CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
MANHEIM, Pa. — The Hoop Group’s jam fest tournament series hit the road from Atlantic City this week to the massive Spooky Nook Sports complex for the weekend, with the series’ mix of HG Showcase League (HGSL) programs mixing it up with other independent grassroots programs as well as a few Nike EYBL squads. It was a field that drew plenty of Division I colleges to the Nook, including head coaches and assistants from the highest-level programs all the way down to D-III staffs.
Here’s who stood out in front of the CoBL staff in games we attended during the morning and afternoon sets:
Kyle Filipowski (2022 | NY Renaissance)
It was tough to pick any one true standout from the Rens in their 64-44 win over District Basketball Club on Saturday afternoon, as all 10 players who took the court entered the scoring column, and just about every one of them had something good to write home about. But from a pure prospect perspective, it’s tough not to be impressed by the 6-11 Filipowski, the shorter of the two Filipowski brothers. The mobile forward is truly impressive with the ball in his hands, capable of delivering on-point behind-the-back passes and splitting double teams to get to the rim, and and he’s a high-level rebounder and rim protector; his stat line for the game was four points, seven rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal. That versatility is why Duke, UNC, Michigan and more are all over him.
Corey Floyd (above, right) put his post game on display in Final's win over Crown Basketball. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Corey Floyd (2022 | Team Final)
A 6-5 wing guard, Floyd showed off his versatility in Team Final’s win over Crown basketball by posting up in numerous situations, getting more points on post-ups than either of Final’s elite big men. Floyd, bound for UConn next year, is a high-level athlete and physical specimen in the backcourt, and the post ability is just one wrinkle in his offensive game; he finished with 14 points, three assists, two steals and a rebound in the hard-fought victory.
DeShawn Harris-Smith (2023 | Takeover)
Harris-Smith was only playing in his second game of the summer in Takeover’s 66-51 victory over Team Flash Saturday after a high ankle sprain kept him sidelined. The 6-4 lefty shooting guard, and Takeover, started off slow. Harris-Smith, and teammate Jacoi Hutchinson, took over the game in the second half. Harris-Smith has a smooth jumper, is a terrific free throw shooter and showed ease in getting to the basket. At 200 pounds, he can bang down low, but also has crafty floaters and finesse finishes around the rim. The rising junior at Paul VI Catholic in Fairfax, Va. mentioned offers from DePaul, George Mason, Georgetown, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Penn State, Radford, St. Joe’s and VCU.
Jacoi Hutchinson (2023 | Team Takeover)
Hutchinson plays like a tenured veteran. Seemingly always under control, Hutchinson aided Team Takeover in a 66-51 victory over Team Flash by orchestrating the offense fluidly, showcasing a tight handle and dropping in buckets from all over the court, especially floaters in the lane. The 6-3, 179-pound combo guard sparked a second half that saw Takeover pull away after a groggy first half. Hutchinson, coming from a guard factory in DeMatha, said he plans to work on getting more elevation on his shot the rest of the summer and high school season. He smiled and said his goal was to get (another) Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) title in his junior year. Hutchinson has garnered offers from Bryant, George Washington, LSU, Maryland, North Carolina A&T, Penn State, Pitt, St. Joe’s and Virginia Tech.
Mike “Deuce” Jones (2024 | Team Final)
The newest point guard at Archbishop Ryan is primed for a huge sophomore season but first, he is showcasing that on the AAU circuit. The 6-2 guard poured in 11 points in a win over PPA Broncos. He runs the point with veteran composure, finding teammates with ease and getting into the lane on a regular basis. After flourishing at Trenton Catholic (N.J.) as a freshman, Jones is ready to burst onto the scene in the Philadelphia Catholic League. His feel for the game is impeccable and he is only getting more comfortable in finding ways to get teammates involved while also creating scoring possibilities for himself.
Alex Karaban (2022 | Expressions Elite)
Alex Karaban showed off his smooth, all-around game in Expressions’ 63-45 victory over SJ Hoops Elite in the 11:50 slate. Expressions outscored SJHE 31-18 in the second half. Karaban (IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla., 2022) finished with 23 points coming in a variety of ways. The 6-8 forward has a strong drive to the basket and solid footwork in the post. He can handle the ball and will knock down open 3’s and foul shots. Shooting might be his best asset. Karaban is also active defensively and on the glass. He always seems to make the right play and keeps a level head, showing almost no emotion throughout the game. He has picked up a bucket of Division I offers including schools from the Big East, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and beyond.
Jaden Kealey (2022 I Crown Basketball)
Kealey certainly raised his stock with his performance against Team Final, and he did it at a great time, with dozens of D-I coaches there to see the high-level matchup. The 6-6 forward scored the first five points of the game on his way to a team-high 11, as well as four rebounds, two assists and two steals. He went at the imposing Final front line of 6-10 Jalen Duren and 7-1 Dereck Lively II and even drew a few fouls in the process. He was not afraid of the moment or hype and it showed from the opening tip. Having already secured an offer from Central Connecticut State, expect Kealey to bring in a few more as the live period comes to a close at the end of the month.
Ethan Meuser (2022 | NEPA Elite)
Meuser is a versatile big man who can score inside and out. The 6-8 forward had 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in a win over a WeR1 Select. He sat for much of the first half with foul trouble but came out much more assertive scoring 10 points after the break. He starred at Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) and chose to reclassify to the Class of 2022 by enrolling at the Hill School. He performs well in the high post, finding teammates on the block or knocking down a midrange jumper. He is a relentless rebounder and is continuing to grow into his body. The future is bright for the young, talented big.
Otega Oweh (2022 | Team Final)
Oweh’s pure athleticism always seems to be on display, as it was when he took a handoff from Jalen Duren on an out-of-bounds play and turned two dribbles into a thunderous two-hand dunk. The 6-4 muscular guard poured in 14 points and six rebounds in a win over Crown Basketball with multiple D-1 coaches looking on, including Penn State’s Micah Shrewsberry. Oweh went on a visit to Happy Valley in June. Jim Larrañaga, who has also offered Oweh, was in attendance as was assistant DJ Irving. Oweh is showing a willingness to not heavily rely on his athleticism and agility as he got off a few mid-range jumpers, which is an evolving part of his game. The potential is there and his game is coveted by many high major programs.
Jason Shields (2022 | NEPA Elite)
Shields hit five three-pointers in the second half on his way to 18 points in a 68-57 win over WeR1 Select. The 6-5 combo guard needed little separation to drill trey after trey. Whether it was a shot off the catch or a one-dribble pull-up, Shields found his shot often as he helped his team erase an 11-point halftime deficit. He avg. 19.4 points and 5.8 rebounds as a junior in leading Scranton to its first District 2 title since 2012 and scored 27 points against PIAA 6A champion Reading in the state quarterfinals. He is an elite shooter and a player coaches should be watching.
Connor Spratt (2023 | Team Wildcat)
Spratt displayed a quick release on his jumper and sent two shots into the bleachers in Team Wildcat’s win over Sina's Hoop Academy. The 6-1 Peter Township (Pa.) product had nine points and was consistently in passing lanes at the defensive end. He is comfortable playing off the ball or bringing it up the floor. He allows the game to come to him and doesn’t rush anything on offense. After a strong AAU season, Spratt could be in for a big junior year.
Robert Wright III (2024 | Team Final)
Wright leads a superb sophomore class at Neumann-Goretti and he may be the best of the bunch. The 5-11 floor general had nine points playing in a backcourt with Moses Hipps and Mike “Deuce” Jones. His vision is what sets him apart, and it should take him a long way. He can read double teams and understands where his teammates are most comfortable on the floor. He will step into the role at point vacated by Hysier Miller (Temple) and the run of stable floor generals should continue for Carl Arrigale.
Denver Anglin (2022 | NY Renaissance), Brent Bland (2022 | Crown Basketball), Elijah Brown (2024 | Team Final), Quadir Brown (2022 | BW Elite), Luke Boyd (2022 | Team Final Black), Ahmad Crowell (2022 | Crown Basketball), Jalen Duren (2022 | Montverde Ac., Fla.) Matt Filipowski (2022 | NY Renaissance), Corey Floyd (2022 | Team Final), Drew Greene (2022 | Team Final Black), Moses Hipps (2024 | Team Final), James Johns Jr. (2023 | Team Final), Jair Knight (2022 | TNBA Ohio), Kevin McCarthy (2024 | Philly Pride Gold), Abdulhafeez Momoh (2021 | SJ Hoops Elite), Josh Reed (2024 | Philly Revolution), Ronny Raphael (2022 | BW Elite), Shaquille Samuels (2022 | District Basketball Club), Justice Williams (2022 | Team Final)