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

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