NEHF - Sunday Recap I
The Northeast Hoops Festival got back to it bright and early Sunday morning with pool play wrapping up and playoff action taking center stage. Countless players chipped in important performances for their respective teams and here is a sampling of those who showed the brightest at both the Avon Old Farms and Trinity College sites.
Jarred Reuter (NE Playaz 2015) – Already a national name despite his young age, Reuter proved why on Sunday. Playing up with the 17U team he still looked like a man amongst boys in the paint. Reuter has a very wide frame and once he catches on the block has a great understanding of how to use his size to create an easy shot. Most of his work today was done over his left shoulder but he did show a counter move spinning back to his left and netting an easy 4 footer. Reuter will be a force in New England for the next 4 years.
Kerem Kanter (NE Playaz 2014) – The younger brother of Utah Jazz big man Enes Kanter, Kerem flashed major upside in my first look at him this weekend. The 6’7” lefty post has immense strength and a soft touch around the rim. Once he got defenders pinned on his back Kanter was unstoppable in the low block using a drop step and flipping everything in with his left hand. As he continues to learn the American game and becomes more comfortable with his body, Kanter has the chance to be a star.
Chris Walters (United Sons and Daughters 2012) – A 6’4” guard with a knack for scoring the ball, Walters was very efficient in an early morning game. Most of his damage was done attacking the rim with hard drives in both directions. Walters finished many plays but also has an understanding of how to create contact in the lane and draw fouls, no easy task in an AAU game. He needs to continue improving his ball handling and perimeter shot to enhance his overall game.
Schadrac Casimir (United Sons and Daughters 2013) – Casimir is undersized, not all that athletic, and frankly looks like he is overmatched before the ball is tipped. Once the ball goes up though, all he does is win games. The 5’9” point guard made deep perimeter shots off both the catch and the dribble and everyone seemed to come at an important moment for his team. Casimir’s understanding of when to score and when to create for others is one of his best skills at this time.
Zach Campbell (CT Gold 2013) – A 6’2” physical guard, Campbell was his team’s major spark on both ends of the floor. He made deep shots, crashed the boards, jumped passing lanes, and generally wrecked havoc on the opposition. While not a major athlete, Campbell is a well rounded basketball player who makes a variety of effort plays to help his team win.
Skyler White (RI Hawks 2013) – White is a classic pick and pop 4 man who at 6’7” really stretches the defense with his ability to hit the long ball. He has a solid frame and sets big screens, always popping out to the 3 point line afterwards looking for a shot. He also had success trailing the break and burying deep bombs from the top of the key. To further his progression White will need to find ways to make an impact down low on offense and rebound more consistently.
Victor Aytche (Metro Boston 2012) – Ayatche served as the go-to scorer for Metro Boston doing his best work on pull-up midrange jumpers after 1-2 dribbles. He prefers the right side of the court and usually dribbles towards the baseline before unleashing his jumper. Ayatche looked to me like a player that a low major school could feature as a primary scorer and run off a variety of screens.
Harrison Taggart (RI Hawks 2013) – Taggert’s body looks vastly improved from last summer as he’s added a good amount of muscle making him more imposing in the paint. His game is reaping the benefits as Taggert was able to finish through contact at the rim after using 1-2 dribbles to attack from the 3 point line. He also seemed to be a leader and someone who provided energy for his team as they all rallied around him every time he made a big play.
Charlie Joyner (Team Underrated 2013) – While undersized as a 5’7” point guard, Joyner makes up for that by having very long arms which allow him to play bigger. He made perimeter shots off catch and shoot situations but was best navigating high ball screens. Joyner notched multiple assists by sneaking passes through tight windows to big men rolling to the rim. Defensively, his length also forced many turnovers and allowed Underrated to get easy transition baskets.
Charles Correa (RI Hawks 2013) – Correa has built a reputation as a knock down outside shooter and while he struggled with his jump shot today he was able to impact the game in other ways. He also has incredible handle and used it to break down the defense and then find teammates. He may have approached double digit assists in an early morning game when at one point he got a layup for a teammate on 3 consecutive possessions.
Dashawn Benson (Team Underrated 2012) – A long and lanky 6’4” wing, Benson is a slasher in every sense. Best in transition, he attacks the paint with herky jerky moves and unusual angles always trying to get all the way to the rim. If Benson is able to add some strength to his slight frame and develop a perimeter shot, he has the makings of a devastating offensive weapon.
Cane Broome (NE Playaz 2013) – Broome has been on the circuit in New England for a number of years now but may have had his best day I’ve witnessed on Sunday. He was in complete control at the point for the Playaz making perimeter shots and sliding passes through traffic to his dominant big man duo of Reuter and Kanter. Broome also showed improved decision making skills as far as when to get his own offense and when to involve others.
Aaron Calixte (NE Playaz 2013) – Another point guard on the Playaz 17U roster, Calixte is a blur with the ball in his hands. He only had a few opportunities to show off his speed in the open court but it was breathtaking watching him fly with the ball. Calixte needs to get better at finishing his plays when he makes an electric move either himself or by making the right pass. At the moment he often beats his man but then lacks decisiveness on whether to pass or shoot. More time in the Playaz program and more time on the court should cure this issue and make Calixte a very dangerous prospect at the point.
Garet Beal (Maine MAC 2013) – The forward from the northern half of Maine is much improved since we last saw him on the AAU scene. Eight months ago, Beal was a potential match-up problem. Now, he’s a epitome of a mismatch forward with the size and strength to abuse smaller defenders on the post and the skill set to stroke open threes from behind the three-point line, handle the ball in the open floor, or make straight line drives from the perimeter. He’s definitely a guy who has the potential to breakout.
Trevon Gibbs (CT Select 2013) – Gibbs is a long, athletic 6’7” forward who did most of his work roaming the baseline for put backs or drop off passes. He is a strong finisher above the rim but can’t create his own shot so he has to really on either offensive rebounds or one of his guards to get him an easy look. Defensively, Gibbs flashed ability as a shot blocker but needs to gain consistency and avoid fouls.
Samuel Dingba (Westchester Hawks 2013) – Dingba’s game has taken off since last summer. The 6’7” big man is still an explosive shot blocker and rebounder but showed much more on offense than I had seen before. He was able to attack of the dribble in transition all the way from half court and got to the rim for a 2 handed power dunk. If his face up game and offensive skill set continue expanding, Dingba’s ceiling as a player will expand right along with them.
Joseph Kuo (New Renaissance 2013) – A young member of the 2013 class playing 16U Kuo is an athletic 6’7” big man whose motor stood out above anything else. He refused to be outworked in the paint and turned that effort into a bunch of easy buckets on offensive rebounds or simply by beating his defender down the floor.
Jared Wilson-Frame (CT Basketball Club 2015) – The up and coming scoring swingman did what he does best on Saturday morning, he scored the ball. Wilson-Frame was ready to go bright and early on Sunday morning and came out firing with Kahlil Dukes still nursing an injury from the day before. The Windsor product combined deep jumpers with highlight reel dunks for a team high 25 points.
Matt St. Amour (Lone Wolf 2013) – This year’s Lone Wolf team is an intriguing group and St. Amour is a big reason why. Playing without their leading playmaking guard, Lone Wolf adapted their offense to allow St. Amour to run off screens and show his patented stroke from behind the three-point line. Keep an eye on this club moving forward.