HoopRootz Freshmen Focus: Recent Frontcourt Standouts
We've had a chance to see a ton of freshmen talent over the past few weeks; last weekend at the Zero Gravity Massachusetts State Championship and this weekend at the NERR Super 16 Showcase and Stars & Stripes Classic. Here's a look at front-court players who've caught our eye.
Martin Mann - BABC Gold - Long-gazelle forward has taken major strides in his offensive-craft over the past year as he's looked good scoring in a variety of ways with a softened-touch around the basket while also showing the ability to block shots and finish with thunderous dunks.
Tyler Small - NY Rens - Talented forward gets to the rim and use supreme athleticism to finish in a wide-variety of ways at the basket. Knocked down a pair of clutch foul shots to seal an exciting semifinal win over the Playaz.
Tommy O'Neil - Expressions Elite - Big southpaw forward scored the ball strong at the basket off the one-dribble drive from the arc and in-transition filling the lanes while he knocked down shots from the perimeter with a smooth-stroke and extended range.
Dana Tate Jr. - Expressions Elite - Level-raising inside-outside small forward with size, length, and a great motor has looked very good in recent weeks and looks to be back in top-form after recuperating from an injury; rebounding with urgency at both ends, handling in the open-floor, attacking off the dribble from the perimeter to distribute and score the ball at the basket, knocking down shots from the mid-range and beyond-the-arc, and finishing around the basket with a soft-touch in a variety of situations.
Darion Jordan-Thomas - BABC Gold - Extra long-lanky big-man with enormous potential continues to take strides in his game and has been increasing effective finishing at the basket in variety of situations while plying his his trade on the glass and defending the rim.
Jake Glezen - New England Playaz - Big man with a nice combination of size, skills, motor, and instincts. Was tough and active all weekend at the Super 16 for the Playaz; grabbing big rebounds, causing tie-up, and knocking down jump-hooks in traffic. Has looked good in recent weeks making his way back from an ankle injury and looks close to being back in top-form.
Jonathan Pace - Boston Spartans - Wide-body big-man has improved tremendously over the past year and had a nice weekend for the Boston Spartans at ZG Mass States; anchoring defensively and on the glass while scoring the ball with a soft-touch from the post, on the offensive glass, off the catch and finish, and most impressively by knocking down mid-range shots off the face-up or catch.
Jared Whitt - BABC Gold - Good to see the Worcester Academy Forward healthy and competing on the interior for the Black and Gold. Made his presence known competing on the glass and finishing around the basket at ZG Mass States.
Rakesh Tibby - New England Playaz - Energy forward is active on the glass at both end, runs the floor well, and finishes in the paint in multiple ways.
Kenneth Araujo - Expressions Elite - Long-rangey energy-forward defends multiple positions, attacks the glass at both ends, and will finish in traffic around the basket.
Spencer Riley - GT Elite - Southpaw forward has gotten stronger over the past year and he's looked good this spring competing with increased physicality in the paint. Has a nice touch around the basket and from the mid-range while he's also showed the ability to face up and attack the basket off the one-dribble-drive.
Scott Graziano - GT Elite - Hard-nosed combo-forward provides a tough-physical presence on the glass and in the paint while he'll also move out and operate from the perimeter. Finishes around the basket and tracks down rebounds and loose balls with urgency.
Cam Nelson - New England Playaz - Big fella continues to play with increased energy on the interior and makes a big impact in the Playaz front-court with his consistent activity on the boards and in the paint on both sides of the ball.
Jaykeen Foreman - Expressions Elite - Rugged blue-collar interior-forward defends, rebounds, provides a tough-physical presence in the paint, and will finish through contact at the basket.
Victor Djoleto - SNH Saints - Long-athletic energy-forward made a major impact defensively and on the glass for the SNH Saints at the Super 16 while also showcasing an offensive repertoire which continues to add polish and diversify.
Dakota Bertrand - SNH Saints - Inside-outside forward had a great weekend at the Super 16; hitting 15 3s this week's over course of five games with a weekend-high of 18. Attacks off the one-dribble-drive from the arc effectively and has a nice feel for getting himself looks off the pick and pop.
Liam Regan - Boston Bobcats - Still 14 year-old forward from Medway was impressive at the Super 16; running the floor like a deer and finishing in transition while showcasing intriguing shot-blocking ability and the makings of a nice mid-range game.
Yanis Nyantenji - Mass Elite - Strong-athletic energy forward runs the floor very well and is very active in the paint on both ends. Schoolyard rebounder who pursues with urgency and finishes around the basket in a variety of situations.
David Brown- CT Select - Big-bodied interior-forward actively eats space in the paint and is a load to deal with on the glass. He came up with some clutch buckets around the basket on numerous occasions at the Super 16.