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

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