Takeaways From the Spring Jam Fest

When the Spring Jam Fest tipped off Friday night, it tipped off both the Division 1 live period and a string of four Jam Fests over the next two months. 300+ teams traveled to Manheim, Pennsylvania to compete for a chance to win the championship. A lot of teams walked away with some positives from the weekend as well as some areas they can improve upon. Here are just a few of the takeaways from the weekend.

It was a great weekend for the Alliance

10 of the 16 Sweet 16 teams in the 17u bracket were made up of Alliance members. Three-fourths of the Final Four were as well; it was clear this weekend that the Alliance is strong. River City Reign and Jersey Shore Warriors met in the final, while NJ Shoreshots (Pooley) made a deep run in their first tournament. Aside from these three, Castle Athletics, NJ Got Game, NJ Shoreshots (Rice) Wayne PAL, MD3D and NJ Roadrunners all good runs in the first Jam Fest of the year.

The Midwest brought talent to the East Coast

Wisconsin United drew a lot of attention heading into Sunday’s Championship festivities, and for good reason. The team from the cheesehead state brought a lot of talent over to Manheim. In the front court they have two thick and strong post players in Javonni Bickham and George Dixon; both players are relentless on the glass. At point, Virshon Cotton leads the show and can score and facilitate. Add shooters on the outside like Clayton Nevill and you have a ton of prospects on one team. Can’t wait to see them again at Pitt.

Javonni Bickham is just one of the many players on Wisconsin United who will get recruited to play college basketball

Javonni Bickham is just one of the many players on Wisconsin United who will get recruited to play college basketball

JJ Matthews’s stock rose

No player helped his cause more this weekend than Jermaine Matthews. Along with teammate Maliek White, who had a terrific weekend himself, the 6’8 power forward helped lead his team to a championship this weekend. He’s very strong, but has soft touch up at the rim. More impressively, the big man has great foot work down low. He was one of the most talked about players of the weekend, and should be getting a lot of offers coming his way this Spring.

JJ Matthews received offers from Robert Morris, Towson, Canisius, and more this weekend.

JJ Matthews received offers from Robert Morris, Towson, Canisius, and more this weekend.

The Jersey Shore Warriors are a deep program

It was an overall great weekend for the Jersey Shore Warriors AAU program. Their 16u team won a championship this past weekend and their 17u team placed runner up. As a whole, Jersey Shore teams went 18-5 in all age groups this weekend. From Talek Williams (2017) to Sam Iorio (2017) to Pat Andree (2016) to Chuck Champion (2016) and many more, there is a lot of talent within this program,

 

DC Thunder continue to win

The DC Thunder program continues to find success at Hoop Group Jam Fests. This time, it was the 15u team that were able to call themselves champions. Led by the guard play of future stud Jared Bynum, the Thunder were able to top Team Takeover Orange in the finals. Brayden Gault also showed to be a big part of DC Thunder’s success, and Wynston Tabbs knows how to get to the rim and finish in creative, acrobatic ways.

IMG_7821

Shooters shot well, consistently 

Every tournament has guys that can shoot the basketball, but this weekend we saw guys shoot with great percentages. Jalin Suber (’17 Team AJ Price) shot 4/5 from three in the first half of an Elite Eight game. Alex Sorenson (’16 Game 7 NY Elite) made 8 threes in a 30 point scoring effort. Kyle Cardaci (’18 Jersey Force) did the same.  Ed Rupkus (’15 Shoreshots-Pooley), Brandon Anderson (’16 NJ Roadrunners)x Donald Hicks (’16 Team Loaded 757), Kyle Stout (’16 Jersey Shore Warriors) were all players we saw who showcased an ability to shoot the basketball.

Kwe Parker will make Karolina Diamonds big time

Karolina Diamonds already had Division 1 commits Brandon Childress (Wake Forest) and Ty Graves (Boston College) manning their backcourt over the weekend. While that guard play, coupled with Jalen Seegars in the front court, was solid, it could have used the athleticism of Kwe Parker on the wing. Kwe brings a different level of athleticism to this club. He is great in transition and ups their defensive pressure. Once he returns look for them to have a great Spring.

Wake Forest commit Brandon Childress was great this past weekend.

Wake Forest commit Brandon Childress was great this past weekend.

Team Rio can play with the best of them

Team Rio is only a 14u program, but played up in the 15u Nook Division. By the end of the weekend it looked as if they were playing down an age group. The NJ program rolled through their competition and made it look unbelievably easy. The team has a tremendous group of guards, including Bryan Antoine, Cole Anthony and Jalen Gaffney. Jordan McKoy leads a great defensive charge and 6’8 Tariq Ingraham is a handful down low.  This is a special group of players.

Cole Anthony, son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, is just one of the many weapons Team Rio has

Cole Anthony, son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, is just one of the many weapons Team Rio has

The NJ Shoreshots have two legitimate 17u teams

Both NJ Shoreshots team had great weekends. Shoreshots-Rice made it to the Sweet 16 and Shoreshots-Pooley would go on to the Final Four. Both teams had players who saw their stock rise greatly over the weekend.  Dan Largey and Adam Mitola proved to be knockdown shooters and Jimmy Panzini impressed several colleges with his hustle, toughness and endless motor on the floor. For Shoreshots-Pooley, it was Austin Harriot who made the biggest impression, dominating the boards and scoring in bunches. He received some offers over the weekend.

Team Loaded was well, loaded with prospects

Team Loaded’s Final Four run wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but it was a big accomplishment nonetheless. In their run to the Final Four, Loaded took down a hot MD3D team, and beat Karolina Diamonds at the buzzer before falling to the eventual champs, River City Reign. Wing Gerrard Simpkins had a very strong weekend, scoring in transition early and often. Guards Bryan Hart, Desmian Devane and Adam Grant also were big reasons the team advanced as far as they did.

There were some 2015s who impressed

It may be a little late in their recruiting, but there were some 2015 players who could absolutely help teams next year. Dakpe Yiljep (Westtown HS/Shoreshots-Pooley)was one. He’s a 6’6 wing who can shoot from outside and drive in and get above the rim. He’s tough and isn’t afraid to go at defenders. Then there was Jonathan Lawton, a heady guard from Friends Central High School who can act as a floor general and has a very smooth pull up jumper. He’s able to stop on a dime and knock down jumpers. 6’9 Walker Wilson (Newark Tech HS/NJ Got Game) is another big, strong post who can help a team looking for some size, while teammate Jordan Zagadou played well this weekend as well. And Paton Gibbs is another guard who can score in bunches.

While these are some of the takeaways from the tournament, thats exactly what they are, just some. There were plenty of teams and players who drew attention from fans, coaches and scouts. Did you get an offer or draw interest from a coach this weekend? Share it with us! Tweet @TheHoopGroup and let us know who saw you!

About James

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz