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Hoop Group Elite 1: July 7 Notebook

07/07/2016, 11:00pm EDT
By CoBL Staff

Jeff Griffith (@Jeff_Griffith21)
Varun Kumar (@vrkumar8)
&
Stephen Pianovich (@SPianovich)
--

READING, Pa.--The Hoop Group’s first week of Elite Camp continued Thursday afternoon at Albright College, with more than 600 players showing off for college coaches in the second day of the July live recruiting period.

Here’s a recruiting notebook from the third day of the camp:

Jahbril Price-Noel (2018/John Carroll School, Can.)
Jahbril Price-Noel
feels like he’s been under-recruited so far.

That probably won’t be the case for long, however. The 6-foot-7 wing in the class of 2018 put his length and skillset on display Thursday, making plays at both ends of the floor.

The Hoop Group Elite Camp has been another stop in a busy summer for Price-Noel, a Toronto native. He currently sits with one offer; the Canadian has been offered by American. But he’s drawn more interest lately with Clemson and Towson reaching out before and Central Michigan and the University of Denver doing so in recent days.

“Summer so far has been very productive, a lot of tournaments, a lot of trying to break out,” he said. “Basically I’m trying to up my recruiting. I’m an underrated player, and under-recruited kid. So for me, I take every opportunity very, very seriously.”

Price-Noel uses his 6-7 frame to his advantage often. On offense, he can pull up over defenders, gets out well in transition and has noticeable court vision for a forward. Defensively, he is great at denying the ball on the wing and altering shots anywhere. He did a solid job of slowing fellow D-I prospect, Christian Wilson, in a game Thursday morning.

Price-Noel was classified as a 2017 recruit last season at Canada’s John Carroll School, but he is the age of a 2018 and will be properly classified this season as he’s transferring to Gould Academy in Maine.

Until he gets there, though, he’ll keep showing his worth at individual events.

“(Feeling under recruited) makes me go harder,” he said. “But me being the player I am, it doesn’t mean I’m going to go try to get mine every single possession. I try to be unselfish like all top players are. If someone is open, I’m going to pass it, no if, ands or buts. When it comes to these types of camps, I take that seriously because it’s exposure for me and others.”

~~~

Josip Vrankic (2017/Father John Redmond, Can.)
Josip Vrankic
, a rising senior at Father John Redmond in Canada, took a big step up in his recruitment this week.

The 6-foot-10 center, who entered the summer with ten low- and mid-major offers from the likes of Dartmouth, Weber State, Princeton, St. Bonaventure, Santa Clara, and New Mexico State, picked up his first offer from a major conference team as DePaul offered him Wednesday night.

(Update: Vrankic was also offered by San Diego late Thursday night.)

According to Vrankic, it was after his last game set Wednesday night that he received a call from Patrick Sellers, an assistant at DePaul, informing him of the scholarship offer.

“It was crazy,” he said. “Last night, I think I played a really good game, made a few threes, made some nice passes, so I felt pretty good, and I got the phone call last night, it was just crazy.”

Vrankic has certainly earned the offer with his performance on the court; despite his tall, lanky frame, he handles the ball very well, possesses a smooth jump shot and is tough around the rim. He uses his size and length well, as he made clear with numerous emphatic blocks during his time on the floor Thursday.

Picking up an offer from a Big East program like DePaul certainly proved to Vrankic that his hard work in building that versatile skill set has been paying off.

“These last couple years I’ve been focused on getting my body right,” Vrankic said. “So obviously some of the smaller schools noticed that, but now some of the bigger schools are starting to notice, I’m really grateful and I appreciate it.”

At this point, Vrankic recognizes he won’t have much more time to show off to college scouts, as he’ll be spending a large portion of the summer competing at the FIBA Americas U18 tournament in Chile, for Team Canada.

Now, it’s time to start finding the right college that will make the perfect fit for his next four years--he says Princeton, Columbia, and Santa Clara have been his heaviest recruiters to this point.

“The thing for me is basically finding somewhere that fits my playing style,” said Vrankic. “I’m more of a modern NBA type, I can dribble, pass, shoot, so I want to be in an offense where I can really showcase my talents. Having a great relationship with the coaching staff is obviously the biggest thing, because it’s tough to play for someone you don’t trust.”

While he begins to make that decision, however, Vrankic knows he can make a lot of improvements to his game, and gain valuable experience playing against some of the world’s best players in his age group in Chile.

“I’m really excited for that, it’s going to be a great event,” he said. “I’m hoping to gain a lot of confidence in myself, I know if I can play well, I’m playing against some of the top guys in the world, so if I play well I can get my confidence up I’ll be able to compete with anyone.”

~~~

Atiba Taylor (2018/Pope John XXIII)
As a member of Sports U’s so-called “Fab Five” in 2018, it’s easy for Atiba Taylor to get overlooked at times when playing on the same court with the likes of Naz Reid, Jahvon Quinerly and Luther Muhammad.

But to Taylor, playing with such a stacked team is only a positive, not only in terms of exposure, but also in terms of improving his game.

“I consider my team to be the best in the country,” the 6-3 guard from Pope John XXIII said. “Going at them in practice everyday, it makes you better. It makes you work harder. We have really good coaches too. It just makes you good.”

Taylor has not been flying under the radar as much recently, and he has indeed played well so far this summer. His performances during April helped him land offers from UConn and Rutgers.

Taylor has not yet received the expansive list of high major schools that his AAU teammates Reid, Muhammad, Jahvon Quinerly and Louis King have, but his combination of his size, high motor and ability to slash has made him a highly-sought after player in his own right.

His recruitment is still sitting pretty nicely- with Temple, Seton Hall, Fairfield, Manhattan, Rider all having offered as well.

In addition, Taylor has been receiving interest from a slew of Power 5 schools in Syracuse, Miami, Virginia, Stanford, SMU and Iowa, among others.

He is hoping to pick up more offers during the July Live Periods before taking any official visits or cutting his list. Though he has no leaders at the moments nor taken any official visits, he has visited two schools unofficially so far--Temple and Seton Hall.

“[Temple] has a pretty nice campus, it’s big. The gym, the dorms and the facilities were all nice,” he said. “Seton Hall was nice too, I got to sit behind the bench for a bunch of their games.”

However, for the rest of July, he is not going to be worried about recruiting or taking, choosing instead to focus on it in August once AAU season ends.

“I'm just focused on getting better and winning,” he said.

~~~

David Kachelries (2017/Emmaus, Pa.)
Kachelries
’ D-I recruitment got serious just about a year ago.

Last summer the Macungie, Pa. native saw offers start to roll in, and now he’s up to 13.  Among them is about half the Patriot League with Bucknell, Holy Cross, American and local Lehigh Valley suitors Lehigh and Lafayette giving Kachelries an offer.

Dartmouth, Brown, Rider, Fordham are among the others giving Kachelries an offer, but he’s not quite ready to end his recruitment just yet. He’s visited a handful of the schools, including Bucknell, Lehigh, Lafayette and Holy Cross, and he’s going to keep communicating with schools and weighing his options for at least a few more weeks.

“I’m keeping my options open right now,” said the 6-2 guard who plays for Emmaus. “I want to keep seeing places and hearing from schools. I’m looking maybe to end it around the end of the summer/beginning of the school year, after all these camps.”

So many teams like Kachelries because of his ability to run an offense, shoot and score. He did all three of those things at Thursday’s camp.

There’s also time for some teams to make a late push for Kachelries, who said Monmouth had recently reached out. As he ponders his decision, Kachelries wants to keep improving his game during this July Live Period.

“I’m trying to help a (college) team by being a point guard: Make my shots, make the right decisions and being vocal,” he said. “I want to show people I can play point guard at the next level.”

Quick Hits
--The first July live period started nicely for Kareem Reid, a 2019 forward from New York, with the rising sophomore picking up his second Division I offer. It was St. Peter’s who offered Reid Thursday morning, and for good reason, as Reid displayed a wealth of abilities as one of the top underclassmen at Albright. Reid, whose other offer came from another MAAC school, Iona, back in May, used his length very well on defense in particular to disrupt shots and passing lanes. He can also handle the ball very well in his lanky 6-foot-7 frame.

--2019 guard Ahmadu Sarnor had a solid Thursday running with and against mostly 2017 and 2018 prospects. The 6-2 rising sophomore is transferring next season from Collegium Charter to New Jersey-based Ranney School, where he will play alongside some of his teammates from his AAU squad, Team Rio. On the recruiting trail, Sarnor already has an offer from VCU and is gaining interest from Richmond, Colgate and Virginia Tech.

--2017 guard Christian DeJean had a solid morning, knocking down a few threes and making smart plays in transition for his team. The 6-foot rising senior from Bayonne, N.J. is a little undersized but has been getting some interest from a few D-I schools including Monmouth and Hofstra.


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