Hoop Group Summer Classic East: Tuesday

On Tuesday, the Hoop Group Summer Classic East concluded, crowning both a 16U and 17U champion. In the end, Team Philly took the 17U title and New Heights NYC Blue took home the 16U championship. Below are some of the day's standout performers.

Jaylen Bond- Hawk Hill Hardwood took in a 17U semi-final contest between Philly's Finest and the New York Gauchos. Jaylen Bond, once committed as a 2011 recruit to Pitt, is now doing a prep year at Saint Thomas Moore. There he will play alongside Andre Drummond, one of the top bigs in the 2012 class. Bond is a powerful athlete who plays a very physical brand of basketball. In the second half of this semi-final contest, Bond had one of the best dunks of the tournament, throwing down a one-handed put-back jam over a defender. Bond is at his most effective around the basket, and that is where he thrived in this game, scoring off offensive rebounds, off of post moves, and off of a great assist from teammate Amile Jefferson. Now a part of the 2012 recruiting class, Bond has reopened his recruitment. Any team looking for a strong, physical, exceptionally athletic forward will likely take a look. Temple and Saint Joseph's are two schools currently recruiting Jaylen.

Maurice Watson- En route to their 17U championship, Team Philly had to take out the Riverside Hawks Gold in a morning contest. That victory came in large part due to a big-time performance from 5'9 rising senior guard Maurice Watson. Watson started the game out hot, converting a layup, a runner, a 15-footer, and an impressive turnaround jumper all in the game's opening moments. For the contest, I had Watson with 17 points. For the second day in a row, coaches from Niagara were noticeably watching him. In addition to scoring the ball at a high clip, Maurice also demonstrated great court vision, finding teammates for corner threes and under the basket for easy buckets. In the open court, he is very hard to contain due to his speed and ability to change direction even in heavy traffic. When the game got a little closer at the end, Watson took charge again blowing past defenders in both the half and open court. Watson is picking up offers left and right this summer with his play, and that probably isn't going to stop any time soon.

Hallice Cooke- At the same time I was watching Team Philly take down the Riverside Gold Hawks, in the 16U bracket, Sports U/Team Izod and Maryland's Finest had themselves a ballgame on court 1. Word quickly spread around the gym that Sports U/Team Izod, out of New Jersey, got a three at the buzzer to beat Maryland's Finest by 2. Cooke, a 6'3 rising junior guard out of Saint Anthony, was one of the main reasons for the come-from-behind win. In the contest, Cooke finished with 29 points on eight three-pointers. Cooke's stock, which was already on the rise after an impressive week, now looks to blow through the roof.

Britton Lee- Philadelphia's 16U Team Final, who eventually lost to New Heights NYC in the finals, had an impressive win earlier in the day against the New York City Gauchos. On a roster loaded with talent, in Davon Reed, Austin Colbert, Rondae Jefferson, and more, it can be easy to overlook Lee, a 2013 5'11 guard from Roman Catholic High School. Lee stood out in this game though, showing a sweet stroke from 3 and great speed in the open-court. Lee also surprised a number of coaches, players, and media when he met a Gaucho at the rim on the break for a block. For the game, I had Britton Lee with at least 14 points. He knocked down shots from the perimeter and also got into the lane, where he showed off a nice mid-range game as well as the ability to throw a floater in above taller defenders. Britton Lee is just another impressive 2013 guard in the city of Philadelphia.

Terrence Samuel- New Heights NYC took the 16U title, and Samuel, a 6'3 point guard in the class of 2013, was a big reason why. Samuel has nice size for the point guard position and uses that size to muscle his way to the basket. Throughout the day, Samuel demonstrated an ability to get past his man, and either create for himself or for others. While I did not see Samuel hit any deep perimeter shots, he did show an ability to knock down mid-range jumpers. Samuel is being recruited at the high-major level by a number of schools, but Saint Joseph's assistants Dave Duda and Mark Bass were watching him on Monday. The Hawks are looking to get involved in his recruitment.

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