Tuesday, August 6, 2013
2016, 2017 prospects on display in Pa.
By Adam Finkelstein
READING, Pa. -- The month of July may be over, but that doesn’t mean the balls have stopped bouncing at Albright College. The Future All-American Camp is the final chapter to a long summer of events for the Hoop Group. And if history is any indication, this last event will continue to live up to its reputation as there was a plethora of top up-and-coming talent in the building.
Although rising sixth- through 10th-graders were in attendance, our focus was strictly on the high school prospects, for whom the focus isn’t yet about their recruitment but rather their potential to reach that level in the coming years.
Here’s a look at who stood out in the 2016 and 2017 classes from the Future All-American Camp.
Rising Sophomore Standouts
DeMatha Catholic (Md.) forward Joe Hampton is a name to know in the Class of 2016.
Biggest Matchup Problem
Joe Hampton (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha)
2016, PF, 6-6, 225 The ESPN 25 power forward is a virtually impossible matchup among his peer group with size and strength that is unmatched and a terrific understanding of how to use his wide frame to create space inside the lane. He can overpower people in the lane, bulldoze his way to the rim and is also becoming more skilled facing the basket at a rapid rate.
Most Explosive Big Man
Kassoum Yakwe (Centereach, N.Y./Our Savior New American)
2016, PF, 6-7, 190 pounds
Another ESPN 25 power forward, Yakwe achieves his dominance by virtue of his size, length, athleticism and motor inside the paint. Similar to Hampton, he’s become accustomed to matching up against older and more physically mature prospects, so he’s a man among boys against fellow rising sophomores. Yakwe is a dominant shot-blocker, high-volume rebounder and aggressive finisher who dunks hard at every opportunity.
Best Shot Maker
Curtis Jones (Richmond, Va./Paul VI)
2016, G/F, 6-3, 165 Jones is a long and wiry swingman with a knack for putting the ball in the basket. He has the speed and athleticism to be a major threat in transition, but he really differentiates himself with his ability to make tough shots in the half-court setting. Not only is he able to get his shot off without very much space, he also has the unique ability to square up in midair and be balanced by the time he releases the ball at the peak of his jump.
Most Skilled Forward
DeAndre Hunter (Wynnewood, Pa./Friends’ Central)
2016, F, 6-6, 180 Arguably the top 2016 prospect in the Greater Philadelphia area, Hunter oozes potential with his long limbs and silky-smooth skill set that extends all the way out beyond the 3-point line. He needs to become more assertive and aggressive, but he shows flashes of tremendous upside with smooth jumpers and drives, along with some crafty footwork.
Best Floor General
Alani Moore (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha)
2016, PG, 5-9, 180 Moore is undersized but strong and full of all the qualities necessary to run a team. He is he well-skilled in terms of his ability to handle, pass and shoot, but he also has terrific poise with the basketball, great court vision, and the balanced demeanor necessary to run the show and distribute the basketball.
Most Efficient Big Man
Omari Spellman (Middletown, N.Y./North Royalton)
2016, C, 6-7, 215 He’s still in the early stages of his development, but Spellman is already a game-changing talent. He has a potentially lethal combination of a wide body, super-soft touch, great hands and good footwork. He also shows a commitment to dominate the glass and protect the rim on defense that is rare for a young big man of his age.
Christian Vital (Saxtons River, Vt./Vermont Academy)
2016, SG, 6-1, 165 Vital shows maturity beyond his years in that he already knows what it means to truly play hard and he’s willing to give maximum effort each time he takes the floor. He’s a skilled shot maker on the offensive end who can also power his way to the rim, but he’s also an excellent rebounder from the perimeter and a scrappy defender.
Five Rising Freshmen to Watch
Jordan Tucker (White Plains, N.Y./Our Lady of Mt. Carmel)
2017, F, 6-5, 185 It’s all about upside here, and with consistent flashes of high-level potential the future is worth being excited about. Tucker is fluid, understands the nuances of creating space and also shows the potential to be very skilled once all is said and done.
Myles Douglas (Baltimore, Md./Friends)
2017, G/F, 6-5, 170 Douglas has great size and length for the swing positions and has the frame to support a terrific body once he fills out. He’s smooth and fluid covering the court and has a handle that is poised to develop into a creative weapon for him.
Quade Green (Philadelphia/Neumann-Goretti)
2017, PG, 5-11, 160 Green, who was as highly talented a young point guard as there was in the field, is uniquely talented off the dribble, capable of creating offense at will, and has the swagger and confidence to maximize his tools and talent.
Mohammed Bamba (Harlem, N.Y./Cardigan Mountain)
2017, PF, 6-7, 180 Bamba is a young hybrid big man with easy mobility and agility to match his incredibly long arms. With a body built to be a disruptive defender, he also has some natural touch to work with on the offensive end that makes him very intriguing.
Jamir Harris (Elizabeth, N.J./Patrick)
2017, PG, 6-0, 170 He’s another lead guard with a big presence at a young age. Harris is already physically strong and his ball skills reflect that as he pounds his dribble and snaps his passes. Combine that with his ability to make 3s in bunches and convert difficult runners, and he’s a tough guard.
Each day at the Hoop Group Elite, campers listen to a speaker on any number of relevant topics. On Monday, that speaker was former Rutgers head coach Mike Rice, who spoke to the campers about the importance of recognizing and learning from mistakes. I couldn’t help but grab a seat in the upper row of the bleachers and listen in, and I was ultimately be taken by the sincerity, honesty and passion behind the message. I’m not sure the kids realized exactly what they were hearing, but I’m fairly certain they won’t hear a more important message this summer.