Monday, April 15, 2013
Top performers from NE Hoops Festival
By Adam Finkelstein
HARTFORD, Conn. -- The sixth annual Northeast Hoops Festival brought together some of the top talent the region has to offer as teams were looking for a final tune-up before the coming evaluation period.
Syracuse commit Chris McCullough was the headliner but several other prospects stood out. Let's take a look at which players shined the most during the two-day event.
Jared Terrell (Weymouth, Mass./Brewster Academy)
2014, SG, 6-foot-3, 210
Offers: St. John’s, Xavier, Cincinnati and Marquette, among others.
Terrell is in tremendously shape right now, boasting a sculpted frame that gives him an extra step of quickness while still maintaining his advantage of sheer power in the backcourt. He was as efficient as he’s been in quite some time, making plays within the flow of the offense for himself and others. He shot the ball very well throughout the weekend, made good decisions in terms of his timing attacking off the dribble and even made some plays for others with his passing. Ultimately, his dependability throughout the weekend was a big reason why his Expressions Elite squad was able to take the U-17 championship.
ESPN 60 Stock Watch
ESPN 60 power forward Chris McCullough has committed to Syracuse.
Chris McCullough (Bronx, N.Y./Brewster Academy)
2014, PF, 6-10, 220
Committed to Syracuse Stop me if you’ve heard this before but McCullough’s combination of length and athleticism in the open floor can be jaw-dropping as one unsuspecting defender learned the hard way early Sunday morning when attempting to challenge him at the rim. Beyond that though, what’s refreshing about McCullough is that he’s got a terrific understanding of who he is as a player. Yes, he’s worked to extend his game to the perimeter in recent years, but he knows what his best strengths are and makes every opportunity to utilize those open floor tools at every available opportunity.
Abdul-Malik Abu (Boston/Kimball Union Academy)
2014, PF, 6-8, 220
Offers: Florida, Iowa State, Providence, UConn, Maryland, Miami, West Virginia and others.
While McCullough specializes in exploding off one foot in mid-stride, Abu is the power leaper who bounces up off of two feet in traffic in order to play above the pack. That makes him a ferocious one-step finisher in halfcourt settings and a potentially dominant rebounder. And while he’s a force inside the paint, Abu has also worked hard to develop his face-up game, which helped him earn multiple trips to the free-throw line. Another aspect of his game that is tremendously important, but often taken for granted, is what a great teammate he is.
Kaleb Joseph (Nashua, N.H./Cushing Academy)
2014, PG, 6-3, 175
Offers: Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Providence, Boston College, and more.
Joseph has a special ability to raise the level of his game when it matters the most. Down the stretch of a mid-morning Sunday contest, that’s exactly what he did in order to pull out a win for the Mass Rivals club. Ironically, what made his late-game heroics all the more impressive was the fact that for the first 27 minutes of action, he wasn’t at his best, nor in a particularly good offensive rhythm. Regardless though, Joseph went to work late, attacking the rim, finishing with tremendous body control and then knocking down a 14-foot pull-up jumper to beat the buzzer and send his club to the next round.
Best Unsigned Seniors
Kerem Kanter (Turkey/Wilbraham & Monson)
2013, PF, 6-8, 220 Kanter began the weekend as one half of a 1-2 interior punch, along with Jarred Reuter, that was charged with leading ECE-Mass. But when Reuter went down with an injury Saturday, Kanter was forced to put the team on his shoulders. He did that and more as he almost single-handedly carried them to the semifinals on Sunday. He owns one of the softest set of hands you’ll find and while he isn’t an explosive athlete, he’s able to pull in any rebound or pass that he can reach. His touch is equally soft on the rim and that crafty European style made him an almost impossible matchup inside the paint. He finished with 36 points and 17 rebounds in the semis.
Chaise Daniels (New Haven, Conn./Hillhouse)
2013, C, 6-8, 210 A young senior who is coming off a state championship in the CIAC, Daniels is now planning on doing a year of post-graduate work before eventually heading to college in 2014. Based on what we saw this weekend, don’t be surprised to see plenty of schools check his availability for right now. He has an excellent basketball body with long limbs and ample muscle mass. He runs the floor well, changes shots on the defensive end and scores around the rim offensively. He seemed to get better as the weekend went on and his matchup with Kanter was truly fun to watch in the semifinals.
Best Young Big Men
Chiek Diallo (Centereach, N.Y./Our Savior New American)
2015, C, 6-10, 195
Offers: UConn, Oregon, St. John’s, Syracuse and Villanova.
Simply put, Diallo changes ends as well as any young big man in the country, running the floor like a dear and covering an incredible amount of court. While his mobility and athleticism are the first things that catch your attention, his overall productivity was equally impressive. Defensively, he’s equally dangerous in run-and-jump situations as he is blocking the shots around the rim. Offensively, he gets his own opportunities by attacking the offensive glass, but is starting to show flashes of a low-post game when he’s able to get deep enough.
Terrell Brown (East Providence, R.I./St. Andrew’s)
2016, C/F, 6-8, 185 He’s turned a major corner in recent months and now looks like a prospect who could be on the verge of a national breakout. Initially, he was a prospect with upside and a soft touch that extended to the perimeter. He’s added another three inches and noticeable muscle mass to his frame and his impact has risen in direct correlation. Even more important has been the evolution of his approach, as he’s now focused first and foremost on dominating the paint. Defensively, that has displayed his instincts for blocking shots and protecting the rim – a pair of traits that simply can’t be taught.
Moustapha Diagne (Sparta, N.J./Pope John Paul XXIII)
2015, C/F, 6-9, 230
Offers: Cincinnati, UConn, Oregon State, Rutgers, Seton Hall and West Virginia.
Diagne arrived in the United States from Senegal earlier this fall and has made a big splash ever since. This weekend, he was as good as advertised, dominating the U-16 field before going down with cramps early in the semifinals. While he was as athletic and active as you might expect, the two things that differentiate Diagne at this early stage in his development are his naturally powerful body and surprisingly developed skill set. He’s already able to be a bit of a mismatch threat, scoring inside as well as stepping away from the basket while continuing to be a very proficient rebounder on both ends.
Josh Sharma (Lexington, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon)
2015, C/F, 6-11, 205
Offers: from Boston College, Providence, and Kansas State, among others.
With the Mass Rivals slightly short-handed up front this weekend, Sharma logged major minutes while continuing to play up at the U-17 level. He was most impressive when the level of competition was at its highest and actually showed well in his individual matchup with Abdul-Malik Abu. Sharma’s length and athleticism around the rim has always been the key to his massive upside, but he’s gradually starting to get more confident and assertive, looking to flush balls around the rim with more frequency while also starting to come out of his shell on the defensive end.
RAP Elite scored a couple of different upsets en route to Sunday’s U-16 title. Joey Wallace, the son of former Syracuse star and NBA player John Wallace, led the team in the backcourt.
BABC jack-of-all-trades Bonzie Colson continues to both improve his conditioning and consistency. He’ll be the backbone of the team’s EYBL squad after playing important roles on two consecutive AAU national championships.
When it comes to up-and-coming youngsters on the perimeter look no further than Terance Mann and Jalen Adams in 2015 along with Unique McLean in the Class of 2016. All three are likely to make names for themselves on the national level in the near future.
While Terrell and Abu led the way for Expressions, they got big contributions from both swingman Jared Wilson-Frame and face-up four-man Aaron Falzon.
Team Scan SG Rashard Figures appeared to be hitting his stride by Sunday, becoming more comfortable in the team’s style while consequently finding opportunities to show his versatile offensive tools.