Sunday, October 31, 2010

Anglin Taking Visits; Nickseron to Charlotte

6'2 junior guard Dallas Anglin from New Jersey's Seton Hall Prep, took an unofficial visit to Boston University on Friday, according to Alex Kline ( here) . Anglin, who I came away from the Eddie Griffin Challenge two weeks ago very impressed with, has two more visits scheduled for the near future. He has planned unofficial visits to two A10 schools, Richmond and Saint Joseph's.

Staying in the A10, Charlotte picked up a significant recruit Saturday when they got a verbal commitment from 6'6 senior wing E. Victor Nickerson. Nickerson chose Charlotte over DePaul, Colorado, Georgia Southern, and Wichita State. He is ranked as the 133rd best player in the 2011 class according to

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eddie Griffin Challenge Sophomores

Here we go, although I know it's a week late. Last week I provided a recap of the juniors game at the Eddie Griffin Challenge. The Philadelphia team won behind a huge effort from Amile Jefferson. Since that update, one of the other PA stars, Ryan Arcidiacono, has made his college choice. The Neshaminy guard is headed to the Big East and Villanova.

In all honesty, the sophomore game was played more competitively, and at a higher level, than the junior game. It was obvious, from the get-go, that the sophomore class in Philadelphia and New Jersey is loaded with talent. Like the junior and senior games, the sophomore game was also won by the Philadelphia team. Player summaries are below:

First, from the Philadelphia side of things.

Brandon Austin- Austin, who attends Imhotep Charter in the city, has an incredible skill set for someone his size and age. The 6'6 wing is an above-average ball-handler and can hit from the perimeter. Brandon was at his best attacking the basket, where he took advantage of his size advantage over the NJ perimeter defenders. He possesses great athleticism, and a great knack for the ball on defense, which led him to his 4 steals in the game. On the offensive side of things, he poured in 14 points for PA en route to his co-MVP honors. Like Britton Lee, the other co-MVP who is up next, Austin was at his best when the game was on the line. Austin, like everyone else written about here, is only a high school sophomore, so he has plenty of time to expand his game and bulk up. The talent is certainly there, and this is a name you will likely hearing a lot of over the coming years.

Britton Lee- Lee was one of the two Roman Catholic players on the PA team. If what he displayed in this game is any indication, he will be getting plenty of minutes for Roman this year. Although Lee checks in right around 5'10, he is lightning quick and doesn't allow his height to slow him down. He was very strong taking the ball to the basket, not shying away from contact, and allowing his strength and athleticism to aid him finishing around much taller defenders. Lee scored 11 points in the contest, most of which came down the stretch in the 4th quarter, when he and Brandon Austin took over. Depending on his growth, among other factors, it will be interesting to see how his recruitment starts to pan out over the next year or so.

Johnny Davis- Davis is a 6'4 wing guard from Neumann-Goretti. Neumann lost Tony Chenault, Tyreek Duren, and Daniel Stewart to graduation in June, so Davis looks primed to log major minutes this year. He is a strong guard with some serious size. Davis dropped 11 points in a very business-like performance. As he plays this year for Neumann against a tough schedule, it will be interesting to watch how his game develops. The tools are in place for Davis to be a major figure in Philly hoops for the next three years.

Rondae Jefferson- The younger brother of current Temple sophomore Rahlir Jefferson, Rondae looks to have an equally bright future. Rondae looks to be every bit as tall as Rahlir already, as a high school sophomore. He also possesses his brother's athleticism. Rahlir had a nice freshman year for Temple last year and will probably have an expanded role this season. Although it was just a glimpse, I think that Rondae has a great high school and college career in front of him.

Yosef Yacoub- Yacoub was a pleasant surprise. Although very thin, the guard from Archbishop Carroll was crafty with the ball. Despite a strange release, he canned three treys in the game en route to 11 points. Yosef and Juan'ya Green will team up in the backcourt for Carroll this season, giving them a solid one-two punch. Based on this one game, and a number of other things, it's hard projecting the future for Yacoub. Although not always pretty, he got it done for the Philly squad.

Karon Davis- Friends' Central already boasts an amazing one-two punch with Amile Jefferson and Devin Coleman. Karon Davis looks ready to get involved for Friends' Central this year in a major way. In a game loaded with talented guards, Davis at times looked like the best guard on the court for Philly. While Lee led the comeback and Davis played a rock-solid game, Davis had 2 or 3 outbursts in this one that really impressed.

Now from the New Jersey team:

Kavon Stewart- Stewart, all 5'8 of him, is an absolute jet on the court. Throughout the game, Stewart took the ball baseline to baseline in the blink of an eye. Despite being well under 6 feet, Stewart is still able to get above the rim and throw down, which tells you all you need to know about his athleticism. For 3 quarters, Stewart was the best guard on the court. In the fourth, Britton Lee took it to him. Stewart already has a number of high majors tracking him. He played for Paterson Catholic last year, and due to their closing, moved over to Hudson Catholic over the summer.

Reggie Cameron- Cameron, like Stewart, played at Paterson Catholic last year. Like Stewart, he too made the move to Hudson Catholic, giving them two of the best sophomores in the state. Cameron stands right around 6'5 and looks like he will grow more. He showed off what was probably the smoothest stroke in either game this contest. Reggie shoots the ball with confidence, and the confidence is justified. He recently attended Villanova's Midnight Madness and has the in-state schools looking too. The big if with Cameron will probably be his growth. He's not especially quick or athletic, so he looks to me a wing or face-up 4. His ability to shoot the ball will attract all sorts of schools. If he either grows a bit or improves his quickness, the sky is the limit for him.

Josh Brown- Brown was yet another player from Saint Anthony participating in the Eddie Griffin Challenge. While I had never heard of Brown before this game, he managed to stand out in a high-level game. He and Reggie Cameron both had 12 points for Jersey. Unlike Cameron, who scored primarily from the perimeter, Brown scored more around the basket. Standing right around 6'3, Brown is very athletic and active on the defensive side of the ball. He excelled in the up-and-down tempo of this contest. Brown did hit one deep jumper in the game, and that area of his game will likely determine his future. Brown will play in a super-talented backcourt alongside Myles Mack, Kyle Anderson, and Rashad Andrews this season. Look for him to start making a name for himself too.

Jaren Sina- I was excited to see Sina after hearing so much about him. Like Ryan Arcidiacono in the junior game and Reggie Cameron in this one, Jaren was hitting threes during warm-ups from 6 and 7 feet behind the three-point line. In addition to being a terrific shooter, Sina is also very crafty with the ball. He led the Jersey team with 7 assists in this game. Standing right around 6 foot, Sina is a combo guard that is fully capable of playing the point, especially considering his year. Like Stewart and Cameron, Sina has all sorts of schools involved already. He has already been on campus at Saint John's and Alabama, with plenty of other schools also looking to get involved.

Shacore Edwards (pictured above)- Shacore was another of the outstanding guards for New Jersey. The 6'4 guard from Irvington is ranked the 26th player nationally in his class by ESPN. Yes, ESPN does rank the 2013 class already. Irvington is a tough city, and Edwards truly embodies that spirit. On multiple occasions in this one, he lowered his shoulders and simply muscled his way to the rim. Edwards also drained a 3, in addition to the points he scored in attack mode. Rutgers, LSU, Arizona, West Virginia, Pitt, and Penn State are among the schools that have already begun recruiting Edwards, who claims that his dream school is West Virginia.

Austin Colbert and Jason Boswell were probably the two biggest names for NJ in this one, but neither produced much. You can see why schools have fallen in love with both, but neither really got into a groove for NJ. If they had, the result may have been different. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me to see Colbert playing in the McDonald's game a few years down the line.

Picture of Shacore Edwards is from

Monday, October 25, 2010

Arcidiacono to Nova; Xavier Signs Two

While the junior class in Philadelphia is not especially deep, it is full of star-power at the top. Daniel Ochefu, Amile Jefferson, Savon Goodman, and Ryan Arcidiacono are all consensus top 50-75 players nationally in their class. This afternoon, Ryan Arcidiacono became the first to make his college decision. Ryan, a 6'3 guard from Neshaminy (PA) gave a verbal commitment to Villanova today, following his weekend visit to Nova for their Midnight Madness. Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog has a great piece on Ryan's commitment here .

Now switching over from the Big East to the A10, Xavier had a huge recruiting weekend as well. They picked up a verbal commitment in the 2011 class from 6'10 center Michael Chandler. Chandler is a top 75 player who was being recruited by Indiana, UConn, and Providence among others. Chandler's commitment came shortly after 2012 point guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera issued up his verbal commitment. Smith-Rivera is a 6'3 point guard. Both Smith-Rivera and Chandler are from Indiana and were on visits to campus for Xavier's Midnight Madness this weekend.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Eddie Griffin Challenge- Philly Juniors

On Wednesday, Hawk Hill Hardwood examined the individual games of a number of players involved in the Eddie Griffin Challenge Juniors Game, on the Jersey side of things. Now it's time to look at the winning team, the Philadelphia juniors. Specifically we will look at Amile Jefferson and Ryan Arcidiacono.

Both Amile Jefferson and Ryan Arcidiacono are players that Saint Joseph's was involved with at a very early stage of the game. Amile, who plays for Friends' Central, participated in the Saint Joseph's Elite Camp on campus two summers ago, prior to his sophomore year of high school. Since that point, he has developed into one of the most highly coveted forwards in the country. He recently attended Duke's version of Midnight Madness, where they revealed their 2010 National Championship banner. Amile is also being recruited heavily by Georgetown, Villanova, and a plethora of other big-name programs. Amile stands right around 6'7 and is labeled by most as a combo forward at this point of his development. During the second half of Sunday's game, Amile showed why he is so well-regarded in recruiting circles. He finished with 23 points and 8 boards, the majority of both coming in the second half. Amile is still being recruited by many schools on potential, and you see these brilliant flashes. In the second half, from the left side of the bucket, he spun his man baseline and went around strong for a reverse lay-up. He showed a number of solid post moves on Sunday, and those moves will only improve as he continues to bulk up. Amile also hit a shot from three, another area of his game that continues to improve. He plays the game hard, plays it the right way, and has a special skill set.

While I had seen Amile play a number of times, this was my first time seeing 6'3 Neshaminy point guard Ryan Arcidiacono. Ryan has an offer from the Hawks, as well as offers from Temple, Villanova, Rutgers, Florida, Notre Dame, Boston College, and Georgetown. After absolutely exploding on the scene over the summer with his strong play, it seems as if a new high-major is getting involved with Ryan every day. In fact, Ryan returned from his visit to Florida's Midnight Madness the night before the Eddie Griffin Challenge. The Gators are one of many schools that have made Ryan top priority at the guard spot. He also, like Amile Jefferson, Kyle Anderson, Savon Goodman, Nick Faust, and more, attended Villanova's Midnight Madness last night. Ryan is a strong lead guard. He showed off his toughness driving into the lane on Sunday against bigger defenders time after time, unintimidated, almost seeking out, contact. I knew about his ball-handling skills and tenacity taking the ball to the hoop, but what most impressed me about Ryan's game Sunday was his perimeter shooting. His range easily extends 5 or 6 feet outside the three-point line. Although he was not entirely on his game, probably due to the Florida visit, Ryan still played a terrific game, finishing with 11 points, 7 boards, and at least 3 assists.

While neither Ryan or Amile are likely to suit up for the Hawks in 2012, they are still exciting players to watch. In addition to their tremendous basketball ability, both have a great desire to win and seem like stand-up individuals. Hawk Hill Hardwood will continue to track them this year in both their seasons and their recruitment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eddie Griffin Challenge- New Jersey Juniors

As promised, over the next couple of days, I will break down some of what I saw Sunday at Trenton Catholic during the Eddie Griffin Challenge. Yesterday, I posted an article about Seton Hall Prep's Dallas Anglin, who currently holds an offer from Saint Joseph's. Today, we will look at the individual games of a number of other New Jersey juniors. Tomorrow, we will look at the PA side, and then on Friday we will look at the sophomore game.

Jersey City's Saint Anthony High School has a reputation as one of the best high school basketball programs in the country, and for good reason. Coach Bob Hurley is one of the best there is at any level. The New Jersey juniors team featured three Saint Anthony players: Kyle Anderson, Jerome Frink, and Rashad Andrews. I watched those three, Dallas Anglin, Tariq Carey, and Brandon Taylor most closely, and their write-ups are below.

Kyle Anderson- Anderson, who attended Paterson Catholic prior to it's closing at the end of last year, is a newcomer this season to Saint Anthony. He will only bring one of the most well-rounded games in the country to Coach Hurley. Standing 6'8, Anderson is ranked the number 1 point guard in the country by Yes, point guard. While he may not play strictly the point in college, and eventually in the NBA, Anderson possesses a great feel for the game and great ball-handling for a player his size. He is a triple-double threat every time out there, and he was close to one on Sunday. Anderson is able to shoot over smaller perimeter defenders, post up other guards, and create for his teammates with his tremendous court awareness. If there is one word to describe Anderson's game, it is smooth. Nothing ever looks forced. Nothing ever looks awkward. The one knock on Anderson by scouts is his lack of great foot-speed. While not the most fleet-footed player on the court, he more than makes up for his lack of explosive foot-speed with his size, length, and ball-handling. One particular play in the second half of Sunday's game saw Anderson grab an offensive rebound under the basket, with his back to the basket. Knowing that another NJ junior was behind him on the other side of the basket, Anderson calmly threw the ball backwards, over his head, to his teammate. He is a unique talent.

Dallas Anglin -see yesterday's article here .

Jerome Frink (pictured above)- Frink, a 6'5 forward from Hurley's Saint Anthony program, was one of the most enjoyable players to watch on Sunday. While not the biggest player on the court or necessarily the most talented, Frink has a blue-collar approach to the game that makes him extremely likable. Right now, Frink is probably considered an undersized power forward if you need to put a label on him. Although on the smaller side for a power forward, Frink has a very wide build with broad shoulders, making him difficult to move around the hoop. He finished the game with 17 points and roughly 7 or 8 rebounds. Most of his points came on dunks, putbacks, or free throws. Down the stretch, when New Jersey made their comeback, Frink was money from the free-throw line. He would pull down offensive board after offensive board, getting fouled going back up. Jerome also had one of the highlight-reel plays of the day. On a fast break, Frink crossed his man over and then took off from deeper than he should have. His dunk shook the rim and backboard violently, causing the gym to explode in hoots and hollers. I have no idea if Frink is being looked at by the Hawks, or what schools are looking at him. He is a player that I thoroughly enjoyed watching Sunday and a player to keep an eye on, especially under the coaching of Bob Hurley. If Frink either grows or develops a bit more of a perimeter game over the next two years, he could be a very good college player.

Brandon Taylor- Taylor was the lone player in the junior game from Trenton Catholic. The 6'6 forward had a decent game for the New Jersey team. He was able to hit a shot from 3 and score twice around the basket. Although skilled, Taylor did not display the killer instinct or tenacity of Frink or Amile Jefferson on the Pennsylvania side.

Rashad Andrews- Another Saint Anthony player, the 6'4 wing had himself a decent afternoon. He scored 5 points for Jersey. Andrews projects as either a 2 guard or small forward down the line. He is long and athletic, and appeared to be an above-average defender. The physical tools are there, and with Hurley's coaching, Andrews could develop into a solid college prospect.

Tariq Carey- I was interested in seeing Carey play, since he is a name I have heard quite a bit of over the past year. Carey, a 6'2 guard from Newark, has garnered a decent amount of Big East interest over the past year, and seems to have his eyes set on a conference like the Big East or ACC. In my opinion, both Carey and Dallas Anglin were the best New Jersey guards Sunday after Kyle Anderson. Carey is very quick and strong with the ball. Due to his size, colleges probably want to see him develop into more of a pure point guard to play at the Big East or ACC level. His perimeter shot struggled a bit in this game, but he still managed to score 8 points. I can see why high-majors are keeping an eye on Carey.

Check back tomorrow for the PA side.

Picture of Jerome Frink is from here

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dallas Anglin with SJU Offer

On Sunday afternoon, at the Eddie Griffin Challenge, one of the players that stood out to me was Seton Hall Prep junior guard Dallas Anglin. It turns out that the Saint Joseph's coaching staff has had an eye on the 6'2 guard as well. According to Alex Kline's Twitter ( here ) Anglin currently holds offers from Saint Joseph's, Boston, Rice, and George Washington. After watching Anglin on Sunday, I will be shocked if that list doesn't expand, and quickly, this season.

Anglin played last season at Saint Peter's Prep. In fact, he was listed in the roster on Sunday as attending at Saint Peter's. During the summer, he transferred into Seton Hall Prep. From one prep to another. There is a connection there between Anglin and Saint Joseph's, and that connection is current SJU freshman Ronald Roberts. Roberts and Anglin were teammates last year at Saint Peter's Prep.

On Sunday, Anglin poured in 12 points for the New Jersey juniors, and threw in a couple steals, a couple assists, and a rebound. Anglin is considered a combo guard, but demonstrated on Sunday some solid point guard abilities. Playing alongside a number of talented guards, including superstar-in-the-making Kyle Anderson, Anglin showed that he has a bright future as well. Anglin electrified the crowd on at least three separate occasions with high-flying dunks. Although listed at 6'2, Anglin showed that he likes to play well above the rim, and is more than capable of doing so. It was at the rim, and driving to the rim, that Anglin impressed the most. With a solid handle and good court vision, Anglin has a bright future ahead of him. He is just one name from Sunday worth mentioning. Check back tomorrow for more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dave Telep on the Eddie Griffin Challenge

Yesterday I was able to attend the 8th annual Eddie Griffin Challenge at Trenton Catholic High School in New Jersey. The event ran smoothly, and during my time there for the sophomore and junior games, I saw a number of big-name players live up to their billing and some under-the-radar guys maybe start to make names for themselves.

Over the coming day or two, I will have full recaps and write-ups on the sophomore and junior games. In the meantime, here is a link to an article written by a talent-evaluator much better than myself. Dave Telep, who just switched over from to ESPN is one of the best there is. His recap of the game is linked below and well worth reading.

Dave Telep Article

Friday, October 15, 2010

Start of Practice; Eddie Griffin Sunday

For fans of college basketball, the very mention of the date October 15th is like music to the ears. It is the very first day of the college basketball season, as practice are allowed to begin. While players have been able to work out and meet with coaches according to NCAA regulations, today is the first day of practice across the country. For the Hawks, the season's first practice comes at 10:30 tomorrow morning at the Hagan. The Hawks begin the season with seniors Idris Hilliard and Charoy Bentley as senior co-captains, according to the link below. The season opener is also the home opener, a November 12th date with Western Kentucky.

SJU Hawks

Just up 95 from Hawk Hill, many of the best high school players in the area will be meeting to participate in the 8th annual Eddie Griffin Challenge. The event, taking place at Trenton Catholic High School, begins at 3 with the sophomore game, continues at 4:30 with the junior game, and peaks at 6 with the senior game. While the big-name attractions are in the senior game (Michael Gilchrist and LaQuinton Ross to name two), there are a number of talented juniors and sophomores as well. Some of those participating are names that Hawk fans will become familiar with over the coming year. I will be on hand Sunday, providing a recap next week on the games, and especially the names of interest for Hawk fans.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Midnight Madness; Eddie Griffin Challenge Rosters

Over the next two weeks, colleges across the country are welcoming recruits and fans on campus for their Midnight Madness festivities. It is a chance to host recruits and a chance for fans to get a first look at their team. According to Alex Kline (, Saint Joseph's will not be having Midnight Madness this year. Opening practice is still this Friday, the 15th.

Adam Zagoria posted the complete New Jersey and Pennsylvania rosters for Sunday's Eddie Griffin Challenge. Check out the roster here. The New Jersey seniors and Pennsylvania juniors teams are especially loaded. I will be on hand Sunday to report on the games.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pickup Game Observations Part Two

Better late than never, here are my observations from the second scrimmage at SJU that I was able to catch.

This scrimmage took place in the practice gym, as the Philadelphia 76'ers were holding practice in the Hagan. The number of Range Rovers in the parking lot gave away the fact that the Sixers were practicing before I even made it into the gym.

The players participating in this informal pick-up game was significantly different than the last one. Daryus Quarles, CJ Aiken, Langston Galloway, and Carl Baptiste were all missing. Justin Crosgile and Halil Kanicevic, however, were here this time. Also playing were former Hawks Tasheed Carr and Garrett Williamson.

Due to numbers, this pick-up game went 4-on-4, with a guard (Justin Crosgile, Tay Jones, and Pat Swilling)subbing in and out for one another. Since teams switched around on a few occasions, I will limit this post to only my random observations.

The standout player to me on this day was Pat Swilling Jr. When I first saw him in a Summer League game, I didn't really know what to expect except a strong guard capable of scoring the ball and playing physical defense. While Patrick is both of those things, he also possesses a much better perimeter shot than I expected. In this game, he drilled 4 shots from three in a quick offensive outburst. In addition to this surprisingly effecient shooting display, he was also able to drive and either score or create for teammates. Between Swilling, Quarles, and Langston Galloway, the Hawks look like they should be a better three-point shooting team than last year, despite the graduation of Darrin Govens.

While Swilling stood out most to me, I was extremely impressed with the play of Hofstra transfer Halil Kanacevic as well. First of all, like the freshman guards, Halil is already built like an upperclassman. Although he didn't appear to be quite the 6'8 he is listed at, he did appear every bit the 240 pounds. Strong in the upper and lower body, Halil showed an ability to move his weight around in the post. In addition to his rebounding ability, which he displayed, I was most impressed with Halil's passing ability. Passing the ball out of the high post to cutters multiple times and kicking the ball out from the low post, Halil showed great court awareness and vision. He also finished around the bucket on several dunks. His most impressive bucket came on a pretty 8-foot turnaround jumper with his left (off) hand. Although he gave up a solid 3 inches or so to Todd O'Brien, for the most part Halil was able to play him straight up. O'Brien did score on him with some strong post moves, Halil showed that he has the strength to play against players taller than him.

Since this was 4-on-4, the players didn't have the legs they did in the last scrimmage. The games weren't nearly as up-tempo which limited opportunities to run for Ron Roberts and some of the others. Roberts still showed tenacity on the glass, pulling down a number of rebounds in heavy traffic. Tay Jones played very well this day too, a significant difference from the last time I saw him. He played under control, looked to be a distributor instead of trying to score every time down the court, and made really smart decisions with the ball. He actually looked like a point guard. As I mentioned last time, Tay's first step is just so quick. He had a tough time getting past Swilling on a few occasions, but still showed that explosiveness that allows him to get to the basket with ease. I was really impressed with what I saw out of Tay this day.

Justin Crosgile wasn't at the last scrimmage, so this was the first time I saw him since last season. Although overshadowed by Swilling and Tay, he still made some nice plays. His being overshadowed had more to do with how well the other two played. Justin hit a contested three and was able to push the tempo a few times, running primarily with Rasheed Carr. Speaking of Carr, he looked really good here, as did Garrett. Last time, I mentioned Idris' expanded perimeter game. That was on display again today. He pulled up, and hit, a three in transition. Idris also knocked down 2 or 3 shots from 15-17 feet in the halfcourt set.

Practice officially begins next Friday, October 15th. I should be on hand to provide a recap.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pickup Game Observations

Over the past several weeks, I was fortunate enough to, on two occasions, catch the 2010-2011 Saint Joseph's team playing informal pickup games. While practice for all college teams doesn't begin until October 15th, players are able to play scrimmage amongst themselves at any point. The first scrimmage that I saw was about three weeks ago, and the second scrimmage was last week. I will recap the first scrimmage today and the second tomorrow.

Scrimmage One

This is now a few weeks back, so some details on the scrimmage are a bit fuzzy, but I'll try my best. Teams were split up as follows: Langston Galloway, Pat Swilling Jr., Daryus Quarles, Idris Hilliard, and Carl Baptiste on team one. Then Tay Jones, Charoy Bentley, Ron Roberts, CJ Aiken, and Todd O'Brien on team two.

First, the freshman. In his particular game, two freshman stood out to me above the rest. Daryus Quarles is a player that I saw quite a bit when he was a junior at Life Center Academy. Quarles has always had serious athleticism, and really solid form on his jumpshot. Over the course of this scrimmage, Quarles knocked down a wide array of perimeter shots. On more than one occasion, he pulled up a foot or two behind the three-point line and canned it in rhythm. Daryus also took his man off the dribble and hit at least 3 pull-up jumpers from the free-throw line area. In all, it was an impressive shooting display from Quarles. Another observation about Quarles worth mentioning is his extremely competitive nature. Over the summer, and again today, you can tell by watching how much he simply hates to lose.

The other freshman that stood out was Ron Roberts. First of all, I was impressed with his size. Listed anywhere from 6'5 to 6'7 on various websites, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Roberts stands (at least as far as I could tell) a fairly legitimate 6'7. In addition, he (like Quarles and Aiken) has incredible length, which will be an asset on the defensive end this year. Roberts uses his size and freakish athleticism on both ends of the court, and demonstrated that today. He was able to soar for rebounds, which he often grabbed and ran with. I was surprised at how frequently, and with decent success, Roberts pushed the ball upcourt himself. While he may be more of a power forward at this stage of the game still, Ron showed that he can put the ball on the court and take it to the bucket. The standout play of the afternoon was an alley-oop that he received on a 2-on-1 break courtesy of Charoy Bentley. On the dunk, Ron elevated to where his eyes were nearly parallel to the rim before throwing it down with authority. This was just one of several powerful dunks that Ron threw down. He also knocked down 2 or 3 jumpers from the free throw line extended.

Other observations from this game, more on an individual basis than team basis to the nature of pick-up games.

Carl Baptiste showed some assertiveness on the offensive end. He was the recipient of a few nice dimes from Pat Swilling and Langston Galloway that were converted into dunks. Carl also hit a jumper or two from the baseline. Speaking of Swilling and Galloway, both played the type of game that Hawk fans will quickly come to know and love. While neither are, as of now, point guards, both freshmen can handle the ball. Both are also able to get into the lane with relative ease, either scoring themselves or distributing the ball to the open man. Both, physically, look more like college seniors than freshmen, and they use their strength on the boards and on the defensive end. Langston and Pat both hit some shots from three. In the next scrimmage recap, I will touch upon this subject again.

While he was fairly quiet in the scrimmage, CJ Aiken still had three or four plays that made your jaw drop to the floor. He and Roberts both possess athleticism in the frontcourt that hasn't been seen at SJU in quite some time. Todd O'Brien looks like he put on some muscle since last season. As athletic as CJ and Ron are in the frontcourt, Todd is that fundamental. While Todd didn't do anything to wow you in this game, he showed some nice moves in the post. Todd, Idris, and Carl have competition for minutes with Ron and CJ joining the mix this year. This should do nothing but help the team.

Speaking of Idris, he showed some really positive improvements in this game. For the past three years, Idris has been a rock solid, undersized power forward for the Hawks. In this game, Idris showed range on his jumper, hitting a number of shots from out near the three-point line. This could be an interesting development for the Hawks this year. If Idris is able to play a bit more on the perimeter, it would allow the Hawks to possibly throw Idris out there at the 3, Roberts or Aiken at the 4, and Baptiste or O'Brien at the 5. Just a thought I had during the scrimmage.

This was not one of Tay's better performances, and he jacked up shot after shot after shot for his team. Seeing him play for the first time in quite a while, I had forgotten how quick his first step was however. Again, this was not an impressive performance from Tay. In the next scrimmage summary, you will get a much more glowing review of Tay though. If Tay is able to play like he did in that second scrimmage, playing the role of facilitator and scorer, he will be a major contributor this season.

While practice is not set to start for ten more days, the players are able to work out on their own in the meantime. I was just fortunate enough to catch them on two separate occasions. The next recap will be up here tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

8th Annual Eddie Griffin Challenge

Over the past couple of days, Jay Gomes of has released some preliminary details about the 8th annual Eddie Griffin Challenge. The event pits the best players in Philadelphia against New Jersey's finest. This year's event will take place on October 17th at Trenton Catholic, with the senior game at 6:00 pm, the junior game at 4:30, and the sophomore game at 3:00. I will be on hand for the event and will provide recaps of each game over the course of the following week.

So far, Jay Gomes has released a list of players in the junior and senior games for the New Jersey side. Looking at the list of names just reinforces the notion that New Jersey, year in and year out, has a talent pool as deep as just about anywhere else in the nation. Mike Gilchrist (Kentucky commit), LaQuinton Ross (Ohio State commit), Sterling Gibbs (Maryland commit), Myles Mack (Rutgers commit), Tyler Harris, and Desmond Hubert are among the stars on the New Jersey senior team.

The New Jersey junior team is led by top 10 talent Kyle Anderson, a 6'8 do-it-all player being recruited by just about every program in the country. Trenton Catholic forward Brandon Taylor, 6'2 Newark Eastside guard Tariq Carey, 6'4 Saint Anthony guard Rashad Andrews, and 6'2 Seton Hall Prep guard Dallas Anglin will take to the court for the New Jersey side.

As more information becomes available concerning the Philadelphia roster, I will update here.