UCLA Notches Resume Win in CBS Sports Classic

It’s been a roller coaster season for UCLA, and it’s only December. The Bruins stole headlines right out of the gate on their opening season trip to China, when three of their players were arrested for shoplifting. Weeks later they were back on the front pages when Lavar Ball pulled his son LiAngelo out of school. That headline isn’t necessarily the worst news for Steve Alford. Through all the off the court drama however, the Bruins struggled to find that signature win on the court. Until Saturday, when UCLA beat #7 Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic.

Prior to Saturday’s win, UCLA had been 0-3 in “resume boosting” wins this year. They gave up 100 in a loss to Creighton, blew a 15 point lead at Michigan, and lost by double digits to Cincinnati. UCLA was a game away from going into conference play with their best non conference win coming against South Dakota (12-4). And they only won that game by three, at home.

That changed Saturday. The day after announcing full season suspensions for Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, UCLA came out and played the best game of their season. Aaron Holiday and Kris Wilkes were sensational, and the Bruins put together a complete game to beat Kentucky on a neutral court in New Orleans. Holiday and Wilkes each scored 20, and senior Thomas Welsh also chipped in 13 and 11 rebounds. The win moved UCLA to 9-3 heading into Pac 12 play.

It’s rare that wins in December are called monumental, or significant. However, this UCLA win is definitely important for Steve Alford and company. The Bruins roster is shorter than expected with the suspensions of Riley and Hill, two freshman who were expected to be contributors to a team that lost a bulk of it’s production last season. As a result, UCLA has had to adjust on the fly. This worked against lesser opponents, but against NCAA caliber teams, it was not good enough to win.

This weekend however, UCLA put it all together. Their senior leaders led, their un-suspended freshman shined and the result was a win over the #7 team in the country. The upset showed what UCLA needs this season to compete with the top competition. Their stars need to play at a high level consistently, and role players need to step up. An easy task? No, but it’s doable. The season is still young.

For Kentucky, the loss only add question marks to a team that was filled with them. Will this young team find consistency? Do they have a point guard who can run the show? Can someone make outside shots? They are no doubt a talented and athletic group. They got up and down against UCLA, and Hamidou Diallo excelled. But in tight games, they’ve shown carelessness with the ball and, outside Kevin Knox, an inability to make shots from outside. SEC play will be a test for John Calipari this year.

Conference play starts this week. Both the SEC and Pac 12 are filled with teams that can enhance both teams’ resumes. We learned from Saturday that Kentucky may still have a few question marks heading into SEC play. On the other hand, UCLA may have found momentum as they get ready for Pac 12 action.


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: 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.



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 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, 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:

HG alumni flood ESPN top 100

The ESPN top 100 recruits for the class of 2017 feature familiar names, and the Hoop Group is proud to boast 24 players that are alumni listed as the best of the best.

Hoop Group alumni also make up 19 of the top 20 players ranked in the eastern region.

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The following is a list of Hoop Group alumni, by ranking, info and scouting reports.

ESPN top 100

#3 Mohamed Bamba, PF
6-11, 210 lbs
Harlem, N.Y.
Westtown School

Mohamed Bamba, who hails from Harlem, N.Y., is No. 3 in the nation – and for good reason. The 6-11, 210-pound power forward is No. 1 in both the state and region, falling second in his position. In a recent ESPN scouting report, Mohamed Bamba was said to have a 7-foot-8 wingspan and a 9-foot-5 standing reach.
Mohamed Bamba received 20 offers which include programs like Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse to name a few.

#5 Trevon Duval, PG
6-3, 183 lbs
Wilmington, Del.
Advanced Prep International

Ranking No. 5 in the nation, Trevon Duval, a power guard out of Wilmington, Del., is No. 1 in his position and No. 1 in the state. Trevon Duval has offers from 20 schools including Duke, Kentucky and UNC, among others. Scouting reports describe Trevon Duval as an explosive playmaker who utilizes his speed and size on the court.

#8 Nick Richards, C
6-11, 250 lbs
Queens, N.Y.
The Patrick School

Queens native center Nick Richards earned himself the No. 8 spot in the nation, ranking second in the state and third in both the position and region. The 6-11, 250-pound Patrick School junior is a nightmare off the glass. Richards bodies opponents off the boards, unafraid of contact, making him hard to overcome in the paint.
Richards has had offers from schools like North Carolina State, Kansas and Kentucky – totaling 13 all together.

#12 Hamidou Diallo, SG
6-5, 175 lbs
Queens, N.Y.
Putnam Science Academy

Hamidou Diallo is a sought-after shooting guard who already racked up 17 offers from around the country with the likes of Duke, Kansas and Kentucky. He ranks second in his position. He is No. 3 in New York and No. 4 in the eastern region.

#14 Lonnie Walker, SG
6-5, 180 lbs
Reading, Pa.
Reading High School

(Credit 8EYE Media)

Lonnie Walker is the best in Pennsylvania and No. 3 at the shooting guard position. Scouting reports say Walker is an all-around athlete on both ends of the court. He can play pressing D, go down and can sink threes. The No. 14-ranked player is on Kentucky’s radar and has offers from 12 other schools.

#22 Quade Green, PG
5-11, 155 lbs
Philadelphia, Pa.
Neumann-Goretti High School

Size doesn’t matter for the No. 22 Quade Green, point guard for Neumann-Goretti High from Philadelphia, Pa. The 5-11, 155-pound point guard is a true floor general. Scouting reports claim he is one of the best passing playmakers in the nation. Green is the second-highest ranked in Pennsylvania. It’s no wonder he has sparked the attention of 12 schools with offers from programs like Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky.

#27 Matt Coleman, PG
6-2, 170 lbs
Norfolk, Va.
Oak Hill Academy

No. 2 in Virginia, Oak Hill Academy’s Matt Coleman already racked up 14 offers from schools, including Florida State, Indiana and Virginia. The Norfolk, Va., native is a left-hander who has tremendous speed off the dribble, creating separation on the floor.

#31 Tremont Waters, PG
5-10, 164 lbs
South Kent, Conn.
South Kent School

Tremont Waters is the best there is in Connecticut. The South Kent School point guard has a genuine understanding of the game, demonstrating a high level of maturity for his age. He reads defenses, adjusting to opponents as an overall versatile player with an admirable amount of poise. Waters has eight school offers so far including ones from Duke and Connecticut.

#35 Jordan Tucker, SF
6-7, 190 lbs
White Plains, NY
Archbishop Stepinac High School

No. 35 on the list is small forward Jordan Tucker, a White Plains, N.Y., native who attends Archbishop Stepinac High. His potential is just beginning to develop. He has offers from 16 programs including Syracuse and Oklahoma.

#36 D.J. Harvey Jr., SF
6-5, 190 lbs
Bowie, Md.
DeMatha Catholic High School

No. 36 in the nation and No. 1 in Maryland, D.J. Harvey Jr. has peaked interest of 20 schools so far, with offers from some of the best programs like Duke. Scouting reports say the 6-5, 190-pound small forward works best against contact, finishing after each attack.

#43 Brandon Randolph, SG
6-6, 180 lbs
Yonkers, N.Y.
Westtown School

With 22 offers under his belt including one from the University of North Carolina, shooting guard Brandon Randolph has a bright future. The No. 43-ranked player is just coming into himself after overcoming injuries as an underclassman. He’s making up for time lost, though, and is a dangerous utility beyond the arc, shooting 40 percent outside the perimeter.

#46 Chris Lykes, PG
5-6, 160 lbs
Bowie, Md.
Gonzaga College High School

Ranking second in Maryland and No. 46 in the nation, Gonzaga College High point guard Chris Lykes has vision on the hardwood. Making up for his height (5-6), reports say his quickness is dangerous with his ability to cut on a dime and change direction. Lykes currently has 10 offers.

#59 Jermaine Samuels, SF
6-5, 205 lbs
Franklin, Mass.
The Rivers School

Rivers School small forward and Franklin, Mass., native Jermaine Samuels can score from all over. Playing at an elite level for his age, the 6-5, 205-pound player has peaked offers from eight different college programs.

#60 Kimani Lawrence, SF
6-5, 180 lbs
Providence, R.I.
New Hampton School

No. 60-ranked Kimani Lawrence runs Rhode Island. The New Hampton School small forward recently added to his offensive threat, making progress shooting from downtown. Reports claim he not only has good size on the wing, but is impressive with his vertical athleticism. He has offers from five schools.

#63 Hameir Wright, PF
6-7, 195 lbs
Albany, N.Y.
The Albany Academy

The potential for 6-7, 195-pound power forward Hameir Wright is endless. Ranking No. 63 in the country, the Albany, N.Y., native at Albany Academy is consistently improving his skills set. Wright currently has 10 offers.

#65 Myles Cale, SG
6-3, 195 lbs
Middletown, Del.
Appoquinimink High School

Middletown, Del., native Myles Cale is currently No. 2 in Delaware and No. 65 in the nation. The 6-3, 195-pound shooting guard out of Appoquinimink High committed to Seton Hall in March.

#80 Deng Gak, PF
6-10, 195 lbs
Blairstown, N.J.
Blair Academy

Deng Gak reps New Jersey as the most sought after recruit in the state. The 6-10, 195-pound power forward hails from Blairstown and attends Blair Academy. Gak’s natural talent earned him offers from Duke and eight other programs.

#81 Oshae Brissett, SF
6-6, 195 lbs
Mississauga, Ontario (Canada)
Findlay College Prep

Ontario, Canada product Oshae Brissett is drawing a lot of attention. The small forward shows poise from three-point shooting to finishing in transition, adding in above-the-rim play and shot-blocking abilities, according to scouting reports. The 6-6, 195-pound Findlay College Prep junior has 10 offers so far.

#82 Christian David, SF
6-7, 200 lbs
Milton, Ontario (Canada)
Vermont Academy

No. 82 Christian David, who hails from Ontario, Canada, currently has five offers. Scouting reports say the 6-7, 200-pound small forward creates space on the floor and works well off screens, adding he has a high basketball I.Q.

#87 Nate Reuvers, PF
6-10, 220 lbs
Lakeville, Minn.
Lakeville High School

No. 2 in Minnesota and No. 87 in the country, Nate Reuvers is crossing over the state line after committing to Wisconsin in May. The 6-10, 220-pound power forward and Lakeville, Minn., native will have a lot to offers the Badgers.

#94 Aaron Thompson, PG
6-2, 175 lbs
Glendale, Md.
Paul VI High School

Pittsburgh-committed point guard Aaron Thompson demonstrates true point guard ability. Scouts say the left-handed Glendale, Md., native knows how to run a team. The 6-2, 175-pound Paul VI High junior is the No. 94-ranked player in the country is No. 3 in Maryland.

#97 David Beatty, SG
6-3, 195 lbs
Philadelphia, Pa.
Saint Benedict’s Prep

(Credit 8EYE Media)

Shooting guard and Philadelphia, Pa., native David Beatty is currently No. 3 in the state and ranks No. 97 in the nation. He’s made a difference on his Saint Benedict’s Prep team since he was an underclassman and has an ever-evolving game. He has 14 current offers.

#100 Lavar Batts, PG
6-0, 175 lbs
Concord, N.C.
J.M. Robinson High School

Just making ESPN’s list is No. 100 Lavar Batts. The 6-0, 175-pound point guard is No. 2 in North Carolina and plays for J.M. Robinson High. Batts has five offers, most of which come from within state.

Earning the No. 1 spot was DeAndre Ayton, a 6-10 center from Phoenix, Ariz., at Hillcrest Academy. Wendell Carter, a 6-10 power forward from Pace Academy in Atlanta, Georgia ranked second.
See the full list of ESPN’s 100.

Day 2 Standouts at Future All-American Camp

Another day down here at Future All-American Camp and we are just beginning to see how special this camp is. Earlier today, players were assigned to their drafted teams; the team they will be playing on all week. With that we began game play, and with game play we saw guys shine. Here’s our list:

Armoni Sexton | Paterson Charter (NJ) | 2018
Sexton is a long and slender wing that can put the ball in the basket, wherever he shoots it from. It doesn’t matter if he’s driving baseline for a layup or spotting up from beyond the three-point line, if Sexton is shooting it, odds are the balls going in.

Louis King | Roselle Catholic (NJ) | 2018 
The slender forward was tough to stop around the basket, using an array of post moves to find his way though the paint. Paired with two other Roselle Catholic Lions in Nazreon Reid and Atiba Taylor, King looked very comfortable in working down low and getting his points the hard way.

Tyler Plummer | St Andrews College (CAN) | 2017
Plummer was one of the most exciting players on the floor in his morning game. Plummer is a tough guard who scores all over the court. He uses his athleticism to attack the paint and the rim, but also showed he’s not just a driver by taking and making threes.

Mychael Paulo | Father Henry Carr (CAN) | 2017
Paulo showed a tendency to attack the rim and, for the most part, it worked out in his favor. The guard was able to hit a number of running layups and get around contact to the basket, putting together a nice scoring display.

Donald Flores | Abraham Lincoln | 2017
Donald Flores is really fun to watch play. The Abraham Lincoln prospect is a lightning quick guard that pushes the tempo for his team. Flores is at his best when he is getting into the paint, something he does often. He wowed us today with several tough finishes around the basket. Not many players were able to stay in front of Flores today

Jaiyer Jinwright | Newark East Side (NJ) | 2017
When Jinwright starts feeling it from deep, it’s tough to get him out of a rhythm. He showed as much throughout the day, preferring to walk the perimeter and wait for open looks to drain for three.

Scott Hitchon | Anderson | 2017
Hitchon is a versatile forward. Although he’s 6’9, he shows he has the ability to play at the wing sometimes. He has a very good jump shot and does not need much space to get his shot off. But he’s not just a big that can stretch the floor. He also has some athleticism to his game that allows him to slash to the rim well and play above the rim.

Kesean Tracey | Lincoln Elementary (NY) | 2021
No, Tracey isn’t the tallest player on the court. Actually, he might be the smallest at camp but that doesn’t stop him from going after the opposition. Rocking AI-like cornrows and a headband, Tracey displays some sweet handles for a player in the class of 2021.

Ejike Obinna | Virginia Academy | 2017
The big man from Nigeria was an absolute force down low, using his large frame to bully his way to the basket. With an offer from George Mason already in hand, once his footwork and lowpost offense truly come along with his size he’ll be pushing that high-major line.

David Beatty | Archbishop Carroll | 2017
Beatty is a quick and athletic guard, who spends a lot of time pushing the tempo on defenders. He has continued to impress this summer, showing how capable he is of getting to the paint every time down the floor. Even when defenders sag off and beg him to take a jump shot, he can still find a way to get in. He also finishes well, using his body to withstand any contact for tough baskets or at the very least, draw a foul.

AJ McNish | Henry Carr | 2017
McNish already looks older than his actual age thanks to his physical stature. He’s about 6’3 and strong. For a player who will play either a 2 or 3 spot, his strength allows him to bully his way to the basket. Chances are, when AJ puts his head down, he’s getting to the basket. There also a high chance that he’s finishing the play with a powerful slam. The kid has great elevation.

Tre Wood | St. John’s College HS | 2018
Tre Wood could be one of the best guards in camp, let alone in the class of 2018. His handle for his age is exceptional. Seeing him play with the ball is truly a spectacle to watch. Of all the things Wood did today, passing was probably his strongest asset. He found teammates regardless of where they were, and where he was, on the court. A point guard with a great handle and terrific vision, Wood will grow into a great player.

Melo Eggleston | St. Francis | 2017
The ceiling is a high one for Melo; the 6’8 rising sophomore is loaded with potential. Eggleston is a presence on both ends of the floor. Defensively he is a great rim protector already. If he’s not blocking a shot he’s definitely altering it and making it tough for guys to score in the paint. He’s also mobile for his size. He showed a number of times today the ability to start the fast break himself by dribbling it up court. The more he continues to polish his game on both ends, the more eyes will begin to follow him.

Hamidou Diallo | Putnam Science Academy (CT) | 2017
One of the highest risers in the early stages of camp, Diallo was one of the most consistently watched players on Day Two. Between a number of big dunks and a nice shooting touch from beyond the arc, Diallo is turning heads each time he steps on the court.

Quade Green | Neumann Goretti | 2017
What didn’t Quade Green do on the floor today? He showed he could facilitate, showed he could defend and certainly showed he could score, and in every which way. Green had 30 or more in all three games today. He showed toughness taking it into the paint and finishing, showed a nice stroke from three, but the most impressive move he has in his repertoire is the dribble hesitation into a step back jumper. Tough shot? Absolutely. Did he make it consistently? Absolutely he did. Quade put on a show on day two and showed everyone here that he is a top player in the class of 2017.