CT Top 20 Showcase – Event Recap
November 26th, 2008
Connecticut Basketball Club ran their second annual Top 20 Showcase on Tuesday night at New Britain High School. The evening’s action consisted of three games – an underclassmen game, a junior game, and then the senior game.
Like any all-star type game, Tuesday night’s action featured its fair share of highlight reel plays. But there was a 20 second span in the midst of the junior game that was by far the night’s most entertaining. It began when Cromwell’s Isaiah Salafia streaked down the middle of the court with Windsor’s Ishmael Kalilou being the sole defender back to protect the basket. Salafia elevated, and so did Kalilou, but the mid-air contact was just enough to allow the Cromwell star to stay air born and throw down a two handed dunk over the top of his would-be defender.
While the crowd went nuts, the other team quickly took the ball the other way looking to keep the fans yelling. And less than five seconds later they did just that as Denzel Jones soared from the baseline to catch an alley-oop pass thrown from half-court and throw it down with just one hand.
But team one wasn’t done yet. They quickly in-bounded the ball, pushed it up the floor, and took a hurried shot that bounced off the back of the rim. But Greg Langston flew in from out of nowhere, caught the rebound in mid-air with two hands and then threw it back through the rim with just one. The crowd was delighted as they got to see probably the three biggest highlights of the night all in succession.
While sequences like this made the evening entertaining, the players’ desire to look for the highlight reel play seemingly every time down the floor made it virtually impossible to evaluate the prospects in action. The field of players included many of the state’s best including Andre Drummond, Josh Turner, Tyler Olander, Steve Samuels, Adrian Satchell, and Dominique Langston. But the guys who caught our eye were some of the sleepers. With that in mind, here are a few guys who might be flying under the radar right now, but who we expect to turn some heads in the upcoming season.
Julian Harris – The junior from Northwest Catholic obviously spent a lot of time in the gym during the off-season. He has a big and strong 6’5” frame, plays above the rim, attacks the basket hard, and can make shots from the perimeter when he’s in rhythm. But what impressed us was how he competed on the glass and on the defensive end of the floor, even in an all-star game setting.
Jakarri McCallop – “Champ” is noticeably bigger and stronger than he was a year ago. His increased power should give him the ability to be a load in the paint. But he also showed improved range and touch on his jumper on Tuesday night which should help to make him a big mismatch problem who can attack inside and out.
Isaiah Salafia – His explosive dunk wasn’t the only thing to like about his game. He’s a prototypical slasher who has become consistent enough with his jumper to keep defenders honest. He’s a big reason why Cromwell is one of the pre-season favorites to take the class S state title.
P.J. Santavenere – One of the most improved players in the state hands down. He now plays well above the rim, which is truly impressive considering he couldn’t dunk a ball 18 months ago. Combine that with a much improved skill set that features both a consistent three-ball and a solid mid-range game and this Middletown star could turn heads this season.
Denzel Jones – He has an incredible knack for finding ways to get multiple dunks and lay-ups throughout the course of the game. Two of the biggest reasons why are because he runs the floor like a deer and has an incredibly high motor. But with football season about to give way to basketball season, it doesn’t look like Jones will need much time to adjust.