Here are some of Saturday’s top performers at the Hoop Group Summer Jam Fest at Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, PA:
Tyler Crespo 5’10” ’19 Cats AAU (Manheim Twp. HS PA) – For Tyler he didn’t have to travel too far for this event which is practically in his back yard so the familiar surroundings appeared to his liking in an afternoon tilt with the JS Warriors. He totaled 23pts in the contest with 2 treys but he impressed me with his ability to keep the defense off balance while keeping his teammates involved in the game. He has a very good handle and he’s fast with the ball which gave Jersey Shoe fits for much of the contest. His change of direction dribble opened up driving lanes for him to get to the basket for quick strike scores. His passing game is coming along as well as he is more a 2 than a lead guard but he made several nice feeds for assists in the game. He’s not a lockdown defender by any stretch but he is quick enough to keep opponents in front of him and he is diligent enough to get steals or force turnovers when his man gets careless with the ball. Going forward with his speed and scoring prowess I think he has a chance to land at a low D-1 level school despite his diminutive size.
Eric Dixon 6’7” ’19 We R 1 UAA (Abington Sr. HS PA) – Consistency was the norm for the Villanova recruit as in his 2 Showcase games on Saturday vs. EYBL squads Team Melo & PSA Cardinals he put up 14pts in each of their two wins. Dixon is an old school player who utilizes his strong frame and assortment of head and ball fakes to score around the basket but has enough skill to step away from the hoop to knock down jump shot out to the three point line. He doesn’t posses a ton of lift but he uses his body to carve out space and he does a tremendous job of grabbing rebounds with timing and physicality. He’s a very good passer from the post and since he draws lots of attention in the paint has become quite the kick out artist to find open shooters around the perimeter and is no slouch handling the basketball in a pinch. His defensive game is about controlling his man in the paint but he can close if said man drifts to the outside. With his recruitment already finished he can focus on honing his already formidable skillset to prepare for the rigors of college hoops and maybe lead his team deep in the PIAA playoffs.
Isaiah Wong 6’3” ’19 We R 1 UAA (Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast Catholic HS PA) – In We R 1’s game 1 win over Team Melo Wong played more facilitator than scorer as they were very balanced in their 21 point win. He finished with 13pts and I had him with 4asts in the contest as he played with precision and took what the defense gave him. While he is somewhat of a ball dominant guard who has the ball in his hands a great deal I think he translates more to the SG role as he is an assassin at times piling up points with an assortment of crafty dribble drive moves or spot up jumpers. He is a capable passer to be sure but I believe he is better at the two with some ability to deliver the ball to his teammates in certain situations. Case in point was Showcase game 2 vs PSA Cardinals when he went off for 26pts in another 21 point win. He has a nasty handle and great burst at the point of attack and while his shot is sometimes spotty he possesses good form with range to the arc and if he’s not burdened with the PG duties I think he shoots a higher percentage. On the defensive end his quick hands and feet allow him to keep his man from his intended spots and he is a wizard at picking off errant passes which lead to fastbreak opportunities for himself or his teammates. He recently announced a final 5 in his recruitment so I’m guessing an announcement may come in the fall as U Conn, Pitt, Villanova, Clemson and U Miami are vying for his services.
Hakim Hart 6’6” ’19 Philly Pride UAA (Roman Catholic HS PA) – After a so so outing in their Showcase win over PSA Cardinals Hart was bound and determined to show better in Showcase game 2 vs. Team Melo and boy did he succeed big time with the day’s best shooting performance. Of course he had some inspiration from PSA’s James Bouknight who hit 7 treys in the game. Well Hart one upped him as he knocked down 8-10 from distance in a 26 point effort where he seemingly couldn’t miss and the Melo squad couldn’t stop him. When Hart showed up at Roman he carried the reputation of being a shooter and the sceptics out there said he would struggle in the super tough Catholic League. Well after some early issues he proved to everybody that he can indeed shoot the basketball and nothing has changed in that regard. He is a smart player who can handle the ball but doesn’t over dribble, he can pass the ball without trying to force something that doesn’t materialize and while he seemingly has no lift even on his jump shot he rebounds the ball surprisingly well. He’s also a smart defensive player who plays solid positional defense and he gets some steals as a result of this. With his growth plates still open there is a chance he picks up another inch or two to his frame which will certainly expand his recruitment.
James Bouknight 6’5” ’19 PSA Cardinals-EYBL (MacDuffie School MA) – Bouknight held the best shooting performance mantle for all of a couple hours before Hart stole it away but he definitely gets 1A in my book. After missing most of the spring with an injury he just recently was cleared to play again and this game may be his coming out party as he amassed those 7 threes on his way to 33pts. With Cole Anthony sitting these Showcase games out Bouknight and his fellow Cardinals had a chance to show that they could hoop a little too and they did just that. His shot was smooth all game long and the threat of his long distance marksmanship helped him get into the paint where he was equally effective. He did a nice job handling the ball and he showed that he could also be a sharp passer as well. If he was feeling any effects of the injury it didn’t show in this game and he was active on D getting a few steals during the game. It looked like as a precaution the coaching staff held him out of their 2nd game which was probably wise but I think he turned more than a few heads with his performance which should heat up his recruitment but only time will tell.
Charlie Weber 6’8” ’19 6th Man Warriors DC (Bishop O’Connell HS VA) – I only got to see Weber once here and he was just as good here as he was when I saw him at the Virginia Independent schools semi’s. He has a nice touch around the basket using an assortment of crafty moves to get open spaces to hit short jumpers, hook shots or straight to the basket lay ups. He finished with 14pts in a game that was close at HT until 6th Man pulled away in the 2nd half. Weber is a very good passer and dished by my count 3asts to go with his 7reb before heading to the bench as the game got out of hand. While in the game he displayed good body control on offense and a stout demeanor on defense and while he could definitely use more upper body strength he held his own on that end even getting a piece of two shots in the paint. He has good technique when rebounding the ball and while not blessed with explosive leaping ability he does manage to get his fair share. He can also stretch the floor with a smooth jumper with range to the three point line but in this game he didn’t really take any. His recruitment has the likes of Siena, Lafayette, American, U Mass- Lowell and Mt. St. Mary’s in pursuit but that could change if he continues to play at the level he is at the present time.
Ty Etienne 6’3” ’19 PSA Cardinals-EYBL (Long Island Lutheran NY) – In their loss to Philly Pride Etienne was content to be the PG and dish the ball to his teammates and racked up at least 10asts in the process utilizing his solid floor vision and cunning instincts to feed his guys the ball in scoring positions. He has a slick handle and he likes to play fast but he also can control the tempo if need be. He has shown in previous viewings some shooting acumen but in this game he was content with the flow of the game and his ability to impact it. In game # 2 however the need arose for him to be more of a contributor on offense as James Bouknight was held out and he responded by knocking down 4 treys enroute to scoring 18pts while still adding around 5asts. His jumper is pretty good with a smooth release and his knack for getting into the lane for a pull up or dish off is part of his strength as a lead guard. Defensively he is a pest using his quick feet to cut off his mans progress to the basket and he forces some turnovers with his quick hands landing a few steals for good measure. He has a mixture of schools recruiting him like DePaul, Hofstra, Illinois, Seton Hall, Maryland, VCU and Minnesota to name a few and we’ll see if that least expands in the coming weeks. This concludes our coverage of the Summer Jam Fest run by the Hoop Group.