Elite 75 The Big Men
The big men stole the show in the opening hours of the 7th annual New England Elite 75 Showcase as most eyes were fixated on the south end of the court where many of the top frontcourt prospects in the region were battling it out in one-on-one action, but it was two players in particular who managed to distinguish themselves during that portion of the afternoon:
Paschal Chukwu – Seven-footers make up less than .025% of the global population. When those seven-footers are basketball players developing at a rapid rate, they’re even rarer. Chukwu’s improvement since the end of the high school season is almost jarring, and even though he’s only scratching the surface of his massive potential, he’s still wildly underrated on the national scale.
Alec Brennan – Of all the talented big men on hand, Brennan was arguably the most effective one-on-one scorer. He did a bit of everything showing off great footwork and a soft shooting touch. His jump hook over his left shoulder is his go to move but Brennan has much more than that in the arsenal and showed it all off on Friday.
As the combine style breakdowns turned to five-on-five play the tempo picked up and a different cast of characters began to play starring roles including the following guys:
Abdul-Malik Abu – His physical tools stood out earlier in the day during the Athletic Standard testing, then once the five-on-five play began, he went back to work, showing off an enhanced skill set from the perimeter and even knocking down four three-pointers in one game while continuing to show his strong motor.
Andrew Chrabascz – Chrabascz didn’t meet a defender who could handle him today as he scored with ease both in the morning drills as well as the afternoon full court run. At his best from the high post, Chrabascz used 1-2 dribbles to consistently blow by defenders and finish in the paint and continued to stand out with one of the premier motors in the northeast.
Bonzie Colson - In any showcase setting, post players often have to plead with the guards to get any type of touches on the block. Bonzie skipped the pleading and went straight to demanding the basketball, and when he got it, he made the most of it, attacking from the post to score the ball consistently around the basket.
Sean Obi – Certainly one of his top performances of the spring, Obi appeared intent to make his presence felt in the paint on Friday. His physical approach to the game led to a variety of easy baskets on the offensive end while he was able to impact the game on the defensive end as well.
There were a variety of other frontcourt players who impressed on Friday as well. Matt Cimino and Jacquil Taylor are two guys who have taken their games to new levels this spring and they both showed flashes of their talent and upside in this setting. Meanwhile, there were other frontcourt prospects who came into the event looking to make a name for themselves and ended up doing just that:
• Thomas Rivard showed flashes throughout the day, blending some sneaky bounce around the rim with intriguing face-up skill.
• Jordan Butler took a back seat to no one offensively while being a force on the glass and walking away from the event with a scholarship offer from UMass Lowell.
• Chase Daniels grabbed our attention early on in the day and continued to peak our interest throughout the afternoon. He’s someone to watch closely in July.
• Joseph Kuo was an unfamiliar face to most in the gym, but he introduced himself to plenty of people inside the paint, where he blocked a variety of shots.
• Owen Murphy was another guy introducing himself to the competition around the rim, but his greeting was typically of the two-handed variety for power dunks.
• Isaiah Nelsen has made great strides as a prospect this spring and walked away from this event having held his own and proven himself worthy of the invitation.
Djery Baptiste –While he’s just in the beginning stages of returning from an April leg injury, Baptiste was able to take the floor Friday and dominate older competition on the defensive end. He played with energy and used his length and athleticism to wreak havoc. He blocked shots, tipped passes, secured rebounds, and generally made scoring difficult for everyone in the opposite jersey.
Jarred Reuter – His effectiveness as a player who loves to create contact in the lane would have had him living at the free-throw line in game circumstances, but instead he had to settle for trying to finish while getting hacked. Defensively, he was one of the strongest players at the entire event and used his massive strength advantage to push opponents off the block and away from their comfort zones.
Josh Sharma - We're not sure that this youngster has any idea just how good he could be at the game of basketball before it's all said and done. He's got more size to his frame than any other top prospect in the class, a ton of athleticism, and natural skill and touch that extends from the inside out.
Aaron Falzon – His skill set is really intriguing for a young guy with good length and mobility. He also deserves credit for the maturation of his approach over the last few months as he’s gone from a guy who was trying to prove what he could do to a guy who has become smart enough to take what the defense gives him.
Marcel Pettway – Pound for pound, inch for inch, his offensive arsenal with his back to the basket is as dangerous as any player in the field. He makes good use of his frame to create space and punish the defense and has an undeniably bright future ahead of him.