Summer Camping in the Phil Nation
Postcard from Pennsylvania
Charlie Weber Invitational
by Phil Kasiecki
The 2002 Charlie Weber Spring Invitational, held at Villanova University, saw more than 200 teams participate in terrific basketball action. The non-stop action was excellent, with many good Division I prospects participating. While Division I coaches could not attend this event, there were plenty of representatives from scouting services there to see some of the best the nation’s high school ranks have to offer.
In the Open Division National League, the Fairfax County Stars were the story of the weekend, as they pulled off several upsets before falling to Worldwide Renegades (Georgia) in a valiant effort in the championship. Marvin Collins (Lithia Springs HS, GA) led the Renegades to a 57-48 win with 17 points, while Ricky Lucas (Montrose Christian HS, Rockville, MD) capped a solid weekend with a game-high 23 points for Fairfax in a losing effort.
In the Open Division American League, Minuteman Press needed overtime to knock off Raleigh’s Finest Rufrats by a 65-62 score behind 22 points from Valparaiso commitment Oumar Sylla (Our Savior New American HS, Centereach, NY).
In one 16-and-under final, the Baltimore Bombers made late plays to take home the crown with a 72-68 victory over Philadelphia MJC. Darnell Harris (St. Francis Academy, Baltimore, MD) capped off a solid weekend with a team-high 22 points, while Gordon Chase (St. Francis Academy, Baltimore, MD) added 20. Kyle Lowry (Philadelphia Northeast HS, Philadelphia, PA) ended a terrific weekend with a game-high 25 points for Philadelphia MJC.
In the other 16-under final, Positive Image had to hold off a furious fourth quarter comeback by the South Jersey Rising Stars for a 73-69 win. South Jersey trailed by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter. Shawn Sabb (Southern HS, Philadelphia, PA) led four Positive Image players in double figures with 16 points. Al Fischer (So. G, Pennsauken HS, Pennsauken, NJ) led the Rising Stars with a game-high 21 points.
Here are some notes on a few of the tournament’s top prospects and performers.
Davon Allen (6’6″ Jr. SF-PF, Seventh HS, Baltimore, MD)
This shot-blocker is a good athlete who didn’t show much at the offensive end, due in part to having a couple of teammates who are fine offensive players.
Sam Ashaolu (6’7″ Jr. SF-PF, Heritage Christian HS, FL)
He’s an athletic combo forward who can score inside and out as well as in transition, and he rebounded well.
David Bell (6’7″ Sr. SG-SF, Mt. Zion, Philadelphia, PA)
This highly skilled wing played well all weekend. He’s active, determined to get to the basket when he drives, goes up strong, rebounds, and can handle the ball well enough to occasionally play the point. He’s a good athlete, and will post up smaller players and score. Big-time prospect is still unsigned and still trying to qualify.
Grant Billmeier (6’10” Jr. C, St. Patrick HS, Elizabeth, NJ)
Very physical post player had his moments over the weekend. He has good size and rebounded very well since he boxes out well. Offensively, he can score on the post and can step out and hit from about the elbows, but he also lacks control and will occasionally pick up offensive fouls. High-major prospect.
Darell Blackman (6’1″ Jr. PG, Williamsport HS, Williamsport, PA)
A powerfully built athlete, he shot the ball well from long range and looked like a capable floor leader.
Art Bowers (6’4″ Jr. SG, St. Benedict’s HS, Newark, NJ)
Shot the ball well most of the weekend, scored going to the basket, and also brought the ball up a lot, which he is very capable of doing. He is strong and will post up smaller players, has good shot selection, and comes to play. High-major prospect.
Dwight Brewington (6’4″ Jr. PG-SG, Lynn English HS, Lynn, MA)
He did not play his best ball over the weekend, but he continued to play well. He’s an unselfish combo guard who penetrates well in traffic, can pass on the move very well, and is adept at drawing fouls. He can be a big scorer when needed, and he’s unselfish when surrounded by good talent. High-major prospect.
Kirk Bunn (6’5″ Jr. SF, Bishop Loughlin HS, Brooklyn, NY)
He’s a very good athlete who makes plays at both ends of the floor, and this weekend was no different. He’s versatile at the offensive end and always comes to play.
Tasheed Carr (6’4″ Jr. PG-SG, University HS, Philadelphia, PA)
This athletic, well-built guard can play both backcourt positions. He is a pass-first guard, a capable ball-handler, and a good passer. He did not look to shoot much. High-major prospect.
Paris Carter (6’5″ Fr. SF, Lake Clifton HS, Baltimore, MD)
Well-built wing is a good athleticism and uses it well at both ends of the floor. He was able to make plays in the press, as well as with the ball at the offensive end.
Gordon Chase (6’5″ So. SF, St. Francis Academy, Baltimore, MD)
This well-built forward uses his strength well inside to score on the post and when he goes to the basket. He played well in the tournament rounds in helping his team win.
Rashon Clark (6’5″ Jr. SF, Beach Channel HS, Queens, NY)
Active athlete is around the ball a lot and makes athletic plays. He got his share of offensive rebounds and put-backs as well as loose balls. Good role player is a mid-major prospect.
Shane Clark (6’7″ So. SF-PF, Cardinal Dougherty HS, Philadelphia, PA)
Lanky athletic forward scored well all weekend, mainly out to mid-range. He also showed the ability to make some good long passes off rebounds or loose balls. If he adds some muscle to his frame, he has very good potential.
Jason Clarke (6’7″ Jr. SF, Morristown HS, Morristown, NJ)
Very good athlete is good in transition, can score on quick post moves against a smaller player, and made a couple of three-pointers over the weekend. Mid-major plus prospect.
Corey Cofield (6’6″ Jr. PF, Roxbury Latin HS, West Roxbury, MA)
This athletic post player is a power forward in the halfcourt and can run the floor like a small forward. He can block shots, rebound and score on the post, but at 6’6″ he looks to be a bit undersized. Low- to mid-major prospect.
Duane Curtis (6’8″ Jr. PF, Whitney Young HS, Chicago, IL)
This powerful and mobile post player was mainly a space-eater and did work on the post at the defensive end. He can block shots and rebound, not getting many touches at the offensive end.
Mark Daniels (6’2″ Jr. SG, Laurinburg Institute, Laurinburg, NC)
The one thing he did very well was shoot from long range, as he has a good stroke and can get hot from downtown.
Konimba Diarra (6’10” Jr. C, Our Savior New American HS, Centereach, NY)
Post player is an athletic shot-blocker and rebounder with offensive skills that still need some development. He can score in close and got better as the weekend went along, but his post moves are still a bit limited.
Richard Dorsey (6’6″ Sr. SF, Douglas HS, Baltimore, MD)
Good size wing is a very good athlete who scored on slashing drives, in transition, and occasionally posting other players up. High-major prospect may attend prep school next year.
Anthony Drayton (5’11” Jr. PG, Lincoln-Sudbury HS, Lincoln, MA)
He shot the ball well, especially in tournament play. He has some quicks and can penetrate, but his shooting stood out most here.
Carniche Gaskin (6’3″ Jr. SG-SF, New London HS, New London, CT)
He’s a power guard who has good athleticism and uses his size and strength well to play bigger. He’ll score on the post and on offensive rebounds, and can hit from long range and isn’t a bad ball-handler. Mid-major prospect.
Rudy Gay (6’7″ So. SF-PF, Eastern Tech, Baltimore, MD)
Good size combo forward is a very good athlete with long arms that he uses well to block shots. He rebounded well and got out in transition, but he did not do much at the offensive end. He’ll need to get stronger as his high school years continue.
Gavin Grant (6’6″ Jr. SF, St. Raymond’s HS, Bronx, NY)
Athletic wing has good size and looks to have some skills since he does a lot, but he doesn’t always do a lot that gets noticed. He plays within the team concept and lets the game come to him, but with his good size and apparent skills, it might be nice to see him force the action a bit more at times.
Aaron Gray (6’11” Jr. C, Emmaus HS, Macungie, PA)
Big post player had a decent tournament, not really dominating but not playing poorly either. He stays home on the post, blocks some shots and rebounds while playing physical basketball, but isn’t a terror on defense. High-major prospect.
Lamont Hamilton (6’10” Jr. C, Milford Academy, Milford, CT)
He provides a strong post presence with his size inside. He’s a well-built big man who can score in close and looks better than he did earlier in the year. High-major prospect.
Steven Harley (5’9″ So. PG, Techworld HS, Washington, DC)
This quick point guard is an excellent leaper and uses that ability well when he goes to the basket. His jump shot did not look good, but he has time to develop that.
Darnell Harris (6’0″ So. PG, St. Francis Academy, Baltimore, MD)
He played very well in the tournament rounds in leading his team to the title in one 16 and under division. He shot the ball very well, especially from long range, and ran the team well with the good talent he had around him. He got his shots while helping the others contribute.
Robert Hines (6’5″ Jr. SF, St. Patrick HS, Elizabeth, NJ)
This strong, versatile athlete did many things to help his team make a deep run into the tournament. He rebounded, score on the post and away from the basket, scored in transition, and handled the ball a little as well.
Darnell Hopkins (6’2″ Sr. PG-SG, Towson Catholic, Towson, MD)
Solid scoring guard can play either guard well, though he may be more of a shooting guard. He has decent quickness, goes up strong on drives, handles the ball well, and is not selfish despite his scoring mentality. Mid-major plus prospect.
Jerome Johnson (6’9″ So. PF-C, Bullis School, Potomac, MD)
This good post presence with some skills spent a fair amount of time guarding players away from the basket, where he is less effective. He did not get many touches in the tournament, but showed that he can face the basket. He’s active around the boards and looks to have improved overall.
Michael Jones (6’5″ Jr. SG-SF, Thayer Academy, Braintree, MA)
Athletic scoring wing player had an excellent weekend before his team was knocked out early in the playoffs. He shot the ball well throughout the weekend, including from long range and off the dribble, and made his share of clutch baskets. Big-time prospect.
Byron Joynes (6’9″ Jr. PF-C, Towson Catholic, Towson, MD)
Burly post player is a good space-eater with some skills, though he looks like he could be a better player than he has been. He moves his big frame well and can rebound, though he played relatively limited minutes in the tournament. If he can put it all together, he could be a nice high-major prospect.
Brian Lang (6’4″ Jr. SF-PF, St. Raymond’s HS, Bronx, NY)
Strong combo forward played well against bigger players in the post. He’s a good athlete, runs the floor well, and he isn’t afraid of contact with bigger players and held his own at this tournament.
Alvin Lewis (6’0″ So. PG, Tilton HS, Concord, NH)
Quick point guard didn’t have his best days shooting the ball when I saw him, though his coach felt he shot the ball well overall. He’s a younger point guard on a team full of point guards, so he isn’t usually the team’s floor leader right now, though the potential is there.
Shawn Livingston (6’6″ So. SF, Richwoods HS, Peoria, IL)
This thin wing player had a good weekend showing his skills on the perimeter. He is a good athlete capable of handling the ball, can score on drives, and he shot the ball well.
Kyle Lowry (6’0″ So. PG-SG, Philadelphia Northeast HS, Philadelphia, PA)
Scoring guard had an excellent weekend. He shot well from long range, has good quickness and is very good leading or finishing the break, and made some good passes on the move.
Ricky Lucas (6’5″ Jr. SF, Montrose Christian HS, Rockville, MD)
He had his moments in pool play, but after that, he turned it up and played excellent basketball. The interesting thing is that there is no one thing that jumps out about him; he’s a good, not great, athlete; he’s a very good shooter – to mid-range, though he can hit from long range; and he is not a power player. He scored a lot on mid-range jump shots off the dribble, on offensive rebounds, and in transition. He plays stronger than he looks and finishes drives well. High-major prospect.
Omar Malcolm (6’2″ Jr. SG, Creative & Performing Arts HS, Philadelphia, PA)
This athletic guard is a good scorer with a jump shot out to long range. He played well in the tournament games, helping his team take home the title in their division.
Wayne Marshall (6’9″ Jr. PF-C, Martin Luther King HS, Philadelphia, PA)
He didn’t get many touches in a couple of his team’s games, and when he did, he missed his share of shots. He looked a little foul-prone as well. He has good size but could stand to get stronger, and he didn’t look very aggressive in the post. High-major prospect.
James Mays (6’8″ Jr. SF-PF, Garner HS, Garner, NC)
An athletic combo forward, he has a good touch on mid-range jump shots and will face the basket. He could use more strength, though he looked good at utilizing his quickness on the low post when he posted up. High-major prospect.
Richard McBride (6’4″ Jr. SG, Lanphier HS, Springfield, IL)
This quick, strong guard has a pro basketball body. He is quick off the dribble and shot the ball well with a good release. He also showed he can score on the move. Big-time prospect.
Louie McCroskey (6’3″ Jr. SG, St. Raymond’s HS, Bronx, NY)
Scoring guard shot the three-pointer very well with his good stroke. He can handle the ball and score off the dribble, making his stroke that much more dangerous. He’s not a jet and it wouldn’t hurt if he got stronger, but his jump shot alone does a lot for him. High-major prospect.
Kechaun Myers (6’0″ So. PG, Carver HS Engineering & Science, Philadelphia, PA)
Scoring point guard shot the ball very well out to long range, and he is also a good leaper and uses it when he penetrates to the basket.
Demetrius Nichols (6’7″ Jr. SF, St. Andrew’s HS, Barrington, RI)
A good weekend for this thin wing player. He really seemed to let the game come to him, and made shots from all over and he ran the floor well. He still needs to get stronger, but he looked very good this weekend at the offensive end. High-major prospect is reportedly planning to commit in the foreseeable future.
Richard Payton (6’0″ Jr. PG, Amityville HS, Amityville, NY)
This speedy point guard is very shifty and moves well in traffic, and he showed that he can pass in traffic despite having a somewhat shaky handle. He’s a pesky defender who didn’t look to score a lot. High-major prospect.
Willie Phillips (5’11” Jr. PG, East Boston HS, East Boston, MA)
This quick point guard is a good finisher on drives and he goes up strong.
Ronald Ramon (6’1″ So. PG, All Hallows HS, Bronx, NY)
In limited viewing, he looked good and very much like a complementary player content to let others do the scoring. He has a very good long-range jump shot and can play either guard, and he’ll be worth keeping an eye on.
Shawn Sabb (6’6″ So. SF, Southern HS, Philadelphia, PA)
This athletic scoring wing forward had a good weekend, finishing in close on drives and in transition. He also has good size, so he’ll be worth keeping an eye on in the future.
Blake Schlib (6’6″ Jr. SF-PF, Rantoul HS, IL)
Versatile combo forward looked like an excellent role player. He looks to be more of a power forward, though he could use more strength for the position, as he rebounded very well at both ends and can face the basket. Mid-major prospect.
Mustafa Shakur (6’3″ Jr. PG, Friends Central HS, Wynnewood, PA)
One of the top point guards in the class of 2003, he had a very good weekend. He’s a quick penetrating point guard who shows a diverse array of offensive skills. He has a good first step and goes up strong when he drives to the basket and is a good leaper, and has shown that he can both score and pass on the move and in transition. He shot the ball well this weekend, with good range on his jumper. He’s a big-time prospect.
Curtis Stinson (6’1″ Jr. PG, St. Raymond’s HS, Bronx, NY)
Very good scoring guard played well this weekend, scoring mostly on drives to the basket. He knows how to get to the basket and usually does not look to shoot outside much.
Oumar Sylla (6’7″ Jr. SF, Our Savior New American HS, Centereach, NY)
Versatile wing forward had a decent weekend, finishing with a good game in the championship. He can handle the ball and operates well around the basket when driving or getting an offensive rebound, though he missed a lot of shots in close this weekend. His shot release looks questionable, though he can make shots out to three-point range. High-major prospect has committed to Valparaiso.
Marvin Taylor (6’1″ Jr. PG, New Brunswick HS, New Brunswick, NJ)
This excellent athlete is a quick point guard who performs a similar role on the football field since he’s a highly-regarded quarterback. (Syracuse is already interested in him for football.)
Robert Taylor (6’5″ Jr. SF, Paul IV HS, Fairfax, VA)
Well-built wing athlete hit from mid-range off the dribble with some consistency and also finished drives in close. He goes up strong and has good body control.
Cameron Tyler (6’1″ Jr. PG, Cardozo HS, Bayside, NY)
Well-built point guard played well amidst the great amount of talent on his team. He capably ran the show and shot the ball well from long range.
Charlie Villanueva (6’9″ Jr. SF-PF, Blair Academy, NJ)
He didn’t arrive until Saturday afternoon, but he made an entrance right away with a dunk and a three-pointer. This combo forward has a lot of skills on the perimeter to go with his size, as he can handle the ball and score on drives, posting up, and on deep three-pointers, but he can also hurt his team. He will dribble with his head down at times and tries to do too much on occasion as well. Still, he’s a big-time prospect.
Jamal Warren (6’1″ Jr. PG, Holyoke HS, Holyoke, MA)
This quick point guard continued to play well with the talented Tim Thomas Playaz. He’s a good penetrating guard who can get to the basket and will occasionally make a mid-range jumper and his on-the-ball defense has improved some. Nonetheless, it’s hard to rate him very highly considering that the more talent he has around him, the better he plays. He looks like a mid-major plus prospect.
Dominique White (5’11” Jr. PG, Urbana HS, Urbana, IL)
He did a fine job of running a team with several talented players. He has decent quickness, uses both hands well, and will get points in between letting others do the scoring. Mid-major prospect.
Mark Zoller (6’6″ Jr. PF, St. Joseph’s Prep, Blue Bell, PA)
He played well in scoring garbage points in the post, rebounding well, and stepping out to hit three-point shots. He’s not a great athlete, but he’s fundamentally sound and just plays the game. Mid-major prospect.
Other players who I did not see much of, but deserve mention as being on the radar screen:
Karl Anderson (6’8″ Jr. PF, St. Raymond’s HS, Bronx, NY)
Bass Bieng (6’10” So. PF-C, Laurinburg Institute, NC)
Joshua Boone (6’9″ Jr. PF, West Nottingham Prep, Baltimore, MD)
Javon Borum (5’10” Fr. PG, Gwynn Park HS, Brandywine, MD)
Travis Bowman (6’1″ So. PG-SG, Suitland HS, Suitland, MD)
Jerome Carmon (6’7″ So. SF-PF, Southern Maryland Christian Academy)
Walt Chancellor (6’6″ Jr. SF-PF, Hughes HS, Cincinnati, OH)
Rasheed Cole (6’5″ Jr. SF, Episcopal HS, Alexandria, VA)
Tyrone Cook (6’0″ Fr. PG-SG, St. Patrick HS, Elizabeth, NJ)
Wayne Coward (6’3″ Jr. SG, Hills West HS, Copaigue, NY)
Antione Dade (6’6″ So. PF, Jones HS, Orlando, FL)
Theo Davis (6’9″ Fr. C, Marian HS, Canada)
Rodney Edgerson (6’5″ Jr. SF, Peoria Woodruff HS, Peoria, IL)
Chester Frazier (5’10” So. PG, Mervo HS, Baltimore, MD)
Jeff Green (6’9″ So. PF, Northwestern HS, Hyattsville, MD)
Brian Grimes (6’6″ Fr. SF, Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, PA)
Lawrence Hamm (6’6″ Sr. SF, Harrisburg, PA)
Anthony Harris (6’4″ Jr. SG, Whitney Young HS, Chicago, IL)
Kenny Ingram (6’6″ So. SF, Edgewater HS, Orlando, FL)
Tanard Jackson (6’1″ Jr. PG, Bullis School, Potomac, MD)
Omar Johnson (5’8″ Jr. PG, Simon Gratz HS, Philadelphia, PA)
Chris Leborious (6’8″ Jr. PF, Mercersburg Academy, Mercersburg, PA)
Kenny Lewis (6’0″ Fr. PG, Penn Hills HS, Pittsburgh, PA)
Troy Mathis (6’1″ Jr. PG, Laurinburg Institute, Laurinburg, NC)
Akida McClain (6’7″ So. PF, Penn Hills HS, Pittsburgh, PA)
Eugene Myatt (6’6″ Jr. SF, Dobbins HS, Philadelphia, PA)
Tavon Nelson (6’7″ Jr. SF, Lake Clifton East HS, Baltimore, MD)
Obie Nwadike (6’5″ Jr. SF, St. Anthony’s HS, Jersey City, NJ)
Juan Diego Tello Pallacious (6’8″ So. PF, Our Savior New American HS, Centereach, NY)
Kashif Payne (5’9″ Jr. PG, Archibishop Carroll HS, Radnor, PA)
Marcus Riley (6’6″ Jr. SF, Nandua HS, MD)
Dan Ross (6’5″ Jr. SG, West Nottingham Prep, Baltimore, MD)