BOSTON – The Hoop Group Top 100 moved to a new location this time around, as Basketball City right near the Boston Garden was the site for this one. The event brought a decent amount of talent into the gym, although it had to compete with the SAT for upperclassmen and a team tournament elsewhere in the area.
Here, we take a look at some of the talent that competed on Saturday.
Stephen Basden (6’1″ Jr. SG, Byfield (MA) Governor’s Academy) A scoring guard with a good frame, he made a good finish on an early drive despite the defender getting a hand on the ball, showing good ball toughness. He also hit from mid-range off the dribble, something he’s shown the ability to do before.
Mabor Gabriel (6’7″ Jr. PF, Manchester (NH) Trinity HS) A slightly undersized post, he’s not lacking a motor or some talent although he has a good deal of work to do. He has some length and runs the floor reasonably well, boxed out well and got his share of rebounds at both ends, and got better as the day went along. Included in the last part is a nice long pass on one play and a runner on the right side later in the game, teasing you with some of what he might be capable of. Besides a post game at the offensive end that seems lacking, one knock is that at times the game looked a little too fast for him.
Malik James (6’0″ So. PG, Brighton (MA) High) Possibly the best prospect in the event, he has a good frame and above-average quickness, the latter of which helped him get in the lane often. He has a good motor as well, and also moves very well laterally, so it’s easy to see that he’s quite physically gifted. While he had some good moments running the team, and also was a pest on the ball at times defensively, he also had his hands on his hips one time as a shot went up and wasn’t the clear best player on the floor despite having the most potential.
Lazar Kojovic (6’3″ Sr. SG, Oakville (Ont.) Thomas A. Blakelock HS) A fundamentally sound guard, he has a good frame and stood out despite a lack of physical gifts. He was able to hit from long range, made a nice drive to the hoop but couldn’t quite finish another time down, and the best play he did was make a nice inbound pass to a cutter for an easy layup.
Joseph Kuo (6’7″ Jr. PF, Byfield (MA) Governor’s Academy) A post player with a good frame and some length, he’s not a baby physically although his body isn’t there yet. He showed the ability to pass out of the post and got a stickback, and his effort was clearly there. At the offensive end, his post moves need some work to be more effective.
Kyle Lawyer (6’2″ Sr. SG, Hyde Park (MA) Cathedral HS) It was a good showing for this guard with a mature body, as he was handling and passing the ball well, two things that guards don’t always do well in this setting. He was also talking on defense and showing that he’s a plus athlete, and all of that surely got the attention of the college coaches in the gym.
Damian Lugay (6’0″ Sr. SG, Weymouth (MA) High) All told, he had a nice day as an undersized shooting guard. He has a good frame and his body isn’t there yet, but he hit several three-point shots including a tough off-balance one going off the dribble.
Avalon McLaren (6’0″ So. PG, Brockton (MA) High) A baby physically, he had a good showing here with his offensive skills, while also doing a nice job of talking while in transition defense. He hit a couple of three-pointers, banking one of them home, and used a nice hesitation move to drive and score.
Colin Richey (6’1″ Jr. PG, Whitinsville (MA) Christian School) Arguably the best player in the gym on the day, he’s always shown talent but has been criminally under the radar. While he’s a capable scorer, he showed here as he’s shown elsewhere that with a little talent around him, he’ll be a pass-first floor leader and make others better. On top of that, he was showing leadership like a point guard should, and also got his fair share of rebounds as his body continues to mature.
Matthew Sherlock (6’1″ Jr. SG, Melrose (MA) High) Although he shot the ball well here, including in the stations, this athletic guard has played better than what he showed here. He struggled to finish in close, lost the ball on a few drives, and also committed a charging foul on another trip.