The 8 Tournament Recap

The Annual Jordan Brand “8” Tournament in Las Vegas brought out some of the best talent in the country. The event was even bigger this year, with two brackets of eight teams. Team Takeover, the AAU program based out of D.C., came out as the winner of the main bracket with respective wins over Team Final, Bradley Beal Elite, and Oakland Soldiers.

Takeover led for most of the game in their matchup with Team Final. The Philadelphia-based AAU program featured two of the best players in the country in Lou King and Cam Reddish, but they couldn’t keep up with the balanced attack of TTO led by Jalen Smith, Myles Dread, and Xavier Johnson. Team Takeover defeated Team Final by a final score of 85-70.

Team Takeover faced a familiar opponent in Bradley Beal Elite, who defeated TTO out in LA on the EYBL before losing to them in the Final Four of Peach Jam. Darius Garland, considered by many to be one of the best point guards in the country, had the hot hand early for his team. TTO managed to hold a two point lead heading into halftime, and began defending Garland more aggressively. Xavier Johnson and Anthony Harris were the two guards who primarily defended Garland, and each did a commendable job. Team Takeover controlled the pace in the second half, and defeated Bradley Beal Elite by a final score of 80-62.

In the much anticipated championship, Team Takeover faced Oakland Soldiers, the team who defeated them a few weeks back in the Peach Jam Finals. The first half, and most of the game was nip and tuck. Both teams played a relatively poor first half, but Team Takeover it up in the second. After trailing by 3 at the end of the first half, TTO opened up on an 8-0 run to take the lead. Once again led by Myles Dread, Jalen Smith, and Xavier Johnson, with contributions from Brandon Slater, Bryce Golden, Anthony Harris, Tre Wood and Miles Latimer, they were able to avenge their earlier loss and come out with a victory in the championship. Team Takeover won the game by a final score of 78-72, and began their well deserved celebration.

HG alumni ranked in 2018 ESPN top 60

2018 ESPN top 60

Eighteen Hoop Group alumni players were listed in the recent 2018 ESPN top 60 recruits list.

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

2018 ESPN top 60

#4 Nazreon Reid, PF
6-8, 215 lbs
Asbury Park, N.J.
Roselle Catholic High

Nazreon Reid, a 6-8, 215-pound power forward hailing from Asbury Park, N.J., ranks No. 4 on the 2018 ESPN top 60 list while he dominates the east. The Roselle Catholic High forward is No. 1 in New Jersey and No. 1 in the eastern region. Nazreon Reid has exceptional ball handling for a player his size, and his natural talent shows. He has 15 schools interested.

#5 Cameron Reddish, SF
6-7, 190 lbs
Norristown, Pa.
Westtown School

No. 5-ranked Cameron Reddish is the best in his position, according to the 2018 ESPN top 60 recent rankings. Cameron Reddish is No. 1 in Pennsylvania and No. 2 in the region, so it’s no wonder he has eight schools on his tail. Scouting reports say Cameron Reddish’s talents have been undeniable from day one and he can create big mismatch problems as a utility guy.

#6 Silvio De Sousa, PF
6-8, 220 lbs
Montverde, Fla.
Montverde Academy

The 2018 ESPN top 60 listed Silvio De Sousa at No. 6 in the nation, and he is turning heads in the south. Hailing from Montverde, Fla., the power forward from Montverde Academy utilizes his power and athleticism to drive the ball. Silvio De Sousa has two early offers.

#12 Keldon Johnson, SF
6-4, 175 lbs
South Hill, Va.
Park View High School

(Credit Big Time Highlights)

Keldon Johnson is at the top of the 2018 class in Virginia. The No. 12-ranked small forward is peaking the interest of 10 schools so far. An exceptional scorer, Keldon Johnson thrives in the lane.

#18 Jalen Smith, PF
6-8, 195 lbs
Baltimore, Md.
Mount St. Joseph High School

(Credit Next Best Basketball)

Jalen Smith combines natural ability, size and athleticism. The power forward out of Baltimore, Md., is at the top of his class in the state. The future is bright for the Mount St. Joseph High School sophomore.

#19 Immanuel Quickley, PG
6-3, 180 lbs
Bel Air, Md.
The John Carroll School

Knowledge of the game and great instincts earned Immanuel Quickley the No. 19 spot on the latest ESPN top 60 list. The point guard out of the John Carroll School is second in the state of Maryland.

#27 Louis King, SF
6-7, 190 lbs
Roselle, N.J.
Pope John XXIII High School

No. 27-ranked forward from Roselle, N.J. has already drawn attention from seven schools. Louis King grew four inches in the last two years, and his potential is through the roof.

#28 Jahvon Quinerly, PG
5-10, 160 lbs
Jersey City, N.J.
Hudson Catholic High School

Hudson Catholic High point guard Jahvon Quinerly has great instincts and is highly skilled in his class.

#29 Brandon Slater, SF
6-5, 180 lbs
Fairview, Va.
Paul VI High School

Five schools are eyeing this small forward out of Fairview, Va. Paul VI High’s Brandon Slater is dangerous on both sides of the court and is ranked No. 2 in the state.

#30 Isaiah Mucius, SF
6-7, 190 lbs
Saint James, Md.
St. James School

St. James School’s Isaiah Mucius is starting to grow into himself as a 6-7, 190-pound small forward. Isaiah Mucius is No. 3 in the state.

#32 Jalen Carey, PG
6-2, 170 lbs
Montclair, N.J.
Immaculate Conception High School

Scouting reports say No. 32-ranked Jalen Carey is a talented playmaker. The Immaculate Conception High guard is No. 4 in New Jersey.

#34 Jaedon LeDee, SF
6-7, 215 lbs
Houston, Texas
Kinkaid School

No. 34-ranked Jaedon LeDee has 18 southern schools eyeing the small forward out of Houston, Texas. An unselfish player, the 6-7, 2015-pound player at Kinkaid School can really make scoring plays.

#42 Dane Goodwin, SG
6-3, 175 lbs
Columbus, Ohio
Upper Arlington High School

No. 42 Dane Goodwin has the foreseeable future laid out for him. The 6-3, 175-pound shooting guard committed to Ohio State in 2014. The son of a college coach, his basketball IQ is through the roof.

#43 David McCormack, C
6-9, 280 lbs
Norfolk, Va.
Norfolk Academy

At 6-9 and 280 pounds, Norfolk Academy center David McCormack has four schools already eyeing the prize. He’s big … He’s strong, and he’s unstoppable in the paint.

#44 Kiyon Boyd, SF
6-5, 195 lbs
Washington, D.C.
Howard D. Woodson High School

Small forward Kiyon Boyd is developing nicely at Howard D. Woodson High in Washington D.C. Coming in at the No. 44 spot, his eagerness and work ethics will make him hard to pass up on.

#47 Robby Carmody, SG
6-4, 185 lbs
Mars, Pa.
Mars Area High School

No. 47-ranked Robby Carmody is starting to peak interest.

#52 A.J. Reeves, SG
6-4, 195 lbs
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Brimmer & May

No. 52 in the nation but No. 1 in Massachusetts, A.J. Reeves, shooting guard at Brimmer & May, is starting to develop into his 6-4 body. He has size advantage on the court.

#60 Rasir Bolton, PG
Burlington, N.J.
Life Center Academy

Rasir Bolton hails from Burlington, N.J. The Life Center Academy guard is No. 5 in the state.

Marvin Bagley, a 6-9, 220-pound power forward from Sierra Canyon High was No. 1 in the nation. Earning the No. 2 and No. 3 spots respectively were Romeo Langford, a 6-5, 185-pound guard for Langford of New Albany Senior High and Jordan Brown, a 6-9, 210-pound center from Roseville, Calif.

See the full list of ESPN’s 60.

Jalen Smith living up to his top billing


Ari Rosenfeld (@realA_rosenfeld)

The talk of camp thus far has been about the laundry list of high-level big men, as almost every game set has featured at least one matchup of two top young posts.

No such matchup was as hyped as that between Smith and fellow 2018 superstar Silvio De Sousa, pitting two ESPN 25 players against each other, with both players guarding one another to boot.

While Smith was on the receiving end of a posterizing dunk that made the Sportscenter Top 10, he put together a great all-around performance against De Sousa, flushing a couple putback dunks of his own and even more impressively, displaying a fluid shooting stroke with legitimate three-point range.

And most importantly, his team overcame the momentum that De Sousa’s slam provided the opposition in order to gut out a victory.

“It’s been good overall, even though I just got dunked on. Everybody gets dunked on. I still kept my composure and was able to finish the game out,” Smith said after the game. “I was trying my best to keep [De Sousa] out of the paint. I knew that he wasn’t a very good shooter, so I left him outside shooting a lot. For myself, I just wanted to do what I could do best to help my team win.”

Smith’s 6-foot-8 frame and incredible length have long made him a force on the inside, the newfound confidence he has in his jumper has Smith looking like a true inside-outside threat, who may even be able to transition to the wing full time– he mentioned that he sees himself potentially playing small forward at the next level.

“I’ve just been working on it a lot. It’s just started coming recently,” he said of his outside shot. “It’s helped me a lot, because I’m able to bring people that’s more dominant in the paint on defense outside where they’re not really comfortable.

“I’m able to post up and play out on the wing,” he added. “That could be helpful to a lot of colleges in the future.”

Said colleges are already beginning to swoon over Smith’s skillset and enormous long term potential, as he’s raked in offers from Providence, Miami, and Marquette in the last three weeks. Smith also claims interest from Kentucky, Arizona, Michigan State, Richmond, and Maryland, with plans to visit Kentucky and Arizona at some point in the fall.

“It was exciting because I never really knew that high-major coaches were watching me,” he said of earning his first offers. “It’s gonna make me hungrier, just to get even more.”

Thus far, Smith has been one of the main attractions all week at Future All-American, but paramount to that is the fact that he’s used the opportunity to work on his game and prepare to make an impact for his Mount St. Joseph’s team this upcoming season.

“Overall I think the camp is helpful,” Smith said. “It’s helping me hone in on my skills, helping me work more on my outside game.”

Southern Jam Fest: Day 2 Impact Posts


Hampton, VA–Another day of hoops in the books. It’s amazing how deep and rich in talent this tournament is. As we gear up for championship Sunday, let’s look at a few more bigs who impressed us.

Sherif Kenney, DC Thunder 16U

An eighth grader playing two grades up, Kenney stands out as one of Thunder’s team leaders and most gifted players, with the ability to play any of the three perimeter positions. He is bullish off the bounce, and shown the ability to finish through contact around the hoop

Thon Maker, Team Loaded VA 17U

Thon Maker coming to the Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest was a pleasant surprise for everyone. Maker didn’t disappoint this weekend as he helped lead Team Loaded (VA) to the Elite Eight. Maker ran the floor well and was always a threat any time he stepped on the floor. He showed an incredible basketball I.Q. as he was communicating with his teammates throughout the duration of the game. He is part of the reason why Team Loaded (VA) could come away with a 17U Championship this weekend.

Matt Coleman, Boo Williams 17U

Matt Coleman proved why he is considered to be one of the best players in the Class of 2017 on Saturday. Whenever his team needed a bucket or a playmaker to step up Coleman did just that. He brings another dimension to Boo Williams and enables to do certain things offensively. Look for him to continue his outstanding play on Sunday against a very talented Team Loaded (VA) squad.

Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, Team Loaded NC 17U

Adebayo showed just how dominant he could be in the Saturday nightcap, commanding double and triple teams on every possession, and wowing a standing room only crowd with several highlight-reel dunks, including a massive windmill in transition to close out the game. At times, Adebayo was fouled by default before he could even gather an entry feed on the post. His ability to execute at the foul line was key in a close game against Northeast Basketball.

Naji Marshall, DC Premier 16U

Marshall is a long, rangy 6-foot-6 wing whose versatility makes him a matchup nightmare on both ends of the floor. On Saturday, he was one of Premier’s main threats, constantly attacking the basket and carving out lanes for himself through the paint. His length and explosiveness allowed him to finish above the rim and convert on several high-percentage looks.

Jalen Smith, Team Sizzle 15U
Upside is a fitting word attached to Smith, but he’s already producing at a high-level on the AAU circuit. The 6-foot-8 lanky big man scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and overtime of a tough-fought game against the Durham Hurricanes. He’s extremely skilled and mobile for his size and looks to be one of the top 2018 big man prospects in the area.