Amauro "Amar" Austin is another of our trusty observers. He is not to be confused with Ruben Amaro, the Phillies' assistant general manager. Like "Huck" Palmer, Amauro is a West Catholic graduate. He will make reports on the MANY games he sees. You may e-mail him at Thurlbough@hotmail.com.
FIVE STAR HOOP CLASSIC (Sept. 13-15)
The 2002 Five Star Fall Hoop Classic was held right here in Philadelphia at Drexel University and 5 squads from the City took the court. Many National players did not make the trip because of college visits, but the talent level was still there. The playoff round put in Game #1 the Hunting Park Warriors (without superstar Guard Mustafa Shakur, who was away visiting Arizona) vs Long Island Panthers (without a few of its stars as well). Hunting Park handled its Adidas counterparts in a seesaw battle behind the inside play of 6'9 Bartram Forward Jason Cain (All-Tourney) and 6'3+ Roman Catholic Jr. Forward Charron Fisher. The second Game pit the Philadelphia Phoenix against the young, but dangerous Philadelphia Patriots. The Pats raised many eyebrows over the course of the weekend as they played with 6 Juniors and handled the competition with ease. In this one they outlasted the Phoenix behind the 4 Dougherty Juniors who I have tabbed the 4 Aces. They are 4 studs and looked to be poised to take CD very far this year. It all starts with the new transfer 5'11 PG Kyle Lowry (All-Tourney). He is the Ace of Heart because he wears his heart and imposes his strong will on the court in relentless fashion. Then there is the ever-versatile 6'4 WG Bilal Benn. He is the Ace of Diamond because he is the diamond in the rough of the bunch. He may be the most important and most consistent player on the team, but sometimes it never gets noticed. He'll always be in the shadow of his teammates, but believe me his coaches and the college coaches will know. Next there is the oh-so-smooth 6'7 SF Shane Clark. He is the Ace of Club because his importance is also sometimes forgotten because of his old school type of game, but this kid just may be the City's most efficient player. Finally, there is the team's most highly-touted player, the 6'7+ 230-lb PF DeSean White, the Ace of Spade. D. White is the trickshot. He holds the key to this group's success because when he's on he puts them over the top. He oozes ability and Big Time Star personality and one day soon hopefully, he'll put it all together. More of these 4 kids later... In the 3rd Game the tough Riversie Church of NY easily handled the talent-laden NY Elite. The Final Game pit always tough Positive Image of Philadelphia vs the always tough Gauchos of the Bronx, NY. P.I led throughout the second half, but a controversial technical late in the game gave the 'Chos not only the momentum, but the lead and PI never recovered. PI was led in this Tourney by its Big Men 6'10 King Center Wayne Marshall (All-Tourney) & 6'7+ Friends Central Forward London Houston. Also special note must go to 6'6 SF Akeem Wright formerly of King. Wright had a very impressive weekend and as of now he is doing a postgrad year at the Berean Institute, which has just started a new Postgrad/Prep Program. Wright, who is still just 17, says that the doctors say he could grow another 2 inches. I know that when I first saw him in Dec. of 2000, he was only 6'2. This will be one to follow. Then it was on to the Semis as Riverside took on HP in the 1st Semi and the Gauchos took on the Patriots. Earlier in the Tourney the Church ran the Warriors off the Court, but this time HP had control for much of this one until midway through the 3rd its biggest guy and best rebounder Jason Cain fouled out. Immediately, the Church took over and pulled out an 11 Point victory behind its bulk down low. The second Semi was a total blowout as Lowry and the Pats ran the Gauchos off the floor by a score of 78-65 that wasn't nearly that close. The Chos sport NY's finest Guards year in and year out. There was much to be said about this victory and in the fashion which it was performed. Lowry really looked good this weekend as he is really starting to make everything look easy. He is starting to gain that savvy and maturity that makes a really good player turn into a great player. He isn't even exerting as much energy as normal though at times he did turn it on high as in one Pool Game he went coast to coast for an easy one-handed slam. The title game pit the more than experienced Riverside Church vs the Patriots. Early on it looked as if the Pats were tight, but as the 2nd Quarter began the Pats began to take over. Eventually they led by as many as 14. That's when things got tense. The Church benched all 5 guys that were in the game for 5 new players and made a run. All the while Lowry was on the bench with 4 fouls. When the dust settled the Church had eeked out a 1 point win 68-67, but left wich much respect for the young Pats. A note for the Pats has to go to 5'9 deep wing Jr. shooter Timmy Smith also of Dougherty. Smith may have been the best shooter in the Tourney as he constantly bombed away game in and game out. The Final player for the Pats was 6'1 Jr. WG John Griffin of St. Joseph's Prep. He, too was an unsung hero over the weekend as his team went 5-1. I'll say this, if CD can gel like this with the rest of the players being included, there could be some long Friday nights and Sunday afternoons in the Catholic League for the next two seasons.
SUMMER BASKETBALL WRAP-UP
This was indeed an interesting summer as is every summer in a Big City like Philadelphia, PA. Kids transfering like rush hour express trains, kids growing, improving and emerging at the same rate and the unexpected taking precedence. One day our City will be at the forefront, but as of today we take a back seat to other Big City because of mind-boggling moves and lack of organization. Nevertheless this is my city and I love it here. We do it when the lights are on and when a slight opportunity is given, we make it a sure shot. This is the city of diamonds in the rough and underdogs that don't really know that they aren't supposed to make it. That is why summers in this city are always special and this will be my report to summarize all of the summer's happenings
My face may have been in every place this summer, but it was a fixture at the PureGame Greater Philadelphia League. The GPL was better than it's been in some time as a new sponsor and new format took precedence. Many kids' stock rose after performances in the GPL. Overbrook's 5'7 whirlwind Maurice Millner has looked like he's been watching tapes of former Mastbaum star Chaz Williamson. He shoots it from deep and plays above the rim. Bartram's strong PG League MVP Charles Jones started his tear through the city here as he gave the likes of Maureece Rice, Tabby Cunningham & Kashif Payne all they could handle in garnering W's. Doughery's 6'4 Jr. Guard Bilal Benn and Northeast's 6'5 Forward Troy Roundtree's performances in front of the scouts during CD & NE's epic battle was one to remember. Central's emerging PG Darnell Johnson proved to me and others that he could go. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the Low 1's come sniffing before long. Washington's 5'10 WG Joe Ndanu showed he could hoop with the Big Boys with his deep jumper and crafty finishes in traffic. He's one of the city's best in transition. Gratz's 6'4 Junior PF Jason McGirt impressed with his hard/smart play down low and great post defense. He was the most consistent Bulldog this summer and I was even more impressed when I found out that he qualified academically as a Soph. Then there was a 5'8 125-lb (now 5'11) Rising Freshman breaking guys down off the dribble and shoot treys from NBA-Range from Strawberry Mansion named Eugene Moss. Yes, the tradition will go on with Mansion Guards. The GPL playoffs were some of the summer's best ball. Fast Forward to the Quarter-Finals. The match-ups were Neumann-Bartram, Dougherty-King, FLC-Southern & Roman-Gratz. All of these games could make for great rivalries in the winter and each was played as if everything was on the line. Who would have thought when the day was over the CL schools would be 0-3, but they were. Bartram handled Neumann behind Charles Jones' 38 Points and unsung hero 6'2 Sr. Forward Todd "Kojack" McCoy's 26. King got the upset over Dougherty. Then there were the two games of the summer as in the first Game FLC took on Southern. Early on the Bobcats had trouble controlled 6'2 Jr. PG Antoine "Doo Dirty" Brown. He looked to moving in warp speed and the Rams led throughout. In the second half though, the game slowed down and the Bobcats dug in and kept fighting. Finally, their leader 6'1 PG Michael Green began to weather the storm and started to make shots and this one went to OT. In the OT, FLC became too much for the young Rams and advanced to the Semis. The night's 2nd game was one for the ages. It was the summer's best game as Roman and Gratz took the floor. Both of these teams played as if they wanted to kill each other as they always do. Roman Forwards, Charron Fisher and Scott Mascio gave the Gratz Forwards a lesson in weight-lifting as they bullied them all night long. One play that comes to mind was when Fisher and Gratz budding star 6'4 Jr. G-F Mark Tyndale got tangled up with Fisher getting up first and Coach Ellerbee jumping out of the stands in disgust. I'll miss those outbursts from the coach. However, this one went down to the wire and with the game tied and less the 30 secs to go Soph. PG Bobby Jordan buried a cold as ice Mid Range Jumper to give the Empire to 2 point lead. The Dogs didn't panic as Sr. Guard Tyree Watson missed a wild shot with less than 10 tics to go because Sr. Guard Tariq Wharton was standing all alone on the right side of the 3 point line and as the rebound was tipped out to him and the rest is history as he was swarmed by the overflow crowd in Mallery Rec's Gym. What a war this was! No one paid to see this one and everyone should have. In the Semis a listliss Bartram squad came to the gym a little shorthanded as they were missing a few key players all summer, but nevertheless they led a young hungry bunch of Bobcats throughout, but 15 missed free throws kept the door open for FLC and they made good on opportunity behind a great performance by Michael Green. In the other Semi the Bulldogs drew King and here's my question: When was the last time King beat Gratz? Nuff said. The title game made for an All-Time Rivalry of the Cats vs the Dogs. It was a rematch of a game earlier in the summer when the Bobcats outlasted the Bulldogs in the Girard College League. The Dogs came out pumped and avenged one of their only summer losses in taking the Cats for the title with Mark Tyndale getting playoff MVP. Even without Coach Ell some things will probably stay the same in Bulldog land.
The Girard College League had arguably the top level of play of any summer league this summer. Its stars were the like s of 6'9 Sr. Washington Center Dontay Tabbs, 6'6 St. Joe's Prep Sr. Forward Mark Zoller, West Catholic's 6'5 smooth Junior G-F Marshall Taylor, Olney's 6'5 Jr. Forward Erik "Ugs" Adams, Frankford's 6'6 Sr. PF Darryl White, Fels 6'2 215-lb Dunkmeister Tariq Chandler, Gratz's 6'1 Junior Guard Tamir Smith had me believeing that he is the most talented Guard on the team with his 2-handed break-away Slams and defensive stops & FLC's great Sr. backcourt of Michael Green and 6'5 Tyreek Byard. There was a lot of high-rising in this league. Tabbs showed that he will become a monster one day as he dunked on and over everyone. He also showed a penchant for burrying 15' jumpers. Chandler may be the city's most exciting player as he is a monster dunk waiting to happen. He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played and I always comment, if he were only 6'5. White has a chance to emerge in the Pub this year as he'll be Frankford's best player. Adams and Olney's other Juniors (5'5 PG Andrew Jerry, 6'3 G-F Tommy Gardner, 5'10 G Jarrick Long & 6'2 SF Kevin Presberry) led them to the title against those Bulldogs, but there was one player that solidified them as 6'7 Sr. C-F Maurice "Grease" Thomas. They handled the shorthanded Bulldogs with poise and confidence in performing a major upset. Thomas could solidify this team and make them into a contender. It'll be an interesting situation to watch.
Then there was the Mecca: the Sonny Hill Future and High School Leagues. This was my first year down the Hill exclusively. The Future League brought to light many of the City's Future Stars. Some that come to mind are Furness' 6'3 SF Malik Perry & 6'0 WG Tywain McKee, 5'11 E&S Guard Kechan Myers, Southern's 6'1 PG Amir Ryan (So Philly), 6'8 Gratz Center Matthew Walden (Theo Ratliff), 6'4 Gratz G-F Mark Tyndale (Rasheed Wallace), 6'5 Judge Forward Steve Wolf (Push the Pock), 6'6 Germantown Academy Forward Brian Grimes (North Philly) and 6'8 Chester Center Kenny Tribbett & 6'5 Neumann Swing David Burton (Interstate Reality). Those were just of few of the many, many stars of the 2002 Future League. The Title Game pitted South Philly coached by the legendary Claude Gross vs. the upstart, yet talent-loaded Interstate Reality in a great OT game. So. Philly outlasted IR in the OT behind the new breed S.P contigent. These kids are old school harder than hard South Philly Ball players that will take the city by storm in the next few years. The HS Title game pit the long time rivals North Philly vs the Medics. The Medics cruised to an easy W over the uninspired North Philly. Maurice "Mardy" Collins was king this summer at the Hill and Reports are that he will possibly start for Temple from Day 1. What a metamorphisis from the kid that we saw back in December.
This was indeed a great summer, I wish I was able to catch more of the action at the North Central Phila. 19u League at Hank Gathers Rec on 25th & Diamond and in the Positive Image League, but those will be my goals for next year. Here are some of the others that have carved out some space this summer: 6'3 Edison slashing, jumping-jack WG Tim Young (Low to Mid 1 ability), 6'1 Parkway long-armed, versatile Guard Rashawn Dennis & 6'2 Dobbins Tech hard-playing Combo-Guard Kyree Brown. Then there was my pleasant surprise of the Summer in 6'6 Soph. PF Carlos Monroe a recent transfer from Southern to Monsignor Bonner. Monroe will one day rule the Catholic League. The day I set foot on the asphault of the Point Breeze Develoipmental League at 19th St. & Washington Ave. I saw the City League's next star. He has many of the same traits as Eddie Griffin did at the same stage. Will he be that good? That remains to be seen, but I do know this Southern Coach George Anderson strongly feels that he'd win the Public League Title this year if he still had him. That's enough for me. This kid is poised, he stands tall, he runs like a deer, jumps through the basket and does the little things that veterans do. He needs to be watched with a very clse eye. He'll be a star in the very near future. I hope the Friars know what they have...
MID SUMMER's BEST REPORT
Each and every summer players in the city emerge and come into the Public spotlight. This summer is no different. In this Report, I'd like to divulge my Sleepers and Emerging Stars to date of the summer. Some guys have made a way for themselves out of no way and some have gone from D3 Prospect in the Spring to D1 in the summer. Here's a profile of my Mid Summer's Best:
Charles Jones 6-0 Sr. PG Bartram - Jones has become one of my favorites to watch in the City. He was always one to come through in the Big Games, but who knew he'd become the player that he has become. He is the leader of a pack of wolves (The Bartram Braves) emotionally, vocally & by example. He also has put on one of the best one game perfromances of the summer when he tossed in an under control 45 in the Sonny Hill League. He is arguably the smartest Basketball player in the City. He is alo getting it done where it really counts in the Classroom as he is already qualified with a 2.9 GPA & an 880 SAT. He has received recruiting interest from the High D2's & Low 1's thus far. By January, all of the Low 1's in the Northeast should be involved.
Tim Young 6-3 Sr. WG Edison - Young has continued his top notch play this summer in the Sonny Hill League after an MVP perfromance in the Philly USA All-City Classic. Young is a great athlete, an above average ball-handler and an improving shooter. He has the quickness and slickness to get to the rack against any defender. He also has a high ceiling as he continues to grow and fill out. Prep School could be an option if he doesn't qualify, but qualifying is not out of the question. Rider already has picked up the scent. Many more are soon to follow.
Darnell Johnson 6-0 Sr. PG Central - It seems that every year the Lancers have a kid on this list. Another late starter in the long line of Central Late Bloomers. D.J has made huge strides this summer with his great jump shooting, crisp handle, strength and slick passing. He is arguably the best shooter in the city. The biggest difference is his confidence in his ability. The tools were always there. He is already qualified as well with a 900 SAT and is said to be an average student for Central.
RaShawn Dennis 6-1 Sr. PG-WG Parkway - Dennis is probably the best PG, WG & SF on his team and plays all three positions for the underrated Hoyahs. He could lead Parkway in Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals & Blocks this season. That is almost unheard of. He is also very young for his grade as he won't be 17 until the Fall and he is nowhere near finished growing or filling out. He is arguably the City's most stingy defender and he never backs down from a challenge. Prep School could be an option for "Shawnie" as well, but he, too could qualify.
Brian Smith 5-11 Sr. PG-WG Ben Franklin - B. Smith has also come on this summer. He uses his slick handle and deadly jumper to score in bunches. He still has yet to hone his PG skill, but he does see the floor better than average and he is a hard worker. He has had the high game of the summer scoring 48 down at the Sonny Hill League, not as crisp as Jones' 45, but 48 is 48 and the ball still has to go in the hole. He, too, is young for a Senior and may opt for Prep after his Senior Year. Otherwise, the D2 State Schools will be in steady contact.
Tariq Chandler 6-2+ Sr. SF Fels - Chandler is easily the City's best athlete. He leaps over tall trees in a single bound. He is the City's most explosive Dunker. At one time, I saw him as a terror at the D3 Level, but now I could see him tearing it up in D2 despite his frame. He has many of Charron Fisher's attributes (Extremely Long Arms, Big Hands, Strong Body, but a better athlete) and he's a D1 Prospect. The most impressive thing is that Chandler has expanded his Game to the Wing.
Darrell White 6-5+ Sr. PF Frankford - I saw the ability in White last Winter, but he has just begun to put it all together. He also looks to be still growing, maturing and adding onto an already impressive frame. If he were an inch or two taller all of the Low 1's would be in contact and he'd be a steal for the 2's. He powerfully dunks over people in traffic and buries soft 15 ft Jumpers. He'll be the top Pioneer next year. HJis coaches say that he is a good student and that he is likely to qualify. Neverhtless, he is a very intriguing prospect.
Brian Holsey 6-5 Sr. PF-SF Masterman - This Lefty is listed at 6-6 and he plays 6-9, but he's probably only a true 6-5. He is already qualified high enough for the Ivies and they should be taking notice. Lehigh is an early feeler. He is one of the City's hardest workers. His AAU Coach, Chris Russell (Philly Hoops Gold) feels that his future could be on the Wing. He is agile, athletic, long and coordinated. He also could grow a few more inches in time. He is one of the City's best Rebounder and Shot Blockers. He's also an enforcer, one of the closest things we have to Micheal Blackshear (Gratz 02'). He'll lead the Blue Dragons in Points, Rebounds & Blocked Shots this season and could flirt with a triple double night in and night out.
Jesse Scott 6-5+ Jr. SF Fels - Where in the world did this kid come from? He has been one of the pleasant surprises of the summer as he can score from all over the floor, has athleticism and confidence. He handles and hits the jumper. Not bad for a kid that has never played school ball. This kid has D1 ability. Let's see if he has D1 Focus and if he is willing to learn the game under Coach Dubin. I am watching his situation closely.
Maurice Milner 5-7 Jr. PG Overbrook - Milner has emerged as the #1 Hilltopper. He is a great jump shooter and he is strong and tough. He is also fearless & athletic (He DUNKS!) enough to go in the lane and mix it up with the trees. Milner has the strong will to win and succeed as well. He's also an honor Student in 'Brook's scholar program. He could emerge as one of the City's best Guards in the next year or so.
Kyree Brown 6-0+ Jr. PG-WG Dobbins Tech - The first time I saw him, I liked him. He was a skilled young guard who you could see had learned the game at an early age. Under the tulelage of his coaches at Finley Rec Center in Mt. Airy, Brown is becoming a really good player and his name will come onto the scene this Year. He is Dobbins' most skilled player and looks like he'll have a breakout year.
Tyrone Smith 6-0 Jr. WG-PG Gratz - "Smitty" is a horse in waiting for the Bulldogs. He dunks on the break with two hands and handles and passes like a point. He could also be their best defender. He'll make a name for himself over the course of the year and could become a star by next summer. His big broad shoulders could definitely hold more size and muscle. He reminds me alot of another Bulldog past in Brian Samuels.
Bilal Benn 6-4 Jr. WG Cardinal Dougherty - B.B is no longer happy being the forgotten man at CD and watch for him to really break out this year. I don't think it's a secret that he is the most dangerous Cardinal. He could easily play three positions for them. He is another one of the City's better defenders and shooters. His possibilities are endless if he keeps working hard and stays on course. Benn does do the one thing that every player should always do and that is play hard.
Mike Springman 6-4 Jr. WG-SF Archbishop Carroll - There is much to be liked about Springman's approach to the game. He is tough and physical on both ends and he knows how to score. He does much of what Benn does for CD for Carroll. He is the one guy that I am almost certain Coach Roe must have in the game at all times. D1 Coaches that I've spoken with have called him the perfect Patriot League type.
Keith Grimes 6-2 Jr. WG Southern - Grimes is starting to come around as his game is much more under control and his athleticism is beginning to burgeon. He dunks the ball with the greatest of ease now. The tools were always there and now the player is starting to take shape. He and the Rams other Jr. Guard form one of the City's better backcourts.
Josh Grier 6-4 Jr. SF FLC - Grier is the Bobcat's best athlete. He has also became a legit Wingman. His court demeanor is very impressive as he let's the game come to him and almost never forces. He still has many kinks to work out, but he could become a star by this time next year with added maturity and confidence.
Erik "Ugs" Adams 6-4+ Jr. SF-PF Olney - Adams is Olney's best talent. He works hard on the court. He runs and jumps like a greyhound and he is expanding his game to the wing. By January, Adams could be a household name in City circles.
Matthew Walden 6-8 Jr. C Gratz - Walden is starting to come around. He is dunking the ball when around the basket and developing late like most lefty Big men. He also knocking down everything for 10 feet in. The most important season for Matt will be the Fall Cross-Country Season. That season could trun him from mouse to man.JULY 16
Adidas ABCD Camp (July 7-11 @ Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ)
The Adidas ABCD Camp is year in and year out the Top Camp in the Country as its competition and organization are both second to none. It fields 240 of the America and beyond's best. This year's edition of Adidas ABCD Camp saw the Philly kids do fairly well. Here are my evaluations of how our kids did from what I saw:
Mustafa Shakur 6-3 180 PG Friends Central - Shakur proved at ABCD that he is the best Guard in the country bar none. He outdueled Top notch Rising Junior PGs in 6-6 Shaun Livingston (Peoria, IL), 5-11 Sebastian Telfair (Brooklyn, NY) & 5-11 Darius Washington (Orlando, FL). He then thrashed Louisville commit 6-3 CG Brandon Jenkins (Detriot, MI). He was rated the #2 overall player in Camp by the Hoop Scoop's Clark Francis an #1 by many, many others. Case in point, atleast five high major D1 Head Coaches came to me and said that Shakur is the #2 player in the country behind Lebron James. That is lofty company. The most intriguing thing about it all is that the "Magnificent Mustafa", as analyst Dave Telep metaphored, has better days far from today which is downright scary. Villanova, North Carolina St. & Arizona are said to be his leaders, but I know that the likes of Syracuse, Georgia Tech, U. Conn, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisville & Seton Hall will all speak their piece before its all said and done. Check out the National Websites ESPN.com, CNNSI.com, Insiderhoops.com, ect for more on Shakur.
Maureece Rice 6-0 210 PG-WG Strawberry Mansion - It pains me to say that Rice was a big disappointment at Camp as he left after the second day for reasons that I just can't fathom. He was quoted saying that he didn't like his teammates and that they didn't pass him the ball enough. Before he left, he was said to be 1 of the Top 10 PGs in Camp and that would have surely risen as the week went on. His impulsive action will more than likely take the high majors that picked up the scent off the trail. Low 1's and schools in Mid-Majorland should be chomping at the bit to get a piece of Rice now as his recruitment is in open season. The most frustrating thing is the fact that in Philly we all know what he is capabale of, but this was supposed to be his stage to treat everyone else to what we've all known for so long. Maybe he'll right this wrong, maybe not, only time will tell.
Darnell Corbitt 6-1 165 PG Ben Franklin - Corbitt will return to Franklin in the Fall. He battled and played tough in Teaneck last week. He teamed with Shakur in the backcourt and opened some eyes. Hopefully, he'll stay focused and keep playing to his ability so that even more doors may open.
Jason Cain 6-9 200 PF-SF John Bartram - Cain was rated #21 out of 45 PFs in Camp which was fair for his performance. Cain played well in spurts but, many times he looked frustrated, disinterested and unaggressive because he rarely touched the ball. What I wish he realized was that these Camps are Guard orieneted. For big guys to be at their best, they must crash the boards hard and get put backs. He's still a coveted prospect as all of Mid Majorland and many High Majors are more than a little interested, but I think that this showcase gave hima better feel for what he needs to work on.
Jordan Ingram 6-7 215 PF Archbishop Carroll - I only saw spot action of Ingram on the days that I attended, but from the info that I gathered he was solid. All of the Low 1's in the Northeast will be in contact with Ingram. Coaches from Boston U., UMBC & Maine all expressed interest.
Sean Singletary 5-11 165 PG Jr. Penn Charter - A good assessment is to say that Double S was just fair at Camp. He finished Rated 29th out of 50 PGs that attended Camp which tells an accurate story. What was impressive was that he finished 7th among Rising Junior PGs. This is a great measureing tool for next year's Camp run.
Adidas Three Stripes Tournament (July 12-14 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY)
The Adidas Three Stripes Tourney is in its second year of existence and is one of the bette run Tournies of the summer. This year's edition had a 24 Team field with 2 hailing from Philly. Those teams were Sam Rines (3-1) & the Philadelphia Phoenix (0-4) coached by the legendary Horace Owens. Rines faired very well with only 6 guys, while the Phoenix had a disappointing weekend. Erratic Guard play was at the root of their problems. Here are my evaluations from last weekend with a letter grade next to their names:
Wayne Marshall 6-10 240 C M.L King (B+) - Big Wayne drew the attention of half the ACC (North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia & Maryland) and Big East (U. Conn, St. John's, Syracuse, Villanova, Pittsburgh & Providence) every time the Phoenix played and he didn't disappoint as its easy to see that he is still growing and improving because he is still only 16 years old. It looks like LaSalle & Temple lead for his services, but after Vegas they'll have a war on their hands. He probably left as one of the most talked about names at the whole event.
Troy Roundtree 6-5 225 PF-SF Northeast (A-) - 'Tree had the coaches at the Low and Mid Levels of D1 salivating over his offensive talents and knowledge of the game. He was easily his team's most consitent player and probably the leading scorer. If he were two inches taller, I'd be ready to call him a bonafide Mid Major D1 Prospect (Atlantic 10), but for now there there is much to be said about how Troy gets the job done at 6-5.
Chaz Crawford 6-8 190 PF-C MCI or Hargrave (VA) (B) - Crawford also had an impressive weekend in defeat. Many Mid Major's inquired about Philly's High School version of Theo Ratliff. His better days are far from now. Big Chaz will choose to Prep at either MCI or Hargrave Military Academy. I feel that the latter of the two could make a huge difference in his progression.
Dahliek Powell 6-5 180 SF-WG Prep (C-) - Its still unsure of what Prep D. Powell will attend. He had his moments this weekend against quality Competition though he struggled because at times he tried to do too much. If for nothing else, I was really impressed by the fact that he did not take kindly to losing. He seemed to feel it more than any of his teammates atleast from what the eye could see. There is still much to like about his hard-playing/streetball style.
Zakee Boyd 6-5 185 WG-SF Luthern Prep (A-) - The North Jersey Journeyman will do his 5th year at Philadelphia Luthern Academy. He rose to the occasion in his head to head with in my opinion, the nation's #1 PG in the Class of 2004 6-6 Shaun Livingston by scoring 32 Points on him, Guarding him with success at the other end and getting the W over his stacked AAU Squad, nuff said.
Charles Bronson 6-9 230 C Luthern Prep (B) - When Charles wasn't in foul trouble he had some impressive moments. Bronson is a hard worker as he has improved leaps and bounds in the last year. Big Chuck made for a great play when he spun off a defender for a slam plus one over three guys. He has Low to Mid 1 abilities, but the latter could be his destinationwith continued hard work and gradual improvement. He'll do his 5th year at Philadelphia Luthern.
Joel Green 6-7 190 PF-SF Hargrave Military Academy (B) - He'll Prep at Hargrave (VA) in the fall. He's only 17, has over 1000 on his SATs and is much more aggressive these days. He has a chance to be a good one with the extra year. He impressed many coaches on the Low and Mid levels which would have been a huge stretch from his St. John Neumann days. His confidence seems to be blossoming and it showed in his knocking down of some huge shots.
Kyle Lowry 5-11 165 Jr. PG-WG Northeast (B) - Lowry's play was hard as usual, but in his team's W over CT Select he peaked with an assassainating 33 Point performance. I just hope he stays at Northeast so that I can see him move the scoreboard in killer fashion as only he knows how.
Charron Fisher 6-3 225 Jr. PF-SF Roman Catholic (A) - He really is showing progress towards becoming a wing. He stepped out and knocked down the jumper with regularity. Yet and still, he bullied bigger guys in the paint in scoring and average of over 23 Points and snatching 12 Boards per game.
Bobby Jordan 5-9 150 Soph. PG Roman Catholic (A) - Bobby impressed me more than any of his teammates over the weekend as he proved that he is ready for the Prime Time stage. He ran the team, knocked down the open shot & took good care of the ball with the poise, grit & toughness of a young Bobby Hurley.
Tim Thomas Playaz Gold
Sean Singletary 5-11 165 Jr. PG Penn Charter (B) - Singletary first struggled to find his way with his new squad, but rose to the occasion like fine wine in his team's quarterfinal showdown with the tough Long Island Panthers when his 20 points on 6-of-8 from treyland & 8 Assists to only 2 TOs were enough to give his talent-laden to say the least (8 High Majors) a hard-earned 8 Point win. More importantly, he gained the respect of his new squad after this one as he got the best of his counterpart and fellow Highly Rated Rising Junior PG, 5-11 sniper/quickster, Josh Wright of Utica, NY.
PHILLY USA ALL-CITY CLASSIC REPORT
The 8th Annual Philly USA All-City Classic is now history and once
again a few Philly kids' stocks have risen. This time around a few unknown
guys have made their mark on the scene. Also some guys who many weren't sure
of have played themselves into assurance. There was no Mustafa Shakur or
Maureece Rice, but the show went on and there was not just one player who
emerged as the dust settled, yet there was a whole class, the Sophomore
Class. I've stated in the past that at this point in time there are up to 16
Sophomores in the City Leagues that could play Mid Major D1 or better. That
number could swell to 20-25 by the time they are Seniors. This Class has the
makings of something special. It has it all.
The Freshman Game served as a coming out party for Neumann's 6-5 190-lb
Swingman David Burton. I have said on more than one occasion that Burton is
the most talented player in the Pirate Program. He has been the only one to
hold himself back. Well no one could hold him back at the ACC. He scored in
every way you could imagine en route to his 30 Points. He also grabbed 12
Boards, dished 3 Assists, plucked 4 Steals & Swatted 5 shots. This guy has a
chance to be special. He is already a great one on one player. He plays with
a physical, aggressive nature and he's strong & tough. The scary part of it
all is that he does all of this on natural ability. The Pirates will have a
hard time keeping him out of the lineup next season. 6-3 WG Craig Moore of
Lawrenceville Prep (NJ) proved that he belonged with 8 Points on some sweet
shooting. Also improving their stock were 6-1 185-lb Central WG Scott
Rodgers. He earned the MVP of the Freshman Game with a 14 Point, 5 Rebound &
4 Assist performance. Rodgers is a great athlete who actually played the
Power Forward this season for the Lancers. He played the Point in much of
this one. He'll be the Lancers best returning player. 6-5 Bartram Combo
Forward Daziah Miller (10 Points, 10 Boards) also showed well. He just plays
so hard. He will be a leader one day for the Braves. I haven't seen many
that play as hard is this kid. Hulking, 6-7 Franklin Center Abdullah Moon
looked good as well. He had 2 Monster Slams, something that was tough for
him to do a year ago. In my opinion, he was the 2nd best Big man here behind
6-9 Carroll C Kenny Tribbett. 6-4 Overbrook G-F Ryheim Miller also showed
flashes of being one of this class' elite. 5-6 King PG Khaleaf Smith scored
6 Points and dished 6 Assists. He especially played well in the 2nd Half.
His game is very similar to that of Gratz Jr. PG Omar Johnson. Finally, 6-7
Germantown Academy Forward Brian Grimes gave off mixed impressions in
scoring his 14 Points. He did show that he could step out and hit the
jumper, but in my opinion, he settled for that jumper a bit too much. He is
one to keep watching though.
There was much to talk about in the Sophomore Game. This will be the
best Class in Philly since 1997. In the end, there could be 25-30 guys that
play D1 and 15-20 that play Mid Major on up. It is that good. Arising from
all the dust was Gratz's 6-4 200-lb WG-PG Mark Tyndale. I was totally wrong
about Mark's transfer to Gratz from Frankford being a bad move because in
the long run it's going to make him that much better. Tyndale scored 19
Points in relentless fashion. He may be Gratz's 6th Man next year because of
circumstance, but in just 3 months in Bulldog Country his attitude,
discipline & athleticism have all improved. Add these improvements to an
already seriously talented Ball player and we could be talking about the
next good/great Gratz player. Tyndale even once got up and met Charron
Fisher at the summit on one of his powerful dunk attempts. His development
will be very interesting over the course of the next 2 years. There was also
much to like about 6-5 AFS G-F Dan Lepone. He played with knowledge,
toughness & savvy. Southern PG Antoine "Doo Dirty" Brown put up some serious
numbers with 13 Points, 9 Boards, 4 Assists & 3 Steals. There is much to
like about this kid. Diamond in the Rough Alert: Olney's 6-5 Forward Erik
"Uhgs" Adams showed me alot. He plays hard and he competes. He's also a very
good rebounder. Roman's Fisher (23 Points, 9 Boards) bullied and brodied his
way to another MVP award. Big men parted like the Red Sea when he went up
for his monster Slams. Neumann's PG Richard "Tabby" Cunningham came in with
something to prove to the scouts and left with his point proven and that was
that he is not going anywhere. Tabby dished 7 Assists & plucked 3 Steals. He
broke down his man, whoever that was at will. Another sleeper, 6-4 Dougherty
WG Bilal Benn went for 12 Points and showed his multiple skills. I really
feel that he'll be right there amongst the best in the end. He is can handle
and pass well enough to run the point, he defends like a madman & he is an
above average shooter. 6-8 Penn Charter SF Rob Kurz fared very well. He
shot was going and he played very aggressive. I have a hard time comparing
the 4 Great PGs of the Class (Lowry, Cunningham, Singletary & Brown), but
one thing is for sure and that is for the moment, Penn Charter's 6-0 PG Sean
Singletary is slightly the best. The others are all on even keel right now.
Double S simply makes the difficult look simple. His game is like a 10 Year
Vets. He just knows when to turn it off and when to turn it on, when/where
to pass, when/where to shoot & he does the best job of knowing what to do
and doing it at the same time. I think the best word for Singletary is
another "S" word and that is the very underrated word, Solid. The beauty of
all this is that there is much much more to offer in this Sophomore Class,
The Junior Game made for the emergence of a few players. The first who
helped himself alot has to be 6-3 Edison WG Tim Young. Young scored 16
Points, all on eye-popping moves. He had the play of the day as he threw the
ball off the window a la Tracy McGrady and went amongst the trees and threw
down a high-flying two-handed slam. He also showed his serious one-on-one
skills and his improved shooting. He defintiely proved that he could play
atleast Low 1 and maybe better. I have a close eye on Timmy going into this
summer. I was also very impressed with 6-5 FLC WG Tyreek Byard (17 Points).
Byard even played alot of PG in this one with much success. If this kid's
Jump shot develops we could be talking about a Mid Major Division 1 Player
and a Steal for a Low 1. Both Young & Byard are said to be a very good
academic standing. However, many felt that 6-9 Bartram Forward Jason Cain
(18 Points) should have been MVP. One thing is for sure and that is that
Cain's stock is rising by the minute. I am almost sure that many High Majors
will be in contact before the summer is over and rightfully so. It is an
all-out travesty that this kid has yet to have been invited to Camp. He runs
the floor like a Guard and has the nimble body of a Wing Player. He is the
most athletic Big Man to come through the Pub in some time. West Philly's
6-5 WG Eugene Myatt showed that he still has it. The MCI bound, Myatt again
won the Dunk Contest with one of his patented Slams. This time he took off
from the foul line, double-clutched & cocked for a Slam. This kid's
athleticism should be Illegal. He then took home MVP of the Game with a
performance of 26 Points, 6 Boards & 4 Assists. He may take the great
Northeast by storm this Winter as many Philly kids have in the past.
Neumann's 5-8 Lefty PG Antwain Wynn (9 Points, 6 Assists) also proved that
he is a legit Low 1. He had all of the Scouts saying that there isn't much
difference between he and Carroll's Kashif Payne. That's taking nothing away
from Payne because he is pretty good in his own right, but it an attestment
to how much Wynn has improved. Lastly, I must say the best Prospect on the
Floor wasn't actually a Philly kid. It was 6-8 St. Benedict's (NJ) SF
Stanley Branch, an Atlantic City native. Branch is a Human Highlight Film.
He had atleast 6 Dunks, all of the High-Flying Variety. He has very close
Philly ties as he is very close to Loyalist/Organizer/Consultant, Littel
Vaughn & very close to Mansion star Maureece Rice from their younger days.
Its good to see that he is back on track after a year away from the game
from family hardship.
SPRING REPORT #3
Ah, it's again Early June, the beginning of the emergence of the next
star. Kids get made and broken at this time of year. This all started
yesterday afternoon at La Salle University with the 8th Annual Philly USA
All-City Classic. 7 National and Regional Evaluators were in attendance to
check out some of Philly's top talent. The All-City Classic has become the
summer springboard. Many players have been made at this event. Last year as
many already know, Mustafa Shakur bursted onto the National Scene in front
of all the evaluators earning a spot in the Adidas ABCD Camp after his
outstanding MVP performance. This was a must see event. I will do a Report
on this event tomorrow.
Speaking of the ABCD Camp, once again they have totally disrespected
Philly by only giving us 5 total spots. That is absolutely ridiculous! There
should be atleast 5-10 more spots for Philly area kids. This stuff is
totally out of whack. As it stand right now, 6-3 Friends Central PG Mustafa
Shakur, 6-0 Mansion CG Maureece Rice, 5-11 Council Rock PG Ben Luber, 6-10
King C Wayne Marshall & 6-6 Carroll PF Jordan Ingram are in. As far as the
Rising Seniors, 6-11 280-lb Allentown-Emmaus C Aaron Gray, 6-9 Bartram PF
Jason Cain & 5-9 Carroll PG Kashif Payne should all be in, and I would also
fight for 6-4 U-City CG Tasheed Carr, 6-1 Franklin CG Darnell Corbitt & 6-8
Washington PF Dontay Tabbs. All three could compete in a Camp setting and
show well. Then there should be 4-5 spots for the rising Juniors starting
with 6-7 Dougherty PF DeSean White, the Penn Charter of 6-0 PG Sean
Singletary & 6-8 SF Rob Kurz & 6-4 Roman F Charron Fisher. Then another spot
could be given to any of 5 of the other great sophs. That means that at least
7 more guys should be in and probably 9 or 10. What is going on? The last
time I checked Philadelphia, PA was one of the 5 biggest cities in the
country. This mess is getting to be ridiculous. Hopefully it'll all be
solved in time. I'm just tired of seeing kids get shortchanged.
Many of you have seen my new off season segment One on One with Amauro.
I'd like to know what everybody thinks. This was something that I thought of
in order to familiarize, you the fans with some of our young stars. It'll
also help any of the coaches that faithfully read our site in terms of
finding out what the kids like and who they are close to. The 1st
Installment is with Jason Cain. Today's installment is with Maureece Rice.
Check it out today.
Yesterday, we had our 2nd Annual Philly USA 8th Grade Clinic at Drexel
University. Many young stars showed well. Some will make an impact very soon
on the High School scene. This is normally my forum for deciphering who will
be who amongst next year's Freshman. By Mid next week, I should have a list
of around 60 Rising 9th Graders for the readers to go on my Ratings. I'll
also make a few changes, not many, to the Upper Classmen. Stay tuned...
Lastly, I want to speak on a Non-Basketball matter. That being the
greatness that I witnessed in watching the Nationally Ranked William Penn
Girls Track Team last week at the Public League Championships. These girls
took first place in 8-of-12 events in cruising to the title. All-American
Junior, Juanita Broaddus took hone the 100 meter (11.94 seconds), 200 meter
( 23.87 seconds) & 400 (55.08 seconds) meter titles. All-American Junior,
Christina Smith took the 100 (14.61) & 400 (1:00.04) meter hurdles. Eastern
Kentucky bound Senior, Tyeshia Smith took the 800 (2:17.43). Sr. Madonna
Patterson took the 1600 Meters (5:22.25). Last, the team of Soph. Lynda
Whitfield, Sr. Shanita Byrd, Sr. Tyeshia Thomas & Sr. Kandis Worthington
took the 4 x 400 Relay in a time of 3:56.17. Not to mention, that the Penn
girls took 2nd & 3rd place in the 200 and 2nd place in both hurdles and the
800. That is domination. These girls are brassy, sassy & confident. All of
these girls were winners, not to mention that 2 are World-Class Athletes. No
wonder they are rated one of the Top 5 High School Squads in the Country.
They personify what HS Athletics is all about. Not only did they approach
their sport with a great sense of pride, but they were levelheaded, down to
earth, young ladies. Guess what, Smith & Broaddus are only Juniors! Broaddus
is said to be the Top High School 200 runner in the country. That means that
she could be an Olympian one day. Smith, of the 110 & 400 hurdles has the
looks of a College All-American. Needless to say, these girls made a huge
impression on me. Ofcourse, you all know that I must implement this in my
dealings with the boys hoops. The girls live by the principals that I preach
to the young B-ball Stars that I deal with. They play their sport as hard as
they can, leave it all on the track and they have fun doing it. Not to
mention the fact that they did it with class. They've done something that
not many have been able to do before, left me speechless...
SPRING REPORT #2
Yes, Indeed it is May and offseason B-ball is on full swing. As many have seen, yesterday I posted my new Ratings for the Pre-Summer. I am very much in favor of the new system in oppose to the old rankings format and this will be the first of 6 issues. The next issue will be released in Late August, the Post-Summer Edition. By then many changes will be made in terms of emergences of some players, regressions, reemergences, growths in height & weight, transfers, ect.
Next, I'd like to speak on last weekend's Elite Sports Showcase hosted by longtime North Philly loyalist Charlie Alexander. The event went very well. One player that really impressed me here was 6-4 U-City PG-WG Tasheed Carr. Carr is coming on strong. He's almost having me ready to call him a legit Atlantic 10 caliber prospect. He is definitely worth keeping an eye on this summer. Also looking good was "the Franchise" Richard Francis. Francis stole the show with his high-wire act. He will be taking his show on the road in the Fall to one of two top-notch Jucos, Trinity Valley CC in Texas & Tallahassee CC in Florida. I hope that he maximizes his opportunities. Two Sophs also made great showings in Charron Fisher & Shane Clark. Fisher got MVP with a 40 Point, 15 Board performance. He showed an imminent move to the wing could come as he swished 3 treys. However, he also did hs share of bullying in the paint. Clark made some authorative off-the-dribble moves and did his share of playing well above the rim as well. I feel that these types of off-season events are beneficial for the kids in many ways. Especially in terms of getting familiar with each other, competitiveness & just having plain fun. I back these types of events much more as opposed to other summer competitions.
Next, I'd like to speak of the Pure Game Greater Philadelphia League. This is one of the Top Leagues around of its kind. It has gotten even better with its new sponsor, Pure Game. Ten new Teams will participate this year with a total of 32. This is year in and year out one of my favorites. It begins next Monday, May 13th at 6 PM at Mallery Rec Center on Johnson & Morton Sts in the Germantown-Mt Airy area.
I'd like to speak next on All-American candidate Mustafa Shakur and his preparation to once again lead his Hunting Park/Rasheed Wallace Club Team coached by Greg Wright in battle to take the country by storm. The Warriors start their tour of duty this weekend at the Southern Invitational in Richmond, VA. Then onto to the Bob Gibbons Memorial Day Classic at the end of the month on Tobacco Road in North Carolina. Then they will make their may to the Adidas Three Stripes Tourney in Mid July & finally to the top Club Tourney of its kind, the Adidas Big Time in Las Vegas, NV in late July. This year Shakur will lead an even more imposing cast of characters in battle lead by backcourt mate 6-4 Tasheed Carr, 6-9 200-lb Bartram F Jason Cain & 6-10 240-lb King C Wayne Marshall. Along with a group of adequate role players, this group hopes to take the Nation by storm just as they did last summer in Vegas. Many have come for Mustafa in the past 7 months from Arizona, Maryland, Virginia & Kansas to Syracuse, U. Conn, Seton Hall & Providence on to the locals Villanova & Temple. This should be a long race.
Next, once again two great events are on the horizon as the Philly USA 8th Grade Clinic (Wed. May 29 @ Drexel) & Philly USA All-City Classic (Sat. June 1 @ LaSalle) are just around the corner. The 8th Grade Clinic, in its 2nd year, gives our future stars their first taste of what's to come as they experience a dual session of High Quality All-Star Basketball & Lecture from some of the area's College Coaches. The All-City Classic has been a fixture on the scene since 1995 when the likes of Kobe Bryant, Donnie Carr & Yah Davis took the court at St. Joe's University. Now in 2002, the 8th year of the existence, the names are Shakur, Rice & Marshall and City Basketball is coming back to supremacy. This event is the best offseason exposure event of its kind and gives the kids a chance to show their stuff in front of the top scouts on the East Coast. The rosters with Alternates will be posted later on this week.
Last, but not least, I'd like to give some love to the 9 Rising Srs that I feel could have breakout summers. Some on the Local and some on the National scene will enjoy the success that could prove prominent in what seems to be the most important season in terms of progression for a High School Prospect, the Summer:
Tasheed Carr 6-4 185 CG U-City - Carr has really come on as of late to the point that I am ready to call him a bonafide A-10 Caliber Prospect. There are two things that are in his favor as he has just recently achieved a qualifying SAT score of 840 and he will be running alongside the Nation's #1 PG Prospect in Mustafa Shakur. Therefore, exposure should be plentiful. Not to mention the fact that he is seriously considering reclassifying because he won't turn 17 until December. I feel that he has another growth spurt in him and that comparisons to Jarrett Kearse (Gratz 97') could be in order.
Michael Green 6-0 165 PG FLC - Green has been tabbed the Classic Philly Lead Guard. I feel that he is ready to become a well-respected name on the local scene. He has long been overshadowed by his neighborhood buddy and Franklin star Darnell Corbitt and now looks to be carving out his own space. He mixes ballhandling, with savvy, creativity, fearlessness & marxmanship. For me, he is a carbon copy of my West Catholic Classmate, Jasmine Williams ('97). One thing that he'll have on Jas will be the fact that he'll travel with a high profile team as he will run with the Hunting Park Warriors as well.
Bryant Leach 6-21/2 195 WG Bartram - Leach will definitely bounce back from his puzzling performance in the Pub Semis against Mansion when nothing would go right for him. Last summer he had many saying that he would be the best Leach in the end. Now everyone is questioning his ability. Well not me, I know that Leach will bounce back. He's a Leach and he has unique skills. This summer I feel that he will prove to all the locals that the one game was behind him. The real Bryant Leach will stand up..
Shawn Taylor 6-5 180 SF Northeast - Taylor had a very disappointing season that ended with him being in street clothes for disiplinary reasons missing out on his team's success. He has all the tools to be a very good player and could wind up being another one of those Northeast late bloomers. Taylor mixes a smooth game with major league athleticism. He must learn to control his temper and realize that quitters never prosper.
Jason Cain 6-9 200 PF Bartram - this face up 4-Man could really make a splash on the circuit. He keeps growing and developing by the second. He runs like a deer and has size that exceed his skills. Its all up to him and how much he wants it. Big Jay could be a Big Timer if he wants to. He will travel in some tournies with Hunting Park & others with his Regular squad, Philly Hoops coached by Chris Russell. Already many A-10 Schools are involved. He is also already qualified folks with a 950 on his 1st attempt at the toughest defense player in the City, the SAT.
London Houston 6-71/2 170 PF Friends Central - Houston has many of the same tools as Northeast star Chaz Crawford, yet he is even skinnier. He does block shots like a mad man and uses both hands effectively. He also ha a butter soft touch from the Mid Range. He was very impressive at the Coaches vs Cancer All-Star Game Last Week ehcih leads me to believe that he is ready to realize his potential. Also he'll run with Shakur this summer as well with the Hunting Park Warriors and next year at FC.
Sean McKeon 6-9 210 PF Archbishop Carroll - big Sean really needs to have a productive summer and he should as Carroll will run in the Greater Philly League and in many other summer Tournies together. He has all the tools. It is just a matter of him gaining confidence in his ability. He is no worse than a Lower Level D1 Prospect regardless, but he could work his way into being better. Will he just be satisfied or will he maximize his potential.
Brian Holsey 6-5 195 PF Masterman - many don't know him now, but many more will know who he is after this summer. He probably led the Pub in Triple Doubles this past season. The Big Lefty is still developing and his hard playing style will take him very far. He, too, looks like he could have a growth spurt. His over 1300 on the PSAT could come to the attention of the Ivies and other academic 1's. He'll run with C. Russell's Philly Hoops Club.
Maurice Williams 6-8 230 C Edison - "The Wall" is new to the scene, but he gets better every day. I could see someone taking a chance on the Big Fella who has it all going in the right direction now. His strong build, wide wingspan & size 17 shoe could make him an enforcer one day. He also is very enthusiastic about it all. In this case, this Wall is not also a dead end. He'll run with C. Russell's Philly Hoops squad.
I know, I know, you've gone to the Charlie Weber Tourney at Villanova, or to Conshy or to the Positive Image League or any of the City's Hot & Sweaty gyms and have wondered, Where is Amar? Has he disappeared from the face of the Earth? Well I am here to stay, but I just had a tough Winter and needed some time off. I'm coming back with a vengeance, though, as with these ridiculous NCAA sanctions many of the Marginal Low D1 caliber players are really getting slighted. 4 Kids come to mind that I feel really should be getting more interest from the D1's. The first is 6-5 Roxborough G-F Dahliek Powell. 'Liek should be getting widespread Low and even some Mid interest as his skills suggest. He is said to be very close to qualifying to play as a Freshman, but not many are monitoring his progress. Somebody isn't doing their homework. He would be a perfect fit in the MEAC. I have sent something out to Morgan St., Maryland Eastern-Shore and Delaware St. regarding a few kids, including Powell. Hopefully they'll get back in time...The second is 6-2 Central PG Sharif Bray. Bray has been playing as good as anybody lately. I am absolutely shocked that all the schools in the Patriot League are not involved as he could run any one of those Programs' offense. He is said to be the 2nd and 3rd option on some schools' lists. Hopefully somebody opens their eyes...Next is 6-6 King SF Akeem Wright. Wright is a baby, as he just turned 17. He keeps growing by the day and he is fluid, athletic & well-skilled. I have made statements in the past that Akeem potentially down the line could be better than both of his Coppin St. signee teammates PG Raheem Scott & strong Forward Darron Bradley. He only needs someone to take a chance on him. He will not disappoint 2 years from now. Prep is also definite possibility...The last is 6-1 Furness 2/1G
That said, our city has done very well with some recent signings. Gratz 6-5 SF Maurice "Mardy" Collins has inked with Temple as a more than invited walkon. 6-3 2/1G Danny Rumph of Maine Central Inst. via Parkway inked with Western Kentucky. The King tandem of 6-5 F Darron Bradley & 6-2 power Point Raheem Scott along with 6-7 SF Nick King of Milford Ac. (CT) via Frankford have all inked with Coppin St. The latest news comes from the Plains of the Midwest as 5-11 PG Darien Chavis of Kansas City CC (KS) via Engineering & Science signed yesterday with Colorado St. over Hofstra. That is huge for the Chavis family as Darien was even more of an underdog than his big brother Will and will compete at the highest level just like him. Three other Philly boys will come out of the Juco ranks to attend Big West Mid Major Cal St. Fullerton. The 1st you all may know in 6-1 PG Zakee Smith an all-time crowd favorite who attended FLC & Phila Chr. Ac. and now attends Panola CC (TX). The other two have surfaced out in California, but never played a game of High School Ball. The first is 6-7 PF Ron Roundtree, the 1st cousin of NE Jr. Troy Roundtree. He attended Franklin & PCA. He is an aggressive Forward. The other is probably the best of the bunch in 6-3 high-flying swingman Ralphie "The Sensational" Holmes of Golden West CC via William Penn. "The Sensational" is a 22 year old playground legend. He will take the Big West by storm with his reckless play and his vicious slams. Look for 5-9 Friends Central PG Shejdie Childs, his teammate 6-3 215-lb scoring machine Mike Cook & 6-8 Northeast F-C Chaz Crawford to make decisions in the near future. New Hampshire leads for Childs. He could ink any day now. Cook's clear-cut leader is Providence with East Carolina, U.Mass & College of Charleston still in the mix. Crawford will decide between Monmouth & UNC-Greensboro. Though Prep is an option. If he does indeed go that route Drexel, La Salle and many others could step to the plate. 6-7 Point Forward David Bell of Mt. Zion Academy(NC) via Olney has reportedly achieved the necessary score on the ACT. If that is so, I look for him to attend La Salle next year though many of the biggies may get back involved. I'll keep all posted on every front.
Next on the agenda, I'd like to advise all coaches and parents of underclassman to send their kids to one of the Eastern Invitational Exposure Camp Sessions. The applications for those Camps are on the Hoop Group's website ( www.hoopgroup.com ) with any other info needed. Many Coaches from all over the land attend these Camps. They are held at the College of NJ in Ewing, NJ. The sessions are: #1 July 7-11, #2 July 22-26 & #3 July 28-Aug 1. If any other info is needed, I'll help in any way possible. Parents please realize that any exposure is good exposure in the summer and the only way to get it is to be aggressive.
Next, I'd like to tell all of our faithful readers that I have come up with a new ratings systems instead of the traditional rankings that I have done in the past. It will be a lot different. It'll be based on the HSBI Index and other scouting services. Basically I'll rate mainly the Rising Juniors & Seniors with more emphasis on the latter. The Freshman & Sophs, I'll just list. My new lists will be a little more elite so I'll probably only list the best guys (Projected D2 on up). Stay tuned as these lists will be up in Early May.
Last, I'd like to praise all of the Philly Traveling Squads as they've been kickin some serious butt this Spring. The Nike Patriots squad started the Spring with a win in the 16 and under bracket of the Tim Thomas Spring Fling in Paterson, NJ. They took their Philly counterparts the Cuttino Mobley All-Stars in a see-saw battle in the semis and easily handled the Playaz(NJ) in the Final. 6-4 225-lb Roman Catholic Soph. Forward Charron Fisher, 6-0 Penn Charter Soph. PG Sean Singletary, 6-5 Neumann F Adon El & 6-4 Dougherty Soph. utility man Bilal Benn were said to be standouts. Next the Patriots went all the way to the Semis at the 16 and under portion of the prestigious Nike Boo Williams Tourney. Again Charron Fisher stood out as well as 6-7 220-lb Dougherty Soph DeSean White. Rob Matera, of the Bob Gibbons All-Star Report rated White, "a High Major Prospect with Elite Skills." That is basically one of the Top 25 Prospects in his Class. Both 5-8 Carroll Jr. PG Kashif Payne & 6-8 Penn Charter Soph. SF Rob Kurz also made the trip with the New Jersey All-Stars. Both were said to have made good showings. Also that weekend in the Jerry Watson Spring Classic in Columbus, OH, Philly Hoops 17 and Under squad coached by Gil & Kyle Cosby made a great showing being ousted in the semis, 6-4 Jr. U-City 1/2G Tasheed Carr, 6-9 Jr. Bartram skill Forward Jason Cain & 6-6 Jr. Mansion F Delton Morgan-Hines all made good showings. Philly Hoops younger squad coached by Ron George played up in this one and went 2-1. However, they had an impressive win over the Powerful eventual Champion Adidas Michigan Hurricanes in Pool Play. Southern Soph. Antoine "Doo Dirty" Brown, Northeast Soph. Kyle Lowry, Dougherty Soph. Shane Clark, Furness Freshman Amir Ryan, West Catholic Soph. Marshall Taylor & 6-4 8th Grader Earl Pettis (Neumann) were all said to have stood out. Also that weekend in the Hoop Group Spring Jam Fest in Providence, RI, Positive Image easily dispatched of the Tim Thomas Playaz to take the Open Div. Title behind MVP Mike Cook. His main help came from 6-6 220-lb Rhode Island signee Terrance Mack & 6-3 Western Kentucky signee Danny Rumph. 3-on-3 Enterprises, the Sonny Hill All-Star Team, was ousted in the Semis by the Playaz. Lastly, Philly represented to the fullest at the Charlie Weber Tourney at Villanova U. In the Open Division no squad really emerged, but the buzz on the Main Line was that 6-4 Jr. Friends Central PG Mustafa Shakur emerged as the nation's #1 PG Recruit in 2003 according to all the analysts in attendance. His Hunting Park Team went 4-1. Shakur has an extensive list that includes Temple, Villanova, Syracuse, U. Conn, Seton Hall, Maryland, Virginia, Kansas, Arizona, Duke, ect, ect, ect...There were 2 16 and Under Brackets with Philly Teams making it to both title games. In 16 Bracket #1 Positive Image led by 6-10 King C Wayne Marshall took the South Jersey Blue Devils for the title. Also playing well were 6-6 Southern F Shawn Sabb, 5-6 King Freshman Khaleaf Smith & 6-0 Central PG Darnell Johnson. In the 16u Bracket #2 Philly MJC with only 6 players throughout and 5 for the Finals dropped a tough one to the hard-playing trash talking Baltimore Bombers. MJC's 5 was Kyle Lowry (who was said to have had a monster Tourney), Shane Clark, 6-4 FLC Soph. Josh Grier, 6-5 Ryan Soph. Joe Mullin, 5-7 Ryan Soph. Joe Clancy & 6-5 G. Washington Frosh. Jeremy Coombs. I'll keep all posted in my coming reports as to how the Philly Boyz are doing. As we all know, this is Philly's time of year, so expect nothin' less than domination.