New England Talk of the Town in L.A.
While the eyes of the grassroots world are set solidly on Orlando this week, there are still several other high profile tournaments going on. Tops among them is the Best of the Summer, held in the Anaheim Sports Center just outside Los Angeles.
New England is well represented at this event with the New England Playaz, Mass Rivals, New Hampshire Rivals, and Aim High all making the trip following their appearances at the Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas.
Noah Vonleh found himself on the front page of the Rivals Network on Friday with the headline “Vonleh serves for Youth” pretty much telling the story as his performance was crucial to leading the Rivals to a spot in the Elite 8 after knocking off D-One Sports.
“Vonleh looked like a potential five-star in any class…” Rivals’ Eric Bossi said. “Already adept at understanding when to rely on his athleticism and when to play a more skill-based game, Vonleh is a versatile scorer and rebounder who covers a lot of ground on both ends of the floor.”
Earlier in the day it was John Papale who earned Bossi’s praise, first on twitter then in his full recap, after knocking down five second half three-pointers to lead a comeback for the New England Playaz.
“John Papale of the New England Playaz has as pure a jumper as there is in the country,” Bossi tweeted.
“The New England Playaz were down big in a pool play game and needed some buckets. Then 6-foot-3 wing John Papale came up huge. He poured in deep jumper after deep jumper and scored all 19 of his points in the second half of a big comeback win over Iowa Pump 'N Run.”
Zach Auguste has also reportedly picked up right where he left off in Las Vegas, as Bossi noted, “For the second event in a row, 6-foot-9 forward Zach Auguste is passing the game test to go along with the look test. It will be difficult to keep him out of the 2012 Rivals150.”
And of course Kaleb Tarczewski was catching compliments from Bossi and Scout.com’s Josh Gershon alike.
“Kids are dragging at this point in July and it's especially true for big guys. Even so, Kaleb Tarczewski was working hard on both ends of the floor,” Bossi wrote. “The guy knows what he is on the floor and works hard in the post.”
Gershone concurred, adding, “Tarczewski’s size, build and mobility are big parts of his high level stock as a prospect and with those three qualities present, he’s always going to have a lot to be intrigued by.”
As for Aim High, they began the tournament by going 2-0 in day one with wins over Oregon D-1 Ambassadors and Hard2Guard with Tyler Huffman continuing his strong play at the point guard position. Ultimately, the team from Connecticut advanced to the sweet 16 of the Silver bracket as Billy McDonald continued to stretch his stock with his signs of increased athleticism while Egerton Anderson, Jerome Harris, Jamill Powell, James Jennings and Pat Hopkins all earned praise at various points as well.