Memorial Day Invitational - Day 1 Recap
Day one of the Memorial Day Invitational lived up to the hype as a variety of stars from across not just New England but the entire northeast showed out on Saturday:
Andre Drummond (CBC 17u)- Showcasing his unmatched physicality and athleticism around the rim, the six-foot-ten forward was dominant catching and finishing above the cylinder in transition, while showing soft hands in traffic to gather himself through contact and elevate among multiple defenders to score with authority above the rim. Perhaps most impressive, Drummond, the top-ranked player overall in the recently revealed ESPNU Top 100, appeared immune to contact when attacking the rim from a variety of angles, either conceding contact for a trip to the free-throw line or dragging the weight of defenders with him for plus-one finishes with either hand.
Kris Dunn (CBC 17u)- Fresh off his recent debut in the top half of the ESPNU Top 100 (#48 overall), the New London-native showed flashes of the silky-smooth playmaking talent off the bounce and dynamic scoring ability in the transition that makes him one of the most rapidly rising perimeter prospects in the class of 2012. With his long, lean frame poised to add muscle to make him even more of a problem forcing the issue through the lane, Dunn features a smooth stroke the perimeter that, if developed into a confident element of his offensive arsenal, could flat-out make him impossible to guard as a versatile scoring option.
Timajh Parker-Rivera (CBC 17u)- One can't help but be in awe of Parker-Rivera's motor. Quite simply, there is no one around that plays harder and the hustle was on full display in CBC's opening round win. When he wasn't hovering around the rim jamming in missed shots or running the floor for dunks, Parker-Rivera was a pest at the front of CBC's press.
Chris Braley (MB Nation 17u)- A tireless worker on both ends whose natural, exceeding motor is enhanced by a feathery stroke from three and a natural scorer’s mentality, Braley is a coach’s dream in that he never takes a possession off and raises the intensity of his teammates with a clear commitment to win every possession.
Alex Furness (MB Nation 17u)- The long lefty hit shots in bunches off the catch throughout the day on Saturday, while flashing his developing skill-set as a facilitator capable of getting into the lane with a deceptive burst off the bounce, drawing multiple defenders at the second level, and either locating open teammates for easy baskets at the rim or finishing through contact with his broadened frame.
Terry Tarpey (Riverside Hawks 17u)- An instrumental part of Riversides’ Cinderella-run on Saturday, the six-foot-five, combo-forward features an unorthodox combination of shooting ability from the perimeter, to go along with the know-how to attack hard close-outs and create positive offense in the lane with his length and soft touch around the rim.
Kaleb Tarczewski (NE Playaz 17u)- With opposing defenses refusing to play him straight-up with a man-to-man look for most of the afternoon on Saturday, the seven-foot center still managed to showcase the unique blend of size, mobility, and skill on the low-block that makes him one of the most coveted bigs in the national class of 2012. He made a couple of big time jump hooks to scream of his long term potential and also proved he was capable of taking over a game down the stretch when getting his touches.
Sal Vitello (Riverside Hawks 17u)- Equally as important as his William and Mary-bound teammate (Tarpey) in Riverside’s surprise success on Saturday, Vitello show impressive grit and creativity as an undersized lead guard, taking and making big shots and demanding the basketball down the stretch to maintain his team’s poise against a swarm of ball-pressure.
Andre Walker (Mid-Atlantic Select 17u)- James Lee always seems to have an ace up his sleeve and Saturday was no different as Walker made his debut for Lee's 17u squad. While still growing into his six-foot-ten frame, Walker's game oozes potential. Blocking shots, running the floor, meshing turn-around jumpers out to the free-throw line, Walker showed why so many people have high hopes for the VA-native.
Brandon Hedley (Mid-Atlantic Select 17u)- It's a precarious role when a player is both his team's point guard and its' best shooter, but Hedley seems to strike an even balance between his distribution duties and his own scoring. A Maryland native who will be attending Salisbury for a PG year, Hedley is a D2 find for a school looking for a shooting point.
Jabari Peters (New Heights 17u)- Watching Peters play, you get the feeling that if you dropped him in any game on the planet, he'd find a way to get his 16-18 points. Dude just flat-out scores. In the nightcap versus Team Philly, the Brooklyn native totaled just 2 first half points and you thought just maybe Philly's athletic defenders proved the perfect antidote for Peters' scoring prowess. Think again, Peters said to the tune of 16 second-half points.
Cavon Baker (Raising Champions 17u)- Fresh off the short trip up 95 from NYC, Baker went right to work in the noon game versus CBC. Guarding Baker off the bounce is no easy task and once in the lane, Baker is a solid decision-maker. Should it be a kick to a shooter on the perimeter or a dump-off to a big, you can count on Baker making the right choice.
Jaren Sina (Hoop Heaven Elite 17u)- With an uncanny feel for the game and natural playmaking instincts in transition, the Alabama-commit consistently controls tempo with his precise passing ability off the bounce and his willingness to score the ball with efficiency from the perimeter when needed.
Tyler Verotto, (Drive4Stardum 17u)- Verotto didn't waste any time christening the first annual Memorial Day Invitational as he went off for 25 points in the tournament's opening game. A lanky guard, Verotto has a picture-perfect release and a knack for getting open to unfurl it.
Maurice Watson (Team Philly 17u)- With his blinding speed, Watson was everywhere for Lonnie Lowry's Team Philly squad. There wasn't an opposing guard Watson faced all day that was able to keep him from penetrating. A coach's son (he plays for his father in HS), Maurice's high basketball IQ and leadership skills make him quite the floor general.
Brandon Taylor (Team Philly 17u)- Fresh off his first high-major offer (Miami FL), you could see why Taylor has the 'Canes coaches thinking he could do battle in the ACC. At 6-8/235, Taylor is by no means afraid to muck it up inside, but where he really separates himself is when he steps out beyond the three-point stripe. It's trouble for the D when Taylor catches it deep and the opposing center is drawn out to guard. Of course, there's the option of letting Taylor fire away, but one look at his smooth stroke and his stat-line vs. New Heights (5/6 from three) should have you thinking otherwise.
Noah Vonleh (Mass Rivals 17u)- His enhanced skills were shown off by jabbing into three-pointers and leadin the break with a creative handle While his superior combination of size and length at six-foot-seven also allowed him to be a force on the defensive end, contesting and blocking shots and rebounding the ball in-and-out of his area.
Victor Aytche (Metro Boston 17u) - Typically known for his slashing ability, Aytche demonstrated a total scoring game on Saturday incorporating a series of smooth jumpers into his offensive arsenal along with traditional dribble drive attack.
Dana Raysor (Team Jersey Elite 17u) - The St. Pat's swingman put on a show to start day one, drilling a series of deep three-pointers to rattle off nine straight points and spark his team in their opening round match-up. Raysor has good size for the swing spots along with a versatile complimenting skill set.
Jared Terrell (Expressions 16u)- Perhaps as physically imposing an underclass perimeter prospect as there is in all of New England, Terrell sets himself apart instantly with his unmatched size and athleticism as a six-foot-two, locomotive-type guard, but impresses even more with a developing feel for making positive plays in traffic and executing with high precision on the move scoring or passing the pill.
Brandon Wheeler (Riverside Church 16U)- A strong, physical playmaking guard with always-attacking, yet constantly-poised instincts, the Trinity Catholic-native uses his quickness and strength to attack the lane, evaluate help, and choose between the equally-effective play of a clear path to the rim or a smooth dump-down for an easy score.
John Powell (New England Playaz 16u)- It seems like Powell is adding a new post move to his game every time we see him. For Memorial Day weekend, Powell showcased a devastating quick-spin on post catches. Powell converted one of these in each game Saturday along with some fine pick & roll work where Powell has a knack for sealing defenders off on his roll.
Kahlil Dukes (CBC 16U)- An absolute blur in transition with his creative handle and dynamic change-of-pace ability, Dukes puts up numbers in a hurry as a constant threat to convert turnovers for acrobatic scores in transition and the lethal ability to stop on a dime off the dribble and knock down a pull-up jumper from distance in front of an out-stretched hand.
Dustin Cole (MB Nation 17u & 15u)- A little point guard with some seriously BIG game, Cole was terrific all day. When he wasn't playing up two age groups with the 17's, Cole was terrorizing the 15u bracket. Cole's best game was a 24-point outburst vs. Basketbull that saw him net six three-pointers.
Winston Morgan (CBC 15u)- A member of the CBC 15U squad, Morgan did his best Dirk impersonation by going 12-for-12 from the line against Maine Mac on Saturday morning.. When he wasn't feeding off the charity stripe, Morgan was either dishing to teammates or stepping behind the 3-point line to show off his range.
Zach Gilpen (Maine Mac 15u) - A 15u player whose potential has Coach Carl Parker gushing, Gilpin put on quite a display in his two games Saturday. Whether it was pirouetting around defenders on baseline drives or showing off his array of post-up moves, Gilpin was a scoring machine on Saturday, averaging 15 points in his two games.
Markus Neale (Boston Spartans 15u) - A versatile and athletic slashing scorer, Neale put a big number on the board today when he dropped 24 points for the Spartans earlier today. He got to the rim at well, attacking north to south as well as east to west and mixing in a couple of jumpers for good measure.
Mike Rodriguez (Metro Boston 15u) - Rodriguez was crucial down the stretch of Metro's hard fought win over the Spartans. Not only did the young guard put 20 points on the board but he also made a number of big shots down the stretch while making a couple of highlight reel passes.
Chase Daniels (Connecticut Select 15u) - A developing big man with an obviously high ceiling, Daniels is a young sophomore at Maloney High School who has all the tools to be a player down the road thanks to his strong frame, good hands, and soft touch inside the lane.