CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
The first of three July live recruiting periods is in the books, with five days packed full of hoops drawing hundreds of college coaches to gyms around the country.
This week, CoBL had writers at the Global Squad Showcase, Hoop Group Elite Camp, Elevate Hoops Icebreaker & Showdown and the Nike EYBL Peach Jam. Here are the players we saw this week that really opened our eyes:
Eli Brooks (2017/Jersey Shore Warriors)
One of the most sought-after Pennsylvania products in the 2017 class, Brooks had his skills on display in front of a lot of high-major coaches during the first live period at both Elevate Hoops events at Philly U. Brooks, a 6-1 guard who plays for Spring Grove, shined as he led the Jersey Shore Warriors to the 17U title during the Icebreaker event. He followed that up with solid play in the weekend’s Showdown event, and he hit an overtime game-winning three on Sunday. Brooks already has more than one dozen offers, and that number should increase by the end of July.
Matthue Cotton (above) has made big strides in his game over the last 6-8 months. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Matthue Cotton (2018/Team Final)
Growing in ability and assertiveness seemingly by the day, Cotton is starting to turn heads with his consistent, high-level play over the last few months. The 6-foot-4 lefty, a 3-point specialist early on in his career, is really starting to develop his off-hand dribbling ability so he can take defenders off the bounce, which in turn makes him a more effective outside shooter with opponents forced to respect his all-around game. While a year ago he looked more like a slightly undersized ‘3’, Cotton now has the look of a true off-guard, especially if he continues to develop in these same areas.
Ramiir Dixon-Conover (2017/Jersey Force)
A slashing scorer, Dixon-Conover was a big reason the Jersey Force 17s made big runs at both the Icebreaker and Showdown in the Elevate Hoops events at Philly U. Coming into July with a big chip on his shoulder after missing most of his senior year in high school -- he's going to a to-be-determined prep school this fall -- Conover added to his NJIT offer by consistently scoring the ball from all three levels as well as chipping in handily on defense. With a big week at Hoop Group's Elite 2 camp this week, he could see his recruiting hit MAAC/CAA territory.
Matt Faw (2017/East Coast Power)
Faw, who was a standout from our most recent college exposure camp, took his hot hand into the first live period of July. The 6-8 forward was a scoring machine for ECP in the Elevate Hoops Summer Icebreaker. He displayed his ability to score in a variety of ways; from the block, facing up, or stretching it out beyond the three-point line. After hearing from plenty of Division II and III schools following the April live period, Faw began to garner some notice from Division I schools and picked up his first offer from Holy Cross over the weekend.
Quade Green (2017/PSA Cardinals)
Philadelphia’s highest 2017 player shined at Peach Jam last week, leading his PSA Cardinals to the 17U Championship, ultimately falling to Mokan Elite. Green, who was pestered by Duke inquiries all week, was watched by Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff all week long. ‘Plan A’ averaged 17.5 points and nine assists in four games played, pouring in 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting in an impressive semifinal comeback against John Petty at Team Penny. While Green scored only nine points on 3-of-11 shooting in the championship, the 6-foot Goretti star surely had an impressive week in North Augusta, S.C. Kentucky, Syracuse and Kansas are considered to be in the hunt for Green, but Duke is heavily expected to win the race.
Collin Gillespie (2017/Team Final Black)
A 6-foot-1 combo guard, Gillespie has been playing with a ton of confidence this entire offseason, leading Wood to the JTBL title over Neumann-Goretti plus a strong string of team camp appearances in June, and carried that right over into July. The Elevate Hoops Icebreaker from Weds.-Fri. was basically the Collin Gillespie show, as he went for 30-plus points on multiple occasions, showing off that not only is he a knockdown 3-point shooter but he can attack a defense off the bounce and get to the foul line. Numerous high-level Division II schools extended offers this week, but if he keeps it up it’s only a matter of time until someone at the D-I level decides his production is too much to ignore.
Sean Good (2018/Team Final)
Good made his big frame known on both ends of the floor at Elevate Hoops. The Trinity (Pa.) center, a lanky athlete at 6-11, used his long arms to turn his oppositions jumpers into tough contested looks. Good also was active on the offensive end, boxing out his opponent as shots went up to get a chance at a second chance look off an offensive rebound. Good currently holds an offer from Penn State with interest from several D-I schools, and with continued active play inside he’ll be able to turn those into offers.
Justin Jaworski (2017/East Coast Power)
Jaworski is starting to get Division-I interest and he showed why at Philly U over the weekend. He scored 28 points in a close loss to Team Melo on Saturday morning and the point guard was in attack mode during the whole Elevate Hoops Showdown event. The Perkiomen Valley point guard picked up a few D-II offers over the weekend (Millersville and USciences) and he is gaining interest from Holy Cross. Though he’s only 5-11, Jaworski makes up for it with his ability to get to the rim in transition, and he also can knock down threes, as he proved with five triples against Team Melo.
Scottie Lewis (above) is one of the most impressive rising sophomores in the country. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Scottie Lewis (2018/Team Rio)
Lewis is going to end up on “best of” lists no matter where he plays -- he’s just that good. The rising sophomore at the Ranney School (N.J.) is considered amongst the top 25 prospects in his class, and for good reason. At 6-5 with a ridiculous wingspan, he’s got easy above-the-rim athleticism which makes him an an absolute menace as a defender, able to get in passing lanes, block shots and generally bother opponents into tough opportunities. But unlike many hyper-athletic basketball players his age, Lewis already has a well-developed skill set, with a beautiful looking arc on his jump shot and the ability to drain buckets from inside or outside the arc. As he continues to refine his game and get stronger, the sky is literally the limit.
Bernard Lightsey (2018/Team Philly)
Playing up with Team Philly’s 17U squad this week at the Elevate Hoops Icebreaker and Showdown, Lightsey was the team’s leader throughout the week. A 5-11 guard, Lightsey has made an impact at Imhotep Charter the last two years as a 3-point specialist, but he showed at Philly U (as he’s done this whole offseason) that he’s more than just a gunner. Lightsey is tough and muscular and has the ball on a string, and he’s capable of scoring the ball from all three levels. No offers yet for this guard, who shares a backcourt with the supremely talented Daron Russell, but it wouldn’t surprise us if he picks up a few before August.
LaPri McCray-Pace (2017/Philly Pride)
The decision to take a prep year and spend one more summer on the AAU circuit looks like a good one for the Conwell-Egan grad. The former All-Catholic selection displayed a much more well-rounded offensive game than seen in the past and was also the floor general for his Philly Pride squad. Although McCray-Pace hasn’t yet decided where he will spend his prep year, Mount Zion (Md.) and Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) are currently the frontrunners. He will not announce his decision until after the Under Armour Association Finals, that will take place this week. Wherever McCray-Pace decides to take his talents, Division I coaches will be sure to take note as the 6-2 guard has been hearing from the likes of Norfolk State (Va.) and Canisius, among others.
Asbjorn Midtgaard (2017/Global Squad Denmark)
It was impossible to miss Midtgaard whenever the 7-1, 270-pound center took the court, whether at the Global Squad Showcase or at Philly U for the Elevate Hoops Showdown. He makes some other high-major Division I recruits look undersized when they’re battling him in the post, with his physicality unmatched by anybody we’ve seen in quite a long time. But more than just a mountain of a man, Midtgaard is mobile and active, still somewhat learning the game but with a promising future. He’s communicative on the defensive end, extremely active in post-up situations offensively and does a great job of kicking out to shooters and re-posting to establish better positioning.
Clifton Moore (above) continued his offer deluge after showing off his upside at Philly U this week. (Photo: Tom Reifsnyder/CoBL)
Clifton Moore Jr. (2017/Hoopdreamz)
Who saw this coming? A near-unknown on even the local scene just half a year ago, Moore is all of a sudden one of the most-offered prospects in the area, picking up his 14th and 15th offers -- from St. Joe’s and Hofstra -- on Monday morning. St. John’s, Temple, George Mason, Lafayette and more have also extended scholarships to the 6-9 wing, whose upside is certainly about as high as any other player around. Though Moore is most comfortable on the perimeter, where he looks to spot up and launch 3-pointers as often as he can, he’s also shown the ability to post up and knock down baseline hook shots, a trait he’ll need to utilize more often at his height and position.
Elijah Olaniyi (2017/NJ Roadrunners)
Apparently, the knock on Olaniyi coming into the offseason was that his jump shot was lacking in consistency. That certainly wasn’t apparent this week, as throughout both the Hoop Group’s Elite Camp and the Elevate Hoops Showdown, the 6-4 wing guard was knocking down triples with a smooth, confident shooting stroke. Olaniyi entered the recruiting periods with a quartet of offers and has already picked up several more from FDU, CSSU, Rider and more. But his length and ability to score from all three levels already has Atlantic 10 scores involved, and another strong week could get those offers on board.
Tyree Pickron (2018/WeR1)
Whenever we saw WeR1’s 16s, this Archbishop Wood rising senior was on top of his game. The 6-3 wing guard finds a way to impact the game whenever he’s in the court; most common is his ability to knock down 3-pointers with a lightning-quick release from the corner or wings, but he’s also a very good rebounding guard and defender who’s also becoming a better attacker and finisher. Drexel, Delaware State and Stony Brook have offered thus far, but as more teams see his ability to knock down shots combined with his body and general basketball IQ, he’ll get more coming in.
Bobby Planutis (2017/JB Hoops)
Planutis’ decision to decommit from Mount St. Mary’s and reclassify to 2017 preceded what has been a strong summer for the Hazelton (Pa.) native. His strongsuit is definitely shooting, but has developed a more versatile, well-rounded game as the summer has progressed. The 6-6 wing looked terrfic at Hoop Group, shooting the ball efficiently and asserting himself defensively, using his length to deflect passes along the perimeter. He still is strongly considering Mount St. Mary’s, but has added offers from Farleigh Dickinson, High Point and Maine to the fray. He has also started to receive interest from Atlantic 10 schools like Rhode Island and Davidson.
Antonio Rizzuto (2018/York Ballers)
He had impressive showing back at our camp in May in front of Division II and III coaches, but the guard from York finally got his first offer -- from a Division I school in Albany. He was one of the standouts at Hoop Group’s Elite Camp as well as at Summer Showdown and has started to receive interest from schools like Princeton, Lafayette and Boston U. Rizzuto can really shoot the basketball and proved on more than one occasion that he can score at all three levels.
Daron Russell (2017/Team Final)
Without Cam Reddish, Russell was given more offensive responsibility for Team Final at Nike’s EYBL Peach Jam in Augusta. The 5-foot-10 speedy guard was instrumental in helping his team to a successful tournament. Russell averaged a team-high 21.4 points and four assists per game -- scoring 33 points in a close win against NY Rens. The rising Imhotep senior scored from every part of the court, splashing 15 of his 27 attempted 3-pointers while creating opportunities at the rim for his team. He holds local offers from Penn, Temple and La Salle. SMU was projected to be the favorite before the Larry Brown contract dispute. Russell’s brother, DeWayne plays for Grand Canyon, and the Antelope staff was front and center for each of Team Final’s games this past week. Russell’s agility and athleticism will only impress high-major coaches in his final summer on the circuit.
John Stansbury (2017/Philly Pride)
Stansbury, a 6-3 guard, looked great during his time at Elevate Hoops. Stansbury turned some heads with some of his moves he used to get himself to the rim in position to score. The Hodgson Vo-Tech (Del.) rising senior made his mark in transition, running the floor on every fast break opportunity, finding himself in easy position to score off outlet passes from his teammates. Though he isn’t quite a knockdown shooter yet, he made defenses respect his ability to knock down both mid-range and 3-point jump shots, with a much greater consistency when he was able to gather himself momentarily before launching. Low-to-mid-major schools will like his athleticism, ability and upside.
Kyle Thompson (2018/Jersey Shore Warriors)
Thompson compared his game this week to Kyle Lowry, and while he might not quite have the exact skillset as the NBA All-Star, there are certainly some similarities. The big-bodied 5-11 point guard out of St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.) can bring the ball up and create for his teammates, but he’s a scoring point who can get really hot from beyond the arc. He can shoot off the bounce about as well as anybody around regardless of class, even with a hand in his face, and has a nice one-dribble pull-up to him as well. Binghamton is the only school to offer so far, and though he might not have the ideal height for a scoring combo, eventually his production will win over other D-Is.