Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest Recruiting Roundup: Nickens Steals the Show

2013 UA Pitt Jam Fest
Take a look at some of the notes and recruiting news from weekend’s action:

  • Chris Chiozza of Team Thad impressed scouts in a big way, scoring all 15 of his points in the second half to take the first of two wins. The junior guard can do it all; he can score and dish on offense, while pestering and forcing turnovers to the dismay of his opponents.

“It’s good,” Chiozza said. “It’s good for my recruitment, seeing that I can control my team like this in a big game or lead my team in the huddle.”

Chiozza currently holds offers from Murray State, UMass and Richmond, but he said Butler, Florida and Kansas have started to show interest.

  • Gavin Robinson, Chiozza’s teammate on Team Thad, stole the show against DC Assault Farrington with a team-high 17 points. The senior forward did most of his damage in the paint, bodying up on the opposition and fighting his way through the tall bodies, but was able to show his shooting touch on a second half three-point shot. After the game, Robinson said he only had offers from Georgia State and a couple of Division II schools, but if he continues to perform like he did on Saturday, colleges will certainly be keeping a closer eye on him.
  • Devin Robinson of Squires Richmond (VA) impressed in his two games on Saturday, scoring 13 and 18 points, respectively. The 6-foot-8 junior was a force, but admitted he needed to bulk up some more to really hurt the opposition.

“That game really made me think that I have to get stronger,” Robinson said after his team’s victory over Philly Pride. “Those guys were really bigger and a lot faster, so I have to work on my body a little more.”

Robinson has offers from VCU, UConn, Rutgers, Towson, Boston and George Mason, with Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, Xavier and Georgetown all showing interest. He said that there is no team above another in terms of his recruitment, saying he’s “just going with the drift”.

  • Jared Nickens had a big night, and not just on the stat sheet. A three-pointer with under five seconds left in the last game of Saturday’s slate sent Nickens’ Sports U IZod squad into the Elite 8. The 6-foot-7 guard has a knack for controlling the spotlight, which has attracted a lot of Division I schools.

Oregon State, Temple, Providence, Penn State and St. Joseph’s have all offered the junior, with the Beavers, Friars and the Dayton Flyers pushing hardest for him. Nickens also said he has drawn interest from Oklahoma, Miami and Georgetown, who Nickens said was his dream school. Despite that, the guard said an offer from Georgetown wouldn’t immediately end his recruitment, saying “everything’s up in the air right now”.

  • Nickens isn’t the only Sports U IZod member getting plenty of Division I looks. Quadri Moore, a 6-foot-9 forward, has bulked up even more and has been able to use his body in the paint to grab rebounds and get buckets. The junior out of Linden (N.J.) High School has been getting plenty of looks from top teams, including Georgetown, Florida and Duke. The Hoyas have already offered the big man, along with Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Seton Hall and Providence.
  • Yet another Sports U IZod player impressed on Saturday, with 6-foot-9 forward Kenny Grant doing all he can to get the scouts’ attention. The junior, who is participating in his second Pitt Jam Fest, believes he’s seen a big difference in his game from last year.

“I definitely think I got better from last year,” Grant said following the first of two victories for Sports U IZod. “I re-classed and got stronger, my legs got stronger, my shooting got better.”

The forward hasn’t gotten as much attention as his two teammates, but does have an offers from Central Connecticut and, according to Alex Kline, Drexel.

  • Team Charlotte’s James Demery impressed a lot of scouts with his performance against Team Thad, as he scored 14 points en route to a victory. The 6-foot-5 guard, who has offers from Charlotte, Virginia Tech and ECU and is scheduling visits to Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Arkansas, Xavier and Tulsa, was a force on the court and was a big factor as Team Charlotte lost in the final seconds of the 17u Platinum semifinals against DC Assault.
  • Take a look at the players on Atlanta Xpress’ 17u team and you’ll see one of them stands out. Literally.

    At 7-foot-1, Trayvon Reed is certainly one of, if not the tallest players in this year’s Pitt Jam Fest. He plays like it too, grabbing rebounds with ease and slamming the ball down with emphasis. The junior center said he still needs to refine his offensive game, mainly working on his jump hooks and becoming a bigger presence in the post.

    Reed has offers from Georgia Tech, Georgia, Auburn, Maryland, Florida State, Miami and Wake Forest.

  • In the semifinals of the 16u Platinum bracket against Atlanta Xpress, Traci Carter truly separated himself.

    While his shots didn’t always fall in, the 2015 guard showcased that he has the ability to shoot from wherever he wants, while showing off his ballhandling skills while breaking a couple of ankles in the process.

    Carter has drawn interest from Penn State, La Salle, Temple, St. Joseph’s and Xavier.

  • Derrick Jones has had a lot of hype to live up and made sure he lived up to it over the weekend.

    The 2015 guard made a lasting impact with fans and scouts alike, showing off his crazy athleticism with some ferocious dunks.

    Syracuse, Rutgers, Xavier, Temple, St. Joseph’s, Ohio State and Kansas State have all shown interest in Jones. Scouts from Syracuse, Rutgers, Xavier, Temple and St. Joseph’s were in attendance for We R 1’s semifinal win against Atlanta Xpress.

  •  Holding the middle of a 2-3 zone is the most important part of the defense. 2014 forward Chinanu Onuaku made sure he was the rock of DC Assault’s defense, helping them into the 17u Platinum championship.

    Onuaku was a force in the paint on both defense and offense, having his way with the opposition in the post. He also displayed a sweet passing touch in the semifinal game against Team Charlotte, threading the needle to teammate Rashard Kelly for an easy layup.

    The 2014 forward has offers from Seton Hall, DePaul, Xavier, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati and UConn and is drawing interest from Maryland and Georgetown.

@AndrewKoob is a student at Temple University and staff writer for CityofBasketballLove.com, covering Philadelphia-area high school & collegiate basketball.

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