Saturday, September 17, 2011

Elite 75 Frosh/Soph Edition 2011 - Event Recap

The Elite 75 - Frosh/Soph Edition is an invitation-only showcase that each year features the top freshmen and sophomore high school/prep school boys basketball prospects from all across New England. It is run by the New England Recruiting Report, and this year over 250 players were in attendance, including many players who have already received quite a bit of interest on the recruiting scene (if you follow NERR you already know all about guys like Noah Vonleh, Jared Terrell and Jacquil Taylor who were all there).

There was no shortage of college/prep school coaches and media/recruiting services in the house, all there to scout the talent and find out who will be the region's 'next big thing.'

There were 18 granite state residents at the event, and the New Hampshire Notebook was there all day long to evaluate those players and give them some well deserved exposure.

The event was broken up into a morning session (consisting of mostly freshmen) and an afternoon session (mostly sophomores). Each session began with warm ups and calisthenics, followed by a rigorous series of drill stations. From there the players were split up into teams of between 8-10 kids and played full court exposure games for the remainder of the session. The morning session had a pair of all-star games at the end.

There was a lot of energy in the gym, and a ton of talented young players, all looking to prove themselves and get noticed. Here's how the NH kids looked who were in attendance...

Class of 2013

Mike LeBlanc, 6'5", Dover HS
LeBlanc competed well against some of the region's top players, showing a solid inside-outside game. He showed good agility when defending the 2-on-1 break and ran the floor well for a big man. LeBlanc effectively lead the break and hit the open man. He was also able to catch and finish in traffic, even over bigger defenders. LeBlanc had a strong showing at the event on both ends of the floor, although he should since he was one of the only juniors in attendance.

Class of 2014

Mike Auger, 6'6", New Hampton School
Auger (pictured above) had a very good showing at this event, proving to be one of the top sophomores in the gym. He was nearly unstoppable within 15 feet of the basket. He bulled his way to the basket on a number of drives, and was able to finish through contact with good strength and finishing ability. Auger attacked the rim all day, even blowing by his defender from the perimeter, finishing nicely on the other side of the basket. One one play he made a tough catch in the lane, finishing at the rim while getting fouled. Auger also proved to be an effective rebounder. If he can keep working on handling the basketball ad shooting beyond 15 feet of the rim he could really be a scary player.

Dimitri Floras, 6'1", Kimball Union Academy
Floras has clearly gotten stronger over the summer, and is in very good shape. He showed a very tight handle, and was able to run the point effectively even against tough pressure defense. Floras was effective in transition, making a nice drive-and-dish after drawing a second defender on one play and finishing an and-1 on another. Not the best performance for Floras, as he forced some shots and made some questionable decisions on the break, but he more than held his own out there with some of the top guards in New England.

Collin McManus, 6'9", Bedford HS
In one of the scrimmages McManus was matched up with Jacquil Taylor, who is also 6'9" and is the #6 ranked ranked player in New England according to NERR. McManus held his own against Taylor, and going up against a kid like that will surely make him a better player. McManus battled Taylor in the paint, making him work for everything. He ran the floor well and was effective on the boards and making the outlet pass. McManus has a ton of upside, and could take his game to the next level by being more assertive offensively, looking for the ball more in the post and refining his post moves and finishing ability.

Tim Preston, 5'9", Nashua High South
Preston played exceptionally well at the event, playing both the 1 and the 2. He didn't force anything, and all of his shots came in the flow of the offense. Preston showed a good handle, and the ability to get wherever he wanted to on the court. Most impressive was his court vision and passing ability, as Preston made a number of nice dishes which lead to baskets. Even towards the end of the showcase when many players were tired and worn down, Preston was still going full speed which shows he's in good shape. He showed creativity when leading the break, a solid crossover, finished in transition and made numerous steals on defense by jumping the passing lanes and hustling. Preston was very impressive at the event, but he was one of the few sophomores playing in the morning session, so it would have been interesting to see how he would have done in the afternoon session vs. tougher competition.

Quentin Bullen, 6'1", St. John's Prep (Exeter, NH)
Bullen played tough defense, even when matched up against much bigger players. He also hit a nice step-back three pointer, then made a nice catch and finish in transition.

Andrew Lechner, 6'2", Pinkerton Academy
Lechner is a wing player who competed hard on both ends of the floor. He showed a soft shooting touch and a high release from the mid-range area.

Drew Coveney, 5'10", Londonderry HS
A scrappy 2 guard, Coveney played hard, going after loose balls. He looked for his shot and made some strong drives to the rim as well.

Class of 2015

Jourdain Bell, 5'11", Bishop Brady HS
Bell got better as the event went on, and by the last game he was all over the court making plays and displaying his freakish athleticism. Bell is 5'11" but plays like he's 6'4" thanks to his strength and unmatched leaping ability. He used that ability to block a couple of different shots, including one play where he came out of nowhere and blocked a shot inside by 6'8" Jarred Reuter, which drew quite a reaction from the crowd. Bell also excelled in 1-on-1 drills, when he went behind-the-back and through the legs all in one motion, while driving past his defender before laying it in. He also made some terrific passes, both on the break and in the half court. They had a couple of all-star games at the end, and Bell wasn't selected. He was by far the biggest all-star snub in the gym. He also drilled a smooth catch-and-release three ball, but at times did get out of control with the ball and forced things.

Kabongo Ngalakulondi, 6'1", Manchester Memorial HS
A talented player with lots of upside, Ngalakulondi showed a knack for scoring the basketball in a variety of ways. He hit shots off the catch or off the dribble, and he also broke his man down off the dribble for some strong drives and finishes inside. Ngalakulondi showed good strength as well, muscling the ball up in traffic and finishing against 3 defenders. He also played tough on the ball defense, getting deflections and forcing turnovers. He played hard all day. Ngalakulondi showed good instincts during scrimmage play, being decisive with the ball, looking for his offense but also not forcing it. He showed good range on his shot, a high release and the ability to play 4 different positions on the floor.

Ben Judson, 6'3", St. John's Prep (Plaistow, NH)
Timberlane is surely wishing this kid was going to there instead of private school. Judson is a tall, lanky wing player with a good feel for the game and the ability to score in bunches. Judson displayed a killer pull-up in the mid-range area, hitting back-to-back shots off the dribble with one coming from just inside the three point line and one from the elbow following a smooth crossover. He also went coast-to-coast on the break, getting to the line after a devastating spin move around the elbow. He really heated up in one of the later, games, hitting a step-back three, then on consecutive plays he sliced through the defense for a bucket and then drained a three from the corner. Judson just needs to gain more lateral quickness defensively and isn't as quick off the dribble getting to the rim as guys like Bell and Ngalakulondi (although those guys can't shoot it as well as Judson).

Ian Sistare, 6'1", Trinity HS
While Sistare doesn't have the sheer athleticism and explosiveness that some of the other top freshmen possess, where he has the edge is his maturity. The kid simply does not play the game like a freshman. The game comes easy to him, he's not at all overwhelmed out there, and he just does not make those silly mistakes that other young players make, whether it's forcing shots, turning the ball over or loses their man on a screen. He simply makes much less of those mistakes than the others. Sistare also showed the ability to put the ball in the basket, whether from the wing position in the half court or on the break. He made some strong drives and hit some smooth pull-ups from three and from the mid-range area.

Oumaru Kante, 5'10", Manchester Memorial HS
There was a ton of quick, highly skilled point guards at this event, and Kante was always having to guard these kind of players in scrimmages. Not only did he hold his own in there, but he wreaked havoc on the defensive end of the floor, stealing ball a number of times as well as making deflections. After getting steals around half court he would either take it in for a smooth finish or make a nice dish inside to a teammate. Offensively, Kante came alive in the all-star game, hitting a pair of smooth pull-up jumpers, handling the ball well vs. pressure defense and making a nice entry pass to the post. Kante does need to work on getting the release on his jumper a little higher.

Wenyen Gabriel, 6'1", Manchester Memorial HS
Gabriel is a fast, athletic wing player who did a little bit of everything out there. Gabriel showed a smooth, compact release on his jumper, making shots off the catch or the dribble. he made a nice steal and finish at the other end, and later grabbed an offensive board and went up strong with it for 2. And in the all-star game Gabriel made a nice pass on the break followed by a big blocked shot from behind. Gabriel needs to bulk up and work on catching the ball better inside.

Wade Gop, 5'9", Manchester Memorial HS
Overall Gop was quite offensively, however on one play he did hit one of the better shots of the morning session. Gop dribbled across the lane trying to get to the rim, threw up a floater with a hand right in his face and banked it off the glass and in. Gop also played tough on-the-ball defense, forcing turnovers and making life difficult for the opposing team's point guard. He also showed the ability to handle the basketball and set up the offense vs. pressure defense.

Alex Hill, 5'7", Souhegan HS
Quick combo-guard who hustled all over the court, playing with a lot of energy. He's a good shooter with a quick release and good footwork, but he does have a flat footed jumper and at his height he will need to elevate more to get his shot off. Hill pushed the ball hard on the break, finding the open man in scrimmage action.

Zack Jones, 6'0", Concord HS
Lefty wing who made the extra pass and possesses a smooth jump shot with high release.

Ryan Brown, 6'2", Bedford HS
Power forward runs the floor well, followed his shots and scored inside. He rushed some of his moves though, and needs to work on his handle from the perimeter.

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