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Hoop Group AC Jam Fest: 2022s Notebook (July 7-8)

07/09/2021, 12:15am EDT
By Josh Verlin & Zak Wolf

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) &
Zak Wolf (@ZakWolf22)

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The Hoop Group’s mega-tournament series invaded the AC Convention Center this week for a three-day affair running Wednesday night through Friday afternoon, with Division I coaches in attendance for the latter two days of games spread across more than two dozen courts.

Here’s a notebook featuring news and notes on some 2022 prospects from the first couple days of the event: 

(More coverage: Day Two 2023s Notebook | Day One Notebook)


Northfield Mt. Hermon (Mass.) post Peter Carey (above) has seen his recruitment rocket into high-major territory this offseason. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Peter Carey (2022 | NY Lightning Select | Northfield Mt. Hermon, Mass.)

Carey has had an unorthodox start to his recruiting journey, but the wait was well worth it. He transferred to New England powerhouse Northfield Mount Hermon for his junior season, but there was one problem: They didn’t have a season. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Northfield was unable to play any games against other schools this past winter. With no games to play, Carey and his teammates did their best to make sure the season wasn’t wasted. Whether it was working out individually to try and improve his game or the intrasquad scrimmages, Carey made the most out of every opportunity he had. 

“I’ve had a lot of work mentally that I’ve done and I feel like that’s really helped me out,” Carey said. “Physically, I’ve just been getting stronger and taking my game to the next level.”

The recent live periods were the first time Carey was able to play with NMH, one of the top prep school programs in New England, against other schools. The rising senior played well during NMH’s only active weekend, the last weekend of June, when they played at Avon Old Farm (Conn.) during the New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC)’s open event.

“I was not disappointed at all,” he said. “This is such a great program with a great bunch of guys. We’re going to have a lot of success this coming year.

“I thought the NEPSAC was an amazing event,” he added. “[We’re] such a high-level team, so much talent, and we had a great weekend.” 

“I was always tall for my age. I hit a growth spurt, eighth to ninth grade, I went from 6-foot to 6-6, then from there I went to 6-6 to 6-8 the next year, and 6-8 to 6-11.”

Carey is certainly making his presence known, and it’s kind of hard not to when you’re 7 feet tall and 205 pounds.

He’s best on the defensive end, using his long wingspan to his advantage to protect the rim at a high level. On offense he sets good screens and uses his size to his advantage when trying to carve out space in the post. Carey is still trying to add some sort of midrange jumper to his game, with a turnaround shot being his go-to move in the post at times. He understands the importance of expanding his range and how useful that could be at the next level. 

“My midrange is coming around a lot, but to be able to stretch the floor with a 3-point jump shot would be lethal at my height,” Carey said. “So it’s definitely coming along.”

The biggest aspect of Carey’s game is his motor and mobility for a player of his size, which has garnered the attention of many Division I schools. With offers from Rutgers, Albany, UMass and St. Bonaventure, the 7-footer has plenty of options to his growing list of schools. He’s also drawing interest from Ivy League schools, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Syracuse. 

Carey has been on three visits so far: Rutgers, UMass and Colombia. He mentioned how the Rutgers visit was his favorite so far, but in no way is this the end of his recruitment journey. 

Carey’s recent success has come as no surprise for him.

“I always knew in the back of my head that I have the potential to get there,” he said. “It was just going to be a matter of how hard I worked, and I put in enough work this year that things are starting to come together, and it was at a perfect time. I’m pretty excited and happy but I’m not satisfied.” — Zak Wolf

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Nicolo Nobili (above, in April) has picked up several Division I offers this summer since announcing a prep move. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Nicolo Nobili (2022 | SJ Hoops Elite | SPIRE Institute, Ohio)

Despite being over 4,200 miles from home, Nicolo Nobili has found himself right at home at SPIRE Institute in Geneva Ohio. Growing up in Bologna Italy, Nobili didn’t have much knowledge about playing college basketball before he moved to the United States but now he realizes it's his dream to play Division I basketball.

Nobili played two seasons for Paul VI, gaining experience playing in the U.S and quickly learning about the process of getting recruited and what it entails. He recently decided to reclassify to the class of 2022 and play for Spire’s post-graduate team to continue to develop his game and accumulate more offers to fulfill his new dream of playing Division I basketball. 

Spire has gained attention in the past few years for producing players like NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball and other Division I talents like Rocket Watts (Michigan State) and Isaiah Jackson (Kentucky). Nobili explained what went into his decision: “The coach of Spire came to me and I went up to Ohio; I saw all the facilities and everything and I said ‘why not?’ I’m just going to go there and get better every day, it’s the only thing I can do.” 

Nobili has a rather unique playing style, in which he does a little bit of everything. Typically players that are 6-10 and 230 pounds are put down low, but Nobili is different. He does like to operate from the post at times, but he also has the ability to bring the ball up the floor and initiate the offense as a sort of point forward. 

Nobili has a terrific feel for the game, taking players off the dribble as well as backing them down, using his height and size to his advantage, but he also knows when to give the ball up. He’s able to find his teammates with flashy pases when he’s double teamed or when the defense collapses in the lane. 

Playing in Italy against bigger players helped mold his unorthodox way of playing.

“When I was back in Italy, I used to play with a team that was way bigger than what I’m playing with now,” he said. “I just learned how to play with the ball, but I also have experience playing closer to the basket because of my size.” 

Watching other European players like Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic has become a hobby of Nobili’s, along with watching his own film to see what he can do to improve his skills. 

“My favorite player is Luka Doncic, because he’s European and he can do anything,” Nobili said. “I watch him a lot and I watch Jokic. He can really see the floor and understands the game well, so I just try to learn something about him as well”

Nobili sees himself playing as a stretch four in college because of his ability to shoot the ball, which was on full display Thursday. He knocked down 5 of his 6 attempts from deep in a 29-point performance against Metro Boston. So far the big man has picked up offers from Boston University, Holy Cross and Lafayette with Lehigh showing interest as well. 

While trying to take his game to the next level, Nobilli wants to be quicker with his dribble and improve his mobility so he can be as effective as possible moving forward: “I’m working a lot on my ball handling, since I’m pretty big, I’m slower than most guards when dribbling,” he said. “My passing ability also, I’m watching a lot of film of our games to see what I can do to get better in certain situations.”

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Quin Berger (above) is on track to follow his brother T.J. into the Division I ranks. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Quick Hits

Quin Berger (2022 | NJ Shoreshots | Westtown School, Pa.) admitted he was nervous — the good kind of nervous — to get back in front of playing in college coaches, especially after missing out on his entire 16U summer and the entry course it would have provided a year ago. Instead, the Westtown senior has jumped right into the thick of it, playing in front of dozens of high-major coaches with the Moose during the June live periods and in front of just as many with the ShoreShots in July. 

“It’s exciting, and a little bit nerve-wracking,” he said, “but that’s what I look for, that’s what I think a player should want, that sort of high-adrenaline environment.”

The 6-1, 190-pound guard and son of Westtown coach Seth Berger picked up his first Division I offer, from new College of Charleston head coach Pat Kelsey, earlier this month; he’s also recently heard from Yale, Brown and Towson. Knowing that college coaches will have plenty of reasons to come watch Westtown this fall and into the season, Berger isn’t pressuring himself to make a fall decision, but he said he’d like to do so if he finds the right spot; he’s yet to take any visits.

To get himself through the grueling summer recruiting periods and stay prepared for his senior year, Berger’s relying on some advice from his older brother T.J. Berger, who played at Westtown and just transferred from Georgetown to San Diego: “really take care of your body,” Quin Berger relayed. “He said almost nobody makes it out without a little nick or little injury, but if you can stretch, ice, warm up, cool down properly, you should be good.”

— Brad Wanamaker Elite’s 17U group made it to the 17U Gold bracket semifinals with a pair of wins on Thursday, including 49-23 over Global Squad-Rogers earlier in the day. Leading the way was Rocktop Academy (Pa.) 2022 wing EJ Greer, who had 14 points and four rebounds, including three 3-pointers; the 6-5, 155-pound wing is finishing up at Rocktop after previously attending Delaware County Christian School, and is hearing from a mix of schools at the next level. Angel Otero (22/Roman Catholic) and Adam ‘Budd’ Clark (23/West Catholic) added 10 points apiece for BW Elite, which gets NJ Shoreshots-Kovner in the semifinals Friday morning.

Another strong all-around team effort came from the NJ Panthers’s oldest group in a win over the NY Rens’ 16s playing up an age group, with the Panthers taking an 86-71 victory. Four different Panthers finished in double figures: Aidan Kehoe (22/Canterbury School, Conn.) had 20 points and 12 rebounds; Ethan Simmon (22/St. Joe’s-Metuchen) had 16 points and three boards; Jayden Brown (22/Immaculate Conception, N.J.) had 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals; and Kunga Tsering (22/Woodstock Academy, Conn.) had 11 points and seven rebounds; Ryan Pettit (22/Rutgers Prep, N.J.) added nine points, six assists, four steals, and four rebounds. — Josh Verlin

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— Tyshawn Trail (2022 | Diallo Elite | Lee Academy, Maine) had an impressive performance, scoring 20 points in a comfortable 68-57 win over Central PA Elite. Trail scored in a multitude of ways, whether it was knocking down a couple shots from three, or getting into the lane and finishing at the rim. He also showed off his athleticism, with a couple of dunks in transition. Standing at 6-4, Trail has good length for a guard and used it to be disruptive on the defensive end. With offers from Bryant and Norfolk State already on the table, the Queens native said he’s also getting looked at by James Madision and New Mexico. — Zak Wolf


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