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KYDA Invitational: Standouts (May 1)

05/02/2021, 11:15pm EDT
By Josh Verlin & Ryan Coyle

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) &
Ryan Coyle (@ryancoyle35)

SCRANTON, Pa. — The Electric City was buzzing with hoops energy it hadn’t felt in decades (if ever), as a high-level offseason hoops event drew top talent to Riverfront Sports for the KYDA Invitational. Programs from all three major summer ‘sneaker circuits’ (Nike, Under Armour & Adidas) were all in the building, with more than a handful of future high-major talent showcasing their stuff in front of the assembled fans, scouts, and small-college coaches.

Here’s who really stood out in games we watched; (click here for our recruiting notebook from Saturday):

Gill St. Bernard (N.J.) guard Denver Anglin (above) was knocking down plenty of 3s for the Rens. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Denver Anglin (2022 | NY Renaissance | Gill St. Bernard’s)
Anglin, a 6-foot-2 guard from Jersey, was one of the best knockdown shooters in the gym Saturday afternoon. In the statement victory over Team Final, Anglin recorded 16 points, knocking down four out of his eight 3-point attempts. He has textbook form, with a good release point and was able to get his feet set and shot off quickly. Anglin plays with extreme confidence and energy on both ends of the floor, playing pressure on ball defense and handling the pressure from Team Final’s guards when running the offense for the Rens. 

Reid Belcher (2024 | K-Low Elite | Friends’ Central, Pa.)
Belcher won the Charlie Hustle award for his play Saturday, as the 5-10 guard was flying all over the court for K-Low Elite in a loss to Team Legacy. Belcher was continually chasing after long rebounds, keeping them alive for teammates if he wasn’t able to secure them himself, and he was a big help in K-Low’s half-court trap, with active hands and sprinting back over to cover his man. He also scored 14 points and had three assists, showcasing a nice handle and driving ability and a really quick release on his 3-point shot. 

Naasir Cunningham (2024 | NY Renaissance | Gill St. Bernard’s)
Cunningham might have one of the highest ceilings of any player that walked into the Riverfront Sports complex on Saturday, though he’s still far from a polished product. Playing up an age level, the 6-7 180 pound wing forward with a tremendous wingspan threw down a few emphatic dunks showcasing his athleticism. Cunningham also showed the ability to finish in traffic and through contact despite his slight frame. As he continues to fill into his body and refine his skills, he is a name to monitor. 

Justin Edwards (2023 | Team Final | Imhotep Charter, Pa.)
The 6-7 lefty wing didn’t have his outside shot clicking at all times in Team Final’s matchup against the NY Rens, but the Imhotep standout was able to impact the game in multiple ways (and he did hit the game-winner when it counted). Edwards has impressive length and bounce that he was able to use on the defensive end and on the glass. His outside shot is still a work in progress, but he showed the ability to stop on a dime and hit a pull-up 3-pointer in the contest. A very good free throw shooter with solid form, he’s also starting to show off more of an improved handle, a key for him this offseason.

Kyle Filipowski (2022 | NY Renaissance | Wilbraham & Monson, Mass.)
The most impressive player in the gym Saturday regardless of class was this 6-10, 230-pound forward, though ‘forward’ doesn’t really encapsulate his game. Sure, he can score inside and rebound, as well as face up in the high post, but he has a handle most wings would envy, able to run the fastbreak with his head up and make plays, and he’s got a gorgeous rainbow shot from the 3-point arc. His 21-point, six-rebound effort against Team Final, where he knocked down all three of his triples, was a thoroughly eye-opening outing in all aspects.

Anthony Finkley (above) is a versatile wing forward who can handle, pass, and defend multiple positions. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Anthony Finkley (2023 | K-Low Elite | West Catholic, Pa.)
It’s tough to say exactly what position Finkley is: he’s 6-6 and 225 pounds, and his body/frame suggest an undersized ‘4’ man. But he carries his weight well, with nimble footwork and a good handle, and he’s really more of a point-forward who can score inside when needed; he’s also a terrific passer, and always plays with his head up. The type of player who doesn’t need to be scoring to have a positive impact on the game. Needs to show he can be a consistent 3-point shooter at the next level.

Dylan Harper (2024 | Team Legacy | Don Bosco Prep, N.J.)
The son of former NBA standout Ron Harper and younger brother of Rutgers standout Ron Harper Jr., Dylan Harper certainly looks like he’s going to be following in the family footsteps of being pretty darn good at basketball. Already a 6-4 guard, the lefty shooting guard has a smooth stroke from the outside but he also showed that he’s a willing and capable passer, giving up decent looks for better ones for his teammates. Like most freshmen, still has moments where he’s less engaged; he’ll have an even greater impact once he’s giving maximum effort all the time. Family legacy suggests that won’t be a problem.

Mike “Deuce” Jones (2024 | Team Final | Trenton Catholic, N.J.)
“Deuce” was one of the more productive guards regardless of age in the gym on Saturday. From tip to finish, Jones was very active on both ends of the floor. He plays with a very high basketball IQ and was consistently able to pick his opponents pockets in the open floor to generate a steal and points the other way. He showed his ability to score from all three levels and dropped off some nifty passes as well. Perhaps most impressive is his consistent way to score through contact, adjusting his body and shot time and time again to get it through the hoop.

Dereck Lively II (2022 | Team Final | Westtown School, Pa.)
Lively did a little bit of everything on Saturday and it is easy to see why he is being looked at amongst high-majors and blue bloods throughout the country. The athletic 7-1 big man runs the floor extremely well and showcased his good hands around the rim, throwing down multiple alley-oop dunks. Lively is extremely fluid with his movements and was comfortable guarding on the perimeter, as well as providing his services as an elite rim protector. 

T.J. Robinson (above) had a successful freshman season at Teaneck (N.J.). (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

T.J. Robinson (2024 | Team Legacy | Teaneck, N.J.)
Robinson had a strong freshman year at Teaneck, surpassing the 20-point mark numerous times. He showed why Saturday, as the 5-11 lefty guard continuously got to the hoop and finished through and around contact, knocking down several 3-pointers as well. Robinson wasn’t shy about pushing the rock in transition, and he was good at getting into the lane and either dumping off to a big or finding shooters.

Thomas Sorber (2024 | Team Final | Trenton Catholic, N.J.)
The big-bodied 6-7 forward from Trenton Catholic plays with great intensity and crashes the glass hard on both ends of the floor. Although he didn’t make his lone three-point attempt in Team Final’s first contest against the NY Rens, Sorber showed good form on his outside shot. The big man has soft touch around the basket and is a name to watch as he continues to hit the weight room. 

Darren Williams (2024 | K-Low Elite | Archbishop Ryan, Pa.)
A point guard with good size (6-2, 170 pounds), Williams already has a strong frame for a freshman, and he uses that to his advantage to work his way into the paint, where he’s a patient finisher amongst the trees. The left-handed guard also hit a couple 3s, but his shot can certainly develop more consistency over time. Confident with the ball in his hands, Williams has a good handle but got into some over-dribbling situations, something he’ll refine as he gets older. All-in-all he’s got a good skill set to build on and the athleticism/effort to be a plus defender, too.

Robert Wright III (2024 | Team Final | Neumann-Goretti, Pa.)
When Wright and Deuce Jones (see above) both have it rolling, the Final 15s are especially fun to watch. Wright is a 6-0 combo guard with a scorer’s touch, loving to drive baseline on his man and finish on reverse layups as easily as he drops in 3-pointers, which he does with confidence in both pull-up and spot-up situations. With Neumann-Goretti graduating its starting backcourt, Wright’s going to be in for a big step up in minutes and responsibilities next fall.

Honorable Mention
Dom Barlow (2022 | NY Renaissance | Dumont, N.J.), Rahmir Barno (2023 | Team Final | Imhotep Charter, Pa.), Jonathan Beagle (2022 | City Rocks | St. Thomas More, Conn.), Jameel Brown (2022 | Team Final | Haverford School, Pa.), Julian Brown (2022 | City Rocks | Bergen Catholic, N.J.), Xzayvier Brown (2022 | K-Low Elite | Roman Catholic, Pa.), Corey Floyd (2022 | Team Final | Roselle Catholic, N.J.), Scotty Middleton (2023 | NY Rens | Patrick School, N.J.), Chisom Okpara (2022 | NY Renaissance | La Lumiere, Ind.),Trey Shinholster (2023 | K-Low Elite | Penn Charter, Pa.), Zion Stanford (2023 | K-Low Elite | West Catholic, Pa.), Simeon Wilcher (2023 | NY Renaissance | Roselle Catholic, N.J.)

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Tag(s): Home  Recruiting  Josh Verlin  Xzayvier Brown  Ryan Coyle  Rahmir Barno  Justin Edwards  Dereck Lively II  Robert Wright III  Jameel Brown  Deuce Jones  Thomas Sorber  Reid Belcher  Darren Williams  Anthony Finkley