HOF Championships – Event Recap

by Harry Rafferty | Sunday, April 21st, 2013

HOF Championships – Event Recap

This weekend Wesleyan University hosted their annual Basketbull event that saw top teams from all over the northeast region come to Middletown, Connecticut to compete for a championship.  By the end of Sunday, due to NCAA Live Period rules not permitting teams to play more than three games in a day, the 17u bracket saw two champions be crowned, CBC and the New Jersey Pirates.
In the first championship game, the New Jersey Pirates defeat a scrappy Newburg Zion Lions team 73-64. The New Jersey Pirates were led by Dwayne Murrill, who was very impressive all weekend long, while the Lions were led by big man Eric McCollum and lead guard Jerry Hall.
In the second championship game, which turned out to be the game of the day, CBC beat the BC Eagles 58-56 in a contest that came right down to the last shot. CBC was led by big man Paschal Chukwu, Danny Upchurch, and Ajou Deng. The BC Eagles, who made a very impressive run to the finals, were led by Calvin Crawford and Jack Dwyer who both played well even in defeat.
Here were the top individual performers from the weekend:   

Paschal Chuku – CBC – It was only fitting that Chuku blocked The BC Eagles final shot attempt of the championship game to seal the win for his team. He impressed all weekend with his natural shot blocking ability and rapidly improving offensive post game. Chuku has great defensive instincts that allow him to alter shots consistently, the ability to finish over either shoulder offensively, and has good hands for a man his size. He is a prospect on the rise that has more and more coaches intrigued each weekend he takes the court.  

Danny Upchurch – CBC – Was CBC’s most consistent perimeter scoring threat on the weekend. Upchurch is a scoring lead guard who uses his speed and athleticism to get into the paint at will. Upchurch also showed the ability to hit open jump shots and is a good on-ball defender.

Ajou Deng – CBC – The younger brother of current Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng, Ajou impressed with his ability to hit outside jumpers for a player his size. He ran the floor well, which created easy buckets for himself and his teammates, and made critical plays for CBC multiple times throughout the day Sunday.

Jack Dwyer – BC Eagles – The point guard was fantastic all weekend for the Eagles impressing in each game on their way to the finals. Dwyer changes speed and direction exceptionally well, has great court vision, and has a very tight handle. Whatever Dwyer lacks in physical stature he more than makes up for in heart and skill as he was easily one of the best floor generals in the field this weekend.

Isaiah Bess – MBNation – The long, athletic wing from Northern Maine continued to ride the momentum he had coming off a very successful state championship high school season. Bess does a lot of good things on the basketball court, but this weekend he impressed most with his improving jump shot. He hit a lot of 3’s throughout the weekend for The Nation to go along with his well-known ability to get to the rim and finish with his extremely long frame.  

Rip Engel – NJ Cyclones – The undersized point guard did a magnificent job controlling the tempo of the game and leading his squad the entire weekend. Engel is a lights out shooter when open, a great decision maker in pick-n-roll basketball, and has very good court vision both in the open and half court. Despite the tough semi-final loss to the BC Eagles, it was a great weekend for Engel who reportedly has interest from a number of Ivy League schools.

Kealen Ives – RI Hawks – Another player coming off a high school state championship, Ives is a super smooth lead guard who is a flat out playmaker for the Hawks.  Lightning-quick, he can beat his man almost whenever he wants using his very tight handle and deadly speed. His most impressive performance of the weekend came when he had 13 assists vs. ECE Mass, but he also showed his ability to score when need be as well.

Dustin Cole – MBNation – Cole, who is becoming one of the most well-known players on the New England AAU circuit, battled the flu all weekend long, but was still able to impress. He really came alive with an incredible second-half performance in his final game of the weekend, leading his team back from a 13 point deficit vs. a very talented RI Hawks team. Cole is a complete offensive player with the ability to shoot 3’s, score in the mid-range, distribute to teammates, and attack the rim.

Schadrac Casimir – USAD – Heading to South Kent for a Post-Grad year, Casimir is known throughout the region for his scoring prowess. A shoot-first point guard, he had multiple impressive performances on the weekend. Simply put, he has a knack for putting the ball in the basket and has proved he can do it no matter what the competition. Reminds me a lot of what Russ Smith looked like in his time at South Kent.

Isaac Vann – USAD – A long, high-level athlete, Vann captured the attention of many college coaches and fans alike for his explosive finishes above the rim in transition and in the half court. Has the physical attributes that could make him a lockdown wing defender at the next level as well.

Dwayne Murrill – NJ Pirates – Leading his team to the championship on their side of the bracket, Murrill was able to score the ball all weekend. At 6’6”, he is a match-up problem because of his ability to shoot and handle the ball. He hit a lot of deep, tough shots this weekend and also used his length to attack the rim and get to the foul line.

Eric McCollum – Newburgh Zion Lions – An intriguing prospect at 6’7”, McCollum is active around the rim, runs the floor very well, and plays hard. A junior looking to reclassify at a prep school, he had a number of NE-10 and low-major schools checking his name off as someone to watch in coming months.  

Darrick Boyd – CBC – Playing for the CBC 16u team, Boyd was the catalyst once again. He has the ability to put points on the board in a hurry for his team because of his shooting ability and deadly quickness. He uses his small, strong frame very well to sneak through seemingly non-existent holes in the opposing teams defenses and has deep range off the catch.  

Sean McNally – Middlesex Magic – The 6’4” wing, who is heading for a post-grad year next season, impressed this weekend with his ability to shoot the ball as well as attack the rim. McNally has deceptive athleticism which allows him to defend multiple positions to go along with his versatility on the offensive end of the floor.

Miles Wright – Metro Boston – Another player who is riding some momentum after an impressive high school season, Wright is a long, very good athlete who makes tough plays look relatively easy on a frequent basis. Wright, who is a highly touted football prospect as well, has a number of division I offers for basketball, and showed why this weekend. He hit shots in bunches and attacked the rim relentlessly throughout the weekend.