Saturday, July 13, 2013
Whitehead, Briscoe lead Elite Camp
By Adam Finkelstein
READING, Pa. -- The Hoop Group opened the July evaluation period in its customary fashion: by hosting one of the biggest exposure basketball camps in the United States with more 800 campers converging on Albright College this week for session II of the Hoop Group Elite Camp.
While the sheer size of the camp attracts coaches from all levels of college basketball, what really differentiates this camp are the players themselves. Although there was a fair share of big names in the field, a consistent theme was the desire for players to prove themselves in front of college coaches. As a result, this turned into an ideal venue to spot under-the-radar and young talent.
Here were the top performers from the Hoop Group Elite Camp, including big-name players, under-the-radar stars and the top underclassmen.
Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln)
2014, SG, 6-4, 195
Offers from Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, St. John’s and Syracuse, among others There wasn’t much for Whitehead to prove this week, and everyone knew it. He was the most talented guard in the gym and there were only a handful of others who had a chance to keep it close. When he chose to assert himself, it was only a matter of him deciding how he wanted to get his shot off because he was capable of creating space for his trademark pull-ups or bullying his way to the rim virtually on demand. When it was all said and done, he took home the camp MVP award, led his team to the championship and put on a show in the all-star game.
Isaiah Briscoe (Union, N.J./School TBD)
2015, SG, 6-3, 215
Offers from Baylor, Connecticut, Indiana, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and UCLA, among others One of the nation’s top power guards was often a man among boys in the backcourt this week. Playing primarily with the ball in his hands, he created his own shot at will, mixing in tough pull-ups, deep jumpers and acrobatic finishes at the rim. On the school front, the former St. Benedict’s (N.J.) guard also said he hopes to decide in the next couple of weeks whether he’ll be attending Findlay Prep (Nev.) or Our Savior New American (N.Y.) next season. Briscoe was named the camp’s top prospect.
2015 PF Horace Spencer is receiving interest from Kentucky and North Carolina.
Horace Spencer (Warminster, Pa./William Tennent)
2015, PF, 6-8, 210
Interest from Kentucky and North Carolina, among others Spencer has established his motor as his calling card this spring while running in the most competitive stages the youth basketball landscape has to offer. To his credit, that motor continued to run in first gear even when his talent shined head and shoulders above the vast majority of the field at the Hoop Group camp. He dominated the game defensively, asserting himself as both a shot-blocker and rebounder. He also changed ends and didn’t force anything on the offensive side of the ball.
Marial Shayok (Ottawa, Ontario/Blair Academy)
2014, G/F, 6-6, 205
Offers from LaSalle, Marquette, Minnesota, Rutgers and West Virginia He’s not yet a finished product, but there is reason to be very optimistic about his upside. He has nice size, length and much-improved quickness on the perimeter, all of which combines to make him a very difficult matchup. The foundation is there to develop into a true three-range scorer, but he still needs to finish plays with more consistency and better utilize his versatility to impact his shot selection and decision-making. The fact that he plays hard and seems to have a competitive nature makes you believe in his potential.
Proving it With Production
Corey Henson (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic)
2014, G, 6-2, 170
Offers from Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary’s, Central Connecticut, Iona and Navy Adams stood out as one of the top shooters in the field this week. He made shots off both the catch and dribble and was capable of getting hot at virtually any point in time. Also noteworthy is the fact that he isn’t just a one-dimensional shot-maker but a capable playmaker and ball-handler who can play on or off the ball.
William Tchiengang (Cameroon/Fredericksburg Christian)
2014, PF, 6-8, 240
Interest from George Mason and Cincinnati An under-the-radar big man who has yet to pick up his first Division I scholarship offer, Tchiengang was a true beast in the paint from start to finish this week. He has a powerful, wide body that he isn’t afraid to throw around in order to create space, but he also has great hands and feet that only make him all the more effective in the paint.
Desi Rodriguez (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln)
2014, SF, 6-5, 200
Recruitment from Hofstra, Towson, Buffalo, St. Peter’s and Manhattan, among others He can sometimes go unnoticed running side by side with Whitehead, but this week he seized the opportunity to be an alpha male on the floor. His combination of size, power and ball-handling makes him the ultimate mismatch problem. He stuffed all columns of the stat sheet with points, assists and rebounds and continued to set the tone in the all-star game.
Kamau Stokes (Baltimore, Md./Dunbar)
2014, G, 5-11, 160
Offers from Delaware, Towson and Mount St. Mary’s An undersized scoring guard who is gradually transitioning into more of a true point guard, Stokes has a versatile, attacking game. He gets some extra length out of his long arms and has a flair for the dramatic off the dribble, where he is shifty and a little tricky changing speeds. He needs to continue to add weight and get stronger, but he can also knock down open shots or get above the rim.
Donte Divincenzo (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum)
2015, SG, 6-2, 160
Offers from LaSalle and Delaware Kudos to LaSalle and Delaware for being well ahead of the curve on Divincenzo because this guy may be one of the best-kept high-major secrets in the Northeast. The ease with which he plays above the rim is truly something to behold, but he also handles smoothly, is a true threat in the mid-range area and is becoming more of a consistent shooter from behind the 3-point line.
Tyler Kohl (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic)
2015, SF, 6-4, 210
Offers from St. Joseph’s and Wagner If Rodriguez was the camp’s biggest mismatch problem and Divincenzo the best under-the-radar underclassman, then Kohl was the midpoint of those two categories. A wide-bodied and powerful point forward who can stroke deep jumpers as easily as he can make plays off the dribble, Kohl was in total control of the game every time he stepped on the floor.
Seth Townes (Columbus, Ohio/Northland)
2016, PF, 6-8, 190
Offers from Dayton and Xavier A long and athletic forward who is already multi-dimensional, Townes is oozing with potential and upside. He has the physical tools to be a major factor around the rim but also intrigues with a developing handle facing the basket. He’s not yet able to maneuver in traffic, but when given space the young big fella is both long and fluid off the bounce.
Bryan Rivers (West Windsor, N.J./Peddie) helped himself as much as any lead guard in the field. He played both ends of the floor, created tempo and simplified the game for his teammates.
Diago Quinn (New York, N.Y./Lake Forest) and Jonathan Nwankwo (Bronx, N.Y./Monsignor Scanlan) were two rising juniors from the New York City area who both made names for themselves this weekend. Expect to hear more from both in the future.
Darian Bryant (Washington, D.C./St. John’s College) has emerged as a mid-major priority and had as big of a following from college coaches as any player in camp.
Timothy Bond (Baltimore, Md./City College) is an intriguing long-term prospect on the wing thanks to his length, athleticism and enough skill that you have to respect him around the arc.