The Showdown: News and Notes

On Saturday and Sunday, Elevate Hoops hosted The Showdown at Philadelphia University, attracting a number of highly-regarded AAU programs from the East Coast. I was in attendance Saturday to watch 2016 St. Joe's commit Charles Brown, as well as a number of 2016 and 2017 recruiting targets. Full news and notes are inside.

Charles Brown- I wrote at length about Brown on Saturday. The 6'6 St. Joe's commit was terrific in a Saturday morning win, scoring 17 points on 3-5 shooting from three, a two-handed flush on the break, a post-up from the right baseline, and two acrobatic finishes at the rim. Brown, who will do a prep year at St. Thomas More (CT), committed to the Hawks in May just as his recruitment was picking up. On Saturday morning, he was the best player on the court. It's very likely that his recruitment would have catapulted to the next level this month had he not committed to Phil Martelli and theHawks when he did. Brown's shooting stroke, ability to handle the ball, and basketball IQ were all impressive Saturday. Philly Pride went on to win the whole event, knocking off We R 1 in the championship game Sunday afternoon.

DeAndre Hunter- A 6'7 combo forward, DeAndre Hunter also runs with Philly Pride. Hunter played in the Under Armour All-American Camp on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, then flew back to Philadelphia Friday night. He was still at Philadelphia University Saturday morning for the 9:30 tip. As would be expected, Hunter got off to a slow start, scoring just two points in the first half. He got cooking in the second half though. Hunter is lethal from the 15-18 foot range. He buried three jumpers from that range, all off face-up sets, where he is also a risk to drive past slower defenders. He did that on one occasion in the second half. After knocking down an 18 footer on the previous possession, Hunter pump-faked and drove past his defender for an uncontested lay-up. The one word that best describes Hunter's game is smooth. He plays such a calm, intelligent brand of basketball, never flustered. On Sunday, he told City of Basketball Love that Miami and St. Joe's are the two schools recruiting him hardest. Hunter also has offers from the likes of UNLV, Tennessee, Temple, and more.

Ejike Obinna- I was unable to see the 6'10 Obinna and his Uncommon Bulls team on Saturday. However, he is worth a mention here, as he picked up an offer from St. Joe's over the weekend. Obi is coached, both for high school and AAU, by former St. Joe's player Duval Simmonds. Obinna is raw offensively, but has the reputation of a game-changer on the defensive end. Howard and Seton Hall also offered Obinna over the weekend.

Zach Kent- A 6'10 2017 forward from St. Andrew's (DE), Kent runs with We R 1 on the AAU circuit. While his team was without Eric Ayala, another St. Joe's target, Kent made watching We R 1 worthwhile. For a 6'10 rising junior, Kent has a terrific feel for the game and a soft touch. He knocked down a 15 foot jumper from the high post, a baseline jumper from both the right and left side, as well as a turnaround jumper from ten in just a half of action Saturday morning. Kent picked up an offer from St. Joe's back in April, and since then has collected offers from La Salle and Dayton. To be honest, it's surprising to me that he hasn't drawn more interest. He clearly lacks strength and will have to bang more inside at his size, but he plays with an edge and has such a terrific touch at 6'10. It would not come as a surprise if he drew more high major interest this month. But it's surprising to me that he hasn't to date.

Sunday marked the end of the first live recruiting period in July. The second begins on Wednesday and runs through Sunday. I will continue to have coverage of the month's happenings.

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