17U Recruiting Roundup: Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest Day 1

2013 UA Pitt Jam Fest
Kelly Kline | Under Armour

Here’s some news and notes from the 17U recruiting scene at the Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest’s opening night on Friday, April 19:
–It’s sometimes a little too easy to overlook Troy Harper when he plays for Neumann-Goretti, a South Philadelphia high school powerhouse. After all, he’s on the same team as stud 2014 Ja’Quan Newton, high-major 2015 point guard Lamarr Kimble and Towson-bound senior John Davis.

But the 6-foot-1 Team Philly 17U guard is very athletic and a solid 3-point shooter, and that’s gotten the attention of a number of schools. Harper’s current list of offers includes Boston U, Niagara, Towson, Manhattan, Campbell and Robert Morris; he also claimed interest from Florida Atlantic, Drexel, and Albany.

“I see myself more as a point guard at the next level,” he said. “I can play off the ball a little bit, (but) it’s not really what I like to do.”

Peyton_aldridge_teamworkPeyton Aldridge can do a little bit of everything, and he showed it on Friday night. The 6-foot-7 wing forward from LaBrae High School dropped 25 points in Team Work (Ohio)’s second-round victory over E1T1 Flash (Fl.), playing hard on both ends of the court in front of a cadre of coaches from conferences ranging from the America East to the Big South.

“I would say I’m very versatile,” he said. “I’ve got the height so I can go down inside but I feel like I can also step out and handle the ball, pass the ball some.”

With offers from “most of the MAC schools”, including Akron, Ohio, Toledo, and Miami; plus Cleveland State, Youngstown State, Davidson, Boston College, and William & Mary, Aldridge clearly has quite a few schools to choose from. He said he might commit sometime around August, but doesn’t currently have any leaders or concrete plans yet.

–Ohio Basketball Club’s Austin Grimes is one of a few current seniors playing in the 17U Division; unsigned seniors are permitted to do so in the April recruiting period. And while the 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard does a lot of things well on the court, his recruitment has been heavily hit by some coaching changes.

“I’m guessing I’ve got Florida-Gulf Coast and Upstate,” he said when asked about his offers. “Most of the schools that I’ve had, the coaches got fired or are going on to other schools so my recruitment’s went down lately.”

With just two big AAU tournaments in the April live period, Grimes knows his chance of impressing college coaches is really running short: “That’s why I’m out here now, trying to get some more schools to look at me because all the schools had a different situation.”

–If you’re going to call yourself a tough basketball player, it certainly helps to play most of a game with a bandaged head. That’s exactly what Matt Klinewski did in Team Speed (N.J.)’s first-round game, when he took a hard foul in the first half and played the whole second with a gauze and tape around his cranium.

“I play scrappy, as you can tell by the cut on my head,” he said. ““Fast break, jump stop, two kids came on me, got elbowed in the head.”

A 6-foot-7 forward who plays somewhere in the 3/4 range, Klinewski hits the boards really well and can score around the basket but also likes to pick-and-pop, with range out to the 3-point line. He has offers from New Hampshire and Binghamton (plus Siena before a coaching change); “I’ve got all the Patriot League and Ivy League looking at me,” he added, plus Davidson and Sacred Heart were both poking around.

Josh Verlin is the founder/editor at CityofBasketballLove.com, covering Philadelphia-area high school + collegiate basketball. He’ll be covering the 17U scene at the Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest.

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