Undiscovered Vol. 1: From Unknown to Recruited

With the game of basketball constantly evolving and progressing, we are starting to see the talent pool of high school basketball vastly deepen. Consistently playing above the rim, sinking NBA range threes, and no-look pocket passes are a few of the skill sets we are getting accustomed to seeing on a daily basis. So many players are good now a days. Some of them are really good. But skill level and potential don’t mean much unless you are seen.

A lot of college level players stay under the radar throughout their careers. It may be because of a certain location, not playing on one of the popular AAU circuits, or a delayed growth spurt; some players don’t end up getting the exposure they need to get to the next level.

Hoop Group Elite camps offer the chance for players to cancel out all of the factors above and get the opportunity to show what they can do in front of the people that need to see. Hoop Group has had many players come to camp with little or no interest and leave with college interest and scholarship offers. The following are a few that have come through in the past few years.

 

  • Gabe Stefanini

Gabe Stefanini came to all three elite sessions in the summer of 2016 holding only one offer as he started the live period. After his successful summer playing in camp, he had a long list of sixteen Division One offers! He eventually narrowed his choices to Santa Clara, Princeton, St. Bonaventure, and Columbia before committing to play at Columbia University in the fall.

  • Keve Aluma

Keve Aluma came in a relative unknown in the summer of 2016. After playing in Elite 1, he made an impression on over ten Division One schools. One of those ten, Wofford College was the school that Keve ended up committing to. He will be playing in the black and gold this season and hopes to continue on Wofford’s success in the Southern Conference.

  • Josip Vrankic

Coming from Canada, Josip didn’t have much interest from schools in the US before coming to the Elite 1 session. After the week, it was an entirely different story. Josip blew up at camp and drew offers from over ten Division One programs. He decided to take his talents west as he will enroll at Santa Clara University of the WCC.

  • Sandro Mamukelashvili

Sandro Mamukelashvili first game in the United States as at Hoop Group Elite Session 1. At the beginning of that session, he held zero D1 offers.  After the week, he was offered scholarships from five high major schools and will be suiting up for Seton Hall University next season.

  • Devin Jensen

Devin Jensen brought his sharp shooting abilities to Elite Session 1 and Team Camp in the summer of 2016. There he was seen by Coach Joey Gallo of Merrimack College. Over the five days Coach Gallo began recruiting Devin who he ended up committing to the Warriors on a full scholarship. Jensen will be a name to watch in the NE-10 these next four years.

  • Matt Faw

Matt Faw held just one Division 1 offer coming into the Academic 2 session at the end of July. After the week, he not only led his team to the league’s championship game, but also picked up offers from five Ivy/Patriot League schools. Matt eventually committed to play for the Crusaders of Holy Cross and will be playing for them this upcoming winter.

  • Michael Myers

Michael Myers injury last March caused him to miss the entire spring season. With the chance of a derailed recruitment, Michael decided to come to Elite camp; he had zero interest at the time from schools at the next level. Through his time at camp, he had the chance to catch the eye of every high academic school on the east coast. Michael eventually found a home at Williams College in of the NESCAC and will be an integral piece of the Ephs as they look to build upon an already historic tradition.

 

College Coaches: Stay tuned to the Hoop Group Undiscovered series as we try to predict who this year’s hidden gems are!

Pooley’s Picks – 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

Pooley’s Picks

2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

Qualifications:  This week we’ll have a little different approach to Pooley’s Picks.  Often, with working at the Hoop Group, I’ll get to travel and see different events.  This past weekend I was able to get down to The Hill School and watch the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase.  The event was loaded with coaches, talent, and great moments. The following are a selection of the Top 10 things I took away from the showcase.

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

Chase Audige: The 6’4″ junior from Hill was very impressive in the win over Isaiah Christopher Academy.  Chase had some electrifying plays, but was also a consistent scorer willing passer.  The wing is quickly going from a high potential kid, to a star.  Look for Chase to continue to develop over the next year and look for Hill to have an extremely successful year under coach Seth Eilberg.

 

 

tyler-jones

Tyler Jones: The 5’11” senior from Peddie had 20 in an overtime win against Canada Top Flight Academy.  The guard can do it all, and has a much improved jump shot with excellent form and rotation.  Tyler earned his MVP late in the game scoring crucial buckets and running the show.  Thus far uncommitted: Tyler may be a guard that could be on a lot of scholarship schools radars as the HS season draws to a close.

Canada Top Flight Academy (Ottawa) at the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

Canada Top Flight Academy (Ottawa) at the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

International Flavor:  The 2016 PSA Prep Showcase featured a little basketball from our friends to the north.  Canada Top Flight Academy probably didn’t have their best showing but kept Peddie on the ropes into overtime.  2017 Lual Akot impressed, hitting a couple of deep threes and flushing a couple dunks in traffic.  Overall CTA came down and represented well.  Look forward to see what they have to offer as the season continues.

 

 

Walter Whyte: The 6’6″ BU bound guard was tough as he always is.  Carrying St. Luke’s at times, Walter rebounds, scores, handles to ball, and plays defense.  The senior also did what seniors have to do: lead.  Walter was under control and facilitated Coach Gladstone’s game plan all night. An impressive win for St. Luke’s against a talented and well coached Hun School.

 

 

Mohammad Bamba: The 6’11” uncommitted senior is the real deal.  The entire Westtown team is the real deal.  Going up against a very good St. James team Mo looked like the NBA prospect that he is.  He blocked shots, scored, rebounded, and most importantly looked comfortable after coming back from injury.  He really is fun to watch.  Worth the trip to the 2016 PSA Prep Showcase just for him.  Lucky for us there was much more.

 

hill-school

The Venue: The Hill School was the perfect venue for the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase.  The gym has a throwback feel, with excellent baskets and a redone floor.  Looks a little like a gym out of the movie Hoosiers with one high rise set of bleachers separated from the court by a 3 foot high padded wall.  On top of that the event felt full, but not crowded, and was loud with a good atmosphere during the close games.

 

 

view-from-coaches-section

View from the packed coaches section at the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

College Coaches:  The 2016 PSA Prep Showcase was loaded with college coaches.  An entire area of the bleachers was dedicated to the college recruiters and it was close to full for every game.  D1, D2, D3, JUCO, and scouts were all on hand to take a look at some of the top talent.  John Calipari, NCAA defending champ Jay Wright, Buzz Williams, Fran Dunphy, and Phil Martelli, were among the few who evaluated and scouted.

 

 

Hamidou Diallo: The 6’6″ senior is as sought after as anyone.  Up to #11 in the class of 2017, “Hami” got to the rim all night long.  The explosive guard is one of those players who can score in a variety of ways and create energy on the defensive end of the floor.

 

 

Atmosphere: First, the college coaches, next the fans, then the players, this had it all.  There was just an atmosphere of elite basketball and the feel that you get from seeing kids in HS who will be on TV in a few years.  NERR’s National Prep Showcase always signals the start of high school basketball for me.  This event had a similar feel to me: teams early in their season competing at a high level.

 

 

noah-collier

Noah Collier, 6’7″ at Westtown, a top 2020 at the 2016 PSA Prep School Showcase

The Freshman: Not necessarily something you think of when talking about a Prep Showcase.  However, the freshman that I got to see in limited minutes were excellent.  Westtown’s Noah Collier is a great kid, with a ton of upside, who can play multiple positions.  His ceiling is exceptionally high, and he even knocked down a couple jumpers.  Seth Berger’s son, backup guard TJ Berger, played limited minutes but showed a lot of potential on and off the ball.  Backcourt mate Seyon Kpaan, looked good in some extended minutes.  Niels Lane played more minutes for a freshman on a Hun School team than I’ve seen.  Coach Stone has some confidence in that youngster, who moves well and has a good feel for the game.  Much better 2020 representation than you would think with so many talented upperclassmen.

 

Special Thanks to Hoop Major for the videos and helping me cover the event in this article.  Ian Finnen is a rising star, and is going to be very good at whatever he decides to do.

Special shout out to Terrence Williams and the rest of the PSA Cardinals family for running a great event and being so media friendly.  Look forward to this event in the years moving forward.

 

And of course as always, everybody’s favorite:

Philadelphia Top 100 Recap

 

Philadelphia Top 100 Recap

With over 100 great high school players and 25 college coaches from all over the northeast in attendance, the Philadelphia Top 100 did not disappoint! Players were given the opportunity to compete against some of the best that Philly has to offer, while receiving instruction from our top-notch staff comprised of D2, D3, and high school coaches.

Each player was given the opportunity to play in front of over 25 college coaches, as well as the National Recruiting Report, which has over 300 subscribers from every level of college basketball. There is no individual event that can provide student-athletes with the level of instruction, competition, and exposure that the Hoop Group Top 100’s provide!

philly-top-100      phillllyphilly-top-100-save

All-Philadelphia Top 100

Position  Player
Guard Antonio Rizzuto (Northeastern HS)
Guard Lonnie Walker (’17 Reading HS)
Wing Max Duegen (’17 Rocktop Academy)
Wing Tyrone Nesby (’17  Reading HS)
Forward Justin Steers (’18 Friends Central)
Post Rodney Simon (’17 Rocktop Academy)

 

Check out our upcoming Top 100 dates! 

 

Hoop Group Elite: A Summer of Highlights

Hoop Group Elite Camp may have ended a few weeks ago, but there is still buzz surrounding the 2014 summer session. With tremendous talent at each and every week of camp, it was easy to come up with highlight tapes from the summer. For all of our videos, including individual player mixtapes, interviews and more, be sure to check us out on Youtube.

Academic Elite 1:

Elite 1:

Academic Elite 2:

Elite 2:

Future All-American:

BONUS: #HGTOP10

Summer may be over, but Hoop Group Elite will be back this fall. Top 100 Clinics begin September 14. Click here to find out when we are coming to a city near you!

HG SKILLS TOC- A Tournament to Remember

 

TOC logo Tournament of Champions

 The 2014 Hoop Group Skills Tournament of Champions was a complete success. Teams traveled from all over: New Jersey, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Delaware, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Baltimore, DC, Massachusetts, New York City, Long Island, and even Canada! Programs even brought multiple teams such as Shoreshots (9), Pure Bball (8), ESYC Elite 610ers (6), Bmore Elite (4) and Back2Basics (4). Being the first tournament of the Spring AAU season for the majority of the teams, all the gyms were filled with excitement.  All weekend I had the enjoyable problem of figuring out what game I should watch next. Below are the takeaways I had from each division and a list of players who caught my attention this weekend.

U10 DIVISION-Our youngest division featured one of our most talented squads, Team Rio. The NJ Shoreshots battled them in the pool play match up being only down 7 at half but Team Rio pulled away in the 2nd. On Saturday the team that impressed me was NE Sting. They cruised in both their games vs Back2basics and SI Finest with the play of Derrick Simpson and Isaac Hester. When it came down to winning time on Sunday, Team Rio was just too much for NE Sting and the Mid Jersey Mavericks (Championship Game). Their constant ball pressure and aggressiveness on defense created easy buckets in transition. Notable players from the division were Jason Blanks & Wendell Moreland of NJ Triple Threat, Matt Hanley from SI Finest, Tyson Thomas and Kyle Melson for ESYC Elite 610ers, Colin Robinson for Pure Bball, and Brian Tobias & James Mayerhofer  for NJ Shoreshots.

4th

U10 Champs – TEAM RIO

U11 DIVISION-This division featured the best Championship game of the weekend. Fans from each court at the Hoop Group Headquarters had their eye on the Sixers court for this intense Final. It went back and forth all game, with the fans providing a noise level that Seattle would be proud of, eventually ending when Bmore Elite was able to pull out on top, 43-38. This game came down to their full court pressure and the energy from their fans (can’t say this enough, BEST FANS OF THE DAY!) Matthew Cooper and Trey English both had all star weekends. Jalen Warley from Malvern Legends was top on my list of players that I enjoyed watching… It was hard not to like Jalen with his competitiveness and leadership. Everytime they needed a basket he got right in the lane for an easy shot for his teammates or himself. Can’t close out this division without mentioning Griffin Barrouk almost leading WeR1 past Bmore Elite in the final pool B game.

5th

U11 Champs – BMORE ELITE

U12 DIVISION-If you started to watch games in this division on Sunday you missed A LOT! This division had everything, most notably Team Final’s 2OT comeback win vs  ESYC ELITE 610ers that included Jaylen Green’s game tying 3 pointer for the Lehigh Valley squad. With AJ Supulveda’s 17 point game, including a game winning layup vs Back2Basics, all the craziness in Pool B had this as one of the most talked about divisions.  Team Final was lead by the play of Mahif Sharif & Chris Garland. ESYC’s  Nick Filchner was notable as one the best shooters in the division. Class Act’s Chance Westry steam roll into the Championship game vs Team Final.

6th

U12 Champs – TEAM FINAL

U13 DIVISION-Bmore Elite vs Brooklyn Rens, ESYC ELITE 610ers vs Bmore Elite, WeR1 vs NY Lightning, YAACE vs Mid Jersey Mavericks were “can’t miss” games from the weekend. From individual talent and athleticism to coaching and teamwork, these games were awesome! This division had a load of excitement in all 4 pools. Two teams I have to recognize are DC Heat and the NJ Shoreshots-Weber. Both these teams struggled on Saturday and both teams bounced back with wins on Sunday. It is extremely hard at that age to remain positive through adversity. These young men are players that high school coaches can’t wait for them to grow up: TJ & Aiden King (YAACE), Justin Paz,  “Chico” Whyte &  Alin Jones (ESYC Elite 610ers), Carlos Rodriguez (Pure Bball), Seth Lundy (WeR1), and Jalen Willis & Uzziah Bird (Bmore Elite).

7th

U13 Champs- WeR1

U14 DIVISION-The story lines in this division were highlighted by the dominance of Bmore Elite, the terrific play of both NY teams (NY Shooting Stars & NY Lightning) and the fact that Jersey Force isn’t a team that other AAU teams want to face this spring. The improvements of Jared Kimbrough for the Force was on display! Teams like WE ALL IN, Beyond the Lines, and Shoreshots-Frauenheim showed they have the talent to win future tournaments this season. In the Orange Division, Westfield had a strong victory over ESYC ELITE 610ers in pool play then battled Morris Magic early in the Championship game, but the height and skill level of Morris Magic was too much for them to handle!

 

8th

U14 Blue Champs – BMORE ELITE

8th O

U14 Orange Champs – MORRIS MAGIC

U15 DIVISION-ESPN Analyst Tim Ledger’s SJ Jazz put on quite a show this past weekend from it’s first game at HGHQ vs Lower Bucks to it’s last game (Championship) vs JSL. However the Championship game didn’t come easy at all. After going through one of the toughest schedules (Brooklyn Rens, See No Evil, CM3), JSL showed zero signs of let down or fatigue in the Championship. Legler’s squad won the Championship despite being down two starters, but young Superstar Justin Mutts was a force to be reckoned with, playing great post defense and producing highlight dunks all weekend!

 

9th

U15 Champs – SJ JAZZ

U16 DIVISION-This was the “best coached” division.  All teams were coached extremely well even with the variety of talent. The first semi final game set Sunday morning at Lakewood kicked off our Championship Sunday with CM3’s 3 point victory over a dynamic NJ Lightning squad. In the Championship, Peyton Wejnert finished his excellent weekend with another spectacular game, scoring 34 points in the finale to give the Shoreshots their 4th double-digit victory. His lowest single game total all weekend was 22 points! However it didn’t come easy with Shaquille White’s play for CM3.

10th

U16 Champs- SHORESHOTS-RICE

Thanks again for everyone who helped make this tournament a success. I truly appreciate all the efforts made by the coaching staffs, parents, and especially players to make it an excellent weekend of hoops.

 If we can do anything to help your program throughout the year please let us know. We offer Youth Basketball Clinics and Coaching Clinics throughout the fall, winter, and spring. For those of you interested in our camps, we offer a variety of different camps throughout the summer that include Hall Of Fame coach Bob Hurley and the National High School Coach of Year Kevin Boyle.  Click on the image blow to view our camps that we offer this summer with two new camps this summer (Elite Skills Training Camp for grades 9-12) and Ball Handling & Shooting Camp.

Hope to see you all at camp!

 

Boys Skills 2014 cover (1)