NPSI - Saturday Recap
In a match-up of perennial AAA powers featuring a variety of low to high-major talent on both rosters, a Northfield Mount Hermon team playing without Seton-Hall bound lead guard Aaron Cosby would take on a Bridgton club looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Princeton Day on Friday night. With Northfield Mount Hermon’s Armani Cotton (Yale), Joe Sharkey (Brown), and John Golden (Dartmouth) all hitting shots from the perimeter early, Bridgton would fight to stay close behind strong drives from 2012 lead guard Kareem Canty and the inside play of future Purdue Boilermaker Donnie Hale. However, the Hogger’s trio of Ivy League-bound guards would continue to connect on a barrage of outside jumpers off dribble penetration and sharp ball reversal, with Golden culminating a furious flurry of offense with a three-pointer from the right wing to give his team an 18-point lead, at 32-14, with just over two minutes to play in the opening half. The two team’s would trade baskets on their ensuing possessions, before a Canty jumper at the halftime buzzer would cut the Northfield Mount Hermon lead to 16, at 36-20, heading into the break.
Bridgton would open the second half with a heightened sense of urgency behind the inside-outside scoring tandem of Canty and Hale, who would put the Wolverines on their respective backs and lead them back into the ball game. A Hale three-pointer off a side pick-and-pop with Canty, followed by a transition lay-up from Canty, would culminate a 13-4 Bridgton run and cut the Northfield Mount Hermon lead to seven, at 40-33, with just over 15 minutes remaining. Held to just one point in the first half, Ryan Martin would begin to show some life inside for Bridgton, cutting the lead to five, at 44-39, with a pair of free-throws with under 12 minutes to play. Jvonte Brooks would answer for Northfield Mount Hermon with a series of second-chance points inside, before Alexsander Doborovic would convert a transition put-back to get Bridgton within four, at 48-44, with eight minutes remaining.
A plus-one bucket from Brooks would extend the Hogger’s lead back to eight, at 58-50, with under four minutes to play, before Canty would answer with a deep pull-up three behind a high ball-screen on the ensuing possession to cut his team’s deficit back five with just over three minutes remaining. Following a Golden bucket off a Bridgton turnover in the front-court, Canty would hit another three from the identical spot at the top of the circle to bring Bridgton back within four, at 60-56, with under two minutes to play. Two free-throws from Hale following a Northfield Mount Hermon turnover would cut the lead to two, at 60-58, and, after a pair of Hogger turnovers in their final possessions of regulation, Cory Space would convert on a tough driving lay-up on the left baseline to tie the game at 60 with five seconds remaining and eventually force overtime.
Sharkey would hit a three early in the extra session to put Northfield Mount Hermon up, but Canty would answer right back with a triple of his own to tie the game at 63 with over two minutes to play. A tough, fall-away three from Golden, followed by an interior bucket from Brooks ,would give Northfield Mount Hermon a two-possession lead, at 68-63, and, despite another pull-up three from Canty late, the Hogger’s would eventually hang on for a hard-fought, 72-66 victory.
Sharkey led four Northfield Mount Hermon players in double-figures with 18 points and eight rebounds, to go along with 16 and 14 respectively from Brooks (7-8 FG) and Golden, and 10 points and nine rebounds from Evan Cummins. Canty led all scorers with 28 points on 10-21 shooting and 4-10 from three, with Hale contributing 17 points and 10 rebounds.
RaShawn Stores (Robinson School)- A strong, physical guard with deceptive athleticism and a creative handle in the open floor, Stores was big down the stretch for Robinson in its overtime victory over Summit on Saturday, hitting a free-throw to tie the game at the end of regulation and then scoring all of his team’s ten points in the extra session. While he lacks pure blow-by ability, he possesses good size at six-foot-two and combines his strong frame with crafty change-of-pace to get defenders on his hip and create positive offense off the bounce downhill.
Shaquille Duncan (Robinson School)- A long, lanky big with a determined motor, the Morgan State-commit runs hard to the rim in the open floor, works to establish a hard seal, and goes to work over smaller defenders with quick, decisive moves to the basket. While his six-foot-nine frame could stand to add a significant amount of muscle to enhance his ability to score and rebound through contact, Duncan has the upside to develop into a consistent force on the interior with his natural athleticism and explosive finishing ability around the rim.
Braeden Anderson (Wilbraham & Monson)- Fresh off his recent de-commitment from DePaul, the six-foot-eight, face-up forward showed off his offensive versatility against St. John’s on Saturday, knocking down shots out to 16 feet and going to work against less-physical defenders on the block with a nice touch over both shoulders. While he features a unique blend of size and mobility, Anderson (team-high 16 points, seven rebounds) has a tendency to spend too much time floating around the perimeter where he lacks the necessary skill-level to be consistently effective and, overall, lacks a true commitment to battle through contact inside and use his natural physical ability to his full advantage as a volume rebounder and dominant low-post scoring option.
Jaylen Brantley (Wilbraham & Monson)- While undersized and slight of build at just five-foot-ten, the Springfield, Mass.-native in the class of 2013 demonstrated his elite shot-making ability from all over the floor on Saturday, knocking down a series of catch-and-shoot threes from NBA-range and stopping short off high ball-screens for pure mid-range pull-ups. With a terrific feel for moving efficiently off the ball and running trailing defenders off screens, Brantley (13 points, three of six 3-PT FG) showed the trademark short-memory associated with all great shooters, responding after his few misses to step up and knock down his next available shot in rhythm with unwavering confidence.
Brandon Mobley (St. John’s Military)- An elite-caliber athlete with great length and explosion attacking the basket from the wing, the six-foot-nine small-forward was dynamite in the open floor in Saturday’s win over Wilbraham & Monson, finishing with flair above the rim from a variety of angles. Mobley (game-high 20 points, eight rebounds) carries himself with a quiet confidence that shows through with his willingness to drive the ball to the bucket from any spot on the floor, and, while he’s a capable shooter from the perimeter, he’s at his best running downhill in transition using his athleticism to elevate in traffic and attack the cup.
Kaleb Joseph (Cushing)- An impressive young point guard prospect with excellent burst and a creative handle, the six-foot-two sophomore pushed the pace in transition and attacked the seam with poise and terrific change of pace. Joseph (eight points, eight rebounds) is a capable perimeter shooter who, in one sequence, broke pressure with a tight spin, crossover combination in the open floor, passed the ball ahead up the wing, and received it back immediately and knock down a fluid, in-rhythm three.
Andrew Chrabascz (Cushing)- A strong, active big with a relentless motor pursuing the basketball, the six-foot-five forward has an undervalued skill of tracking the ball down in-and-around the paint and gaining possession for his team for second-chance opportunities. With a developing, face-up skill-set out to 15 feet, Chrabascz (22 points, 12 rebounds) has outstanding feet in the paint and a polished back-to-the basket game that features a soft jump hook over his left shoulder. Defensively, he fronts the post with regularity and uses his strong frame and natural physicality to muscle people out of position and rebound his area through contact.
Ben Hamill (Cushing)- A pure three-point shooter who Each One Teach One failed to stay home on when helping against dribble penetration, the six-foot one guard made shots with regularity and attacked close-outs with toughness to get into the paint and make sound decisions. While he lacks supreme size or burst off the bounce, Hamill (17 points) is a gritty player who consistently finds himself in the middle of positive plays and will surprise defenders with his willingness to drive the ball into contact and finish at the rim.
Eugene McCroy (CJEOTO)- A six-foot-eight, hybrid forward with solid balls skills, McCroy is a big-time athlete who loves to run the floor in transition and use his elite bounce to finish with authority in transition. Defensively, he has the length and lateral quickness to guard on the perimeter and the size to body people on the block, challenge shots, and rebound the ball in traffic to start the break with his own bounce.
Donte Thomas (Princeton Day)- The six-foot-six wing was extremely efficient in Princeton Day’s win over Brehm Prep on Saturday, scoring 17 points on four of four shooting from behind the arc and five of five from the free-throw line. A long, lean athlete with a pure release and good rise on his jumper, Thomas prepares himself well before the catch and needs a minimal amount of space to get his shot off due to the simplicity and efficiency of his mechanics.
Joe Sharkey (Northfield Mount Hermon)- The Brown-commit was the primary catalyst in a Northfield Mont Hermon performance dominated by future Ivy League guards (Cotton and Golden), knocking down several perimeter jumpers that always seemed to come at opportune times as his team fought off a late-charging Bridgton squad. While he lacks terrific burst and has a tendency to settle for difficult shots out of rhythm, Sharkey stretches the defense with his ability to knock down open looks and should provide Jesse Agel with a viable perimeter scoring option next year in Providence.
Jvonte Brooks (Northfield Mount Hermon)- Finishing with 16 points and six rebounds on seven of eight shooting in Saturday’s win over Bridgton, the six-foot-seven forward demonstrated good feet and strong hands in tracking down several loose balls in the paint and converting on a series of second chance opportunities in traffic. Capable of scoring from a variety of angles around the rim with both hands, Brooks has a strong body and natural ball-tracking instincts that allow him to be consistently productive, and highly efficient, on the interior.
Jon Golden (Northfield Mount Hermon)- While 5-17 from the floor didn’t qualify as his most efficient performance, the Dartmouth-commit has the unique feel of a player who wants to take and make big shots, and that’s exactly what he did in overtime in Northfield Mount Hermon’s victory over Bridgton on Saturday. Despite a pure release from the outside, Golden can still be streaky at times from the perimeter and needs to develop a more consistent mid-range game, but he features a level of athleticism that will be a welcome addition to head coach Paul Cormier and a Dartmouth line-up currently lacking such bounce on the perimeter.
Kareem Canty (Bridgton)- A score-first lead guard with a special ability to stop on a dime and knock down shots from NBA-range, Canty (game-high 28 points, four threes) can fill it up in hurry with a flurry of perimeter jumpers and strong drives to the basket. In Bridgton’s double-digit comeback against Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday, the six-foot-two guard hit multiple threes off the dribble and utilized a soft floater to score in the lane over big help. However, with the majority of his offense typically coming either from behind the arc or at the rim, Canty must develop a more polished feel for pulling-up at the second level and using a legitimate mid-range jumper to score the ball ahead of contact.
Donnie Hale (Bridgton)- A tougher kid than his long, lanky frame and soft-spoken demeanor may suggest, the Purdue-commit turned in a solid double-double effort with 17 points and 10 rebounds in a tough overtime loss to Northfield Mount Hermon, showing off his nice touch on the interior and a willingness to be physical in the paint and scrap for rebounds on both ends. Capable of knocking down shots out to the three-point line as a versatile, face-up four, Hale still needs to add a significant amount of muscle to his lean frame in order to compete with the elite brand of physicality that awaits him down the road in the Big Ten.
Charlli Klein (Canarias Basketball Academy)- There wasn’t a single player on a Notre Dame team loaded with elite guard prospects who could keep the electric, six-foot-three point out of the paint on Saturday, as he consistently used a decisive left-to-right cross to break people down of the dribble and finish through contact at the rim. Finishing with 19 points and four assists on 7-14 shooting, the ultra-quick Klein showed a capable stroke from behind the arc and single-handedly kept his team in the game against a much more talented, deeper Notre Dame roster.
Wayne Selden (Tilton)- The perimeter half of what may be the most dynamic inside-outside tandem in all of New England, the six-foot-four wing showed the elite athleticism attacking the basket that makes him one of the elite small forward prospects in the national class of 2014. An imposing physical specimen, Selden (10 points, five rebounds) consistently rises in tight space to dunk the ball in traffic and, while no one has demonstrated the ability to keep him away from the hoop, he is a developing perimeter shooter with a smooth, albeit low, release from distance.
Nerlens Noel (Tilton)- The interior complement to his running mate Selden on the perimeter, the six-foot-ten center is one of the most impressive defensive prospects in America, regardless of region, age, or class. While his shot-blocking ability is well-documented, Noel’s mere presence on the floor is a game-changing factor, as opposing guards simply refuse to drive the ball to the basket with the understanding that a massive, bouncy, rejecting presence awaits them by the time they reach the second level. Offensively, he catches and dunks everything within a five feet radius from the cup and, in Saturday’s win over Christian Faith, showcased a quick, efficient gather-dribble to give himself space to elevate and score after catching the ball in traffic.
Georges Niang (Tilton)- The six-foot-eight forward flat-out gets it done on both ends, scoring and rebounding the ball in high volume with staggering efficiency. Consequently, it’s not that Niang’s 29-point performance on 12-16 shooting and two of four from three against Christian Faith wasn’t overly impressive, it’s just what has come to be expected from the highly-actively, super-skilled face-up four. While he continues to garner a variety of solid mid-major interest he could be a steal for a high-major program looking for someone who does the most important thing in the game extremely well: produce.
Khristian Smith (MCI)- A fluid, skilled quick-forward with a nice feel and a smooth release out to the arc, the Indiana State-commit is an outstanding passer from the high post area and does a terrific job locating open shooters after drawing help off the bounce. Finishing with a team high 20 points on 8-11 shooting, Smith is a solid athlete who can score in a number of ways and lock down multiple positions as a strong, versatile defender on the other end.
Rafael Maia (MCI)- Lawrence Academy had absolutely no answer for the recent Brown-commit’s size or skill level on Saturday, as the six-foot-nine forward finished with both hands around the rim and showed a smooth stroke out to 16 feet. Highly-active and relentless pursuing the ball on the glass at both ends, Maia (10 points, eight rebounds in limited action) is an effective passer from the high post area and short-corner and can put the ball on the floor up to two bounces to get to the rim and draw contact and get to the line.
Omari Grier (MCI)- A knock-down three-point shooter with a quick, effortless release, the six-foot three inch off-guard spaces himself well off dribble penetration and consistently makes defenders pay for leaving him alone at the arc to go help. Grier finished with 16 points on four of eight from behind the arc and would be a solid addition to any program looking to stock-pile players that stretch the defense and flat-out make shots from distance.
Dan Giovacchini (Lawrence Academy)- One of the few offensive bright spots for a Lawrence Academy team that struggled to score consistently against a bigger, more athletic MCI squad, the six-foot-four Brown Bear football-commit competed hard on both ends and scored the ball efficiently despite being plagued by foul trouble. Finishing with a team-high 16 points on seven of nine shooting, Giovacchini knocked down a pair of open threes, slashed hard to the bucket for tough scores in traffic, and didn’t shy away from the defensive challenge of checking any one of MCI’s athletic perimeter scorers.
Giovanni Atkins (Rise Academy)- A smooth scoring combo-guard with good length and vision off the bounce at six-foot-four, Atkins (14 points, six of nine shooting) has the ball on a string attacking off high ball-screens, looking to turn the corner with conviction and score and make plays with the pass in the paint. He features a pure stroke from the perimeter and, after hitting multiple shots off reversal against Nia Prep on Saturday, demonstrated his quality as a mature scorer by attacking close-outs, stopping on a dime at the second level, and knocking down feathery mid-range jumpers in front of stationary bigs.
Kelvin Amayo (Nia Prep)- An absolute beast running downhill in the open floor with his six-foot-four, 200-pound frame, Amayo (14 points, six rebounds) is a handful to deal with when he’s attacking at full speed from the wing. While his lack of a perimeter jump shot limits his production offensively, he can put up numbers in a hurry with a relentless, go-until-they-stop-me mentality that can lead to foul trouble for his opponents and increase his energy level as a physical, disruptive defender on the other end.
The Robinson School (NJ) 68 Summit Academy (MI) 61
St. John’s NW Military Academy (WI) 67 Wilbraham Monson (MA) 51
CJEOTO Academy (NJ) 68 Cushing Academy (MA) 67
Brehm Prep (IL) 61 Princeton Day Prep (MD) 56
Northfield Mount Hermon (MA) 72 Bridgton Academy (ME) 66 (OT)
Canarias Basketball Academy (SPAIN) 52 Notre Dame Prep (MA) 63
Christian Faith Center Academy (NC) 95 Tilton School (NH) 79
Maine Central Institute (ME) 85 Lawrence Academy (MA) 52
RISE Academy (PA) 75 Alif Muhammad NIA School (NJ) 71 (OT)