Hoop Mountain Invitational Sat. Recap
While over 60 division II and III college coaches lined the gymnasium walls on Saturday, the Hoop Mountain Invitational stood out with its high major talent as two nationally top ranked players were in action. Dejuan Coleman, tops in 2012 according to ESPN, and Kuran Iverson, number one in 2013 by Hoop Scoop, were the big story but that didn’t take away from a variety of other impressive performances.
Top Overall Prospects
• Coleman of the Albany City Rocks and Jamesville-Dewitt High School dominated the competition in the 17u clash between City Rocks and New England Storm. Coleman propelled his team to a victory by dominating the glass at both ends and finishing strong at the rim with a variety of post moves, powerful dunks, and a soft touch. Guards Jahmeer Rollins (Albany HS) and Derek Millinghaus (Schenectady Academy) also stood out with quick moves to the hoop, end to end speed, and tremendous playmaking ability while Eric Katenda joined Coleman up front to give the City Rocks an all high-major frontline.
• The highly touted Iverson from Northwest Catholic High School was in action today, playing 17u ball for ANU Generation in there matchup against 518 Hustle of New York. Iverson was quiet in the first half due to foul trouble, but scored in a variety of ways in the second half, including a high flying alley-oop dunk and several three pointers.
• With his continued development and recent reclassification to the class of 2012, Mass Rivals forward Zach Auguste has also put his name into high-major contention. Looking back it’s incredible to think about how much progress he has made in the last year, but the work is only just beginning if he hopes to maximize that potential and play his way to the highest levels of college basketball.
• Local college basketball fans got a look at future UMass star David Laury, who committed to the Minutemen earlier this spring and ran with his Memorial Park Playaz squad on Saturday. Standing 6’8” with guard like skills, Laury drew a large audience as college and AAU coaches alike both came away impressed with both his combination of size, skill, and athleticism.
• First thing on Saturday morning it’s often typical for play to get off to a lethargic start as players try to wake up and get their legs under them. Connecticut Hoopstars’ rising junior John Papale broke through that barrier in a big way when he knocked down eight three-pointers against the Rhode Island Hawks.
• The Connecticut Knights continued their winning ways on Saturday, but this time a new player stepped up to lead the way as Kingswood-Oxford guard Mike Deffley stood out both with the accuracy of his jumper as well as his ability to get to the basket with his handle.
• Getting a chance to see New England Storm play was clearly a priority for college coaches and Phillips Andover’s Thomas Palleschi stood out early in the day. Only a sophomore, Palleschi is as aggressive inside as he is physical powerful. Combine that with good passing ability and the variety of post moves he showed and you have an intriguing prospect.
• Another group that drew a crowd was the Whitinsville Christian team as 6’8” junior Hans Miersma is officially flying under the radar no more. The junior big man is still pretty raw, but if he weren’t the division II and III coaches probably wouldn’t have a chance to get him with his tool set and high apprehension for the game.
• Albany City Rocks impressed yet again dominating the Boston Warriors. 6’3” combo guard Joe Krong of Christian Brothers Academy had a good game, showing athleticism and a knack to score the ball in a variety of ways while Schenectady’s Shadell Millinghaus and Jamesville-DeWitt’s Tyler Cavanaugh stood out as two of players with the most upside in the division.
• Speaking of upside, Mass Rivals’ freshman Alec Brennan is oozing with it. From Smotrycz to Desrosiers and now Auguste, the Rivals excel at developing skilled big man and Brennan has the tools to be next in line if he can turn potential in production. Right now however, Javon Williams does most of the damage for this team as physical dominance is simply too much for guards his age to counter.
• The best game of the day in the 16u bracket was the early morning clash between the Rhode Island Breakers and New England Storm. Rob Hazard led the way for the Breakers with his strong one on one game while Zach Karalis and Adam Bramanti were the standouts for the Storm. But the supporting cast of both teams turned out to be crucial in this hotly contested clash. Mike Neal, Derryck Kilgore, and Cesar Mejia all stepped up for the Breakers while Andover’s Craigh Luschenat did the same for the Storm. The hero turned out to be Colby Smith, who drew two charge calls on Hazard defensively and then scooped up a Steve Nash like running hook shot as he was falling out of bounds to beat the final buzzer and give the Storm a dramatic win.
• Tyler Hammet, 518 Hustle – imposing 6’11” big man still available in 2010 had d2 following
• Scott O’Brien, Academic Basketball Club – Made variety of tremendous passes in open court
• K.C. Hoff, Connecticut Flame – Cleaned up the paint by finishing vs. contact and following own (rare) misses.
• Jabrille Williams, Connecticut Flame – Improved versatility with mid-range pull-up and jump hook from low post.
• Tylon Smith, Connecticut Knights – Another tournament, another collection of 20+ point games.
• J.C. Carr, Connecticut Premiere – Variety of athletic slashes to the rim, especially in the open court
• Nate Stitchell, Rhode Island Hawks – Undersized guard compensates with quickness getting into lane.
• Joe Mussachia, Mass Rivals – Made open threes, one dribble pull-ups, and typical assortment of crafty drives.
• Scott King, Mass Rivals – Grown another inch, still stroking three, and improving against contact