Spring Jam Fest - New England Recap
Several of New England's top programs were in Manheim, Pennsylvania last weekend for the Hoop Group's Spring Jam Fest. The Middlesex Magic and Metro Boston both made runs to the tournament's semi-finals, while D.C. Blue Devils advanced to the quarterfinals.
While his Metro Boston team may not have won the tournament, Nick Timberlake certainly “won” the weekend. Hidden behind players such as Nelson Broachie-Yiadom and Kendrick Gray it may be easy to overlook the 6-foot-3 guard but from the moment he got on the court he impressed everyone watching and I heard murmurs from the coaches section as they asked each other who that was while frantically looking through their coaches packets. Timberlake is expected to attend prep school for a post graduate year however he might not have to as multiple Division 1 and Division 2 coaches mentioned to me that they wanted to offer him a scholarship or wanted to bring him in for a visit soon.
My personal favorite game of the first night came when Middlesex Magic took on Jersey Shore Warriors. Two programs known for being extremely well coached and consistently greater than the sum of their individual parts, it came to no one's surprise that this contest came down to the very last second when Thomas Shaughnessy nailed a game winning floater.
While no one is surprised by Shaughnessy’s clutch gene anymore, the player who raised his stock the most from Crotty’s Magic team was Tyler Aronson. Typically a past first point guard, this Aronson wasn’t the same player we’ve seen over the years.
Everyone already knew what Shaughnessy was capable of, especially Army – still the only D1 school to offer him a scholarship, who was watching courtside, but the player who raised his stock the most from Crotty’s was Tyler Aronson. On one play, Shaughnessy actually lobbed a pass to Aronson who in turn jumped off both feet and dunked it. The Aronson and Shaughnessy show continued during the game as Aronson and Shaughnessy combined for 14 of the teams first 16 points while both showing off their alpha dog personalities as they hit big shot after big shot down the stretch. Coach Mike Crotty has another weapon at his disposal in Bryce Daley. The 6-foot-3 pass first point guard was relentless on defense and with him, Shaughnessy, and Aronson on the court all together, the Magic could attack in many different ways with that three headed point guard monster.
Incoming Salisbury Post Grad CJ Mulvey made his debut with D.C. Blue Devils this weekend and proved the move was a smart one as Mulvey averaged close to 5 blocks a game throughout the weekend. Offensively, the 6-foot-6 Mulvey is at his best playing on the wing and his versatility is ideal for the Blue Devils as he can protect the rim defensively and stretch opposing defensively offensively given the chance.
The Boston Warriors had a strong weekend as well, advancing to the championship bracket in the platinum division. It began on Friday night, when Sebastijan Skoko lead them to a close 74-72 win over Team PA Supernatural. Skoko put up a near triple-double, grabbing a ton of rebounds over taller player while seizing the opportunity to have the ball in his hands and show his full offensive arsenal and playmaking abilities.
WrightWay Skills also played their way into the platinum bracket while Charles Coleman began to make a name for himself beyond New England’s borders. C.J. is a 6-foot-11 forward who is now ready to show his full potential after battling injuries in recent months. He’ll have a chance to play in front of numerous coaches this spring and summer while being the centerpiece of one of the most intriguing teams in the Hoop Group Showcase League.