GALLOWAY, N.J. – Kamall Richards has a daunting task. In the next fee weeks, he’s selecting a destination for his post-graduate year and then a college decision.
“I’m not sure yet but I’ll be deciding in a couple of weeks because school is starting,” said Richards, who is playing for the We R 1 (N.J.) in the inaugural Live In AC at Richard Stockton College.
Surely a decision piled on each other might unravel the most level-headed student-athletes, but the resident of Henrysville, Pa. is embracing his version of Decision 2012.
Understand Richards bolted Pocono East (Swiftwater, Pa.) two years ago for St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, N.J.), a powerhouse program whose blueprint was authored by Danny Hurley (now the head coach at the University of Rhode Island). Now that coach Mark Taylor has assumed the reigns at the all-male Catholic school in New Jersey’s largest city, the Gray Bees were within two wins of the mythical national title last spring, going 35-3 while advancing to the semifinals of the National High School Invitational.
Richards, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound wing, is close to pulling the trigger on either St. Benedict’s, which field a fifth-year squad, or St. Thomas More (Oakdale, Conn.), whose latest prodigy Andre Drummond, who was taken last month in the first round of the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons after a one-and-done season at Connecticut.
“I’ll make sure wherever I’m going it will prepare for the next level,” Richards said.
Richards has at least 25 offers from high-majors but he ticked of a list – in particular order - of possible destinations on Thursday evening.
“Duquesne, Villanova, Mississippi State, Marquette, Temple, Saint Joseph’s Nebraska, Rhode Island, Delaware and South Florida to name a few. I’m sure I’ll pick one of these schools because they’ve been on me the hardest this summer.”
Xavier, Old Dominion, Hofstra, LIU, Iona, Fordham, Drexel and Cincinnati are also interested.
Before he selects a prep school, Richards will continue to hone his game and strengthen his wiry frame at the YMCA in Stroudsburg, Pa.
Richards, a pure lefty, admits going to his right is a glaring weakness but working out some of the kinks at the Reebok Breakout Camp earlier this month in Philadelphia helped.
Richards has plenty of tools that coaches adore. His athleticism and power moves allow him to wart off defenders and create mismatches. He also possesses a killer first step, allowing him to blow by defenders.
“When I attack the rim, it opens up things for my teammates. I don’t care much about the personal stuff, I just want to win.”
Jaleel Charles is one of the few players with Division I potential who hasn’t received a letter. That’s a single college correspondence from any level. Simply put Charles is an unknown.
Hard to believe but the 6-7, 285-pound rising senior wide body was playing the light on his feet at Live In AC, playing for New York-based Raising Champions.
As a junior, Charles averaged 14.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and two blocks for Thomas Edison High, which hovered near the bottom of PSAL Queens AA.
For his size or girth is nimble, soft-handed, fearless on the boards and a hard worker in the low post. He’s considered a tranfer to NIA Prep in nearby Newark, N.J., but the resident of Far Rockaway, N.Y. is soaking up the experience at Live In AC.
“Wherever I play, I’m a team player,” Charles said. “I look for the open man but know when the shot’s mine to take.
But, before Charles, a three-year starter at Edison, ascends to the next level, he has a concern.
“My weight,” he admitted. “I have to cut down eating and improve my overall fitness. That’s something I’m working on now.”
Thank God it’s Friday
Today is the final day of Live In AC but the first-year event has already created a buzz on the summer circuit. Several coaches prefer coming to Atlantic City over Las Vegas, where the gyms and events are spread out throughout the desert, with temperatures well beyond 100 degrees.
Atlantic City has plenty of options as does the even coordinated by Rob Engemann, a former assistant coach at Robert Morris University.
Pool play in the 17 brackets concluded Thursday afternoon and the opening round of the playoffs were also contested.
The 17U first-round Gold Division playoff results:
CIA Bounce 57, Mid-Atlantic Select 55, OT; Rhode Island Hawks 67, N.Y. Lightning 59; NJ Playaz Gold 64, Jersey Shore (Pa.) Warriors 55; Team Final 65, NJ Playaz Silver 51; Dorian’s Pride 65, PYO (Pa.) 36; Sports U 50, Threat 220 47; Team Takeover 59, We R1 54; Philly Pride 64, Team Jersey Select 59.
The quarterfinals for the 17U Elimination Pool pairings: CIA Bounce-Team Takeover; Rhode Island Hawks-Philly Pride; NJ Playaz Gold-Dorian’s Pride; and Sports U-Team Final. All games tip at 9 a.m.
The Gold semifinals are 11:30, the Silver Division follows at 12;45 p.m. The 17U championships are at 3:15.
Christopher Lawlor is a Senior Writer for Blue Media and compiles the Blue Star Go-To 25 national boys and girls high school basketball rankings during the season. Lawlor, an award-winning writer, is a voting committee member and advisor for several national high school events, including the McDonald’s All-American Games. He previously wrote for USA TODAY and ESPN.com, where he was the national preps writer, while compiling the national rankings in four sports. He also managed the Gatorade national high school player of the year award program for a decade at Scholastic, Inc.
Latest from Christopher Lawlor
- USA Basketball Women's U16 National Team invites 33 trialists
- Frenchman, Wiggins power World Selects over USA, 112-98, at Nike Hoop Summit
- World Select Team finalized for Nike Hoop Summit
- Go-To 25 Boys’ Basketball Final Rankings, April 10, 2013
- Go-To 25 Girls’ Basketball Final Rankings, April 9, 2013