Names, Names, and More Names...

Here's a look at my top players from New York State that impressed me with their individual games from some recent tournaments...

1) Levance Fields, 5-foot-11, 200-pound point guard,, Xaverian High School

        Perhaps no New York City player helped themselves more this summer. Killed 'em at Nike Camp with his poise, penetration, and supremely confident play, showing no lingering effects of a Memorial Day foot injury that kept him out of AAU play in June. New Yorkers have known that Fields is the real McCoy for some time; this summer the rest of the nation took heed.

     2) Jon Mitchell, 6-foot-7, 239-pound big forward, Mount Vernon High School (2006)

         Was consistently solid throughout the spring and summer. Played to his reputation at the Nike Camp, showing that he was a consistent point producer within 10-12 feet, using his strength and smarts to score on the low block and consistently knocking down the mid-range jumper.

   Mitchell was one of the lynchpins in the Metro Hawks' final four run at the Main Event in Las Vegas an offensive mainstay who defended and got on the glass. His range continues to creep out, and his ball handling continues to improve. Jon showed that he could consistently get his offense against players two and three inches taller. His foot speed on the break is underrated. Mitchell will help Bob Cimmino's Mount Vernon juggernaut defend its New York State Class AA title this winter.

     3) Paul Harris, 6-foot-4, 220-pound guard/forward, Niagara Falls High School (2006)

        What stands out above all with Harris is his toughness. He's a pitbull. Plays physical, plays tough, doesn't back down. Swings between a couple of positions at 6-foot-4, at times playing some point, playing off the ball, getting on the glass.

   Likes to try and stagger defenders with his crossover, which is pretty formidable. Not a tremendous athlete or super quick but a gamer. Blew up at the Adidas Superstar Camp in Atlanta as the underclassmen MVP, and the high majors are swarming. Top 20 player in class of '06.

     4) Jessie Sapp, 6-foot-3, 175-pound shooting guard/combo guard, National Christian Academy, Fort Washington, Maryland.

     A nagging ankle injury limited his effectiveness, explosiveness, and lift on his jumper at the Nike Camp, but he still showed some savvy running the point. Hit his stride a little bit at the Peach Jam and in Orlando, but coaches still may not have seen him at full strength, as he was during a late spring/early summer tear that included multiple 30 point games at the Memorial Day Classic in New Orleans.

  Jesse's at his best off the ball, where he can needle defenders with his jumper, which he can hit from mid-range out to the arc, and off the bounce. Also a very capable slasher who finishes his drives. An underrated passer with good playmaking instincts. Harlem native has some bounce, and plenty of toughness and swagger.

  Sapp gets after it defensively. Sapp has to get stronger for college play. He brings a lot to the table offensively for a college program, capable of beating you in a variety of ways. Hasn't gotten a ton of recognition, but could wind up being a steal for a high major program.

     5) Eugene Harvey, 5-foot-11, 165-pound point guard, St. Benedict's, Newark, NJ (2006)

       Brooklyn native played with flair and pizzazz in Vegas with North Jersey All-Stars. Has a tremendous feel and great instincts. Needs to get stronger, jumper is still a question mark, and drifts at times, but a gifted playmaker who has a great mentor in Danny Hurley.

    Honorable Mention:

       Brandon Brock, 6-foot-1, 230-pound guard/forward, Newburgh Free Academy, Newburgh, New York

       Brock's play with the Metro Hawks in Las Vegas was a revelation. Fearless, physical, and gritty, the baby bull attacked the rim with wreckless abandon and didn't back down from anyone. Provided a jolt with his energy and toughness. Tried to dunk over players six, seven inches taller, and at times succeeded. His decision-making was suspect at times, when he forced the issue, but his fearless play gave his teammates a lift. Followed up Vegas by making the 20-40 all-star game at the fifth session of Eastern Invitational.

       Where does he fit, position-wise, in Division I? I don't know. But he's going to help somebody.

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Mike and the Big Dog's LLC


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