Basketbull New England - Sunday Recap
Among the numerous high-profile events which took place across the country this weekend was the Basketbull Hall of Fame Championships which went down at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
In the 17U Division, Mike Crotty's Middlesex Magic Squad had a successful weekend, winning their Pool and then churning their way through Bracket Play to advance all the way to the Finals, where they dropped a tight one to an outstanding Brookwood Elite Squad out of Canada. In the Magic's semifinal victory over a hard-nosed Bishop Elite Squad, the back-court of Chris Braley and Harry Rafferty was very impressive in leading their team to victory.
Chris Braley - Middlesex Magic - Came away intrigued after finally getting a first-look; Braley is a chiseled, high-IQ 6'4+ guard with a nice handle and a filthy, quick-trigger stroke off both the bounce and catch and shoot. Braley also showcased his athleticism with several loud gym-rockin' dunks in transition, of both the one and two-hand variety. By hypothesis, Braley projects as a guy who can a help a high-level team win basketball games.
Harry Rafferty - Middlesex Magic - Tactical south-paw combo guard who utilized his deadly trigger and smooth stroke to shoot the long-ball at a scorching percentage. Went for a highly-efficient 23 in the Magic semifinal victory over Bishop Elite. Rafferty really does a nice job of squeezing the rock and possesses a deft understanding of how to effectively spread the floor. Kid is a very smart player who brings a dangerous and efficient offensive element to a ball-club.
Duncan Robinson - Middlesex Magic - When you throw in Robinson with Braley and Rafferty, what you have is the deadliest trio of snipers in New England. (And all three of these cats will be together at Phillips Exeter next year). Standing right around 6'4, D-Rob is a high-IQ 2-guard who employs a smooth floor game and an bull-market assembly-line shooting-stroke. Handles the ball well and plays a crisp, fast-paced, style of game. See the floor well who understands how to effectively facilitate for his teammates.
Pete Miller - Middlesex Magic - The big fella operated with real grit on the weekend, playing with physicality in the lane and finishing consistently at the cup. Rebounded the ball hard, indiscriminately pursuing the rock no matter the trajectory of the carom. Miller was also very active defensively serving as the anchor and aggressively going after shot-blocking opportunities in the paint.
Nick Pagliuca - Middlesex Magic - Elmer's Glue Extraordinaire who plays a tenacious, high-IQ brand of ball. Conscientious competitor who takes pleasure in taking on all the dirty work that needs doing out on the floor. Makes his teammates better and a natural hardwood leader.
Mabor Gabriel - Bishop Elite - First look at Gabriel since last summer and came away intrigued by the direction in which he has taken his game. Showed as a legitimate guard dog around the basket who has gained a comprehensive understanding of how to use his premium length to voluminously challenge shot attempts by the opposition in the paint. Gabriel also rebounded hard and held his own battling against Peter Miller in the post.
Devin Gilligan - Bishop Elite - Big-bodied wing with deceptive shake who was very effective attacking the basket and scoring the ball from the wing in transition. Strong enough to finish through contact and earns frequent trips to the charity stripe by initiating collisions on his basket assault. Perpetually plays his tail off, type of guy who would run through a wall if that's what the competitive situation called for.
In the 16u Division, the BC Eagles out of Upstate New York took down the Chip by pulling off a late rally to earn a 44-41 upset win Team Scan in the Finals. Frankly, the Eagles were led single-handedly by 6'7 breakout stretch forward Calvin Crawford '14. Although there is no doubt that Chris McCullough is a big-time thoroughbred, Crawford got him in this ball-game, making plays all over the floor and above the rim with his deceptive length; scoring bucket after bucket in the second half to will his team to the crown. As he keeps growing, fills out and gets stronger, Crawford could be a serious sleeper in the Class of 2014.