Pitt Jam Fest Day 1 Recap from Fitzgerald Gym

On Friday, April 15th, 2011, Hoop Group kicked off its much-anticipated Pittsburgh Jam Fest.

With Petersen Events Center as the centerpiece, the home of the Pittsburgh Panthers was transformed into a Hoop Group headquarters, the site of some of the best youth basketball in the country. Along with Fitzgerald Gymnasium and Trees Gymnasium, both located just up the street from Peterson, Hoop Group Pittsburgh Jam Fest delivered a day full of quality basketball.

Adolphus Washington, a talented forward for All-Ohio Purple, had 19 points in his team’s Day 1 victory over Maryland 3-D at the Fitzgerald Gymnasium. “There is great competition here,” he said of Hoop Group Pittsburgh Jam. “There are some of the best players from places like the East and the Midwest. My coach calls this ‘mini-nationals’.”

Washington, who is not currently being recruited to play college basketball, sees the skills he has learned at Hoop Group translate into another passion of his. “I’m actually being recruited to play football and I can tell drills here improve my footwork and my quickness, which I can use in football, too.” The junior defensive end’s impressive list of interested schools include Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon, and Texas, among others.

But, basketball still remains high on his list of priorities. “If we have an AAU team next year, I definitely want to come back [to Hoop Group],” said Washington.

Moving into prime time games, another Ohio native showcased his talents on the Hoop Group stage.

Khalid King, a junior at Brookhaven (OH) and member of All-Ohio Gold, led his team to victory over the Mitchellville Trailblazers with an impressive 17 point effort.

Like many other players at Hoop Group events, King talked about the level of competition and how it helps to grow his game. “It helps with my maturity a lot,” he said. “It makes me focus and concentrate on making plays for my team, which makes me a better player.”

In Day 1 of the Hoop Group Pittsburgh Jam Fest, King showed good command of the basketball from the point guard position and the ability to direct an effective offense in the half court. Multiple times, he drove to the basket with conviction, drawing contact and finishing for the three-point play.

King is being recruited by Division 1 programs including Iowa, Old Dominion, Bowling Green, and Ohio University. “Right now, I’m leaning toward ODU,” he said. “I like that they’re a small school that plays good against big schools.” He will take an unofficial visit to Old Dominion in June.

And, in one of the evening’s night caps, highly-ranked 2012 prospect Amile Jefferson and Philly’s Finest took on Syracuse Select. Jefferson paced his team with 16 points, leading them to a double digit victory.

“When you come to Hoop Group, you know you have to play your best basketball because you’re going against great competition every game,” said Jefferson. “[Hoop Group] has built a name for itself for basketball and it’s a pleasure to come and compete.”

Ranked 9th overall in the Class of 2012 by ESPN Insider Recruiting, Jefferson is being sought after by school that include Villanova, Ohio State, Stanford, Temple, Georgetown, and a host of others.

Though he stands 6’7” tall, he showed his versatility at Hoop Group Pittsburgh Jam Fest, routinely rotating between the post and the perimeter, running a sort of point-forward on one possession and backing a defender down on the next.

Day Two of the festival is due to bring just as much excitement and quality basketball, with games beginning at 8:30am and ending around 10:30pm. Check the complete schedule for more information and look forward to more unparalleled youth basketball competition from Hoop Group.

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