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DMV Warmup Recruiting Notebook (July 2-3, 2022)

07/05/2022, 1:30pm EDT
By Matthew Ryan

Matthew Ryan (@matthewryan02)

In preparation for the start of July’s live period later this week, players were back with their grassroots teams this past weekend getting ready.

The DMV Warmup hosted by The St. James in Virginia had EYBL, UAA and 3SSB teams compete during the two-day event, along with numerous different programs that aren’t affiliated with shoe brands. Most of the teams hailed from D.C., Maryland or Virginia, though there were some local teams in attendance like Philly Pride and WeR1.

Here’s a notebook featuring recruiting coverage from the event:


Ty Burton (2024 | Philly Pride 16U | Lampeter-Strasburg)

After a 10-4 season during COVID two years ago, Ty Burton and Co. at Lampeter-Strasburg flipped the script last year. Led by Burton, a sophomore at the time, the Pioneers started the season 28-0, winning the Lancaster Lebanon League title and the District 3 Class 5A title before bowing out in the first round of the state playoffs.

It was Lampeter-Strasburg’s first district championship since 2002 and the first time the program won both league and district titles.

Ty Burton, Philly Pride 16U (Photo: Matthew Ryan/CoBL)

“We actually had our best team in school history,” Burton said. “[...] We're not a basketball school. We shocked everyone. It was amazing to see. It was so much fun. Those guys are like all my best friends, too. So it was a really awesome time.”

In the league title game, Burton had one of the biggest, if not the biggest, moments of his career thus far. With the game tied, Burton put a couple of moves on his defender before pulling up from beyond the arc. The ball rattled out, popped up to hit the backboard, and fell through as the eventual game-winner.

“Everything kind of blocked out. I was like kind of shook at first,” Burton said. “[...] It was definitely something that I dreamed about always like growing up, you know, like on my mini hoop like 'three, two, one.' And like it actually happened, so it was cool.”

According to MaxPreps, Burton, a First Team All 5A member, averaged 21.2 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the field and 2.9 assists per game and 2.9 rebounds per game.

Last summer, Burton picked up his first Division I offer from Manhattan, though he is no longer in communication with anyone on the staff. He has mainly heard from Columbia, Princeton, Pitt and Radford and has interest from Penn.

He currently doesn’t have any visits scheduled, but in June, he took a visit to Columbia.

“Beautiful campus. I liked it. It was awesome,” Burton said of his visit to Columbia. “They have the same motto that we have here [at Philly Pride]. Team comes first always. And I feel like that's where I relate with them a lot. [...] I saw that connection where like one and two was put together. [The] coaching staff was awesome, [the] facility was nice.”

On Saturday, Burton showed why he has Division I coaches ringing his phone. In Philly Pride 16Us 71-66 loss to Team Durant, Burton scored 17 points, burying four three-pointers in the process. The 5-10 guard can hold his own defensively and constantly communicates while on the floor.

This off-season, he is working on making the right play, being ready at all times, whether it be shooting or passing, but also staying aggressive at getting downhill. He also wants to defend the ball at a high level, have a high IQ and not be indecisive.

DeShawn Harris-Smith (2023 | Team Takeover 17U | Paul VI, Va.)

In a matter of seconds, Harris-Smith sent most people watching court one in a frenzy on Sunday. Running the floor, Harris-Smith got a pass from his teammate, took one dribble and two steps and threw down a monster left-handed dunk while getting fouled.

His dunk was likely the highlight of the event, but there is a lot more to his game. To pair with his athleticism, Harris-Smith can score at all three levels and also distribute the ball, which he showed with at least four assists in the first half of a win against VA Havoc UA Rise 17U.

The 6-5 lefty guard has high-major programs clamoring for him to commit to their school. He has over a dozen offers and has been recruited the hardest from Georgetown, Penn State, Xavier, Villanova, Maryland, DePaul, Virginia Tech and Butler. 

So far, Harris-Smith has taken three official visits — Penn State, Villanova and Xavier — and said they all provide different things. He broke down each one:

Penn State: “A big football school. That’s fun for me. I like to be around people. I think I have a chance to come in and play early. And then just the change of culture there at Penn State. They haven’t been winning recently but got a new coach, Coach (Micah) Shrewsberry. He’s trying to turn it around, and I feel like I could be a part of that.”

Villanova: “It’s got a good culture, good history of getting guards to the league. Guys that weren’t NBA-ready when they first got there got way better like Jalen Brunson, Mikal (Bridges), Saddiq Bey. Just got a lot of guards who have made it to the league.”

Xavier: “Coach (Sean) Miller, I love the way he plays. He’s probably the head coach I talk to the most, so my relationship with him is just great. And then they want to build the freshman class around me, let me come and play point guard and the ‘2’ so great opportunity for me there too.”

Harris-Smith has also taken unofficial visits to Georgetown, Rutgers, Penn State and Maryland. He doesn’t have any official visits planned, but he said he’s going to meet with his AAU coach and high school coach at some point and then take his last two official visits before August.

“I feel like I like all the schools,” Harris-Smith said when asked if he has any favorites. “Everybody’s just doing a great job of recruiting me. [I’m] trying to soak it all in and then find what’s best for me.”

When it comes to his commitment, Harris-Smith said that the perfect scenario would be to commit on his birthday, Aug. 10, which is something he has always dreamed of, but that’s not set in stone. He mentioned somewhere around August and maybe into the fall in terms of a commitment timeline. He also noted that he might cut down his list mentally but probably won’t put that out in the public.

This offseason, Harris-Smith is trying to show that he can play more point guard and shooting guard and display his ball-screen reads, things he said he has showed off already recently. He also wants to show that he can guard ‘1’ through ‘4’ and will do everything it takes to win like take charges, get rebounds, communicate on defense and be a leader.

Caden Diggs, New World 16U (Photo: Matthew Ryan/CoBL)

Quick Hits:

— A highly touted player out of Maryland, Caden Diggs (2024 | New World 16U | Bullis, Md.) has generated a lot of interest as of late. Over the last month, the 6-7 wing has picked up six offers, and in total he has eight, from George Mason, Fordham, Siena, Xavier, Howard, NJIT, Fairfield and USF. Diggs has also been in communication with Virginia, Maryland, Marquette and Butler, the latter two he’s supposed to visit at some point.

Diggs has taken one visit, an unofficial to Xavier, where he picked up the offer.

“It was great,” Diggs said of the visit. “It was my first high-major offer. Getting to see the campus, how they run things. And they were playing a rival, Cincinnati, so it was great.”

Against Philly Pride on Saturday, Diggs scored a game-high 17 points, scoring inside, in the mid range and at the free throw line. This offseason, Diggs is trying to get more physical, and he is working on his defense and putting on some weight as he wants to be able to guard ‘1’ through ‘5.’

— After a senior season at Devon Prep where he averaged 15.3 ppg (40/35.2/89.2), 6.8 rpg, 2.8 apg and 1.3 spg, IV Pettit (2023 | We R1 17U | The Phelps School) decided to do a prep year at The Phelps School to try to improve as a player and get some looks from colleges. Pettit had a connection with Phelps head coach John Harmatuk from when Pettit was supposed to go to Malvern Prep, and Harmatuk was a coach there. The 6-2 guard hasn’t heard from any schools yet and is working on athletic traits like his speed, quickness and overall strength. 

Drew McKenna (2024 | Team Melo 16U | Glenelg Country, Md.) has drawn the eyes of a ton of Division I coaches. The 6-8 wing currently has a dozen offers, including from high-major programs Marquette, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgetown, DePaul, Illinois and Rutgers. McKenna has also heard from Virginia, Florida State, Butler, Miami, Penn State, South Florida, Clemson, Towson, SMU, Pitt, UConn, Siena and UCF. He said that all the schools that have offered him and Butler and Virginia have been reaching out a bunch.

McKenna has taken unofficial visits to Butler and Villanova; he visited Villanova when Jay Wright was still there and hasn’t heard from them recently. He will probably take some visits when the AAU season ends, although he doesn’t have anything planned yet.

This offseason, McKenna is working on his ball-handling, overall playmaking skills and defense.

— A 6-3 guard who can create his own shot at all three levels, Ryan Williams (2024 | Philly Pride 16U | Malvern Prep) currently has four offers — Penn, Albany, Drexel and Temple — and has heard from Harvard, Cornell, Xavier and Mount Saint Mary’s. He took an unofficial visit to Temple and watched the Owls play against USC last season. He currently doesn’t have any visits planned. This offseason, Williams is working on his handle and defense.

Elijah Brown (2024 | Philly Pride 16U | St. Augustine Prep, N.J.) has an offer from Albany and has heard from schools like Princeton, Radford, UNLV, St. Peter’s, Boston University and Delaware, which said it wants to set up a visit with him. The 6-4 athletic guard can attack the basket at will, and this offseason he is working on his three point shot. 

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