Hoop Group recap

Last week, The Hoop Group put on two events: the Summer Classic East and the Summer Jam Fest. Hawk Hill Hardwood took in parts of both events and left impressed with four forwards who hold offers from Saint Joseph's.

Hassan Martin: Martin, a 6'7 forward out of Curtis High School (NY), runs on the circuit with New Heights Blue. I watched Martin twice over the course of the week, including a tremendous 22-point performance against Mass Rivals. In that game, a tight loss, Martin showed why he is a priority recruit for a handful of Atlantic 10 teams, like Rhode Island, Fordham, Saint Bonaventure, and Saint Joseph's, and a target for high-majors like Providence, Kansas State, and Iowa State. Hassan is a high-level athlete, and it showed throughout the week, with an assortment of swats and highlight-reel caliber dunks. Against Mass Rivals, he threw down one of the week's top dunks, rising up baseline and throwing it down with his left hand. Hassan earned trips to the line with his drives and offensive rebounds, where he shot the ball well. In both viewings, Hassan dealt mostly in close to the basket. He did demonstrate a soft shooting touch, especially at the free throw line, but didn't do much at all off the dribble. It appears, at the moment, that he is more of an undersized power forward who could develop into a wing. One thing that became abundantly clear during my viewings of the 6'7 forward is that he would be an impact player should be land in the Atlantic 10.

Sam Dingba: This is possibly a newer name to Saint Joseph's fans, but in speaking with Dingba at the Summer Jam Fest, he confirmed that Saint Joseph's has offered and is a school involved in his recruitment. Dingba, who runs with the Westchester Hawks, told me that he currently holds "about 25 offers," and therefore didn't go into his entire list. He did mention that the Ivy League was very involved, along with "West Virginia, NC State, Boston College, and Boston University. " A number of Philadelphia schools are also involved, with "UPenn, Drexel, and St. Joe's" all in the mix. Against East Coast Fusion, Dingba played with a relentless motor. Despite checking in at roughly 6'6, Dingba plays bigger than his size courtesy of his length and his through-the-roof athleticism. Dingba moves his feet very well on the perimeter and appears to be more than capable of defending the wing, while offensively he is more of a four. In this game, Dingba finished with eight points and easily corralled double-digit rebounds. He rebounded the ball very well both in and out of his area. Dingba also threw down a monster two-handed put-back dunk in this one. With Ivy League grades and high-major athleticism, Dingba is a very interesting case study. Saint Joseph's assistant coach Geoff Arnold watched Dingba against East Coast Fusion, and he appears to be one of the Hawks' top combo forward targets in 2013. The Hawks have quite a bit of company in his recruitment however.

Jacquil Taylor: Over the past two weeks, Saint Joseph's has extended scholarship offers to a number of forwards in the class of 2014. Jacquil Taylor, a 6'9 forward from Beaver Country Day School, picked up an offer from the Hawks after St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli watched him during the second July live period. Taylor is a very long 6'9 who is a difference-maker on the defensive end. He is very quick off his feet on the first, second, and third leap. Not only does Jacquil block a number of shots, but he has uncanny timing and rarely leaves his feet on shot-fakes. Hawk Hill Hardwood watched Jacquil twice at the Summer Classic East. A number of things stood out in those viewings. In addition to his shot-blocking prowess, Jacquil has quick hands that got in the way of passing lanes. He also stripped his opponent of the ball in the post on several occasions. While raw offensively, Taylor did knock down a 12-foot jumper from the free-throw line area as well as a short baseline jumper. He rebounded well and scored off offensive rebounds. Another thing that stood out about his game was his ability and willingness to facilitate out of the high post. Saint Joseph's has offered Taylor, and he would be an impact player at the Atlantic 10 level. Pitt assistant coach Brandin Knight watched both of Taylor's games that I was at, and it's not a stretch at all to think that Jacquil will be recruited at that level. Defensively, he has the look of a difference-maker at the next level, and his offensive skill set, while still developing, has plenty of upside.

Alec Brennan: Another 2014 forward who recently collected an offer from the Hawks, Alec Brennan is a 6'9 forward who runs with Expressions Elite. While Jared Terrell and Abdul-Malik Abu are the headliners on Expressions, Brennan has had a breakout month of July. Offers have been piling in for Alec, including offers from the Hawks, Seton Hall, Providence, Temple, Saint Bonaventure, and Delaware, according to his AAU coach. During two viewings at the Hoop Group Summer Classic East, Alec impressed. He is every bit of 6'9 and can play both inside and out. He possesses a high basketball IQ and plays a calm and collected brand of basketball. At his size, he has a soft shooting touch with range out to three. While thin, Alec is able to rebound at a high clip with his length and feel for the game. A bright student and smart player, Alec Brennan is similar to Samuel Dingba in the sense that his basketball ability should allow him to play at the high-major level, and his grades should open up all academic opportunities.

Check back tomorrow for a feature article on another standout performer from the Hoop Group camps: 2014 Abington Heights (PA) guard J.C. Show. Hawk Hill Hardwood will also have coverage from this week's "Live in AC" event.

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