New Englanders Shine at Session IV of Hoop Group Elite Camp
Alex Francis was one of three local players selected to the underclassmen all-star game on the final day of the Hoop Group Elite Camp. The New York native is ideally suited for the camp setting, where run and jump athletes are at a premium. Francis was able to make a plethora of plays around the rim at both ends of the floor as his size, athleticism, and speed separated him from the competition. Francis’ best performance may have come in the all-star game itself, as he picked up the Most Outstanding Player award.
Joining Francis in that game was Josh Turner and Amir Tarif. Turner, one of the top overall underclassmen prospects in the camp, and Francis have shined together for the past couple of months after teaming up on the Connecticut Select AAU squad. Tarif earned a spot in the all-star game by being efficient in the paint throughout the course of the week.
Kellen Cade was the lone New England product to make the NBA East top 20 all-star game, and was credited for being one of the game’s standout performers by the Hoop Group website. This was the final step in what has been a very successful summer for the Hotchkiss guard. With a good skill set and a lightning quick first step, those who were aware of Cade and his game before the summer, knew it was only a matter of time before he caught the attention of division I programs. That seems to have happened now as he lists Army, Fairfield, Binghamton, Brown, Columbia, and Yale among those who he has heard from.
Dion Waiters, Andrew McCarthy, Luis Leao, Jeremi Johnson, and Tim McKinney were all selected to the 21-40 game. For Waiters, this has to be seen as almost a disappointment, since he was clearly one of the most talented overall players in camp.
But for McCarthy, Leao, Johnson, and McKinney, their selection was a notable accomplishment. McCarthy has shown this summer that he is just about back to 100% after a back injury sidelined him for the better part of last year. McKinney has continued at a rapid pace after picking up his first division I scholarship offer at Hoop Mountain’s Academic All-American Camp. The Northfield Mount Hermon swingman now has multiple division I offers in his resume. Leao hasn’t been too active on the summer circuit this year, but with a 4.0 grade point average, a nice skill set, and a tremendous body, the Winchendon post-graduate is likely to be a target of many high academic division I programs this fall. Johnson was the third member of the Connecticut Select AAU squad to make the all-star game, as Wayne Simone’s club certainly made an impact at camp.
Other New England all-stars included rising junior Ryan Mickiewicz from East Longmeadow High School (MA) who made the NBA West game, rising freshman Henry Pendergast from Shepaug Valley (CT), and rising sophomore Shane Rogers from Brooks School (MA) who both earned spots in the NCAA game.