PITTSBURGH, Pa. –
Division I coaches from near and far flocked to the Under Armour Hoop Group JamFest over the weekend to take in an impressive assembly of talent in the under-17 bracket.
New Jersey's SportsU Team Izod captured the gold bracket championship Sunday in impressive fashion, paced by backcourt mates Josh Brown
and Hallice Cooke
– both 6-foot-3 high-major talents and products of the famed St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
Brown, a Temple commitment, put up 30 points in a Saturday morning victory over East Coast Fusion (Va.). As expected from a Bob Hurley player, Brown doesn't lack defensive intensity, closing out relentlessly on shooters. He rebounds well on both ends.
Cooke also impressed with crisp ball reversals and pinpoint skip passes to open shooters.
Brown and Cooke helped the Friars go 32-0 during the 2011-12 high school season, bringing the school's overall win streak to 65 games. St. Anthony finished No. 1 in MaxPreps.com's Xcellent 25 national rankings for the second year in a row.More JamFest news, notes and standouts
* Twins Aaron
and Andrew Harrison
out of the Houston area entered the JamFest with a target on their back – one they better get used to wearing for the next 12 months.
Andrew is a huge matchup problem at the point guard position. A user-friendly passer, he also moves well off the ball and plays the game at whatever pace he chooses thanks to exceptional ballhandling.
Brother Aaron is a big shooting guard that is tough to stop from getting to the hole.
With size and speed, the Harrisons can both guard three positions in college – but only if they want to lock people down and get stops as badly as they want to display their ball skills.
There are some body language and emotional control issues with the rising senior stars, which is not uncommon with players their age. But quite frankly, they are too special to allow it to continue to be a concern.
* Former Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan guided a loaded DC Assault squad into the semifinals against eventual runner-up Ohio Basketball Club early Sunday. The standing-room only crowd included Kentucky's John Calipari.
Jordan's squad includes Top 100 juniors Nate Britt
and Kris Jenkins
of Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
, as well as Roddy Peters
* Kevin Johnson
revved his non-stop motor loud enough in OBC's win to make college coaches from all levels in attendance take notice. Possibly a high-major late offer guy, the 6-3 lead guard got into the lane at will and finished at a decent rate.
* Six-foot-eight goggled forward Devin Williams
put in work for OBC in the paint on both ends against DC's formidable frontline. The 230-pound, below-the-rim post player played volleyball on the glass and got up and down at a rate you wouldn't expect from a player his size. No telling how many programs will come calling for him in the coming months.
* The secret coming out of Virginia's state capital is so juicy that I almost feel guilty telling it. Devin Robinson
, a 6-7 swingman, helped lead his Richmond Squires club past the SC Raptors Elite on Friday night in a sleepy auxiliary gym at Sewickley Academy. He may have propelled himself into elite status with how he did it. The Jeremy Lamb clone torched the nets from distance by dialing up four triples in the first half. New Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey was on hand to watch the wiry wing eat space off the dribble, put guys on his back in the mid-post and bury a turnaround jumper from 17 feet out that left more than one onlooker starry eyed.
A team absolutely stockpiled with length, the Squires also featured a versatile forward who wasn't afraid to do the dirty work in 6-7 Rodney Williams Jr.
* Class of 2014 standout Dante Buford
competed hard at both ends and was a joy to watch. Buford is a 6-7 forward running with the SC Raptors Elite.
Teammate Jevon Patton
, a 5-9 point guard, was the best on-ball defender I saw over three days and 15 games.
* The Atlanta Xpress are unmatched in terms of length and athleticism, headlined by fluid 7-footer Trayvon Reed
. I could spend a single-spaced page on all the technical flaws in his floor-game, but Reed is a can't-miss prospect at the college level.
Reed's teammate Markel Crawford
has the potential to make significant contributions at a major conference school as soon as he hits campus. The 6-3 Melrose (Memphis, Tenn.)
guard has a gorgeous jumper and plays the game the right way.
* Another team oozing with talent is Virginia's Team Loaded. Troy Caupain
of Cosby (Midlothian)
shined in front of Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg, Mount St. Mary's newly-hired frontman Jamion Christian and a slew of high-major assistants by diving for loose balls, absorbing and finishing through contact on his way to the tin and emitting a palpable passion for the game at a time when most everyone else seemed ready to go home.
Also of note for Team Loaded was Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
wing R.J. Curington
* High Point Christian Academy (N.C.)
prospect Jackson Kent
hit jumpers both off the catch and coming off a handoff that were both contested. The 6-7 combo guard moved his feet well on the other end and navigated through traffic in transition expertly with a change-of-pace tempo required of most guards at the next level.
* The NY Rens had an impressive frontcourt that included 6-8 twin towers Jermaine Lawrence
and Kentan Facey
Lawrence, despite a shaky handle, possesses the length, fluidity, and strength at 6-9 that, when coupled with his picturesque jumper, has coaches reaching for their iPhones during games
A mid-season transfer to Pope John XXIII (Sparta, N.J.)
in 2011-12, Lawrence finished high above the rim in transition and in traffic.
* Torian Graham
(D-One Sports) is on the circuit and expected to re-classify to the Class of 2013 after multiple commitments to North Carolina State and a wild recruitment already.