HoopHall Spring Classic – u16 Recap
May 19th, 2009
By Nick Restifo
There were many youngsters who played well in the 16 year old division, some who were notably impressive, and even a couple who completely stood out from all others.
Andre Drummond, PF/C, 6'9", CBC
Drummond turned heads on Sunday with his huge frame and dominance inside. Unlike most raw prospects his age, he had a lot of meat on his bones to go along with an obscenely unfair wingspan that allowed him to scoop up any rebound that came even close to him. His jumping ability, length, and size lead to many put-backs and offensive rebounds that seemed almost effortless. He dunked several times, including on the fast break, to complete alley-oops (some of which were bad, ambitious passes that he still converted) and even from a stand still straight over defenders in the paint. He had a 36 point game against VBC, mainly due to his active presence on the offensive glass. At times however, he fancied himself a point forward. While playing out of position is typical of a young player, his dribble is not strong and needs to be worked on before he can complete the moves he was attempting. Too often he had his head down and ignored the call of his teammates to surrender the ball and run offense. Additionally, he needs to learn the difference between a good shot and a bad shot. Also, his footwork and positioning around the basket could also improve, mostly because he wandered a lot and never really looked to post up much. No matter what, he is an impressive, impressive player, and the sky is truly the limit for this prospect.
John Papale, SG, 6'4", Connecticut Hoopstars
Everything about this kid says standard at first look, but don't ever judge a book by its cover. He showed off a beautiful shot and shooting form as he exploded for an 18 point first half and a 26 point game despite his team's loss. He was automatic when open and whenever he was inside 17 feet, contested or not. His release was extremely quick and was not hesitant with his shot, if he thought he had it, he was pulling it. Best of all, unlike some shooters, he was not at all afraid to put the ball on the floor to get closer to the hoop and showed off a strong dribble and a dazzling array of moves in order to get a pull up jumper off, including a beautiful go-to spin. Almost all of his shots were contested, and he fully earned his 26 points. No matter what the defense was doing, this kid was putting the ball in the hoop, and if he got the ball to mid range with 1 man on him, it was almost assured.
Jerome Harris, PG/SG, 5'11", CBC
Part of CBC's elite guard trio, this kid can dribble by anyone with a quick crossover and showed good court vision running the point. He had a solid jump shot and during the course of the tournament hit almost all of his open looks.
Steve Santavenere, PG, 5'10", CBC
Showed good court vision and when he penetrated off the dribble, he adjusted his shots well in traffic in order to score. He was one of the best man-to-man defender at the tournament, as he used his speed and quickness to get his chest (and not his hands, although they were very pesky) in front of opponents to stop them. His tenacious defense and active hands led to more than a few turnovers that he himself forced and his team often ran a 2-2-1 zone defense with him at the 1 position to take advantage of his stellar defensive talents.
Anthony Jernigan, PG, 5'8", CBC
Playing in his first tournament of the spring, Jernigan was still one of the more fun players to watch in the field. He has solid speed and an amazing handle, and was not shy about showing it off. He dared people to guard him close so he could simply blow by them and once he got into the paint he was creative with the ball in both hands in order to find an angle to finish or an open teammate. He had very fast hands, an underrated talent, and his style of gorgeous dribbling, ball fakes, and fancy, creative finishes made you want to play with him.
Kevin Rivers, SF, 6'7", CBC
This big showed he can play the 3 very well, and often took advantage of his height in order to score, which many young players do not look to do nowadays. He showcased a strong jumper, the range of which extended to beyond the 3 point arch, and it was even more potent off the dribble. Rivers crashed the offensive boards very well, and was always hustling in transition to try and get a few easy points.
Dajun Coleman, C, Syracuse Select/New England Playaz
Another huge kid at the Spring Classic, this player was not lanky like Andre Drummond but rather bigger in terms of weight and girth. Coleman established position underneath well and showed off a nice touch directly around the hoop. On defense, he stayed home and kept his hands straight up, making shots harder for opponents without fouling them. He also saw the floor well a big man, as he had several assists to slashing teammates when he saw doubles coming.
Matt Correa, PG, Connecticut Select
In a game against Dunbar where the rest of his team flustered and lost their cool against a big run, he single handedly kept his team together and won them the game through his defense, decision making, and most of all composure at the point guard position. He played smart and scored a lot of points off of fast breaks that he himself began by forcing turnovers with his excellent man to man defense. His clutch play, finishes in transition, and scoring and passing off of dribble penetration won his team the game against a strong Dunbar team.
Christian McCue, SG, MBR
Moore is a pure shooter with beautiful and perfect technical form and hit more than his fair share of 3s. His release was quick and his trigger finger quicker, if he thought he could make it, he would spot up and shot it, and usually it fell. He played with a shooter's mentality and was constantly moving with his hands ready to shoot, working hard off the ball to get his shot. He also displayed creativity with his passes, as he had more than one nice bounce pass that led to points for his teammates.
Nate Thistle, SF/PF, MBR
He wasn't much of a scorer, although he did finish well inside, and rolled well off the pick and roll, which lead to several easy points for him. But the strength of this young player is that he is everywhere on the court, fighting for every rebound, causing problems for every offensive player, and forcing turnovers through team defense. There was more than one occasion where Thistle stole passes from off-ball defense. Most importantly, he took several different scorers out of the game by simply frustrating them with his pesky (and when the refs weren't looking, dirty) defense.
Ben Nunez, PG/SG, Rhode Island Hawks
When he was playing, Nunez was probably the fastest kid on the court. He hustled everywhere, and if the ball was on the floor, so was he. He had a very unorthodox shooting form but it often went in if he got a clean enough look.
Juan Lopez, PG, Dunbar
He attacked the rim aggressively and with confidence and did a good job of both finishing and finding teammates once there.
Nate Stitchell, PG/SG, Rhode Island Hawks
This combo guard shot the ball well, was very fast, and had a very quick and refined handle.
Dante Gomes, SG/SF, Rhode Island Hawks
He loved having the ball in his hands and used a go to crossover and an explosive first step to beat defenders off the dribble and get straight to the basket.
Cam Shorey, PF, MBR
This big man finished well underneath and made a few nice reverses. His hands were annoying and active to opponents on D and his help defense was excellent, stopping his opponents' penetration several times.
Andre Makris PF/C, Connecticut Basketball Club
This kid always seemed to be in the right place at the right time on the boards and proved throughout the tournament that he could knock down an open 15 footer. On defense, he stayed on his feet and had great block timing.
Jakarri McCallop, PF, Connecticut Basketball Club
He was active on the glass, using his height and jumping ability to get a ton of garbage points on put-backs.
Jake Donnelly, SG, Vermont Basketball Club
A great shooter, he made several long jumpers when left open and also wasn't intimidated by his infinitely bigger and more athletic competition. He took the ball straight at kids who were a good 8 inches taller than him even after he got blocked a few times.
Josh Varney, PF, Vermont Basketball Club
He established position on the block very well and used the size he had along with very sound footwork to score against kids who were more athletic than he was. He also finished very well off of assists from his backcourt.