READING, Pa. -- The July grind. Sometimes there isn’t enough time to do everything, see everybody. Regardless, you give it a try even if it means coming in for a few hours and skimming the cream off the top.
At the Hoop Group Elite Camp, I got my cream skimming on. Sandwiched in between two days at Reebok Breakout Challenge and Myrtle Beach Big Shots, was the final day of Hoop Group Elite Camp, the all-star version. For only spending five hours in the joint, I feel pretty good about what I saw.
The setting afforded an opportunity to see about 40 Division I prospects ranging from 2013 to 2015. Camp talent coordinator Chad Babel made it easy with his precision selection of the all-star teams. It truly was shooting fish in a barrel. While colleague Adam Finkelstein did a more thorough job, allow me to offer up a taste of the cream that was skimmed.
A pair of big men cranked up their stock during the senior all-star game. A.J. Sumbry (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) solidified his standing as a mid-major player with a spin move erroneously dubbed a travel by an underpaid, underappreciated official. Best he’s played since joining the Playaz AAU team this spring. Sumbry has offers from Quinnipiac, Long Island and Wagner. St. Joe’s and LaSalle are eyeballing him this month.
Quadir Welton (Philadelphia/Math, Civics and Science) has an easygoing demeanor but got a lot done early. Good hands and rump that he uses to seal and clear could warrant potential mid-level attention.
Junior Etou (Arlington, Va./Bishop O’Connell) was the most well-known senior all-star and took home MVP honors in the game. Cincinnati and Miami were two programs that sent assistants to see him and they are trailing him harder than Miami and Maryland.
Here’s where the day got real productive. Point guard Bryant Crawford (Washington, D.C./Gonzaga) flashed the passing fancy late in the game of a high-major player. He was the game’s top guard prospect.
Some will complain about Shavar Newkirk's (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Hayes) sub-six-foot size, while others dismiss his measurements and celebrate the fact this dude can get in the paint and cause havoc. Speed, speed, speed.
I’m eager to write about Malachi Richardson (Burlington, N.J./Life Center) because, well, he looks like he’s going to be fun to watch. However, we have no firm idea what position he is. All we know is that this guy is a 6-5 playmaking wing. He likes the ball in his hands and instead of dominating it with the dribble, his head is on a swivel looking to make a play. He was good enough to earn the promotion into the big boy, Top 20 overall all-star game.
Derrick Jones (Radnor, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) also made the top game. He’s a year away from announcing that he intends to be an elite prospect. Believe it, he’s heading in that direction.
Marcus Derrickson (Fairfax, Va./Paul VI) anchored the underclassman game and was easily the top prospect in the contest. A mixture of toned-up girth and perimeter shooting, if he keeps the proper perspective, he’ll be a threat facing the rim and a menace in the post.
It didn’t take long for Terry Larrier (Bronx, N.Y./Our Savior Lutheran) to jump off the page of the program. Larrier’s an explosive 6-6 athlete and one I had no idea of before the day began. The kid can handle, attack the rack and though it wasn’t great, he looks like a shot-maker on the perimeter. Mix in his absurd length and this guy belongs on high-major radars for the time being. Now the hard part: deciphering his grade. There were mixed answers to the question of whether he’s 2013 or will reclass to 2014. For what it’s worth, he was in the underclassman all-star game and did nothing but enhance his stock.
Fordham, Massachusetts, Siena, Drexel and Delaware crack the list. Whether he’s a senior or junior, those guys aren’t going anywhere and Siena had its headman in the building.
Scholarship goes to ...
John Davis (Philadelphia, Pa./Neumann-Goretti) should have been in the all-star game. He was an omission, it happens. Davis is a working man’s undersized power forward with a big ticker. None of the college coaches really know where to play him but they seem to feel like he’s a glue guy. Think MAC and CAA.