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:

Ayala caps eventful summer with FAA camp

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Teddy Bailey (@TheTeddyBailey)

The season of summer is notorious for sleeping in late, taking trips to the shore and simply enjoying the beauty of free time.

Eric Ayala hasn’t been able to partake in many of those aforementioned experiences this summer.

The AAU circuit with WE-R 1’s 16U and 17U teams, combined with playing in the U16 FIBA Americas Championship, has caused for nonstop basketball in what has been an eventful few months for Ayala.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” Ayala said. “I haven’t been able to get much rest [this summer] so every time I have the opportunity to rest, I take advantage of it. Everything went well, we played good basketball for Team USA, lost in the 17U final in Vegas.”

Ayala is about to experience a good amount of change in the coming months. The 6-foot-2 guard has not only reclassified to the Class of 2018, but he announced his transfer from Sanford (De.) to Putnam Science (Ct.) over the summer as well. Ayala and fellow Division-1 guard Mikey Dixon were both expected to chase the Delaware state championship next season.

“I’m going to miss it, man,” Ayala said of Sanford.”We were a family, it was a brotherhood. Sanford did a lot for me. It’s [Putnam Science] going to be interesting, that’s for sure. It’ll be pretty fun. It was a family decision, that’s basically what it was.”

Ayala had played two seasons at the Sanford School before deciding to change the destination for his high school career. Ayala will join fellow WE-R 1 high-major Sedee Keita (2016), along with 2016 UConn commit Mamadou Diarra and 2017 wing Hamadou Diallo at Putnam Science next season.

The now-2018 guard is a smooth court general that sees the game better than most guards – his offensive upside is mostly done in the form of transition buckets, dribble-drives and creating for his team. Another year of high school basketball will allow Ayala to discover his full potential in terms of jump-shooting and explosiveness.

“I was focused this summer on just picking up the pace,”he said. “I wanted to play a little bit faster as a point guard. I’ve been playing more efficient this summer, which is extremely important for my position.”

Ayala is a high-major prospect that has seen his recruiting stock rise over this past calendar year. The rising sophomore holds high-major offers from Cincinnati, St. John’s, Southern Cal, South Carolina and most recently, VCU (8/4). Locally, Ayala has been offered by Temple, Saint Joseph’s and La Salle.

As far as Hoop Group’s Future All-American camp goes, Ayala’s legs are still churning and his court vision is still making his point guard play a force to be reckoned with. If the exhaustion and restlessness is there, he’s not showing it. Ayala is considered as one of the better point guards at FAA camp this week, but he isn’t taking his competition very lightly.

“There’s a few players here that are pretty darn good,” Ayala said. “I find it fun to play against them and see how it goes.”