Friday, October 7, 2011

Columbus Day Challenge Preview #2

Aaron Falzon set to kick off big year
Playaz 16s stackin' up
- Despite only having five healthy bodies, the New England Playaz 16s were very impressive down at the Hoop Group Fall Jamfest in New Jersey a few weeks ago, where they ran off four straight wins before falling in a championship nail-biter to a tough DC Assault ball-club.  Down in Jersey, the Playaz quintet was comprised of Jeff Spellman, Kahari Beaufort, Jacquil Taylor, Djery Baptiste, and Colin McManus, with an injured Malcolm Martin on the bench.  This weekend, Head Coach Don Spellman will have a few new pieces to add to the mix, which should add a heavy dose of spice into the stew.  The addition of St Marks 6'7 freshman  forward Aaron Falzon instantly makes the club more dangerous by dramatically improving the versatility of the front line.  Falzon is in terrific shape and he has gotten much stronger over the last five months.  Being a freshman in high school who just turned 15 a few months ago, it is still very early in the process for him, but even so, look for him to emerge in a big way sooner or later, the hypothesis being that with cats 6'6 and taller, the primary of year of physical development seems to occur in the 500 days between the ages of 15 and 16.5.  When Falzon is through this part of the forest, we will know a lot more in terms of what type of school would be good fit, but at this he certainly is a young player withs the potential to play high major college basketball.  The other Playaz addition this weekend is another freshman ballplayer who should come in and immediately make the club better by improving the versatility of the Playaz back-court. Jashanti Allen from NMH is a jet engine point guard who slices up the defense by exploiting angles and attacking space with urgency.  He was very impressive playing alongside Jarred Reuter when we saw him at the New England Recruiting Report's Elite 75 Showcase in September.  Allen is very fast with the basketball and looks to push it up the floor off the make or the miss.  He implores his teammates to run along with him, and then rewards them by using his advanced court-vision to feed his farm for consistent scoring opportunities.  At Hoop Group, Spellman and Beaufort each handled a portion of the ball-handling responsibilities, but with Jashanti Allen in the fold, both Spellman and Beaufort will be set loose to hunt.  Look for a first-five of Allen, Spellman, Beaufort, Falzon, and Taylor, with a bench of Baptiste, McManus, and perhaps Martin and/or a wildcard(s).  The Playaz are the pick to take the 16u chip and as things are shaping up, this could be one of several major 16u New England squads in 2012.

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