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Hoop Group Spring Jam Fest Notebook Pt. 1 (April 27-28, 2024)

04/30/2024, 9:15am EDT
By Owen McCue

By Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

LANCASTER, Pa. — The Hoop Group hosted its Spring Jam Fest on Saturday and Sunday at Spooky Nook, which marked the first live period boys event of the AAU season. CoBL had staff in attendance both days to check out some of the local talent and others, focusing on some of the 17U action and getting our first look at some 16U and 15U squads as well.

Here’s a few of the prospects we caught up with:


More from Spring Jam Fest: Standouts / Notebook Pt. 1 / Notebook Pt. 2


Wilson Udo (2027 | PA Hoops Academy HGSL 16U)
The Udo family caught word from a family friend back around 2016-17 of a show in town they needed to catch: the Westtown School boys basketball team.

A visit to see the likes of Mo Bamba, Cam Reddish, Brandon Randolph, Anthony Ochefo and Jake Forrester — dubbed by Sports Illustrated the “Greatest Starting Five in HS Basketball History” by Sports Illustrated —prompted one of their youngest children, Wilson, to pen Moose head coach Seth Berger about joining the team. He spent multiple seasons as the water boy, dreaming of one day becoming part of one of the area’s top hoops attractions.

PA Hoops Academy 2027 Wilson Udo saw time at Westtown this past winter. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

The point guard, who grew up not far from the school in the West Chester Rustin school district, realized that dream when he suited up for Westtown as a freshman this past season.

“Ever since then, that was my big goal and I never thought I would make it there, but through the years obviously I got better and it all just eventually happened,” Udo said. “That’s the best team I’ve ever seen in my life, ridiculous.”

Udo’s father Mfon played Division I lacrosse at Loyola (Md.). His older sister Elle is a sophomore on the Brown women’s lacrosse team. His older brother Ennis will play at Brown next season on the men’s lacrosse team following a standout football and lacrosse career at Malvern Prep. His twin sister Annie is just getting her career started as a freshman at Bishop Shanahan.

Lacrosse got in the way of AAU hoops for Udo several years ago as he began to chart a path of his own on the hardwood in a household dominated by lacrosse players. Udo was playing up a grade with the PA Hoops Academy 16U team this past weekend, knocking down shots from deep and making passes to the shooters surrounding him on the court.

He said it took a lot of paying attention and asking questions of his coach and teammates at Westtown this season to earn a spot coming off the bench. The Moose don’t quite have surefire lottery talent of the team he was a waterboy for, but Udo shared the quarter with a group that still had plenty of talent in the likes of 2024 Lafayette recruit Malik Rasul and 2025s Cam Wallace, Jayden Kelsey, Jayden Forsythe, Daveyon Lydner and Jahmare Memphis.

“I was just expecting to go in there and sit as a freshman, but as the year went on I just played well thanks to my teammates,” Udo said. “They helped me throughout the whole way. Throughout the season I just got more and more playing time.”

It was a big jump for Udo playing in the Friends Schools League and going up against some top competition outside the area. In practice too, Udo went against guys who were older, bigger, stronger and more athletic than him. He credited Memphis as the best defender he’s ever gone against.

“It was eyeopening because it’s so different from eighth grade and way better,” Udo said. “It’s a lot of physicality, a lot of bumps. Thankfully my older brother helped me a little bit there, but it was definitely a shock at first.”

Udo will play behind the talented backcourt players ahead of him at Westtown again next season, continuing to prepare for what he hopes can be a bigger role in the seasons that follow. He’s getting a good chance to shine at the point guard spot for a PA Hoops Academy team that likes to space the floor and share the ball.

Even as the young guy on the team he’ll have the opportunity to develop in a way he can’t with the Moose — but will hopefully prove fruitful for himself and Westtown in the seasons to come.

“(Improving) physically and talking more, becoming more of a vocal leader, which is something that’s not as easy as it sounds but moving forward is something that I think would be great for Westtown if I can be more of a leader and same for my PA Hoops team,” Udo said.


Langston Foster (2025 | Philly Pride Select 17U)

Langston Foster knows the Episcopal Academy basketball team is going to need him to step up next winter.

 It will be all hands on deck for the Churchmen with three time first team All-Inter-Ac guard Kevin McCarthy departing to play at Army, and Foster will go from the new guy to one of the guys for coach Taylor Wright.

Philly Pride Select 2025 guard Langston Foster transferred to Episcopal Academy this past season. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

He’s running with Philly Pride Select’s 17U group this summer as he gets ready for the role.

“It’s gonna be a big jump, obviously scoring and leadership as well,” Foster said. “He was our leader both on the court and off the court, so we definitely have to fill that role, me and Matt (McCarthy) coming in as seniors and just bringing that leadership, obviously increasing our role on the court but also off the court in leading guys.”

Foster, a 6-foot-3 guard, spent his first two high school seasons at Lower Merion before transferring to EA this school year. He was part of EA’s best season since 2019-20 as the Churchmen went 14-11 and 5-5 in the Inter-Ac after a 1-9 last-place finish the season prior.

"It was a big transition, but I meshed well with the guys," Foster said. "There’s some good guys over there, Kev, Matt, we worked out over the summer. It was an easy transition and early in the season we had some bumps, but we figured it out, figured out the cohesion, figured out my role and it was a good transition.”

Foster said he’s heard from the Division II and III levels with Middlebury the school he’s talked to the most, staff from the private school in Vermont telling him they were going to check him out in person this past weekend in Spooky Nook.

The Churchmen will have their point guard, McCarthy, back next season but Foster should work in a little bit more on the ball. That’s something he’s getting the chance to do at times with Philly Pride Select alongside the likes of Sankofa Freedom’s Nasir Williams and Asim Hardy and Samuel Fels’ Shamar Parker.

He’s still working out by himself and with his teammates at EA this season as well, taking advantage of the school’s facilities.

“It’s been a great thing for me of just having that ability to get in the gym any time,” Foster said. “I’ve been trying to stay in the weight room, trying to get three, four lifts in a week ,really trying to transform my body for next season. It’s been a big jump. 


Nigel Pierman (2025 | BW Elite HGSL 17U)

Friends’ Central junior Nigel Pierman looked like a perfect fit with his new BW Elite teammates on Saturday, playing a big part in the team’s comeback win over District Basketball.

The 6-foot-6 forward, who spent the last two summers playing for Philly Pride, is enjoying the fast-paced style and the way he can show multiple aspects of his game in a more featured role.

BW Elite 2025 forward Nigel Pierman is trying to show off a versatile game. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

“I just try to do things to keep me in my rhythm and keep me out of that traditional big kind of thing,” Pierman said. “I definitely worked on that this year at Friends’ Central and this year, I’m showing it more on defense, switching onto guards and sometimes, pushing the ball and getting a layup, just trying to show that I can do everything on the court.”

Pierman was always one of the taller kids growing up, but his father trained him to be a guard as he knew his son wasn’t going to get taller than 6-6, 6-6. He spent his freshman year at Harriton and over the last two has been one of the only post players on a guard-oriented FCS squad, developing into a threat for double figure points and rebounds seemingly every time out.

He’s solidly built, corrals the ball well and has a decent feel for his back to the basket game. Pierman also has a solid jumper and still slides his feet well around the court — able to switch onto guards during Saturday's win and cause havoc on the perimeter resulting in three steals, including one he took all the way down to the other end for a layup.

“I really can move, defend,” Pierman said. “The way I talk too. My communication on the court is huge. I’ve always thought of myself as a great team player. I always wanted to be able to talk to my teammates and make sure our energy is up the whole game.”

Pierman’s heard from schools at the Division III level thus far, noting Ursinus is a program that seems very interested. He has “ a lot of skills I haven’t shown yet” he hopes to put on display this summer on the Hoop Group Showcase League circuit as he attempts to find a place to continue his hoops career.

“I love the game, and I want to keep playing it at as high of a level as I can,” Pierman said.


Quick Hits

Devin Booker (2025 | K-Low Elite 3SSB 17U) broke out as one of the area's stars during his sophomore campaign at Cristo Rey and continued to ascend as a prospect in his junior season this winter. The long, bouncy 6-4 guard was one of the stars for the Blue Pride as they won a second straight Penn-Jersey League championship before winning the first PAISAA tournament game in program history.

“I feel like I improved on defending, my ball handling has gotten better from last year,” Booker said. 

Booker is one of the area’s top athletes and shooters, two coveted skillsets nowadays that were both on display in K-Low wins Saturday. He’s bound to pop-off for a highlight reel slam at least once again.

His game helped him pick up offers all the way up to the high-major level last season and offseason. Virginia Tech offered last June and has been a program that continues to talk to him. He said Penn started reaching out after the Penn-Jersey championship and has been another frequently in touch. College coaches have told him they like his energy along with his athleticism and ability to shoot the ball.

Booker’s goal this summer is to show coaches what he’s been working on at the other end of the court.

“I’m a great defender,” Booker said. “I can guard every position. That’s improved. I’ve been an alright defender, but I’m just trying to be a defender who can play at the next level.”

— Though there were quite a few key newcomers this season, Kai Shinholster (2025 | K-Low Elite 3SSSb 17U) continued to be one of the top dogs at Penn Charter this season. He earned second team All-Inter-Ac honors while sharing the spotlight with new teammates Matt Gilhool, Jake West and Jamal Hicks but what didn’t show up in his stats was how he stepped up under first-year coach Brandon Williams for the outright league champs while playing without his older brother Trey and his friends for the first time during his career.

“Brandon challenged me in ways I think I never would have been challenged before,” Shinholster said. “Before with me, basketball was always about what I can do on the court, but Brandon challenged me to be the best of myself on the court and truly step into that leader role.”

Shinholster is a wiry 6-foot-5 guard who can play on or off the ball with some playmaking skills and strong shooting ability.

He’s been on the D1 radar since the offseason after his sophomore season. Schools like FGCU, Saint Louis, Mississippi State, Temple, St. Joe’s, Radford, Drexel and Penn all offered last June. Shinholster said most of the schools he has offers from are still recruiting him, mentioning Temple and St. Joe’s in particular as two programs checking in. Virginia Tech is another he’s recently heard from.

The goal is to schedule some visits in June or July. Until then, there’s plenty to work on this spring and summer.

“The main thing I’m trying to work on is my body,” Shinholster said. “I realized to be where I really want to be at the next level, my body’s going to take me there. A lot of people say I have the skills to do it, I can shoot, I can dribble, I’m tall and lanky, but me working on my body and being bigger and being able to take those bumps and still finish.”

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