Hall of Fame Spring Classic Event Recap
The New England Recruiting Report was at Amherst College on Sunday to watch the conclusion of the action in the seventeen-and-under division at the Hall of Fame Spring Classic.
Local New England teams dominated pool play on Saturday as Connecticut Elite, Connecticut Knights, Expressions Elite, Drive 4 Stardum, and MB Nation all came out of there pool to advance to the gold bracket. Connecticut Basketball Club and Connecticut Select both had two separate teams do the same.
The final came down to CBC and Long Island Lightning and it looked like the Lightning were going to run away with it when they opened up a fifteen point lead midway through the second half. But thanks to a renewed commitment on the defensive end and Andre Drummond asserting himself more consistently on the interior, CBC would storm back and take a brief lead in the game’s final minute. Ultimately, the championship game would come down to the very last possession as Lightning guard Hakeem Canty hit a contested 10 foot runner to beat the buzzer and take the chip.
Andre Drummond, CT Basketball Club – He went through spurts of being dominant, not just in the championship game but at various spots throughout the day. He has become so big, strong, and athletic that when he gets post catches deep enough, there wasn’t a single defender who could stop him for scoring, and typically dunking.
Tavon Allen, CT Basketball Club – The Hillhouse senior and future Worcester post-grad has played at a high clip for the last month. Today, he was most impressive early in the day as he consistently scored in the mid-range area, both with soft runners and well-timed basket cuts, while making his fair share of perimeter jumpers.
Greg Langston, CT Basketball Club – Langston’s best game was in the quarterfinals against CBC’s sister program. He simply went to work inside using his strong body to shield defenders, crash the glass, and finish plays around the rim….and he continues to take more charges than any other player we have seen this spring.
Mike Deffley, CT Knights – Deffley was huge as the Knights scored an upset over Expressions in the quarterfinals and came up just short in the semis against the Lightning. Deffley caught fire from behind the arc late in the quarters and kept it going in the semis as he knocked down seven shots and almost single handedly scored the Knights another upset.
Tylon Smith Jr., CT Knights – The Knights continue to have success this spring and Smith is the engine that makes this team go. While Deffley, Mike Anderson, and Cyrus James all step up at various times, Smith provides their most consistent offensive presence and someone who isn’t afraid to make big plays down the stretch of games. The latest example came when the Knights trailed the Lightning by three in the semi-finals and Smith carved out a path to the rim, absorbed contact in the paint, and earned the hoop plus the harm to tie the game.
Alex Furness, MB Nation – The long and lanky guard doesn’t necessarily blow by anyone off the bounce, but it’s almost impossible to keep him out of the paint as he uses his size along with a variety of spins and counters to get into the teeth of the defense and make plays for himself and others. He had 17 points and 11 assists in one game on Saturday and similar numbers on Sunday morning.
Chris Braley, MB Nation – While Braley showed an always potent shooting stroke and super quick release on Sunday morning, he did his best damage a day earlier when he went off for a game high 34 points on a combination of long balls and opportunistic drives to the rim.
Anthony Jernigan, CT Select – Select overcame a 15 point second half deficit to Westchester Heat in the opening round of bracket play and Jernigan came up with a brilliant play in the game’s final minute to seal the win. Penetrating down the lane with his team trailing by two, Jernigan spun away from his defender and thread the needle on a perfectly placed behind the back pass to Rohan Brown, who finished while being fouled for the old fashioned three-point play.
Andre Makris, CT Select – The Pomperaug big man isn’t one of Select’s most prominent scorers, but he made a variety of plays to scream of his potential today including tip-ins on the offensive glass, several blocked shots, and even a three-pointer to show his skill set.
Andre King, CT Select – Making his debut in a Select uniform, King put big numbers on the board all weekend long. He dropped 35 in one game on Saturday, connecting on 9 of his 11 attempts from downtown, and was equally good to start the day on Sunday, using his strong body to attack the rim and make plays off the bounce.
Marco Banegas, Expressions Elite – Banegas was the standout for Expressions in Sunday’s game as he was exceptionally smooth in the open floor, equally productive getting to the rim in the quarter court, and a respectable threat from behind the three-point line with his jumper.
Tyrus Weaver, Connecticut Basketball Club – Weaver was the standout for CBC’s second team and was extremely productive in the all CBC quarterfinal. He continued to do the majority of his damage with the long-ball while also reporting that he plans to head to prep school next year, at either South Kent or Putnam Science Academy.
Tristan Thomas, MBR – A new name emerged from up north this weekend and that was Tristan Thomas. The well built swingman plays very hard and is a very dangerous catch-and-shoot threat from behind the three-point line. He went for 23 points in the semi-finals as MBR ran to the title in the bronze bracket.
Graham Safford, MBR – Safford was the second standout for MBR but in his typical quiet way. He has a college ready type game and coaches from that level are taking notice as he doesn’t do anything for show but is super tough, very poised with the basketball, and a consistent shot maker.