Allen Betrand (above) is playing with a newfound confidence after getting his first Division I offer in June. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Allen Betrand (2018/WeR1)
Betrand had one word to describe his reaction when Saint Joseph’s offered him a scholarship earlier this year.
“Surprised,” he said Sunday.
The 6-4 guard elaborated to say he was surprised that he was getting D-I offers this early; La Salle followed its Big 5 partner in offering on June 15. But more are soon to come for Betrand, who demonstrated an ability to get to the basket and score throughout the weekend.
Betrand plays alongside 2019 point guard, Isaiah Wong, who picked up an offer from the Hawks in June. St. Joe’s assistant Dave Duda was on hand Sunday to watch both play at Philly U.
Kent State, Old Dominion, Temple and Maryland are other schools who have expressed interest in Bertrand, but for now, he’s waiting on his second offer. Picking up the one from St. Joe’s was unexpected for Bertrand, but it also signaled the next step in his recruiting process.
Now he’s ready for more.
“It makes me really want to play better and earn more (offers)”, he said, “because it was a great feeling.”
Betrand is gaining D-I interest due in part to the way he plays bigger than his height. He has a good vertical jump and outplayed his listing on both ends of the court on Sunday.
He has played his high school basketball at Samuel Fels, but the rising junior said he was unsure where he would be playing in the 2016-17 season and was keeping his options open.
But before that Betrand plans on finishing out the July Live Period in a strong manner. If he does, he shouldn’t be surprised by any more offers.
“Next week is a big week, and we want to win,” Betrand said of the Under Armour Association championship, which takes place in Atlanta starting next Wednesday. “That’s our number one goal. For me personally, I want to work on my jump shot and keep having a better attitude and be a better leader and passer.” -- Stephen Pianovich
Matthue Cotton (above) is rounding out his game, and his stock looks ready to rise. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Matthue Cotton (2018/Team Final)
A strong shooter who’d been on Division I radars for some time, Cotton’s recruitment is starting to heat up -- and for good reason.
The St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) wing, who spent his first two years of high school at Academy New Church (Pa.) before heading to the Jersey prep powerhouse, continued a very strong start to his summer with a 21-point outing in a showcase game against Team Rio on Sunday morning.
A 6-foot-4 left-handed wing with a smooth outside shot, Cotton impressed at the Hoop Group’s Academic Elite camp in June, earning Most Outstanding Player honors among the several hundred campers in attendance.
“It showed me that I can do more than I thought I could on the court,” he said.
Cotton certainly opened eyes at Philly U this week, doing much more than just making the 3-point shots that he’d been known for hitting at ANC. Looking much more smooth off the dribble, he made things happen off the bounce, making several nice passes while on the attack and seeing the floor better than he has before.
Colgate offered earlier in the week, joining an existing offer from La Salle; a laundry list of schools are interested, including "NJIT, St. Joe's, Florida, Creighton, Lafayette, South Carolina, VCU, Yale, and Virginia," according to Cotton.
His stock could really take off once he gets to St. Ben’s in the fall. Last year, Philly’s David Beatty went up to the Newark prep school and subsequently became a major piece for the Grey Bees’ nationally-recognized program; Beatty now has more than two dozen high-major offers.
“Just everything -- the education, getting a new coach, playing with new players, I think it’ll be good for me,” Cotton said.
Speaking of 3-pointers, however, Cotton still showed he’s a supreme threat from beyond the arc. With more than two dozen mid-to-high-major coaches courtside for the matchup against a loaded Team Rio squad, he knocked down a game-tying 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds, a big shot on a big stage, even though his team ultimately lost on another buzzer-beating triple.
“That says a lot...he’s just getting to the team, so for us to put that burden on his shoulders, he stepped up,” Team Final 16U coach Calvin Gilbert said. “We’ve been getting on him about taking the shot -- and he took the shot and made the shot.” -- Josh Verlin
Jahvon Quinerly (2018/Sports U)
Two of the best high school guards in the country squared off against each other on Sunday afternoon when Trevon Duval and WeR1 tipped off against Jahvon Quinerly and Sports U.
With dozens of eyes from high major coaches looking on, it was Quinerly and Sports U who got the best of WeR1 in a 51-46 win. Duval, the coveted 2017 recruit who was playing for the first time this weekend at Philly U, put up a team-best 16 points. Quinerly, one of the top-rated guards in the 2018 class, more than held his own.
He put up 14 points – tying for the Sports U high – hit two threes, got to the hoop in transition and showed what he was able to do on the defensive end.
“I played well defensively, I feel like my offense could have been a little better,” he said afterward. “But we got the win, so I’m happy.”
Quinerly already has offer from a bunch of high-major schools, with Villanova, Connecticut, Virginia, Seton Hall and St. John’s among them. Villanova, which is also courting Duval, had head coach Jay Wright and assistant Ashley Howard in attendance on Sunday. They, along with one of the biggest crowds of the day, got to watch Duval and Quinerly go head-to-head.
“We went to Steph Curry camp together. We were just at the UA All American, and we matched up a few times,” Quinerly said of facing Duval. “We went at it every time, and it’s always a good experience, going against one of the best guards in the country.”
Quinerly’s play on Sunday made it an even better experience. -- Stephen Pianovich
Union Catholic/NJ Roadrunners big man Jordan Pierce has seven D-I offers already. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Jordan Pierce (2017/NJ Roadrunners)
One of the biggest bodies at the camp was Pierce, but the 7-footer doesn’t want to be treated like any typical big man.
“I feel like most bigs usually when they get the ball, all they know is just to score or attempt to score,” he said. “But I try to find the best possible situation, trying to find an open shooter -- or if it is scoring, then score.”
Pierce displayed a well-rounded game to along with his large frame, with the ability to pop out and knock down a mid-range jumper and good hands and footwork in the post.
After a long week at Hoop Group’s Elite camp and then four games in two days at Elevate, the Union Catholic (N.J.) big man was feeling a little fatigued by the end of the day Sunday, but was trying not to let that get to him against a tough Philly Pride squad in a 17U consolation game.
“(I’m) definitely working on my jump shot and trying to get better positioning in the post and just play more aggressively,” he said.
Of course, any 7-footer who can move well, plays hard and has face-up abilities -- not to mention is also left-handed -- is bound to see Division I recruitment, and Pierce is no exception.
So far, seven schools have offered: “East Carolina, Seton Hall, Temple, FGCU, Kennesaw State, Stony Brook and Monmouth,” he said. Kansas State, plus locals Saint Peter’s and Loyola (Md.), had also been in contact.
Right now, it seems like two schools are working the hardest.
“I would say Florida Gulf Coast and Temple are in contact with me all the time,” he said.
The only schools he’s visited unofficially are Temple, Seton Hall and Monmouth, with no official visits yet scheduled.
Though a number of local programs are recruiting him, he’s not necessarily going to stay in North Jersey for four more years.
“I wouldn’t say I want to stay home, I actually might want to venture out, and go different places,” he said. “Maybe across the country, I don’t know.”
-- Kyle Cardaci (2018/Jersey Force) shouldn’t have to buy a Gatorade for the rest of the summer after delivering his teammates a championship with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer against the NY Jayhawks in the 16U title game. A 6-2 guard from Holmdel, N.J., Cardaci -- who hit 64 3-pointers as a sophomore -- knocked in one from the right wing with 10 seconds left to bring his team from down five to within two. Then, following a missed foul shot by the Jayhawks, Cardaci’s teammates got the ball down the court just in enough time to find him wide open on the left wing, with the ball sailing through the twine as the clock hit 0. “I was a little nervous, I had to keep myself confident and I was just keeping on doing what I do and shoot,” he said. “It was the foul shot, and I was saying if I got the ball, I’m going to pull it and it’s going to go in.”
-- All week long, Kyson Rawls (2017/Philly Pride) was absolute money from beyond the arc. The 5-11 point guard from St. George’s (Del.) has been working on his catch-and-shoot game to provide a nice balance to attacking guards David Beatty (2017/St. Benedict’s) and LaPri McCray-Pace (2017/TBD prep school), and it showed with a strong 3-point performance through both the Elevate Hoops Icebreaker (July 6-8) and Showdown (July 9-10); Sunday, he capped that off with seven 3s spread across two games. Towson, Saint Peter’s and UMass have showed some interest in the combo guard, who changes up his style of play depending on what’s needed: “I can run the team when you want me to, and when you want me to shoot, I can shoot,” he said.
-- Impressive performance in that 16U championship by the Samba Diallo (2018/NY Jayhawks), who had 18 points as his team fell just short at the buzzer. A native of Senegal who came to the United States last fall, the 6-7 left-handed wing already has offers from offers from VCU, Hofstra, Iona and Stony Brook with interest from Virginia, Temple and more mid-to-high-major programs. It's easy to see why; he's got a long and mobile frame, and while he's most effective from within 15 feet of the rim, he's got the ability to step out and knock down a jumper. As his skillset matures, the sky is the limit. -- Josh Verlin