Jeff Griffith (@Jeff_Griffith21)
Westfield, Ind. — The Under Armour Association circuit brought its 2021 season-ending event to greater Indianapolis this past weekend, as more than 50 16U and 17U teams competed over the course of three days at the Pacers Athletic Center.
With a wide array of local talent and prospects in attendance in the Hoosier State, here’s a recruiting notebook from the weekend’s action:
Jayden Pierre (2022 | Team Rio | Long Island Lutheran, N.Y.) &
Ben Roy (2022 | Team Rio | Manasquan, N.J.)
Five years as a Team Rio tandem came to a strong finish for Jayden Pierre and Ben Roy — who have been AAU teammates since they were in seventh grade — this weekend, as they helped lead their 17U side to a semifinal appearance as part of a red-hot finish to the 2021 summer cycle.
Luckily for both, with their AAU careers in the rearview mirror, they’ll each have their pick of several Division I programs to join next fall.
“We’re really tight,” Roy said. “We’ve been together for a long time. We always played up, too, so this is our first year playing together with our age… He started before me, and then I came to Rio in seventh grade.”
Pierre was one of the standouts of the entire weekend, and it’s no wonder why he’s developed serious high major interest this summer. Most recently offered by Minnesota, Creighton and Buffalo, Pierre opened his weekend in Indy with 22 points in a 59-55 win over DC Premier and never looked back.
In Team Rio’s Saturday victory over KC Run GMC, Pierre took over in the fourth quarter, displaying an impressive finishing ability, breakneck speed and quick hands on defense. Heading into halftime of that contest, he flashed incredible athleticism with a driving, one-handed dunk over top of a wing defender.
In regards to his college decision process, Pierre spoke highly of Minnesota in particular, and said he plans to visit the campus this fall. The 6-foot-4 guard also noted recent interest from Marquette and Virginia Tech, but said Minnesota has been the most communicative of all of his current options.
“I like what (head coach Ben Johnson) is trying to build over there as a team,” Pierre said. “He’s trying to build a great program.”
For Roy, this summer has been gigantic for his recruitment. The 6-foot-2 guard entered the summer with offers from a handful programs such as Holy Cross, Nebraska, Brown, Penn and Toledo, but has seen several programs come out of the woodwork to express interest.
Many of Roy’s suitors are known for their academics — a trait Roy prides himself on as well.
“I take it seriously in the classroom,” he said.
Roy tabbed Princeton — which he said was the first program to contact him, “back in eighth grade” — and Columbia in particular, as well as Belmont, Wofford, Furman, George Washington and Northwestern as having expressed interest this summer.
When it comes to schools in the 'high-academic' category, a noticeable proportion of them hail in the northeastern United States, with the Ivy League and Patriot League both being known for strong academic programs.
Princeton, Columbia and George Washington certainly fit that bill, but Roy mentioned he’s less concerned with location than he is his overall connection to the program.
“I'm all about fit,” he said. “Wherever I fit best, that's where I'm going to go. Whether that's in my backyard or a few thousand miles away, that's where I'm going to end up.”
Roy — who showed impressive court vision, passing, a smooth jump shot and the ability to get to the rim and score with touch while in Indiana — has been focused on playing with a good mix of poise, and hopes to parlay his strong summer into more offers to come.
“I feel like, sometimes, I just get sped up,” he said. “And I'm doing a better job of just staying under control and making the right play all the time.”
Cavan Reilly (above) has drawn the interest of several D-I schools in the Mid-Atlantic region. (Photo: Jeff Griffith/CoBL)
Cavan Reilly (2022 | DC Premier | Bishop O’Connell, Md.)
Cavan Reilly is well connected — at least, at schools in the Mid-Atlantic region, that is.
The rising senior at Bishop O’Connell (Md.) has had the Delaware coaching staff in his ear for quite a while, and was offered by the Blue Hens following the UAA Session I weekend in Georgia.
It just so happens that the 6-foot-4 guard has a friend on the inside; Bishop O’Connell grad Wes Peterson is a freshman guard for head coach Martin Inglesby’s squad.
“He really likes it so far,” Reilly said.
Communications with Inglesby, though, have stood out most to Reilly. He spoke highly of Delaware as one of his suitors and described his conversations with the Hens’ head coach as 'comfortable.'
“They're just hoping to build a family, a brotherhood,” Reilly said. “And Martin Inglesby, their coach, is a really good guy.”
Reilly’s list of suitors has grown heading into his senior season, though, and while he did describe Delaware as one of his top options and a campus he plans to visit some time in August, he also noted Fordham, UNC Greensboro and Elon as other major players in his recruitment.
“I know there's a lot of new schools (that) texted me,” he said. “So, I’m definitely going to go visit the places and see what I like, but Delaware is up there for sure.”
Reilly’s also been hearing a good bit from Lehigh, where he’s also got ties with someone who knows the Mountain Hawks’ program well. Ben Li — who started nine games as a Lehigh freshman in 2020-21 — played on the same Middletown Academy team with Reilly before Reilly transferred to Bishop O’Connell after his sophomore season.
According to Reilly, Li spoke highly of the Lehigh program and coaches. Reilly hasn’t been offered by Lehigh, but said he receives frequent texts from the Lehigh staff, led by head coach Brett Reed.
“I think they’re another coaching staff that's really player-friendly,” Reilly noted.
This summer, Reilly mentioned that the main thing coaches want to see from him is an ability to play both the '1' and '2' guard positions.
On his DC Premier 17U team, he’s seen a good bit more of the latter, but he showed his “one” side in flashes during a Sunday game against Washington Supreme — a contest which saw a handful of DC Premier players sit out, giving Reilly more opportunities to run the offense. Reilly displayed poise with the ball in his hands, an impressive ability to penetrate and finish through traffic, and smart, active defense to boot.
Once the cycle shifts to his senior season at Bishop O’Connell, Reilly mentioned he’ll have more chances to put his point guard abilities on display on a regular basis.
“Especially with (DC Premier), we're going to have 10 guys going Division I,” Roy said. “On this team, I’m off the ball a lot, but at my high school I have the ball in my hands so much more. So, just kind of getting an all-around game and continuing to work on that.”
--Philly Pride 2022 wing Daniel Skillings has continued to put together a monster summer, with now more than 15 mid- and high-major Division I offers to his name. Prior to July, Skillings’ offer sheet consisted of a litany of Big East, Atlantic 10 and CAA schools, but he’s added some power-conference programs over the past two weeks with offers from Miami, Georgia, St. John’s, and — most recently, just prior to his weekend in Indianapolis — NC State.
Skillings put his impressive skillset on display throughout the weekend, including scoring 25 of his team’s 60 points in a close Saturday win over D1 Indiana. Once he returns home from the Hoosier State, Skillings said he plans to lock in a list of official visits for the month of August.
--It’s been a positive summer for Philly Pride 2022 PF Gabe Moss, who now has a handful of mid-major programs on his recruiting trail after picking up offers from Bryant, Drexel and Siena back in 2020. After starting the summer with an offer from Albany and picking up another in June from George Washington — which he mentioned has cooled off in its communication in recent weeks — Moss was recently offered by Boston University, which he noted has been the most interested program on his list. Moss spoke highly of Boston U, and said he plans to visit at some point in the month of August.
--DC Premier 2023 big man Patrick O’Brien put a handful of quality tools on display this weekend in Indiana, flashing signs of an impressive offensive game in the post. O’Brien has light touch around the rim and can put the ball on the floor well given his size. The 6-foot-8 forward has an offer from Radford, with a small handful of other Division I programs expressing interest, including La Salle, George Washington and Yale. O’Brien said he’s shared a handful of texts and calls with the staff at La Salle since mid-June.
--A 2024 guard playing on a roster with mostly rising juniors and seniors, 5-foot-11 guard MacHi Chester fit right in with DC Premier’s 16Us in Indy. Chester has an impressive ability to finish through contact and through traffic off the dribble, and on several occasions displayed a quick first step and the court vision to penetrate and distribute. He’s also a pesky on-ball defender with quick hands, and currently has interest from VCU, NC State, Virginia Tech, Central Florida and Mount St. Mary’s, with The Mount being the most involved so far.
Chester went up against a fellow underclassman in a Saturday matchup with Canada Elite, as rising high school freshman and class of 2025 guard Efeosa Oliogu performed well beyond his years. Oliogu, listed as a 6-foot-5 guard, played a fair amount of possessions in the post, where he thrived offensively with quality footwork in the paint. Oliogu looked at times a bit timid on defense, but the tools are there for an impressive multi-faceted offensive game; he’s quick and handles the ball, he’s crafty around the rim, has good hands and is a quick decision-maker.