Frosh/Soph - Best of 2017
HANOVER, Mass. – Throughout this week we will look back at the Elite 75 Showcase – Frosh/Soph Edition – which was held on Sunday, September 14 at the University Sports Complex in Hanover, Massachusetts. Our multipart series will examine the stars, stock-risers and breakout performers from the event.
Unlike years past when the likes of Andre Drummond, Noah Vonleh, Wayne Selden and numerous others roamed the court, Sunday’s 7th annual Showcase featured a new format in which freshmen and sophomores competed together in an extended five-hour single session.
Two-hour long drill stations – which tested players on everything from ball handling, passing and shot making to the art of the pick and roll, how to properly run a fast break and correct defensive closeout technique – were followed by nearly three hours of highly competitive scrimmages that drew the steadfast attention of peers, parents and coaches alike.
We begin our look back by focusing on the top sophomores.
Jermaine Samuels – He was, without question, the biggest draw in the gym, moving the crowd in his direction anytime he took the court. Samuels did not disappoint with a number of highlight dunks. His lightening quick first step and explosive vertical are unmatched. Equally impressive was his unselfishness and willingness to get others involved. GameTimeTV had highlights.
Tomas Murphy – Another true sophomore and top national prospect, Murphy was also as good as advertised on Sunday with big brother and NBA player, Erik, looking on. As Tomas has gained strength over the past few months, he is beginning to overpower opposing defenders down low and on the wing. It’s a scary development for a sophomore who has long relied on finesse. BallasTV had highlights.
Jerome Desrosiers – One coach called him “a coach on the floor,” which was a fair description and especially impressive for an underclassmen, never mind one who plays in the frontcourt. Desrosiers was always under control, able to size up his defender, and use his dribbles efficiently to attack. Overall, he looks bound to become one of the most daunting matchups in NEPSAC Class AAA.
Jakigh Dottin – A physically imposing 6-foot sophomore guard from Cambridge Rindge & Latin, Dottin played with ferocity at both ends of the court. He battled for every loose ball, used a bruising style to get to the basket, and demonstrated increased explosiveness both in terms of his acceleration to the rim and ability to elevate off two feet.
Makai Ashton-Langford – There isn’t a more physically gifted point guard in the 2017 class as Ashton-Langford combines perimeter size, length, and athleticism with newfound muscle mass. At his best in transition, he always knows how to find his teammates for open looks and is equally adept at mixing in his own offensive opportunities. BallasTV had highlights.
Aaron Wheeler – It was a breakout performance for Wheeler, who made it clear the class of 2017 had another star in the making. The thin and athletic sophomore from St. Andrew’s School made a number of athletically superior plays in transition while also connecting on some jumpers from downtown.
Javaughn Edmonds – Transferring to Thayer Academy for his sophomore campaign, Edmonds is an explosive 6-foot-3 wing player who excels in the open court. His length and ability to jump passing lanes will also make him a menace on defense for future ISL opponents. Mix in his smoothness and budding versatility and you have a major weapon in the making.
Greg Kuakumensah – Kuakumensah has filled out physically and appears to have become an even more explosive athlete. When out on the break, he showed good hands and attacked the rim from all angles. His defensive tenacity, which included turning back a number of opponents’ jumpers and layups, made him one of the most complete two-way players in the field. BallasTV had the highlights. BallasTV had highlights.
Garrett Stephenson – Improved footwork and a more composed low-post presence highlighted the 6-foot-6 sophomore’s performance. Stephenson used a series of ball fakes, including two on an up-and under-move, to create high-percentage scoring opportunities around the basket.
Marcus Zegarowski – A hardnosed player who competes on both end of the court, the 6-foot-1 Hamilton-Wenham sophomore was always around the ball. He knocked down perimeter shots, but never hesitated to make the extra pass to open teammate with a better look, and is clearly a prospect on the rise.
Keyshaad Dixon – The St. Andrew’s guard doesn’t necessarily do anything to wow you, but the longer you watch the more you are impressed. He’s very efficient, generally playing mistake free, yet still creative in a pinch and an outstanding passer.
Azar Swain – The 6-foot point guard repeatedly attacked the lane either creating scoring opportunities for himself or kicking to open teammates. His command of the game was reflected in his teammate’s reliance on feeding him the ball whenever they assumed possession.
Javon Taylor – At 6-foot-3, the sophomore from Beaver Country Day possesses the length, court vision and patience to blossom into an elite Division 1 point guard. Already committed to Providence, Taylor has established himself as a solid perimeter player. As Taylor adds muscle, expect him to become even more of a factor scoring inside when penetrating.
Geo Baker – As guards go, perhaps no one is as crafty as the 6-foot-1 Baker. His creativity on the perimeter and resourcefulness around the basket – highlighted by a patient step through move and strong finish – reflect a high basketball IQ. BallasTV had highlights.
Jalyn Hinton – He’s a long glass of water right now but has a great instinct for utilizing his wingspan on both ends of the floor. He gets his hands on a lot of balls defensively, creating offense from defense at every opportunity, and able to slice through defenders to get to the rim.
Nate Laszewski – When it comes to games that translate to the next level, Leszewski is at the top of the list. He has good size, and may still be growing, and a knockdown three-point shot that happens to be extra lethal in the corners. His complimenting skill set will come in time, but it’s very clear he’s a player.
John Cecil – There are five positions on the floor. More than half of the players in the field describe themselves as point guards and only one as a center. That’s a pretty good way to differentiate yourself especially when you’re big, strong, and rugged as Cecil is inside.
Ethan Gabert-Doyon – A coach’s dream, Gabert-Doyon is always going full speed, maximizing his ability in every possible situation not just through his work ethic but also a well developed skill set and basketball I.Q.
Tamenang Choh – He’s a physically imposing match-up in the frontcourt who can overpower people around the rim but is gradually expanding his game facing the basket from the perimeter as well.
Alijah Rue - A true point guard who is quick, smart, and versatile all at the same time, Rue defends and passes well, has a knack for finishing among the trees, and also makes open shots from the perimeter.