MANHEIM, Pa. — The Hoop Group’s Spooky Nook Jam Fest filled the massive facility that lent its name to the tournament title for three days of hoops this weekend, with the HG Showcase League (HGSL) playing out its championships amongst a couple hundred other programs playing in various brackets over the warehouse’s 30 courts.
There were dozens of players who stood out in the games the CoBL staff watched, and it was incredibly tough to separate our main standouts from our honorable mentions (Ed Note: I wish we could write up 75 players, but there’s not enough time!). Without further ado:
Damir Brooks (2021 | Milbank | Vision Academy, N.Y.)
In Milbanks’ two-point loss to Team Final Black on Friday night, Brook put on a show in front of some college coaches. The 6-5 wing was dominant scoring inside and showed off his athleticism, throwing down two dunks one which was an alley oop. Brooks finished the game with 18 points, two blocks, two steals, and numerous rebounds. Brooks is still under where he will play basketball next year but has interest from D-I programs Hofstra and Quinnipiac, and D-II schools St. Thomas Aquinas, IUP, and ESU.
Archbishop Ryan + Team Final Black wing Luke Boyd (above) was scoring the ball at a consistent clip all weekend. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Luke Boyd (2022 | Team Final Black | Archbishop Ryan)
Boyd had a really solid outing on Friday, scoring 20 points in his squads 64-62 nail biting victory. The 6-1 guard showed his ability to score at all three levels, getting to the basket, knocking down some mid range jumpers, and hitting three 3-pointers, including one that put his team up two late in the second half. In a close loss to the Gauchos on Saturday, he had 15 more points, shooting 4-of-7 from downtown. An athletic wing guard, Boyd’s recruitment currently sits in the D-II range.
Jayden Brown (2022 | NJ Panthers | Immaculate Conception, N.J.)
A major piece of the Panthers’ run to the HGSL championship and a thus-far undefeated summer (13-0), Brown scored 18 points on just seven shots (with five rebounds) in an Elite 8 game against Philly Pride Gold, then capped off the weekend with a 12-point, nine-rebound, three-assist effort in the title win. A 5-10 guard who plays both on and off the ball for the Panthers, Brown is a strong jump-shooter with a great mid-range pull-up shot, with a quick first step and overall good foot speed that helps him be a strong on-ball defender and driver. D-Is are interested, but no offers yet.
Drew Greene (2022 | Team Final Black | Cherry Hill East, N.J.)
One of the better pure point guards in the event, Greene is a terrific ball-handler and dribble-drive creator who can get past defenders and split double-teams, keeps his head on a swivel and makes tough passes. The 5-9 guard really likes going baseline, and his teammates do a good job of cutting to the hoop and receiving his feeds, even if he has to leave his feet to make a good pass. Green is also a strong outside shooter, which he showed in an 11-point, 11-assist game against the NY Gauchos on Saturday, the most assists we’ve tracked in any single game this July thus far.
DiAndre Howell-South (above) was a major reason the NJ ShoreShots made it to the 17U Championship game. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
DiAndre Howell-South (2021 | NJ ShoreShots | Immaculate Conception, N.J.)
A big (6-4, 205-pound) wing guard, Howell-South was getting his way during both of the ShoreShots’ semifinal and championship games, finishing with a combined 38 points between the two. His 22-point, six-rebound effort in the semis was certainly the biggest reason the ShoreShots got to the title game, as Howell-Smith was 6-of-11 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the foul line. Tough to the hoop, Howell-South isn’t easy to knock off his feet, and he also had his outside shot working well enough that the defense had to respect it. Howell-South is hoping to land on a D-I roster soon, with several low-to-mid-majors staying in touch, but he’s yet to receive an offer.
Jaden Kealey (2022 | Crown Basketball | Canterbury School, N.J.)
There’s a lot to like about Kealey, a versatile 6-6 wing/forward who fills the ‘point forward’ role of someone who can handle the ball, create offense and hit shots, even if he’s not the typical point guard type. In a win over NEPA Elite on Friday night, Kealey had 15 point, seven rebounds and two blocks, but the lack of assists doesn’t show that he was doing a good job of keeping the ball moving and finding teammates for open shots, even if they weren’t happening to go in. Kealey plays hard all the time and has a strong hoops IQ, and all of it’s a reason he’s starting to pick up D-I offers.
Sam Kodi (2022 | RI Elite | Bradford Christian, N.H.)
Kodi was something of a second fiddle to Rhode Island commit Sebastian Thomas when the two shared a backcourt for RI Elite back in May, but with Thomas off to another squad, Kodi’s really been able to shine in July. The 6-2 guard is lightning-quick and can light it up, with a ball-on-a-string handle; he had 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals for RI Elite in a close loss to EC Power on Friday night. Bouncy and talented, Kodi’s got offers from Sacred Heart and CCSU thus far, with interest from further low-mid majors.
Matt Mayock (2023 | East Coast Power | Westtown School, Pa.)
Mayock’s been playing with a quiet confidence this whole summer, and that continued when watched this weekend playing on the 17U circuit with EC Power. A 6-6 wing guard, Mayock is a terrific outside shooter with a smooth, consistent release, and his 4-of-5 showing from deep during a 22-point outing Friday night is no fluke. But he’s more than just a shooter, as he showed in going 7-of-9 from the floor that night, attacking the rim and finishing around RI Elite’s 7-1 Isaiah Miranda on multiple occasions. No offers yet, but high-academics are tracking closely; he’s already visited Princeton’s campus.
Tyreck 'T.J.' Morris put on a scoring show in a win over Team Final Black. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
T.J. Morris (2021 | NY Gauchos | Believe Prep, N.Y.)
The best individual scoring performance we witnessed all weekend was Morris’ 25-point outing against Team Final Black, a dominant showing in which the 6-5 off-guard was 9-of-17 from the floor (2-5 3PT), getting to whatever spot on the floor he wanted and hitting shots from all over the court, attacking the rim with gusto, grabbing rebounds (six) and steals (four) and staying generally unguardable. And this isn't why he made this list, but rumblings were that he had a 30-point outing on Sunday. A former D-I prospect who’s coming off a prep year, Morris is considering several junior college options and could be a big-time get for a D-I program in a couple years.
Jack Scott (2022 | NJ ShoreShots | Hun School, N.J.)
A 6-5 point guard, Scott is bound for Princeton next year, and it looks like the Tigers got a good one in the son of Air Force head coach Joe Scott. Jack Scott is a 6-5 lead guard who plays the game at an aggressive tempo, making quick decisions with the ball in his hands, and he’s got a lot of tools, from his outside shot to a strong handle, post-up game, court vision, and more. Looks like an immediate impact player in the top half of the Ivy League and his competitiveness/pace/versatility could see him become one of the better perimeter players in the Ancient Eight by the end of his time there.
Ethan Simmon (2022 | NJ Panthers | St. Joe’s-Metuchen, N.J.)
It’s become clear over the last month that Simmon is one of the more under-the-radar scorers in the tri-state area. A 6-4, 180-pound wing guard with length and athleticism, Simmon can play with the ball in his hands and hit pull-up shots with a hand in his face, and he’s also good at working off screens and doesn’t need much room to elevate and knock down shots from deep. His 22-point effort on 8-of-11 shooting in a Saturday win was one of the more efficient offensive showings of the weekend, and while his jumper wasn’t falling quite as reliably on Sunday in the championship (5 points), he grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists while using his length as a significant asset defensively.
Daniel Alcantera (2022 | Team Final Red | Reading, Pa.), Andrew Ball (2022 | Philly Pride Gold | Shawnee, N.J.), Noah Barren (2023 | Wildcat Select | Penn Hills, Pa.), Jeannot Basima (2023 | Global Squad | John Carroll, Md.), Ty Burton (2024 | Philly Pride | Lampeter-Strasburg, Pa.), Peter Carey (2022 | NH Lightning Select | Northfield Mt. Hermon, Mass.), Gavin Carter (2023 | Middlesex Magic | Milton Ac, Mass.), Rollie Castinyera (2023 | Middlesex Magic | Exeter Academy, N.H.), Allen Cieslak (2022 | East Coast Power | Devon Prep, Pa.), Adam Clark (2023 | BW Elite | West Catholic, Pa.), Jack Collins (2022 | NJ ShoreShots | Phelps School, Pa.), Bernard Dzesi (2021 | Crown Basketball | Martin Luther, N.Y.), Caleb Edwards-Inniss (2022 | Crown Basketball White | Stony Brook School, N.Y.), Jaden Gales (2022 | Wildcat Select | Bishop Canevin, Pa.), Thomas Haugh (2022 | Philly Pride Gold | Perkiomen School, Pa.), Kyle Honore (2022 | Team Takeover Orange | Potomac, Va.), Tyler Houser (2022 | Team Final Red | Cedar Cliff, Pa.), Zende Hubbard (2022 | L&L Running Rebels | Plymouth Whitemarsh Pa.), Charlie Jackson (2022 | Team Takeover Orange | Episcopal, Va.), Amare Johnson (2022 | Team Takeover Orange | National Christian, Md.), Asim Jones (2022 | Jersey Force | Patterson Charter, N.J.), Aidan Kehoe (2022 | NJ Panthers | Canterbury School, Conn.), Paul King (2023 | BW Elite | Father Judge, Pa.), Mike Loughnane (2022 | Middlesex Magic | BC High, Mass.), Daniel Lavelle (2023 | TNBA Ohio | St. Edward, Ohio), Chase Lawton (2023 | District Basketball Club | Bishop McNamara, Md.), Derrius Lucas (2022 | L&L Running Rebels | Abington HS, Pa.), Ethan Meuser (2022 | NEPA Elite | Hill School, Pa.), Isaiah Miranda (2023 | RI Elite | Phelps School, Pa.), Trenten Mosquera (2022 | Middlesex Magic | Belmont Hill School, Mass.), Malcolm Muhammad (2023 | BW Elite), Allen Myers (2022 | Philly Revolution | Bensalem, Pa.), Nicoló Nobili (2022 | SJ Hoops Elite | Paul VI, N.J.), Sam Pohlman (2022 | NH Lightning Select | Perkiomen School, Pa.), DeAntwan Randall (2021 | Team Crush’ Em Red | Franklin, Md.), Travarese Rowe (2023 | Wildcat Select | McKeesport, Pa.), Gavin Schauder (2022 | East Coast Power | Spring-Ford, Pa.), Googie Seidman (2023 | PSB Philly | Haverford HS, Pa.) Jason Shields (2022 | NEPA Elite | Scranton HS, Pa.), Landon Shivers (2022 | Team Final Black | Life Center, N.J.), Madison Tatom (2023 | PSB Philly | Upper Merion, Pa.), Cesar Tchilombo (2022 | Global Squad | John Carroll, Md.), Nix Varano (2022 | Philly Pride Gold | La Salle HS, Pa.), Ryan Walsh (2023 | TNBA Ohio | Elyria, Ohio), Chris Williams (2022 | Philly Revolution | La Salle HS, Pa.), Brian Wiener (2023 | PSB Philly | Haverford HS, Pa.), Jadyn Williams (2022 | Team Crush’ Em Red | Parkville, Md.), Ryan Williams (2024 | Philly Pride | Malvern Prep, Pa.), Mark Woolhouse (2022 | NJ Panthers | Pennington School, N.J.)