Magic Win Pitt Jam Fest
The Hoop Group’s Pittsburgh Jam Fest hosted top non-sneaker affiliated teams from Florida to Minnesota this weekend, but once again New England shined through as Middlesex Magic captured the 17u elite division championship while several other local programs showed well too.
This was the second consecutive Pitt Jam Fest championship for the Magic. Tommy ONeil, who is headed to Vermont Academy for a post-graduate year, took MVP honors as he led the team in both scoring and rebounding. O'Neil looked much more confident in his game, and played with an aggressiveness & assertiveness that led the Magic to victories over the likes of NJ Roadrunners, Team M.O.A.M., York Ballers, and rolling past Crown Basketball in the championship game. He also picked up an offer from Mount St. Mary’s following the weekend.
Tyler Kolek and Johnny McCoy led the perimeter attack. McCoy, who led Mansfield to a state championship this year and will prep at Tilton next year, showed an athletic floor game while connecting on an eye-popping 60% of his attempts from deep including four games with at least three made threes. He picked up his first offer from Pace for his efforts. Kolek, who will reclassify to 2020 at St. George’s next year, impressed with his shot-making as well, especially in the championship game when he knocked down five threes. Danny Yardemian, Cole Prowitt-Smith, and Sean James all played important minutes in a deep backcourt rotation as well.
Patrick Mogan and Rhett Carter were a terrific tag team in the middle for the Magic, with Mogan averaging 3 blocks per game, while Magic veteran Ben McPherron showed his signature toughness off the bench and sophomore Jay Dieterle provided a swiss army knife of defense and versatile offense while playing up.
Below are some highlights of the Magic’s championship run:
The D.C. Blue Devils, Metro Boston, and Wright Way Skills all also took part in the recently formed HGSL. The Blue Devils defeated Team Takeover Orange and RDC Laker as Gob Gabriel stood out with an expanding perimeter attacking that featured multiple, contested three-pointers off the dribble.
A week after leading Metro Boston to the finals of the Northeast Hoops Festival, Nick Brennan continued to show why he is one of the top prospects left on the board in 2018 as he led Metro over the NJ Roadrunners in Friday night’s showcase game.
Outside of the HGSL, local products continued to make a positive impression on college coaches as Evan Cook and Casey McLaren both played well for Mass Elite while Arie Breakfield and Jack Schaake drew eyeballs on Northeast Elite from the scholarship level.
There were also some local prep products that shined on teams from beyond New England’s borders. Unsigned big man Stephane Ingo consistently blocked shots and rebounded at a high level for the Northern Kings while Manav Randhawa hot outside shooting carried them late in the tournament. Team Rio’s HGSL team got good production from Loomis Chaffee big man Jake Glezen.
The 16u elite bracket was perhaps the most talented division in the tournament with a number of sneaker sponsored programs in attendance. Expressions set the tone for New England here as they defeated Team Loaded 757, 6th Man Warriors, and PSA Cardinals on their way to a semifinal finish. Enoch Cheeks showed off his athleticism & ability to play through contact in getting to the basket while Bendji Pierre showed a glimpse of his evolving outside game by knocking down jumpers more consistently. The player who made the best impression amongst the coaches though was Aidan Carpenter, who played at a high level all weekend amid a growing line of on-looking coaches.