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Charlie Weber Invitational Recap

April 26, 2003 Columns No Comments

2003 Charlie Weber Invitational Recap

by Phil Kasiecki

The 2003 Charlie Weber Invitational was held this weekend at Villanova University and nearby sites. Annually one of the top spring tournaments, this year’s field was weaker than last year’s with many top AAU teams from the east coast in Texas for the Adidas Clear Lake Classic, and the holiday weekend likely kept a team or two from participating as well. Despite this, there was still plenty of talent on hand to watch.

The 16-and-under American final was not played, as the New York Ravens won by way of a forfeit over Positive Image.

In the 16-and-under National final, Team Baltimore got off to a fast start and led 26-17 after the first quarter. Then Del Val Hoops came alive, with a big second quarter leading the charge, and they held off late rallies in taking home a 75-68 win. Devon McClendon (6’2″ So. SG, Chester (PA) High) led the winners with a game-high 23 points, while Carlos Monroe (6’7″ SF-PF, Upper Darby (PA) Monsignor Bonner) had 17.

In the 17-and-under American final, Ft. Sooy No Limit broke open a close game in the second quarter, then continued to pull away in the third quarter by dominating at both ends as they knocked off Raleigh’s Finest, 83-62. T.J. Gray (5’9″ Jr. PG, (NH) Brewster Academy) led the winners with 30 points, many coming during decisive second half runs. Shaun Livingston (6’6″ Jr. PG, Peoria (IL) High) added 18 points. Christado Johnson (6’6″ Sr. SF-PF, Laurinburg (NC) Charter), who will sign with Manhattan, had 16 points in defeat.

In the 17-and-under National final, Hunting Park looked to be comfortably ahead in the fourth quarter, but Metro Players made several charges and got within five on two occasions before succumbing, 65-57. Bilal Benn (6’4″ Jr. SG, Philadelphia (PA) Cardinal Dougherty HS) capped off a good weekend by leading the winners with 16 points.

Class of 2004

Shaun Livingston showed why he is among the top five players in the class. He controlled the tempo, made many good passes, got to the basket and showed his overall court smarts at both ends of the floor. He looks stronger while still being thin, and though he struggled to score, he made key plays and has a real smoothness to his game.

Livingston was certainly not the only player from the powerful Ft. Sooy team to catch our attention. Justin Cerasoli (6’4″ PG-SG, Aurora (IL) West HS) was very impressive, around the ball a lot and showing good quickness and athleticism. He created off the dribble for himself and others and played well defensively, and is a high-major prospect. The aforementioned T.J. Gray is a quick sparkplug point guard who was streaky shooting the ball, but definitely has the range on his jumper. He’s well-built, played good on-the-ball defense, and doesn’t stop playing. He should get some mid-major looks. Brandon Lee (6’1″ PG, Peoria (IL) High) had his moments, as the well-built guard got to the basket a few times and later hit some three-pointers, though shooting the ball is clearly not his forte.

Troy Mathis (6’1″ PG, Laurinburg (NC) Charter) had an excellent weekend, though he fizzled in the championship game. He basically scored at will, shooting the ball well out to long range and getting to the basket with his quickness most of the time, jumping over defenders to shoot the ball, and was great in transition. He showed some lateral quickness on defense, but his playmaking skills leave something to be desired. Nonetheless, he’s a good high-major prospect who can score the ball from the point.

Brazil native Hatila Desouza (6’9″ PF, Laurinburg (NC) Institute) had a nice weekend. The developing post player owned the glass, especially at the offensive end as he is very active, and he scored on put-backs and some post moves during the weekend. There is a lot of upside for this high-major prospect. A teammate of his, Kareem Cooper (6’9″ PF, Laurinburg (NC) Charter) has a big body and some skills, but a major drawback is that he doesn’t play very hard a lot of the time he’s out there. He often settles for three-point shots (almost a set shot), though he can make them, and he’s not very athletic or quick on the low post, often using his size and strength to get post baskets. He has high-major potential, but the way he plays the game is likely to turn off some teams and his upside may have limits. Another teammate, Damiao Rodrigues (7’3″ C, Laurinburg (NC) Institute) was the tallest player there, but arguably the least-skilled. He has never been a factor in any game we’ve seen him in, as he’s very foul-prone, not mobile, and the skills are lacking. He may get some Division I looks on his size alone, though.

DeSean White (6’7″ PF, Philadelphia (PA) Cardinal Dougherty) did not play very well this weekend, often hanging on the perimeter a little too much and not making the jump shots he settled for. The thick power player has good post scoring skills, but rarely showed them and he is not much for playing defense. Reportedly not a good student, rumor has it he will be at Oak Hill Academy next year. A teammate of his this weekend looked good, as Tim Young (6’3″ SG, Philadelphia (PA) Thomas Edison HS) is an athletic scoring guard who at times forces some bad shots in going to the basket. He’s very aggressive and didn’t shoot a lot of jump shots.

Jon Lucky (6’4″ PG-SG, Waterbury (CT) Sacred Heart) played well most of the weekend, though he struggled shooting the ball. He made good passes, especially on the move, but some of his teammates could not convert them. He’s not overly quick, but is very adept at going to his left for a right-hander and handles the ball well. He’s a young junior and a very good student, and a high-major prospect. Lucky’s teammate, Gerald Carter (6’5″ SF, New Haven (CT) Hyde HS), should get some mid-major looks with his athleticism, as he can get to the basket with good body control and will get offensive rebounds. Another teammate, Brian Glowiak (6’3″ SG, New Britain (CT) High) shot the ball well from long range and may get a few looks.

Davon Allen (6’7″ SF-PF, New York (NY) Redemption Christian Academy) had some good moments last year, and looked better this time around. The Baltimore native is a very athletic forward who scores almost entirely in close and can be a terror with his shot-blocking even at 6’7″. If the ball skills and jump shot come, he could be a real sleeper small forward.

Ishan Philips (6’9″ SF-PF, Philadelphia (PA) Lutheran Christian) is long and athletic, and looks like he has some potential if he adds some strength. Teammate Marvin Kilgore (6’2″ PG-SG, Philadelphia (PA) Lutheran Christian) is a lefty who has some quicks and shot the ball well, though he isn’t going to blow by a lot of defenders and doesn’t shoot the lights out.

Marcus Cousin (6’8″ SF-PF, Baltimore (MD) Western Tech) has some good upside, as he’s long and a battler on the glass since he’s quick off his feet. He needs to fill out his upper body, and he seems athletic enough to one day play small forward.

While the viewing was limited this weekend, a couple of players for the Dajuan Wagner South Jersey Rising Stars are worth mention here. The upside of Jason Thompson (6’7″ SF-PF, Medford (NJ) Lenape HS) looks very high after a good weekend in Rhode Island last weekend and the brief viewing this weekend. He’s active on the glass at both ends, can play up top in a zone defense quite ably, uses his long arms well, makes his shots in close, and with more upper-body strength he could be a legitimate combo forward. His teammate, Charron Fisher (6’4″ SF-PF, Philadelphia (PA) Roman Catholic HS), owned the glass against taller players. We have learned that Fisher will not play football his senior year, instead concentrating on basketball. He’s more of an undersized power forward who works as hard as anyone, is an excellent athlete and is reportedly a good student.

Class of 2005

The New York Ravens always bring some talent with them, and this was no exception. Rich Jackson (6’2″ SG, Bronx (NY) St. Raymond’s HS) had a nice weekend, as the slashing scorer battled inside on the offensive glass and showed that he is a capable ball-handler. Charles Vasser (6’1″ PG, Bronx (NY) St. Raymond’s HS) is a quick penetrator and finisher who can get to the basket. Ricky Cadell (6’1″ PG, Bronx (NY) St. Raymond’s HS) is a similar player, but he shot the ball better from long range than Vasser. Shawn Hilliard (6’6″ SF-PF, Bronx (NY) St. Raymond’s HS) is an athletic lefty who will face the basket and drive and has some unusual-looking physical motions. His pass and shot motions look odd, though they generally work for him, and he doesn’t bring the ball up high to finish the play, which could hurt against taller defenders.

Deandre Miranda (6’7″ PF, Peoria (IL) High) has good size and can run the floor, and played better as the weekend went along.

School and AAU teammates Tristan Crawford (6’3″ SG-SF, Steelton-Highspire (PA) High) and Tramayne Hawthorne (5’10” PG, Steelton-Highspire (PA) High) each had some good moments this weekend. Crawford looks like more of a scorer than a shooter, while Hawthorne has some quickness and can get up to finish drives.

From limited viewing, James Eversley (6’6″ SF, Centreville (VA) High) looks like he will be a prospect down the road, as he’s long and athletic but is rail thin right now.

Class of 2006

He only played one game with his team, but Darrin Govens (6’2″ PG, Philadelphia (PA) Village Charter School) was impressive in it. He’s not a jet, but a nice athlete with good point guard size and a pass-first mentality, and the tools to be an excellent defender are certainly visible.

From limited viewing, Larry Gbenyon (6’5″ SF, Herndon (VA) High) looks similar to his teammate, the aforementioned James Eversley. Like Eversley, he should be a prospect down the road, long and athletic but needing to get stronger.

One young guard who showed some potential is Eric Pitts (6’2″ SG, Baltimore (MD) Walbrook HS). The lefty showed a good touch on his jump shot out near three-point range, though his handle will need some improvement as he develops.

Other Notes

One of the Delaware Valley 16-under teams included a seventh-grader from Village Charter School. He played well in the one game observed, but junior high kids should not be in a high school tournament like this, save for perhaps elite eighth graders as the lone exception.


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