Khalif Battle (above) picked up Syracuse, Washington, Miami, UConn and VCU offers during July. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Ari Rosenfeld (@ARosenfeldDVHR)
Each July, the live recruiting periods provide a chance for prospects to showcase their skills for college coaches at grassroots tournaments and camps throughout the country. Over the course of the last month, hundreds of area prospects attracted the attention of Division I programs, but it was this group in particular that consistently stood out, doing wonders for their recruiting stock and establishing themselves as a level or two higher than they’d previously been considered.
Below are the area’s biggest stock-risers from the July live periods, listed in alphabetical order:
Khalif Battle (2019/Gill St. Bernard’s, N.J./Team Final)
The younger brother of Syracuse star Tyus Battle, Khalif burst onto the scene this summer with Team Final’s 16U squad after missing his entire sophomore season due to injury. Battle isn’t quite on the level of his brother just yet, who was a fringe five-star prospect throughout his high school years, but has emerged as a legitimate high-major recruit in his own right. A dominant scorer who’s particularly effective from beyond the arc, he was tracked closely by a number of Power Five programs last month and made the trip to Las Vegas to play the third live period at the 17U level. Battle picked up offers from Syracuse and Washington just before the live periods, and added Miami, UConn, and VCU over the course of the live periods; he has also unofficially visited Virginia and head coach Tony Bennett was seen at a number of his games.
Izaiah Brockington (2018/Woodstock Academy, Conn./WeR1)
This is a name that local hoops fans should be plenty familiar with, as Brockington spent the better part of the last three seasons leading Archbishop Ryan in the scoring column, making two trips to the Palestra for the PCL semis in the process. However, late in his senior year, Brockington opted to back out of his commitment to NJIT and spend a post-graduate year at Woodstock in hopes of bolstering his recruitment. Playing for a WeR1 team that won its second straight Under Armour Association title, he wasn’t cast as a go-to scorer, instead using his strong 6-foot-4 frame and freakish athleticism to impact the game as more of an energy guy on the wing. Nevertheless, he saw his recruitment hit solid mid-major territory after a strong showing in Las Vegas, earning offers from La Salle and St. Bonaventure to go along with those from Towson, Robert Morris, and Hartford since his April decommitment.
Drew Friberg (above) proved his worth as one of the better mid-major shooting wings around with a consistently strong July. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Drew Friberg (2018/State College, Pa./Jersey Shore Warriors)
Playing third fiddle to mid-major recruits Ryan Young and Andrew Funk, Friberg established himself this past month as a viable mid-major option in his own right for schools looking for a 3-point sniper. The State College native burst onto the scene as an underclassmen, earning an offer from the Nittany Lions before his sophomore year, and while he hasn’t quite developed into a high-major prospect, his play consistently turned heads all July. A marksman from long range, Friberg looked to be in better shape, allowing him to more effectively attack closeouts and finish at the rim. Friberg already had several offers entering the live periods, but emerged with new scholarship opportunities at Delaware, Lafayette, Columbia, Boston U, Bowling Green, William & Mary, and Penn.
Jalen Gaffney (2019/Westtown, Pa./Team Rio National)
As a member of Team Rio’s vaunted 17U unit, it can be hard to burst out of the shadow of five-star wing guards Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, who have their pick of the nation’s top schools. However, Gaffney proved this month that he’s a legitimate high-major option in his own right, as the 6-foot-3 lead guard was a steady presence on the ball at both the UAA Finals and the UA All-American camp the following week. Possessing ideal size for the point guard spot, Gaffney consistently got the ball where it needed to go offensively, including some explosive drives to the rim, and was a strong presence at the point of attack on defense. A New Jersey native who will transfer into Westtown this year, he’s earned offers from Florida, LSU, Minnesota, Seton Hall, and St. Joe’s just in the past month.
Nah’shon Hyland (2019/Bonner-Prendergast, Pa./WeR1)
After an up-and-down Under Armour Association season, Hyland emerged at the UAA Finals in Atlanta as a viable go-to scoring option for a WeR1 team that made it all the way to the championship game. A Delaware native--this upcoming school year will be his first at Bonner--nicknamed “Bones” for his slender 6-foot-3 frame, he was routinely putting up 20-plus points in seemingly every game his WeR1 squad played. He’ll have to continue to refine his lead guard skills over the next couple years, but the electric scorer has already earned new offers from San Diego and hometown Delaware to go along with a Monmouth offer that he picked up in April.
Elijah Kiah-El (2018/Coastal Academy, N.J./Philly Pride)
A 2017 graduate of Martin Luther King (Pa.), Kiah-El found himself with no Division I offers following his senior season after transferring from fellow Public League school George Washington. After opting for a post-graduate year at Coastal, he hit the AAU circuit with Philly Pride as a 2018 prospect and turned heads all summer as the Under Armour-sponsored squad’s most consistent player. A rebounding machine despite his 6-foot-6 frame, Kiah-El looks to be a much-improved finisher at the rim and is capable of guarding nearly any position on the floor. For his efforts throughout the live periods, Kiah-El earned offers from Coppin State, Hampton, and Eastern Kentucky, with a collection of mid-majors intent on keeping tabs on him throughout his prep year.
K-Low Elite 16U Team
While it was combo guard Dahmir Bishop (2019/Imhotep Charter, Pa.) who truly blew up into a bona-fide high-major prospect over the last month, it would be impossible not to recognize this entire group, which won multiple July tournaments, had an impressive showing in Las Vegas at the Adidas Summer Championship, and saw five players pick up Division I offers. While Bishop led the way, garnering offers from VCU, Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. Joe’s, and Hofstra, he was consistently flanked by the likes of forward Christian Ray (2019/Haverford School, Pa.) and point guard Mark Bradshaw (2019/Glasgow, Del.), each of whom boosted their respective stocks with consistently impressive months; after sitting on a Bowling Green offer for almost a year, Ray added Central Connecticut State, NJIT, and St. Francis (PA), with the latter also becoming the first to offer Bradshaw and athletic wing Karam Cummings (2019/Imhotep). Rounding out the group’s offers was 6-foot-4, 200-pound lead guard Amin Bryant (2019/Archbishop Ryan, Pa.), who also earned his first, from Hartford.
Yazid Powell (2018/Overbrook, Pa./Philly Hurricanes)
Running with one of the city’s top non-sponsored teams, Powell consistently led the way for the Philly Hurricanes in hotly-contested matchups against a number of the area’s more well-known squads. An uber-athletic 6-foot-4 wing, he entered the AAU season as a relative unknown but has now established himself as a priority recruit for several area Division II programs. Far from just an athlete, Powell has developed into a fairly well-rounded scorer, with deep range on his jumper and the ability to blow by defenders on his way to the rim. He’ll be transferring from Boys’ Latin to Overbrook this year, joining AAU teammates Cyrie Coates (2018) and Khalif Washington (2019) to form a trio that’s sure to attract plenty of college coaches throughout the season.
Myles Thompson (2018/Camden, N.J./South Jersey Select)
If you saw Thompson as an underclassmen, starting as an undersized center for Camden High, you probably would think it more likely that he’d emerge as a Division I linebacker prospect than as a D-I caliber wing on the hardwood. But after working hard over the years on both his body and his game, the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder has proven himself to be exactly that. Running with South Jersey Select in several Elevate Hoops and Hoop Group events, Thompson showed off a well-rounded perimeter skillset, featuring a steady 3-point jumper, a quick first step, and sound decision-making with the ball in his hands. With an offer from St. Francis (Pa.) already in his pocket, the All-South Jersey performer will have several other low-major programs on his trail during his senior season.