Scott Hazelton Camp Event Recap
It was two years ago when we first visited the Scott Hazelton Basketball Camp. At the time, we were anxious to get a look at one of the youngsters who had just taken MVP honors at the third week of Eastern Invitational. In addition, Camp Director Vin Pastore told us he had another young big man we had to get a look at.
The first youngster had good size and a versatile skill set (He made some threes, knocked down some pull-ups, posted up a little bit, and made a couple of nice passes that day) but was such a baby physically. The young big man was rail thin and very limited offensively but had a knack for blocking shots and moved very well.
Last year the heralded newcomer was an undersized two guard from New Hampshire. He was lightning quick with good explosion, but he got out of control at times and had a jumper that he released on the wrong side of his head.
The moral of the story is that the Scott Hazelton Basketball Camp has long been a great venue to view up and coming talent, and this year was no different.
In fact, the young talent was perhaps as impressive this year, as it has ever been. It took us all of about 10 seconds to realize rising freshman Noah Vonleh (pictured) has tremendous potential. He’s just 13 years old but already stands 6-feet-4-inches off the ground with very long arms. And judging by the size of his hands and feet, this kid is nowhere near done growing. He runs the floor like a deer, taking very long strides to glide by the pack, and uses equally long strides on his way to the basket. Vonleh also has very good athleticism, is a terrific rebounder, and unselfish player. Ultimately, he’s only 13 years old and still has a lot to prove, but this young man has a chance to be a very good basketball player if he continues to work hard and make good choices for the next four years.
Marlboro rising junior Zach Auguste was also in attendance. He’s the exact same age as Smotrycz was when we first got a glimpse of him two years ago and the similarities are uncanny. Auguste has the same size, long build, and natural skill set. He’s also being brought along exactly the same way as Pastore and Hazelton are encouraging, and challenging him, to be aggressive offensively. Right now he’s far from a finished product, but there’s no debating that Auguste has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few months and Hazelton says he may even be better at this stage than Smotrycz was. Auguste showed some flashes of his potential today while handling the ball in the open court, making his fair of shots and plays off the dribble, and coming up with a big time blocked shot in transition.
The third young player who really stood out to us was Nashua North (NH) guard Javon Williams, who was reminiscent of a young Laguerre. Williams is still just learning how to play the game but he has very obvious tools. First and foremost is a great body and explosive athleticism. His skills were much better than we expected too, including a beautiful looking three-point stroke, impressive court vision and passing ability, and the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. We’ll be surprised if he doesn’t emerge as a strong prospect down the road as he gains experience and improves his feel for the game.
Jordan Laguerre – While the emphasis was clearly on the future, there was little doubt who the best player in the gym was today. There wasn’t anybody here who could check Laguerre and everyone knew it. The fact that it was exactly one year ago that we first saw him really puts into perspective just how much he has developed in the last twelve months. His decision making and feel for the game has improved ten fold, he shoots a consistent three ball, and can now run the point. That’s a great example of what the youngsters should aspire to be.
Zach Hurynowicz – Today was his first day playing competitive 5 on 5 basketball after missing July with an ankle injury, and he still stood out. He’s just an incredibly smart basketball player. His assist to turnover ratio was probably 10:1 in the morning scrimmage, he moves without the ball (and moves with a purpose), and has terrific feel for timing and other nuances of the game. He’s repeating his sophomore year at Holderness and is as pure of a point guard as you’ll find in the class of 2012.
Others Who Impressed
Mike Thorpe – Another young player who was very impressive. He may not have the type of explosion as Williams or Laguerre, but his intelligence rivals Hurynowicz’. He’s super clever and crafty inside the lane, a knockdown three-point shooter with an equally good pull-up game, and a pretty good passer too.
Canaan Severin – At this camp the question isn’t always ‘what is he now’ but ‘what could he become’. Right now Severin is a big time athlete with an already impressive body who finishes and defends extremely well. He also likes to go to the rim, and when he learns to play in straight lines and be efficient with each bounce he could become a big time slasher.
Joe Mussachia – What stands out the most about Mussachia is how well he uses his length to score. He’s not the type of player who blows by you, but as soon as he gets his back on you it’s over because he’s going to lean in and extend to the rim. He did it a number of times today and that’s one of the reasons why he’s such a good scorer.
Scott King – Not sure he missed a shot today. He was four of four from behind the three-point line in the scrimmage and might not have hit the rim on any attempt either. He also made one impressive move off the dribble, driving baseline to the block, reverse pivoting to create space, and finishing with a baby hook. He’s long and skilled so he’s certainly in the right place and he’s got the tools to continue to get much better.
Jamie Holder – He’s a great team player because of his toughness and versatility. He made a couple of heady passes off the dribble and also showed some deceptive athleticism.
Alex Burt – Lots to like in his game with good ball skills, a nice looking jumper, and a frame that is already strong and cut.
Donald Celestin – Much improved passer who was using his individual talents to create shots for teammates by driving and kicking proficiently.
Nick Lund – Lefty big man scores quickly in lane and can sometimes stretch to high post. Has a nice frame and above average athleticism as well.
Eric Davis – First look at future Milton Academy guard. Just plain solid in all aspects of the game, especially mentally where he has very high I.Q.
Ben Hill – Gotten much better since we first saw him last month. Hands have improved noticeably and is now rebounding in high volume and playing stronger with ball.
Keep an Eye On
• Ryan Hartung who shoots the heck out of the ball
• Conor Macomber who dominated the third unit
• Sean Nally who can score it and handle
Stay Tuned to the Junior Elite Headlines Later this Week for a Look at the Top Middle School Talent at the Camp