#NEHF 9th & 10th Grade Divisions Recap
The underclassmen talent at the 2015 Northeast Hoops Festival was off the charts, particularly in the 9th grade division where the PSA Cardinals, Mass Rivals, New England Playaz, Albany City Rocks, NY Rens and many others were in action.
The champion though was a somewhat lesser named program that made a big statement this weekend as the Millbank Flyers came from New York to take the title. Cardinal Hayes wing Terry Hawkins stood out for the champs, showing a strong body and aggressive floor game en route to the championship. The Flyers knocked off a talented Boston Spartans team in the final that had several impressive prospects. Abraham Diaz might have been tops among them as the Lynn English product has a clear upside but Mekhi Warren is a bouncy forward who caused havoc in the lane on both ends of the floor while the Johnson brothers, Calvin and Jalen, formed a very impressive backcourt tandem.
Metro Boston and the City Rocks made semifinal runs as well with Muhammed Traore leading the local squad and Sloan Seymour being the standout for the City Rocks.
Elsewhere in the 9th grade division, the Mass Rivals swept their two Sunday games as A.J. Reeves continued to show why he is the top ranked 2018 prospect in New England while David Mitchell emerged as a more than qualified running mate as the powerful young southpaw not only bullied people going to the rim but showed a special playmaking ability at a young age.
In the 10th grade division the NY Rens took the American championship as Christ the King (NY) point guard Jose Alvarado put up huge numbers all weekend long while Sacred Heart (CT) freshman Raheem Solomon was equally impressive and showed why he is a prospect on the rise in the 2018 class. The Rens knocked off a tough Middlesex Magic squad in the final. Chad Dicenzo earned recognition earlier in the weekend for being a throwback style pure point guard, but Brandon Kolek and Andrew Fonts were also critical to the team's success on the weekend.
The CUCD Hoyas won three games in a five hour span on Sunday to take the National division championship as they knocked off Bay State Magic, NE Playmakers, and Rivals Forest. Elijah Buchanan scored 32 points in the championship and finished the weekend averaging better than 27 points per game, but their run was built on defense first and foremost as they held opponents to 52 points per game while averaging 67 themselves.
The New England Playaz won both of their showcase games on Sunday. Aaron Wheeler again showed why he has tremendous upside and long-term potential while Calvin Whipple earned praise earlier in the weekend for the development of his body as well as his trademark three-point stroke. Chris Doherty is a man among boys in this division though as the sophomore's strength and toughness is matched only by his instinct to play on the block. Devonn Allen also contributed consistent minutes at the point guard position.
The Mass Rivals were led by Azar Swain in the 10th grade division, as the Rivers guard appears to have taken his game to new levels in recent weeks, while Javon Taylor, Isaiah Godwin and Tamenang Choh all seemed to have made nice strides in their game as well.