Vermont AAU State Tournament - Event Recap
A lot of Vermont’s best prospects were in action this past weekend as state champions were crowed in the high school divisions.
The U17 state final was the most exciting game of the day as Lone Wolf and VT United squared off. Two of the state’s best point guards, Tommy Fitzgerald and Pavin Parrish, went head to head, but this game came down to post play and outside shooting. Lone Wolf built an early lead behind the strong inside play of Vlad Cobzaru and the hot shooting hand of Ryan Booth. VT United kept the game close with the three point shooting of Burlington High School duo Bryan Vachereau and Josh Hale. Ultimately, Lone Wolf held on for a 53-47 win as Brendan OShea made his FTs down the stretch. Lone Wolf was also victorious in the U16 and U15 Divisions as well. Below are some of the weekend’s top performers and top prospects.
Vlad Cobzaru – The 6-foot-7 junior forward was the most dominant player in the event as he controlled the glass and scored in a variety of ways. Cobzaru showed an ability to score in the post off of drop steps and jump hooks. He also was able to knock down elbow jump shots and get to the rim from the high post off of the bounce. On the defensive end, Cobzaru used his wing span and athleticism to alter shots and discourage opposing teams from penetrating.
Kendrick Gray – The 6-foot-5 freshman wing was arguably the best long-term prospect at the event. Gray led his team in scoring and rebounding on the weekend and blocked numerous shots on the defensive end. The athletic wing can catch an alley-oop dunk on one possession and then stick a deep three pointer on the next. He also showed off his improved ball handling skills with some coast to coast finishes in transition.
Ryan Booth – The 6-foot-2 junior guard showed off his quick release and deep range on Sunday making some clutch shots in the U17 Championship Game. Booth has excellent shot preparation and can get his feet set quickly from behind the arc. He also has a good up-fake one dribble pull up move when defenders close out hard on him.
James Wells – The 6-foot-6 sophomore forward played up an age division and was still able to make an impact on both ends. On the defensive end, Wells possess excellent timing and uses his wing span to block and alter shots. On the offensive end, his high release allows him to score over defensive players. Although he needs to add some muscle to his long frame, Wells has a very high ceiling.
Josiah Kimball – The 6-foot-4 sophomore point guard was dominant in the U16 Championship and scored in a variety of ways. Kimball knocks down threes from long range and has the ability to get into the paint and finish in traffic. Kimball had the crowd on their feet early in the championship game when he picked off a pass and threw down a thunderous dunk.
Brendan O’Shea – The 5-foot-10 junior point guard showed why he has interest from a variety of Division III schools. He can set up a teammate, push in transition and make the open three point shot with range if the defense doubles the post. O’Shea showed mental toughness as well making clutch plays and FTs down the stretch of a close championship game.
Tom Fitzgerald – The 5-foot-10 junior point guard may have been the best on-the-ball defender at the event. Fitzgerald also did a nice job of creating good looks for Hale and Vachereau to knock down jump shots.
Jay Cobb – The 6-foot-6 sophomore forward is a very versatile scoring threat. Cobb can step out and knock down the three point shot, get to the rim off of the bounce and post up smaller defenders. He was a defensive mismatch all weekend long. He needs to add some bulk to his long frame.
Pavin Parrish –Although the 5-foot-10 junior guard struggled with his shooting in the Championship game, his passing ability and strength on the defensive end allowed him to contribute to the victory in other ways. Parrish is an excellent rebounder for his size and has very good vision when pushing the ball in transition.
Arnold Vainqueur – The 6-foot sophomore guard gave opposing guards fits all weekend with his ability to pressure the basketball and get into the passing lanes. Vainqueur has a nice mid-range and three-point stroke and scores well in transition.
Chris Collins – The 6-foot-6 junior forward showed an inside out game making jump shots from 17-feet and scoring in the post. His length and athleticism make him a factor on the offensive and defensive glass. He needs to improve his consistency as he has a tendency to take plays off.
Tinga Adiang – The 6-foot-3 sophomore wing used his long wingspan and foot speed to impact both ends of the floor. Adiang used his jab and up-fake to get into the paint to create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. On the defensive end Tinga pressures the ball, gets through screens and rebounds the ball well from the weak side. If he improves his jump shooting consistency he will be very tough cover for opposing defenders.
Ben Shungu – The 5-foot-11 freshman point guard controlled the game on both ends of the floor. Shungu used his quick feet and long wing-span to generate steals with his full court pressure. On the offensive end Shungu made 3-point shots, mid-range jumpers and used his spin move to score at the rim.
Josh Hale – The 6-foot-2 freshman wing was playing up two age divisions and still didn’t miss a beat. Hale knocks down open jump shots and also possess a high basketball IQ. He passes well and moves well without the ball on the offensive end.