READING, Pa. — A loaded crop of rising seniors, juniors and sophomores descended on Albright College this week for the second Hoop Group Elite Camp in as many weeks, drawing out coaches from some of the top programs in the country as the second of three July live recruiting periods tipped off at 5 PM on Wednesday night.
Here’s a notebook featuring 2020 & 2021 prospects from games that took place early on Wednesday, before the coaches were allowed on, as well as once the live action got underway:
Trey Patterson (2021/Rutgers Prep, N.J.)
Though he’s one of the youngest prospects playing in the camp’s top division -- mostly reserved for rising seniors and juniors, with only a select group of rising sophomores in the mix -- Patterson is far from intimidated.
After all, the 6-foot-8 just-turned-16-year-old wing is ranked in the top 20 players in his class by by both ESPN and Future150, and plays with the high-level Team Rio National on the Under Armour circuit, in the same program as five-star talent like Ranney School (N.J.) rising seniors Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, among others.
"I’m used to competing against those guys,” he said. “It’s something to see, and being able to compete with them in practice and things like that makes me see how far I can go in this game.”
Patterson has plenty of hoops in his genes, with both of his parents playing Division I basketball. His father, Antoine Patterson, played 86 games at St. Francis (Pa.) between 1989-1992, averaging 7.5 ppg and 3.4 rpg; Patterson’s mom, Shamona Marable, was a standout at Seton Hall.
“They’re just telling me to keep working and just always stay level-headed and play hard all the time, because you never know who’s watching,” he said.
At his height, the small forward with easy athleticism has a chance to play at the highest levels of basketball, and his recruitment is headed that way. So far, Patterson has already reeled in scholarship offers from Rutgers, Seton Hall and Wake Forest. His interest list includes some of the blue blood programs in college hoops: Duke, Villanova and Notre Dame have all been keeping tabs, and a list of high-majors are sure to be checking him out this week at Albright and beyond.
With more than two years until any decision would be forthcoming, Patterson doesn’t need to pay too close attention to who’s courtside just yet.
“I don’t pay any mind to it, I just focus on the game and whatever happens outside the court, happens,” he said, adding that this week he just wants to “play hard, have fun and get exposed to college coaches in different environments.”
Noah Collier (2020/Westtown School, Pa.)
Besides being 6-foot-8, a talented athlete, and a possessing a polished jump shot, Noah Collier stood out on Wednesday for a different reason: his face mask.
The rising junior at the Westtown School broke his nose a few weeks ago, and then got cut in the eye just last week, causing a fresh wound. Collier’s face seems to be an attractive landing spot for flying elbows, as on Wednesday he got hit a couple more times, but luckily the mask was there to protect him.
“I’ve played with the mask before actually,” he said, “so I’ve gotten used to it and it’s comfortable.”
Collier definitely looked comfortable in his second game on Wednesday night, hitting threes, scoring in the paint, and making his presence felt on the defensive end. He’s still got room to improve in his overall game, but colleges certainly like the production they currently see in Collier’s game.
Coaches from schools such as La Salle, Temple, St. Joe’s, among others, were on hand to check out Collier on Wednesday.
He holds offers from all of those aforementioned schools, as well as Howard, Bryant, Seton Hall, and VCU. Collier also claims interest from many more schools, particularly Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Indiana. He’s visited Duke -- where former Westtown teammate Cam Reddish will be a freshman this fall -- as well as UNC, St. Joe’s, and Temple, all unofficially.
Although he’s only a junior, Collier will be one of the longest-tenured players that Westtown brings back next year. Senior Jalen Gaffney returns, but a bunch of new talent will be coming in for its first year, and Collier is looking forward to welcoming in some of the new guys.
“I can wait for that,” he said. “I was a new guy two years ago. It’s a great environment and atmosphere, so I love it. We are going to love having new additions. We try to keep an intense culture, hard work is the biggest virtue of the school.”
Among the newcomers are junior Amir Britt, and freshmen Dereck Lively and Quin Berger.
Collier hopes to add to his offer list by the end of July, and then start preparing to be a veteran on his high school team.
Wildwood Catholic's Taj Thweatt (above) is being recruited by a pair of Big 5 schools. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
-- This is a key offseason for Wildwood Catholic (N.J.) 2020 Taj Thweatt, who not only is trying to chase some high-level offers, but also has a lot to prepare for about his junior year. Wildwood Catholic graduates Bowling Green commit Caleb Fields and the rest of a key group of seniors, and the 6-6, 190-pound wing is going to have the ball in his hands more and more as he enters his upperclassman years.
“I’ve got a lot of expectations, a lot of people looking up to me now,” he said. “I’ve got a bigger part to play. Me and my teammate Jahlil [White], we’re looking forward to it.”
Thweatt’s only D-I scholarship offer came from La Salle’s old staff, and Thweatt said he hasn’t heard much from the Explorers’ new coaches. He is hearing from Temple, which brought him to its team camp to play on a select team, as well as Rutgers, Saint Joseph’s, Siena and more; he said Temple and St. Joe’s are both trying to get him back on campus.
-- The younger brother of Penn State incoming freshman Myles Dread, Malcolm Dread impressed in his first set of games Wednesday, scoring 12 points in a variety of different ways. A 6-3 rising sophomore at Gonzaga (D.C.), Dread was scoring around the rim with both hands, and established a mid-range game. Dread played a limited role at Gonzaga during his freshman year, but hopes to take a big leap next season. He admits having his older brother Myles around last year was helpful, and hopes to use the wisdom passed down to him next year.
“It’s gonna be different around the house, but I think I can fight through it,” he said. “He taught me just play as hard as you can every time you’re on the court, if you play hard, things will come to you naturally.”
Dread has no offers at the moment, but claims interest from Wake Forest, James Madison, and George Mason. A strong sophomore year at Gonzaga should help Dread to start getting some serious college looks.
-- Fresh off of a run in the Peach Invitational with the NJ Playaz 16’s squad, rising junior Zion Bethea came to the July Live Period with offers from Penn State, Minnesota, and UMass, and don’t be surprised if he leaves with some more. A 6-3 guard from Jersey, Bethea has a bit of an unorthodox release, but the ball finds the bottom of the net more often than not. He also showed off his athleticism by catching and finishing an alley-oop off the backboard.
His tenacious defense, which is something he prides himself on, was also something coaches looking on might have picked up on. St. Joe’s has been communicating a lot with Bethea, and other schools have expressed interest as well. It’s off to Vegas next week for Bethea, where he hopes to reel in a few more offers before he starts getting ready for the high school season.
-- Caleb Dorsey and his brother Gabe Dorsey are both up at Albright, though in different situations. While the 6-3 Gabe, a rising sophomore at the Hill School, is a year away from serious college attention, playing in the secondary division at the camp, Caleb is front-and-center and ready to reel in some big names. The 6-8, 200-pound wing already has UMBC and Loyola (Md.) offers under his belt, but the list of schools reaching includes some big names: Georgetown, West Virginia, Yale, Illinois, Siena, Brown and Penn have all contacted the lanky combo forward, who can defend multiple positions, create off the wing and score around the hoop.