Northeast Hoops Festival Saturday Recap II
The Pitt Center was rocking on Saturday afternoon as a series highly anticipated match-ups brought crowds of coaches and fans alike. Here is a look at who stood out:
Kaleb Tarczewski, New England Playaz – When the big fella is able to establish deep post position he is absolutely dominant, and that’s exactly how he started his day on Saturday. Once he got into a good rhythm we was making jump hooks over both shoulders and being the defensive anchor for a 1-3-1 zone that held both opponents under 50 points.
Andre Drummond, CBC – Drummond opened his AAU season with an assertive performance as he attacked for all 32 minutes of action in CBC’s opening win. As usual he turned in a series of jaw dropping plays that only he could have pulled off, including an alley-oop that literally had the six-foot-eleven two-hundred-and-seventy-five pound athlete hanging in the air long enough to flush the ball with his trail left hand.
Daniel Dingle & Kimari Murphy, Long Island Lightning – This imposing frontcourt tandem is a big reason why Long Island Lightning is expected to be one of the top teams in the northeast this season. Dingle is an inside-out four-man with a crafty game and phenomenal footwork while Murphy is a long and skilled big of his own who made an impact on the defensive end with his shot blocking.
Rohan Brown, Zach Lewis, & Torin Childs-Harris – Kuran Iverson may be the best prospect on Connecticut Select’s roster but this trio of experienced veterans all seized opportunities to shine on Saturday. Brown went to work in the first half against the Juice All-Stars, scoring 14 points while beasting people inside and being quicker off the floor than most. Lewis and Childs-Harris were both able to get loose in transition while Lewis knocked down additional jumpers and Childs-Harris made plays on the defensive end.
Cam Sennick & Thiwat Thiwat, Maine Hoops – This duo came up huge for Maine Hoops as they pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the day on Saturday by knocking off a talented Mid Atlantic Select team. Sennick is a solid post who scored 11 points with constant pump fakes and pivots while also grabbing close to 20 rebounds. Thiwat was another dominant presence on the glass using his motor and athleticism to pursue the ball off the rim. Later in the day he showed some scoring ability when moving down to play with the 16’s.
Tafari Whittingham, Juice All-Stars – An undeniable talent and incredible athlete, Whitingham can be as good as he wants to be and today he showed just how effective he can be when dialed in. Showing good energy from start to finish, the Stratford forward got his head on the rim for a couple of thunderous dunks and high rising blocked shots.
Yunis Hopkinson, Memorial Park Playaz – A New Jersey native who hopes to attend prep school in New England, Hopkinson got the perfect opportunity with over ten prep school coaches in the building on Saturday. He made the most of the opportunity, going for 40 points against the New England Storm and almost single handedly bringing them back from a 9 point deficit with just 7 minutes to play.
KeAndre Stanton & Steve Haladyna, Mass Rivals – The gym was full of energy for Rivals clash with CBC and Stanton and Haladyna were two unsuspected standouts. Stanton not only proved he could hold his own against a CBC frontline that featured more well known products, but even distinguished himself with his mobility and athleticism. Haladyna rattled off 8 straight points during one stretch in the first half, making consecutive threes followed by a tough jumper from 18 feet.
Adam Bramanti, New England Storm – Bramanti was tremendously efficient as the Storm scored a convincing win over Long Island Lightning. The skilled guard handled the ball against pressure effectively and also showed his silky smooth jumper to the tail of five three-pointers and 20 points.
Tristan Thomas, Maine Mac – Another guy who got hot with his jumper, Thomas converted seven threes in Maine’s nightcap to seal a spot in the gold bracket after Maine Mac had come up with a good win over Riverside Church to start the day. With a quick release and a college ready body, Thomas impressed from start to finish.
Travis Sheldon & Nick Pendergast, Rhode Island Hawks – A quality inside-out tandem for the Hawks, Sheldon is a crafty and heady point who can probe the defense with his dribble as well as he can stroke shots from long range. Pendergast has plenty of versatility of his own, using his long six-seven frame to produce inside while also having deep range on his jumper.
Kareem Canty, Long Island Lightning – While one Lightning team was anchored along the frontline with the tandem of Dingle and Murphy, another was rooted on the perimeter where Canty headlined the action. A prototypical tough New York guard who scores the ball in high volume and competes with a chip on his shoulder, Canty continued to be a near impossible guard for the opposition on Saturday.
Mike Boornazian, CBC – Certainly a pleasant surprise for CBC today, Boornazian proved to be an effective weapon off the bench, not just spotting up to make open shots on the perimeter but also taking advantage of bad close-outs by getting to the cup to finish with just a single bounce.
Kahlil Dukes, CBC – The standout for CBC’s u16 team today, Dukes’ story was based on his old fashioned mid-range game. Finding himself in a good rhythm early, he actively worked his pull-up game only to get deeper and deeper with his penetration as the game went along, eventually progressing to a series of floaters and fancy finishes.
Justin Beradino, ABC – An ultra crafty guard with a terrific feel for the game, Beradino penetrates to get into the lane, knows how to find guys, and even knocked down a pair of threes. He also made what we’re terming the “Jimmer step-through”, lifting his defender with a shot fake before getting into a two foot pull-up.
Alex Boroksky, Drive 4 Stardum – An undersized but strong post who creates constant mismatch problems because of his ability to carve out space on the inside but also step to the perimeter where he can shoot to three or attack off the bounce.
Jeff Amazon, LOX – A man among boys physically, Amazon combined a powerful physique with explosive athleticism to have his way around the paint. He ran away to the rim on a series of drives, was all over the offensive glass, and even made a couple of highlight tip plays.
Freddie Shouve, Mass Elite – This southpaw might have been the toughest player we saw on Saturday. He is a bit of a jack of all trades for his team but his true claim to fame is that he simply plays harder than anyone else on the floor and constantly gets things done as a resulst.
Charles Correa, Rhode Island Hawks – The facilitator for the Hawks u16 team, Correa is a scoring guard who can get it going with his jumper or his drive. He made shots in bunches and so it was even easier to go by guys as he scored in high volume when we watched.
Alex Perrone, Bay State Magic – A mountain of a man who immediately changes the game with his immovable size in the paint, Perrone is a constant defensive presence and the next in a long line of anchors at Loomis Chaffee as he will reportedly head to the Connecticut prep school next year.