Pooley’s Picks: New Jersey Tip-Off

Pooley’s Picks

2016 New Jersey Tip-Off Preview

Qualifications:  Sticking with the theme of high school events we have NEW JERSEY BASKETBALL BACK!  Nothing like the start of basketball season in NJ and nothing like the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  This week we’ll have a little different approach to Pooley’s Picks.  No specific qualifications this week, just some pointers for people to watch out for during this event and really the rest of the season.

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

2016 New Jersey Tip Off

The 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off: Ten great match ups. 5 of the top 7 teams in NJ.

The Event: For years (17 to be exact), the Hoop Group has put on the NJ Tip-Off.  Each year, it features high-profile match ups and top-tier talent. The event itself is well run and the venues are always excellent.  The 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off will be very much the same.  First, Eric Kessler and Dave Fedor have a ton of experience running events, and more importantly a ton of knowledge of the teams.  When you get the best teams together to start the season it is important to have a great setup and planning.  This event will have that and more.

 

HC of Pope John at 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off, Vincent Johnson, while at Lehigh.

Vincent Johnson: Vincent was named the head coach of Pope John after former coach Jason Hasson left for Pennsylvania.  “Chico” as many know him, is a great coach with an unbelievable background in basketball.  More importantly, he is a good friend of mine and an excellent mentor to many young ball players.  The #1 thing I’m excited for at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off is to watch Coach Johnson in his head coaching debut.  Now, he has been matched up with Roselle Catholic, a staple at the top of the NJ rankings.  Don’t be surprised if Coach Johnson and his young, talented squad can keep it close.

2016 New Jersey Tip-Off participant Mike Morreale

2016 New Jersey Tip-Off participant Mike Morreale

Michael Morreale:  The 6’5″ 2017 senior is one of my favorites.  He is an excellent player, known both for his excellent athleticism and long range jumpers.  Entering his senior year, he’ll be a valuable asset for Coach Mergin Sina and the Knights.  Look for Mike to knock down a couple threes and convert on a jam or two.  More than that, look for Mike to make the big play at the end.  Defensively Mike is one of the best around, guarding point guards right on down to centers.  More importantly, he is a great kid and a great teammate.  No question that at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off everyone will enjoy watching Mike.

 

 

Blair v Linden: Earlier in the year, in the first installment of Pooley’s Picks I predicted the most productive players in New Jersey.  This match up features (admittedly) my biggest snub: Tavon Jones.  I can’t wait to watch Tavon in his first opportunity to prove me wrong.  The big guard can do it all and will have a huge test against one of my favorite backcourts on the east coast.  Let’s not forget the match up also features two great coaches: Phil Colicchio and Joe Mantegna.

 

Bergen Catholic v St. Benedict’s:  Mark Taylor’s team is led by impressive Syracuse commit Bourama Sidibe and fab frosh Noah Farrakhan.  Billy Armstrong’s team is led by two senior guards Gabe Stefanini (Columbia) and Taj Benning (Fairfield).  Something has to give here.  This is the most evenly matched game of the weekend, and one I really am excited to see.  Look for the X-factor, 6’8″ freshman Matt Zona, to jump onto the New Jersey seen.

 

Ja’Quaye James:  The small, heady PG will have his work cut out for him against Newark East Side.  First, the Red Raiders are one of the best defenses at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  Second, they are led by senior stopper Elijah Olaniyi and sophomore stud Anas Amos.  However, none of that matters to James, who has been taking on the country’s best for years.   Watch for some highlight reel excitement, some up-tempo basketball, and a lot of buckets from James.

 

Hun vs Union Catholic:  Just a solid match up.  Union Catholic is tough and physical, Hun is tough and physical.  Guard play from both schools will be the difference in the game.  Hun will try to keep Jordan Pierce of the offensive boards and Union Catholic will need to keep Tyler Washington and Desmond Cambridge away from the rim. Freshman guard Niels Lane, who got a lot of minutes at PSA Cardinals Showcase just two weeks ago, is another X-factor.

 

Calistus Anyichie 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off commit

Calistus Anyichie 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off commit

St. Mary’s Elizabeth Bigs: Certainly not a group the casual fan would talk about, but I think that’s about to change.  Both bigs, Calistus Anyichie and Casmir Ochiaka, have big upside and great coaching.  Perhaps a little underrated right now, I’m looking for them to have a breakout 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  As the season continues, look for colleges to start taking notice as well.

Jabri Abdur-Rahim: First of all, it’s not often you get to see a freshman play major minutes in a High School game.  Second of all, it’s less often you get to see a top player nationally impact a game.  Finally, both of those two will come together for the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off, as Abdur-Rahim will do his best to live up to the hype.

 

Samba Diallo:  Will BLOW UP this season.  Been hearing his name a lot lately in some basketball circles.  Samba has started coming into his own. First, look for this kid to have his first big game of the year at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  Then, look for him to finish his sophomore year with all of the offers.  The big lefty can do it all, and legitimately play 4 different positions.

 

Special Guest this week, Event Director Eric Kessler:

NJ Tip-Off Game 4 Preview

Game 4 7:00: Roselle Catholic vs Pope John

A big time Top 20 matchup between #2 (NJ Hoops) team in New Jersey, Roselle Catholic, against #19 ranked Pope John.  Roselle Catholic will feature some of the best players this state has to offer, starting with ESPN #10 2018 Naz Reid. The 6’10 forward is as talented as anyone in the country. If you haven’t seen him play live, you will not want to miss this game. Roselle has more than just Reid, including Temple Commit Nate Pierre-Louis, and do-it-all forwards Alanzo Frink and Khalil Whitney both of whom have a host of major scholarship offers. With all this talk about Roselle Catholic, I should warn you not to sleep on Pope John. Starting with 6’7 forward Samba Diallo, who is as impactful as any player in the state! Aiding him will be ’18 Aaron Clark and ’19 Jack Cavanaugh, both of which are hoping to make a statement in the state. Coach Vincent Johnson will have his team ready to go as they look to make a splash in their first game of the year!

Pooley Picks – Top New Jersey Basketball Players by Productivity

Pooley Picks

Top New Jersey Basketball Players: 10 Most Productive

Qualifications: There are a lot of ways to discuss Top New Jersey Basketball players, here we are talking strictly production.  The players below aren’t necessarily the Top 10 players in New Jersey, but rather players I’ve projected to put up the biggest numbers adjusted for competition. You cannot be on the list if you’re projected to average less than 10 points per game or if your only strength is scoring the ball (players who are projected for low assist AND rebound totals don’t qualify).  Lastly, we have adjusted for competition: Big numbers against a weaker schedule won’t get you in over someone with comparable numbers are against top teams.

Players are in no particular order. Please enjoy the first installment of Pooley Picks.

Nate Pierre-Louis: Nate’s an extremely physical guard who has the keys to the kingdom at one of New Jersey’s top schools.  Look for Nate to have big scoring nights on top of his ability to creep up near double digit assists and rebounds on some outings.  In addition to the situation being right at Roselle, Nate can also flat out play.  This guard can score from all three levels, distribute, and get big buckets in big games. It will be fun to watch the Temple commit this season as he proves he’s one of the top New Jersey basketball players.

Most productive when: He out hustles all competition and gets teammates involved consistently

Least productive when: Teams pack the lane and jumper doesn’t fall

Stat Line Projection: 21.1 ppg / 4.7 apg / 6.1 rpg / 3.4 spg / 0.8 bpg

 

Justyn Mutts: Big man for St. Augustine’s has the potential for some monster nights in 2016-17.  Proving himself with one of the best teams in NJ last year, Mutts had a 22-10-7 game against undefeated St. Anthony’s; along with multiple double-doubles and plenty of 5+ block games. High Point is getting a stat-stuffer with Mutts.

Most productive when: He plays inside then out and stays aggressive on the O-boards

Least productive when: Teams can force him to 15 feet plus and box out.

Stat Line Projection: 17.9 ppg / 1.7 apg / 10.1 rpg / 1.4 spg / 3.1 bpg

 

Scottie Lewis: Scottie has the chance to have the best stat sheet in New Jersey both in an individual game and over the course of the season.  A human highlight reel, he can also do everything and will be in a situation at The Ranney School where he has to for them to be successful.  He’ll get plenty of shots and even more rebounding and assist opportunities.  Even with adjusting for competition, Scottie will have such good numbers he is a no-brainer for this list. Looking ahead, watch for him to start creeping into one of the top New Jersey basketball players ever.

Most productive when: When he’s in the open floor and help-side defensive situations

Least productive when: Teams slow the game and play triangle and two against him and teammate Bryan Antoine

Stat Line Projection: 19.4 ppg / 5.1 apg / 11.1 rpg / 4.7 spg / 2.8 bpg

 

RJ Cole: Tough for anyone on a Coach Hurley team to make the list, as his teams often feature extremely well disciplined and balanced teams.  However, this seems like a year where one player may be required to do a little more for them to be as successful as they’ve been in the past.  Lucky for the Friars, Cole, a top New Jersey basketball player, is set up for one of those years.  RJ is a heady point, whose jump shot has turned a corner.  The lefty, committed to Howard, should have some big games against some of the best teams the Northeast has to offer.  May not boast the stats of some of the other players on the list but will score or assist on a huge % of his teams buckets.

Most productive when:  He’s given space on the perimeter or in ball screen situations

Least productive when: His team needs to grind out wins in the 40s and 50s

Stat Line Projection: 15.4 ppg / 5.7 apg / 3.4 rpg / 2.9 spg / 0.4 bpg

 

Elijah Barnes: Looking to repeat as Shore Conference Champs, Mater Dei’s 6’7” big man can do a little bit of everything.  Most importantly, Barnes can do a lot of rebounding and scoring.  Elijah put up decent numbers on an extremely well-rounded, well-coached team last year.  Barnes is poised for a huge individual season (along with teammate Kenny Jones) in 2016-17. Princeton looks to be getting a tough big man who can do a little bit of everything.

Most productive when:  He’s attacking the glass, inside of 15 feet and then steps out

Least productive when: He falls in love with perimeter game or floats on the floor

Stat Line Projection: 18.7 ppg / 2.7 apg / 11.4 rpg / 1.6 spg / 2.4 bpg

 

Jalen Carey:  With Immaculate Conception getting better and deeper there may be a few less opportunities to score, but Jalen’s overall game should flourish.  Arguably the best scorer in New Jersey (I wouldn’t argue against it), Carey is an explosive athlete, with some of the best downhill moves in high school basketball as well as a consistent mid-range shooter with a developing 3-pt jumper.  Expect some games in the 30’s and a lot of wins for his high school team this year, led by the only junior on the list.

Most productive when:  He has the ball in his hand. Period.

Least productive when:  He’s forced off the ball and required to only shoot long jump shots.

Stat Line Projection: 22.6 ppg / 3.9 apg / 7.1 rpg / 3.6 spg / 0.9 bpg

 

Bryan Antoine: Bryan is a scoring PG who just happens to be 6’4” with an unbelievable feel for the game.  Considering he’s going to touch the ball every possession this season I know big games are on the way.  Huge scoring and assist numbers are a certainty from Bryan, in a league where guys will not be able to stay in front of him.  Along with teammate Scottie Lewis, and an older and stronger supporting cast, look for these big numbers to translate into wins against tougher teams deep into 2017.

Most productive when:  He can get going from deep and consistently get to the line.

Least productive when:  Teams can force contested jump shots and guard w/o fouling.

Stat Line Projection: 24.6 ppg / 6.1 apg / 6.4 rpg / 3.8 spg / 1.1 bpg

 

Gabe Stefanini:  The Italian import had a breakout 2016, both in HS and AAU.  The 6’3” Columbia commit, can play three positions and is hard to stop at all of them.  Not the fastest guard, Gabe’s game is built on deception, a high basketball IQ, and an ever improving jump shot.  His numbers may not be as gaudy as some of the others on this list, but with an extremely deep Bergen Catholic roster and tough schedule, look for Gabe to be balanced in all 5 major categories and lead the crusaders to a lot of wins.

Most productive when:  He plays under control, with his head up, and gets to the foul line.

Least productive when:  He forces early in games and gets into his own head.

Stat Line Projection: 14.1 ppg / 5.1 apg / 6.3 rpg / 2.7 spg / 0.6 bpg

 

Nick Richards: From a production standpoint, I was close to leaving Nick off the list.  For years, Nick has been a top recruit in the nation, and currently holds the number one spot in New Jersey; however, the statistics and impact on the game up until now hasn’t always been there.  That is about to change though.  With this being his senior year, his team playing perhaps the toughest schedule of any team in New Jersey, a recent commitment to Kentucky, and Pat’s losing inside factors Fatir Hines and Cyril Langevine: Nick will be up for more minutes, blocks, rebounds, and points. Not to mention the fact his game has made great strides the last few months.

Most productive when:  He stays out of foul trouble and runs the floor rim to rim.

Least productive when:  He gets caught in that middle 8-15 ft. range

Stat Line Projection: 12.6 ppg / 0.9 apg / 12.1 rpg / 1.6 spg / 4.1 bpg

 

Elijah Olaniyi is one of the top New Jersey Basketball Players

Elijah Olaniyi is one of the top New Jersey Basketball Players

Elijah Olaniyi: Definitely a surprise to some on the production list, but Elijah has begun to separate himself from other NJ wings.  The Stonybrook commit has taken a below average jumper and turned it into a strength.  The energizer bunny, he not only plays hard every second, but he has a nose for the ball.  Never afraid to attack the rim or take tough shots, Elijah will jump about 50% in scoring and slightly improve on an unreal rebounding campaign in 2015-16, which include five consecutive double-doubles. If you watch him play he’ll convince you he’s a top New Jersey basketball player.

Most productive when:  He takes and makes good shots and gets to the foul line

Least productive when:  Opposing Teams can keep him off the glass and out of transition

Stat Line Projection: 15.1 ppg / 2.3 apg / 10.9 rpg / 2.1 spg / 1.1 bpg

 

Top 5 Snubs:

Tavon Jones – Unbelievable competitor and scorer.  Will lead Linden to another long playoff run.

Reason: I’m only allowed to have 10 players on the list.

Bourama Sidibe – Big time prospect who will rebound and block shots with the best of them.

Reason: Very difficult schedule will limit scoring opportunities; aggressive play will lead to foul trouble.

Deng Gak – Top level prospect, who developed a ton last year with Blair and PSA.

Reason: Don’t see him cracking 10 pts or reb with a great five at Blair who can all score and rebound.

Ja’Quaye James – One of the best scorers in the state in 2015-2016 and a good enough distributor.

Reason: Teams will start to key on little guard, assist and scoring numbers could dip.

Justin Minaya – Originally on the list, great all around guard with a bright future.  Major sleeper!

Reason: He’ll have better numbers than a couple on the list, but adjusting for competition hurts.

 

Other Notes:

Difficult to leave Jordan Pierce off a list of top New Jersey basketball players.  However, when it comes to productivity I don’t know if he’ll have the other stats.  Jordan plays hard and records a lot of double-doubles.  The big three at Hudson (Quinerly, Muhammad, King) are all unbelievable talents.  However, for Marinello’s team to win they will share many of the stats needed to be on this list.  Isaiah Wong will be a front runner for this list next year, Notre Dame guard is great.

Patrick School guards (Harris, McClary, Walker) will be in a Hudson Catholic like scenario: talented backcourt, with only one ball. Big nights but not enough counting numbers for Rice’s big three.  George Visconti, crazy scorer who had 5 30 point games last year, just doesn’t quite have the strength of schedule but could average 25+ again this year. Finally, Nazreon Reid, a top 10 player to watch for certain but I don’t expect consistent enough numbers to justify jumping one of the other candidates.

Roselle Catholic has reloaded and is ready for Sunday

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Roselle Catholic is playing Newark Eastside in the Hoop Group Tip-Off Showcase this Sunday. Head Coach Dave Boff has reloaded this year with a lot of great young talent. One of their leaders this year will be class of 2016 shooting guard Matt Bullock. Bullock played a big role on RC’s TOC championship team last year. He wants to win another one this season.

“Our goal for this season is to win the county championship, win another state title and another TOC,” he told HoopGroup.com.

Even after coming off a TOC championship Bullock has worked hard on the court to try and improve his game.

“I have been working on my game all summer long, both on and off the court,” he said. “I focused mostly on my ball handling and shooting.”

He is focusing on the main goals they have set as a team heading into this season.

“To be successful we need to keep working hard and defend teams,” Bullock said. “We also need to maintain the goals we set as a team.”

Bullock has had some great past experiences with the Tip-Off Showcase, so he is looking forward to it.

“We are excited about the Hoop Group Tip-Off Showcase,” said the senior leader. “From past experiences it’s a great environment to play in.”

Hoop Group NJ Tip Off Showcase Preview

Deceber 17th- The 15th Annual Hoop Group Tip ­Off-Classic will host a total of nine games Saturday, December 20 and Sunday, December 21, 2014,. Four games will be held Saturday and five games Sunday at the spacious new West Orange High School gymnasium.

The first game will tip-off at 1:30 on Saturday and at 12:00 on Sunday.

The Hoop Group Tip ­Off Classic provides for some of the most exciting match-­ups of the High School Basketball Season. The schedule includes virtually all of the best high school programs in New Jersey including nationally ranked Roselle Catholic.

The Game Schedule

Saturday ­ December 20, 2014 – West Orange High School, West Orange NJ
HOME VISITOR
1:30 East Orange vs. Paterson Eastside
3:10 Don Bosco Prep vs. CBA
4:50 Teaneck vs. Gill St. Bernards
6:30 Columbia vs. Seton Hall Prep

Sunday ­ December 21, 2014 –West Orange High School, West Orange NJ
HOME VISITOR
12:00 West Orange vs. Union Catholic
1:40 St. Patrick’s vs. Bergen Catholic
3:20 Newark East Side vs. St. Anthony
5:00 Roselle Catholic vs. Blair
6:40 Linden vs. Hun

ABOUT THE FIELD:
Nationally ranked: Roselle Catholic #5 USA Today, #9 MaxPreps
The top 5 teams in New Jersey ranked by NJ Hoops: #1 Roselle Catholic, #2 St. Anthony’s, #3 St. Patrick’s, #4 Gill St. Bernards, #5 Linden
6 of the Top 10 teams in New Jersey ranked by NJ Hoops: #1 Roselle Catholic, #2 St. Anthony’s, #3 St. Patrick’s, #4 Gill St. Bernards, #5 Linden, #9 Seton Hall Prep
10 of the Top 15 teams in New Jersey ranked by NJ Hoops: #1 Roselle Catholic, #2 St. Anthony’s, #3 St. Patrick’s, #4 Gill St. Bernards, #5 Linden, #9 Seton Hall Prep, #11 Don Bosco, #12 Paterson Eastside, #13 CBA, #15 Newark East Side
15 of the Top 50 teams in New Jersey ranked by NJ Hoops:

PLAYERS NATIONALLY RANKED IN THEIR CLASS

SENIORS: Isaiah Briscoe – Roselle Catholic #9 Rivals.com, #13 ESPN, Chris Silva – Roselle Catholic #96 ESPN, #133 Rivals.com, Markis McDuffie – St. Anthony #92 ESPN

JUNIORS: Tyus Battle – Gill St. Bernards – #14 ESPN, #15 Rivals.com, Temple Gibbs – Seton Hall Prep #37 ESPN, #69 Rivals.com, Jagan Mosely – St. Anthony #101 Rivals.com, Bryce Aiken – St. Patrick’s #127 Rivals.com

COMMITTED PLAYERS: Isaiah Briscoe – Roselle Catholic – Kentucky, Chris Silva – Roselle Catholic – South Carolina, Markis McDuffie – St. Anthony’s – Wichita State, Elijah Burns – Blair – Notre Dame, Tim Delaney – Blair – Villanova, Pierfrancesco Oliva – Bergen Catholic – St. Joseph’s, Pierre Sarr – Roselle Catholic – Monmouth, Lonnie Rivera – Don Bosco – American, Isaiah Still – Union Catholic – Robert Morris, Donovan Wright – Blair – Cornell, Mohamed Bendary – St. Anthony’s – NJIT, Jack Laffey – CBA – Adelphi

PLAYERS RANKED STATE WIDE IN THEIR CLASS BY NJ HOOPS

SENIORS: Isaiah Briscoe – Roselle Catholic #1, Markis McDuffie – St. Anthony #5, Chris Silva – Roselle Catholic #6, Eli Burns – Blair #7, Tim Delaney – Blair #9, Isaiah Still – Union Catholic #10, Pierfrancesco Oliva – Bergen Catholic #12, Pierre Sarr – Roselle Catholic #16, Kelly Hogan – Seton Hall Prep #19, Donovan Wright – Blair #25, Ganlandou Cisse – Roselle Catholic #27, Mike Runcie – Columbia #30, Asem Johnson – Paterson Eastside #32, Otis Livingston – Linden #36, Jonas Stakeliunas – Gill St. Bernards #46, Ahmad Harrison – Newark East Side #48, Marquel Sheffield – Paterson Eastside #49, Josh Carter – Linden #50, Taj Price – Newark East Side #54, Juwan Dolbrice – Linden #55, Jack Laffey – CBA #60.

JUNIORS: Tyus Battle – Gill St. Bernards #1, Temple Gibbs – Seton Hall Prep #2, Jagan Mosely – St. Anthony #3, Asante Gist – Roselle Catholic #4, Bryce Aiken – St. Patrick’s #5, Matt Bullock – Roselle Catholic #6, Taurean Thompson – St. Anthony #9, Pat Andree – CBA #11, Cyril Langevine – Patrick School #12, Fatir Hines – St. Patrick’s #20, Idris Joyner – St. Anthony #21, Javarius Hayes – St. Anthony #26, Brandon Anderson – Don Bosco #31, Julius Stoma – Gill St. Bernards #33, R’keem Dixon – Linden #34, Shyquan Gibbs – St. Anthony #37, Steve Ferraro – Seton Hall Prep #40, Adam Mitola – Gill St. Bernards #54, Jack McGuire – CBA #58

SOPHOMORES: Jamil Harris – St. Patrick’s #3, Leondre Washington – Teaneck #4, Robert Cole – St. Anthony #5, Bul Ajar-Ajang – St. Patrick’s #7, Marcus McClary – St. Patrick’s #8, Matt Turner – Blair #11, Darnell Brodie – Newark East Side #13, Tyrese Jenkins – St. Anthony #25, Elijah Olaniyi – Newark East Side #26, Taj Benning – Bergen Catholic #30, Amadu Benbow – Newark East Side #31, Brandon Hampton – St. Patrick’s #32, Jaiyer Jinwright – Newark East Side #36

FRESHMAN: Nazreon Reid – Roselle Catholic #1, Koko Buay – St. Patrick’s #3, Jaquaye James – Teaneck #5, Justin Winston – West Orange #8, Louis King – #7 Roselle Catholic, Aaron Clarke – Roselle Catholic #8, Tavon Jones – Linden #9, Marquise Nowell – St. Anthony #11, Chauncey Sterling – St. Anthony #14, Dallas Hoffman – Gill St. Bernards #16, Mike Watkins – Union Catholic #19, Rodrique Massenat – Patrick School #20

For More Information: HoopGroup.com
Kim Waiters 732-­502­-2255
kim@hoopgroup.com

For Media Credential
Contact James Albano
732-­502­-2255
james@hoopgroup.com

Tickets also available at the door.
Student Tickets are only $8
Adult Tickets $12

2014 BROADCAST SCHEDULE
MSG VARSITY
DEC 20 – 3:10 – Don Bosco vs. CBA
DEC 20 – 4:50 – Gill St. Bernards vs. Teaneck
VERIZON FIOS
DEC 25 2:00 – West Orange vs Union Catholic
DEC 26 7:30 – Patrick School vs. Bergen Catholic
DEC 25 7:30 – Newark Eastside vs. St Anthony
DEC 27 1:30 – Roselle Catholic vs. Blair Academy
DEC 28 1:30 – Linden vs. The Hun School
Special thanks to our broadcast partners