It could be argued that New Jersey's Team Izod/Sports U program had about as strong a summer as any other nationally. On Thursday, I watched both the 17u and the 16u squads. Saint Joseph's has serious interest in players off of both teams.
Among the schools watching Sports U and the NJ Playaz in an afternoon contest were Rutgers (Mike Rice), Seton Hall (Kevin Willard), Saint Joseph's (Phil Martelli), Richmond (Chris Mooney), Dayton (Archie Miller), Xavier (Chris Mack), Delaware, Memphis, Florida, and many many more.
Off of the Sports U 17u squad, Saint Joseph's has offers out to Josh Brown, Hallice Cooke, DeAndre Bembry, and Jared Nickens. In an afternoon game against the New Jersey Playaz, led by elite prospects Isaiah Briscoe and Reggie Cameron, the action required overtime. Briscoe knocked down a three at the end of regulation, sent it to overtime, and the Playaz escaped with an overtime victory.
DeAndre Bembry was especially impressive in this one. The 6'6 wing is a menace on the boards and in the paint. Early on, he had six points around the rim, including one impressive offensive rebound and contested put-back. Later on, Bembry demonstrated an improved jumper, as he knocked down two threes in a matter of moments. When he is able to set his feet, he appears to be a legitimate threat to knock down from the perimeter. With a high motor, toughness, and through-the-roof athleticism, DeAndre Bembry was terrific for Sports U yesterday. Bembry is an A10 priority recruit, with Saint Joseph's and Richmond involved, and also seeing significant high-major interest.
In the backcourt, Sports U got strong guard play from Josh Brown and Kasim Chandler. Brown, a former Temple commitment, knocked down a pull-up mid-range jumper, scored in transition, and posted up a smaller defender and scored on the turn-around jumper on the block. Kasim Chandler was also extremely impressive for Sports U. The 2013 jet of a guard hit two threes, scored on floaters in the lane, and distributed a number of pretty assists. Nearly impossible to stay in front of, Chandler looked very good Thursday. He has improved in leaps and bounds since last summer, playing much more in control and with more maturity.
Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli watched Sports U's 17s throughout the day, and also trekked to a side gym to watch the Sports U 16u squad. Quadri Moore and Wade Baldwin are among the big names on that team. There, he was joined by coaches from Seton Hall, Northwestern, Delaware, and more.
Quadri Moore is a truly unique talent. At 6'9, Moore has gotten himself in much better shape. His greatest strength is his shooting ability at his size. He is perfectly suited for pick-and-pop scenarios as he can stretch the defense with his smooth shooting stroke. What was most impressive on Thursday afternoon, though, was what he did inside. While he still floats around on the perimeter more than some may like to see, he did a good job blocking shots and rebounding the ball on the defensive end. Offensively, he had two impressive second-half post-ups, including one where he backed his man down from three into the post, scored off the glass, got fouled, and knocked down the free throw. Saint Joseph's has offered Moore, and they are joined in his recruitment by a number of Big East and Big Ten schools, to name a few. With his size and skill set, Quadri Moore's upside is tremendous.
Moore is not by any stretch the only other high-major player on the Sports U 16u team. 6'3 guard Wade Baldwin is also garnering serious interest and offers. When I spoke with him at the Reebok Breakout Challenge, he listed offers from Boston University, Northwestern, Seton Hall, Saint Joseph's, and UMass, with many other schools actively tracking him. In this one, Baldwin was at his best going to the basket. At 6'3, Wade already has a college-ready body, and he used that strength to earn himself trips to the free throw line in the victory over Team Jersey Elite.
CIA Bounce stars Andrew Wiggins, who is generally considered the best high school basketball player in North America. The 2014 wing did not play with Bounce this weekend at Live in AC, but his team still features big-time talents Tyler Ennis and Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Two other players, both in the class of 2013, also turned in solid performances in a noon victory over Dorian's Pride. 6'4 guard Tevin Findlay was terrific, scoring 20 in the winning effort. He knocked down threes, got into the lane, and finished through contact. Findlay was impressive at the Hoop Group Elite Camp, and he turned in another very strong performance. For Bounce, 6'8 2013 forward Isaiah Watkins, an A10 and Saint Joseph's target, also played well. Isaiah rebounded well, especially on the offensive end, and finished with ten points, including a rim-rattling two-handed dunk. Watkins has dozens of offers from just about every level, ranging from Patriot to Ivy to Atlantic 10 to Big East.
Other Saint Joseph's recruiting targets in the event, that I was unable to see, include Ben Bentil, B.J. Johnson, Phil Booth, Austin Tilghman, Miles Overton, Alec Brennan, Shep Garner, Derrick Jones, and more. In its inaugural year, the Live in AC event at Stockton College yesterday provided high-level hoops.
Live in AC: Day Two Recap
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