Local Players Shine at Pitt Jam Fest & Real Deal on Hill

NewEnglandRecruitingReport.com | Monday, April 20th, 2009

Local Players Shine at Pitt Jam Fest & Real Deal on Hill

Mass Rivals & Others Turn Heads in Pittsburgh

Scout.com’s Evan Daniels, ESPN’s Reggie Rankin, and Hoopscoop’s Clark Francis all liked what they saw in Pittsburgh this weekend from some New England products.  The Mass Rivals in particular stood out as a number of their players received national media attention.  Here’s a look at the New Englanders in the news from Pittsburgh:

Daniels on Evan Smotrycz: “A recent Michigan commit, Smotrycz is the perfect prospect for John Beilein’s system. At 6-foot-8, 200-pounds he’s a guy that moves very well, has great touch in the paint, but most importantly is a terrific shooter. His form is flawless and he finishes it off with a high release. The New Hampton (N.H.) School standout, who showed use of both hands around the basket, is capable of putting it on the decks for a few bounces and pulling up for jumpers as well. Strength is a concern and an area for improvement, but there’s no denying his ability to shoot the rock.”

Rankin on Smotrycz:  “Smotrycz was a pleasant surprise but more of a standout player this weekend. This super skilled combination forward has all the tools on the offense end of the floor. He is a perfect fit for the offensive system he will play in at Michigan. Smotrycz is a terrific 3-point shooter with NBA range. He has a quick trigger and the size to shoot over smaller defenders with ease. Smotrycz runs the lane in transition and does a great job of stretching the defense with his ability to make shots. Making plays off the dribble is also a strength of Smotrycz's. He is a very good ball handler and does a great job of creating space with scoring dribble moves that include a step back pull up jumper going to his left. He would be perfect in pick and pop situations as well. His skill set doesn't stop with his scoring he is also a very good passer. He can drive, draw and kick in transition or in the half court where he has the ability to pass with either hand. Smotrycz is a good area rebounder but must add strength to prepare for the physical Big Ten but his upside is tremendous.”

Francis on Smotrycz: “We also were very intrigued with Michigan-bound 6'9 Jr Evan Smotrzyc from New Hampton (Prep) NH, who has the size, skills, and outside shooting necessary to project as more than just a good role player at the big time level.”

Daniels on Jordan Laguerre: “College coaches from coast to coast are searching for floor generals in the 2010 class, and slowly we’ve unturned a few guys in Pittsburgh. The guy that caught our eye the most was this 6-foot-1 lead guard that led Manchester (N.H.) Trinity to a state championship. A fast and fairly athletic guard, Laguerre loves to cross over from right to left and uses the move to create space for a jumper or to blow by the defender. The southpaw saw the court well, appeared to be strong with the ball, and was consistent with his jumper.”

Daniels on Matt Brown:  “Throughout Saturday, Brown, a 6-foot-3 solidly built guard made his presence known. A standout at Northfield (N.H.) Mount Hermon, Brown attacks the rim with some aggression and uses his body and athleticism to finish once he’s in the paint. To go with his ability to get to the tin, he’s a pretty good shooter off the catch, as he has great form and gets tremendous lift on his jumper.”

Rankin on Brown:  “This strong and physical shooting guard was another pleasant surprise. Brown was aggressive and productive on a consistent basis. He is an excellent athlete with great size. He looks to have spent some time in the weight room. Brown sprints the wing in transition and can get to the rim or stop and pop with range beyond the arc. He has excellent form with a good release and follow through. Brown also is a threat to grab the defensive rebound and take it coast to coast. Brown is strong enough to score through contact once he uses his ability to beat his defender off the dribble and attack the lane. He is a good passer on kick outs or drop offs when he draws a second defender. Brown does a great job at stretching the defense with his shot making ability and makes good decisions with the ball. He plays with passion and is a good on ball defender. He uses to strong upper body and lateral foot speed to maintain control of the ball handler. Brown has great upside and if he continues to play as he did this weekend his stock continue to rise.”

Daniels on Jaymie Spears:  “A product of St. Marks, Spears ran the show for Mass Rivals and did a pretty good job getting his teammates into their offense. Spears is quick and elusive in the open court, and is also the proud owner of a sweet stroke from downtown.”

Rankin on Josh Turner:  “Turner is a combination guard with great size and athletic ability. He attacks the rim in transition with tremendous pace and if not picked up in time he will finish above the rim over or around the late help defenders. In the half court Turner can finish in the lane with his length as he elevates of smaller perimeter defenders. His mid range jumper is smooth but he didn't attempt many three's because he seemed to get to the rim at will. Turner made the transition to point guard during the game very easily. He is a good ball handler and looked very comfortable with the ball. He breaks pressure and can beat his defender and penetrate and kick to open teammates. Turner looked more comfortable with the ball in his hands than he did playing off the ball. He could also help out at the small forward in a pinch because of his size and ability to rebound. Turner also could easily defend all three perimeter positions. His versatility is what makes him special.” 

Francis on Danny Lawhorn:  “We also really liked the ball handling and passing skills and the explosive first step of 5'10 Jr Danny Lawhorn from Hartford (Public) CT, who beats everybody up the court and makes things happen in transition.”

News & Notes From Real Deal on the Hill

Scout’s Dave Telep and Eric Bossi were in Arkansas this weekend for the Real Deal on the Hill, along with Jerry Meyer from the Rivals Network.  Here are some of their notes from the weekend. 

Bossi on Jason Morris:  "Exactly how good Jason Morris wants to be is entirely up to him. The 6-foot-5 wing has all of the physical gifts -- and a stroke that can be deadly from deep -- in the world and shows flashes that lead you to believe he’s got a high ceiling. However, from an evaluator’s standpoint he hasn’t yet shown the consistency needed to fully trust him as a high level impact player..."

Jerry Meyer, from the Rivals Network, also made a note on Morris in his last story from the Real Deal noting an impressive scoring outburst in the quarterfinals. 

Telep on Maxie Esho:  “Like Maxie Esho for UMass.  Good energy, the A-10 post play is in the wheelhouse and it’s a good match.”