Friday and Saturday I put aside for Hoop Group events in Central Pennsylvania and we start with their Elite camp session II at Albright College in Reading, PA. These are a few guys who stood out on the final day of camp and in the all star games:
Anthony Harris 6’3” ’19 Paul VI HS (Fairfax, VA) – In his final camp game he stood out to me as a facilitator for his team albeit in a losing cause. I was told that he hadn’t had a great camp shooting the ball up to that point so he constantly set up his teammates in this contest foregoing his own offense for the betterment of the squad. He has a good handle and appeared comfortable vs. pressure while directing his team in this game which is a break from the norm for him as he plays more as a two for Paul VI. He had at least 5asts in this contest sizing up the defense and getting the ball to his teammates in scoring positions and for good measure he dropped in a three ball and several strong drives to the hole for baskets. He also played very good defense throughout the contest harassing his opponent into bad situations and turnovers. Despite not making one of the camp all star teams Harris has impressed me in various settings over the past year and I really like his overall game.
Zion Bethea 6’3” ’20 Immaculate Conception HS (Montclair, NJ) – Bethea was the beneficiary of several Anthony Harris passes in the game I viewed as he showed of his vastly expanding offensive repertoire. He can score it with a smooth looking jumper from midrange with accuracy out to the arc. He nailed a couple treys in this tilt as well as some strong moves into the painted area for pull up buckets. His skillset is ever improving and he earned his spot in the underclass all star game. He can get to the basket as well with a strong upper body that can absorb contact and still get up good shots earning him trips to the free throw line. His passing game is a tad underrated as he can dish the ball to open teammates and he puts some zip into some of those as well. He also rebounds rather well from the guard position as he had at least 6 in this game though at times he gets caught standing around the perimeter. Bethea will need some refinement in his overall game but the future looks bright for him moving forward.
Josiah Freeman 6’5” ’20 Paul VI HS (Fairfax, VA) – Another guy who earned a slot in the underclass all star game was Freeman who has made really good strides in his skillset since I last saw him in March. Despite his teams loss in his final camp game he was a standout with his myriad abilities in creating offense. He scored it at the rim on quick slashing drives, he hit pull up 15 footers off the bounce and he even knocked down a few treys off the catch. He handled it well in the open court but because the game was a freewheeling affair he didn’t face much pressure. He showed a good eye to spot open teammates and did deliver the goods on a few occasions for assists. Defensively he played rather loose which was not surprising based on the flow of the game where defense was not a priority but he still managed to get several steals by patrolling the passing lanes and picking off errant and ill advised passes. His court presence though was why I was impressed with him on this day as he felt totally at ease and looked confident in all aspects of his game and I see a big year coming from this young man.
Jordan Hall 6’5” ’20 Sts. Neumann-Goretti Catholic HS (Philadelphia, PA) – Hall started to really come on at the end of last season at Cardinal O’Hara and looked primed to step into the spotlight this coming year. But after a coaching change at O’Hara he will have to make those strides for N-G instead which certainly ups the ante as the Saints have won 5 consecutive state championships and are perennial contenders in the Catholic league. After watching him here today though I think he relishes the challenge and is obviously putting in the work. He looks much smoother with the ball in his hands and his jump shot has improved exponentially along with his confidence to launch it from the midrange area out to the arc. He was hitting shots in the camp game I watched and also nailed a couple in the all star tilt. He sees the floor well and at 6’5” can see over the top in certain situations to hit open shooters or cutters with pinpoint passes designed to get buckets. Like with Freeman this game was not 100% pleasing if you like defense but his lanky frame suggests to me a guy who can defend and disrupt opposing teams offensive flow and I’ll definitely get to see that this coming fall.
Donta Scott 6’7” ’19 Imhotep Institute Charter HS (Philadelphia, PA) – Coming off a great showing at the UAA Challenge in Atlanta Scott picked up where he left off at this camp with several top notch performances including the game I viewed on the camps final day. He was all over the court making plays from shooting it from the three point line tp getting to the rim for vicious slams and acrobatic finishes in traffic and thru contact. He handled the ball well moving up and down the floor with patience and purpose in his teams big win. His passing game was spot on as he delivered multiple scoring passes in the contest giving out at minimum 8asts. While no official stats were kept he was close to a triple double as he rebounded at a high level on both ends getting at least a dozen boards. His play at the camp earned him spot in the top 20 all star tilt and with the way he’s been playing this spring and summer it was no doubt deserved.
Ricky Lindo 6’8” ’19 Northfield Mount Hermon School (MA) – This DC area product has been on my radar for quite some time and in the one game I got to see here he didn’t disappoint. He moves very fluidly around the floor looking for openings to burst to the basket for quick strike baskets whether by explosive leaping dunks or good body controlled layups. He also likes to sneak in the back door and with a lithe and agile first jump convert on the oop pass from his guards. He had the full arsenal working in this contest and while he didn’t make the top 20 game he got the consolation prize of making the Senior all star game instead. Lindo has an emerging game and I think his best is yet to come as his ball handling is coming along nicely and he has also improved his feel for the game and passing skills as he delivered two crisp assists in this contest that maybe a year ago were probably turnovers. Defensively he uses his long arms to deflect or pick off errant passes and he is quick enough to defend on the perimeter as well as down low even though he could add some weight and strength to his frame. Overall he has shown a willingness to play hard and work on his deficiencies and this is a trait that should serve him well at the next level.
Sherif Kenney 6’4” ’19 Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH) – Every time I see Kenney I can’t help to marvel at his game as he looks, to me anyway, a bit out of shape and doesn’t seem to fit into a position on the floor. Of course in todays game of position less basketball I can see why he is so valuable to a team. He simply does what the team needs and he does it well as he can score the ball if that is what is needed or he can handle vs. pressure and deliver solid scoring passes to his teammates. Whatever the case may be he did a lot of it in his teams win in his final camp game. He scored the ball at a good clip from slashing drives to the cup to pull up jumpers from the mid level to the three point line. He was equally efficient delivering passes to his mates and Ricky Lindo was certainly appreciative of this. He rebounded well especially on the defensive end and he led the break on numerous occasions either with smart on the money outlet passes or by putting it on the deck and bursting past startled defenders. He even impressed with his defensive play using his strong frame to deny bigger players access to the lane on several occasions and a few times he even guarded 6’11” Qudus Wahab with some measure of success I might add. His play this week merited his selection to the Top 20 all star game and I guess I wouldn’t expect anything less.