Scott Hazelton Camp - Event Recap
ANDOVER, Mass. – Chat with Scott Hazelton about how the current landscape of college basketball recruiting differs from when he was a McDonald’s All-American in 2000, and he will share stories about competing at regional camps each summer on makeshift, asphalt surfaced courts that otherwise functioned as parking lots; how friends and family – serving as a first-line of defense – answered his home landline and took messages from college coaches while he sat nearby; and how recruiters could not send texts via cell phones or use other various social media outlets to contact him because these technologies were not yet readily available.
So perhaps it was only fitting that Day 2 (Tuesday) of the annual four-day Scott Hazelton Basketball Camp held at Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover, Massachusetts provided an old-school, turn-back-the-clock type feel. Crammed into a small, no-frills high school gym – void of the amenities today’s AAU showcases and national tournament sites possess – the areas best players, which included Indiana University’s Noah Vonleh, took to the court and delivered a day of spirited competition.
While many of the faces were familiar, there were also a number that raised their statures given the improvements they have made to their games during the summer.
Mike Auger (2014) – After spending Monday on the New Hampton campus with coach Pete Hutchins to discuss recruiting and his workout regime, the Hopkinton, New Hampshire native journeyed south on Tuesday. Auger’s no-nonsense, hard-hosed style always shines regardless of the opponent and Tuesday was no different. He made countless hustle plays, showed his trademark tough interior defense against taller opponents and connected on a few 10-12-footers.
Patrick Benzan (2014) – Matched against Jon Joseph for a portion of the day, it was fun to watch the two sub-six footers attack each other. The recent Holy Cross commit knows how to run a team. He adeptly mixed in his own offense, which included a couple of nice teardrops after penetrating into the lane, along with finding his teammates in areas of the court where they most effectively executed. Benzan plays an efficient, thinking-mans game.
Sammy Mojica (2014) – Fresh off his first Division 1 scholarship offer from Drexel, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard continued his impressive summer play. Mojica scored in a variety of ways. When his outside shooting drew his defender to the perimeter, he used his quickness – coupled with two to three dribbles – to get into the lane and finish at the rim.
Goodluck Okonoboh (2014) – Though the talented 6-foot-9 big man had his hands full guarding Vonleh, who in the past two months has added 20-plus pounds of muscle, Okonoboh was still his usual inside defensive presence. Offensively, Okonoboh played with considerable aggression, even calling for the ball on a handful of possessions. He finished off a few nice passes from teammates with dunks and even stepped out to knock down a couple 17-footers, including one off-glass. With a list of now 14 scholarship offers, the Roslindale resident is expected to sit down with his family and whittle down his choices in the coming weeks.
Jalen Adams (2015) – With an ability to make something seemingly out of nothing, Adams is relentless in how he attacks the basket. Even when it appears he is out of options – has nowhere left to go with the dribble – he finds a way into the lane to score. Blessed with superior quickness, Adams was arguably the best wing player on the court Tuesday. And as his outside shot gains greater consistency, he will become an even more challenging matchup for opponents.
Johnny Joseph (2015) – The Tilton School product is proving himself to be the best pick-and-roll guard in New England. Joseph consistently finds ways to put pressure on the defense when executing a pick-and-roll by quickly and decisively attacking from the right angles and/or making the correct pass at exactly the perfect time. As such, his court presence far exceeds his diminutive stature. He’s someone opposing defenses must continually account for, or otherwise run the risk of literally getting picked apart.
Curtis Cobb (2015) – There is little wasted movement in Cobb’s game. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard either efficiently attacks the basket or unleashes his quick outside shot. On Tuesday, his perimeter stroke was working. He connected on a number of three-pointers from various spots around the arc.
Mark Gasperini (2016) – Perhaps the most improved player in the gym on Tuesday, the 6-foot-9 big man, who will attend Brimmer and May in the fall, shined during fast break drills. He ran the floor well and also showed an ability to step outside and connect on deep pull-up set shots. Often settling for layups, he was repeatedly reminded by his coaches to attack the rim. With increased aggression, Gasperini has a chance to be a key factor in the upcoming season.
Saul Phiri (2016) – The 6-foot-3 Worcester Academy bound shooting guard plays with a maturity that far exceeds his age. Phiri’s ability to process what the defense is trying to take away and utilize his teammates – either via screens or cuts – to create space for his shot are not skills one usually finds in a rising sophomore. As he matures physically and adds elevation to his outside shot, Phiri has the chance to become a force on the NEPSAC scene.
Makai Ashton-Langford (2016) – The St. Peter Marian point guard continues to impress with his sound decision making and strong handle. While many young point guards tend to relinquish their dribble when pressured, Ashton-Langford never makes this mistake and rarely allows himself to get rattled. He continues to find ways to balance his own offense with ensuring those around him are involved offensively.
Eric DAguanno (2016) – Simply put, D’Aguanno is not a player opposing defenses want to leave unmarked on the perimeter. A quick release and smooth stroke were followed by a high number of swishes on Tuesday. He’s a classic stretch the floor player who has the potential to torch opponents in bunches.
David Watkins (2016) – He’ll be a repeat junior next season at Brimmer & May and given the improvements Watkins has made in the last six months alone, he certainly has the potential to be a very nice prospect by the time his high school career comes to an end. He’s got good size and strength inside the lane along with a developing skill set that includes improving handle and jumpers alike.
Greg Kuakumensah (2016) – Watch Kuakumensah saunter down the court and it’s easy to recognize his athleticism. As the lengthy 6-foot-3 forward continues to grow, he will pose considerable problems for opposing defenses. He already possesses an inside game that most big men would relish and his ability to knock down perimeter shots is well documented. With his quickness and wingspan, Kuakumensah also has the potential to be an exceptional lockdown defender.
Tomas Murphy (2017) – Justifiably much has been made of the rising high school freshman and the handful of Division 1 offers he already holds. On Tuesday, Murphy reinforced why he is already such a sought-after talent. Matched up against Vonleh, Murphy was overmatched physically, even taking an elbow to the nose. Yet, he played with a quiet grit and determination that is synonymous with great talents. He managed to score on a variety of inside moves and also was a presence on the offensive glass. There aren’t many intimate venues in New England where one can claim they saw two potential future lottery picks matched up, but on Tuesday the gym at the Greater Lawrence Technical School qualified as one such site.
Here's a look at the camp's highlight video care of Ballas TV: