Buffalo commit Jeenathan Williams does a Q&A with HG Insider – He talks Buffalo’s upset NCAA tournament win over Arizona and more

Class of 2018 Buffalo commit Jeenathan Williams can’t wait to play on the next level. Williams stood out for Prolific Prep, a top prep school in California, this past season and showed he can play on the high major level. Even with this being the case, Williams turned down multiple high major offers to stay in his home state of New York to play for the University at Buffalo. He did a Q&A on his decision, their upset victory over Arizona and more for HG Insider.

Q: You decided to transfer to Prolific Prep for your senior year. How did the season go and are you happy you made the move?

A: “It finished off very well, it was a good adjustment for me,” said Williams. “I had to get used to playing a different type of style. That new style helped me get a lot better and enhanced my game in so many ways. I’m now able to play without the ball in my hands and I’m a better shooter. I improved a lot and I’m glad I made the move.”

Q: You guys played a national schedule at Prolific Prep. How is this going to help you prepare for college?

A: “It helped me a lot because in college you aren’t just going to be in one area,” he said. “You have to face the adversity of traveling a lot, which is a lot to get used to. It was a good experience getting to travel every week because it really helped us all get ready for the next level.”

Q: Your future home in Buffalo upset Arizona in the NCAA tournament. What was it like to see them pull off this big win?

A: “I was just so proud and it’s great to know that I’m going to be a part of that next year,” Williams said. “I know next year we’ll go far in the tournament again. My hopes are high and I’m just ready to work when I get there. The sky is the limit next year, that’s really how I feel.”

Q: You had multiple high major schools recruiting you. Why did you decide to go with Buffalo over bigger named programs?

A: “They are a family to me,” he said. “They kept in touch with me through my ups and downs since the ninth grade. They always told me that I had the option to go there, which made it a lot easier for me and my family in making the decision. It’s also only 45 minutes away from home so my family can come to see my games.”

Q: What does Head Coach Nate Oats expect when you arrive next year?

A: “Coach Oats wants me to come in and be the player I know I can be and I know I am,” he said. “He wants me to show everyone what I can do by scoring the ball and continuing to improve my game. Coach thinks I have the tools to be an NBA player so I just have to keep adding to my game and give it my all.”

Q: With Buffalo only being 45 minutes away from you grew up. What is it going to feel like representing a place that is so close to home?

A: “It’s going to feel great because that’s basically where I’m from,” Williams said. “It’s going to be great knowing I have people from back home watching and a great fan base supporting me. I think I can make a big impact on my community if I do well there so it’s going to be great and I can’t wait for it.”


THIS YEARS MOST IMPROVED TEAM is loaded as in future D1 players. This group represents one of the most improved group we have seen in years. Please remember most improved, is not just about points. It’s about a player improving in a area of their game. It’s about a player preforming on the court and using that improved skill set to impact their team. Now here is something I believe is very important to mention. A player playing up to their god given potential is not improvement. Players should expect to play to their potential, but adding to this potential is what makes them different






Once thought of as one of the best incoming players in the 2019 class. This season she became a vital part of the St. Rose machine after spending two years watching and not getting an opportunity. The explosive combo guard totally reinvented her game in order to get on the floor. She became one of the deadliest shooters in the state. Despite getting minutes off the bench, she amazing seem to change every big game St. Rose played in and she did it without extended time on the floor at times. She was that kid in St. Rose’s win against Long Island Lutheran by coming off the bench to explode for 12 points in what seemed like a lighting strike. Her 14 point performance in the states against RBC was sensation. It was like that all season for Miss Lithgow, who now will finally be one of the leading candidates for ALL SHORE next season. She has done almost the impossible by changing her entire style of play and moving it to the court. She has 21 games…repeat 21 games with 9 points or more this season off the bench….NEED I SAY MORE.



Now there are going to be some who say, how in the world she is not the most improved player in the Shore. Where you average 2.0 a games as a sophomore to 11.9 one season later, that is called off the charts. When you go from making 2 three’s a year ago to 32 then you stock is rising in a big way. Cassidy Deaver may not be a household name, but she will soon be known to college coaches. She is not just one of the most improved players in the shore. But she is one of the most improved players in New Jersey period. She improved in every statiscial category from a year a ago. This is almost unheard of and why many believe she is the most improved player in the shore. She had multiple 2o point games this season and had as many as six three pointers in one game. This was clearly a break out season for this gym rat. She spent long hours in the gym this fall and its has now paid off in a big way. She will be a coaches dream at the next level.


Now this may seem like a surprise, considering she was Asbury Press All Shore last season. But when you realize she doubled her assist total from a year ago. When you realize she added a sweet jumper to her game to go along with the best up and under more in the shore. You know why she is on this list. She averaged a double/double this season. But her ball handling and passing skills are as good as it gets. She has shown she can play the small forward or the power forward position. More importantly she proved she can guard both positions. Dakota Adams, was often taken for granted. But here is a fact, in every big game for Manchester, she showed up and preformed big time. She is without a question a D1 talent. Her 16 point and 13 point rebound game vs RFH was what got Manchester into the Top 20 and set the tone for the remainder of the season.


We have been waiting on Bre Bellamy to explode into stardom and that’s exactly what she did this year. Her game winning shot against St. Rose will go into SJV history. But what most were missing, was long before that shot. Bre Bellamy was having a breakout season. A year ago she was a role player for SJV and two years ago she was a JV player. These days she one of the best big forwards in the shore. She is an elite defender and rebounder, who has the ability to score inside or out. She had 13 games of nine points or more this season, playing against the best competition possible at the high school level. She went from averaging 4 points a game to 10 points a game. She had 10 three point buckets after getting zero a year ago. She tripled her rebounding totals from a year ago. But it was here performance on big stages that got everyone’s attention. Her 14 points and 8 rebounds in SJV’s showcase win over Long Island Lutheran. The big shot vs St. Rose are just two examples of how she stepped up this year. She has D1 offers on the table for good reason…she is a future STAR!




My favorite award has always been the MOST IMPROVE PLAYER AWARD. No award tells you more about a player and their commitment. It’s an award about character and listening to truth about ones game. This award is mostly about players  addressing weakness in their game. A player must accept that they have a weakness, then go work on that weakness. But more importantly that player must then go preform in games and show the weakness is no longer a flaw. This sounds easy, but I can assure you it’s not, many players spend countless hours working on a weakness and cannot bring their improvement to game time. It’s why this years MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD winner story is so special and why  STEPHANIE MAYERHOFER IS THIS YEARS 2018 HOOP GROUP MOST IMPROVED PLAYER.

When players enter high school, it doesn’t hurt if there have a little hype behind them. Most high school coaches know who there best young players are entering their school. These players often get the lion’s share of the opportunity, to show they are ready to contribute to the team. Stephanie Mayerhofer had none of these advantages entering MIDDLETOWN SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL. South was loaded with stud sophomores and freshman, so finding time was not going to be easy for Mayerhofer. But somehow she worked her way into the rotation as a freshman. She received more  minutes than expect as a freshman. She played in every game and showed real flashes at times. What was most interesting was that it seemed she would play her best games against the best competition. This goes back to her ferocious work ethic and commitment. I often use the term the “hardest thing to do in basketball is to show up” In the case of Stephanie Mayerhofer it’s never been a issue, because she lives in the gym. The amount of time Stephanie Mayerhofer puts into her game is impossible to measure. There is rarely a day that goes by that she is not working toward becoming a better player. It why over the past 8 months that maybe no player has improved more and moved that improvement to the games.


Stephanie Mayerhofer, doesn’t have a big reputation in the Shore Conference pecking order of things. She isn’t thought of as a one of the best players in the class of 2020. But its here where things get a little twisted. Many times especially when it comes to awards and other matters;  as Reputation is sometimes more important than game. This year when the Coaches All Division teams were announced, Mayerhofer’s name was nowhere to be found. While Middletown South had what many believe was a sub par season. Stephanie Mayerhofer was one of the real bright spots. In fact many people believe she was Middletown South’s best player this season. She just didn’t have the reputation and folks were not really playing attention. Because if there were; they would have noticed it was Stephanie Mayerhofer who had the most double figure scoring games. It was Mayerhofer who showed up in the biggest games this season, like her 14 point vs Manchester and how she carried Middletown South for a half against  Manasquan, where she got on a roll. So much of a roll that Dara Mabrey was forced to move to her on defense. The biggest compliment to Stephanie was that opposing coaches needed to game plan against her this season. You could see coaches screaming the moment she had the ball in her hands. She had become one of the most dangerous shooters in the shore. So much that many forgot what she was known for entering high school…Her defense and all out hustle.  That is when you know a player has improved, when their strengths are taken for granted. Just like Stephanie Mayerhofer is taken for granted. It’s the only way to explain how she was not on the coaches ALL DIVISION TEAM. It also the reason Stephanie Mayerhofer keeps getting better because each time she is dismissed, it becomes fuel for her improvement.

Last summer Stephanie played on a AAU team with talented players. She had great coaching and played against the best competition. But when she was told she would not be on the top team this year, she was disappointed. She felt she was as good as any players on the older so called “A” team. She was hurt that some didn’t believe that she was not good enough to play on a team with multiple D1 players. So she did something few kids do, when things don’t go there way. She used this information to take her game to another level. She was looked at as a good defender and so called hustle player, but was not on the elite level. So Stephanie Mayerhofer went on a mission to show everyone she can play with the very best of the best. She seemed to work harder on her game than any kid I had see all fall. I watched her go after top D1 guards at NBS and watched her shoot for hours at Hoop Group in Neptune. It was clear she wanted to prove two things. One a mistake was made about her talent and two she was a D1 player. The harder you pushed her the move she responded. The more you criticize her game, the more she responded. Stephanie Mayerhofer had decided excuses and failure where not options. She also wanted to remind everyone, she was tired of being thought of as role player and nice kid. She wanted to show she could take over games and more importantly any gym in any training environment…and that’s exactly what she did this year.

This season some may have been surprised that Mayerhofer became the best player on the Middletown South roster. The reason they were surprised is because things like what Stephanie Mayerhofer did this year don’t happen very often. Kids don’t make the kind of jump, she did this year over night. They are surprised because they did not see the pain in her eyes when she was told she was not a D1 type player. They did not see the relentless amount of hours in the gym and the energy put into every shot and dribble. They did not see her on the gun before games this season. They did not see her work with her cousin Katie Rice for hours. They did not see go on vacations with her family and refuse to skip workouts. They did not see when see was told she was not working on the right things and simply adjusted her workout routine. These are the reasons….THE 2018 MOST IMPROVED PLAYER IS STEPHAINE MAYERHOFER OF MIDDLETOWN SOUTH

Hoop Group Alumni Named Division 2 All Americans

“Dreams Do Come True”

Many Hoop Group alum have succeeded at many different levels, from the NBA, Division 1 as well as small colleges and in high school. On this page we look at some of the Hoop Group alumni excelling at the small college level.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches announced their 2018 Division 2 All American Teams. 20% of the All Americans are Hoop Group Alumni. A look at those players honored.

D-2 All American Tim Guers at Hoop Group Elite Camp

Tim GuersSt. AnselmLanghorne PA
Haywood HighsmithWheeling JesuitBaltimore MD
Beau JusticeValdosta StatePeebles OH
Dustin SlevaShippensburgPittsburgh PA

Best Collegiate Basketball Facilities in America

Ask any college basketball recruiter and they will tell you that the need for collegiate basketball facilities is extremely important. Of course, some downgrade this importance. For example, Rutgers has been one of the hallmarks of NJ basketball for many years and they seem to get along just fine with the aging Rutgers Athletic Center. The dominant question many ask is this: why is a top-notch practice facility even necessary? The answer is simple-because it can attract the best recruits. Although the list could actually be several pages long, here are five universities who have some of the best facilities in America.


The main theme of Villanova’s facility, the Davis Center for Athletics and Fitness, is that it is a place where “we can come to relax and enjoy ourselves.” Indeed, the description is aptly granted as one sits in the La-Z-Boy recliners. They also can utilize the group exercise room to enjoy Pilates, aerobics, dance, and martial arts. The student fitness center features 10,000 square feet of space and 40 cardio machines, free weight stations, and select top-of-the-line equipment.

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State might seem like a small school, but they definitely went all-out with their basketball facility. They provide all students and visitors with a host of bathrobes to choose from. Moreover, this facility could make a run on the nearest Best Buy or Walmart technology department with the amount of flat-screens they have. And how about those marble staircases?


Kentucky spent $30 million on their facility, and really it’s no wonder. Students at Kentucky realize that their athletic programs are the best, and they definitely want the athletic facility to reflect that. Volumes could definitely be written about this place alone, simply because the Joe Craft Center is an astonishing 102,000 square feet. That’s definitely plenty of room to hang up many more championship banners!

West Virginia

Although many wouldn’t think of the Mountaineers as being one of the top programs in the country, that perspective is quickly changing. While they may not be able to provide as extensive a facility as Kentucky, they are proving to be competitive. Some of the hallmarks of their homey facility would include a fireplace and a 14-foot video board. Add a Gatorade station and you definitely have a recipe for a high-class facility.


Finally, there is Indiana. Their facility is called Cook Hall, and it blows away all other modern training facilities. Moreover, Cook Hall also has the added gravitas of the Pfau Shine Legacy Court, which is a literal museum that showcases the proud Indiana Hoosier program.

Of course, while those of us at the Hoop Group realize that a solid basketball academy is important, we realize that ultimately it is only the icing on the cake. Training the next generation of basketball players from elementary and middle school on up is every bit as important. That is why we offer the latest basketball training camps, college basketball camps, college elite basketball camps, and summer basketball camps to help your youngster realize his or her full sports potential.