CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
PHILADELPHIA -- The latest CoBL Underclassmen Camp took over University of the Sciences on Wednesday, as 80 rising 8th, 9th and 10th graders took to the courts for a morning of drills and afternoon of games.
Here’s our staff picks for standouts from the camp:
Jerome Brewer (2021/West Catholic)
Perhaps the best long-term prospect at camp, Brewer showed off the tantalizing upside that first caught our eye at the Jr. All City Classic back in June. A 6-foot-5 forward, he lacks some overall polish in his game, but is a top-notch athlete and already has a diverse skillset for a wing his age. Today, Brewer was consistent shooting from beyond the arc and also used his length and athleticism to make an impact on the offensive glass. While he was effective in the halfcourt, it’s in transition where he really gets to shine, flashing his bounce with some explosive open-court slams. It’s still early, but look for Brewer to potentially be one of the area’s most recruited players in the 2021 class.
John Camden (above) joins a loaded Westtown squad this year. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
John Camden (2021/Westtown School)
Already standing 6-5, Camden has a very high basketball IQ for a rising freshman. The Downingtown native will be joining the loaded Westtown Moose next season, and hopes to contribute as soon as he gets on campus. With his long, lanky frame, Camden was knocking down mid-range shots and even hit a few threes on Wednesday. Though he still needs to grow into his body, Camden already looks like one of the more talented prospects in his class in the local basketball scene.
Alex Capitano (2020/Episcopal Academy)
The most polished prospect in attendance today, Capitano will transfer to Episcopal this year from Great Valley and repeat his sophomore year. With more experience and a bit stronger frame than most of the other attendees, the usual sharpshooter made it his mission to get to the front of the rim and finish whenever the opportunity presented itself. Capitano had a few above-the-rim finishes in traffic, and showed off the rest of his polished scoring arsenal on a couple tough pull-up jumpers, averaging just under 20 ppg over his team’s three games. An outstanding student, Capitano looks like he could be an Ivy/Patriot priority in the 2020 class and will have the chance to play at a higher level of Division I with continued development.
Khai Champion (2020/Shipley School)
Champion’s abilities as an all around scorer were on full display Wednesday. The 5-10 shooting guard had one of the camp’s best single game performances, putting up 23 points. When at his best, Champion proves challenging for defenses from beyond the arc, in the mid range, and driving in the lane. Shipley head coach, Phil D’Ambrosio recognizes the potential and ability of Champion, as the then freshman saw consistent minutes for the Gators, scoring an average of 8.6 points in 27 games.
KeShaun Hammonds (2020/Constitution)
One of the more talented lead guards at the camp, Hammonds can seemingly do whatever he wants with the basketball, including putting it through the hoop with ease. The 6-0 guard scored in double figures in two of his three games, and showed a developed array of moves while attacking the basket. While he’s known for his outside shooting, Hammonds showed he can also put the ball on the floor and find his way through defenders to finish with his soft touch around the rim. He still needs to work on getting stronger, developing a pull-up jump shot and continuing to focus on feeding cutters on the break, but the future looks bright for a guard nicknamed Champ.
Devin Harris (2020/Sanford)
One of the most physically intriguing prospects at camp, Harris used his length and athleticism to finish strong at the rim and send backs shots on the defensive end. Already standing 6-7, Harris used his quick first jump and long frame to explode over top of his defenders and finish through contact. While he’s still learning to play into his body, Harris showed a smooth mid-range game, knocking down a few smooth free-throw line jumpers. Once he develops footwork and a back to the basket game, expect the Delaware native’s stock to rise.
Rahdir Hicks (above) proved a tough defensive assignment all day long. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Rahdir Hicks (2021/Malvern Prep)
One of the more experienced players at camp in terms of high school hoops, Hicks already has a season as a varsity starter for the Friars of Malvern Prep, though he’s reclassifying (as he can do at the non-PIAA school) and repeating his freshman year to move into the ‘21 class. At 6-0, Hicks is a solidly-built, athletic point guard with a good feel for the game. The Coatesville native used his quick first step to get by the defense and use shifty moves around the rim. Once he develops an outside shot, Hicks will be one of the most talented players in the Inter-Ac for the years to come.
Jacob Melady (2020/Parkland)
All day long, Melady just kept finding ways to be productive. Though the 6-2, 170-pound wing wasn’t the most fleet of foot or most athletic prospect at the camp, he didn’t let that bother him -- when offensive rebounds fell off the glass, Melady was there for putbacks. When the defense would lose their focus, Melady found an opening for a jumper. On the break, he knew how to trail for a 3-pointer or leak out for a layup. Something of a positionless player, Melady has to focus on his body and strength/athleticism, but his feel for the game was clear.
Maurice Montgomery (2021/Constitution)
A physical post, Montgomery looks ready for the battles of the Public League even though he’s just entering his freshman year at Constitution. At 6-5 and 205 pounds, he’s got the body to bang around in the paint, and he clearly wasn’t shy about doing just that in second and third-chance efforts on the glass. He also runs the floor hard and has good hands, displaying a strong ability to catch and finish in one smooth motion, while also occasionally looking to put the ball on the floor from the mid-range, though he wasn’t always successful in his attempts to reach the basket. Defensively, though he's not a "lanky" big man, he blocked his fair share of shots.
Nicholas Rappa (2020/Parkland)
Of the handful of post players at a camp populated mainly with guards and wings, Rappa was clearly the most skilled. At 6-5 and just shy of 200 pounds, Rappa played the pick-and-pop ‘4’ role to perfection, showcasing his jump-shooting ability early on in drills and carrying it right into games. He also had no problem taking the ball on the baseline or high post and putting it on the floor to get to the hoop, and showed very good body control and awareness for a player his size, blocking a number of shots in all three games. Like former Parkland forward Sam Iorio, Rappa’s ceiling will be determined by how much more he grows, but it looked clear today that he’ll be a much-wanted prospect at some level of college hoops by the time he’s a senior.
Kevin Reeves Jr. (2020/Cardinal O’Hara)
Known for his freakish athleticism, Reeves showed off his unique quickness on Wednesday, blowing by defenders on the fast break and finishing strong at the rim. With his tight handle and explosiveness in the open court, Reeves was cruising by his defenders and even finding teammates under the basket for easy layups. When Reeves was finishing at the basket, his hands were near the rim and seemingly kept rising as he went up to score.
Jaylen Stinson (2021/Haverford School)
Going into his first year of high school, Stinson showed tantalizing potential at camp. The 5-11 point guard has a well-above-average handle, which he uses to help distribute to his teammates. Probably the most impressive aspect of Stinson’s game is his defensive tenacity, of which you would not expect to see for such a young player. Stinson racked up multiple steals thanks to this intensity and his great hands. Expect big things from the freshman moving forward as long as he can continue being a force on both sides of the ball.
Andrew Vayda (above) was a terrific on-ball presence who could score and pass equally well. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Andrew Vayda (2020/Hazleton Area)
From the opening minutes of his team's first game, it was clear that Vayda knew what to do with the ball in his hands. Whether it was pulling up for a '3', getting his man up in the air with a shimmy to get into the lane and dish to a teammate or put up a floater, Vayda's decision-making was clear and impressive all afternoon long. The 5-11 point guard made some nifty passes with his head up, delivering the ball accurately even in traffic, limiting his turnovers in an arena that can lend itself to some hasty accidents.
Tyrese Watson (2020/Bonner-Prendergast)
Watson was one of the more explosive underclassmen at the camp, scoring a significant amount of his buckets in the break. He has an uncanny ability to outrun opposing defenses in transition, and is a reliable finisher at the rim. At 6-1, Watson is adept playing through contact while driving to the basket against larger defenders. He is also more than comfortable throwing the opposition off balance by changing speeds before lunging towards the hoop. Defensively, he spent the day in passing lanes, using his long arms to cause problems for opposing ball-handlers as well.
Honorable Mention: Jose Brea (2020/Reading), Winston Brown (2020/Pennsauken), Rasheem Dickerson (2020/Sankofa Freedom), John Dinkins III (2020/Cardinal O’Hara), Rahmee Gilbert (2020/Neumann-Goretti), Shane Holland (2020/La Salle College HS), Charles Ireland (2021/La Salle College HS), A.J. Jones (2021/Susquehanna Twp.), Will Fredrick (2021/Great Valley), Anthony Pompilii (2020/Bohemia Manor, Md.), Alex Ratner (2020/Marlboro, N.J.), Eli Rothman (2020/Lower Merion), Mahir Sharif (2020/Bonner-Prendergast) Glenn Smith (2020/Archbishop Ryan), Jayden Walsh (2021/Perkiomen School), Derrius Ward (2020/Sankofa Freedom)