The Showdown: Saturday Recap

Over the weekend, Philadelphia University played host to the 2014 Elevate Hoops Showdown. Inside, I write about two 2015 prospects with Saint Joseph’s offers as well as a 2016 prospect who caught my eye.

Over the years, Saint Joseph’s has been very active in their recruitment of St. Anthony (NJ) High School. Phil Martelli reeled in both Ahmad Nivins and Dwayne Lee from the New Jersey powerhouse, and both had highly successful college careers. The St. Joe’s coaching staff extended an offer to a rising St. Anthony senior last week.

6’7 swingman Markis McDuffie picked up an offer from St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli last week thanks to his strong play at the Reebok Breakout Classic. McDuffie then ran with his Sports U AAU program over the weekend at The Showdown.

On Saturday, McDuffie did not have the most productive outing, tallying just six points in a Sports U loss. That being said, he showed flashes of why he is being so heavily courted. Phil Martelli, Fran Dunphy, and Dan Hurley were among the head coaches watching McDuffie Saturday. MCDuffie appears to be every bit of 6’7, maybe even pushing 6’8. He has an extremely slender frame, mostly just arms and legs. While he has the reputation of a shooter, he didn’t shoot it well from deep in Saturday’s viewing. However, he has a nice stroke from deep, and shot it well from downtown during the Reebok camp.

His scoring Saturday came on a free-throw line extended jumper, two free throws after being hacked on a baseline drive, and then an offensive rebound and putback. Again, it was not the most productive outing for McDuffie, but his size, his impressive ball skills, and his ability to stretch a defense make him a hot commodity at the mid-major plus and high major level. Despite having the size of a power forward, he is much more of a wing guard.

One of McDuffie’s most impressive plays Saturday was a defensive rebound and beautiful full-court outlet pass to teammate Chris Silva for the jam. McDuffie sees the floor well, can get his own shot off the bounce, has the length and quickness to be a menace on the defensive end, and has a nice stroke. St. Joe’s offered McDuffie last week and Phil Martelli tracked him hard during the first live period. The Hawks were late in offering the Garden State product. Will they be able to become a player in his recruitment, considering his already-impressive offer sheet? That remains to be seen. He has all the things you’re looking for in an attracting wing prospect.

While Markis McDuffie and Chris Silva are unquestionably the two biggest names on the Sports U 17u squad, it was one of their 2016 teammates who most impressed. 6’3-6’4 Roselle Catholic (NJ) guard Matt Bullock was terrific for Sports U in their tight defeat. Silva has good size at 6’3 with some width to him. He has always been a guy that can bully you to, and around the rim, which he did again Saturday. However, he also showed an ability to knock down jumpers from both the mid-range and also from downtown. In Saturday’s loss, he canned a 15-foot pull-up jumper and then also a three off the kickout. And, as always, he was nearly impossible for other guards to contain going to the rim or off the offensive glass.

Bullock is a 2016 kid, so it’s still very early in the process. That being said, he is someone that I would fully expect St. Joe’s to contact now that they are able to. That was my third time seeing him play, and he’s a kid that I could see at the Atlantic 10 level or the AAC. He still has two years of high school left to grow his game and his body. He was impressive Saturday though.

After watching Sports U, I settled in to watch Philly Pride, featuring St. Joe’s priority target Chris Clover. Phil Martelli and Geoff Arnold were there for the Hawks, and Fran Dunphy was seated courtside with an assistant for Temple. Villanova assistant coach Ashley Howard was there for the Wildcats. Those three schools seem to be at the forefront of Clover’s recruitment.

For the game, I had Chris with 11 points on 5-13 shooting. Of his eight misses, three or four were chippies around the rim following nice, tough drives. They were takes that he normally finishes.

As I wrote last week, there is a lot to like about Chris Clover’s game, hence three city schools courtside for his game. He’s a legitimate 6’3 or 6’4 with wide shoulders and a college-ready body. He can also get his own shot, which he did Saturday. His first made basket was off the bounce. He took two or three dribbles, shook his man with a crossover, and then knocked down a 17 footer from the wing.

Chris is at his best shooting from the perimeter and working the baselines. He was 1-3 from three in this one, and then also scored on three baseline drives. Chris exhibited very good body control when operating on the baseline. He can either pull up and knock down a 7-footer or use his strength and absorb contact at the tin.

It was not a flawless performance by any stretch. He probably left six or eight points on the board missing shots he normally makes. However, you can see the appeal in his game, and it becomes more and more apparent each time I see him. St. Joe’s has put in extensive work on the Philadelphia native, and at the end of the day, my hunch is that it pays off for Martelli, Arnold, and the Hawks.

Over the course of the day, St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli watched Markis McDuffie, Chris Clover, Ernest Aflakpui, and several other 2015 and 2016 targets. He was joined at Philadelphia University by Hawk assistant Geoff Arnold. Meanwhile, St, Joe’s assistant coach Dave Duda was at The Showdown’s 16u site, Competitive Edge Sports. Among those playing there were Friends Central’s super 2016 prospect DeAndre Hunter, who already holds an SJU offer.

The second live period begins this Wednesday, the 16th, at 5 o’clock. I will be at Competitive Edge Sports for Hoop Group’s Summer Classic East. Continue to check back with Hawk Hill Hardwood for recaps, recruiting updates, and more all month long.

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