Metro Junior Elite Recap


Player Head Shots

The Junior Elite Tour enjoyed a home court advantage this weekend when they made a stop at Hoop Group Headquarters for Metro Jr. Elite. Similar to the Philadelphia Junior Elite two weeks ago, the Metro Junior Elite had a huge turnout of players grades five through nine. Here are ten takeaways from the Metro Jr. Elite:

-Scottie Lewis will take high school basketball by storm next year
Scottie Lewis is one of the top eighth graders in the state of New Jersey and when you see him play, you instantly see why. It’s tough to call a player his age the complete package, but the potential is certainly there for Scottie. He’s a long bodied, intelligent player with a smooth game. He makes things look easy out on the court and impressed anyone who saw him play Sunday.

-We had some playmakers in the house on Sunday
There was some strong point guard play on display this weekend. Often times young point guards are over aggressive when they always have the ball in their hands. It’s rare to find 14 and 15 year olds who can make plays for their teammates and set them up for success, but both Michael Esqulin (Whitehall High School ’18) and Liam Kennedy did exactly that. Both players are smart on the floor and make good decisions. They don’t try to force anything and made all the right plays on Sunday.

-Wayne PAL is developing talent
We saw two ninth graders from the Wayne PAL AAU program yesterday. Michael Koch (DePaul Catholic ’18) and Brendan Powell (Verona High School ’18) represented the North Jersey AAU program well, showcasing  a high skill set and playing with a lot of energy. While they may go to separate high schools, if these two stay together on the AAU circuit, they could become a pretty good duo for Wayne PAL and they may see some success in the future.

-There were some skilled young players in the building
Forget middle school, we saw some kids yesterday who were still in elementary school and were great to watch. We got to see kids like Antonio Sellers and Kameran Rodriguez, two players who attended Jr. Elite Camp this past summer in the Poconos. Both players were top performers a few months ago, and repeated that with great play on Sunday. We also saw a lot of players from Team Rio and NJ Nitro, two AAU programs with very talented young athletes. It was great to see so many young players play well and have fun doing it.

-You can never see enough of Jake Betlow
Jake Betlow is an eighth grader from Far Hill, NJ. He’s a name we’ve mentioned a lot since the summertime and the reason is simple: he just keeps getting better. He was outstanding yesterday, making shots from all over the floor and scoring points in bunches. He appears to have endless range when you watch him play; he just keeps shooting from deeper and deeper, and deeper. His name will be on people’s lips a lot when he gets to high school.


Jake Betlow was apart of the Fall Jam Fest All-Tournament Team last weekend. Now he’s back for Metro Jr. Elite! #HGSkills

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-Size Matters…
Big men were all over the place yesterday and some of them hadn’t even reached high school yet. One of the most impressive was Tariq Ingraham, a 6’7 post from Delaware who plays for Team Rio. He and fellow eighth grader Jacob O’Connell were two stars who headlined on the interior amongst the eighth graders. Meanwhile, Jared Kimbrough and Jawan Crenshaw were the best bigs at the ninth grade level. The two Neptune freshman showed a lot of athleticism and made a number of good basketball plays. Out of all the post players we saw this weekend, these four proved to be special.

Tariq Ingraham is going to be a best once he gets to high school.

Tariq Ingraham is going to be a beast once he gets to high school.

-…Strength Matters Too
There’s no question that size inside is important. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to have some strong enforcers down low too. Alexx Harbour and Shackylle Dezonie (Allentown Central Catholic ’18) are two guys who prove to be very strong and versatile players. Physically speaking, they are heads above most in their age group. As long as their skills continue to improve they should see promising high school careers.

-Trey Patterson has a bright future ahead
Trey Patterson is only in sixth grade, but he’s already showing potential to be a big time player on his AAU team, Team Nation/Rip City. He’s already 6’2 in the sixth grade and can handle the ball pretty well. He gets to the hoop with relative ease and his height allows him to shoot over smaller players. While it may be a few years away, there will be some excitement when this young player chooses a high school, let alone a college.


Trey Patterson showed he has a very, very bright future #HGSkills

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-Players received top flight instruction
While Hoop Group Top 100s offer players a chance to be seen by college coaches, Hoop Group Junior Elites provide players with a chance to learn from college coaches. Yesterday was a fantastic day for young players to learn from coaches at the college level with schools like Muhlenberg, Moravian, Rutgers-Newark and Ramapo in the building coaching and instructing players. And to top it off, players went through an hour and a half of drills and instruction from Coach Mike Rice. You could not have asked for better instruction if you were a player yesterday.

-EVERYONE walked away better on Sunday
Players were not the only ones to receive top flight instruction yesterday. Those parents that were in attendance also received a valuable lesson from Steve Keller, owner of the National Recruiting Report. Not only does Steve have a tremendous eye for talent, but he gave a great lecture to the parents about the important factors to consider for their sons as they continue to grow as basketball players.



The last stop on the Jr Elite Tour is at New York (October 15th) Don’t miss out!!!

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