Monday, September 28, 2009

Gym Rats Recap Part Two

In today's recap of Saturday's Gym Rats Midnight Madness event, we will take a look at two of the elite, national level prospects that participated. Those prospects, who won co-MVP honors for the respective teams, are Syracuse commit Fab Melo and Mississippi product LaQuinton Ross.

Fab Melo-(Class of 2010, Syracuse commit, pictured above): Boy does Boehheim have a good one here. The main question I had after watching Melo play on Saturday was one that I also had after watching Aaric Murray at Gym Rats last year. How many years of college ball will he play? Melo is a massive human being, listed by most of the recruiting sites as a 7 footer weighing around 260 or 270 pounds. Despite being that size, Melo was able to get himself up and down the court easily with the quick guards. While he certainly did display a post-up game, the thing that jumped out to me most was his soft touch in the 15-18 foot range. Going up against Malcolm Gilbert, Melo was able to take him both inside and outside. After getting jammed all over in the opening minutes of the game by Gilbert (see yesterday's article), Fab waited for the right moment to get him back. And in the second half he did with a put-back dunk over Gilbert. In addition to that dunk, Melo also had some impressively athletic blocks on the defensive end. He finished the game as the second leading scorer on his team behind Tony Chenault. His game, at least here, did not appear to be a flashy one, but more of a finesse game. It is a game that should transition beautifully to the college level and beyond. And beyond his basketball talent, Melo played the game with a refreshing attitude. A smile was plastered to his face throughout the game. During halftime, he let one of the younger kids from an earlier game throw him an alley-oop pass. Melo is absolutely a player that Syracuse fans can look forward to greeting on campus. Even if it is for only a year or two.

LaQuinton Ross
- (Class of 2011, undecided): This was my third time seeing Ross in the past two years. When I first saw him two years ago, I couldn't believe that he wasn't a rising senior. I couldn't believe there was a better player in his class. Then when I saw him this past summer I noticed a significant drop-off in his game. Well, Ross looked back to his old self on Saturday as he led all scorers breaking the 40 point mark. Those 40 points came in about 20 minutes of play too. Ross is a tough match-up for opponents because, for being 6'7 or so, he is a terrific perimeter shooter. His 3-point and mid-range jumpers are probably his strongest suit. In this game, Ross' jumper was falling with ease. He also played point guard for much of his time out on the court, which is an interesting development. I'm not sure if he plans on truly being a 1 in college, but he looks more than capable of playing the 2. 6'7 shooting guards with his range are special.

Check back tomorrow for write-ups on Kyle Anderson and Cezar Guerrero.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gym Rats Recap Part One

Last night many top players from not only the Philadelphia area, but the country, descended upon Cherry Hill East High School for the annual Gym Rats Midnight Madness event. Hawk Hill Hardwood was on site to check out some of the big names participating. In this first installment, we will talk the Philly area products. Tomorrow we will report on some of the national names such as Syracuse commit Fab Melo, Cezar Guerrero, LaQuinton Ross, and North Jersey super-soph Kyle Anderson.

Malcolm Gilbert (Class of 2011, undecided, picture above): When you first look at Malcolm, the first thing that you notice, beside his height, is his ridiculous wingspan. Malcolm stands a legitimate 6'10 with what looks like some room to grow. In the All American game Gilbert faced a daunting task- guarding one of the top 3 centers in the whole 2010 class in Fab Melo. Melo is a 7 footer with an offensive repertoire that has NBA written all over it. With that being said, Malcolm did a very respectable job. In the opening minutes of the game, Malcolm had a highlight reel dunk over Melo that sent the building into an uproar. He finished the game with roughly 18 points, all of which came on dunks. Malcolm runs the floor very well and is basically a goalie around the basket. He has athleticism that allows him to react quickly on both the offensive and defensive ends. While Malcolm, at this point, does not appear to have great hands, he is an extremely talented defensive player who has the tools to become a more-than-adequate offensive player. One of the biggest needs in the 2011 class for the Hawks is a talented center. Malcolm Gilbert certainly fits that bill and is receiving interest from the Hawks. It should be an interesting recruitment to follow. Malcolm was co-MVP for the Red Team alongside LaQuinton Ross.

Tony Chenault-(Class of 2010, Wake Forest): Tony won MVP honors at last year's Midnight Madness event, and from the get-go appeared determined to repeat. And repeat he did. Tony and Fab Melo were co-MVP's for the White Team. Although Tony has dropped significantly in the national rankings over the past couple years, when his jumper is falling like it was tonight, he is still a legitimate, big-time high major talent. Tony not only led the Red Team in scoring with around 28 points, but he did so efficiently. I didn't keep track of shots taken and shots made, but Tony was certainly making many more than he was missing. At one point in the first half, he absolutely took it to Memphis high school junior Bobby Parks Jr. Parks, a talented player in his own respect, looked like he wanted no part of Tony. On 5 or 6 straight possessions, Tony either took Parks off the dribble to the basket or pulled up and shot over him. Again, when Tony is on like he was tonight, he is a very dangerous player. And one that is certainly capable of contributing in the ACC.

Shaq Duncan- (Class of 2010, Niagara): This was the second time I've seen Duncan, and from what I can tell, he is a significant signing for Niagara. Standing around 6'8, Duncan is as thin as he is athletic. As he continues to put weight on, there is no reason to think he can't be a major factor in the MAAC. Duncan runs the floor very well and did not look at all out of place on the court with many top 100 players. Most of his points came off of dunks, but the same could be said for nearly every players in this run-and-gun style of play. A style of play where layups were met with groans from the crowd. While he may not quite live up to either of his namesakes, Niagara fans should be excited about this signing and the 4 years of basketball that you'll get out of him.

Savon Goodman- (Class of 2012, Undecided): When I arrived at Cherry Hill East and first looked at the rosters, this is one of the names that instantly jumped out at me. Goodman is generally considered one of the best prospects on the East Coast in the Class of 2012. About 4 minutes into his first game I could understand why. Goodman, who played in both the Junior All-American Game and the All-American game, won MVP honors in the Junior game. Savon is in that 6'4-6'6 range and only a sophomore, so there is time for him to grow. The first things about his game that you notice is his athleticism and general understanding of the game. He plays with a very calm and level-headed demeanor, just like his Academy of the New Church teammate Malcolm Gilbert (talk about a scary frontcourt when you have both of those guys alongside top 5 junior Roc Christmas). He showed an above-average handle, and ability to take the ball hard to the basket, and great athleticism. In this particular game, his jump-shot wasn't falling, but I know that is supposed to be one of his assets. He was dominant in the Junior All-American game with his jump shot a little off. The thought of him with a jump shot is scary for anyone that has to go up against ANC this year.

A couple other quick notes:

Roc Christmas was in the house but not playing. I don't know if he was scheduled to play and hurt or just there to watch his high school teammates Malcolm Gilbert and Savon Goodman.

Former SJU assistant coach and current New Jersey Nets assistant Doug Overton was there since his son was playing in one of the afternoon games.

Another NBE Update- Names of Interest

While I was at the Gym Rats Midnight Madness event yesterday in South Jersey, the Hoop Group put together their Fall Jam at Rutgers.

From the article, there were a couple names of interest for Hawk fans:

Derrick Randall, a 6'9 junior big man from Patterson Catholic, claims an offer from the Hawks along with interest from Nova, Pitt, Providence, Rutgers, Virgnia Tech, and Saint John's. He plans to visit Providence in the near future. The Hawks really need a quality big man in their 2011 recruiting class. Randall is a player that could fit that bill.

Don Bosco 2011 wing Vaughn Gray also has an SJU offer. He plans to visit Providence for their Midnight Madness. Providence seems to be involved with many players that SJU is also looking at (Ron Roberts, Myles Davis, Derrick Randall, Vaughn Gray).

Hawk Hill Hardwood's first entry was on 2012 elite talent Amile Jefferson. When interviewed by NBE yesterday he did not list the Hawks as a school of interest.

2012 Neshaminy guard Ryan Arcidiacano did list offers from both the Hawks and Rutgers along with all kinds of high major inteest.

The people over at NBE do a great job, so check out the link below to their complete article.

NBE Hoop Group Recruiting Notes

Thursday, September 24, 2009

NBE Basketball Article on Roberts and Myles Davis

NBE Basketball Report Ronald Roberts and Myles Davis

NBE Basketball Report has an article up today on two SJU targets. One of them, Ronald Roberts, I wrote about yesterday. The other is Roberts' Saint Peter's Prep and NJ Playaz teammate, junior guard Myles Davis. In the article, Roberts lists offers from SJU, Rutgers, Temple, Fordham, Saint John's, Providence, GW, and Northeastern. He says that he wants to visit SJU, Saint John's, and Providence, along with two others.

Myles Davis, who unofficially visited Hawk Hill in August, says that Providence, Georgetown, Virginia, and Purdue are new schools in the mix. He does list the Hawks as a school being involved.

The link above is certainly worth checking out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ronald Roberts Still On the Board

The current 2010 Saint Joseph's recruiting class is a very impressive one. Langston Galloway, Daryus Quarles, and CJ Aiken were all top targets of the staff, and all 3 are only about a month away from signing their Letters of Intent to play at SJU.

There is a player whose name has been floating around SJU circles since last winter that is still unsigned. And that player is 6'7 Saint Peter's Prep forward Ronald Roberts. With major 2010 talent dropping off the board by the minute, Roberts is still available.

Roberts has been to Hawk Hill on more than one occasion and is listing the Hawks as a possible destination. Other schools involved with Roberts, as of a month ago, include Indiana, Providence, Temple, Penn State, and a few others.

What exactly would Roberts bring to the lucky college of his choice? In an August interview with, Roberts' high school coach Mike Kelly had this to say of his senior forward: "He has been an unbelievable success story in 365 days. He has grown to a legit 6-foot-7. He jumps through the roof and his game has just exploded. If he keeps on this pace, some day he could be a pro."

At the moment, Ronald is undecided about where he will spend his college years. His toughness, rebounding, and athleticism will make him a contributor wherever he ends up. Would he be a terrific addition to the 2010 SJU recruiting class? Absolutely. Will he? Only time will tell.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Delonte West Arrested on Gun Charges

This is not the type of entry I really wanted to make a few entries in, but here at HHH we do claim to talk "all things Saint Joseph's basketball." With that said, former SJU guard and current Cleveland Cavalier Delonte West was arrested and charged Thursday in Maryland on speeding and weapons counts. ESPN is reporting that West was carrying a loaded handgun in his pocked, a handgun in his pant leg, and a shotgun in a guitar case that he had strapped to his back when he was pulled over for speeding on his three-wheeled motorcycle.

West was released on Friday but the charges are of a serious manner. In Maryland it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon. It is also illegal to transport a loaded weapon.

This is a story that we will continue to follow and monitor over the coming days as more information is released.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

John Johnson to Pitt is reporting that 2011 guard John Johnson of Girard College in Philadelphia has committed to the Pitt Panthers. Johnson, a 6'1 combo guard, is Pitt's first verbal in the class of 2011. Johnson visited Pitt a few weeks ago, and said after his visit that he foresaw a commitment to Jaime Dixon's club when the formal offer was presented. Obviously that formal offer arrived and the Panthers have themselves a terrific guard.

Johnson led Girard College to the Class A Boy's Basketball championship game where they defeated Kennedy Catholic. During the state playoffs, Johnson dominated, scoring 30 points in the finals and 37 points in the semifinals. In a game back in January, Johnson scored 51 points against a completely over-matched Plumstead Christian team.

Johnson was one of Saint Joe's top guard targets in the class of 2011. With him off the board, the staff will likely turn attention to others. One of those is likely to be Saint Peter's Prep standout Myles Davis. Davis unofficially visited SJU in August. Other names will likely pop up over the coming months as well.

Photo courtesy of

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lindy's Is Out

In the past week or two, both Lindy's and Athlon have released their preseason college basketball publications. Lindy's has Dayton taking the A10 crown behind their preseason player of the year, Chris Wright. They also have Dayton ranked #17 nationally. Xavier, their #2 pick in the A10, holds down the number 38 spot nationally.

The Hawks are picked to finish tenth in the A10.

Nationally, Lindy's has Kansas on top. Rounding out their top 10 are Texas, Michigan State, Villanova, North Carolina, Purdue, Butler, Kentucky, Michigan, and Cal in that order.

In their recruiting section for the A10, they have Aaric Murray of LaSalle as the "newcomer who will have the most impact" and the "most likely to see an NBA uniform first". Justin Crosgile of SJU is their "best playmaker/passer" for the 2009 recruiting class. Lindy's writes, "Saint Joseph's has a long tradition of good point guard play, and the Hawks brought in another solid player at the position in Justin Crosgile. Crosgile not only has great speed off the dribble, but he also can do an excellent job of creating for his teammates."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recruiting Open Period Begins; Gym Rats Update

The fall contact period for recruiting began on Wednesday and runs until October 5th. What does that mean exactly? During this month, coaches are permitted to visit prospective seniors. During this time, coaches are not allowed to watch tournaments or nonscholastic events. This fall contact period also differs from the spring contact period. In the spring, coaches can have contact with junior and senior prospects.

Staying with that theme, right here in Philadelphia, Drexel got a verbal from Trenton Catholic guard Frantz Massenat. Massenat is part of a dynamic backcourt at Trenton Catholic that includes fellow senior Dondre Whitmore and junior Khalid Lewis El. Massenat is a solid guard and also a terrific student. Princeton, Rider, and Boston University were among the other schools that he was considering.

I spoke with Rick Barrett of Gym Rats Midnight Madness and got a few of the names of those participating in the event on September 26th. 2010 Syracuse commit Fab Melo is one of the big names. 2011 bigman Rakeem Christmas and 2012 wing Shabazz Muhammad are other elite level talents expected to participate. Christmas' teammate at Academy of the New Church, Malcolm Gilbert, is another name that Barrett mentioned. A more complete list should be released next week

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gym Rats Return

Rick Barrett is bringing some of the top high school basketball players in America back to South Jersey again this year. Gym Rat Midnight Madness will be taking place September 26th at Eastern High School in Voorhees, New Jersey. Invited players include Josh Smith, Kyrie Irving, Tony Chenault, Daniel Alexander, Tony Wroten (picture above), Cezar Guerrero, and more.

The event, which is open to the general public but closed to college coaches, began in 1983 and has featured many players who have moved on to NBA stardom. Alumni of the event include Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Jameer Nelson, Stephon Marbury, Trevor Ariza, Rip Hamilton, Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Drew Gooden, and countless others.

Last year's event took place at Cherry Hill East High School and included many standout players. Aaric Murray, a current freshman at LaSalle, had a dominant performance on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Malcolm Gilbert, Trevor Cooney, Stevie Taylor, and Shaq Duncan also had solid outings.

Hawk Hill Hardwood will be there again this year, providing you with a detailed report.

Photo courtesy of Rivals

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Amile Jefferson-Top 10 Prospect in 2012

Over the past few days, both and have published early (very early) top ten lists for the class of 2012. Amile Jefferson, a 6'6 small forward from Friends Central in Philadelphia, appears on both lists. Jefferson checks in at number 5 on Scout and number 7 on Rivals.

I had a chance to watch Amile play earlier this summer and completely understand the rationale behind his ranking. He is an extremely talented player with a feel for the game that is typically not seen in players of his age. Although Amile is a terrifically gifted athlete, he does not simply rely on that athleticism. He plays a very smart and team-oriented brand of basketball, even in all-star game settings. With two years of high school ball ahead of him, the sky really is the limit. As he continues to grow into his body, Amile could develop into one of the elite wings in the country in his class.

Amile attended the Saint Joe's Elite Camp back in June alongside both CJ Aiken and Langston Galloway. Both players have since committed to play at SJU. Obviously Jefferson is a gem of a talent and one that will have nearly every school in the country after him. Within the past week or so he attended the Duke Elite Camp. The number of schools calling on Amile Jefferson will continue to intensify, and with good reason.

Photo courtesy of Rivals