Best Available on the Perimeter | Friday, April 18th, 2008

Best Available on the Perimeter

Today marks the first of four days in the spring evaluation period that division I college coaches are permitted to evaluate potential student athletes away from their high school’s campus.  In other words, the next two weekends are the only time this spring that division I coaches are allowed to watch AAU teams compete in sanctioned events.

Most local programs have traveled to either Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the Jam Fest or Washington, D.C. for Charlie Weber’s Hoop Fest.  At both of these tournaments there will be a combination of player’s hoping to attract the attention of college coaches, as well as many of those same coaches scrambling to fill out their roster for next season.  With that in mind, here is a look at some of the backcourt players hoping to impress this weekend: 

Cardell McFarland, 6’1”, G, Bridgton Academy – Although he played primarily off the ball this year, the word is that many schools believe he can handle the responsibilities of the point guard position.  That can only help his stock as he is a consistent scorer who does his best work off the bounce.  He’s in D.C. this weekend with Team Maine. 

Stacey Waters, 6’3”, SG, Bridgton Academy – Waters is a rhythm three-point shooter who can get very hot from time to time.  When he is making shots it opens up the rest of his game as he attacks close-outs well and doesn’t need much space to get his shot off.  He is also with Team Maine this weekend. 

Ryan Allen, 6’3”, G/F, Notre Dame Prep – The younger brother of Boston Celtics swingman Tony Allen is a phenomenal athlete and very effective dribble drive player.  The knock all year long has been his inability to make shots from the perimeter.  But if you’re a low major school you have to ask yourself…if he could make those shots consistently would you have a chance to get him? 

Sean Crawford, 6’0”, G, Notre Dame Prep – He appeared very close to committing a few weeks ago, and still may not be far away from that.  He remains a shooter with deep range while showing improved decision making and slashing ability this year.  He also brings all the intangibles as he works hard, communicates, and wants to be coached. 

Gaby Belardo, 6’2”, G, Notre Dame Prep – Belardo never really found his role on this year’s Notre Dame team.  But he is a very versatile and talented individual who can play any of the perimeter positions, make shots from the perimeter, drive and kick, or create his own scoring opportunities. 

Hamid Ford, 6’0”, PG, Bridgton Academy – Another Bridgton guard who is currently in D.C. with Team Maine.  Ford is a point guard who appeared poised to have a big season this year, but was never able to get into a consistent flow.  Nevertheless, he can distribute the ball and create his own shots thanks to his patented mid-range game. 

Zach Dugas, 6’2”, PG, St. Luke’s:  Dugas is in Pittsburgh this weekend running with the Connecticut Basketball Club.  He is as good offensively as any remaining point guard as he shoots the three, goes strong to the basket, and can stop on a dime for his mid-range pull-up.  He also has good size and strength for the point guard position.  If he plays well this weekend, he could definitely return to Connecticut with a scholarship offer. 

Simon McCormack, 6’3”, G, Northfield Mount Hermon:  The New Hampshire native appeared to be a player on the rise earlier in the season.  He has proven himself capable of playing either guard position with great success and is a natural at getting to the rim with his dribble.  He will have a number of Patriot League schools following him in Pittsburgh as he plays with the Rhode Island Hawks. 

Ivan Gombovic, 6’5”, G/F, Winchendon:  His lack of recruiting interest has been one of the great mysteries of the year.  He provided Winchendon with a huge boost in the second half of the season after being inserted into the starting line-up.  Not only is he a very skilled player with great size, but he is also an excellent defender and rebounder from the perimeter. 

Andrei Mandache, 6’3”, G, Winchendon:  The lefty from Romania is an excellent catch and shoot player from behind the three-point line.  But he is also smooth with the ball in his hands which allows him to bring the ball up the floor as a combo-guard.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go division I, although he would be a steal in the NE-10.