A year ago the story of the event was the recent commitment of Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs to the University of Connecticut, as they were both rising sophomores at the time. However, once the ball got tossed up neither player was able to put forth their best effort….what a difference a year makes.
Coombs was the most consistent player on the floor today as he showcased all aspects of his versatile offensive attack. He showed good range on his jumper, got to the rim, and utilized his improved physique to finish inside the lane.
Meanwhile, Oriakhi didn't get warmed up quite as quickly as his BABC teammate but saved his best for last. In the nightcap, he matched up against UConn star Jeff Adrien in the culminating event of the day. A scrimmage that featured the event's top 10 performers against 10 former New England products who have gone on to play at the college level including Adrien, Doug Wiggins (UConn), Anthony Gurley (Wake Forest), Farnold Degand (NC State), and Chad Miller (Creighton). In that game Oriakhi showed the full scope of his potential as he not only scored with his back to the basket but also showed a soft shooting touch to 18 feet.
Tucker Halpern is another junior who proved his worth from downtown. Although he is still recovering from a thumb injury that he suffered during the July live period, he was still able to bury one long range bomb after another.
Not to be outdone by their Massachusetts counterparts, several players from the state of Connecticut stood out as well. Leading the way was the backcourt foursome of Tyrone Gardner, David Gibbs, Chris Prescott, and RJ Evans. Gardner may have been the day's most dynamic scorer as he created his own shot at will and went for a high of 26 points in one game. Gibbs was equally impossible to keep from the paint although he was often content to dish to the open man or kick out to shooters.
Prescott and Evans may have been two of the best long range shooters in the gym but that didn't stop them from showing off their all around games. Prescott displayed his developing athleticism as he won't hesitate to get up and attempt to dunk on a defender, while Evans used the threat of his outside stroke to open up the lane to his dribble drives.
Other players who did their home states proud included sharp-shooting Candon Rusin from Vermont, slashing swingman Simon McCormack from New Hampshire, big man Ben Crenca from Rhode Island, and point guard Sam Leclerc from Maine.
Two lesser known players who proved they belonged were 5-8 junior guard Mike Accaoui from St. Andrew's in Rhode Island and 6-0 Kevin Donahue from Stonington High School in Connecticut. Accaoui was not only making shots, but he was making shots with high degrees of difficulty as he was throwing in step backs, floaters, and fade-aways with equal efficiency. Donahue is a player who rarely gets to compete with or against the type of talent he saw today, as he plays in one of the smallest public high schools in the state of Connecticut. But that didn't stop the lefty from knocking down his quick released long range jumpers or attacking the rim.
Complete All-Star Game Rosters: Alex Oriakhi, 6'9", PF, Jr., Tilton (N.H.) – Committed to Connecticut Nate Lubick, 6'8", F, Soph., St. Mark's (MA) Raheem Singleton, 6'0", PG, Post-Grad, School TBD Gabe Fumudoh, 6'7", F, Sr., Brighton High School (MA) Chris Baskerville, 6'5", PF, Post-Grad, Lee Academy (ME) – Committed to Central CT James Marcellus, 6'8", PF, Post-Grad, Bridgton Academy (ME) Nadir Tharpe, 6'0", PG, Soph., St. Peter Marian HS (MA) Ben Crenca, 6'9", C, Jr., Worcester Academy (MA) Jamal Coombs, 6'6", G/F, Jr., Tilton (N.H.) – Committed to Connecticut Chris Prescott, 6'1", G, Sr., Northwest Catholic HS (CT) – Committed to St. Joseph's Stanford Dulaire, 6'5", F, Sr., Watkinson School (CT) Tucker Halpern, 6'7", F, Jr., Nobles & Greenough School (MA) David Gibbs, 6'5", G, Sr., Master's School (CT), - Committed to Massachusetts T.J. Robinson, 6'7", F, Post-Grad, St. Thomas More (CT) Jansy Cruz, 5'8", PG, Sr., Winchendon (MA) Tevin Baskin, 6'7", F, Jr., Trinity Catholic HS (CT) Tyrone Gardner, 6'1", PG, Jr., Weaver HS (CT) Dominique Langston, 6'2", SG, Jr., Kolbe Cathedral HS (CT) Stevie Mejia, 5'10", PG, Sr., Lawrence Academy (MA) R.J. Evans, 6'2", SG, Sr., Norwich Free Academy (CT)