Harkless Rules Out UConn, Jack Stars in Reading; Complete Hoop Group Recruiting Rundown | Zagsblog
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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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Wednesday / November 13.
  • Harkless Rules Out UConn, Jack Stars in Reading; Complete Hoop Group Recruiting Rundown

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    By ALEX KLINE

    While LeBron James‘ Skills Academy and the Adidas Invitational in Indiana were huge grassroots events this week, another camp got coaches, fans and top players to participate.

    The Hoop Group was hosting its annual elite camp and as usual, did not disappoint. The camp takes place at Albright College in Reading, Pa. With boatloads of discovered and undiscovered talent all around the East Coast, this four-day camp brings out the best in everyone who participates.

    With tryouts, skill drills, live games, lectures and much more, the campers experience a few days of hard-nose basketball and living on a college campus in order to prepare for the next level. While the hard working members of The Hoop Group ran around and pulled the strings behind the show from sunrise to beyond sunset, the tournaments ran just as planned.

    With over 200 colleges from division one to division three in attendance, the star power was in action. There was tons of promising young talent being evaluated by many mid majors, as well as Big East powerhouses and much more.

    From old faces like Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins and West Virginia’s Larry Harrison (recently named associated head coach) to new faces in Mike Rice from Rutgers, Dan and Bobby Hurley of Wagner and Donyell Marshall at George Washington, it was a great experience for everyone.

    Even St. Patrick head coach Kevin Boyle lectured to the group about dribbling, using some of his players who were in attendance including Western Kentucky commit Derrick Gordon and rising sophomore sensation Austin Colbert. Boyle stayed to watch his youngest son, Brendan, a rising freshman, play in a few games at the elite camp. With tons of big names in the northeast in attendance, kids gained offers and chatted about their recruiting.

    Here is a rundown on recruiting for some of the top players at the 2010 Hoop Group Elite Camp.

    Maurice Harkless ’11 – South Kent (CT) – The 6-6 Harkless was named Most Outstanding Player at the Camp after a tremendous week in which his mentor said UConn was no longer in the running for his services. “UConn is offically out of Maurice Harkless’ recruitment,” Nate Blue tweeted. ZAGSBLOG first broke the news of Harkless’ decommitment last month. This week he picked up additional offers from DePaul and South Florida, to go with Memphis, Rutgers, St. John’s, Maryland, Arizona and Xavier. “He’s the best player here and he’s one of the better ones I’ve seen in a [while], he’s got it,” former Syracuse star John Wallace told Blue.

    Kadeem Jack ’11 – South Kent (CT) – The defensive minded big man was named MVP of the Hoop Group All-Star Game and has improved his game on all levels over the past few months. His recruiting has picked up from that. “St. John’s, Rutgers, Memphis, Xavier, Miami, UConn, West Virginia, Arkansas and Arizona” have all offered Kadeem. He is also receiving major interest from “Texas, Kansas and Kansas State,” although they have not offered yet. The South Kent bound post-grad is excited to go to the Connecticut school in September. That is also the same month he plans to make his decision on a school. “I hope to commit after the summer,” said Jack. “I want to commit in September and probably will.” Jack played well this week despite his team losing to his future teammates at South Kent, Harkless and Derrick Randall, in an early round game.

    Derrick Randall ’11 – South Kent (CT) – Randall had a good week at Hoop Group Elite. It was a surprising delight to see him at camp after attending NBPA camp a few weeks before. He went to work early and dominated at points down low. While he is wide open on his schools right now, Derrick has a list of “Providence, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Marquette, Cincinnati, DePaul, St. Joe’s, Virginia Tech.” One thing was clear about his recruitment, Rutgers may have the advantage. “I don’t have a top five right now, but if I did Rutgers would be in it,” stated Derrick. As of now, Derrick has plans to cut his list sometime in mid-July right around the Nike Peach Jam when he heads down with his New Jersey Playaz squad.

    Shaq Thomas ’11 – NIA Prep (NJ) – Big things are going on for Shaq as he did very well in school this year so he could qualify. The athletic, versatile Thomas showed off his talent and even posterized a player when he grabbed a rebound mid-air with two hands and slammed it down. As of now, Shaq only has one offer from Seton Hall. However, he believes this will be his summer. Among other schools looking at him, “West Virginia, Cincinnati, UTEP, Virginia Tech and Boston College” make up his list. Shaq recently attended Boston College Elite Camp but has no favorites at the moment. Thomas’ ideal recruitment plan is to earn as many offers in July as possible, followed by taking his five official visits back to back in a two week span during the month of September. After that, he and his family will weigh their options for a few weeks and eventually decide sometime within the month of October. Shaq remains a top 100 player, but will the coaches realize it this summer?

    Austin Colbert ’13 – St. Patrick (NJ) – Austin is arguably one of the best in the class of 2013 and he is showing it on and off the court. While he is playing against the older players and fairing very well, Colbert remains hungry and humble just like his old St. Pat’s teammate, Kyrie Irving. As of now his recruitment is a bit slow and he is waiting on his first offer which could come any day now. While he gets letters, he says he is receiving a fair amount of interest from “Virginia, Georgetown and North Carolina,” among the many more. As of now, recruiting is the last thing he is thinking about. However, if he was to have an early favorite, the Garden State native says the Hoyas and Heels would be right up there. On the other hand, Austin says that it is Virginia who is currently recruiting him the hardest.

    Isaiah Morton ’11 – St. Augustine (NJ) – One of the most exciting and under the radar players in the northeast is off to a good start this summer. Morton has a list of “South Carolina, Clemson, East Carolina, Stanford, Villanova, La Salle, St. Joe’s, Western Kentucky, Holy Cross, Rutgers and Penn State,” While Morton has been trying to take as many visits as possible, he wants to get in some more by the end of the summer. By then, Isaiah hopes to have visited both Rutgers and Western Kentucky. However, Morton is hoping to narrow his list down by the middle of July and may even come off the board early.

    Kelvin Amayo ’11 – NIA Prep (NJ) – Amayo had a good week and really helped his cause on the recruiting front in Reading. While he still doesn’t have a full list compiled just yet, both Kelvin and his mentor Nate Blue gave an idea of who is showing Amayo some interest. “Arizona, Memphis, St. John’s, Maryland, Penn State, Seton Hall and Xavier” have shown the most interest. Kelvin isn’t focusing on his recruitment at this time, however, he is in good hands and will wind up playing at a high major school with a big summer and hard work. This summer has big indications for Amayo, who was a standout at the elite camp. His stock could rise to him playing in the Big East or his stock could fall and he could play in the A10. July is going to be huge for Kelvin.

    Da’Shawn Suber ’12 – St. Patrick (NJ) – The newest addition to Kevin Boyle’s ballclub at St. Patrick is starting to make a name for himself in the basketball world. Suber was extremely excited to pick up his first offer from West Virginia. The New York native, who played at Rice last year under Moe Hicks, is being looked at by “Arizona, South Carolina, UCLA, Seton Hall, St. John’s, and Pittsburgh,” as well as the Mountaineers. The point guard is looking to come into St. Pat’s and be the leader that the class of 2012 has been looking for. Once Michael Gilchrist and Derrick Gordon graduate next year, it will be Suber’s team for his senior year. Replacing Kyrie Irving will be tough, but Da’Shawn is confident he will make an instant impact.

    Jason Boswell ’13 – St. Patrick (NJ) – Speaking of young studs from the state of New York, Jason Boswell is one of the most versatile players in his class. At 6-foot-6, the St. Pat’s rising sophomore can play the 1,2 and 3 easily. Despite no offers just yet, he has a phenomenal list of schools involved. “Michigan State, Arkansas, Siena, Villanova, Ohio State and a little from Kentucky,” stated Jason. While he isn’t being recruited fully yet, Jason likes a number of schools early on including “Duke, Syracuse and UConn.” As July progresses through, look for Boswell to take his game to the next level and hopefully gain his first of many offers as he leads his U15 Long Island Lightning squad.

    Joey De La Rosa ’11 – Montverde Academy (FL) – Throughout the camp, Joey’s progress and defense have earned him respect. He showed it off this week as he went toe to toe with some of the best including Derrick Randall and Kamari Murphy. De La Rosa is seeing big dividends in his recruitment. “St. John’s, Pittsburgh, Georgeotown, Providence, Arkansas and UNLV.” The once standout at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx wasn’t a good one. After departing, Joey headed to Las Vegas where he attended Impact Academy. Now, at Montverde (FL), De La Rosa looks to improve his skills and watch his recruiting game turn up to the next level. Joey also plans to take his recruitment slow and hopefully cut down his list by January or February. After that, Joey thinks he will be able to make the right decision.

    Isaiah Williams ’11 – The Robinson School (NJ) – You may have not heard the name yet, but Williams is one of the quickest rising names in high school basketball. Isaiah, who played at Shabazz, will be a post-grad this year. It was the first ever camp of his career and he doesn’t have an AAU team at the moment but he went off. Everyone was amazed by his arrival on the grassroots scene and being a scoring machine as well as a defensive presence. The most amazing part was how Isaiah had no offers coming into the week. According to his high school coach, Vincent Robinson, Williams walked out of Reading with offers from “Quinnipiac, Rice, Manhattan, St. Peter’s, Morgan State, Maryland Eastern Shore, Coppin State, Rider, Wagner, Central Florida, Hofstra, Georgia State, DePaul, UNC Willmington and Robert Morris.” That is fifteen offers in the span of three days. Could Isaiah Williams be the breakout star of the summer?

    David Joseph ’11 – Westlake Prep (FL) – Joseph can score the ball just as well as any player in the country. He hails from New York but goes to school in Florida because he wants the opportunity to work on his game and have less distractions. He is playing AAU with Abysinnian Church and is developing into a big name around the circut. The left handed guard is a pass first game who hasn’t been discovered just yet, but his jumper needs work in his mind. David can do so much and Nate Blue has noticed this and been a huge supporter in his corner. Blue says he has no offers yet but is drawing “strong interest from Hofstra, Temple, George Washington, St. Peter’s, Quinnipiac, Fordham and Delaware.”  With a big July, look for the offers to come in for the talented lefty.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.