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Hoop Group Future All-America Standouts (Aug. 4)

08/04/2017, 9:15pm EDT
By CoBL Staff

Imhotep's Sami Wylie (above) was one of many impressive underclassman at the Hoop Group Future All-American camp. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
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READING, Pa. -- The Future All-American Camp closes out a six-week run at Albright College for The Hoop Group, as several hundred rising freshmen and sophomores (class of 2020 and 2021) came in from all over the country for four days of skills training and games.

Here are our standouts from the first day of games on Friday:

Bol Akot (2020/Proctor, N.H.)
One of the quickest point guards at the camp, Akot glided past defenders with ease en route to the rim for both the morning and afternoon sessions. At just 5-11, it’s easy to overlook Akot, but he has a very quick first step and is very agile whilst dribbling through the lane. In the morning session he scored 20 points while guarded by Noah Farrakahn. In the afternoon, Akot’s passing was on display, finding open teammates out in transition. As the rising sophomore improves his shot, he’ll add another dimension to his explosive offensive game and become an even tougher guard for opponents.

Dominic Carrington (2020/Mount Carmel, Md.)
Shooters shoot in these kinds of camps, and Carrington didn’t hesitate to launch a corner 3-pointer with one of his first touches of the morning. That one was good, as were the next few he took, as the 5-7 point guard showed his ability to connect from beyond was no fluke; even when he finally missed, it was of the in-and-out variety. Clearly comfortable playing with the ball in his hands, Carrington kept his shot selection fairly in check, taking advantage of defenders closing out harder to take a dribble and then kick to a teammate, picking up several assists in that manner.

Noah Collier (2020/Westtown School, Pa.)
Collier and his teammates put on a show during the afternoon set, getting out in transition and finishing above the rim. The 6-7 wing was the recipient of numerous lobs around the rim, and he made each one look easy with his explosiveness. He also powered through the lane when he did have the ball, bullying defenders and scoring through traffic. On the defensive end he was equally effective, altering shots and rebounding well to get out in transition. Collier is everything you would look for in an all-around wing. He has just one Division I offer for now (Saint Joseph’s), but he should be able to develop even further with more playing time this season.

Eddie ‘E.J.’ Evans (2020/Trenton Catholic, N.J.)
Listed at 6-4, Evans plays much bigger than his size. Evans consistently found himself near the rim both offensively and defensively. Offensively, he pushed towards the basket to no end, finishing through solid defensive pressure. He also displayed a solid touch from outside, knocking down a three early on in the morning set to go along with a smooth baseline pull-up. In spite of how big Evans plays, his ball handling was on display as he found open teammates on multiple occasions. A starter on last year’s Trenton Catholic team, Evans has further worked on his shot to ensure he remains at shooting guard going into this season.

Noah Farrakhan (2020/St. Benedict’s, N.J.)
The 6-2 guard was electric from the moment he stepped on the floor. Farrakhan started scoring early and often in the morning set, posting 23 points to lead his team. His scoring came mostly in the halfcourt offense, using a variety of moves to slide by defenders en route to the rim. The rising sophomore showed an improved shot, knocking down two three pointers and a mid-range jumper. After playing a huge role on a very successful St. Benedict’s team last season, he hopes to be a better all-around teammate and player in his second season.

Jalen Green (2020/San Joaquin, Cali.)
One of the most highly touted players in his class, Green displayed an array of skills in the morning set. Green, a rising sophomore at San Joaquin, looked like a complete player on both ends of the court. Early on, he was a force around the rim, blocking three shots in just his first quarter of action. Later in the game, he showed off his stellar shot, but really excelled at drawing attention to dish it to his teammates. With 12 official offers and plenty more interest across the country, Green figures to be in the national spotlight for years to come.

Darrick Jones Jr. (2020/Midlothian, Va.)
When Jones rises up above the rim, all eyes are on him. The 6-5 guard showed off his impressive bounce in the afternoon set, finishing off multiple fast breaks with slam dunk finishes. The rising sophomore, who says he has been dunking since the 6th grade, is one of the smoothest players at the camp. The lefty guard has a great jump shot, both off the dribble and as a spot-up shooter on the wing. He can get to the rim at will, scoring 10 consecutive points for his team during the afternoon set. Already equipped with four Division I offers, from Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, Winthrop, and Massachusetts, Jones should have more offers on the way as he continues his development.

Frank Kepnang (2021/MacDuffie School, Mass.)
Though he’s listed as a rising freshman, Kepnang is actually going to be a sophomore at the MacDuffie School; he just plans on taking a prep year after he finishes high school, and thus considers himself a 2021 prospect. No matter when he wants to start his college career, the 6-10, 230-pound big man is on track to be recruited at a very high level, based solely off his frame and his clear work ethic displayed on the court. Kepnang is constantly running rim to rim, and he wasn’t afraid to throw his big frame on the floor with gusto after a loose ball, a habit that will win him a lot of favors when college coaches are paying more attention in a year or two. As he continues to become a more fluid athlete and add to his offensive repertoire, he could be one of the top players in his class.

Zed Key (2020/Brentwood, N.Y.)
A powerful forward, Key was one of the most physically impressive prospects at the camp. Standing 6-8 and weighing in at a solid 230 pounds, Key was far from out of shape; he was running the floor hard all game long, and was a problem for whoever got matched up against him on either end. When he finished, or grabbed rebounds, it was with authority, and he started the break well. So far, he’s got two offers, from Stony Brook and Iona; Iowa, Pepperdine and Denver have also reached out after a strong summer on the 15U circuit with the NY Jayhawks. The 15-year-old said he’s starting to work now on his guard skills, so he can be more of a combo forward by the time he gets to the college ranks.

John Kuminga (2021/TBD)
A few weeks removed from moving to the United States, Kuminga is already turning heads. The 6-8 forward oozes potential with his incredible athleticism and ability to run the floor. In the morning set, onlookers were treated to a display of dunks and blocks from the big man. He also brought it when it counted most, pulling down key rebounds late in his morning set while still running the floor well.  Still yet to choose a high school, Kuminga believes he will end up playing somewhere in New York for his upcoming freshman season. Already generating college interest, he is sure to make a high school coach very happy when he decides where he will begin his high school career.

Justin Lewis (2020/Calvert Hall, Md.)
Generally, being 6-7 at just 15 years of age would make one assume that the player plays like big man. In the morning set, Lewis proved that assumption wrong while piling up 24 points. Within the first few minutes of being on the court, Lewis knocked down a 3-pointer, split the defense for a score, and showed how he can use his size in the post. While he acknowledges that his ball handling is still a work in progress, onlookers witnessed how far along it has come, watching as he lowered his head and got the rim with ease on multiple occasions.  Seven schools have already offered the forward, with a few more schools showing interest in him. Look for those numbers to grow as he gets going in his sophomore season at Calvert Hall.

Darius Maddox (2020/St. John’s, D.C.)
A floor general from D.C., Maddox is another bouncy guard that can score and facilitate from everywhere. The 6-4 guard was most effective running in transition, both scoring himself and assisting his teammates for easy buckets. He scored ten consecutive points for his team in the afternoon set, hitting two consecutive threes, then following it up with a layup and slam dunk finish in transition. He handles the ball well, and can easily glide to the rim when given the chance. As a rising sophomore, Maddox will look to play a bigger role for St. John’s this upcoming season.

Nazir Maleek-Williams (St. Joseph’s, N.J.)
In one of the most complete offensive performances of the morning set, Maleek-Williams dropped 29 points. He got it done in a variety of ways, attacking the basket, drawing fouls, and knocking down three three-pointers. Just by watching his quickness on the court, one would have no idea that while playing JV for St. Joseph’s last season, Maleek-Williams fractured his leg. Now fully healthy, he has committed his summer to improving his defense while fine tuning an already solid skillset offensively. He expects to be in the fold for varsity in the upcoming season.

Quaran McPherson (2020/Abraham Lincoln, N.Y.)
Self-confidence was clear in this 6-3 ‘2’ guard, who carried himself with the air of a big-time scorer, and had the game to match. He got his shots from all three levels, displaying smooth athleticism, a quick first step and the ability to create for himself, crossing over a defender and hitting a pull-up jumper one on occasion and knocking down a 3-pointer when the defense sagged off him. St. John’s and Stony Brook have already offered McPherson, who plays with the PSA Cardinals on the Nike EYBL circuit.

Deivon Smith (2020/Grayson, Ga.)
The pick-and-roll is a crucial part of today’s game at the highest levels of hoops, and Smith displayed the ability to run that offense extremely well today. The 5-10 guard came off screens with his head up, finding shooters across the floor with pinpoint passes, and he wasn’t afraid to take his defender to the rim and finish or get to the line. He showed off some serious bounce by dunking off two feet from basically a standstill later on, and had a terrific first step with high-end open court speed. If he continues to grow and be able to handle the increased physicality of the game as he gets older, Smith could be playing at a very high level in college in a few years.

Elijah Taylor (2020/Imhotep Charter, Pa.)
The rising sophomore showed a solid post game, constantly fighting to get to the rim and using his body to get space in the paint. For a player who takes great pride in his hustle, he showed it, attacking the boards at every opportunity. Taylor took advantage of some of his smaller counterparts, perfectly using his 6’8 to send back a couple of shots without picking up unnecessary fouls. The big man will once again be one of Imhotep’s top options going into this season and will most likely add to the one offer (Rutgers) he already has been given.

Nate Tabor (2020/Our Savior New American, C.T.)
As a 6-5, 200lb wing, few players are as strong and explosive in the paint as Tabor. His athleticism and strength were both on display in the afternoon session, as he dominated the glass, grabbing numerous offensive rebounds and getting easy putbacks after moving his opponents off the block; he also showed he can knock down a jumper with a smooth 3-point stroke. The Connecticut native has six Division I offers, including LSU, Auburn, and New Mexico. With his ability to power through defenders and finish through the contact, Tabor is a tough guard for both wings and forwards.

Mark Williams (2020/Norfolk Academy, Va.)
Williams stood out as soon as he stepped onto the court in the morning set. For one thing, he stands 6-11 as a fifteen year old which initially catches the eye. Beyond that, he has an undeniable ability to get up and attack the rim. On several different occasions, Williams grabbed an offensive board, squared to the basket and threw down a two-handed slam. This ferocity was carried over to the defensive side of the ball where Williams sent back three shots and altered plenty more. The rising sophomore is penciled in to be a starter again for Norfolk Academy in the upcoming season. The big man is working on developing a shot and if he does, he will definitely add to the offers he has from Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia, Clemson, Oklahoma State, and Old Dominion.

Lance Ware (2020/Camden, N.J.)
The top prospect in South Jersey is without this 6-9 wing, who’s got a chance to be in five-star territory in a year or two if he puts it all together. Smooth and athletic, moving incredibly well for his size, Ware was playing some point guard for his team on Monday; his most impressive individual play was perhaps a feed into the high post where he sprinted into a backcourt cut for a dunk, but his ability to handle the ball even against pressure and ease of making long passes were eye-opening as well. His motor still needs to run higher and higher, but a move to play for legendary coach John Valore at The High after playing at Life Center as a freshman should help in that aspect.

Gabriel Wuor (2020/Trinity International, Nev.)
Wuor caught our eye at the Hoop Group team camp a few weeks back when he was playing with Bullis School (Md.), and he backed that up with a strong outing on Friday. A mobile 6-10 big man, Wuor is still working on being comfortable with his size, but he’s further along than many with his length at his age. Defensively, he presents a real problem for opponents around the rim, and closes out well on mid-range jumpers, forcing opposing guards to try to shoot over his 7-plus wingspan. Offensively, he’s trying to work on a face-up game, but has no problem catching lobs and finishing at the rim.

Sami Wylie (2020/Imhotep Charter, Pa.)
Wylie proved his unselfishness in the second half of his morning game, when the 5-11 guard found himself with the ball in his hands and the court open in front of him, save for a defender or two. And though it happened about six times in a two-minute span, each time Wylie dished off to a teammate who scored, not once attempting to take it to the rack himself. He did score later on, showing off a nice 3-point ability and a smooth scoop layup with his left (dominant) hand.


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