There is so much going on this live period window, especially in the Northeast.
Philadelphia was a popular destination between the UAA All American Camp and the Elevate Hoops Tournament.
1) UAA All American Camp had good players, a good staff but was missing “flavor”. There were several players sitting out activities throughout, most notably Naz Reid. The 6-10 Reid, came into the summer on target to be a McDonald’s All American. Strong rumor is that he is headed to LSU.
The element of college players with NBA Scouts in attendance to evaluate creates a fun element but with the most talented player, Robert Williams from Texas A&M sitting out, there may not have been another sure-fire first rounder in the building.
2) The eight team format consolidated the talent and ensured high majors on the floor at all times. The games ran on time, it was well organized and the book had the right information.
A few players that caught my eye:
Jahvon Quinerly 6-2 PG Hudson Catholic, played on Thursday and showed why schools are lining up for him and players are lining up to play along side of him…Quinerly makes all the right plays. He can shoot the three, handle, great distributor and penetrator. He was smaller than I had thought but a fantastic point guard in the 2018 class.
Moses Brown, 7-1 Center. Brown appeared bigger than advertised and what is really scary is that his body hasn’t even developed. His arms, legs, and chest are that of a young boy. There are only so many humans on Earth his size and he moves very well. His coordination is remarkable. Two biggest factors are his shot which has a twist, ala a screwball that needs work and him having fun on the court. He doesn’t look connected to his teammates or at any point enjoying the game.
Anfernee Simons, 6-4 SG IMG Academy. Simons is one of the best scorers in the country. Blessed with a great quick first step, gets separation and can score from anywhere. He scores like we flip the light switch, pure electricity.
Noah Farrakhan, 6-1 St. Benedict’s Prep 2020. Farrakhan has the making of one of the best guards in America. He’s explosive, understands the change of speed and pace. Unlimited range and good athleticism. Will need to get stronger.
Devon Dotson, 6-2 Providence Day School. Dotson plays hard and is a great penetrator and scorer. Needs to build consistency with his outside range. High majors were watching closely. I see a lot of Eric Maynor in him.
Jahmius Ramsey, 6-5 Mansfield Summit 2019. Ramsey is on the cusp of the whole package and being one of the top wings in the Class. He’s an A+ athlete, that handles the ball well, has range. He’s missing as we say in NY, that “dog” in him to raise his game to elite level.
Riley Battin, 6-10, Oak Park, CA. Battin is very skilled on the offensive end. Has very good form, shoots from deep and is crafty around the basket. Defensive foot speed is the x factor for him, it’s not there yet.
Elijah Weaver, 6-5, Oldsmar Christian, FL. Weaver is the real deal. Has great looking form, a terrific athlete, does it all. If scoring was a genetic trait, you would find it in him. Looks like a McDonald’s All American.
Michael Uchendu, 6-9, Brazil. Uchendu who was taken to camp as a favor by Fran Fraschilla, jumped to the top of the high major recruiting list as one of the best pure posts in the camp. Uchendu has long arms, is a pure post that moves very well. 99% Uchendu never goes to college and plays professionally in Brazil or somewhere as an 18-year-old.
3) Every media player in the space was on staff at UAA All American Camp…Bilas, Fraschilla, Legler, Biancardi…It was the intersecting point between fired coaches and basketball media heads.
4) You appreciate the job that is done by Nike, Adidas and Under Armour once you walk in the gym of others.
Zero Gravity’s Big Apple Showcase at House of Sports, was that other category of kids going everywhere, the book missing teams and no one really knowing what’s going on.
There was a high-level game in the 15u division with The Firm losing in the closing seconds to Rise Above Basketball from Massachusetts. The player of the game was Daniel Schlakman, 6-7, class of 2019 from Milton Academy. Schlakman did it all scoring in bunches from deep and at the cup.
Personally, I rather the 2019 players play 16u or higher. The 15u Gauchos played in the Championship game at Under Armour the first live period with a barrage of 2019 players. It makes it difficult to evaluate how that player would project if he is not playing against the best of his competitive peers.
5) Playaz Basketball Club head man, Jimmy Salmon put together a great two-day high school event featuring quality teams from NY-NJ and PA.
The biggest question is can the high school programs pull their players for this event or will the players be at Elevate or one of the other area AAU events. College coaches are kept guessing. The perfect example is Samba Diallo from Pope John XXIII Regional who played the first game and then was on the road as Pope John XXIII lost to Our Savior.
Day 1 had a big NY flavor with Iona Prep, Our Savior New American and St. Raymonds crossing over the GWB for a good day of hoops. Here are a few that stood out:
Iona Prep looks to be back. 6-5 guard, 2019 Bryce Wills is a do-it all combo guard. He could play point guard at the next level. Joel Ntambwe, previously from Forest Trail Academy in North Carolina, showed high-level athleticism and rim protection. He is a key piece to the rebirth of the program.
Philly Champs, Archbishop Wood looks to be a contender once again. They came apart in the semi-finals once Tyree Pickron rolled his ankle in the early going. 6-11 Seth Pinkney is long and lean and with skills. Pickron is one of the best players in the league but went down before I could evaluate.
Our Savior New American brought a 2019/2020 crew with a lot of a talent. Coach Jaklitsch prepped me on the twins, Hassan and Fous Drame, both 6’5 from the class of 2019. They are great athletes that flash high major ability. I was most impressed with 2020’s Nate Tabor (6-5) and Jefferson Koulibaly (6-2) that took it to the teeth of the defense time and time again.