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.
Recruiting Roundup: New Jersey Edges D.C. In First Annual Collision Event
By DENNIS CHAMBERSROSELLE, N.J. — The inaugural New Jersey vs. D.C. Collision kicked off Saturday at Roselle Catholic High School in an effort to showcase the talents of the two basketball-rich breeding grounds.
Eight teams participated in the event hosted by Jimmy Salmon and the EYBL NJ Playaz to put to rest the debate of which area reigns supreme for high school basketball.
For New Jersey, the representatives boasted an impressive lineup of Hudson Catholic, Immaculate Conception (NY), Roselle Catholic, and The Patrick School.
The nation’s capital sent Bishop McNamara, St. Mary’s Ryken,Paul VI (VA), and DeMatha Catholic.
There was a bevy of elite talent in action throughout the entire game schedule, and some of the top players in the classes of 2017 and ’18 got to show their worth to the college coaches in attendance.
As far as the battle for high school basketball supremacy goes, New Jersey won the discussion Saturday taking three of the four games – their only loss coming from a Paul VI defeat of Roselle Catholic 73-67.
A reopening of the conversation about which area is the best for high school hoops will come next year when “The Collision” will be hosted by EYBL Team Takeover in Washington, D.C.
Here are some of the recruits ZAGSBLOG caught up with during the event:
Hudson Catholic Trio Stars in Victory
The class of 2018 big three for Hudson Catholic put on a show Saturday in the team’s 56-42 win over Bishop McNamara.
Forward LouisKing led all scorers with 18 points on his way to MVP honors. LutherMuhammad scored 17 points, while the team’s point guard JahvonQuinerly added 15 of his own.
All three juniors have spent extensive time together playing for Under Armour AAU squad Sports U, and King believes that’s the recipe for their success.
“We’ve been playing with each other since we were little,” King said. “We know the atmosphere already so we just go out there and care.”
But life on the summer circuit will not continue as status quo this upcoming year, as King decided to move on the EYBL TeamFinal for his last year of AAU.
“Basically you have to play against the best,” King said about his jump to Nike and a potential spot in the Peach Jam. “(Under Armour) was alright. I live ten minutes away (from Team Final’s Philadelphia base) it’s easy for me to get to practice and stuff.”
King will join 2018 five-star prospect CameronReddish on the wing for Team Final, a pairing he believes will hold success of its own.
“We’re gonna dominate,” King said. “Whoever guards us is over.”
For the teams that are after King’s services, he listed Kansas, Syracuse, SetonHall, and St. John’s as teams that have offered him officially. King also mentioned that Kentucky is showing high interest.
Seton Hall coaches Kevin Willard and Shaheen Holloway were in attendance Saturday for the event. The Pirates staff has made King a priority in their future plans.
“I haven’t spoken to Coach Shaheen recently,” King said. “But he always supports me in any game, that’s my little bro. They said that I was their number one pick for the 2018 class because of my versatility I should bring their team to a national championship.”
Muhammad listed offers from St. John’s,Seton Hall, Xavier, NotreDame, Cincinnati, Tulane, Pittsburgh, and California. Recently programs like Syracuse, Temple, and Butler have expressed interest. Butler was in this week to see him in advance of their game at Seton Hall, and Xavier’s Luke Murray was on hand on Saturday.
“As of right now everyone is the same,” Muhammad said about if certain teams are pursuing him harder than others.
For the point guard, Quinerly listed Seton Hall, Arizona, Kansas, Villanova, Virginia, and Stanford as the school’s that are pursuing him the hardest. Other programs like Xavier, Vanderbilt, Ohio State and California all extended offers to the 2018 prospect.
UVA assistant Ron Sanchez was on hand for him.
It’s been college basketball reigning national champion that has caught Quinerly’s eye the most this season though.
“Villanova,” Quinerly said about his favorite team to watch. “I’ll actually be at the game on Sunday when they play Virginia. They play together, they play hard, I like the coaching staff. I feel like I could fit in their system.”
While mentioning his strengths that coaches believe will allow him to succeed at the next level, Quinerly was quick to point out he’s far from a finished product.
“My ability to lead the team, defend, and score the ball,” Quinerly said. “Just to be balanced and pick my spots well. I have to work on that a little bit. I definitely have to work on that as a matter of fact. I just have to keep working.”
Quinerly outlined his next step of cutting down his list and planning official visits for “after this high school season.”
Carey Outlines Recruiting Picture, Improvements to his Game
2018 Immaculate Conception point guard JalenCarey helped his team to a 60-54 victory Saturday over St. Mary’s Ryken.
Becoming an improved player is a focus for Carey as he looks to move to the next level of competition for basketball, recently he’s taken the advice of college coaches about what parts of his game need work.
“I think I’ve improved more on my leadership,” Carey said. “Being the best player on my team I have to be able to rile my guys together. In games like this we need to know that we need to stay together and stuff like that.”
Beyond leadership, Carey recognizes technical parts of his game need work too.
“I’ve been trying to work on everything,” Carey said. “There’s nothing in my game that is perfect. I’ve been working a lot on my shooting, catching and shooting. Coaches at the next level say I need to learn how to catch and shoot more.”
Carey listed Minnesota, SetonHall, UConn, and Rutgers as school’s that he’s received offers from. Kansas, Carey said “haven’t offered me, but they have major interest in me. I’m waiting for them to come out to more games and probably meet BillSelf. Get a better relationship with the guys.”
Playing locally is an enticing option for Carey, with programs like Seton Hall and Rutgers on the upswing the idea of playing in his own backyard is a regular thought for the New York native.
“I’ve been thinking about staying home for school,” Carey said. “They both offer me great positions. They need a guard that can come in and put pressure on the defense, get guys open. Just help the team improve, they want to build powerhouse programs around me. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. What I should do if I stay home or go away for school.”
The Pirates however seem to be outfighting the Scarlet Knight in terms of position for Carey’s services.
“Seton Hall has been attacking me a lot,” Carey said. “I appreciate that, I know my hard work is paying off.”
Carey’s father, John, told ZAGSBLOG that Seton Hall was making his son “a priority.”
For any college decisions moving forward though, the younger Carey still needs time to decide where to play next.
“I’ll probably talk to my parents, my coaches, even my teammates,” Carey said. “Most likely at the end of my junior AAU season, beginning of my senior year. As much time as I have, that’s the better.”
Slater Delivers D.C. Lone Win
In enemy territory against the hosting team, 2018 wing BrandonSlater delivered a knockout blow to Roselle Catholic propelling Paul VI (VA) to a 73-67 victory.
Slater won MVP honors while dropping 20 points and giving the D.C. contingency of the event their only win over a their New Jersey counterparts.
“It was their home crowd,” Slater said of the atmosphere. “It was their event, we had to show them D.C. basketball, how we play. They came out, they was hot, but coach calmed us. We never got rattled or nothing. We just kept the composure.”
With bigger performances like this from Slater, the 6-foot-6 wing is receiving interest from all types of programs. He listed Virginia, Maryland, Villanova, Syracuse, Miami, and SouthCarolina as teams who have offered him a scholarship.
Kansas and Kentucky also expressed interest in offering Slater.
To make a successful jump from the high school ranks to any one of the school’s that are after him, Slater knows he needs to improve his game.
“Definitely working without the ball,” Slater said. “Trying to attack more, midrange, everything. I’m not a complete product at all, I can get help on anything.”
Roselle Catholic Big Men Sparking Interest
Despite losing on their home court, a few members of the Roselle Catholic Lions showed why their basketball promise can far extend the high school level.
2018 centers NazreonReid and MajurMajak – 6-foot-11 and 7-foot-1 respectively – have the interest to match their behemoth stature.
A five-star prospect and No. 11 ranked player on ESPN, Reid mentioned receiving offers from Kansas, California, Louisville, and UConn. Kentucky is a team who is showing “high interest,” according to Reid.
Reid also noted that he has offers from “a ton of teams” and “couldn’t even tell you them all to be honest.”
For the teams close to home, Reid stated his visits have included Seton Hall and Rutgers games. The big man said he planned to go to Madison Square Garden on Saturday the Xavier-St. John’s game.
Proximity to home isn’t a factor in Reid’s decision to play at the next level, however.
“It doesn’t really matter to me,” Reid said about staying home or moving away for college. “As long as I get a good education and my team is winning.”
Reid’s front court companion will be playing far from home regardless of which school he decides to attend at the next level.
Majak, a native of Sudan, just recently cleared eligibility to play for Roselle Catholic. The center was with the team up at the Hoophall Classic, but didn’t register any minutes.
After spending his sophomore year in California Majak’s move to the New Jersey basketball scene has already garnered him quick interest locally.
Following the loss to Paul VI (VA), Majak met with SetonHall assistant coach GrantBillmeier and received an offer to play for the Pirates.
A member of the Adidas circuit AAU team, NYJayhawks, Majak also has offers from Rutgers, CalNorthridge, FresnoState, and Nevada.
Walker Continues Hot Streak, Talks Potential 2017 Play
The Patrick School point guard JordanWalker is playing on another level right now.
After securing MVP game honors at the Hoophall Classic with a near-triple-double, Walker backed up his performance by winning yet another MVP trophy leading all scorers with 19 points in his team’s 63-56 win over DeMathaCatholic.
But don’t expect Walker to take all the credit himself.
“The past couple weeks, it hasn’t really been me,” Walker said of his recent successes. “It’s been me and my teammates. Because me and my teammates, I think we’ve all been playing well. Like coach says, we’ve been playing together. Luckily, I’m making shots and making the right plays. But I give credit to my teammates for getting me in the right spots, getting me the ball when they need to.”
Not known for fitting the bill as a physically imposing guard – Walker made it a point that he isn’t 5-foot-9 as people say, “I’m 5-11″,” he said – that hasn’t deterred teams from ramping up their interest for the 2017 point guard.
“I’ve recently got OklahomaState,” Walker said. “Oklahoma’s assistant coach came to see me two days ago, and I believe Oklahoma’s head coach is coming next week .. VCU has always been on me, but now they’re on me really, really hard. SetonHall is on me really hard. LSU just called me, they’re on me pretty hard.”
All of the school’s Walker listed are vying for the point guard to enroll in school with the class of 2017, as he is set to graduate following this school year.
Walker, however, has played around with the idea of enrolling in a prep school following his completion of high school which would allow him to enter college with the class of 2018.
With the meteoric rise of his play lately, those plans may have changed.
“If I find a school that fits me in 2017 I’ll definitely go, no matter what,” Walker said. “But if I don’t find a school that I think will fit me and that I can, not necessarily start, but be a major key right away, then I probably will go 2018.”
In terms of exercising his prep school options, Walker hasn’t focused too much energy on figuring out where to play a potential gap year.
“I haven’t been looking in to any,” Walker said. “I’ve heard from a couple, but I’m not really focused on prep schools right now.”
The selling point to get Walker in the door as a class of 2017 player is double-pronged. Relationships and location are important to the point guard.
“I want to have a great rapport with my coach like how I do at St. Pat’s,” Walker said. “I know sometimes we bump heads, but me and the coaches are sort of like a father-son thing .. And also I want to go to a school where I like the surrounding area. If I’m going to be living there for three or four years, you never know, I want to love living there.”
With the clock ticking on whether Walker will be in college come next fall, The Patrick School senior plans to inform those involved sooner rather than later.
“After the season I’m definitely going to make my decision and everyone will know by then,” Walker said.
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