Team Camp: Friday Night

Saint Joseph's team camp rolled on Friday night, despite one of the more severe thunderstorms in recent memory. Among the standout performers on Friday were juniors Amar Stukes, Yilret Yiljep, Jai Williams, and Darius Robinson.

Due to the nature of team camps like this, it was challenging to remain in front of one game for too long. As a result, I caught a half of the Lenape-La Salle game, half of Westtown-Penn Wood, and then all of Philadelphia Electric-Chester. There were a number of Division 1 players in action across campus Friday, but today we will look specifically at four of them.

La Salle High (PA) junior point guard Amar Stukes put together about as solid a half as possible against Lenape (NJ) on Friday evening. The 6'1 point guard, who runs with the Jersey Shore Warriors on the AAU circuit, had 12 points and at least 4 assists in the first half against Lenape. Those points came in a variety of ways, including steals, backdoor cuts, runners in the lane, and free throws. Stukes has a tight handle and showed Friday that, if he wants to get somewhere on the court, he will usually get there. He also has a terrific calming influence on the court that comes from his confidence in his game and his high basketball IQ. Stukes is being recruited by a number of mid-major schools. He has the look of a player that could be an absolute superstar at the appropriate level. That being said, if he continues to play like he did on Friday, and as he has this spring, it would not be a surprise if some high-majors came knocking.

After watching the first half of Stukes' game, I made my way a court over to watch Westtown (PA) and Penn Wood (PA). The biggest name, and biggest body, on the court in this one was Westtown's Yilret Yiljep. Yiljep is an intimidating presence on the court. Right around 6'7 or so, he has a strong build and a tenacious attitude on the glass. In the half that I watched, he did not do much offensively, but rebounded very well both in and out of his area. The most impressive thing about Yiljep is his motor. For a big man, he runs the floor very well. In fact, on Friday, he beat Penn Wood's guards down the court on a number of occasions. Raw offensively, but strong, tough-nosed, and tenacious, Yiljep will certainly find himself a college scholarship.

One of the biggest players walking around Hagan Arena yesterday was Philadelphia Electric junior Jai Williams. Williams, who has long been known as one of Saint Joseph's top recruiting targets in the class of 2013, helped lead his team against a Chester squad playing without a number of players, most notably five-star Rondae Jefferson. Prior to playing Chester, PET took on Malvern Prep. By my unofficial count, Williams had 9 points and 12 rebounds against Chester. Jai had all 9 of his points in the first half.

Early on, Jai collected two offensive rebounds, scoring one as a lay-up and one as a two-handed flush. His dunk actually temporarily dislodged the rim, as he got all 6'9 and 240+ pounds behind it. All of Williams' points came in close, where he shot a total of 4-7 from the field and 1-1 from the free throw line. PET used Jai frequently in the high post to set ball screens. It's been long known that Saint Joseph's would like a big-bodied post in the 2013 class, and that's exactly what Jai is. The closest comparison that I can make for him is local product, and Xavier alum ,Jason Love. The two have similar body types and similar games. Jai will clearly need a lot of polishing and conditioning to have as successful a college career as Love had, but that is the most appropriate comparison at the moment.

PET fell short against Chester, and one of the reasons for that was the strong play of junior Chester guard Darius Robinson. The younger brother of former Pitt star Nasir Robinson, Darius is a strong, physical, and tough combo guard. Robinson impressed recently at the Reebok Summer Showdown alongside fellow juniors Rysheed Jordan, Miles Overton, and Jeremiah Worthem. On Friday night, Robinson was the best guard on the court. His mid-range jumper was falling, which opened up the driving lanes for him. The Chester team on the court Friday was almost entirely different from the one that won the Pennsylvania state championship this spring. As always, Chester looks like they have reloaded, and with Robinson, Rondae Jefferson, and others back next year, they will once again be one of the top high school teams, not only locally, but nationally.

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