Philly Jam Fest: Part A

Hoop Group's Under Armour Philly Jam Fest went off without a hitch this weekend. Hawk Hill Hardwood caught Saturday and Sunday's action, and will be highlighting fifteen standout players over the next couple days. Today, we begin with five players off of the We R 1 16 and 17 teams.

Austin Tilghman- Tilghman, who looks every bit of 6'2 and around 200 pounds, does not receive nearly the publicity and attention as his high school and AAU teammate Ben Bentil. That doesn't mean the 2014 point guard from St. Andrew's (DE) can't play though. Hawk Hill Hardwood watched Austin run the point in a Saturday blowout win over PA Pump and Run, then watched him again in an early Sunday morning victory. In the Sunday win, Tilghman and his 16u teammates were watched by Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli, SJU assistant Dave Duda, and a number of other coaches. While not explosively quick and freakishly athletic, Austin has a terrific basketball IQ and is able to bowl his way to the basket. He showed an ability to drive all the way to the bucket and score, drive and dish, and also pulled up off the dribble from 15 feet a few times, and canned the jumpers. The more I saw Austin play this weekend, the more I appreciated his game. He was steady, knew where the ball needed to go, and demonstrated a decent shooting touch, although that will likely be an area he needs to continue to improve.

Tyler Kohl- Sticking with the We R 1 16 and under squad, we will now turn to the class of 2015. I will readily admit that this is a class that I am rather unfamiliar with now, and I watched Tyler on Saturday thinking he was a 2014 player. Even under that assumption, I was impressed by his skill set. Tyler, only a freshman, has a throwback type of game. At 6'5, he is currently undersized to play the 4, but he has a wide body and great lower-body strength. He was terrific on the boards in both games I watched, and did demonstrate an ability and willingness to push the ball up the court after grabbing defensive rebounds. Although it is so early, Kohl is a player that a number of A10 schools, including Saint Joseph's, are already tracking. As he continues to develop, look for his name to become a hot one.

Ben Bentil - Bentil was not in attendance on Saturday when I caught the 16u squad, but he was there Sunday. Ben, like Austin Tilghman and a few other We R 1 guys, plays primarily on the 16u team but also gets spot duty at the 17u level. I only caught Bentil for bits and pieces of action on Sunday, but he did not disappoint. A 2014 recruit, Bentil is so physically mature for his age, and at 6'8, he plays with a high motor and has terrific athleticism. Bentil and Tilghman, along with their high school and AAU coach Terrell Myers, visited Saint Joseph's unofficially a number of times this past year. Both appear to be priority recruits for SJU in 2014, and both players showed why that is the case this weekend.

Julian Moore - Switching gears now to the 17u We R 1 team, one of the weekend's most pleasant surprise was 2013 Germantown Academy (PA) post Julian Moore. Moore appears to be every bit of 6'9 and is a wide body. For long stretches of time on Sunday morning against the Rens, Moore was arguably the most productive player on the court. In their Sunday morning loss, a game they were at one point leading by 15, Moore had 14 points and probably corralled 8 or 9 rebounds as well. And that was against a terrific Rens frontcourt led by 2013 phenom Jermaine Lawrence. Julian was 4-5 from the free throw line in the game, scored with his back to the basket, showed off a soft baby-hook, and even had a tip-dunk. Not a high-level athlete, Moore does most of his damage below the rim, but showed on Sunday that he could be the best post player in Philadelphia's class of 2013.

Kamall Richards - Richards was one of three unsigned 2012 players on the We R 1 17u team. At the moment, Richards is apparently undecided on whether he will remain in the class of 2012 or reclassify to 2013. Regardless, he has had a very solid month of April, and as a result, has seen his recruiting interest elevate. At Saint Benedict's (NJ), Richards played predominately on the interior. This weekend, and apparently all spring, he has shifted much more to the wing, which is a positive given his 6'5-6'6 status. In the first half of Sunday's tough loss to the Rens, Richards was phenomenal. He had 9 points in the half, coming on athletic lay-ups in transition, offensive putbacks, and an NBA three. His handle looked solid and he was able to take his man off the dribble. Richards, like the rest of his teammates, struggled in the second half, and ultimately fell short. Temple, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph's, and more appear to be in the mix with Kamall, and a lot will likely be determined with whichever class he ultimately lands in.

Check back with Hawk Hill Hardwood tomorrow to read about a few class of 2013 prospects from the New England Playaz, as well as two Maryland-area guys in Lavon Long and Mike Wolfe. Coverage of this weekend's action will continue on Monday and Tuesday, so stay tuned.

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