#HGBuzzerBeater Classic AM Spotlight, Day 1

Division I schools La Salle University from the A10, Robert Morris from the Northeast Conference, and a multitude of Division II and III schools were in attendance to watch the morning matchup between the Crusader Nation and New York Havoc. With a trip to the winner’s bracket on the line, both teams showed some early game jitters to start.

Team Havoc jumped out to a quick 17-5 lead behind the energy and hustle of their point guard number 12, William Aybar.  Aybar set the pace of the game from the opening tip, extending the defensive pressure 94 feet and advancing the basketball by passing ahead.  Crusader Nation eventually acclimated to the frenetic pace of play, but consistently trailed double digits throughout the game’s first 10 minutes.  The Nation never looked comfortable in their half court sets, struggling to execute against the extended pressure of Havoc.  Skilled 6’8” forward Joe Delollo (#33) provided a perimeter, threat stretching the defense and opening driving lanes for Havoc’s lighting quick Aybar.  Crusader Nation eventually found a way to put up points up through second chance opportunities and fast break chances. They went on a 10-2 run and cut the lead to seven to close out the half.

The Nation continued their aggressive play to start the second half, finishing contested shots around the basket and creating and-1 opportunities.  With momentum on their side and foul situations softening up Havoc’s defensive pressure, the Nation began to convert on open jump shots. Although he showcased a soft touch around the basket and consistent face up game outside the paint, Delollo was unable to guard the perimeter on defense.  Delollo was forced to soft contest on screen and roll switches and gave up easy driving angles to Crusader Nation’s guards. Havoc trailed by two points going into the game’s final four minutes.  

The game came down to the final possession in regulation, tied at 60 with a little over eleven seconds remaining. Crusader Nation was set to take the ball out on a side out of bounds.  The ball was inbounded, and a down screen was set away from the ball in an effort to free up their team’s leading scorer for the game, number 0-Nick Parrish.  He was denied but eventually caught the ball out near half court under duress.

With three seconds remaining he stepped into a 30 foot pull-up jumper that seemed to hang in the air for an eternity before swishing through the net; ending the game and advancing the Nation to the winner’s bracket.  When asked about what was going through his mind in the closing seconds, Parrish responded, “I won’t lie to you, I practice that shot a lot…a hesitation to a pull up three—so, to see it finally come to work, it’s a blessing man. It felt great”.  Parrish continued on to speak about his team’s togetherness, “I’ve played with these guys for four years now–with these guys they go out and give it a hundred percent every game. It’s more like a family than a team.  We all just play together, and play for each other”.  

Crusader Nation will look to build upon this momentum going into their next matchup.  Joe Delollo for Havoc led the team in scoring with 15 points, while Parrish finished with 12 points, 10 in the 4th quarter and the game winner.  

Bigger Than Ball Vol. 5: Aidan Igiehon

Aidan Igiehon is a top ranked basketball player whose aggression and footwork around the basket have colleges from all over the country lining up to see him play.  What’s even more impressive than his ability on the court is the unique journey he has taken to play basketball in the United States.  Igiehon is an Irish citizen, living and going to school in New York.  He’s also one of the most humble kids we have gotten the chance to interview so far.  Here’s our in depth Q & A with the number 55 ranked junior, Aidan Igiehon.  

 

You don’t typically see many kids from Ireland playing ball in the States, how’d you end up coming over to play?

 

It’s funny, I didn’t actually come over here to play ball.  I came over here with my local team called Dublin Lions, they play ball, and I went to this Sixers camp – Philadelphia 76ers.  I was 13, 6’5” – yeah, I was like tall and skinny…and then I was athletic and could dunk the ball.  They were like “yo he’s 13?”, and then a lot of high schools came to see me.  No one really helped me get over here.  I just traveled with my team.  I went from Philly to New York to visit my family, and then stayed a couple months; and then I was playing in the park with my Aunt – my Aunt’s daughter’s Coach is best friends with Dana. He set up a workout, and I’ve been with them ever since.  Never thought about playing with anyone else.  

How was it playing on the EYBL circuit? You were relatively unknown before  you started playing AAU basketball, how did that help your recruiting?

 

On the circuit that’s when I really blew up.  The first session…it was the game against Bol Bol and Shareef [O’Neal] – people were like…like didn’t know who I was at the time.  They were just focused on Shareef.  “theres a kid dunking crazy”, it was me – I was just cocking it back, like ahh!  I had 18 points with like seven dunks and a couple free throws.  After that game my phone started blowing up – they started calling me.  Then I got my first ACC offer.  Syracuse.  After I got that offer, a lot of schools started contacting me.  I was too excited.  Dana was telling me to relax.  I guess he expected it, but I didn’t…Syracuse was like my fourth or fifth, and from then on I had like 20 something.  

 

Who has been the best person you’ve played against so far?

 

Marvin Bagley. Gotta be – and second that Bol Bol.  Bol Bol might be better actually, I don’t know.  He’s nice…underrated.   Only thing is, he’s 7’3” but he hates to play around the rim.  He plays from the free throw line and up.  It’s easier for me to guard big men rather than guards so that made it tough.

 

Which NBA player do you think you play like?

A mixture…I wanna say a mix with Deandre Jordan…and with Anthony Davis.  Yeah – mix that – take a little skill off AD.  My aggression and how hard I dunk the ball is like him.  I am actually very skilled, but many people don’t know that.  All they see is the dunks.  I can finish with both hands and start the break.  It’s tough to show that sometimes because showcase games usually show the guards.  Nobody really knows my name like that so that’s why I’m trying to use this July period to get known.

 

Soccer is the main sport played in Ireland,  and you seem to have great footwork for a player your age – Did you play when you were younger?

 

Yeah, I actually started off playing soccer.  I started playing ball when I was 12, but before that yeah – it was only soccer.  So, I played center midfield – I started off playing right back, and right defensive mid.  I wasn’t thinking about playing in college honestly, I didn’t even know about college athletics when I was younger.

 

Do you still play?

 

I still play soccer for fun, like with my older brother.  He’s 20.  He’s playing semi-pro right now upstate.  He plays in college, but he’s going to be a pro…It’d be cool for me to be able to play for the same school as my brother…I still work out like a soccer player.  When I’m training I do a lot of ladder stuff.  With Dana [Dingle-New York Lightning AAU coach], we start with a couple sprints then some high knees and then other footwork. As you get really tall, really quickly you get kinda slow.

What was the biggest adjustment basketball-wise when coming over from Ireland?

 

The speed of the game, the physicality of the game, and how serious everyone is about it.  In Ireland it’s just fun and games.  Like people here, they work out like one in the morning – I’m used to like, training with a team. That’s how we do it. That’s why the development has been different for me.  I was probably one of the best players in the country back then.  For my age.  There were some good players though.  Now looking back it was kinda like, eh.  There was one guard though, Matt Drummond.  He was good.  I had to wait a couple months before I could play when I came here, just the speed of everything…they threw me into the fire though.

 

Biggest non-basketball adjustment?

 

So basically, I’m in New York so I’m in the city.  In Brooklyn.  So, how there are mad trains and mad buses, and how you don’t use cars to get anywhere…and just the speed of life. It was a big change.  I lived in a very nice estate in Ireland, that you had to drive everywhere. Everywhere’s kinda far…hilly – quiet.  Ireland’s nice, the weather’s just horrendous.  Sometimes you can have all four seasons in a day.  Freezing, then warm, then it gets kinda hot and it’ll rain.

 

You’ve been living in New York for a few years now, do you ever get homesick?

 

Oh yeah.  All the time.  I’ve got a ton of friends and even now, a ton of people follow me like “yo you’re my inspiration”…I actually have to go back and run a camp – I have to give a speech and everything.  A ton of people are going to be there. [laughing] I’m looking at them like, yo I’m just a regular kid – I don’t look at it like how they look at it.  I look at it like I’m just playing ball you know…

What are you planning on saying in your speech?

 

Basically…first thing they’re gonna ask me is if I can dunk.  After that there just gonna ask me questions about my life.  “How can we get there?” They all want to come over, but unfortunately they can’t all come, but who am I to say they can’t.  So I’m going to let them know they have to work hard, and try and tell them how I much work out – and how you have to stay focused on academics. That plays a huge part.  Because I have good academics my recruitment is great.  I have a 3.7 – because of that my recruitment took off.

 

You have well over 20 Division I scholarship offers now, which gives you the opportunity to pick a school that really fits you.  What are you looking for out of the programs that are recruiting you?

 

I want to be somewhere where I can play right away.  My goal honestly is to be a pro.  I’m going to try man.  I just started playing ball..like I’m working hard, so I think I have a chance.  That’s why I work out so much – I’m just trying to work on my skills.  I’m really gonna try.

 

What do you think you need to work on to become a more complete player, and hopefully reach your goal of playing professionally?

 

I think I need to work on outside shooting. ‘Cause i’m athletic enough to play the three, I think if I could spread the floor more I could really be good.  I do a lot of ball handling in workouts, because that’s the goal.  I’m trying to make the NBA.  Obviously still think the academics, so I can play anywhere in the country – and I really have to extend my game. Do the repetition so much so that when it comes game time it just comes naturally.  I’m going to work hard, so that once I get to college, I really can cement myself as one of the best bigs in the country.

NJ Tip-Off Game 5 Preview

Game 5 8:30: Columbia Vs. Seton Hall Prep

Another great game to round out the day between two of New Jersey’s finest, Columbia and Seton Hall Prep.  Lead by Junior Stephen Gabriel, Columbia, prepares to take on the young stars of Seton Hall Prep. Seton Hall lead by senior Austin Williams who is joined by junior Alex Imegwu along with freshman phenom Jabri Abur-Rahim, are prepared to take the make a big statement in their first game of the year. With two great coaches, both team will be extremely prepared, so be on the lookout for a very tight game!

New Jersey Tip-Off Game 1

Game 1 2:30: Immaculate Conception Vs. East Orange

You’re going to want to get to the NJ Tip-Off early cause the day starts off with a great matchup between Immaculate Conception and East Orange. East Orange, under 1st year coach and former Newark Tech coach (and state champion) Joe Jordan, looks to take down one of the best teams in New Jersey. Immaculate Conception features a player who many (Including myself) consider the best scorer in New Jersey, Jalen Carey! The 6’3 combo guard is capable of putting on a show against anyone! This is a matchup you’re not going to want to miss!

Pooley’s Picks – Best Shooters Available

Pooley’s Picks

Best Available Shooters: 10 Best From Long Range

Qualifications:  Every college coach has made the statement: “We need guys who can shoot.”  Every analyst and basketball fan has noticed the value of the three point shot.  It’s not rocket science, if you can recruit a guy who can flat out shoot from three, you’ll win.  This list sets out the best available shooters.  Three point shooting is the only thing being explored here.  This is not a list of the best players who can also shoot.  Simply, the best shooters who are unsigned seniors from Maine to Virginia.  Prep schools are included in this.  If you graduate in 2017 and are on of the best shooters available: you’re on this list.  If you’re a college coach, you should be all over these 10.

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

 

 

Matt Donahue: Matt is a catch and shoot nightmare.  He’s 6’2″ and is a great compliment to a scoring guard who can draw attention.  You can tell he works his ass off and it shows in what he can do beyond the arc.  He moves well without the ball and is excellent coming off a down screen or staggered double.

Range 21′ Quick Release B+ Form B- Off The Dribble B+ Catch and Shoot A

 

 

Thomas Binelli:  If we’re isolating shooting the rock Thomas Binelli is someone who can do it at any level.  Every bit of 6’7″ Binelli thrives outside the three point line.  Great off the catch and the dribble, leaning in and fading away, Binelli is a SHOOTER! A bunch of schools have overlooked the big guy, but someone will come around.

Range 24′ Quick Release B- Form A- Off The Dribble A- Catch and Shoot A

 

 

Reese Mona: Most people might describe Reese Mona, 6’3″ senior at St. John’s, as a role player.  Ask those same people to list guys they don’t want taking the last shot against their team: Reese Mona.  The guard is among the best available shooters specifically because he hits big shots and does it against the best of competition.

Range 21′ Quick Release B+ Form B- Off The Dribble B+ Catch and Shoot A

 

 

Devin Jensen: Devin Jensen, 6’4″ senior at Manasquan, has the purest release possible.  Watching Devin shoot is just fun.  While he can do more than just shoot, his 3-pt jumper is the deadliest around.  Range, a high release, excellent form, and ZERO conscience is what makes Devin one of the best available shooters.  Tall shooters like him won’t stay available for too long.

Range 26′ Quick Release A- Form A+ Off The Dribble A- Catch and Shoot A

George Pappas: A Maine representative on the list, George Pappas can shoot and he knows it.  The long guard is tough and can get busy from deep. After graduating from Union Catholic, George now attends Gould Academy in Bethel Maine.  George won’t ever turn down a look and uses his jumper to set up the rest of his game.

Range 23′ Quick Release A Form B+ Off The Dribble A- Catch and Shoot A

Charles Falden:  Falden can do more than just shoot, but is at his best from long range.  Surprising that someone who can stick it like Falden doesn’t have a laundry list of offers.  However, this guard probably won’t be under-recruited for long (Coach Myers and Massanutten known for helping recruits).  Look for Falden to shoot at a high clip from three this season and lock up offers sooner rather than later.

Range 22′ Quick Release B+ Form B- Off The Dribble A Catch and Shoot B+

Dom Fragala: Dom is a tough, heady guard, who you simply cannot leave open.  The 5’11” combo has range for days and dets up a lot of his shots off the bounce.  Dom plays through contact and has a lot of experience getting his shot off against taller defenders.  Dom hits big shots and certainly is one of the best available shooters.

Range 22′ Quick Release B+ Form B+ Off The Dribble A Catch and Shoot B+

Michael Speight:  First, Speight has been a Hoop Group campers for years.  He elevated his game this past year and was selected as one of the Top 20 all-stars at Elite 1.  Most of the difference with Mike comes with a new found consistency on his 3-pt shot.  Always dangerous, Mike now is much more consistent, that’s what makes the Wise guard one of the top available  shooters.

Range 22′ Quick Release B Form B+ Off The Dribble A- Catch and Shoot A-

Andre Rafus: The big lefty has bounced around a little but, but his threes rarely do.  The long, 6’8″ wing, with tremendous form and a quick release has landed at Lake Clifton.  Highly touted, and probably the highest recruited player on this list, Rafus is one of the top available shooters for sure.

Range 21′ Quick Release B+ Form A- Off The Dribble B- Catch and Shoot A

Jamil Pasha:  “Jamie” is admittedly a kid I haven’t seen a lot, but every I have he’s stroked it.  The 6’2″ Bishop Ireton senior, has range and is smooth as can be.  With a high release point and his ability to hunt shots make him a must have on this list.

Range 22′ Quick Release B- Form A- Off The Dribble B- Catch and Shoot A

Quick Rant About Shooters:  Every college coach says they want shooters and there are some out there who genuinely recruit them.  However, what I see more of is college coaches recruiting kids who can shoot.  They like a kids overall game and they say “and he can shoot”.  Unfortunately, I think this is backwards.  College coaches need to be recruiting kids that are SHOOTERS, and saying things like “and he can play”.  Most of the time when you recruit a non-shooter, they don’t turn into a shooter.  However, when you recruit a shooter there is room for things like ball handling, Bball IQ, Body, and defense to come along once they enroll.  It’s hard for a non-shooter to become a shooter, it’s easier for a kid to get in better shape or learn an offense.  Shooting is as much an art as it is a science and guys need to be recruiting kids who are shooters.  Over half of the schools in Division 1 don’t shoot 35% from behind the three point line.  Recruit one of the kids we’re talking about today and turn that around!

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