Saturday, August 16, 2008




Monday, July 7, 2008

Northstar Basketball Milestone & Thank You

July 4th is always a big day for Americas, and this year it was a huge day for Northstar Basketball as well. On Friday, Northstar Basketball got over 2,000 hits in one day for the first time ever. I'd like to thank all of the readers of Northstar Basketball for helping to make it a successful site. Without all of you, the information is useless. Thank you all very much!

Hoop Group Elite Camp Day Two Overview- July 6, 2008

Day two at The Hoop Group Elite Camp involved a nice blend of playing five-on-five games, drill work and instruction, and listening to a renowned guest speaker. Rain yet again altered the setup of the day, but that was not nearly enough to keep away throngs of college coaches from schools such as Pitt, Rutgers, St. Joe’s, Temple, UMass and Providence. These six were amongst the THREE HUNDRED or so universities represented today at the camp. Here are the players that I saw who thrived under the spotlight and had nice showings:

Ishmael Kalilou ‘10, Windsor (CT)
LeBrent Walker ‘12, Lincoln (NY)
Prince Okoroh ‘11, Eleanor Roosevelt (NY)
Jimmy Louissaint ‘09, Robeson (NY)
Trevor Cooney ‘11, Sanford (DE)
Mario Monroe ‘10, North Cambridge Catholic (MA)
Kelvin Amayo ‘10, Hillside (NJ)
Rico Winston ‘09, Jericho Christian Academy (MD)
Aaron Brown ‘10, St. Benedict’s (NJ)
Zackary O’Brien ‘09, Watchung Hills (NJ)
Jay Bowie ‘10, Tampa Prep (FL)
Naufall Folahan ‘10, Massanutten (VA)
Given Kalipinde ‘09, Episcopal Academy (VA)
Derrick Wilson ‘11, Hotchkiss School (CT)
Markus Kennedy ‘10, St. Patrick’s (NJ)
Ed DiRugeris ‘09, Pennsbury (PA)
Diyaaldin Kelley ‘09 PG, Mariana Bracetti School (PA)
Ryan Hill ‘10, Steelton Highsprire (PA)
Dalton Pepper ‘09, Pennsbury (PA)
Kyle Anderson ‘12, Paterson Catholic (NJ)
Dondre Whitmore ‘10, Trenton Catholic (NJ)
Kamil Parzch ‘10, Lindenhurst (NY)
Josiah Woodruff ‘09, Jericho Christian Academy (MD)
Blake Bozeman ‘10, Paul VI (VA)
Justin Crosgile ‘09, DePaul Catholic (NJ)
Theo Boyomo ‘10, The Kent School (CT)
Omi Ogolo ‘09, James Madison (VA)
Marcus Hebron ‘09, Laurel (MD)
Stephen Spinella ‘09 PG, The Nia School (NJ)
Nick Goff ‘09, St. Francis DeSales (OH)
Kellen Cade ‘09, Hotchkiss School (CT)
Cameron Baker ‘09, Columbus Academy (OH)

The single most impressive one-game performance I saw today was easily that of 6′0 Justin Crosgile in his team’s win during the after set of games. Although official stats aren’t kept, Justin probably dropped around 20 or 25 points in a come-from-behind victory. The Saint Joseph’s commit almost single-handedly brought his team back into the game, against a quality squad featuring Trevor Cooney. Crosgile got it done on both sides of the ball, getting steals and boards on defense, while hitting jumpers, getting to the hole, rebounding, and getting his teammates involved. Crosgile is one of the best point guards in the class of 2009, and games like he had this afternoon are proof of just that.

Some of the young guns went to work today - giving everyone a preview of the talent in the classes of 2011 and 2012. LeBrent Walker, a 6′1 rising freshman had a solid showing in his squad’s final game of the day. Walker got to the basket with ease and had some tough finishes around the rim. LeBrent’s teammate, 6′3 rising sophomore Prince Okoroh also performed well in the team’s last game on day two. Prince showed off a nice all-around game and a knack for getting to the rack. Another youngster who had a solid showing was 6′0 Derrick Wilson, a rising sophomore from out of The Hotchkiss School (CT). Despite not playing up to his potential for much of his team’s first game, Wilson came through when it mattered most. With his squad down one and only eight seconds to go, Derrick drove the length of the court for a layup to put his team out front 53-52, and it would stay that way after 6′4 Aaron Brown of St. Benedict’s missed a shot from about 14 feet out at the buzzer. Last but not least of the underclassmen who had impressive showings on Sunday was Kyle Anderson of Paterson Catholic (NJ), a 6′5 rising freshman. Anderson is one of the most highly-touted players in the class of 2012 nationally, and although he was not outstanding, Kyle more than held his own on the court. The Playaz (NJ) AAU program member showed nice court vision and stellar passing skills - his biggest asset is his fantastic basketball IQ. If these five kids are any indication, the talent level at The Hoop Group Elite Camp will not be falling off any time soon, as there are some gems in younger classes.

Derrick Wilson: Xavier, Texas, Arizona, Duke, and Stanford
Offers: Xavier
Favorites: Texas, Arizona, and Duke; those are his top three
Note- Xavier, Texas, Arizona, and Duke are “highly interested” and “are the main schools” recruiting him

Zackary O’Brien: Central Florida, Stanford, Fordham, Penn St., Niagara, Rider, Auburn, Missouri, James Madison, and St. Joseph’s
Offers: Stanford, Fordham, Niagara, James Madison, and St. Joseph’s
Favorites: Central Florida, Stanford, Niagara, and St. Joseph’s
Note- he says that Rider is “going to offer in [around] two weeks.”

Dalton Pepper: West Virginia, Villanova, Temple, Wake Forest, and Miami
Offers: All five
Favorites: None, “I’m not sure yet.”

Myles Mack ‘11, Paterson Catholic (NJ): Florida and Georgetown
Offers: Georgetown
Favorite: Florida
Note- “That’s all I know right now,” he said of the schools recruiting him, indicating that there are likely more schools involved

Russ Smith ‘10, Archbishop Malloy (NY): Jacksonville, Arkansas, Louisville, George Mason, Ohio, Rutgers, Iona, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Wright St., Miami, St. John’s, Minnesota, Virginia, and South Carolina
Offers: Iona and Rhode Island
Favorites: n/a
Note- he said that “it looks like [Virginia and South Carolina] will offer” him a scholarship

Mike McFadden ‘09, Technology (NJ): Utah, Maryland, Providence, Penn St., LSU, and George Mason
Offers: Utah
Favorites: None, “not really”

Dondre Whitmore: Rider, Iona, Fordham, Robert Morris, St. John’s, and Kent St.
Offers: Rider, Iona, Fordham, and Robert Morris
Favorites: None, “I really don’t have any.”

DeOliver Davis ‘10, Hun (NJ): Dartmouth and Yale
Offers: None
Favorites: n/a
Notes- he is being recruited by “a lot of Ivy [League schools],” has a GPA of “about 3.6,” and said, “I like American, I like Lafayette, . . . I like the Patriot League.”

Trevor Cooney: Delaware, St. Joseph’s, Villanova, Rutgers, West Virginia, Virginia, Notre Dame, and Wake Forest
Offers: Delaware, St. Joseph’s, and Rutgers
Favorites: Delaware, St. Joseph’s, Rutgers, West Virginia, Notre Dame, and Wake Forest
Notes- on his top three, he said they are “probably the ones that have offered me [a scholarship], . . . [and] probably Notre Dame is up there too.” If signing day were tomorrow, he would sign with “Notre Dame maybe,” but of the schools that have offered, he would pick “probably Delaware.”

LeBrent Walker: Arizona, Tennessee, Baylor, Fordham, and St. John’s
Offers: None
Favorites: Kansas St., North Carolina, and UCLA
Note- his favorite of the schools that he has interest from is St. John’s

Prince Okoroh: UMBC, Hood College, and he visited a “small church school” in North Carolina
Offers: None
Favorite: UMBC, “I’d like to go to UMBC out of those ones.”

Sunday was a great day at The Hoop Group Elite Camp, and Monday should bring more of the same, so make sure you check back later for more information.

For more info on Hoop Group Elite Camp, including how to register for camp, please visit:

For more info and updates on both this event and others from the world of high school and AAU basketball check out

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hoop Group Elite Camp Day One Overview- July 5, 2008

The Hoop Group Elite Camp kicked off today with numerous high-DI prospects, as well as many other DI, DII, and DIII players in attendance. With slightly over 700 kids, this four day camp is the biggest that The Hoop Group has ever had. I was fortunate enough to be able to see quite a few of the top players in action, and a number of ballers were kind enough to chat with me. Without further ado, here’s the overview of the first day of the The Hoop Group Elite Camp.
First off, here is a short sampling of the well-known and/or highly-regarded prospects at the event:

Tyreak Johnson ‘09, St. Raymond’s (NY)
Justin Crosgile ‘09, DePaul Catholic (NJ)
Aaron Brown ‘10, Roman Catholic (PA)
George Harper ‘10, Academy of the New Church (PA)
Rakeem Christmas ‘11, North Catholic (PA)
CJ Aiken ‘10, Abington (PA)
Tyreek Duran ‘10, Neumnn-Goretti (PA)
Adrian Satchell ‘09, Windsor (CT)
Shannon Givens ‘09, Academy of the New Church (PA)
Markus Kennedy ‘10, St. Patrick’s (NJ)
Khalif Wyatt ‘09, Norristown Area (PA)
Kyrie Irving ‘10, St. Patrick’s (NJ)
Egheosa Edomwonyi ‘09, Hun (NJ)
Andre Gillette ‘09, Neumann-Goretti (PA)
Trevor Cooney ‘11, Sanford School (DE)
Rakeem Brookins ‘10, Roman Catholic (PA)
Jayon James ‘10, Paterson Catholic (NJ)

In addition, there will be a few high-quality players who will be coming tomorrow, such as Dalton Pepper ‘09 of Pennsbury (PA) and Mike McFadden ‘09 of Technology (NJ). Despite the U-18 tryouts going on in Virginia and the Rbk U camp taking place in Pennsylvania, The Hoop Group Elite Camp is not lacking talent at all.

As I walked around The College of New Jersey today surveying the games, I took the time to watch some particular players. Along the way, a handful of other kids caught my eye. Some of the top players that I saw on Saturday were the aforementioned Aaron Brown, Rakeem Christmas, Shannon Givens, Markus Kennedy, Khalif Wyatt, Rakeem Brookins, and Jayon
James. The following guys also stood out to me:

Julian Watson ‘09 PG, Arundel (MD)
Kellen Cade ‘09, Hotchkiss School (CT)
Karon Abraham ‘09, Paterson Eastside (NJ)
Azfar Kahn ‘09, East Meadow (NY)
DeOliver Davis ‘10, Hun (NJ)
Lasan Kromah ‘09, Eleanor Roosevelt (MD)
Hayden Palozej ‘09, Stafford (CT)
Reginald Lewis ‘09, Beford (OH)
Jevoy White ‘09, North Plainfield (NJ)
Paris Grant ‘09, Imhotep Charter (PA)
Chase Plummer ‘10, St. Patrick’s (NJ)
Bilal Kelly ‘09, Mariana Bracetti School (PA)
William Harrison ‘09 PG, Wadleigh (NY)
Kevin McGaughey ‘10, Broad Run (VA)
Rico Winston ‘09, Jericho Christian Academy (MD)
Aaron Brown ‘10, St. Benedict’s (NJ)
Keith Brown ‘09, Malboro (MA)
Devon Saddler ‘09, Aberdeen (MD)


William Harrison: George Mason, Binghamton, Marist, St. Joseph’s, and Stony Brook
Offers: None
Favorite: George Mason

Shannon Givens: Seton Hall, Drexel, Harvard, Stanford, Quinnipiac, LaSalle, and Rutgers
Offers: Drexel, LaSalle, Rutgers
Favorite: None

Bilal Kelly: Princeton, Rider, and UConn
Offers: None
Favorite: Rider
Note- Kelly is considering transferring to “either ANC [Academy of the New Church] or Solesbury,” both of which are in Pennsylvania

Rakeem Christmas: Memphis, Kansas, and Virginia
Offers: None
Favorite: Memphis

Rico Winston: Rutgers, St. John’s, and Clemson
Offers: None
Favorite: None
Note- Winston said that he gets “a lot of letters from Clemson.”

Khalif Wyatt: Temple, St. Joseph’s, Delaware, James Madison, New Hampshire, Siena, Niagara, and Rider
Offers: Delaware
Favorite: None, “I can’t say right now.”

Rayner Moquette ‘09, Our Savior New American: Davidson, Virginia Commonwealth, Princeton, Holy Cross, Manhattan, NJIT, and Bucknell
Offers: None, but said that Davidson and VCU contacting him the most and are “about to” offer him a scholarship
Favorites: Virginia Commonwealth and Davidson
Note- has a “3.5″ GPA

Reginald Lewis: Oregon St., Northwestern, Indiana, and Cleveland St.
Offers: None, “no one right now.”
Favorite: Oregon St.

Devon Saddler: TCU, Quinnipiac, Towson, and Drexel
Offers: TCU
Favorite: TCU

Rakeem Brookins: Georgetown, Texas, Virginia, Providence, Delaware, UPenn, Penn St., Clemson, St. Joseph’s, Temple, George Mason, George Washington, Princeton, Brown, and Buffalo
Offers: Delaware and UPenn
Favorites: Georgetown, Texas, Providence, and St. Joseph’s
Note- has a “3.5″ GPA

Keith Brown: Yale, Bucknell, Lehigh, Brown, Army, Navy, Holy Cross, and Quinnipiac Offers: None, “no one right now.”
Favorites: Navy and Quinnipiac, ”probably Navy or Quinnipiac.”

Dominique Raney ‘11, Putnam City (OK): Wichita St. and a DII school in Oklahoma
Offers: None
Favorites: n/a

The best part of the day came in the last set of games. Inclimate weather forced the NCAA (class of 2011 kids) into the main gym, where basically everyone was at that time. During one of the games, there was a roar from the far court . . . then another . . . and another . . . and so on. I made my way over to the court just in time to see Dominique Raney make a crossover, get to the hole, sky and jam. Apparently, Raney had been putting on a show. There was a massive crowd around all four sides of the court, and people were literally on that court as well as the one next to it. Raney’s display of athleticism and hops summed up the quality of this event.

The NBA East Draft was a great event. The draft took about five hours total, and despite the length was an enjoyable part of the camp for those involved. Things began with the selection of centers. The top choice at this position was a kid playing up, Rakeem Christmas, a 6′9 rising sophomore from North Catholic (PA). Massanutten (MA) 6′10 rising senior Mouphtaou Yarou went second, and was followed up by 6′8 Daryl McCoy, a rising senior from Hartford (CT). After the centers came the point guards. Another Rakeem went first in this cateogry: 5′10 rising junior Rakeem Brookins of Roman Catholic (PA). After Brookins was Notre Dame Prep (MA) rising senior, 6′1 Antoine Allen. Shannon Givens, a 5′11 rising senior from Academy of the New Church (PA) went third. After the floor generals came the small forwards, and the top choice was never in doubt, as arguably the camp’s best player is a 3. Dalton Pepper, a 6′5 rising senior from Pennsbury (PA) was selected first. Bishop O’Connell (VA) 6′5 rising senior Kevin Jones was chosen after Pepper. Rounding out the top three at the 3 was 6′6 soon-to-be post-grad Mike Burwell from South Kent (CT). The power forwards were slated to go next, and 6′6 rising senior Mike McFadden of Technology (NJ) led the way. Jordan Allen, a 6′5 rising sophomore from Bay Shore (NY) was picked in the two spot. Jamee Jackson, a 6′7 rising senior at St. Anthony’s was chosen third amongst power forwards. Last but not least were the shooting guards. The two-guard is one of the most stacked positions at the event, and 6′2 rising senior Devon Saddler of Aberdeen (MD) was the first 2 picked. Shane Southewell, a 6′5 rising junior from Rice (NY) went second, and 6′2 rising junior Jermaine Pert of Paterson Catholic (NJ) went third. The NBA East Draft may have taken a while, but it turned out well.

Stay tuned for more from The Hoop Group Elite Camp!

For more info and updates on both this event and others from the world of high school and AAU basketball, check out


Throughout the month of July I will be quite busy, including working at many of The Hoop Group's camps. My work for The Hoop Group began yesterday, July 5th, at the Hoop Group Elite Camp. I will be doing their daily blogging of events, and I'll also be posting information here on Northstar Basketball. The Hoop Group's website is I would like to say, though, that I may need some patience regarding article posts, as I will be covering basketball almost non-stop. I'll definitely do my best to get up articles, but please bear with me. Thanks!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Update on . . . Austin Rivers

It seems that I got to Austin Rivers at just the right time. The rising sophomore from Winter Park (FL) pulled the trigger on his recruitment recently. The 6'3.5 guard, the son of the Boston Celtics' Head Coach Doc Rivers, has committed to Florida. I spoke with Austin today to discuss his decision. "I felt real comfortable with the coaches [and it's a] . . . beautiful campus," said the up-and-coming class of 2011 stud. Rivers is one of the few committed players in his class, with superstar Aaron Ross (Arkansas) being another. I inquired of the young Rivers whether he was always planning on committing so early, and he told me this: "I really didn't know at first. . . . I knew I should look at some other schools, . . . [but there is] no way a college could be any better." Picking a school at such an early age will make it so that Rivers won't be able to fully enjoy the recruiting process. I asked if if he wishes that he would have had the opportunity to do so, and he told me this: "No, I . . . think it'll be a lot easier doing what I'm doing. . . . [It feels like a] weight has been lifted from my shoulders." I found it interesting that Austin committed to UF, as he had told me that he planned on visiting Memphis, as well as some other prestigious basketball schools. I asked Rivers what he story was on this, and he told me that he "ended up not doing it' because "when it comes down to it, it's going to be the same," adding that he "didn't need to look at the other places in [his] mind." To give you an idea of how great it felt for the young guard to commit, he informed me that "it was more exciting" than when his dad won the NBA Championship with the Celtics. His reasoning was that his "dad won," and not him, whereas he was the one who committed. Austin Rivers is a player to watch down the road, and I'll make sure you can keep track of him right here on Northstar Basketball.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Update on . . . Lance Stephenson

If you recall, I recently posted an interview with the father of 6'6 swingman Lance Stephenson '09. In the talk, Mr. Stehenson mentioned Memphis, Kansas, St. John's, UCLA, and USC as his son's finalists. The Lincoln (NY) star apparently has another school on his mind, though. Adam Zagoria of has an article on his site, in which he reports that the younger Lance said that Kansas, Memphis, and Tennessee are his favorites. Making it in more interesting is that Mr. Stephenson informed me that UCLA is his current favorite, yet the Bruins are not in Lance's top three. Stephenson is a player to keep in an eye on, and I'll do just this for you.

Note- This is the link to the article on with Stephenson's school list:

Update on . . . DeAndre Liggins and Michael Peck

I spoke to Findlay College Prep (NV) Head Coach Michael Peck within the hour and received some good information regarding the up-and-coming prep power as a whole, and one of its top outgoing players. Coach Peck told me that he is looking into a player from Puerto Rico who thinks "may be a good fit for the program," but that the transfer is not finalized. The graduating player that I discussed with Coach Peck is 6'6 guard DeAndre Liggins '08, a Kentucky-signee. Liggins' eligibility for next year is up in the air, so I inquired of Coach Peck whether or not his star senior had qualified, to which he told me: "We're still waiting to hear." Findlay's head man does not know when he will find out about the outcome of DeAndre's situation. The top-notch guard did receive his test scores and all the information is in the hands of the NCAA. I will keep you updated on Liggins' status.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chase Plummer- Filling the Holes

The St. Patrick's Celtics (NJ) are one of the best high school teams in America ever year. At the Hoop Group Showcase, Kevin Boyle's squad was missing a number of its star players. Jermel Jenkins and Quintrell Thomas are gone to graduation. Dexter Strickland '09 was in Africa for adidas Nations, Michael Gilchrist '11 and Paris Bennett '09 were at the NBA Top 100 camp. Rising sophomores Shaq Stokes and Derrick Gordon also missed the event. This left the opportunity for a number of Celtics to step up and many of them rose to the challenge. One of these players was 6'5 junior-to-be forward Chase Plummer. I caught up him after the team narrowly beat New Rochelle (NY) by a score of 75-72.

NB: What happened out there for [the team]? You had a big, 30-point lead at the half, [and it] slipped away. What went wrong?
CP: The refs were killing us out there, . . . calling no fouls. I got my head taken off under the rim. It was wild, wild out there.

NB: What did you guys do [as a team] to let that game slip away?
CP: We didn’t finish. The second half I wasn’t rebounding, we [were] missing shots, just couldn’t complete . . . down the stretch.

NB: What do you consider to be the strongest point of your game?
CP: I don’t know. My game in general? . . . I rebound, I score. I can score, finish. That’s my big thing when comes to my game.

NB: What’s the weakest point of your game?
CP: Passing, passing really. I got to become a better passer.

NB: What schools are you considering?
CP: I got looks from LaSalle [and] St. Joe’s. That’s really about it right now.

Unfortunately I did not have much time to speak with Plummer, as Coach Boyle wanted to speak with his players. Chase is a talented ball player with a bright future. It is impressive that he was able to step in and be a key contributor at the event, despite not seeing all that much varsity playing time in the past. This is definitely a kid to keep an eye on, as Plummer might be a kid who makes some major strides as a senior, much as departing senior Quintrell Thomas did at St. Pat's.

Scouting Report on Plummer's game vs. New Rochelle:

Chase had an impressive showing against the squad from the Empire State. The 6'5 class of 2010 forward was one of the two best players on the court for the Celtics, along with rising junior 6'1 guard Kyrie Irving. Plummer was impressive in his ability to draw fouls down low and get to the line. The problem, though, is that Chase was not as good when it came to hitting his shots from the stripe. One thing that really stood out about Plummer was his rebounding prowess, especially on the offensive glass. In fact, at one point in the game against New Rochelle, Plummer snatched an offensive board, and then Jeff Borzello of and I both said "oh wow." Chase is big, and seems a bit bigger than his listed height of 6'5. He has long arms, and not surprisingly is a good shot blocker. Plummer will either need to get bigger so that he can really be a 4, or extend his range and his overall game farther from the hole. Right now, Chase is a 'tweener, but a talented one.

Aaron Brown- A Key Part of the Gray Bees' Future

Aaron Brown plays on a high school team full of superstars at St. Benedict's (NY), which features Lamar Patterson '09, Tamir Jackson '09, Tristan Thompson '10, and Myck Kabongo '11 as its prime stars. Other well-known players include Mike Poole '10, Tavon Sledge '11, and Myles Davis '11. The first four of those players did not participate in the Hoop Group Showcase due to the NBA Top 100 camp in Virginia. Thus, Brown and the Gray Bees' other youngsters had a chance to shine. Aaron, a 6'4 forward in the class of 2010, was easily the best player the squad had at the event. I spoke with him after after his squad eked out a win over PCTI (NJ).

NB: You hit the winning shot. How’d it feel?
AB: It felt good. I think we should have still won by about 20 points. We let them come back into the game, and it felt good though, [to] hit the winning shot.

NB: How’d that happen? How’d you guys let that lead slip away?
AB: It came in with the subs. When [the coach] brought in some subs, . . . a couple kids from JV. They [are] not used to varsity basketball. So, they [are] just getting a feel for it for their first time, so [they] probably were a little nervous.

NB: What’s your outlook for [the] season next year at St. Benedict’s? You guys are . . . unexpectedly losing Greg [Echenique]. You guys are losing Samardo [Samuels]. How are you going to rebound from that?
AB: We got a couple big-time guards coming in, and I think we got one big man [too]. So this year, like last year, our goal is to get number one in the country, so I think we can do it this year.

NB: What are some of your other goals?
AB: By the end of the year, for me to commit to a school. Other goals, . . . have a good record like we did last year and the reputation going for the school.

NB: What schools are currently recruiting you?
AB: Providence, Michigan, Kentucky, Marist, Virginia Tech. I got some other schools, but I don’t remember [them] off the top of my head.

NB: Have all those schools offered you a scholarship?
AB: Providence did, Marist did, Kentucky did, I got Harvard did. I got a couple Ivy League schools, they all offered me. . . . I’m keeping my mind open, I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.

NB: What’s your Grade Point Average [GPA]?
AB: 3.6.

NB: Do you have a favorite right now, [a] top school?
AB: No, I don’t have a favorite right now. I’m looking at everybody.

NB: Do you have a dream school?
AB: Dream school? Florida.

NB: If Florida offered, would you commit on the spot?
AB: I think so, yeah.

NB: What makes Florida standout to you?
AB: I [have] always liked them. Even before they won the National Championship, since I was little.

NB: What do you consider to be the strongest point of your game?
AB: Going to the hole.

NB: What [is] . . . the weakest [point of your game]?
AB: Weakest? Probably shooting off the dribble.

NB: What are you doing to work on that?
AB: I’m in the gym everyday with one of the coaches, working on my game, so [I’m] working on the jump-shot, going to the hole, trying to polish up my game.

NB: What AAU team to you play with?
AB: [The] Metro Hawks 16 and Under [team].

NB: What’s it like for you to put on that St. Benedict’s jersey? [It’s] such a prestigious [basketball] school.
AB: It feels good, we’re respected all around the country, so every time we put it on, you got to come to play.

Aaron Brown is a superstar in the making. He will likely always be overshadowed by Tristan Thompson, arguably the best player in the country in the class of 2010, but that doesn't mean Brown can't make a name for himself. In fact, it's likely that Aaron will indeed become a commonly known player in the high school basketball world, as he has a great deal of talent. Tell your friends about the rising star now, and in a few years when Brown is starring for Danny Hurley, you'll look like a genius for seeing it in advance.

Scouting Report on Brown:

Brown is just 6'4, but he looks a bit bigger. He can bang down low and player either forward position, though he'll need more height to be a full-time 4. Right now has a nice game, but needs to develop a better shot and extend his range. Aaron is a player with whom what you see is what you get, and might not have a vast amount of potential, though a major growth spurt would change that. Brown plays well in big games and in major moments, evidenced by the fact that he hit the game-winner against PCTI (NJ) and led his team in points against both PCTI and St. Patrick's (NJ), one of the Gray Bees' major rivals. Overall, Brown is a gifted player, who just needs to refine his game as a whole.

Note- photo is from

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Update on . . . Lance Stephenson- A Father's Perspective

Lance Stephenson has been the talk of America in the high school basketball world for quite some time. The class of 2009 6'6 superstar swingman at Lincoln (NY) has been talked about in New York City for much longer though. Yet even before the NYC circle began to discuss Stephenson, his father saw something in him. Lance Stephenson, Sr. has seen his son progress from a youngster all the way to one of the best players in America. I spoke with Mr. Stephenson at the Steve Nash Skills Academy, where he was taking in the action.

NB: What schools [are] Lance really considering?
LS: UCLA, Kansas, USC, and St. John’s . . . [and] Memphis.

NB: What do you think Lance needs to work on the most?
LS: A little bit of everything. He has an all-around game, . . . so he’s got to keep brushing up on everything, all his tools. . . . It’s not that one thing that I can say he needs to work on, just everything, just keep getting better.

NB: What do you see as the strongest point in his game?
LS: His strength, his agility, he’s real quick, he [has] got good lateral movement, he’s explosive, he’s got the complete package right now.

NB: What do you think helped him get to where he is right now? Other than just having the natural ability.
LS: Just working out, [a] lot of push-ups. . . . It’s a little bit of a mix of everything, natural ability, a lot of hard work, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, . . . a whole lot of advice, information, so he [has] known how to make the right plays from an early age.

NB: When Lance was young, did you see him having the potential to be such a talented player?
LS: Yes, yeah, from day one, I knew that he was going to be a real talented player, just like my other son.

NB: Other than you two, who’s going to be involved in the decision process for college?
LS: My wife, that’s about it. . . . His high school coach [Dwayne “Tiny” Morton of Lincoln (NY)] has a little bit on influence as well.

NB: Is Lance going to eventually make the final decision, or is it just going to be a group choice?
LS: I would say he [is] going to make the final decision. We [are] just going to give him all the information and let him decide what he wants to do.

NB: Is there a school . . . that you favor, that you think Lance should go to right now?
LS: Right now my favorite school is UCLA.

NB: What makes the Bruins standout to you?
LS: Well, the tradition, the conference, the style of play, they let the guards play pretty free.

NB: If not for the NBA age limit, would Lance be going pro next year?
LS: I think if you asked me that question . . . when that times [I would have a better idea], but an educated guess, I would say ‘yeah,’ he’s definitely got all the skills, and after looking at [Thursday’s NBA] Draft, all of those kids, all of the freshman that went, he’s playing against or with before, so we pretty much know some of the good players.

NB: You mentioned all the freshmen. Do you think Lance is a lock to be a one-and-done [player in college]?
LS: No, nothing is a lock, . . . he got to play the games. I wouldn’t say he’s a lock, he still has a lot of work to do.

NB: With all the attention that he’s been receiving since eighth grade, do you ever see it getting to him, kind of . . . bringing him down a little bit, having all that focus on him?
LS: No, nothing [is] bringing him down, he’s still rising. Heading into his senior year he has a lot . . . of accomplishments that he’s already done, wining three [New York] City [championships], two state [championships]. He’s still rising, next year I think will be the icing on the cake.

NB: What are you most proud of Lance for?
LS: Just staying with it, and really not folding, he’s kept the same . . . demeanor all the way through . . . high school. He’s kept the same demeanor, he hasn’t let the media change his game, he still has his attitude, he still has his . . . aggressiveness, and that’s really what I’m most proud of him [for]. He designed his game, and he’s sticking with it.

NB: What [are you most proud of him for] . . . outside of basketball?
LS: What am I most proud of him . . . [for] outside of basketball? I’m proud that he’s my son. I’m proud that he’s healthy. I’m proud that he’s [a] pretty good student in school.

NB: What are Lance’s plans for July during the evaluation period?
LS: He’ll be trying out for the USA . . . 18 and Under team.

The younger Lance Stephenson was by far the most impressive player at the Steve Nash Skills Academy. His play in the five-on-five scrimmage to end the event was fantastic. Lance's father certainly knows of the talent and potential that his son possesses. He definitely is proud of Lance's game, and he should be, as Lance is one of the best player in the United States. I'll make sure that I keep you updated on how things are moving along for the younger Lance Stephenson.

Scouting Report on Stephenson:

Lance Stephenson may well be the best player in America. He has a fantastic all-around game. The Lincoln (NY) stud is even talented enough that his teammates deferred to him at the Steve Nash Skills Academy to run the point in the scrimmage, despite being the only non-point guard on his team. Stephenson '09, a 6'6 swingman, can shoot the rock, with range that extends out to the three-point line. Lance can also get to the hole and has a solid handle. He is a spectacular athlete with great hops, and well-chiseled frame. The NYC phenom seems to have a good work ethic, as he chose to shoot around during the water break in the scrimmage at the Nash Academy. At times, Stephenson can be a bit too flashy. As well, his attitude is something that he needs to work on. He gets frustrated with lesser teammates when they make mistakes and is a bit cocky. Yet, that may well be from being "the man" in the Big Apple for so long. A change of scenery for college may be quite helpful for the gifted ballplayer. Attitude aside, Lance might have the most complete game of anyone in America, including graduating seniors from the class of 2008. Lance Stephenson is the real deal.

Note- photo is from

MAJOR BREAKING NEWS!!! Update on . . . Isaiah Armwood

A source close to the Villanova program has informed me that 6'8 forward Isaiah Armwood of Montrose Christian (MD) has committed to the Wildcats. Northstar Basketball is the FIRST site to report this commitment. Again, Isaiah Armwood has committed to Villanova. He will pair with Maalik Wayns of Roman Catholic (PA) in what is looking like an amazing recruiting class. It will be interesting to see if the top-notch Big East programs can keep the commitments rolling in. I just got off the phone with Armwood. He told me that he officially committed "yesterday," and that “the past week . . . [he] wanted to get it done.” The Montrose Christian star told me this regarding the commitment: “Basically it’s one of the biggest decisions I’m ever going to make.” I asked Isaiah why he chose the Wildcats, to which he responded by saying that he reached his decision by “looking at how it was going to affect [him] in the long run and set [him] up for the future.” Armwood and Wayns already have a close relationship, so the two may well have great chemistry at the college level . "[We are] kind of like brothers. . . . [We] talk to each other all the time. We really have a good relationship because we talk so much,” is what Isaiah said about his relationship with Wayns. “Yeah, it’s possible, I don’t see why not. . . . I’m going to try to talk to them and see if I can have an impact on . . . [their] decision,” was what Armwood told me regarding whether he would try to convince players such as Montrose teammates Tristan Spurlock '09 and Terrell Vinson '09 to commit to Villanova. It seems that Vinson might be a good option for Armwood, as he told “I know Terrell a lot, we’ve played together all our lives,” though he did say, "I don’t think I can totally convince nobody." Regarding the timing of the commitment, I inquired of the stud forward whether he was always planning on committing the summer after his junior year, or if the timing just felt right this week: “I always told myself I was going to commit sometime during the summer, . . . [but I] didn’t know it would be this early.” Isaiah Armwood is a fine talent, and Jay Wright and Co. must be quite happy to have him headed their way.

Steve Nash- Not Your Average NBA Star

The Steve Nash Skills Academy was a fantastic Nike-run event. A big part of the success of the 2008 event was the man for whom the camp is named, Steve Nash. The Phoenix Suns point guard, a two-time NBA MVP, did not just put his name on the event and then not participate in the workouts. Rather, Nash was active in coaching the campers, both the college and high school players. The superstar, was kind enough to talk to the reporters at the event on Friday, and we had the opportunity to ask him some questions.

CSN: You see a guy like Stephen Curry, he comes here, a guy who has a major profile already, but what does that mean that he wants to take the time and have the opportunity to come and work out with you?
SN: Well, it’s great that he’s so humble and hard-working. I think, obviously, that’s why he is where he is, and that’s why he has such a high profile. So, those are the tools that I try to impress on these guys, that it’s your attitude, your effort, your commitment, and how good a teammate you are that are just as important as how fast you are or how well you can shoot, so they’ve demonstrated a great propensity to work and to listen, and I think that’s going to take them a long way.

CSN: This camp’s in two parts, there’s high kids and college kids. What is the biggest difference between the two?
SN: Well, I think and strength and experience. The college kids are a little stronger, they’ve been lifting weights with their programs, and also just been growing as men, become men, rather than boys. So, there is a physical difference, and then I think also mentally. The play in difficult environments, and the play with more pressure, and against better players, has given them a lot of experience.

CSN: There’s a kid here, a high school kid, Maalik Wayns, [who is] already going to go to [Villanova]. . . . You get to know these kids through the week. . . . Somebody like him, what specifically do you see in a guy like that?
SN: It’s so exciting to see the talent these kids have, and the spark they have for the game. So, . . . it’s exciting to see them at this stage, to be able to follow him at Villanova, and watch how he’s able to take the lessons and the competition he has at a camp like this, and allow that to propel him into succeeding at the next level, and I just love seeing the talent, and the excitement, and them listening, these coaches being assembled here. That makes me feel good because then I feel like the kids got a chance.

PS: Is there a big ‘wow’ factor for you seeing some of these kids, and just saying you can’t believe how good they are at such a young age?
SN: Of course. Some of them are so young and so talented already, you feel like you have to check their birth certificates, they’re clever, and it’s great to see. It’s a beautiful thing to see that the game is still strong, and that kids are still excited and passionate about it.

CSN: People have trashed basketball in North America, in saying the European skill levels and their development programs are so much better. Is this the kind of thing that . . . North American basketball, Canadian and US, is using to combat that?
SN: I think so. You know, . . . it’s true, the world has caught up in some areas. I think to come here and to really put players in a camp just for their positions, just for the skills it really takes to succeed at that position is a way to give these kids an opportunity to make steps that maybe they wouldn’t make if they didn’t have this opportunity. So, maybe it is a response to the . . . growth the game has seen around the world, and I think with camps like this, the rebuttal will be strong.

AZ: A couple of the high school kids, Lance Stephenson and Dexter [Strickland] are going to try out for Under-18 USA team, competing against college kids. Do you think some of these kids could play on a U-18 team of college kids, and do you think there’s renewed pride to try to play for USA since the Americans have suffered a little bit?
SN: I don’t know about the renewed pride. . . . They may not be as good, or not all of them will be as good right now, but they’re capable of playing with them, and I think a few of them will fit right in.

CSN: X’s and O’s-wise what are the most important things you try to teach to these kids in this kind of setting?
SN: Well, I think the biggest thing that we’re trying to teach the at the Point Guard Academy is [the] pick-and-roll. . . . Pick-and-roll’s such a huge part of basketball, . . . and it’s also one of the most difficult things for a young player to learn, and it takes years and years, and you always are getting better at it, and I think we only give them the tools so they give themselves a chance to get better at it every year, because I think it’s something that I think I’m still improving at, and hopefully if we can give them the tools and the insight, that they can continue to improve and make rapid gains.

KA: With the high school guys especially, change of speed and using speed to your advantage, not always going 100 miles an hour, is that something you notice with some of these guys, that they’re trying to get some things done too quickly?
SN: Yeah, I think it’s a trait of a lot of young players is that they rush a little bit, they’re in a hurry. You want to allow them to slow down a little bit, use their speed to their advantage, and I think that once you got at full speed all the time, you’ve just given away all the time, the defense can key in on you, but if you change pace, change speeds, change directions, you give yourself a chance to really allow your speed to be an advantage.

CSN: [The] NBA Draft [was on Thursday]. Since you’re here, talk about what you guys did and what you saw in the draft in general.
SN: All I heard is that we got Robin Lopez [from Stanford]. So, I’m excited about that, it’s nice to have some size and athleticism. . . . I think he’s an intelligent kid, so it’ll be a great addition to our team, but I didn’t see what happened after that, so, sorry.

NB: Are there any kids in specific here that have stood out to you as some of the top players?
SN: Not really. It’s really hard in this setting to acknowledge that because it’s not five-on-five. So, I couldn’t really.

PS: Talk about how Steve Nash at the same age might have fared, in high school, at this camp.
SN: Well, I think I would have done okay because I was a hard worker, I had good skills, and I was creative, but I think physically, I think . . . these were ahead of me, and when I went to Santa Clara [for college], it took me a little while to catch up to the level and the speed of the game. . . . I think these kids, physically, are ahead of me [from] when I was there age, it took a little time to catch up.

CSN: Excuse me for not knowing, but are you playing in the Olympics this summer?
SN: No.

AZ: Talk [about new New York Knicks Head Coach Mike] . . . D’Antoni. What can he bring to the Knicks?
SN: I think Mike’s going to be great for them, for the Knicks, and the city, it’s kind of the center of basketball in many ways, this is such a great basketball city, and the struggles the Knicks have had have been painful for the fans. I think Mike’s going to be fantastic, they’re going to play a little bit different style than they’re used to here in New York. It’s probably been a few years since they got up-and-down [the floor] the way he’ll want him to, but he’s such a talented and intelligent coach. I think he can’t help but have a great impact on the team.

CSN: How is that going to change what you guys do out there too? You have to now . . . adapt to a new coach, and a new style, and a new system.
SN: Well, we’re lucky to have a great coach. We’re sad to lose Mike, but to be able to replace him with Terry Porter, someone we all respect and admire, is going to be a lot of fun, and hopefully we can win some games, tweak some things, and be a better team.

CSN: Is it disappointing the way this year ended? I know when you got Shaq [O’Neal], you had, certainly, major expectations.
SN: [It was] very disappointing. We wanted to win a championship. To lose in the first round hurt a lot.

PS: Speaking of New York, in the past you’ve played soccer in the summers, you’ve made it your home in the summer. Are you playing this summer?
SN: Yeah, . . . same as always.

PS: Which team are you playing with?
SN: I play on an Italian team and I play on a team sponsored by Phoebe’s.

NB: What drew you to this camp to be a part of it, and [led you] run your own point guard camp?
SN: Well, Nike just asked me if I’d be interested, and I thought it was a great opportunity for these youngsters, and if I could help, I’d be happy to.

NB: What types of players will thrive in Coach D’Antoni’s system? . . . Do you think [he will be able to] . . . co-exist with Stephon Marbury?
SN: Of course he can. I think Steph’s an extremely talented player, and if he and Mike enjoy working together, he’ll flourish. There’s no doubt in my mind.

CSN: Will you miss [D‘Antoni]?
SN: Yeah, . . . we’ll miss Mike. It’s really sad to see him go. . . . We had a lot of success together, and everyone enjoyed playing for him, so it’s sad to see him.

KA: In terms of footwork, and just like you said, pick-and-roll being one of the biggest things, what can you teach them in this short time about using footwork?
SN: I just wanted them to . . . dictate what they wanted to do and not let the defender dictate it, for them to get to the places on the floor [where] they can operate, and stay away from places on the floor where it [is] . . . difficult for them, and setting their man up, getting their man on his heels when they come off pick-and-rolls so they can create space for themselves. It opens up passing lanes and shot opportunities.

It's clear that Steve Nash really does care about helping young basketball players. He is able to not only focus on his game, the Suns, the NBA as a whole, but also on being a good role model and teacher for some of the premiere high school school and college guards in America. It seems that being a two-time MVP has not gotten to Nash's head, as he is still a down-to-earth person. Next time you see Steve Nash lighting it up on TV, don't forget all the good he is doing for players who will one day be in his shoes, especially if he's playing against your favorite team. It will help you to not get mad at the kind-hearted Canadian as he makes the players you root for look silly.

Note- CSN=Comcast Sports Net, PS=Patrick Stanwood, AZ=Adam Zagoria of, KA=Kevin Armstrong of, and NB=Northstar Basketball

Note- photo is from

Monday, June 30, 2008

Austin Rivers- Making a Name for Himself

In the basketball world, Rivers is a big-time last name right now, as Doc Rivers just coached the Boston Celtics to the NBA title. The head man in Beantown has another star in his family. Doc's son, 6'3.5 guard Austin Rivers of Winter Park (FL), was one of just two players in the class of 2011 at the Steve Nash Skills Academy, along with Tony Wroten. Rivers, Wroten, Michael Gilchrist, LeBryan Nash, and LaQuinton Ross will likely be battling for the top spot in their class as time progresses. I had a chance to speak with Austin after he finished up his final workout at the Nash event.

NB: What was it like watching your dad coach the Celtics to the NBA Championship?
AR: Man, it didn’t really sink in until the next day. It was crazy, it was probably the craziest thing, probably the best day of my life so far. [It] was crazy.

NB: Do you kind of felt a weight off of his shoulders, finally winning that title, getting that playoff [series] win and all that?
AR: Yeah, I think he can actually relax now, now that he’s at least won one and he has none of that pressure about having all those great players and not succeeding, so I think he’s more relaxed now.

NB: What’s it been like for you being around NBA players all the time, with your dad always being around those guys?
AR: It’s different. . . . It’s helped me a lot because they teach you a lot of stuff. I don’t train with them or play with them that much, I just go in my backyard and play, but it’s a lot different. They teach you stuff and it’s fun.

NB: You’ve really come on strong during the spring and summer. What’s went into that for you?
AR: It’s been good so far. I’ve been working, I think I’ve been playing a lot better because I’ve been getting a little bit . . . stronger, and . . . I’m trying to get a lot more stronger, and I just can’t wait until the Peach Jam.

NB: What’s the biggest strength in your game?
AR: I’d say my jump-shot because it can open me up, and when they have to play close, I think I [am] quick enough to go by a lot of people, and I can penetrate or score. . . . Just, the jump-shot, I think [it] opens me up.

NB: What’s your biggest weakness?
AR: I’d say my strength. Compared to these dudes, these dudes are pretty big. You got Lance [Stephenson] and Tommy [Mason-Griffin] over there [that] look like football players. . . . I need to get a little bit . . . bigger. I think that’s my weakness, strength.

NB: What schools are you currently considering?
AR: Florida, right now. . . . University of Florida, that’s most likely.

NB: Is that your dream school?
AR: It’s one of them. I’ve always liked them and Texas, and North Carolina, and Kansas. Those are the . . . four right there.

NB: Who do currently have an offer from?
AR: Florida, [Central Florida], and . . . I’m going to try to go visit Memphis, Kansas, and Texas.

Austin Rivers is not only a nice and genuine kid, he is a talented ball player. That's evident merely from the fact that the rising sophomore was invited to the Steve Nash Skills Academy, a top-notch Nike event. Rivers is a player with a of potential, as he is still young and lanky. Once he begins to fill out his frame, Rivers will be a load for any defender to handle. Austin was one of just three or four players who kept shooting around during the water break in the scrimmage I saw him. His work ethic will take him a long way, and it will help him to be more than just Doc's son.

Note- photo is from

Tony Wroten- The Best in the Class of 2011? He Says "Yes"

The Steve Nash Skills Academy featured some of the best players in America. The invitees included Lance Stephenson '09, John Wall '09, Tommy Mason-Griffin '09, Maalik Wayns '09, Doron Lamb '10, and Trae Golden '10. One of the biggest names at the event, which was full of superstars, was class of 2011 big-timer Tony Wroten of Garfield (WA), a 6'4.5 guard. After the last workout of the event, I had the opportunity to catch up with Wroten, one of only two players in his class at the event.

NB: What schools are you currently considering?
TW: Man, there’s a lot. I got long [list]. . . . It’s Louisville, Syracuse, [Villanova], Memphis, Maryland, Seton Hall, [and] Washington. I can go on and on. . . . I don’t even know what my top five [is] yet.

NB: How many offers do you have at this point?
TW: I only got one.

NB: From who?
TW: Washington

NB: What’s it like for you getting so much attention? You’re . . . going to be a sophomore next year, yet you have so much national attention.
TW: It’s great because . . . a lot of people come to your games, all eyes are on you, but then again, . . . I can’t think all about me, it’s about my team, and then my game will follow. So, it’s a nice privilege to have people come see me [and] have [my] games [be] packed.

NB: What’s the strongest point of your game?
TW: My vision. . . . I’m an all-around player. . . . I’m like Magic Johnson basically.

NB: What’s the weakest point of your game?
TW: Right now, I’d say, my opposite hand, my right hand.

NB: Are you the best player in the class of 2011?
TW: Yes, by far. . . . I’m not saying that to be cocky, I’m just saying it to be confident. The reason why is because I can do it all, shoot, dribble, go to the hole, play defense. I always want to guard the best player on the . . . opposite team, that’s why a few days ago I wanted to guard Lance . . . Stephenson and John Wall [because] they [are] the best. That’s why I think I’m the best in [the] class.

Wroten is certainly confident, and rightfully so. The young guard has a bright future ahead of him, and it appears that he has many options as to where he wants to go in his future. Wroten's cousin, Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks, can likely give him some secrets to success and some tips on how to handle pressure. Tony Wroten is a player that you will be hearing much more about as his years in high school move along.

Scouting Report on Wroten:

Tony Wroten was the second tallest player at the camp, behind Lance Stephenson '09, who is actually a swingman. Tony has a nice build and a big frame. The star from Washington is a top-notch athlete. It was this aspect of the the class of 2011 guard's game that made him stand out the most. He is a great dunker and has great hops. Wroten's size, athleticism, and overall talent will take him a long way.

Note- photo is from

Update on . . . Khalid Lewis El

Class of 2011 swingman Khalid Lewis El just finished up a big weekend in San Diego, California. The 6'3 star from Trenton Catholic (NJ) was at the adidas Phenom 150 event in the Golden State. He had a big-time weekend and busted out in a major way. Khalid was ranked by as the number three player at the camp, which had around 360 kids in the rising 10th graders division. Lewis El was the top ranked wing forward, and the highest finisher of all players from the New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania basketball powerhouse area. I'll keep you posted on how things are coming along for the TCA soon-to-be sophomore.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tavon Sledge- Young Speedster Wants to Improve

St. Benedict's (NJ) seemed to have the game in lock during their matchup with PCTI (NJ) at the Hoop Group Showcase. The Gray Bees, who led by 14 at halftime, and were up by double digits for most of the contest, let the squad from PCTI slowly creep back into the game. The game was all tied up with under a minute to go and PCTI had the ball, but was unable to convert. St. Ben's took advantage of the opportunity and hit a close-range shot as time expired. During the hard fought contest, Tavon Sledge, a 5'10 point guard, stood out as one of the premiere players for either side. I had the opportunity to chat with the class of 2011 star after the win.

NB: What happened with [the team] out there? You guys had a big lead, [but] fell apart. You guys had to win it on the last second shot. What went wrong?
TS: We just got too ahead of ourselves, started throwing turnovers. We weren’t settled. We were trying to rush our shots, and just [did] not listen to the coach really.

NB: How did you personally contribute to the letdown at some point during that game?
TS: I threw some crucial turnovers, too. I tried to push the issue and tried to get my team involved when we weren’t supposed to, and that’s pretty much it.

NB: How did you then help your team rebound and get the win?
TS: I tried to stay down low as much as possible and try to double down on the big man because he started killing us at the end and started getting more rebounds.

NB: What do consider to be the strongest point of your game?
TS: My speed and my ability to score.

NB: What’s the weakest point of your game?
TS: My jump-shot.

NB: What are you doing to improve your jump-shot?
TS: I’m working a lot on my jump-shot with my trainer, . . . so I’m trying to get to him as much as possible every week and work on the shot.

NB: What do you see as some of the similarities between playing in a high school game during the summer and an AAU event during the summer?
TS: AAU is more of a run-and-gun game. [In] high school [games] you got to be smart and listen to the coach because [in] AAU, coaches don’t really coach, they just let you play. [In] high school [games] you got to run sets and just follow what the coach is saying because if you don’t listen he’ll take you out.

NB: Which one do you prefer?
TS: High school.

NB: Which one do you think you play better in?
TS: I think I play better in AAU.

NB: Then why [do] you prefer high school [basketball]?
TS: Because I think it’s going to get me better more [than AAU is] in the future. . . . I like to run a lot and play, but high school teaches me how be smart as a point guard and play . . . [like] the coach is telling me to.

NB: You brought up the future. What are some of the colleges you’re considering right now?
TS: I don’t even know yet.

NB: Have you been receiving any interest?
TS: I got letters from Marquette, Seton Hall, Villanova, . . . Syracuse, and that’s pretty much it.

NB: Are you interested in . . . [at] some point playing in the Big East?
TS: Yeah.

NB: Do you have a dream school?
TS: Not really.

NB: Is the Big East the conference that you want to play in though?
TS: Yeah.

NB: What are you looking for in a college?
TS: Something just to get me better, to be a smarter student. . . . That’s pretty much it.

NB: How important will academics be in your decision?
TS: Very important.

It's evident that Tavon, a speedster with great hops, wants to improve his game. The floor general will definitely get some playing time for the Gray Bees this year, despite the crowded point guard situation. With seasoning and practice Tavon Sledge may well become one of the best point guards in his class. It seems that getting him to practice won't be an issue, as the St. Benedict's guard is a baller who wants to become as good as he can.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

News & Notes-

Here are some quick tidbits of information for you:

- Prior to the NBA Draft officially starting, I asked Jerryd Bayless if he knew where he was going to get pick, and he responded by saying, "I have no idea." It seems that the players really do have to wait in the dark.

- Duke's Greg Paulus was injured at the Steve Nash Skills Academy. He hurt his ankle and ended up on crutches. Paulus did not go to the gym for camp activities on Friday, the last day of drills and workouts.

- Dexter Strickland of St. Patrick's (NJ) apparently has a pulled hamstring. The injury, which he seems to have suffered either just before adidas Nations in Africa or during the event, kept him out of the Steve Nash Skills Academy, and he did not even come on Friday.

- The Steve Nash Skills Academy really is a "skills academy." The players do drills, work on fundamentals, get quality coaching, play some games, and work hard. Nike is doing a great job trying to help these players improve their games. As well, Steve Nash was not only at the event, but he really did do coaching. It wasn't as if the Phoenix Suns star just stood around and watched the camp go on. He took an active role in helping the kids get better. The camp was well-run an well organized. Kudos to Nike!

Upcoming Interviews:

I'm sorry I was unable to post any articles yesterday. I had a very busy 24 hours that included attending the Steve Nash Skills Academy at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. These are the college players that participated in the event that I spoke to: Stephen Curry of Davidson, Jai Lucas of Florida, Eric Maynor of Virginia Commonwealth, Levance Fields of Pitt, and Tyrese Rice of Boston College. I caught up with two of the event's high school players, class of 2011 stars Tony Wroten, Jr. and Austin Rivers. As well, I took the chance to chat with some members of the crowd: Brandon Costner of North Carolina St. and Lance Stephenson's father. Finally, I had the opportunity to ask some questions of Steve Nash along with a few other reporters. Besides these 10, I got contact information for a number of other players, including John Wall, Kenny Boynton, and Jack McClinton, and will speak to those guys sometime in the near future. For now, stay tuned in for these interviews, as well as many of the ones I conducted at the Hoop Group Showcase. Thanks!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 NBA Draft My Way

Here's a rundown of how the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft would go if I were the GM of all 30 teams. Basically, I'm saying what I think the team should do with each pick.

Pick. Team: Name, Position, Grade/Age, College/Country
1. Chicago: Michael Beasley, F, Fr, Kansas St.
2. Miami: Derrick Rose, G, Fr, Memphis
3. Minnesota: Kevin Love, F, Fr, UCLA
4. Seattle: OJ Mayo, G, Fr, USC
5. Memphis: Brook Lopez, C, So, Stanford
6. New York: Jerryd Bayless, G, Fr, Arizona
7. Los Angeles Clippers: DJ Augustin, G, So, Texas
8. Milwaukee: Danilo Gallinari, F, 19, Italy
9. Charlotte: Eric Gordon, G, Fr, Indiana
10. New Jersey: Anthony Randolph, F, Fr, LSU
11. Indiana: Russell Westbrook, G, So, UCLA
12. Sacramento: Mario Chalmers, G, Jr, Kansas
13. Portland: Brandon Rush, G, Jr, Kansas
14. Golden State: Joe Alexander, F, Jr, West Virginia
15. Phoenix: Donte' Green, F, Fr, Syracuse
16. Philadelphia: DeAndre Jordan, C, Fr, Texas A&M
17. Indiana: Robin Lopez, C, So, Stanford
18. Washington: Darrell Arthur, F, So, Kansas
19. Cleveland: Kosta Koufos, C, Fr, Ohio St.
20. Charlotte: Alexis Ajinca, C, 20, France
21. New Jersey: Chris Douglas-Roberts, G, Jr, Memphis
22. Orlando: JJ Hickson, F, Fr, North Carolina St.
23. Utah: Roy Hibbert, C, Sr, Georgetown
24. Seattle: Marreese Speights, C, So, Florida
25. Houston: Jason Thompson, F, Sr, Rider
26. San Antonio: Nicolas Batum, F, 19, France
27. Portland: Nathan Jawai, F/C, 21, Australia
28. Memphis: Bill Walker, F, Fr, Kansas St.
29. Detroit: JaVale McGee, C, So, Nevada
30. Boston: Courtney Lee, G, Sr, Western Kentucky

Note- the sites I used as sources are:,,,, and

2008 NBA Mock Draft

I'm heading off to the NBA Draft soon, but before I leave, I want to just give my mock draft, of what I think will happen tonight at the WaMu Theater in New York.

Pick. Team: Name, Position, Grade/Age, College/Country
1. Chicago: Derrick Rose, G, Fr, Memphis
2. Miami: Michael Beasley, F, Fr, Kansas St.
3. Minnesota: OJ Mayo, G, Fr, USC
4. Seattle: Russell Westbrook, G, So, UCLA
5. Memphis: Kevin Love, F, Fr, UCLA
6. New York: Danilo Gallinari, F, 19, Italy
7. Los Angeles Clippers: Jerryd Bayless, G, Fr, Arizona
8. Milwaukee: Joe Alexander, F, Jr, West Virginia
9. Charlotte: Brook Lopez, C, So, Stanford
10. New Jersey: Eric Gordon, G, Fr, Indiana
11. Indiana: Anthony Randolph, F, Fr, LSU
12. Sacramento: DJ Augustin, G, So, Texas
13. Portland: Alexis Ajinca, C, 20, France
14. Golden State: Brandon Rush, G, Jr, Kansas
15. Phoenix: Donte' Green, F, Fr, Syracuse
16. Philadelphia: Robin Lopez, C, So, Stanford
17. Indiana: Kosta Koufos, C, Fr, Ohio St.
18. Washington: Darrell Arthur, F, So, Kansas
19. Cleveland: DeAndre Jordan, C, Fr, Texas A&M
20. Charlotte: JJ Hickson, F, Fr, North Carolina St.
21. New Jersey: Marreese Speights, C, So, Florida
22. Orlando: Courtney Lee, G, Sr, Western Kentucky
23. Utah: JaVale McGee, C, So, Nevada
24. Seattle: Roy Hibbert, C, Sr, Georgetown
25. Houston: Chris Douglas-Roberts, G, Jr, Memphis
26. San Antonio: Nicolas Batum, F, 19, France
27. Portland: Mario Chalmers, G, Jr, Kansas
28. Memphis: Ryan Anderson, F, So, Cal
29. Detroit: Jason Thompson, F, Sr, Rider
30. Boston: Nathan Jawai, F/C, 21, Australia

1 (31). Minnesota: DeVon Hardin, C, Sr, Cal
2 (32). Seattle: Bill Walker, F, Fr, Kansas St.
3 (33). Portland: Serge Ibaka, F, 18, Spain
4 (34). Minnesota: DJ White, F, Sr, Indiana
5 (35). Los Angeles Clippers: Ante Tomic, C, 21, Croatia
6 (36). Portland: Jamont Gordon, G, Jr, Mississippi St.
7 (37). Milwaukee: Nikola Pekovic, C, 22, Serbia
8 (38). Charlotte: Kyle Weaver, G, Sr, Washington St.
9 (39). Chicago: Omer Asik, C, 21, Turkey
10 (40). New Jersey: Richard Hendrix, F, Jr, Alabama
11 (41). Indiana: Damjan Rudez, F, 22, Croatia
12 (42). Sacramento: Joey Dorsey, F, Sr, Memphis
13 (43). Sacramento: Sonny Weems, G, Sr, Arkansas
14 (44). Utah: Trent Plaisted, F/C, Jr, BYU
15 (45). San Antonio: Goran Dragic, G, 22, Slovenia
16 (46). Seattle: JR Giddens, G, Sr, New Mexico
17 (47). Washington: George Hill, G, Jr, IUPUI
18 (48). Phoenix: Gary Forbes, G/F, Sr, UMass
19 (49). Golden State: Mike Taylor, G, 22, NBDL
20 (50). Seattle: Semih Erden, C, 21, Turkey
21 (51). Dallas: Malik Hairston, G/F, Sr, Oregon
22 (52). Miami: Sasha Kaun, C, Sr, Kansas
23 (53). Utah: Bryce Taylor, G, Sr, Oregon
24 (54). Houston: James Gist, F, Sr, Maryland
25 (55). Portland: Pat Calathes, F, Sr, St. Joseph's
26 (56). Seattle: Shan Foster, G, Sr, Vanderbilt
27 (57). San Antonio: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, F, Jr, UCLA
28 (58). Los Angeles Lakers: Mantas Kalnietes, G, 21, Lithuania
29 (59). Detroit: DeMarcus Nelson, G, Sr, Duke
30 (60). Boston: Reggie Williams, G, Sr, VMI

Note- the sites I used as sources are:,,,, and

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Poll- My Choice

In one of the polls last week, I asked you to pick the best program right now between the St. Anthony's Friars (NJ), the St. Benedict's Gray Bees (NJ), and the St. Patrick's Celtics (NJ). The programs, led by Bob Hurley, Danny Hurley, and Kevin Boyle respectively, are three of the best in America. Now to me, the "best program right now" would mean that overall, the program, not just the current team, is the best. That means that it's done well in the recent past and poised to do well in the not-too-distant future. All three have a rich history, so that criteria is out the window, though St. Ant's probably does have a bit of a leg up up. Anyway, it's so hard to pick between the three because of just how amazing all of them are. I'm going to rule a teams out, to start, thus narrowing the choices down to just two. I'll get rid of the Friars first. Yes, the team won the national title last year and went undefeated, but other than that it hasn't been all fun in the sun for Bob Hurley's boys. Prior to last year, St. Anthony's was certainly the third of the three in terms of how well the squads were doing, specifically during the 21st century. As well, the future doesn't look great for the Friars, as their starting lineup next year will lack a quality point guard, and whoever does start at that spot, will likely be not even close to the level of the other 14 starters the schools will have. The Friars will start Ashton Pankey '10, Devon Collier '10, and Dominic Cheek '09, all of whom are superstars. Jamee Jackson '09 will start as well, but he is not quite up to the level of the other three. I really don't even know who Bob Hurley's fifth starter will be. Let's move on to the final two, the Gray Bees and the Celtics. It's so hard to choose between the two. There is no right choice, as both of them, and St. Ant's, can have a powerful argument for the spot. I'm going to go with St. Patrick's. The Gray Bees were better than them last year, beating them at the Prime Time Shootout, and finishing with only one loss, but prior to that it was a lot of push and shove between the two, with St. Pat's usually pushing a little bit harder. As for next year, the Celtics seem to have a better roster from top to bottom. Not only will they be deeper, they will be just flat-out better. Thus, I'm putting aside the Gray Bees' better season from last year, and giving the nod to St. Patrick's.

Northstar Basketball's Top Three Programs in New Jersey Right Now:
1. St. Patrick's Celtics
2. St. Benedict's Gray Bees
3. St. Anthony's Friars

Player Diary: Stevie Taylor '11

Since my last entry I’ve been to a lot of camps and AAU tournaments. First I would like to talk about the Bob Gibbons TOC in North Carolina. My dad and I took a plane to North Carolina and as soon as we landed I told my dad that I was going to make the all- tournament team. I did! The first game I had 15 points and 5 assists, and when we went up by 20, they had to stop the game with 4 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. Throughout the whole tournament we were blowing teams out by 20 points.

In the championship game we played the M33M Memphis, which also was the team we played in the U-14 AAU Nationals last summer. I’m happy to report that we beat them by 15 points for the second time in a row. In that game I had 23 points and 6 assists. The experience was unbelievable, and all of the universities that we played at were top notch. We played at Duke, North Carolina, and NC State. Me personally, I liked North Carolina the best because it was so big and everything was painted baby blue. I have to say, the Gibbons was the best tournament I’ve been to ever.

A few weeks back I attended the Xavier Elite Camp in Cincinnati. At Xavier, I played really well. The first game I played on the main court against some top players. The coach at Xavier spoke to me at the camp and told me he liked my game and was going to start recruiting me really hard. I like Xavier a lot and I hope they keep watching me.

I had to leave early on Saturday morning because I had to go play with my high school team at Ohio State. The Ohio State Team Camp was another great experience for my team and I. We went 2-2 the first day and we got the 5th seed going into the playoffs. We won the first game on Sunday, but then we lost the next game.

This past weekend I played in the RBK Breakout Underclassmen Camp in Chicago, Illinois. The breakout camp was invitation only and everybody there could play. I played really well in every game. In the first two games I went for 20 points each game. There were a lot of individual match-ups that people wanted to see and most of them turned out really well and were fun to watch. I got hurt the last game on Saturday so that kept me from playing in any games on Sunday, including the all-star game. The Reebok Camp was great and I think I made a big impression.

During the last couple of weeks I have been playing in a summer league that features pro and college level athletes. Last week I led my team in scoring with 12 points, but we kind of got blown out. Next week is a big showdown between my squad and my brother’s team. I hope my thumb is better because I plan on going at my brother for real.

I was supposed to be attending the Cincinnati Elite Camp this week but I didn’t make it because of my thumb injury. However, I will be going down to the UC Team Camp on Friday with my high school team. I was hoping to get an offer from UC but that may be tough now that I missed the elite camp.

Well that’s all for now. Look for my next entry in the next couple of weeks. The next time we talk I will tell you what went down at the Adidas Take Five Classic in Cincinnati, the Adidas Super 64 in Vegas and of course the NCAA First Team Program in early August. See ya.

Poll Results:

It seems that many of the readers are either St. Patrick's (NJ) fans or just people who don't buy into to rankings as the end all and be all. The first poll last week asked whether St. Pat's, St. Benedict's (NJ), or St. Anthony's (NJ) was the best program right now. The results were somewhat surprising, especially after the undefeated season that the St. Ant's Friars had last year, which included a win over St. Pat's. The Celtics of the Elizabeth school, St. Patrick's, were chosen as the best program of the three right now, getting 22 of the 49 votes. Kevin Boyle's program edged out Bob Hurley's group, the Jersey City school, in St. Anthony's. The Friars got 17 votes. Danny Hurley's team, the Gray Bees from Newark, finished third with 10 selections. As for the other poll, asking you to pick the best player in New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania in the class of 2009, the winner was a shocker. Dexter Strickland, the point guard for St. Patrick's, grabbed 41 of the 104 votes. Lance Stephenson, the most well-known player in America, a swingman at Lincoln (NY), received 36 selections. It's interesting that he did not win, as he was the player that you picked in a previous poll as the best player in America as a whole in the class of 2009. After these two was a major drop off, and Dominic Cheek, a shooting guard at St. Anthony's, came in third with 12 votes. Maalik Wayns, a point guard from Roman Catholic (PA), came in fourth with nine votes. Lamar Patterson, an incoming shooting guard at St. Benedict's, tied with "Other" for fifth place, as each of them was chosen three times. As for the players who could have received the "Other" vote, I'd think that it was likely for one of the following guys: Omar Lawrence, Durand Scott, Tamir Jackson, or Zeke Marshall. The other guys with a chance may have been Sherrod Wright, Dane Miller, Dalton Pepper, Brandon Triche, and Lamont Jones. Please comment with your choice and why you selected the player and/or team that you did.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tyreek Duran- Working Out Pays Off

Tyreek Duran, a 6'2 guard for Neumann-Goretti (PA), was his team's top player in its win over Brick Memorial (NJ) at the Hoop Group Showcase. Duran showed off his nice ability to get to the rack, and translated it into a 17-point performance. Although his teammate Tony Chenault '10 is more highly regarded than him, Duran is definitely working to improve his game. I spoke with Tyreek after his team's win in the game over Brick.

NB: In the first half, . . . you had fifteen points, [but] only two in the second half. Why [did] you cool off so much?
TD: Just to slow the game down. [I] didn’t have to do as much in the second half, so I just got other people involved.

NB: What were you doing in the first half to keep on scoring?
TD: Just putting pressure on the guards, easy opportunities leak out, and just run the offense basically.

NB: What do you consider to be the strongest point of your game?
TD: My dribble drive.

NB: What [is] . . . your weakest [point]?
TD: Probably my jump-shot.

NB: What are you doing to . . . try to improve your jump-shot?
TD: Just work out like two, three times a week?

NB: Do you have a specific routine that you use when you work out?
TD: Not really. . . . It depends on who I’m working out with.

NB: Do you prefer to work out by yourself or with other people?
TD: With other people.

NB: Who are some of the people that you’ve worked out with?
TD: Tony Chenault [and] Dion Waiters.

NB: What’s it like for you working out with some of those other guys, either teammates [such as Chenault] or non-teammates [such as Waiters]? What can they add to your game?
TD: It’s just different styles. I see how they workout, and it’s like motivation for me to work out harder.

NB: What schools are you currently considering?
TD: Right now, Providence, Georgetown, and I think Robert Morris. They [contacted] me the other day.

NB: Have all three of those schools offered you a scholarship?
TD: Not yet, . . . so far I haven’t [received an offer]. I think Miami is supposed to offer me a scholarship.

NB: Miami-Florida or Miami-Ohio?
TD: Florida.

NB: What are some other schools that have shown interest in you?
TD: St. Joe’s, and that’s about it off the top of my head that I can name.

NB: Do you have a dream school?
TD: Probably Georgetown.

NB: Why Georgetown?
TD: Because Allen Iverson [went there].

NB: Is Allen Iverson your favorite player?
TD: He’s one of them.

NB: What do you as some of the similarities between your game and his game?
TD: His ability to get in the lane with ease.

NB: Who are some of your other favorite players?
TD: Kobe Bryant.

NB: What are some of your similarities with him?
TD: None really, he’s just a crazy player, too good.

NB: When you watch Iverson and Bryant, do you try to emulate some of what they do and use that in your game, or do you just try to play the way you play?
TD: Just play the way I play. I look at it as, you can only play your game, you can’t really play like anyone else.

NB: Talk about your game. What exactly is [your] game?
TD: Just fast-paced, never slowing down, one speed.

NB: Where does you loved for basketball come from?
TD: Probably just the city of Philadelphia. I grew up playing.

Duran, a good ball handler with a smooth crossover, is evidently trying to make himself a better ballplayer. Working out with high-caliber players such as Chenault and Waiters will only improve his game. Chenault has been considered one of the premiere players in his class even before reaching high school, while Waiters has already committed to Syracuse. The two class of 2010 star guards will be key parts in the development process for Duran. The Neumann-Goretti guard will continue to work on his game during his high school career, and before you know it, Tyreek Duran just might be one of the best guards in the Northeast.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Andre Gillette-Heading to the Atlantic 10?

Neumann-Goretti (PA) was missing its biggest star, Tony Chenault '10, over the weekend at the Hoop Group Showcase, but its number two guy was in attendance. The team's tallest player, class of 2009 power forward 6'8 Andre Gillette is the secondary player on the Philadelphia basketball powerhouse. The big man came late to his team's game against Brick Memorial (NJ), but the game was already well in hand at that point, despite it still being the first half. I chatted with Andre, who scored four points in the game all of which were in the first half, after his team knocked off the Jersey public school by a score of 61-31.

NB: What schools are you currently considering?
AG: Schools in the [Atlantic] 10.

NB: Such as?
AG: St. Joe’s, Xavier, [and] Temple

NB: What about some other schools? Is there . . . anyone outside of the A-10 that you’re thinking of?
AG: Not really, I’m just focused on right now, but there’s a couple schools in the Big East like Syracuse [and] Marquette [that are] recruiting me.

NB: What do you consider to be the strongest point of your game?
AG: Facing up, catching it in the post, facing up. I can create off a few dribbles.

NB: What’s the weakest point of your game?
AG: Strength, probably.

NB: What are you doing to work on that?
AG: I’m in the weight room for like three days a week.

NB: What do you prefer to play . . . during the summer, high basketball in these team events or AAU ball?
AG: The traveling, it gets crazy, but I don’t know, I like AAU. I like both.

NB: What about overall as a whole, . . . just the game, do prefer playing a high school style game or the AAU [game], more of the running-and-gunning?
AG: I like to run, but either way, I . . . think my game is more running.

NB: Can you give me one word to sum up your game?
AG: Finesse.

NB: What schools do you currently hold an offer from?
AG: Like I said, mostly the [Atlantic] 10.

NB: Those schools have all offered you a scholarship?
AG: Yes.

NB: Do you have any leaders at this point? . . .[Are there any] schools at the top of your list?
AG: Those who are recruiting me hardest, [which right now] would be Xavier.

NB: What do you think the chances are [that] you end up at Xavier?
AG: Seven out of ten.

NB: Do you have a dream school?
AG: I like the Big East, any school in the Big East, like Syracuse or one of them.

NB: If you could pick one school to play for, who would it be?
AG: I would like a school that’s not too big, so I would like St. Joe’s, or Temple, or Xavier.

NB: What type of coach do you want to play for?
AG: One that’ll help me individually, work on me. . . . Yeah, that’s it.

NB: What’s your favorite part of playing basketball?
AG: Favorite part of playing basketball? A team, just playing with a team, . . . team effort, I just like playing with a team.

Gillette seems to be highly interested in the Atlantic 10, and many of those schools are in Pennsylvania, and close to Philadelphia. Thus, he may not have to go far away from home for college. Despite the fact that it's not in Pennsylvania, Gillette seems to be favoring Xavier, an Ohio school. Regardless of exactly where the big man ends up, it appears that the school will likely be in the A-10.

Scouting Report on Gillette’s Game vs. Brick Memorial:

The 6’8 big man needs to add some weight to his lanky frame, and much of it will likely need to be in the form of muscle. Right not, Andre Gillette just is not big enough, though he certainly has some time to get bigger. Adding about 15 pounds would work nicely for Andre. The class of 2009 power forward is long and does a solid job of blocking shots. He is powerful and aggressive despite his lanky build. On defense, there were some times when smaller players would get offensive rebounds over him. Gillette needs to develop into more of a scorer, but he does have talent and length.

Note- photo is from

Update on . . . Markese Tucker, Wayne Newsom, Dondre Whitmore, and Frantz Massenat

The offers are continuing to pour in for Dondre Whitmore, Frantz Massenat, Wayne Newsom, and Markese Tucker. All four of them were offered by Iona today, with official offers coming within the past few hours. Tucker, Massenat, and Whitmore all play for the Trenton Catholic Iron Mikes (NJ), while Newsom is a member of the Piscataway Chiefs (NJ). All four are in the class of 2010, and their lists should continue to grow over the summer. Massenat is currently leading the bunch with five offers.

Sterling Gibbs- Hard Work Could Make Him a Star

Seton Hall Prep (NJ) is losing one Gibbs, but has another one that seems to have a bright future. Ashton Gibbs will be heading to Pitt next year, leaving the squad to his younger brother Sterling Gibbs, a rising sophomore. The younger of the two is a 6'1 point guard, and is a well thought of player. At the Hoop Group Showcase this weekend, I had the opportunity to see the younger Gibbs play. I also was able to speak with Sterling after his team defeated Lakewood (NJ).

NB: What do you consider to be the strongest point of your game?
SG: Playmaking, getting everybody involved, getting everybody in the flow of the game.

NB: What’s your weakest point?
SG: My strength, quickness, and just [my] pull-up jump-shot.

NB: What are you doing to work on those three attributes of your game?
SG: Oh, just working out everyday at Sports University with players like Andre Barrett and different big-time players to try to get stronger and better.

NB: What’s it like for you [to be] working out with those guys, being just a freshman . . . [and] now a soon-to-be sophomore, working out with some big names?
SG: Oh, it’s good. They mentor, they just the stuff that I’m doing wrong, and then at the same time it gets you confidence up, that when you play against kids your age, then you just kind of dominate.

NB: Do you ever work out with your brother [Ashton Gibbs ‘08, a Pitt-signee]?
SG: Oh yeah, I . . . work out with him all the time.

NB: What do you see as some of the similarities and differences between your game and his?
SG: I don’t really think that we play anything alike. He’s more of a spot-up shooter, he’ll shoot it in your face, but I’m more of a playmaker, and then mainly I hit the shot if I’m open.

NB: What colleges are you currently considering?
SG: Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Florida, and Maryland.

NB: Have any of them offered you a scholarship?
SG: Oh no, I haven’t had any scholarship offers yet.

NB: Is Ashton being at Pittsburgh going to impact your decision in any way?
SG: I can’t really say yes to that question because I won’t know until the time comes around.

NB: Will the way he performs at Pittsburgh have an impact in what you think of the school?
SG: No, I can’t say yes because we don’t play anything alike, . . . his style of play is different than mine.

NB: Do you have a dream school?
SG: My dream school . . . would be Arizona because they’re more of a guard-based school.

NB: If the Wildcats were to start getting involved with you and down the road they did offer you a scholarship, is that the kind of thing that you’d jump at on the spot?
SG: I would have to measure the decision because I would have to see how many guards they have, how many guards [I would be] coming in with, and different things like that.

NB: Does all the turnover in their program worry you at all, . . . with [it] being your dream school?
SG: Not really, not really, I can’t really say yes to that.

NB: Have you received a letter from them or anything of that matter?
SG: Oh yeah, that was my first college letter that I received, in eighth grade that I received from them.

NB: What was that like for you?
SG: Oh, it was exciting, it was exciting. I got it in the mail and then told my dad about it. Everybody got excited.

NB: What are you looking to accomplish throughout your high school career?
SG: Win a TOC [Tournament of Champions] Championship. That’s the main thing I want to do.

NB: What about personally?
SG: I don’t really have any personal goals. I just want to win the TOC Championship, and that would be good for me.

The Seton Hall Prep (NJ) point guard is clearly a talented player with the ability to put the ball in the hoop. Yet, it is also clear that he has a lot left to work on to be the player that he can be. Right now, he is just a solid guard, though it is hard to fully judge his playmaking and distribution skills as he is not on a particularly great team. Gibbs will be a player to keep an eye on. It should be interesting to see how he develops and what type of player he becomes.

Scouting Report on Gibbs:

Park (NJ) in a 61-39 win, finishing with 20 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Gibbs scored almost a third of his team’s point in the game, yet did so somewhat quietly and The class of 2011 point guard was so-so and inconsistent at the Hoop Group Showcase. I caught the majority of two of his team’s game. Gibbs, who is listed at 6’1, but looks at least two inches below that, had a solid showing when his Seton Hall Prep (NJ) squad manhandled Ridgefield (NJ), yet didn’t do anything all that special to standout. He certainly displayed some fine qualities in his game, such as driving strong to the hole, good court vision, and nice quickness, all of which are important are important in a modern day point guard. I did notice a few attributes in Gibbs’ game that will require some work. When heading down the court for offense, he would occasionally break early, though many times he would lag behind the play. When he did catch up to the play, there were times Gibbs would stay behind the three-point line standing around. Sterling, who has nice hops and takes contact well, did seem a bit awkward on the court at times, though part of that may have been a result of him running slowly at times, rather than actual awkwardness. He rarely went down low on either offense or defense, unless he was driving to the rack. Gibbs is the type of player who would likely need to play on a team that utilizes zone defense, as when his man went down low, Gibbs seemed lost. He needs to be able to hang up top, where he seemed quite comfortable. In fact, Sterling would actually play D well above the three-point line on some possessions. In a zone defense, Sterling could certainly excel as a premiere defensive player. Against St. Patrick’s (NJ) in the other game I saw him play, Gibbs had a rough game, dropping just eight points, half of which came at the line, where he was 4/6. He seemed frustrated for much of the game, as the Celtics ran all over them to a 54-41 win. Overall, Gibbs is a player with talent and potential. He needs two or three inches, a more developed all-around game, especially on offense, and needs to give full effort at all times. Assuming he does what he can to improve, Gibbs has a great shot of making some noise throughout his high school career and taking his game to the high DI level.