stronger as he develops consistency on this, which compliments his slashing ability.

#66 Zachary Davis – Davis plays within himself and uses his strengths to help his team. He is a solid on-ball defender and knows his defensive rotations. Offensively, he is catch-and-shoot player, with range out to the 3 point line.

#21 Chase Jackson – Chase can score in a variety of ways. On Friday, he knocked down 3 three pointers in a game. Saturday, Jackson displayed his ability to finish inside the arch and through contact with bigs. He is constantly communicating on the floor and serves as an extension of the coach while on the court.

#10 Conor Geelan – The best way to describe Conor is Mr. Reliable; You always know what you are going to get. Geelan is an all-around solid player who can make shots, defend, and rebound. He is an efficient scorer. He seems to make the right play every time the basketball is in his hands. He competes for the hardest worker on the court each time he takes the floor.

#65 Sam MacMillan – Sam moves very well for his length. He has the ability to handle the ball and create shots for himself. He is effective when using a high release on his shot and raising up over defenders. As a skilled passer around the rim, he is a tough cover for opponents.

#20 Chaz Jackson – Chaz is a lead-guard with great court vision. He sees plays develop before they action occurs and has an IQ on the court that is well beyond his years. This weekend’s Floor General Award recipient is a highlight reel in transition.

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#94 Bailey Decker – The lefty has a strong ability to shoot the basketball. He has a quick release and does not need much space to get a shot off. The ball rotates well coming out of his hand and he can knockdown shots out to the 3 point line.

#61 Sam Heintz – Heintz is a heady guard that is great at starting the fast break, while being able to shoot with range from 3. It seems as he is always in the right spot at the right time. A verbal on-court leader, Sam communicates very well and makes sure his team is organized.

#91 Jaiden Henry – Jaiden is a physical post player who controls the glass on both ends of the floor. He is an above average passer from the low-post. Once he develops his offensive game with his back to the basket, he will be a problem for opponents.

#105 Armani Lopez – A sharpshooting wing who can catch fire in a hurry. Lopez has great length uses this to his advantage on both ends of the floor. Already a wing over 6’, he is a prospect to keep an eye on as he enters high school.

#132 Miles Malloy – One of the most improved players of the weekend, Miles is a prospect with as high of a ceiling as any. Malloy is very athletic, with good hands and an ability to finish at the rim. He is a matchup nightmare for opponents, as he can drive forwards or score inside on guards.

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#131 Akhir Carter – Akhir is a crafty forward with a nose for the basketball. He is a good shooter with his feet set and sees the floor well from the high post. Every time he takes the floor, he seems to get better and better as a player.

#5 Ajani Simmons – Ajani is a lightening quick guard who is at his best in the open court and starting the break. His first step is as quick as any, which he likes to use to set up his floater in the paint. He accepts any challenge, offensively or defensively, while on the court.

#48 Raquib Lewis – Lewis has all the tools of an elite guard. He has high level speed, he gets to his spots on the floor, and he can finish inside with taller players. The Philadelphia native has range to the 3 point line, but is at his best when he attacks for himself and others.

#24 Michael Long – Long is a smart player who distributes the ball well from the perimeter. He has a special ability to score a variety of ways in the paint.

#8 Khalid Johnson – Johnson is a capable 3 point shooter, but prefers a strong baseline drive to set up his pull-up jumper. Defensively, he rebounds well from the guard spot and rarely gets beat off the dribble.

#63 Justin Regis – Regis turns the corner well and is at his best when attacking downhill out of pick and roll situations. His biggest strength is his ability to change speeds and control the tempo while on the floor.

#47 Ja’lyn Griffin – Griffin has great vision in the open court and delivers the basketball on-time and on-target. His ability to see the floor generates easy shot opportunities for teammates. Defenders must always know where he is on the court.

#17 Alex Ratner – A Co-MVP on the weekend, the Jersey Force standout can score in multiple ways and is always a threat with the basketball. As good as his skill-set is, his best feature may be his leadership ability and on-court intangibles. Alex is a coaches’ dream. He is a leader on the floor and does whatever is necessary for his team to be successful.

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#12 Jake Walsh – The Westfield, NJ native is very dangerous with the basketball. There isn’t much he can’t do or isn’t effective with on the court. Jake has a high skill-set, possessing the ability to breakdown defenses with his handle, or score from inside and out.

#57 Jerrod Nolan – Nolan, another standout from the DC Heat AAU program, is a tough point guard who pushes the ball well in transition. He is a strong rebounder for his size, and uses this skill to start fastbreaks and get his team easy scoring opportunities.

#18 Khai Champion – Khai is a consistent 3 point shooter with a quick release. He also had several strong finishes through contact. His best attribute, however, is his ability to guard multiple positions on the court.

#96 Skylar Wicks – Wicks is a versatile wing with unlimited upside. The rising 9th grader had numerous highlight finishes this weekend, and as he develops his handle, he will have an unguardable offensive game.

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#13 Ryan Wolk – Few players competed as hard as Wolk on the weekend. He makes winning plays that coaches seek when looking at players. A solid 3 point shooter, Ryan can effectively shoot off the catch or off the dribble.

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#14 Simeon Oluremi – He is a good defensive guard that knows how to move his feet and guard on the basketball. Simeon can run the floor and fill the lanes on fast breaks to get easy shots.

#98 Pat Kernan – Kernan is a versatile combo guard that can use both hands when finishing at the rim. He is very good at using his length to finish shots at the rim in a creative fashion. He see the floor well and knows how to get everyone on the court involved.

#54 Alex Caldeira – Alex is a great leader when on the floor and knows how to control the pace of the offense. His level of competitiveness forces his teammates to raise their level of play.

#11 John Grant – Grant is a small guard with a lot of heart and always makes the right decisions.  John was one of our Most Improved Player award recipients at camp. He has a quick first step that can get him by his defender.

#6 Jared Richardson – Jared showed potential to be a good spot up shooter. When given time and space, he can knock down the 3. As an emotional leader for his team, players often looked to Jared when they needed a change.

#90 Aaron Hammond – Hammond is a face-up post player that is an active defender. He was strong on the boards throughout the weekend. Aaron has the ability to hit mid-range jump shots from 18’ and in.

#64 Sean Regis – Sean proved to be a strong finisher at the end of games. He can heat up in a hurry, as shown by his ability to hit shots from the perimeter.

#25 Sebastian Lopez – Sebby made big strides on the court this weekend. As one of the younger campers, Lopez competed on the court and was efficient on the offensive end. He has a nice shooting touch, and showed his ability to make shots with his feet set.

#49 Isiah Ezenekwe – Isiah is a tough, physical guard. He does not shy away from any challenge on the court. His mid-range game is his offensive strength, although he keeps the defense honest with strong drives and 3 point shots. One of the most competitive campers on both ends of the floor.

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#23 Maxwell Davis – Max vastly improved his defensive positioning this weekend. A constant hustler, Davis can create extra possessions for his team on the offensive glass.

#7 Yzeer Pollard: Yzeer is a quick guard with a nice handle. He had several strong finishes at the rim this weekend. He does not shy away from contact and is always looking to attack.

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We hosted many talented players this weekend at our Jr. Elite. If you were unable to attend due to your AAU schedule or other tournaments, we host a second session this summer, from August 14th-15th. If you are looking for an intense workout and to prove yourself in a competitive environment, please have your AAU/School coach contact Director Joe Gutowski (joeg@hoopgroup.com) for more information.

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