2014 All City Classic recap

On Friday evening, Philadelphia's top freshmen, sophomore, and junior hoopers gathered at Girard College for the Wayne Ellington All City Classic. Derrick Jones (pictured) was arguably the evening's headliner, but the event featured a plethora of talented players. Inside, we take a look at a few of the standout performers.

I arrived at Girard College just in time for tip-off of the 2016 game, missing the night's 2017 (freshmen) game. In the 2016 game, it was two sub-6-footers that stole the show, and took home MVP honors. Archbishop Carroll's Josh Sharkey and Martin Luther King's Jabri McCall won MVP honors for their respective teams.

Josh Sharkey was listed in the roster as 5'11, but stands a lot closer to 5'8. That didn't do anything to slow him down on Friday night though. He was one of the night's most entertaining players, pouring in 14 first-half points, and finishing the game with 24. Sharkey is a blur, plays with great confidence, and showed an ability to knock down shots from deep. He hit a pull-up three and also nailed a buzzer-beater three just before the half. Despite his size, he is really skilled around the rim. One of the night's highlights was a baseline reverse drive that he somehow managed to finish with serious English. If he grows (he's only sophomore) to 5'11 or 6-foot, he will be a high-major lock. At the moment, he looks like a quality mid-major player. He certainly is capable of putting on a show.

Jabri McCall, also listed at 5'11 in the roster, is a lot closer to his listed height than Sharkey. McCall brought home MVP honors for the 2016 white team. He started off his scoring with a three, then demonstrated his ability to beat his man off the dribble, either for himself or for a teammate. Like Sharkey, he has some flair to his game. McCall also has some strength in his upper body, which allows him to absorb contact and play a bit bigger than his size. He had a pretty Rondo-esque behind-the-back fake, but missed the floater. Jabri has the look of a scoring point guard. All-star games like this are challenging to get a true read on a player's level, but McCall was impressive. Only a sophomore, he certainly looks worthy of tracking from the Philadelphia area colleges.

The 2015 game was up next, and finally got around to tipping just before 10 o'clock. I stuck around for the first half to see four guards with Hawk offers and a wing with Hawk interest.

The night's headliner, 6'6 Carroll wing Derrick Jones, did not disappoint. Jones, still considered by most as a top 25 or top 40 player in the 2015 class, has seen his stock dip a bit since last summer. Keep in mind, he was considered a toss-up between Kentucky and Syracuse at that point. I don't know if Jones ends up at either of those schools now, but he's still a high-major, top-tier prospect. St. Joe's and Temple offered Jones extremely early in the recruiting process, but his stock shot way past both since. That is mostly due to his freakish athleticism, but he also showed off an improved shooting stroke Friday night. He had two first-half threes in addition to the usual highlight-reel jams. Jones is transforming himself from a 4 to a 2 or 3. What position he ends up playing in college, and where he ends up for college, remains up in the air. After last night, however, one thing doesn't. Derrick Jones remains the most entertaining player in the Philadelphia area.

St. Joe's has roughly 20 offers out in the 2015 class, but like every college, it is clear that the Hawks have a handful of priority recruits. One of those is 6'4 St. Joe's Prep shooting guard Chris Clover. Clover has offers from every school in the city as well as offers from San Jose State and Rider. Chris has visited Hawk Hill several times during the past year, and will visit again this coming Thursday, as first reported by The Daily News' Tyler Tynes. Chris is a quality athlete, as he demonstrated in the first half last night, throwing down a big two-handed jam. He also had a strong take that resulted in an and-one. Chris shot 3-3 from the line in the first half, and finished, by my count, with nine first-half points. He missed his lone shot from deep, a pull-up three. Over the last couple months, it's become clear that Chris Clover is one of the coaching staff's top 2015 wants. He showed during the first half last night why St. Joe's, along with Villanova, Temple, Drexel, and La Salle, have offered. He has a very bright future.

When Chris Clover visits Hawk Hill on Thursday, he won't be alone. Joining him will be his teammate from last night's All City Classic, Neumann-Goretti point guard Lamarr Kimble. Kimble's upcoming visit was first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Breen. Fresh Kimble is a strong, fundamentally solid 5'11 point guard who plays with Team Final on the AAU circuit. Kimble is more of a pass-first point guard, and is also a point guard that plays at a pace. Last night's setting wasn't an ideal stage for Kimble, but he still did some nice things. One of the bigger knocks on him is his shooting, but he looked good last night knocking down his one first-half three-point attempt. He had a nice drive and kick to Penn commit Jule Brown. Kimble also played solid defense on the likes of Sam Foreman and Kimar Williams. St. Joe's is in the market for a point guard in the 2015 class, and South Philly's Lamarr Kimble is a name that makes a lot of sense to fill that spot.

The Haverford School's Levan Alston blew up as much as any other player in the Philadelphia area during April's live period. The 6'3 combo guard from Team Final absolutely went off from three during the Nike EYBL session 1 in Sacramento. St. Joe's and Temple have long been involved with Alston, and his father played for the Owls. VCU and Notre Dame, along with Cincinnati and Wichita State, are now also heavily involved in Alston's recruitment. A Scout article by Brian Snow earlier this week stated that Alston visited VCU recently and is scheduling a trip to Notre Dame. It's more likely than not that April's showing pushed him out of St. Joe's reach. On Friday evening, Alston had a nice step-through lay-up on the break and also banked home a three. He was listed on the "unable to participate" list in the roster due to an injury, but seemed good to go. At 6'3, Alston can play either guard spot, and while he needs to add weight to his lanky frame, his athleticism, ball-handling, and perimeter shooting have made him into a national name,

6'7 Constitution combo forward Ahmad Gilbert didn't put up big first-half numbers last night, but he demonstrated an improved skillset that is bound to attract attention in July. Long considered a straight mid-major target in 2015, the lanky combo forward is beginning to show more and more wing skills. Gilbert is efficient in the mid-range, and has a few moves in the post. He was able to beat him man off the bounce a couple times in the first half last night and get to the line, where he knocked home his free throws. He also showed an ability to push the ball upcourt himself after corralling the defensive rebound. Rhode Island and Drexel have both offered, and St. Joe's and Temple are actively tracking and monitoring the Philly junior.

Friday night's Wayne Ellington All City Classic was a great opportunity to see many of the city's brightest young stars under one roof. St. Joe's fans had a number of targets participating to watch. In addition to this recap, I will have a feature article up on Chris Clover in the coming days.

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