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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / June 27.
  • Philly Hoop Group Jam Fest Recruiting Rundown

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    By ALEX KLINE

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. —¬†With tons of talent from not only the Northeast but the Midwest, South and West, this weekend’s Philly Hoop Group Jam Fest featured some very notable standouts and talented sleepers.

    Here is a breakdown of the top performers from the event and their recruitments.

    The 2013 New York Rens frontcourt of Kentan Facey and Jermaine Lawrence stole the show at the Jam Fest. Both are high major talents who are versatile, can score in a variety of ways and both need to get a bit stronger before heading to college. Facey, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Long Island Lutheran, picked up an offer from Hofstra on the spot to go along with his scholarships from “Marist, Drexel, Rhode Island, Florida, St. John’s, UConn and Florida State.” He also has significant interest from Pittsburgh, Yale and Maryland. With a 3.8 GPA, the talented New Yorker will be considering high-academic schools because of his background.

    Facey is an extremely talented and athletic faceup four with a ton of upside, while his teammate — Lawrence — plays on the wing in a Kevin Durant-type role. At 6-foot-10, the Pope John XXIII (N.J.) forward can do it all as he shoots, slashes, rebounds, handles and defends with authority. With offers from, “Cincinnati, St. John’s, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, UConn, Temple, Villanova, Hofstra, Fordham, Seton Hall, Miami and Louisville,” the rising senior has found his fit with the Rens. “Kansas, Iowa State, Georgetown, Marquette, UNLV, South Florida, UCLA, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina,” are also checking him out, especially with Norm Roberts’ move from Florida to Kansas in the past few weeks. One note was Lawrence’s interest in A-10 school Xavier. Due to the departure of assistant Rasheen Davis, a New York native who recruited Lawrence, the Musketeers are no longer in consideration as of now. Virginia Tech was also involved with Lawrence — the only school he unofficially visited — prior to the termination of head coach Seth Greenberg. Lawrence took in St. John’s and Rutgers games this winter and plans on checking out the Scarlet Knights’ campus, along with Cincinnati and Seton Hall, in the coming weeks. As of now, the most active communicators for Lawrence are assistants Darren Savino of Cincinnati, Tony Chiles of St. John’s, Kevin Ollie of UConn and Van Macon of Rutgers. Look for this duo of Facey and Lawrence to carry over during the long spring and summer of AAU as hundreds of college coaches will flock to their games.

    The surprise standout of the weekend was little known JC Show of JBHoops in Scranton, Pa. A 2014 6-foot-3 point guard from Abington Heights (PA), Show has drawn early comparisons to Scranton native and former Syracuse great, Gerry McNammara.

    “I stay away from that,” he said. “He was a great player and I’m just trying to play my game and win out there.”

    With college coaches of all levels flocking to his games, Show impressed and could make a good prospect at a high-academic low major or could end up at solid mid-major school. With no current offers, Show has interest from, “Siena, Cornell, Buckenll, Penn State, Notre Dame, Hofstra and Holy Cross. He is planning on making a visit to Cornell in May and will likely add more schools in the near future.

    There were very few available 2012s but of the ones playing this weekend, a trio from ECE/NJABC out of Delaware drew attention from dozens of college coaches. Unsigned seniors Jerome Frink – a forward from St. Anthony (NJ), Andre Horne – a shooting guard from Newark (DE), and Kamall Richards – a forward from St. Benedict’s (NJ) – all had strong weekends with big decisions coming up.

    As of now, Frink is officially down to five schools – all of whom have offered – and will take two official visits within the next week. He is considering, “Hofstra, Iona, Florida International, Quinnipiac and Robert Morris.” The St. Anthony product officially visited Robert Morris two weeks ago and came away impressed, however, he has since then learned of some news. Hofstra offered Frink and Florida International hired a new coach in Richard Pitino, who is targeting him. The 2012 forward will head to Quinnipiac on Thursday for an official visit, followed by another trip to FIU that following Monday. He is hoping to make a decision within the next week but could always postpone it. While Frink is focused on heading to college in the fall, Richards is still undecided. The Poconos (PA) native had committed to the idea of postgrading earlier in the year. He is currently fielding looks from “Temple, St. Joe’s, Rhode Island, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Robert Morris and James Madison.” Richards is “50/50” as of now on whether or not he will use an extra year of high school but is going to, “look over all of my options and see if I have the right fit.” Richards can make an immediate impact in the CAA or MAAC off the bat next year. If he heads to prep school, the forward could acclimate his stock to an A-10 level player. Lastly, ¬†Horne will be heading to prep school next year pending that he does not decided to go the junior college route. After a strong senior year in Delaware, the shooter will considering prepping at, “St. Thomas More (CT), MCI (ME), Bridgton (ME) and Hargrave Military Academy (VA).” Horne was receiving looks from, “Morehead State, High Point and Iona,” and has heard from them that they will still recruit him once he makes the move to 2013. Look for an official decision to be made my Horne in late June on whether he will go the prep or JUCO route.

    Another interesting player for the newly merged ECE/NJABC squad was Julian Moore, a 2013 6-foot-9 center from Germantown Academy (PA). Wagner offered Moore on the spot and join Bucknell and Colgate in his scholarship category. The talented big man can run the floor extremely well and is gaining rapid interest from “Lehigh, Lafayette, Marist, La Salle, Boston University, Penn, Cornell, Navy, Niagara, Drexel and Holy Cross.” Moore has visited Bucknell, Colgate, Lehigh, Cornell, Boston and Penn – of the schools involved – and will project as a high-academic talent who can play at a mid-major plus program. He can create off the dribble and is an excellent rebounder. Moore needs to get stronger and consistently finish around the rim, which is something he has improved on over the past six months. Look for more schools to offer in the coming months, whether or not they are high-academic.

    Following a strong weekend in Pittsburgh, Isaiah Whitehead was ready to finish off the Spring Live Period. After taking a brief unofficial visit to Rutgers on Thursday, Whitehead played extremely well running the point and attacking the rim. After picking up offers from Iowa State, Georgetown and UConn last weekend – to go along with St. John’s, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Arizona and Cincinnati – the 2014 Lincoln (NY) combo guard played his best while running the point. With some interest from Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and North Carolina, Whitehead has Syracuse as his favorite school thus far.

    As his close relationship with his mother, Ericka Rambert, could help sway him to staying closer to home by playing at Rutgers or St. John’s, the Orange are in great shape with Whitehead thanks to assistant Mike Hopkins. Among the other coaches standing out to Whitehead are Macon of Rutgers, Chiles of St. John’s and Book Richardson of Arizona. Look for Whitehead to visit his early favorite sometime this summer or in the coming fall.

    The potential package deal of 2013 New Jersey Roadrunners duo Hakim Saintil and Tyler Roberson has college coaches wondering what to do. Roberson is a bonified top-30 talent in the country who, while he has been injured as of recent, has all the skills to be the next Grant Hill. Saintil – who most consider to be a mid-major player – seems as if he wants to go for the highest fit possible. With offers from “Cincinnati, East Carolina and South Carolina,” the Roselle Catholic (NJ) point guard hopes to either end up with Roberson in a good situation for both or at a school where he can make an impact from day one. Villanova, Iona, Syracuse and Alabama are also expressing interest in the former St. Patrick (NJ) guard. Roberson’s recruitment remains the same as the Roselle Catholic (NJ) forward has not taken any visits yet and was mainly focused on getting back to 100 percent after his injury during the high school season. With a bevy of offers and interest, Roberson named offers from, “Syracuse, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Carolina and Cincinnati,” off the top of his head. He will make visits in the summer but has not yet focused in on the college recruiting process.

    Another talented player for the New Rens (NY) was 2013 small forward Shamiek Sheppard of South Shore in New York. Sheppard has a clear-cut favorite in Drexel.

    “Their staff is always out at my games watching,” he said. “They are always there and Bruiser Flint is a good guy.”

    The energetic and talkative Sheppard also has offers from “Iona, Hofstra and Kent State,” with interest from “Fordham, St. John’s and Florida State.” He has visited the Dragons campus and could end up playing under Flint in the CAA in a matter of months as it appears no one is working harder than the Philadelphia school.

    His high school and AAU teammate, Terrence Samuel, remains at a constant list for his recruitment. The 2013 New York combo guard has offers from, “Louisville, Penn State, Cincinnati, Iowa State, VCU, Rutgers and Pittsburgh,” along with interest from, “UConn, Memphis and Kansas.” He plans on making a college decision after the AAU season and believes that Iowa State is recruiting him the hardest at this point.

    One major out of area talent this weekend was 2014 Net Gain Sports (MN) shooting guard Rashad Vaughn. A Minnesota native, Vaughn is a very versatile shooting guard at 6-foot-6 and can score in a variety of ways. His handle, quickness and strength are all areas he needs to improve upon but Vaughn can really play. With offers from, “Baylor, Kansas, Iowa State, Minnesota, Arizona, Arizona State, Marquette, Georgetown, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin,” Vaughn is one of the premier sophomores in the Midwest. He also has some interest from Kentucky and Michigan State. As assistants from Baylor, Georgetown, Texas and Michigan State are standing out the most to him at this point, Vaughn is very familiar with Bears assistant Jerome Tang, who has made an impression on him.

    This year’s New England Playaz (MA) U17 squad doesn’t have any big names like in previous years but has a plethora of talented pieces; all of whom could play division one hoops. 2013 guards Aaron Calixte, Adrian Oliveira and Cane Broome all have similar looks, but two of them are going to change that. Calixte – a point guard from Stoughton (MA) will reclassify to 2014 and attend Bridgton Academy (ME) next year. He has offers from Quinnipiac and Towson with interest from Temple, Iona, Fairfield, Robert Morris and Maryland. Broome – a combo guard from East Hartford (CT) – will also reclass to 2014 and attend St. Thomas More (CT). He has Fairfield and Quinnipiac offers to go along with interest from Iona, South Florida, Boston College, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Providence. As his teammates will reclassify, 2013 Brimmer & May (MA) point guard Adrian Oliveira is still looking for his first offer. With interest from Vermont, Robert Morris, Iona, Quinnipiac, Holy Cross and Indiana State, he is being recruited the hardest by, “Vermont and Robert Morris.” Look for the movement of Calixte and Broome to wind up in strong positions while Oliveira will have to fight for respect this summer in order to earn some scholarships.

    While Whitehead receives the notoriety on the team, his close friend Jaquan Lynch can toot his own horn now as his recruitment is in the early phases of blowing up. After a strong year at Thomas Jefferson (NY), the 2013 combo guard now has offers from, “Dayton, LIU, St. Francis (NY), Rutgers, UMBC, Drexel, Stony Brook and Hofstra,” to go along with interest from “George Mason and South Carolina.” Despite his small stature for primarily a shooter, Lynch plays hard and has so many other fundamentals that he does well with and will make an interesting player for Tiny Morton’s Juice All-Stars (NY).

    UA Baltimore Finest (MD) has two 2014 small forwards that will have college coaches raving for the next year and a half. Dwayne Morgan – who is considered a top-30 rising junior from Baltimore City College (MD) – led the way for the Under Armour squad with his length and athleticism. He has scholarship offers from, “UNLV, Seton Hall, NC State and South Florida,” with interest from, “Texas, Clemson, George Mason, DePaul and Maryland.” With UNLV, Texas and Maryland currently standing out because of how hard they have been recruiting him, Morgan is a special player. Another under the radar small forward who caught the attention of some was Morgan’s counterpart, Allen Costley. A 6-foot-7 bouncy rising star from St. Frances (MD), Costley is a jumper away from being a high-major lock. With constant attacks at the rim and a great wingspan, he could be just as good as Morgan in a year or two if he expands his game in a variety of ways. Costley has interest from “South Florida, UNLV, Maryland, DePaul and NC State.” UNLV assistant coach Heath Schroder is doing a great job on this duo, as well as others from the Baltimore area with his connections in the DMV. A DeMatha Catholic (MD) grad, he helped land 2012 point guard DaQuan Cook to the Runnin’ Rebels for next season and is already in early for Morgan and Costley. As these two have not seen any campuses outside of Maryland’s, look for UNLV to get them on campus soon in order to leave a lasting impact on them from the Vegas frontier.

    The 2014 DC Assault (MD) backcourt of Romello Trimble and Byron Hawkins is simply lethal. The lesser known Hawkins – a point guard from Good Council (MD), recently picked up his first two offers from Delaware and Fairfield. He also has interest from “Miami, NC State, Maryland, Michigan, Indiana and Towson.” Currently, the Delaware Blue Hens are recruiting the sophomore guard the hardest, but Miami is his early favorite as he hopes to visit soon. Hawkins and Trimble work extremely well together as Trimble had made a smooth transition from shooting guard to point guard over the past few months. The sophomore guard from Bishop O’Connell (VA) has early offers from “Villanova, Rutgers, Miami, George Mason, UNLV and West Virginia,” with some interest from, “DePaul, Maryland and NC State.” Due to the DC Assault-Rutgers connection through current Scarlet Knights assistant David Cox, Rutgers is recruiting Trimble the hardest at this point. With a great amount of colleges looking at him, Trimble’s dream school is Syracuse – who he has not heard from yet.

    The New England Playaz (MA) do not have the major names of Alex Murphy, Naadir Tharpe or Kaleb Tarczewski on their squad this year; however, this year’s squad is full of sleepers to go along with their trio of talented mid-major guards. The Playaz have a variety of high-major forwards in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 class who can really play. Mohamed Bah, a 2013 6-foot-9 import from Mali in Africa, is extremely talented and has great size. A sleeper at Lee Academy in Maine, Bah is drawing looks from “Gonzaga, Lehigh, St. Bonaventure and St. Joe’s.” He has taken a liking to Gonzaga and St. Bonaventure, despite not being heavily involved in his recruitment. He hopes to visit those schools soon and find out more about them in the near future. Another major name is Kerem Kanter – the brother of former Kentucky player and current Utah Jazz forward Enes Kanter – a 2014 6-foot-9 power forward from MacDuffie Prep (MA). The native of Turkey decided to come to America two years ago in order to keep high college eligibility and avoid the issues that forced his brother to miss his college career. Kanter is not as talented, but has a bright future with plenty of upside. Currently, he has interest from “Miami, “UMass, Drexel, West Virginia, Washington and Boston College.” Oddly enough, Kentucky has not reached out and is not his dream school. “My goal in coming to America was to play college basketball,” he said. “It is tough to do that in Turkey.” With two major big men on the U17 squad, the NE Playaz U16 squad also features a major forward in Aaron Falzon – the brother of 2012 Sacred Heart signee Tevin Falzon. Falzon, a 2015 forward from St. Mark’s (MA), has early interest from Ohio State and Boston College, among others, but is another major name to watch out for this spring and summer with the Playaz. He will be a high-major version of his older brother.

    Dom Collier and KC Run GMC (MO) came into Philadelphia with a target on their back and they stepped up to the plate to deliver. A 2014 point guard from Denver East (CO), Collier is extremely talented playing alongside 2013 Kansas commit Conner Frankamp and 2013 Missouri commit Travis Jorgenson. He currently has a major list of schools involved with him including “Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Purdue, Alabama, Kansas, Stanford, UNLV, Georgetown and New Mexico.” As a few of these schools have offered thus far, look for a majority of them to present Collier with scholarships by the end of the summer.

    Photo: Jermaine Lawrence by Jason Hasson

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.