In addition to Ahmad Fields, who was spotlighted yesterday, 2013 Philadelphia big man Jai Williams was one of my main viewing targets. Jai, who is listed at 6'9, is easily in the 240-pound range, but appeared yesterday to be in the best shape I've seen. He was able to keep up with the frenetic pace of the try-out games, which bodes very well for him. The afternoon began on a tough note for him. He missed a few gimmes around the basket, including two dunks, and was also stripped of the ball a few times. However, once his juices got flowing, he showed some nice flashes. Jai started things off offensively with a one-handed flush, flat-footed, on a defender. He followed that up with a pretty spin and lay-in off the left block. A few possessions later, Williams beat everyone down the court for a full-court pass and finished it with a lay-in. Jai also showed some activity on both the offensive and defensive glass, including a handful of blocks. It will be interesting following Jai this July during the Live Period, as he appears to be in good shape and showed off a few post moves yesterday. Saint Joseph's, Drexel, James Madison, VCU, La Salle, and more are on the big guy.
Tevon Saddler, a 6'4 wing guard out of St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, was another impressive performer yesterday. Tevon is the younger brother of Delaware star Devon Saddler. The 2013 wing was injured during the April Live Period and unable to participate. He began his July well yesterday playing alongside New Yorker Carlos Galan. Saddler was a very active body Tuesday, and that activity led to productivity. Tevon has a mixture of mid and high major interest. With Saint Joseph's looking for help on the perimeter in 2013, it would not be a surprise at all if the Hawks tracked Saddler this month.
Saddler's teammate at St. Frances Academy, 2014 Allen Costley, caught my eye on Tuesday. Watching on from above, #67 made play after play after play. Like Saddler, Costley is in the 6'4-6'5 range. Allen showed off his athleticism with a monster dunk on the break and followed that up moments later with a strong, athletic drive. He handled the ball well enough, pushing the tempo after grabbing defensive rebounds. In settings like Tuesday's, it's difficult to get an evaluation of a player in just a few sporadic moments here and there. Costley did enough to catch my eye though, and I have a hunch that college coaches over the coming days will be looking through their rosters like I was to see who #67 is.
Tuesday gave me my first look at 2014 South Jersey big man Rashaan Armstead. The key with Rashaan is big. He looks to be every bit of 6'9 and 265 or so pounds. Schools are always in search of a big man, and Rashaan certainly fits that category. He struggled through most of my viewing, but his size will certainly draw the attention of coaches this month. If he is able to get himself into shape, which he has time to do as a rising junior, that should only help his stock.
At the All-City Classic back in the spring, I got my first look at Archbishop Carroll (PA) wing Derrick Jones. The 6'5 lefty wing, a member of the class of 2015, was one of the younger guys in action at Hoop Group. A high-level athlete, Jones is still developing much of his game. That being said, he has a capable jumper and a solid handle. Jones is just another of We R 1's big-time prospects on the AAU circuit. Derrick Jones is a player that you will be hearing quite a bit from over the next three years at Carroll.
On Thursday, Hawk Hill Hardwood will be at the Reebok Breakout Challenge. Among those I will be checking in on are Roddy Peters, Hallice Cooke, Josh Brown, Ben Bentil, Rodney Williams, and more.
Hoop Group Elite Camp Recap
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