Hoop Group Pitt: Day Three

PITTSBURGH - Sunday was a championship day in Pittsburgh, but the real story was some underclass prospects who really emerged. In an event dominated by northern teams, Tevin Mack proved that there are some hidden games in the South.

Hakim Saintil, PG, Sports U – With his team down three and a minute to play Saintil stepped up. The floor general first hit a triple to tie the game, and then stepped up on defense with a steal and a bucket to take the lead. That would prove to be the difference. Saintil is someone who has good quickness and is a solid decision maker. He isn't a great shooter nor an elite athlete, but he does do some things that make coaches take notice. Mostly his interest has been at the mid-level, but he is still debating his future.

Jared Nickens, SF, Sports U – A re-classed senior, Nickens is having a strong start to his spring. In the championship game he was good. He made some pull up jumpers and showed off an even better handle. Nickens needs to continue to refine his game all-around, but he is making the right strides and was vital to his team's tournament run.

Romelo Trimble, SG/PG, DC Assault – He is still making the transition to point guard and that was clear when Saintil was able to get the steal and bucket off of him, but the bottom line is Trimble can flat out play. The future Maryland Terrapin was a scoring machine, and looked more comfortable getting others involved as well. He had a big high school season, and Trimble continued that strong effort in AAU.

Chinanu Onuaku, C, DC Assault – Quite simply you have to know what you are getting from Onuaku. He isn't going to score, he isn't comfortable doing it, but when it comes to rebounding and shot blocking he does that at a high level. Onuaku is near elite level in both of those areas, and his presence is key for Assault nearly every time on the floor.

James Demery, SG, Team Charlotte – The super athletic wing was huge on both ends of the floor in a win over Team Thad. Demery can really get into guys on the defensive end with his athleticism and long arms, and then on offense he got to the rim and finished well. Also his jumper looked solid, and that has been a question for Demery in the past. While not a finished product in terms of refined skill, he did show why high-majors are beginning to take interest.

Chris Chiozza, PG, Team Thad – Over the course of the entire event Chiozza was excellent. Sunday wasn't his best effort, but he was still pretty good. Chiozza is more athletic than a year ago and more confident going to the rim. He knows how to play at his size and is creative finishing, and of course has elite burst to get where he wants on the floor. Now he did have too many turnovers which has to be addressed, but overall he was very good and Sunday was no different.

Tevin Mack, SG, Carolina Wolves – He is a relative unknown, but Mack won't be a sleeper much longer. At 6-foot-5 he is a solid athlete, good shooter, and someone who a good idea of how to play the game. Mack should be someone who picks up several big time offers as he has put together an impressive weekend. On Sunday he put his team on his back and kept them in the game, and did it every way possible. The bottom line is despite zero scholarship offers he is one of the better scorers in the class.

Develle Phillips, C/PF, DC Assault – Another kid without an offer or much interest that should, Phillips is 6-foot-8, has good hands, a nice frame, and can finish inside. Also he has a motor and will rebound. Now he is a little bit raw in terms of post moves, but he was clearly the top performer for Assault in their win, and looked the part of someone who will draw significant attention.

LeRoy Butts, PF/SF, DC Assault – A skilled forward right now he is definitely better suited to play the power forward than the small forward, but there are some wing skills. Still he is at his best facing the rim from about 12 feet where he can either shoot it or go off the dribble. His footwork is very good, and then he also has that natural ability to get to the foul line. Butts does need to continue to get stronger and work on his lateral quickness, but as a mismatch power forward he has a significant role.

Delonte Jones, SG, Middleburg Academy – Jones is a guard with good size who is at his best going to the rim. He has a quick first step and is fairly athletic which allows him to finish through contact when in the paint. He only hit one jumper, but his stroke didn't look awful. Right now he could be best in the mid-level, but going forward he does have upside.

Corey Davis, PG, Southern Elite – From the state of Louisiana, Davis is very fast and can score. Also he showed good floor vision, especially in transition. His athleticism in terms of explosiveness up and down isn't great, but in a pressing game he limited his turnovers and helped to create several easy buckets for teammates.

Tay Hardy, SG/PG, Southern Elite – A borderline elite level athlete, Hardy really excelled in a game that was very fast paced versus the Carolina Hawks. He has great lift, and actually knocked in a three as well as getting to the rim. Hardy didn't show a great feel for being able to play the point in the half court, but defensively he is a beast and has big time athleticism which makes up for some faults in a slower paced game.

Joe Hampton, PF, DC Assault – Right now he is looking the part of a very skilled power forward as opposed to a wing. Hampton has put on a little bit of weight since the high school year, but he is still talented. Hampton hit a few threes and mid-range jumpers to go along with doing work on the low block. He rebounds well and is fairly an okay athlete, now he just needs to keep a close eye on his weight and get into top shape.

Alani Moore, PG, DC Assault – There might not be a better point guard in the class with a better idea of how to play. Moore is excellent in transition and in the half court and always makes the right decision at the right time. Add in that he is small, but knows how to use it to his advantage and he is so difficult to deal with. Moore kept his squad together during a run to cut their lead, and in the end made the plays to help them come home with a title.

Ako Adams, SG, DC Assault – Not as heralded as some of his teammates, Adams had an excellent game to win the title. He showed good athleticism to go along with a nice looking perimeter jumper. Right now he is a smaller shooting guard, but there is plenty of time to improve or grow. The potential is there for him, and he is also someone who can produce.

Mark Vital, SG, Southern Elite – This kid is a high level athlete with a near elite motor. He had a slow first half, but then was probably the best player on the floor in the second half despite playing up a level. He is a legit 6-foot-3 with long arms and plays with maximum effort. His upside is through the roof, and he is just beginning to figure out how good he is.

Tevin Mack has interest from Georgia State, UNCG, and Nevada

Jared Nickens has a visit to Oregon State scheduled for May 10

Butler made sure to track Chris Chiozza until the end.

Xavier and Virginia Tech were present for James Demery

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett as well as assistants from West Virginia and Pittsburgh were present for the DC Assault 15 and under group with Ako Adams, Alani Moore, and Joe Hampton.

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