Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Basketbull Columbus Day Challenge

Terry Tarpey: Cult-Ballplayer
 Columbus Day Challenge 17u Report
- Kuran Iverson made his New England Playaz debut this weekend and his presence paid immediate dividends as the Playaz went 5-0 for the event to take home the 17u Chip.  There is no question that KI has an all-world combination of body and physical ability, and when he plays with good energy, as he did on Sunday, he makes plays all over the floor and takes enormous pressure off his teammates. In the long run, Iverson has no ceiling and can take his game to as high a level as he so chooses.  That being said, Kuran has a ton of work ahead of him as he embarks on the process of reaching his full potential.  Although he has terrific natural ball-handling ability, Iverson needs to work on handling the rock with the tips of his fingers and keeping his dribble down below waist-level so that he can play less erect and thus, more effectively explode out of his moves.  His shooting stroke is nice and smooth, he just needs some mechanical work and high-volume repitition. If KI can learn to work on his game with the energy that he displayed on Sunday, he will be in business in a major way...Adrian Oliveira had a nice weekend...AO is a scoring guard and when he aggressively looks for his offense, good things happen.  On Saturday and Sunday, he did a nice job of coming off ball screens to get into his sweet mid-range pull-up game and also finished consistently in transition, where he excels in going up on one side of the basket, using the rim for protection, and then filling on the opposite side with the spin back reverse lay-up...Word on the block is that Aaron Calixte is blowing up on the gridiron this fall as a high-major football prospect.  He also showed well on the hardwood this weekend as he ran the show effectively for the Playaz with his steady game and play-making ability.  Naturally a scoring guard, in recent months, Calixte has taken tremendous strides in transitioning to a true floor general...In addition for the Playaz, Jarred Reuter was his typical oak-tree self in the middle, Cane Broome scored the ball consistently from the back-court, and John Powell put pressure on the opposing front-line by continuously sprinting the floor, crashing the offensive glass, and playing above the rim....The addition of Iverson is quite intriguing as we look towards 2012.  With KI in the mix, the Playaz roster is highly-flammable and with a few other pieces, this club could be a serious Adidas contender come next year. 

- The Harlem Renaissance ball-club was very impressive this weekend, winning their first four games to advance to the final before falling to the New England Playaz in a close championship contest.  The Rens featured three players with New England ties in Terry Tarpey, SkylEr White, and Jashanti Allen.  The William & Mary-bound Tarpey was the weekend's best player, dropping 33 in the Rens semifinal victory over the Rivals amongst other exploits.  At 6'2 with a strong body, Double-T is awesome in transition, where he unassumingly but ferociously attacks the rim like Bob Sura or uses his savvy court vision to get a teammate an easy bucket.  The game is nice and slow for Tarpey, who is never in a rush yet always seems to be in the right place or make the right decision at the right time....Skyler White proved that his breakout performance at Hoop Group a few weeks back was no fluke, playing off of Tarpey and wing Thaddeous Hall to score the ball in bushels.  White can flat-out fill it up with range and volume...Jashanti Allen has impressed previously as a talented freshman point guard with a bright future, but this weekend, Allen showed that the future is now as he effectively translated his game to a higher level of play. 

-Although they were unable to play in the Gold Bracket on Sunday due to previous player obligations, the Connecticut Basketball Club began the post-Dunn-Drummond Era on Saturday by going 2-0 in games against the NJ Gym Ratz and the Bay State Flash.  With no Kahlil Dukes or Bernard Brantley in attendance, CBC's new-look 17s played with a young group of impressive long athletes.  Levy Gillespie, Jared Wilson-Frame, and Sean Obi stood out as guys who are ready to get their wagons on the mid to high-major recruiting trails...  Jaelin Robinson and Quincy McKnight announced themselves "In" on the scholarship hunt with bust-out performances on a busy stage.  Look for these guys in the HoopRootz Columbus Day Challenge Player Landings feature later this week...In addition for CBC, Obi Momah and Jaquan Harrison impressed as athletic young big men prospects with great basketball bodies and lots of potential.

- Playing with a new-look roster of freshmen and sophomores, the Rivals coasted in their first three games before losing in the Gold Bracket semis by about 15 to a veteran Harlem Renaissance club featuring two terrific '12 players in Terry Tarpey and Thaddeous Hall combined with an NMH pair of Skyler White and Jashanti Allen that played very well...Noah Vonleh didn't have his best weekend offensively, but was his usual self rebounding the ball and blocking shots...Jalen Adams did not disappoint, displaying his fluidity, burst, and elite athleticism at the point guard spot all weekend long.  He had a few highlight reel dunks and is one of those players who is a perpetual threat of the spectacular.  Still only 15, he has a chance to be very good...After their first game on Saturday, there was talk that Mike Auger might be facing charges for multiple counts of assault and battery on the Court Two rims, as he ran the floor for dunk after dunk with his diesel 6'5 frame and deceptive 6'9 wing-span...Speaking of wing-spans, Jeremy Miller '15 has a 7'3 bird-stretch..He shot the heck out of the ball from three-point-land all weekend.  Although he is mountains away from reaching his potential as a prospect, Miller's game already translates at a high-level as a player who can rebound and contest shots on the defensive end while taking opposing centers out away from the basket on the offensive end...Several college coaches have left the gym at Cushing Academy this fall saying that Kaleb Joseph reminded them of Ed Cota.  And although he's not Easy EC just yet, Joseph was again impressive this weekend as he carved up defenders on the slashing dribble attack to get into the lane at will and create for a teammate or finish up over the front of the rim.  KJ is at his best on the left to right change of direction, where he plants and pushes off the left foot to explode back right, gaining an enormous first-step distance off the change of direction with his long stride.  To capitalize on this explosive left-to-right action, Kaleb will look to develop the ability to play a south-paw back-court game.  What was especially apparent this weekend was how much better Kaleb looked playing with contacts instead of the Kenneth Cole frames.  Without that slight twinge of hesitancy, he looked much more comfortable in his own skin as an attacking guard.

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