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Charlie Weber Maryland Invitational

August 6, 2003 Columns No Comments

Charlie Weber Maryland Invitational Tournament

by Phil Kasiecki

In the heart of the most important month of the year for college basketball recruiting was the latest of Charlie Weber’s tournaments, held at the University of Maryland from Sunday through Tuesday. Charlie’s tournaments always feature a good deal of Division I talent, and this one was no exception.

The tournament was open to college coaches, and they showed up in great numbers from across the east coast. Included were several head coaches: Jim Baron (Rhode Island), Jim Calhoun (Connecticut), Fran Dunphy (Pennsylvania), Craig Esherick (Georgetown), Bruiser Flint (Drexel), John Giannini (Maine), Larry Harrison (Hartford), Karl Hobbs (George Washington), Mike Jarvis (St. John’s), Joe Jones (Columbia), Jim Larranaga (George Mason), and Gary Williams (Maryland).

In the 15-and-under championship game, rising sophomore Hillary Hailey (6’5″ SF, Southern Maryland Christian Academy) made a layup with two seconds left to give the talented DC Blue Devils a 41-39 victory over Mt. Pleasant. Rising freshman Devon Sweetney (6’3″ SG-SF, Riverdale Baptist HS) led the winners with 14 points.

In the 16-and-under championship game, Charlotte United and Massachusetts Rivals needed overtime after the Rivals had three tip-in attempts in the final seconds that all missed. In the extra session, rising sophomore Jonathan Cruz (6’6″ SF, Lawrence (MA) Central Catholic HS) scored consecutive baskets to cap off six unanswered points in the first minute, and the Rivals would make it stand up in a 52-46 win. Cruz led the way with 18 points.

The 17-and-under championship had a matchup that not many may have expected coming in, as the well-balanced DC Bullets and the solid and occasionally spectacular DaJuan Wagner Rising Stars matched up. The Bullets, fresh off a big upset of powerful Cecil Kirk (Baltimore, MD), got off to a fast start and looked like they would run away with it, but the Rising Stars made a run to get within 33-24 at the half. In the second half, the Rising Stars made some mini-runs to try to catch up, but the Bullets had answers en route to an 83-74 win. Darrin David (6’5″ Sr. SF, Landover (MD) Foundation HS) led the Bullets with 18 points, while tournament MVP Chris Howard (6’3″ SG, Ft. Washington (MD) Friendly HS) and Brian Hodge (6’3″ Sr. SG, District Heights (MD) McNamara HS) each added 17. Albert Fisher (6’1″ Sr. PG-SG, Pennsauken (NJ) High) finished off a stellar tournament with a game-high 25 points in defeat.

Here is a look at some of the notable prospects at the tournament, arranged by class.

Class of 2004

Chris Alvarez (6’8″ PF, Blairstown (NJ) Blair Academy) Athletic post player generally struggled to score, though he was better at the offensive end later in the tournament. In the meantime, he was active at both ends and around the ball often, and was solid at the defensive end on the glass and blocking shots. Mid-major plus/high-major minus prospect.

Majok Chol (6’2″ SG, Jersey City (NI) Life Center Academy) This wing is very athletic, but not very fluid in his movements, which can get him into trouble when he drives. He shot the ball reasonably well, but didn’t drive to the basket often, and he defended well on the ball. Mid-major prospect.

Marcus Cousins (6’9″ PF, Baltimore (MD) Western Tech) Thin post player struggled early, but played well later on. He didn’t go up strong often and thus struggled to score, and he did a lot of hacking on defense, but he also runs the floor well. He’ll need to get stronger to reach his potential. Mid-major prospect.

Albert Fisher (6’1″ PG-SG, Pennsauken (NJ) High) High-flying guard had an excellent weekend, and his recruitment should pick up. At times, he was the best player on the floor, including in the 17-and-under championship game. He’s quick, but even more evasive, and often sliced and weaved his way to the basket for easy scores floating in the air. He scored on long range jumpers, floating runners, and fast breaks, as he’s fearless and tough when going to the basket. He has the physical tools to play the point, but seems to have more of a scorer’s mentality. High-major minus prospect should get more interest now.

Charron Fisher (6’4″ SF-PF, Philadelpha (PA) Roman Catholic HS) Tough inside player had another good showing, consistently making his presence felt despite being an undersized power forward. His small forward game is still developing, but he’s certainly athletic enough and made some acrobatic plays. He’s very strong and used it to score and rebound on the low post, and he runs the floor very well. High-major minus prospect is also an excellent student.

Rudy Gay (6’8″ SF-PF, Severn (MD) Archbishop Spalding HS) Several big-time schools had coaches watching him, especially after his showing at the Nike Camp. But overall, this very athletic forward didn’t have a five-star showing. He showed flashes of what he could do, showing his athleticism and shot-blocking skills as well as making some highlight-film dunks. While he didn’t score a lot of points, he did so on the post and away from the basket, and while his ball skills still need more improvement for the small forward position, he made several nice passes, especially on the move. Big-time prospect.

Paul Graham (6’5″ SG-SF, Philadelphia (PA) Lutheran Christian Academy) Scoring wing played well, as he’s athletic and shot the ball well en route to leading his team in scoring. Mid-major prospect.

Jeff Green (6’9″ PF, Hyattsville (MD) Northwestern HS) He’s been a player of interest for a while now, as he has good size and is athletic, but he hasn’t developed like we had hoped. His offense isn’t there yet, as he was a non-factor, but he can block shots and run the floor. Mid-major prospect.

Randall Hanke (6’10” C, Pawling (NY) Trinity-Pawling HS) Lefty post player is very long and showed a nice touch on shots in close. He’s quick off his feet and got better as the tournament went along. Mid-major plus prospect.

Kyle Hines (6’6″ PF, Sicklerville (NJ) Timbercreek HS) Well-built but undersized post player had a nice showing. He played strong inside and consistently finished shots in close, ran the floor very well and grabbed some rebounds. Mid-major/mid-major plus prospect.

Brian Hodge (6’3″ SG, District Heights (MD) McNamara HS) This athletic guard shot the ball well most of the tournament in a complementary role at the offensive end. Mid-major prospect.

Chris Howard (6’3″ SG, Ft. Washington (MD) Friendly HS) The tournament MVP is a solid complementary player who played well within the team concept. He didn’t stand out on his well-balanced team, but he’s an athletic wing who scored in flow. Mid-major prospect.

Jerome Johnson (6’9″ PF-C, Potomac (MD) Bullis School) Physical post player had a good showing overall. He’s not overly polished with his post moves, but will score some baskets inside, and he shot the mid-range baseline jumper well with his very high release. He looked aggressive at the offensive end and owned the backboards at times. He still needs some polish on the low post and is very right-handed, but this high-major/high-major minus prospect is getting better.

Matthew Kyle (6’11” C, Myrtle Beach (SC) North Myrtle Beach HS) Post player is long and active, and runs the floor well for a big man, but needs to get stronger and tougher. He was not as much of a factor as he looks like he could be. Mid-major prospect.

John Lucky (6’5″ PG-SG, Waterbury (CT) Sacred Heart HS) Good size point guard is also capable of playing the shooting guard spot, which he may spend time at in college. He’s not overly quick, but he’s intelligent with the ball and a crafty passer. He’s never been a great shooter, and this tournament was no different, but his decision-making with the ball is solid. High-major prospect recently committed to Rhode Island.

Chris Matthews (6’3″ SG, Fort Washington (MD) National Christian Academy) Good size wing has some decent quickness and shot the ball well when he got shots. He has a good stroke and plays at both ends of the floor. High-major minus prospect.

Tavon Nelson (6’7″ SF-PF, Baltimore (MD) South Kent Prep) Versatile athlete is a warrior who comes to play, and a nice complementary player. He’ll play inside and outside, not afraid to mix it up inside, and doesn’t do any one thing well except play the game. He handled the ball and made some nice ball fakes, but he also got himself into trouble at times when he decided to freelance with the ball. High-major minus prospect.

Manny Quezada (6’2″ PG-SG, Washington (DC) St. Alban’s HS) Penetrating guard is athletic and quick, though not a jet. He maneuvers well in traffic and finishes drives strong, and here he seemed to be more of a distributor than before. High-major minus prospect.

Will Scott (6’4″ SG, Far Hills (NJ) Blair Academy) This scoring wing isn’t very quick or athletic, but he knows how to get to the basket and scored some transition baskets as well. He started hitting jumpers later in the tournament after not shooting earlier, but it isn’t his forte. On the down side, besides his lack of athleticism, he isn’t much of a passer and forced some bad shots when he drove to the basket and defenders picked him up. Mid-major prospect.

Dontay Tabbs (6’7″ PF, Fort Washington (MD) National Christian Academy) Post player had a good showing overall. He’s athletic, but doesn’t appear to be athletic enough or possess the ball skills to play the wing. Instead, he scores mainly on the post and grabbed some rebounds here. His footwork could use a little improvement, as could his body control. Mid-major plus/high-major minus prospect.

Shawn Taggart (6’9″ PF, Durham (NC) Mt. Zion Christian Academy) Post player has good size and is a better athlete than he looks. He rebounded the ball better than anything else he did, but the upside is certainly there. High-major minus prospect.

Jason Thompson (6’8″ SF-PF, Medford (NJ) Lenape HS) He has plenty of upside, though he may have looked a little better earlier in the spring. The issue is that he seems to be too passive on the court, as he lets the game come to him perhaps a little too much. He’s athletic and has great hands, rebounds well and makes plays inside, and throughout the spring he’s shown an ability to make some mid-range jumpers facing the basket. He still needs some physical maturity, but he’s a good mid-major plus prospect.

Lucas Varga (6’0″ PG, Myrtle Beach (SC) Socastee HS) Lefty point guard played well for his Beach Ball Select team. He penetrated well and showed some quickness, and was generally an effective floor leader. On the downside, he looks to be a little too left-handed, which defenders can exploit. Mid-major prospect.

Deron Washington (6’6″ SF, Fort Washington (MD) National Christian Academy) Thin forward is a do-everything type that plays a lot stronger than he looks and goes all-out. He’s very athletic, handles and passes the ball well and unselfishly, and he defends and hustles. He didn’t shoot the ball much, leaving that as an unknown, and he certainly needs to get stronger. High-major prospect.

Sam Young (6’6″ SF-PF, Ft. Washington (MD) Friendly HS) Very athletic combo forward-type may be between positions, but he played very well here. He finished strong in close and rebounded well throughout, and showed some flashes of small forward skills. He was around the ball often, made shots and showed good body control. High-major minus prospect.

Class of 2005

Eric Boateng (6’10” C, Milford (DE) St. Andrew’s HS) This big man certainly has a lot of upside. He has decent size and strength, though more maturity will help him get better, and he looks like he can be a nice shot-blocker. He made a couple of mid-range shots facing the basket, as his offense started to show up a little later, and he doesn’t lack for hustle.

Paris Carter (6’5″ SG-SF, Baltimore (MD) Lake Clifton HS) This solidly-built wing is known more for his good jump shot, but he looked to go to the basket more and generally fared well. He didn’t shoot as much, and didn’t shoot it as well as he has before, but his stroke is fine and he will have better times shooting the ball.

Chris Darnell (6’7″ PF, Washington (DC) North Stafford HS) This nice post player had a good showing. He rebounded well throughout the tournament, and showed a good touch away from the basket at the offensive end, including knocking down a few three-pointers. He’s very thin and will need to get stronger, but his skills are in good shape for when that happens.

Jose Garcia (6’4″ SG-SF, Lynchburg (VA) Virginia Episcopal HS) This tough athlete on the wing is aggressive and not afraid of contact. He looks to be more of a scorer than a shooter, and isn’t afraid to crash the boards.

Khalil Hartwell (6’8″ PF, Philadelphia (PA) Lutheran Christian Academy) This long post player is a good athlete whose skills need a good deal of development. Evidence of it came when his team took on the very talented and athletic Cecil Kirk team, as he was a non-factor in the game.

Chris Johnson (6’11” C, Middleburg (VA) Notre Dame Academy) This very thin post player showed very good ball skills for his size. He’s a nice athlete who ran the floor well and consistently hit jump shots, mixing in the occasional post basket. Defensively, he blocked shots with his long arms, but he’s a human baseball bat who really needs to gain strength.

Marquis Jones (6’1″ PG, South Plainfield (NJ) High) Slashing point guard isn’t overly quick, but he handles the ball reasonably well and doesn’t look for his shot too much. He got a few rebounds and looks like he can be a pesky on-the-ball defender as well.

Matt Kittrell (6’8″ PF, Richmond (VA) Benedictine HS) Post player has decent size and showed some post skills in this tournament. He’s mainly a role player who won’t hurt your team with his inside defense, and he was good on the boards. Offensively, he didn’t get a lot of touches.

Chad Millard (6’8″ SF-PF, Manchester (NH) Trinity HS) This combo forward impressed with his three-point stroke first, but also hit a couple of jumpers off the dribble. He’s an above average athlete and should only get better with added strength.

Bambaley Osby (6’6″ PF, Richmond (VA) Benedictine HS) Solidly built forward is a warrior on the low post despite being a bit undersized. He’s athletic and aggressive at both ends, and while he didn’t star offensively, he did knock down a couple of jumpers in addition to scoring in close, though shooting the ball is certainly not his forte.

Matt Samuels (6’1″ PG-SG, Greenbelt (MD) Eleanor Roosevelt HS) Well-built combo guard is mainly a scorer, but he brought the ball up and ran the offense for his team here. He’s athletic and not overly quick, but shot the ball well from long range.

Class of 2006/2007

Jonathan Cruz (6’6″ So. SF, Lawrence (MA) Central Catholic HS) There’s good upside in this young forward, who right now appears to be better defensively than offensively. He’s a good, not great, athlete, who really lets the game come to him, though at times here he took it upon himself to make a big play with the ball. Offensively, he mainly scores in the post and from mid-range, though his three-point stroke will have to be respected. Once the ball skills get better and the body matures, he’ll be a very nice player.

Kevin Durant (6’5″ So. SF, Fort Washington (MD) National Christian Academy) This athletic wing started slowly, but played well later in the tournament. He’s very thin and his body hasn’t matured yet, but he showed some of what he could do later, as he was finishing drives and hitting jump shots as far out as three-point range. His ball skills will have to develop more as well.

Hillary Hailey (6’5″ So. SG-SF, Southern Maryland Christian Academy) This athletic wing has good size and wasn’t afraid to do a little work inside. He knocked down a couple of long range jumpers, but that’s not his forte.

Alex Irmer (6’7″ So. PF, Charlotte (NC) Wakefield HS) A good inside scorer, he used mostly finesse moves to score inside while not backing down from physical play as well. He showed good footwork on his moves and ran the floor well.

Julius Powell (6’9″ So. SF-PF, Charlotte (NC) Newton Conover HS) Athletic forward ran the floor well and really used his athleticism nicely at both ends of the floor. He showed some skills away from the basket and played some decent defense on the ball, though he also gambled several times. He blocked some shots, and could be a good post player with some added strength, though it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him playing small forward down the line as well.

Ryan Scott (6’3″ So. SG, Charlotte (NC) South Lakes HS) Wing scorer had himself a good tournament, showing a good stroke and scoring on some drives. He’s not a great athlete or overly quick, but he chose his shots well and was a key performer as his team reached the 16-and-under championship game.

Warren Wilson (6’0″ So. SG, New Hampton (NH) Prep) He looks to be an undersized shooting guard, as he generally looked to score and was effective in doing so. He has good quickness and scored on some drives, but the best thing he did was shoot the ball.

Some Other Players Who Caught Our Eye (team noted after player info):

Luke Bonner (6’11” Sr. C, Manchester (NH) Trinity HS) Granite State Raiders
Charles Bronson (6’9″ Sr. C, Philadelphia (PA) Lutheran Christian Academy) Sam Rines
Sam Carey (6’7″ Sr. PF, Nashua (NH) Central HS) New Hampshire Playerz
Hiram Carolina (6’6″ Sr. PF, Georgetown (SC) Christ School) Beach Ball Select
Kenny Carter (6’1″ Sr. PG-SG, Woodbridge (VA) Forest Park HS) Prince William Pacers
Darrin David (6’5″ Sr. SF, Landover (MD) Foundation HS) Bullets (DC)
Keith Edmonds (6’5″ Sr. SG, Chapel Oaks (MD) Fairmont Heights HS) Bullets (DC)
John Holmes (6’5″ Sr. SG-SF, Salisbury (MD) JM Bennett HS) Delaware Sharpshooters
Mike Jones (6’6″ So. SG-SF, Columbia (SC) Lower Richland HS) TOPP Sports (SC)
Chris Ludgate (6’9″ Jr. PF-C, Summit (NJ) Blair Academy) New Jersey Demons
Anthony Martin (6’7″ SR. SF-PF, Queens (NY) Bishop Francis HS) Queens Cobras
Shomari Moore (5’8″ Sr. PG, Camden (NJ) High) DaJuan Wagner Rising Stars
Allesyne Muniro (6’10” So. C, Laurinburg (NC) Institute) Team Baltimore
Daniel Northern (6’8″ Sr. PF, Houston (GA) Warner Robbins HS) Atlanta All-Stars
Kingsly Owyechi (6’7″ Jr. PF, Lowell (MA) High) Mass Rivals
Darryl Proctor (6’4″ Sr. SG-SF, Fairfax (VA) Paul VI HS) Bullets (DC)
Jamar Samuel (Fr. SG-SF, Wheaton (MD) High) DC Blue Devils
Brandon Smalls (6’4″ Sr. SG-SF, North Charleston (SC) High) Beach Ball Select
Fabrice Tafo (6’6″ Jr. SF-PF, Wafford (NH) Brewster Academy) Granite State Raiders
Dennis Ward (6’6″ So. SF, Durham (NC) Mt. Zion Christian Academy) Squires Richmond
John Woodard (6’4″ Sr. SG, Lynchburg (VA) Virginia Episcopal) Lynchburg Hoops
Anthony Wright (6’6″ So. SF-PF, Mouth of Wilson (VA) Oak Hill Academy) DC Blue Devils


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