Northeast Hoops Festival Sunday Recap I
The Pitt Athletic Center was the place to be on Sunday as the tops teams in the u17, u16, and u15 divisions advanced to play on the Sacred Heart campus.
Fourteen teams came out of pool play in the 17u division as MPC Elite, New England Playaz, Granite State Jayhawks, Connecticut Elite, Xpressions Elite, Memorial Park Playaz, New York Panthers, Boston Warriors, Connecticut Basketball Club, Connecticut Hoopstars, Mass Rivals, Long Island Lightning Dingle, and two different Academic Basketball Club team’s all moved on to bracket play by mid-day on Sunday.
It was a similar story in the other age brackets as pool play games gave way to bracket play, creating some very exciting match-ups along the way. Here is a look at some of the headlines throughout the first portion of the day on Sunday.
Kuran Iverson, ANU Generation, 2013: Pull-up jumper from 18 feet…jump hook on the block with high release point…quick crossover dribble from the perimeter…knock down three-pointer. There was a stretch during Sunday morning’s game when you had to wonder what Iverson couldn’t do with the ball in his hands, and when he learns to best utilize his versatile tools and skill set he has the potential to be virtually unguardable.
Zach Lewis, ANU Generation, 2012 vs. Ramone Gibbons, Xpressions Elite, 2012: After both players turned in a set of dynamic performances on Saturday they picked right up where they left off on Sunday, engaging in a back and forth one on one match-up in what was otherwise a low scoring playoff battle between Xpressions and ANU.
Tom Bajda, Connecticut Elite, 2012: Despite falling to a talented New England Playaz squad in a well played bracket play game, Bajda stood out for Elite. He killing the defense from behind the three-point line, knocking down four straight at one point, but then displayed his deceptive athleticism by going chest to chest with a would-be shot blocker and dunking through contact on the break.
Arkel Miles, Connecticut Elite, 2012: Sophomore forward drew high praise from on-looking coaches on Sunday as he demonstrated a polished inside out attack. He used his strong frame to carve out space in the paint to score and rebound the ball while also showing the ability to step to the perimeter and rain southpaw jumpers from 16 feet and in.
Noah Vonleh, Mass Rivals, 2013: You have to love his game a little more every time you see him because he continuously gets better. He has a great blend of natural talent and developed skill and so why his physical tools can’t be taught, his improved perimeter shooting stroke and patented spin move inside the lane to elude a second defender wouldn’t be possible without long hours in the gym.
Eric Green, New England Playaz, 2012: Greene was as consistent a performer as the Playaz 16u squad had in the backcourt all weekend as the long and lanky guard handled the ball, saw the entire floor, and was equally effective scoring and distributing the ball. In fact, Greene is the rare player who could actually stand to be a little more aggressive offensively, as he consistently made good things happen when looking to make a play.
Kaleb Tarczewski & Evan Cummins, New England Playaz, 2012: The young interior duo seemed to come alive at different times but there was no denying either of their abilities, nor their potential to develop into a devastating duo. Tarczewski was at his best in the Playaz opening bracket play game as he finished with 25 points while running the court, finishing strong inside, and blockings shots as usual, while Cummins cracked what could have been one of the top dunks of the day when he hammered home a one hander over an unsuspecting defender along the baseline.
Terry Tarpey, Riverside Church, 2012: A local product, the Fairfield Prep sophomore has a long and strong build with great bounce. He runs the floor hard at every opportunity and was very fluid in transition. He opened the day with 25 points against MABC in the u16 quarterfinals and then took over down the stretch of a semi-final win over the Rhode Island Hawks, scoring all of his team’s points in overtime.
Andre Drummond, Connecticut Basketball Club, 2011: He flat out bullied some people on the block at times, backing them down with one hard dribble and dunking hard on them, but what we were most impressed with were a couple of new moves in the low post including a rip-through reverse lay-up and a turnaround jumper with a super soft touch.
Freddie Wilson, Connecticut Basketball Club, 2011: Wilson showed well early in the day for CBC by making plays at both ends of the floor. Defensively, he wasn’t afraid to take some chances jumping into passing lanes in pressing situations, and it often paid off for CBC as Wilson was able to generate numerous steals that resulted in easy buckets. Offensively, he did his best working coming off the ball-screen as he was equally willing to turn the corner or reject the screen.
Gerald McClease, Connecticut Hoop Stars, 2011: The Hoop Stars gave CBC all they could handle in the 17u quarterfinals as McClease continued to be the offensive orchestrator for his club. McClease scored a team high 16 points as he was consistently able to get to the rim and put his newfound muscle mass to good use as he also finished amongst the trees with good consistency.
Zach Askew, Drive 4 Stardum, 2011: A long and athletic big man with terrifically agile feet, Askew was able to out-run or out-maneuver opposing big men for easy hoops around the rim on a consistent basis and if not his high release point enables him to shoot over them with his turnaround jumper from the block.
Sean McClung, Granite State Jayhawks, 2011: After plowing their way through pool play the Jayhawks ran into a very talented New England Playaz squad in bracket play. Despite falling behind by as many as 18 at one point, the Jayhawks continued to fight back and gradually only dropped a 70-61 decision. McClung was the leader offensively as he completed a strong weekend with a 25 point performance including five three-pointers.
Markus Kennedy, New England Playaz, 2010: Kennedy was the major difference in the Playaz/Jayhawks game as the big man scored 18 first half points and then picked apart the defense with his passing ability in the second as the Jayhawks began to send the quick double team at the Villanova bound big man. Equally impressive was the high motor that Kennedy showed from start to finish.
Samir McDaniels, Boston Warriors, 2011: The Warriors scored a come from behind win over Drive 4 Stardum to claim victory in their pool as McDaniel was consistently able to score the ball going to the rim. He was being very efficient with each stride and bounce, cradling the ball to go through traffic, and using his strong frame to shield shot-blockers so that he could finish absolutely everything around the rim.
Khem Birch, Xpressions Elite, 2012: Birch and Drummond were at another level athletically from every other player in the tournament. While there may be a handful of players who could match the vertical leap, none that came anywhere close to combining the bounce, mobility, and size of these two players. Birch continued to block shots at will on the defensive end and posterize people offensively.
Marco Banegas, Xpressions Elite 2010: He seems to have made significant strides within the last year as Banegas has gotten stronger while consistently making plays of a wide variety with the ball in his hands. He gets to the rim, delivers easily catchable passes with vision, and finishes with body control and extension.