Summer Showdown of Talent

Ryan Finch


                For the past couple weeks I have been in the beautiful Pocono Mountains preparing camp for another terrific summer with Hoop Group Skills. I was lucky enough today to sneak down to Hoop Group Headquarters to check out the Summer Showdown Phase 1 (U10-U14). Here are my top performers of the day, highlighted match ups of the day, and key games to look forward to on Championship Sunday.


Both Jersey Force and Nitro took care of business today to set up a match up tomorrow that should be exciting. Force went 2-0 today with excellent team play, running both ends of the floor but most importantly defending. They will need to carry that over to tomorrow vs the very talented Nitro squad. This Nitro group was focused and locked in all day to beat Above and Beyond and East Coast Conditioning.  The game between these two teams is a must-see match up on Championship Sunday.


Brian Herbert (Nitro)

Isaac Cooper (Nitro)

Desmond Nelson & Corey Miller (Jersey Force)- Both players lead the charge for a 2-0 day with their tough on the ball defense and correct decision making on the offensive end.  Desmond hurt opponents with his ability to slash to the basket and Corey delivered with a bucket every time it seemed East Coast Conditioning was making a run.


#HGSkills Father/Son Weekends (June 13-15, July 18-20, August 8-10). 

Once in a Lifetime Bonding Experience!


As soon as I looked at the pools, the first thing that came to mind is Jersey Force- Fagan vs NJ Playaz in the championship.  Jersey Force (Fagan) didn’t disappoint at all.   Led by point guards Sam Fagan and James Moore there was never any doubt they would come out on top.  From the first game set they were ready to play and were ready to play AS A TEAM. They were one of the most unselfish teams I saw the entire day. However, it wasn’t a red carpet for the NJ Playaz. Shore Challenge and the Jersey Force-Mezzina gave them everything they could handle.  This matchup contains very talented guards on both sides and the game may very well be decided by which team’s bigs come to play.


Zaier Jones (NJ Playaz)

BEST PLAYMAKER Sam Fagan (Jersey Force)

I can’t imagine the championship game between Jersey Force and NJ Playaz will be any more than a one position game.



The moment Rip City walked into Hoop Group Headquarters, fans began to talk about the size and strength of this team. Once they stepped onto the floor the Richard Hamilton team exceeded all expectations. Speeding up both the JS Phoenix and NJ Shoreshots-Tague made it an easy afternoon for them. However, they will have their hands full tomorrow with Association Canada.  This team from Canada caught the eyes of everyone in the gym with their commanding win over the always stout New Jersey Playaz.  They use a well balanced attack to compliment their great rebounding and defensive intensity.  This will be a matchup you can’t miss.  But make sure you don’t overlook the scrappy and talented Scan team that is prime to make a run on Championship Sunday.


Kevin Bauman (JS Phoenix)

Ricky Ortega (Rip City)

Inaki Fernadez (Association Canada)

Jordan Persad (Association Canada)

Aiden Pink (Team Scan)

Brandon Weston (Team Scan)



The Mid Jersey Mavericks took this bracket by storm, shocking the Jersey Force and NWK in their first two games.  They will definitely have to bring their A game tomorrow against a skilled and athletic Scan team who showcased their wide range of ability in today’s games.  The other semifinal showcases what I expect to be the matchup of the day.  ESYC Elite 610ers put on an impressive offensive performance in their games today.   They seem to have the perfect balance of outside threats to go along with a power inside game.  This combo will be tested however, by the New Jersey Playaz who performed well in their first games.  The final four of this U13 Division, will definitely be worth the price of admission on Championship Sunday.


Ian Thurlow (Brooklyn Patriots)

Jamari Simmons (Team Scan)

Dante Morales (Team Scan)

Travis Cumber (Mid Jersey Mavericks)

Dominick Wright (Mid Jersey Mavericks)

Justin Paz (ESYC ELITE 610ers)

Alin Jones (ESYC ELITE 610ers)

RISING STAR Alexander Rice (Jersey Force)



Jr Elite Weekends – Rising 6th-9th Graders  (June 27/28 & August 15/16)

Compete Against the Best!


The U14 Division was loaded with great team performances.  The New York Lightning, Scam, Riverbank State Park, Jersey Force, Shoreshots (Frauenheim), and South Jersey Select all showcased their undeniable ability in pool play. The quarterfinal matchup of RBSP and the Jersey force features two clashing styles of play that will without a doubt lead to a great game to watch.  The second quarterfinal contest between Scan and the Shoreshots will boast an offensive thriller as both teams possess high octane offenses.  The final quarterfinal between the New York Lightning and the South Jersey Select is without question a showcase of some of the best talent on the East Coast.  This game is a must see match up on Championship Sunday.  Keep an eye on this bracket throughout the day as I expect some wild finishes and great all around basketball.


Jayon Jackson (Quincy Douby All Stars)

Jazeem Foster (Shoreshots- Bajhor)

Nick Hohenstein (Jersey Force)

Khadim Kane (RBSP)

Chris Arch (PA Rebels)

Corey Greer (SJ Select)

Kobe Blake (NJ Shoreshots)

Isiah Mucius (Team Scan)

ULTIMATE WINNER – Danny Fraunheim (NJ Shoreshots)

FUTURE STAR -Aaron Clarke (Team Scan)

BEST PROSPECTS: Jared Kimbrough (Jersey Force) Ademu Ndiaye (RBSP) Umar Jalloh (RBSP) Trevor Covey


Bob Hurley Camp (June 29- August 3 & August 17-21)…Kevin Boyle PG Weekend (June 21/22 & July 11-13)

To Be The Best, Learn From the Best!

Boys Skills 2014 cover (1)

If you’re a hoop fan it doesn’t get any better than the Summer Showdown today. Thanks to Bryan Weber for putting on another slam dunk event.  Back up the Parkway I go tonight to prepare for the opening of Hoop Group Skills Camp next Friday for our popular Father/Son Weekend. Hope to see everyone in the Poconos this summer for one of our several sessions. Go Spurs!!!

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