Monday, June 10, 2013
ESPN 60 SG Whitehead stars in the Bronx
By Adam Finkelstein
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The Rumble in the Bronx has long been considered New York City’s premier AAU basketball tournament, and this year’s tournament only added to that legacy with the use of two new state of the art facilities to host the vast majority of the action in the u15, u16, and u17 divisions.
While noteworthy recruits like ESPN 60 SG Isaiah Whitehead showed out for the locals, a pair of Texas juniors also made us take notice. Here’s a breakdown of which players caught our attention.
Best Scoring Forward
Jeremy Combs (Dallas/Carter)
2014, 6-6, 185, SF
Status: Receiving interest from New Mexico, Denver, Iona and Richmond.
Combs was one of the top offensive forces for a Deron Williams Elite squad that came all the way from Texas to take the U17 championship. Combs has an aggressive approach and scoring mentality, which allows him to put points on the board in bunches. He’s a difficult matchup because he is a quick leaper who can rise up to score in the lane or take bigger defenders to the perimeter and attack off the bounce. He’s also a major factor in transition, not just because of his explosive finishing ability, but because of how hard he runs his lanes and changes ends.
D’Angelo Allen (Dallas/Justin F. Kimball School)
2014, 6-7, 190, SF
Status: Claims offers from Arkansas, Georgetown, Marquette, Oklahoma, Oregon, Providence and Texas A&M.
While Combs was streaking down one lane for Deron Williams Elite, Allen was often doing the same on the opposite side. A long and truly explosive athlete, Allen has the ability to not just get his head on the rim but to play in mid-air like virtually no one else in the field. His physical tools are accented by a creative flair, which makes him a threat to produce a potential momentum-changing play at virtually anytime. Whether it be a big block from the weakside of the floor, an acrobatic finishing at the end of the break, or a hard tip-dunk flying in from the perimeter, he makes the type of plays that instantaneously alter the direction of a game.
No. 35 recruit Isaiah Whitehead might be the most talented scoring guard in the country.
Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn/Lincoln)
2014, 6-4, 195, SG
Status: Holds offers from Syracuse, Louisville, UCLA and St. John’s, among others.
There were points this weekend where Whitehead was simply unstoppable. In particular, there was a stretch of three halves from Saturday night to Sunday morning where he put 63 points on the board in less than 48 minutes with a series of high level moves, all of which translate to the next level. Simply put, when he’s good, there might not be a better scoring guard in the country. The flip side of that coin though is that his times of inefficiency can snowball as well, and too often those moments are of his own making. For the better part of this weekend, he used his talent to get high percentage shots, played with good energy, channeled his emotions appropriately, showed his undervalued instincts as a ballhandler and passer, while adding glimpses of his defensive upside. If he ever commits to being that guy on a full time basis, the sky is the limit.
Tom Lacy (Westfield, N.J./Navy Prep)
2014, 6-5, 200, F
Status: Committed to Navy
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Rumble in the Bronx is that the timing of the event causes many of the top teams in the field to come into the event missing one or more of their top players. That creates a great opportunity for evaluators to observe otherwise secondary players in increased roles. No one took better advantage of that opportunity this weekend than Lacy. The Sports U forward is a graduate of Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey but heading for a post-graduate year before enrolling in the Naval Academy. He’ll be a great fit at Navy because he’s super tough with versatile skills. He’s become a consistent shooting threat from the 3-point line and can score with both hands around the rim in addition to being a terrific and a high IQ prospect.
Best Young Point Guard
Baron Goodridge (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Hayes)
2016, 5-11, 150, PG
Status: Claims interest from a number of Division I programs.
Goodridge is the engine that makes New Heights U15 team go, and they went running away with the championship in the freshman division. The up-and-coming point guard is still only just beginning to mature physically, but he’s blessed with incredibly long arms and potentially still-growing size. More importantly, he’s got terrific playmaking instincts, already completed with a tight handle and a variety of different one-one-one tools in his arsenal of tricks off the dribble. His total ball skills are as versatile as they are mature, while his all-around feel for the game and point guard position is off the charts.
• Sports U came up a game short in the U17 finals, but it was the U16 squad came away with a championship thanks to a virtually endless supply of youthful talent and length with up-and-coming prospects like Karl Charles (Roselle, N.J./Rutgers Prep), Gerald Blount (Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony), and Jahlil Tripp (Brooklyn/Brooklyn Collegiate).
• New Heights took the U15 title while Team Scan’s U15 squad played up a level and fell just short of Sports U in a dramatic championship game. This is just the latest impressive collection of talent to be assembled by Team Scan, headlined by Omari Spellman (Middletown, N.Y./North Royalton), Christian Vital (Queens, N.Y./Vermont Academy), Unique McLeon (Brooklyn/Hoosac) and a few highly talented eighth graders.