Tyrese Martin Using Fifth Year to Prepare for Rhode Island

Rhode Island commit and current Massanutten Military Academy wing Tyrese Martin took the Lehigh Valley Showcase by storm by winning Co-MVP in a 84-82 win against the Westtown School. Martin scored 31 points and went back in forth with Duke commit Cameron Reddish. He enjoyed playing against tough competition at such an exciting setting.

“He made a lot of tough shots and made the gym go crazy so I felt like I had to step up again and go make a play,” said Martin. “It was just one of those games where I felt like the team said they were just going to ride with me. Whatever I did they just followed me, helped me and pushed through.”

Martin graduated from a Lehigh Valley based team in William Allen High School last year, but decided to do a post-graduate year at Massanutten this year. Martin had this game circled on his schedule as soon as he heard that he would be playing at home again.

“Since the beginning of the season I was looking forward to this game coming back home,” he said. “I played against them before, but we lost so this time I made sure we’d come out with the win.”

Getting the feeling back of what it meant to play in front of his home crowd meant a great deal to Martin.

“It was great I mean I hadn’t known what this felt like in a year,” Martin said. “Last year for high school we had games like this, but this game meant a lot. Everyone came out and showed love so I felt like I had to put on a show.”

He got the opportunity to catch up with old friends after the game, but before it was all business.

“Before the game I didn’t talk to anyone, I got really locked into the game,” he said. “I blocked a lot of things out, but after the game I talked to students and people.”

Schools like Maryland, NC State, Boston College, Virginia, Virginia Tech and more got involved with the recruiting process late for him. Even with top notch, schools like these recruiting him, Martin still found Rhode Island to be the place for him.

“They just stayed with me the whole ride and have been loyal,” he said. “With the picture they have for my four years at Rhode Island I feel like that it is going to fit my style of play. That’s where my heart felt like I needed to go.”

Martin transferring and taking a post-graduate year at Massanutten Military Academy didn’t align with the usual reasons a high school prospect takes a fifth year of high school. Usually done for a need with additional exposure, Martin felt he needed another year to expand on his game in order to make a big impact at Rhode Island next year.

“No it really had nothing to do with offers I mean since last year I knew I was going to go to Rhode Island before I even came to this school,” said Martin. “I wanted to get stronger and take the extra year to prepare myself mentally and physically for the next level.”

The new school has been an easy adjustment for Martin and he cannot wait for what is next with this team.

“I’m enjoying it a lot, we have a national championship to get so were just chasing that right now and its pretty fun with these guys,” Martin said.

Tony Carr Hands Ohio State First Loss in Big Ten Action

College basketball is a lot of fun. In the span of five seconds, Ohio State went from pure jubilation to having their collective hearts ripped out. Thank you, Tony Carr. In a game that didn’t have much hype coming in, Carr and Penn State gave us one of the best finishes of the season. Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop set the stage with a game-tying three. They left just enough time for Carr to come down with no time-outs and bank home a three at the buzzer. He finished with 28 points and added 5 assists and rebounds in the upset over Ohio State. On the season, Carr has been Penn State’s most crucial player, averaging 19 points, along with 5 assists, 5 rebounds and a steal a game.

With the Hoop Group Lehigh Valley Showcase set for this weekend, it was a former #HGShowcase star that gave the college basketball world excitement last night. Carr’s play this year is no surprise, as it was something he was accustomed to all throughout high school. This weekend’s games at Parkland will be no feature several more players with promising collegiate futures. Division 1 commits include Cam Reddish (Duke), Jake Forrester (Indiana), Tyrese Martin (Rhode Island), Ryan Young (Northwestern), Rasir Bolton (Penn State) and more. Fill your football void with great high school basketball. Tickets are still on sale.

Westtown Looks to Shine at Showcase

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Westtown is set to square off against Cushing Academy in the Lehigh Valley Showcase, scheduled for this Sunday. Coach Seth Berger heads this star studded squad, and he has done quite well thus far. Westtown is ranked number one in PA according to MaxPreps, and for good reason. This prep school powerhouse has a surplus of Division 1 talent.

Junior Mohammad Bamba is currently ranked #8 in the junior class according to ESPN. The 7 footer has offers from some of the most storied programs in NCAA history including: UNC, Duke, Kansas, Villanova and Maryland. Sophomore sensation Cam Reddish also comes in as one of the most high-profile players in the event. The 6-7 forward is getting looks from Villanova, UConn, and Seton Hall. Brandon Randolph is yet another Division 1 bound player for Westtown. The 6-5 combo guard has already received offers from Virginia Tech, Marquette, Seton Hall and Vanderbilt as a junior. Najja Hunter is also getting some attention from similar schools. The 6-1 playmaker has received scholarship offers from Seton Hall, Minnesota, Rutgers and Penn State.

imgres-1The list of talent above is undeniably impressive. However, we have not even looked at guard Jair Bolden. The senior is set to play at George Washington next year, one of the fastest growing programs in the NCAA. Bolden runs the Westtown offense to perfection at the point guard spot. his combination of speed, skill and intelligence makes him a nightmare for opponents. He runs the offense both efficiently and effectively due to his ability to create scoring opportunities for himself and for his teammates.

Last season at the Lehigh Valley Showcase, Bolden, Bamba and Hunter combined to score 51 of Westtown’s 70 points in a commanding win over Chester. The trio will look to make it three straight wins at the Lehigh Valley Showcase, this time against a stout Cushing Academy team.

Overall, it should be exciting to see a loaded Westtown team in action this Sunday. Be sure to stay updated with HoopGroup.com for previews of more high caliber teams leading up to Sunday’s event.

Allentown Central Catholic Ready for Chester Match-Up

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Allentown Central Catholic will look to stay hot against Chester in this Sunday’s Lehigh Valley Showcase. The Vikings are rolling thus far, posting an 11-4 record and a 7-3 league record as we near the halfway point in the season. Allentown Central Catholic is led by senior guard Zay Jennings, an explosive scorer who racked up his 1000th career point earlier this season. Through his first 15, Jennings is averaging 20.2 points per game. HoopGroup.com reached out to Jennings to get a better look at the Vikings’ point guard and his expectations for this year’s team.

Jennings has his eyes set on a lot of hardware for this season. He cited a conference championship, a district championship and a player of the year award as targets for this season. While his aspirations are high, there is no doubt that Jennings is doing all he can to assure he achieves these goals.

He claims that he has been putting in countless hours in the gym and in the weight room to improve his game. Moreover, he emphasized watching film as a big part of his offseason preparation. However, none of this can to truly describe Zay Jennings’ drive to succeed. Jennings said that part of his daily routine is to MAKE 500 shots per day, a clear sign that he is willing to do whatever is necessary  to take his team to the top.

However, Jennings’ understands that he cannot accomplish all of this alone. He emphasized that it is the responsibility of he and his teammates to play hard every possession, especially on defense. Jennings said that the key to a successful season starts with everyone buying into the system that coach Dennis Csensits has laid out for his team.

Overall, Jennings displayed a great amount of confidence in himself, and in the team as a whole. He said the he is looking forward to the opportunity and challenge presented in Sunday’s event. Be sure to check out HoopGroup.com for more previews of Sunday, and live Twitter coverage of all the games.

Cushing Academy Set for Trip to Pennsylvania

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Cushing Academy will be prepping themselves this week for their showdown with Westtown High School on Sunday. This heavyweight matchup is part of The Hoop Group’s annual Lehigh Valley Showcase. Coach Mike Wolf heads a team with a volatile offense. Although his team stands at 5-4 thus far, their pedestrian record can be chalked up to a strong strength of schedule. Cushing is led by junior forward Jarrod Simmons, a player with excellent size and skill. As a Junior, he already has offers from prestigious programs including: Providence, VCU, Texas, Pitt and Georgia Tech. HoopGroup.com caught up with Simmons to get a better look at Cushing and their star player going into this weekend’s showcase.

Simmons showed a lot of confidence in this year’s Cushing squad. “My goal for this season is a championship and nothing less.”

As a member of the highly acclaimed NESPAC conference, this is no easy task. However, Simmons has been putting in a lot of work to ensure Cushing will be able to compete for a championship in a prep school conference that is loaded with talent. “I’ve worked out everyday this summer and worked out at school preparing myself physically as well as mentally for the season” he said.

We can certainly attest to Simmons’ superb work ethic, as it helped him earn a spot in our Top 20 All Stars at the second session of the Hoop Group Elite Camp this summer. Simmons also told us that he is looking forward to playing at another Hoop Group event. “We’re extremely excited and can’t wait to compete and show everyone how hard we’ve been working” he said.

The competition is always tough at the Lehigh Valley Showcase, some former alums of the event include: Kyrie Irving, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Tyreke Evans. Find out more info about Sunday’s high school showcase by visiting HoopGroup.com, and check us out on Twitter for live coverage of all the games.