Jared Nickens- Nickens was at Saint Andrew's School yesterday playing with his new high school teammates. The 6'6 wing recently transferred from North Jersey's Saint Patrick's to Westtown (PA), and in the process reclassified from the class of 2013 to 2014. For quite some time, Nickens had been listing VCU and Saint Joseph's as the two clubhouse leaders for his services. Now a part of the 2014 class, Nickens will have an additional year to diversify his game and add some bulk to his frame. In relatively limited viewing on Saturday (only a half), Nickens showed some things offensively that could indicate an active desire to diversify his game. A lights-out shooter from three, Nickens did knock down one of the two shots from three I saw him take. That's a given with his game. It was a positive sign, however, to see him take advantage of his height and post up on the left block, scoring in close. Jared also drove the ball from the right wing past his defender and finished with a runner. A tremendously skilled shooter, Nickens has the size and length to be effective both off the bounce and occasionally in the post. He did that Saturday. If he is able to continue developing these areas of his game, Saint Joseph's and VCU are bound to have some serious competition for his services.
Austin Tilghman- Tilghman, a 6'1 and 215 –pound point guard from Saint Andrew's School runs with We R 1 on the travel circuit. A rising junior, the 2014 point guard is exactly that: a point guard. On Saturday, Hawk Hill Hardwood caught Tilghman and his We R 1 teammates down the Sportsfest Achievers. For the majority of the game, Austin played the role of facilitator. He has impressive court vision in the open court, but also showed that he is more than capable in pick-and-roll settings. Down the stretch, Austin showed an ability to get through the lane and score as well. Due to his strength, built more like a linebacker than a basketball player, and deceptive athleticism, Austin was able to bully his way to the basket. Saint Andrew's head coach Terrell Myers told Hawk Hill Hardwood back in January that Austin, right now, projected to the Atlantic 10 level. Saint Joseph's is one A10 school already seriously involved in his recruitment. The Hawks will be looking for guard depth in 2014, and Austin would certainly provide that. At times Saturday, he was careless with his passes, trying to loft two-handed chest passes cross court. If he is able to improve some of his decision-making and continue to improve his jumper, he is going to make himself a really appealing college prospect.
Kaison Randolph- Randolph is another 2014 guard on We R 1, and Hawk Hill Hardwood watched Randolph twice yesterday, against Sportsfest and against Team Philly. Checking in right around 6'2, Kaison is a combo guard with the appearance of someone that could play the point in college. Randolph comes off the bench for We R 1, which goes to show how much depth their 16u team has. Kaison already has serious college interest and offers from the likes of Cincinnati, Iowa State, Saint Joseph's, La Salle, and Boston University, among others. On Saturday, Kaison showed off range with his jumper, connecting on a big three against Sportsfest to help expand their second half lead. Against Team Philly, he demonstrated an ability to push the tempo and score on the break. Randolph was able to get to the rim, and despite his still thin frame, finish in traffic on consecutive possessions.
Jared Nickens, Austin Tilghman, and Kaison Randolph were all impressive on Saturday. Despite only being rising juniors, they are all seeing significant recruiting interest from a number of Atlantic 10 schools, including the Hawks. They are all players with the ability to have breakout months in July.
We R 1 Summer Classic: Part A
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