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:

Pooleys Picks – Top Northeast Backcourts

Pooley Picks

Top Northeast Backcourts: Maine to Washington, DC

Qualifications: Backcourts are the back bone of high school basketball teams.  In this weeks installment of Pooley’s Picks we dive into the Top Northeast Backcourts, Maine to DC.  Qualifications are simple: The be one of the Top Northeast Backcourts you have to be a team projected to win a lot of games with at least a top-notch point guard and shooting guard.  Wings will be considered especially if they share a load of perimeter scoring or ball handling. Depth will be considered, but no where near as much as the starters, who usually play a large majority of minutes in HS games.  This list is for high schools only (Friends/MAPL league schools will qualify).

Top Northeast Backcourts are in no particular order. Please enjoy the second installment of Pooley’s Picks.


Gonzaga (Washington, DC): Gonzaga has a rich history of great basketball teams and competes in the best high school league in the country.  This years backcourt may be one of the best ever for the Purple Eagles.  Featuring two elite scoring point guards, Gonzaga will be tough to guard and to score against.  Chris Lykes, a 2017 Miami commit, and Prentiss Hubb, a 2018 top ten PG in the country, will run the show and lead a strong backcourt supporting cast.  Also look for Myles Dread, Eddie ScottAnwar Gill, and fan favorite Mike Myers to have standout seasons.  Hard to find a deeper, tougher, and more well-rounded than the Purple Eagles in 2016-2017.

Quote: “They have a great ability to play off of each other, but more importantly they understand how to let the other take the lead…If one is having a great scoring night, the other is always able to have a great facilitating night.” – Steve Turner, Head Coach Gonzaga College High School

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring B+ Shooting A- Passing A- Athleticism B-
Defense A- Rebounding B- Experience A Depth A+ Bball IQ A



Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, NJ): Hudson Catholic has one of the Top Northeast Backcourts on talent alone.  Add that to the fact that their guards are extremely well coached while still given the freedom to make plays and you have a great combination.  Lead by the big three of Jahvon Quinerly, Luther Muhammad, and Louis King this team will press, drive, and shoot their way to being a top team in NJ.  Complimented by star senior Tyheem Burno look for Hudson Catholic to play four guards at times.

Quote: “Hudson Catholic has a lot of Experience going into 2016-17.  Considering the teams these guards have played in the last two years, and the balance between Quinerly’s distribution and shooting, and Muhammad’s athleticism, defense, and raw scoring…I don’t see many backcourts in the northeast being better than them.” – Pat Lawless, NCAA Certified Scout MADE Hoops

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring A- Shooting B+ Passing B+ Athleticism B
Defense A Rebounding B Experience A- Depth B Bball IQ B+



Patrick School (Hillside, NJ): Coaches Mike Rice and Chris Chavannes have their own three-headed monster in the backcourt this season.  The pre-season #1 team in New Jersey may also have the most balanced backcourt in the country.  Lead by an extremely underrated PG in Jordan Walker, a lights-out shooter in Jamir Harris, and a physically gifted downhill guard in Marcus McClary, the Patrick School will never be outgunned at guard.  Al-Amir Dawes will bring energy, skill, and scoring in bunches off the bench to supplement an already electric bunch.

Quote: “We’re excited about the backcourt we have this year.  Many have experience at the national level and they’re all tough kids who love to win. I like my guys matched up against anyone.” -Mike Rice, Head Coach Patrick School

Report Card

Ball Handling B Scoring B+ Shooting A- Passing B+ Athleticism B+
Defense A Rebounding B+ Experience A Depth B- Bball IQ A-



 John Carroll (Bel Air, MD): John Carroll boasts perhaps the best Point Guard in the country in Immanuel Quickley.  Complimenting him is the up-and-coming Montez Mathis.  Between the two they give you everything you need in the backcourt.  When your looking among the top Northeast backcourts something from each team on this list has to separate them from the pack and with these two its length.  Opposing teams will have a really rough time getting past these two.  Add to the mix Junior Farquhar and this team is going to be fun to watch.

Quote: “John Carroll is not only fun to watch, but they can teach you something about how to play.  All there guards are creative, aggressive, and determined.  Lead by Quickley, I would be shocked if this team doesn’t have a huge edge at the guard position in just about every game. – Zack Curran, Director of Marketing Hoop Group

Report Card

Ball Handling B+ Scoring A- Shooting B- Passing B+ Athleticism A
Defense A- Rebounding B+ Experience B+ Depth C+ Bball IQ A-

Paul VI (Hyattsville, MD): Paul VI may have the most balanced backcourt in the country.  With Pitt commit Aaron Thompson running the show, long-athletic Brandon Slater hitting triples and slashing, and Anthony Harris doing a little bit of everything, this backcourt will be a nightmare to defend.  Adding to the depth is highly-touted freshman Jeremy Roach.

Quote: “…as skilled and fast as we are on the perimeter, the most impressive thing about this group is how quickly the ball moved and how willing they are to defend.” – Glenn Farello, Head Coach Paul VI.

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring A- Shooting A Passing A Athleticism B+
Defense A- Rebounding B+ Experience A- Depth B+ Bball IQ A



Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, PA): Imhotep is known for is pressure defense and tough hard nosed guards.  2016-2017 is no different for the Panthers as they boast two of the top guards in PA.  David Beatty and Darron Russell can do it all, and with help from Bernard Lightsey.  Also look for Chereef Knox (forward who’s developed into a big wing) and Donte Scott to be key contributors as well.

Quote: “We feel we have a very good backcourt.  Dave, Daron, and Bernard…Expect a lot from them on both sides of the court.  When they play well, we feel good about our chances to win.” – Andre Noble, Head Coach Imhotep Charter

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring A- Shooting A Passing B+ Athleticism B+
Defense A Rebounding A- Experience A- Depth B Bball IQ B+

Westtown (West Chester, PA): The top two hear are already household names.  Both with size, scoring, distributing, and shooting there are very few guards anywhere that can compare with Randolph and Reddish.  As long as these two bring it every night and stay out of foul trouble, Westtown will have an edge at guard.  Noah Collier, an athletic and talented freshman will start for the Moose. For depth, Coach Berger will look to two freshman to give him valuable minutes: Seyon Kpaan and TJ Berger.

Quote: “Our backcourt of Cam Reddish and Brandon Randolph is not only super talented, but also really together.  Anytime you have two future pros in the backcourt, it’s a pretty special thing.” – Seth Berger, Head Coach Westtown

Report Card

Ball Handling B+ Scoring  A+ Shooting A Passing B+ Athleticism A
Defense  A- Rebounding A Experience A- Depth C+ Bball IQ A-

Blair (Blairstown, NJ): Everyone knows the top two guards at Blair: Anthony Mack and Matt Turner.  Perhaps a new-comer may propel this group into the best guards in the country, keep an eye on Junub Char Chuol.  Chuol has a lot of upside and some buzz around him.  The two known guards Mack and Turner, compliment each other nicely: Turner a strong tough slasher and Mack having one of the best jumpers in the country.

Quote: “Two guards with excellent size, college ready right now.  Both guards can score the ball, get to the rim, defend, rebound and shoot with range.  Blair backcourt would be a difficult matchup for any team in the country.” – Jay Gomes, Publisher NJHoops.com

Report Card

Ball Handling B- Scoring B+ Shooting A Passing B+ Athleticism A-
Defense  A- Rebounding A Experience A Depth B- Bball IQ A-

Neumann Goretti (Philadelphia, PA): Lead by simply the best pure Point Guard in the country, Neumann Goretti is a top Northeast Backcourt for sure.  First, when your leader is also your most talented player, any team is in a good spot.  Second, when your team has a history of being well disciplined and making the extra pass you’re nearly unstoppable.  Finally, look for young guard Christian Ings to have a breakout season.

Quote: “Neumann’s backcourt may not have as many names as some of the other teams.  However, when you have the right name everything just falls into place.  Quade Green will lead the tough guard play of Neumann all year long, he’s so good alone, he makes any group tremendous.  Neumann compliments Quade enough to be in the mix.” – Steve Keller, Owner National Recruiting Report

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring B+ Shooting B+ Passing A+ Athleticism A-
Defense  A- Rebounding B Experience A- Depth C+ Bball IQ A


Bishop Louglin (Brooklyn, NY): Markquis Nowell certainly leads the charge here, but this NYC school has guards all over the place.  A team that could legitimately play four guards at once watch Loughlin live off of transition, penetration, and three-point shooting this season.  Watch out for Keith Williams lighting up the scoreboard, guards Tyrese Gaffney and Jordan Thomas all over the floor, and wing Adrien Nunez drilling big shots.

Quote: “Bishop Loughlin’s backcourt duo is one of the best on the east coast. Junior PG Markquis Nowell is a high level playmake and class of 2017 Cincy commit Keith Williams has shown he can score in a variety of ways and dominate the game. These two will be a big reason why the Lions receive national attention this year.” – Pat Lawless, NCAA Certified Scout MADE Hoops

Report Card

Ball Handling A Scoring A- Shooting B+ Passing B+ Athleticism A-
Defense  A- Rebounding B+ Experience A- Depth A Bball IQ A-

New York City Guards Aren’t Dead By a Long Shot:

I keep hearing this talk about how NYC guards aren’t what they used to be.  I’m starting to think that’s silly.  They may not have more than one team on this list, but that’s because the talent of one city is spread a bunch.  Christ the King’s Tyson Walker and Jose Alverado are studs.  St. Ray’s has one of the best guards in Isaiah Washington (complimented by Dallas Watson and Omar Silverio). Saquan Singleton (Scanlon) and young Posh Alexander (Our Savior Lutheran) are two more.  Finally, you get to Molloy and WOW: Cole Anthony and Khalid Moore!  I know this list may not reflect it from a team backcourt… but if you’re looking for guards, New York City is still one of the first stops you have to make.


Other Notes:

Special thanks as always to Steve Keller and the National Recruiting Report, certainly he is the star of the show.  Also, thanks to the coaches who helped with some information and quotes on there teams.  Thanks to Jay Gomes of NJ Hoops and Zack Curran here at HG.  Finally, a big thanks to Pat Lawless for some information and breakdown.  Follow all the guys above on their twitters (linked above) and follow me HERE.


Westtown Looks to Shine at Showcase


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.

9 Takeaways from the Fall High School Showcase

Hoop Group wrapped up its Fall tournaments and showcases with the Fall High School Showcase on October 25th and 26th. A perfect way for teams to get a tune up prior to the beginning of their season, Hoop Group Headquarters saw some serious talent in the building for this showcase. It was a weekend where the phrase “next level talent” was used a lot, Twitter was kept busy with the hashtag #HGShowcase and video cameras were put to good use. Here are some takeaways of the Fall High School Showcase:

-Several seniors proved why they have already signed LOIs
There were a few players playing in the Fall High School Showcase who already committed to Division 1 schools next year. Leading the group was Roselle Catholic’s Chris Silva. The 6-8 South Carolina commit was a walking highlight reel, throwing down thunderous dunk after dunk. He led Roselle Catholic in scoring in all four of their games, crashing the boards and putting his head down and getting to the rim. We  also saw Trey Lowe (Ewing High School ’15). In Ewing’s two games on Sunday, Trey scored 22 points and followed that with a 16 point, 10 rebound effort against Silva and Roselle. Temple is getting a great scorer in Lowe. Towson commit Alex Thomas (Coastal Academy ’15) dominated on the glass and showed an ability to knock down the top of the key three, and Roman Catholic’s Trevaughn Wilkerson (committed to Hartford) and Gemil Holbrook (Rider) showcased strong jump shots.

Chris Silva made a living at the line at the Fall High School Showcase. He could not be stopped.

Chris Silva made a living at the line at the Fall High School Showcase. He could not be stopped.

-There are still plenty of unsigned and talented recruits
We saw a number of seniors who remain unsigned and will be great additions to college programs once their decisions are made. Of these players were Coastal Academy’s Tyler Kohl and Isaac Vann. Both players were scoring machines. They both displayed the ability to get in the paint and score at the rim, but could also hurt teams from the outside. With several offers in hand already, it will be interesting to see where the two land. Point guard Lamar Kimble was another player who played well and is yet to make his decision. With his list cut to Creighton, Drexel and UMASS, Kimble was a terrific floor general for Neumann-Goretti. He also has a knack for scoring 16 and 22 points in Neumann’s two games. Speaking of great floor generals, expect junior Bryce Aiken to have a tremendous year for the Patrick School. Aiken is a very tough, hard nosed player. He is quick and can get up and down the floor in a hurry. It’ll be great to see his stock rise this season. Lastly, Gill St. Bernard post Jonas Stakeliunas will be a nice compliment to Tyus Battle this year. He already holds offers from Holy Cross, Marist, Siena and FDU.

-The talent level amongst underclassmen was through the roof
One thing is for certain, the talent level in New Jersey and Pennsylvania will remain high for a few years. Start in Pennsylvania where you have guys like Quade Green and D’Andre Vilmar representing the Class of 2017. Green lit it up from the outside, confirming what we saw at Future All-American Camp; he can play. Vilmar has a high motor and is great on the defensive side of the ball. His hustle and athleticism helps make plays for Roman.

A new face in New Jersey will be Nick Richards, who recently transferred to the Patrick School from St. Mary’s in Long Island. Richards is 6-10 and an elite shot blocker. He owned the paint defensively, wowing the crowd with several ferocious blocks. Other young NJ hoopers that impressed included freshman Jared Kimbrough from Neptune High School. Jared is long and athletic and it’s easy to see how high his ceiling is. He did a great job holding his own against Chris Silva and the other bigs of Roselle Catholic. Not an easy task for any player, especially a freshman, Jared has a lot of potential.

-Speaking of Roselle’s size…
Roselle Catholic has size that can cause problems. Some say size wins games in basketball. Roselle Catholic has a lot of size. Will that translate to a successful 2014-15 season? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain: beating them inside will not be easy. Aside from Chris Silva, the Lions feature Pierre Sarr (6-6 and recently committed to Monmouth), Ganlandou Cisse (6-9 with offers from Towson, Norfolk State, Canisius and Quinnipiac), and hightly touted freshman Nazreon Reid (6-7). The front court for Roselle is loaded with size and talent and will be a nightmare for teams to match up against.

-Philly can ball..
There were a number of Philadelphia teams in the building for the Fall High School Showcase. Based on the preview we saw, the city of brotherly love will be loaded with talent this year and in the future. Roman Catholic, Neumann-Goretti and Imhotep Charter all came from the Philadelphia area and all posses players who are already committed or will commit to Division 1 programs. We saw shooters, slashers, defenders, all type of players. Whatever typer of player you’re looking for, you can find it in Philadelphia.

Neumann-Goretti should have a strong 2014-15 season.

Neumann-Goretti should have a strong 2014-15 season.

-… and the rest of PA isn’t bad either
As great as it is, the talent in Pennsylvania is not limited to the Philadelphia area. Start with Westtown High School, who has has a great supply of talent in the classes of 2016 and 2017. It starts with floor general Jair Bolden, whose stock continues to raise every time he plays. Offers keep coming in (La Salle being most recent) and don’t be surprised when the major conferences come knocking. The class of ’17 features newcomers Najja Hunter and Mohamed Bamba. The development and growth of these players will be fun to watch. Bobby Casey and Scranton Prep also had a strong showing, playing two very good NJ teams in Coastal Academy and St. Anthony’s. Casey led Prep with 26 and 22 in the two games. He also made 10 threes combined in those two games.

-Kevin and Thomas Huerter are a deadly combo for Shenendehowa
One of the most fun teams to watch, Shenendehowa plays the game in a very fundamentally sound fashion. The Stallions are led by brothers Kevin and Thomas Huerter, who had great weekends against teams such as Roman Catholic, Roselle Catholic, Southern Regional and Manasquan. Kevin was one of the best shooters of the weekend, setting the nets on fire with three ball after three ball, including seven in one game Saturday night. Brother Thomas was impressive as well, scoring double digits in all games, including 20 over Roman Catholic. At Elite Team Camp this summer, both players had some interest and offers from some Division 1 schools. They are looking increase that as they enter the 2014-15 season.

-NJ private schools will be as exciting as ever
St. Anthony’s, Patrick School, Gill St. Bernard’s, Roselle Catholic. All four teams have next level talent, all four should have successful seasons and all four were in the same building last Sunday. St. Anthony’s will feature Wichita State commit Markis McDuffie as well as Rivals.com Top 150 player Jagan Mosely. Big men Taurean Thompson and Mohamed Bendary (committed to NJIT) continue to grow under Coach Hurley as well. We already mentioned Aiken and Richards for the Patrick School. They will be joined by Jamir Harris (2017) and Marcus McClary (2016), both of whom were in the building for the showcase.

 Gill St. Bernard’s will be led by ESPN.com’s #14 ranked player in the Class of 2016 Tyus Battle. Battle is a a premier talent and it is easy to see why every school in the country wants him. In addition to Battle, GSB has strong forwards in Stakeliunas and Julias Stoma (2016) and are loaded with shooters on the perimeter. Complimenting Roselle’s bigs are Matt Bullock, who can shoot the lights out, and Asante Gist at the guard position. And let’s not forget about Isiah Briscoe, who is ready for a tremendous senior campaign as he decides between Kentucky, St. John’s and UCONN.

-The high school season needs to start NOW
A preseason high school showcase as talented as this one only raises the level of anticipation for the actual season, and with added anticipation, comes an added desire for the season to begin. The High School Showcase Series will continue when the season starts, the first being the Reading Tip-Off Showcase on December 12th at Albright College. Good luck to all players and teams as they prepare for their season!

Be on the look out for mixtapes from the Fall High School Showcase coming soon!

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