Hoop Mountain SW1 - Day 3 Recap
BRISTOL, RI - Players continued to emerge Thursday with solid, improved individual performances, games were again played at a high level, and more coaches and scouts observed on the sidelines as the third day of Hoop Mountain’s Super Week I at Roger Williams University concluded amid outstanding competition.
Following are some of the highlights of the third day:
Point guard Oliver Xu is from Hong Kong and had a breakout afternoon, displaying why is emerging as one of the top players at Super Week I. Xu was bringing the ball down court, swinging it, often getting it back and draining a three-point field goal with a sweet shooting stroke. Xu also showed he can drive to the basket, draw contact and get to the free throw line often. Xu’s overall production with threes and some fancy drives made him one of the talks of camp Thursday.
One of the more entertaining matchups of the afternoon saw Xu face off against athletic combination guard Daniel Owens of Albany, New York. As the game went on, Owens began to get increasingly more intense on the defense end, and Xu accepted the challenge using an array of 1v1 moves to get to basket and draw fouls. While their individual match-up probably ended in a draw, Xu got the last laugh as his team captured the victory.
Players who have to come to Hoop Mountain from Montreal, Canada, also continued to shine with their performances Thursday. First, there was Sarny Desir who was most effective when he was able to work his way into the paint and use his athletic ability and soft touch to finish at the rim. However, Desir also showed the ability to step out and knock down the three’s as he made a barrage of them on Thursday. There is also Lewis Tambue, who is going to be a freshman in high school, but one would never know it by this youngster’s aggressive play and occasional flashes of dominance. Tambue is able to drive with great speed to the basket and has a knack for drawing fouls so that he can get to the foul line.
Three others from Montreal, Jean-Louis Wanya, Akeem Sproutt, and Mawbi Diawara, also showed well Thursday. They are all about 6-4 wing players who made athletic plays at the rim both on offense and defense. All of these aforementioned players have added to Hoop Mountain’s great international flair this week. However, the cream of the crop has been Ryo Tawatari, a 6-0 point guard from Japan and graduate student, who continued to make a case for camp MVP Thursday. Offensively, he made plays both by hitting outside jump shots and using a great ability to finish creatively at the rim. He also has great vision that allowed him to execute some fantastic passes that set teammates up for easy shots. Defensively, Tawatari has great instincts that allow him to amass a high number of steals and forced turnovers. He could be a steal for a college coach in need of a skilled lead guard who can defend, make plays, and not turn over the ball.
One of the most pure shooters at this camp is Austin Nydegger. Thursday, Nydegger was draining multiple threes in his games with a very impressive and beautiful shooting stroke. Nydegger is one player whose stock is certainly rising as the week goes on. That could also be said of Jameilin Jones, one of the quickest point guards at Super Week I who was able to drive by most defenders, either for a pull-up jump shot or athletic finish at the rim.
Also in high demand at Super Week I are guys who have been endorsed by their coaches as players who “do the little things” and just simply play hard. Among them are Colin Cordero, Liam Ellis, and Evan Farrell. While all three of these players do other things well too, their hustle and effort are what stood out today.
George Thissell is another product from Hopkinton High School (they’ve had a few this week) who has impressed. Thissell has displayed a variety of low-post moves, and seems to finish at a very high percentage when he catches deep in the paint. Malcolm Brent has also shown throughout the week that he can score points in bunches using a smooth handle and sweet pull-up jumper. He also has a very good ability to finish around the rim with soft touch and creativity.
Jesse Wims is a post player who is noticeably skilled and can drop a jump hook, medium range jump shot, or mix it up around the rim with soft hands and good rebounding instincts. Isaiah Fontaine, a sophomore from Cambridge Rindge & Latin, has shown that he has potential too. Fontaine is raw, but has size and good instincts, which, at his age, certainly make him an interesting prospect. David Watkins is another player who screams of long term potential due to his length, size, and guard skill set. He single handedly kept his team in some games today with his ability to create his own shot and alter shots defensively.
Others Who Impressed:
John Dewey – Another fast and athletic guard who is playing at a camp MVP caliber level. He is a menace on defense and is scoring in high volume on offense. Dewey has scholarship level schools intrigued.
Willem Brandwijk & Mike Hogervorst – The Holderness big man duo is just too much for any other team in camp to handle. They play extremely well off each other, and are skilled and efficient on the low post. Brandwijk in particular has been very impressive this week as he is beginning to stretch his game more to the perimeter and is playing exceptionally well on the offensive end.
Saul Phiri – His long term potential is undeniable, and he showed glimpses of what everyone has come to expect from him on Thursday.
Makai Ashton-Langford – Another youngster who has many people excited about his future, Ashton-Langford did a good job of making plays for others while also picking his spots to make plays for himself.
Johnnie Spears – Continues to be one of the best guards at the camps because of his incredible quickness and willingness to play great defense.
TreVon Betts – A lightning quick guard who utilizes a smooth handle to maneuver his way deep into the paint for easy opportunities.