CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
PITTSBURGH -- The Hoop Group’s Pitt Jam Fest invaded the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this weekend, bringing hundreds of teams from eighth graders through high school seniors onto 36 courts for a massive tournament to open the first of two April live recruiting periods.
Here’s part two of a notebook from the second day of action; part one can be found here:
Serbian seven-footer draws plenty of eyes
Standing 7-foot-1, Balsa Koprivica immediately stood out amongst his shorter competition on Saturday.
But after watching him move up and down the court, it became even more evident why the Serbian is a five-star recruit and one of the top prospects of the 2019 class.
Koprivica did most of his damage in the first half against the East Coast Power under 17 team, scoring 15 points to lead the Florida Eagles to a 54-45 victory..
The best word to describe Koprivicas game is fluid. He looked unhurried as he moved into position on both the offensive and defensive sides of the floor. East Coast Power players often opted to pass the ball out to the perimeter, rather than attempt a layup over Koprivica’s frame.
His dad, Slaviša Koprivica, is a 6-foot-10 former power forward and center who won a Euroleague Championship with Košarkaški klub Partizan in 1992. His father’s professional experience has helped Koprivica prepare for the next level.
He has offers from UCLA, Arizona, Kansas, Miami, Florida, Baylor, Florida State. His father’s professional experience, in addition to his height and finesse, has the NSU University School (FL) attending feeling confident about his prospects at the next level.
“I feel like it'll prepare me more if I go to the NBA, which I (want to),” Koprivica, who wants to go to college instead of spend times playing in his home country of Serbia, said. “Either way I think both are good options, but for me I think it's better for college because I want to get a degree as well. I want to go one or two years and then go to the league. I think it suits me better for the NBA.”
Anderson hopes to follow uncle's footsteps
Julian McGowan scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half on Saturday. One of his teammates, however, stole the show in the second half.
Six-foot-two guard Taj Anderson scored 13 of his 16 points in the second with an array of moves — floaters, dunks, circus layups, and a 3-pointer for good measure.
Growing up, Anderson learned the basketball ropes from his uncle, 15-year NBA vet Kenny Anderson. A former prep star at Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood, Queens, Kenny played for nine different franchises from 1991 until 2005.
"He does a lot of moving around but when he's not, I speak to him," Taj said. "He gives me pointers, tells me to get my midrange right and attack the basket."
Anderson, who attends Benjamin N. Cardozo HS (NY), doesn't have any offers, but he said he’s had significant interest from Georgia Tech — his uncle's alma mater.
Despite low score, DC Blue Devils show talent
Entering Saturday’s match against the RDC Lakers, the DC Blue Devils boasted one of the more talented rosters.
It didn’t translate on the scoresheet, as the Blue Devils won by a mere 40-31 margin. But throughout the game, individual players found moments to showcase their talent — especially as the clock wound down.
Six-foot-seven shooting guard Gob Gabriel, whose older brother, Wenyen Gabriel, is a Kentucky freshman who recently declared for the draft, showcased his versatility. Gob blocked a pair of shots in the second half and scored five of his nine points in the final three minutes, draining a corner three with 2:11 on the clock to extend the lead to 34-30, and going 1-of-2 at the line on two separate occasions within the final two minutes.
“It really helps knowing that he's up there and that anything's possible,” Gob, who attends Bradford Christian (Massachusetts) and has interest from Rutgers, St. Bonaventure and UMass, said of his relationship with his brother. “He gives me tips and stuff to work out, and just helps. It's like a boost, it makes be better.”
The Blue Devils boasted a loaded backcourt with Gabriel, Terrell Brown, a 6-foot-1 point guard attending Brooks HS (Mass), and Max Bonney-Liles, a 6-foot-4 guard from Alvirne HS (NH). Brown and Bonney-Liles, who both made several key plays down the stretch to help the Blue Devils eak out a close win.
DBC’s Cameron Brown noted that he’d been working on his bounce this season, which could certainly be a reason that the Eleanor Roosevelt (Md.) junior rose up and threw down a monster jam as part of his 12 points in a losing effort of a 17U Sweet 16 matcup against the Minnesota Fury.
A 6-5, 200-pound guard, Brown enters the live period with previous D-I offers from Coppin State, NJIT and High Point, with interest from a list that he said includes Charleston, UMBC, La Salle, Loyola (Md.), UMass, St. Bonaventure, VCU, Towson and more.
“They just all are telling me to play my game, just to go there and show that I’m a versatile guard who can play in the paint and on the outside and get stops on defense, stuff like that,” he said.