MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The first of two weekends that were open to Division I coaches saw a trip to Connecticut on the docket. The Hall of Fame New England Championship was held primarily a little away from Hartford, with the key games being at Wesleyan University.
The 16-under final was a close game throughout, with Team Scan leading the B.C. Eagles for most of the game. Down 40-35 late, the B.C. Eagles finished the game on an 8-1 run for a 43-41 win. Calvin Crawford (6’7″ Jr. SF, Montgomery (NY) Valley Central HS) led the Eagles with a game-high 15 points and was their only player in double figures. Chris McCullough (6’9″ So. PF, White Plains (NY) Salisbury Prep) led Team Scan with 13 points and Conrad Chambers (6’1″ So. SG, Chester (PA) Friends Central HS) added 11.
The 17-under final was a close one throughout as well. Middlesex Magic trailed for a good portion of the game, but rallied to take the lead well into the second half. Late in the game, Brookwood Elite made the shots and got the stops to hang on for a 58-53 win over Middlesex Magic. Mamadou Gueye (6’7″ Jr. SF-PF, Laval (Que.) Ste-Foy) led Brookwood Elite with 17 points. Chris Braley (6’4″ Jr. SG, Newport (ME) Philips Exeter Academy) led Middlesex Magic with a game-high 21 points in the losing effort.
Now, here’s a look at some of the players in action this weekend.
Jordan Aquino (5’10” Fr. PG, Dollard (Que.) PCHS) A baby physically, he didn’t stand out much on his well-balanced team but might be their best prospect. He showed that he can get out in transition and finished, but his best asset might be his shooting, which was highlighted by three three-pointers in one game en route to the championship.
De’Von Barnett (6’4″ Sr. SF, Waldorf (MD) Riverdale Baptist HS) Athletic and well-built wing was very aggressive, and that was a big reason he played well. He scored in double digits in a couple of games, looking like much more of a scorer than a shooter, and his body looks like it can still mature more.
Marlon Beck II (5’11” Jr. PG, Mitchellville (MD) Maret School) Tough floor leader has a body that’s not there yet, but he battled every second he was on the court. He scored well, reaching double digits a couple of times, showing a little touch from mid-range in addition to getting some baskets near the hoop.
Larry Beckett (6’7″ Jr. PF, New York (NY) Satellite Academy) A tough player to project, he doesn’t appear to have a position in a halfcourt game but was one of the most effective players because he simply competes. His body isn’t there yet, and he doesn’t have a lot of go-to scoring tools, but he put up good scoring numbers that included games of 24 and 23 points by finishing in transition, filling on the break for a dunk, finishing even if he was fouled, and hitting the occasional mid-range jumper. He also rebounded well and was simply in a lot of plays.
Henry Bolton (6’1″ So. PG, Portsmouth (RI) St. Andrew’s School) Athletic guard has a good body and is still transitioning into playing the point. On his team here, he actually played more off the ball and had a nice game on Sunday that included three three-pointers.
Chris Braley (6’4″ Jr. SG, (ME) Philips Exeter Academy) Always known for his shooting, his body is more mature and in better shape, and he had a solid weekend helping his team to the title game. He battled while out there, scored in double digits in most games highlighted by a 23-point outing on Saturday, and he looks more athletic. It wasn’t all good, though, as he fouled out of one game with a blatant push-off to try to get open.
Paschal Chukwu (7’0″ So. C, Westport (CT) Trinity Catholic HS) Very long post player is a baby physically but will be a good prospect as his body and game mature. He used his length well on the glass to be an effective rebounder, doesn’t lack a motor and looks like he can pass out of the post. His stamina might be a question mark at the moment, and his scoring tools will need some development, but there’s a lot to like at this relatively early stage.
Travis Cook (6’3″ So. SG, Middletown (NY) High) A long and lanky guard, he’s a baby physically with nice upside given what he showed here. He has the size to play off the ball in college, but looks like he can handle and pass the ball well enough to play the point in a pinch if a team ever needed him to.
Charles Correa (5’8″ Jr. PG, Pawtucket (RI) St. Raphael’s) Building off his play a week earlier, he looked very much at home at the point, and playing there seems to help you see how well he knows the game. He looked very heady at both ends, scored in several ways including from long range, showed that he can play more than one speed, and showed that he has above-average quickness and athleticism. While he can score in traffic, he had a tendency to force plays that weren’t there, so he’ll need to improve on that, especially given his size.
Calvin Crawford (6’7″ Jr. SF, Montgomery (NY) Valley Central HS) Long and a baby physically, he was probably the most impressive prospect in the 16-under, in part because Chris McCullough was not the factor he can be. Crawford has a very thin upper body and is a plus athlete, and while he looks most adept at finishing he can shoot the ball and the ball skills are good but will need to continue to get better. He scored 20 points in his team’s semifinal win before adding 15 in the title game.
Noah Daoust (6’7″ So. PF, Dorval (Que.) Hotchkiss School) A physical player inside, he has a wide frame and body that doesn’t appear to have all good weight. Offensively, he wasn’t a big factor on his well-balanced team, but he did finish a couple of times including with contact.
Fred Dure (6’4″ Jr. SG, Laval (Que.) Ahuntsic HS) Lefty wing is athletic and can still get better physically, although he looks like he may be done growing. His dribble looked a little shaky, and that is probably what keeps him from being an even better scorer as he was able to get some field goals driving to the basket.
Jake Fay (6’5″ Jr. SG, Lynn (MA) Brimmer & May School) In an early Saturday game, the Fordham commit was hot from long range with 28 points that included six three-pointers. A couple of them came late in the game as his team rallied for a win. Later, he struggled from long range, which can happen with a shooter.
Rony Fernandez (6’1″ Sr. PG-SG, Dorchester (MA) Charlestown HS) Still looking for his college destination, the lefty had a fine showing here as he continues to look more like a point guard. He racked up the assists in an early game and was driving and dishing with success quite often.
Mabor Gabriel (6’8″ Jr. PF-C, Manchester (NH) Trinity HS) A post player with a good motor, he was very active and got a lot of rebounds, including at the offensive end where he turned several into stickbacks. He isn’t lacking skills, including some ball skills, and he willingly screened and boxed out while also scoring in double digits several times, including a 21-point effort in his team’s opener.
Mamadou Gueye (6’7″ Jr. SF, Quebec City (Que.) Ste-Foy HS) He has a good frame and some length, which are noticeable right away, and he showed a little touch shooting the ball to intrigue you further. It’s clear he needs some strength, as a few of his forays to the hoop weren’t as successful.
Malcolme Henderson (6’8″ Jr. PF, Chateauguay (Que.) Vanier Prep) Well-built forward has a good frame and ran the floor well for a post player of his build. His game looks a little rough around the edges, but his body is college-ready although he could get it in a little better condition.
Kuran Iverson (6’8″ Jr. SF, Hartford (CT) Northwest Catholic HS) By now, an observer can predict how this ultra-talented and athletic forward will play based on the shots he opts to take. If he tries to get in the lane, where he’s always been able to finish and is now an improved passer and more adept at drawing fouls, he can be dominant. If he starts off by settling for three-point shots, he could easily put up a single-digit point total and be a non-factor. Here, we saw more of the former, where he handled and passed like a point forward and was adept at using fakes, and at times he made it look easy. Big-time prospect has a lot of potential that simply needs to be unlocked.
Zack Lewis (6’2″ Sr. PG-SG, Windsor (CT) Northwest Catholic HS) Lanky guard didn’t put up big numbers here but still showed an improved game overall. He drove often and showed a little more of a touch shooting the ball than he has before, and despite a slight frame he’ll go inside to try to score or pass off, and he even got a stickback one time. Mid-major prospect may do a post-graduate year.
Jimbo Long (6’2″ Jr. PG, Cliffwood (NJ) St. Joseph’s-Metuchen HS) Although he has a small body and doesn’t look as tall as he’s listed at first glance, he’s a tough floor leader. He ran the team capably into Sunday’s games and used his left (off) hand willingly, and was a key reason his team advanced as far as they did.
Quincy McKnight (6’3″ So. SG, Bridgeport (CT) St. Joseph’s HS) Looking like more of a scorer than a shooter, his body isn’t there yet, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to use it to score. In addition to finishing with contact on drives, he also scored on the post with a defender he felt a matchup advantage with.
Peter Miller (6’9″ Jr. PF-C, Winchester (MA) Northfield Mount Hermon) Improving post player had a nice showing here, as he has a good frame and his body still hasn’t fully matured yet. He showed good fundamentals at the offensive end, scoring on jump hooks, a jumper from the foul line and on stickbacks, and was heady on one play when he tapped out a rebound he knew he couldn’t snag. The one sour note was when he picked up a dumb technical foul by slamming the ball on the court after a dead-ball foul that he thought was called on him.
Shavar Newkirk (6’0″ So. PG, New York (NY) Cardinal Hayes HS) Attacking point guard helps make his team go with his penetration to get shots for himself or teammates. Here, he showed that he could pass on the move often, an important part since he so often tries to get in the lane.
Donchevell Nugent (5’8″ So. PG, Newburgh (NY) Free Academy) His size dictates that he likely plays the point at the next level, but he showed he can score in helping his team to the 16-under title. He had a bloody nose in the championship game, but returned to help his team in the final minutes.
Ryan Quinn (6’3″ Jr. SG, Mountainside (NJ) Roselle Catholic HS) The other key member of his team’s backcourt along with Jimbo Long, his body’s not there yet but he showed some good offensive tools. He’s a plus athlete and finished the break a couple of times, and while he didn’t score a lot of points he showed that he can score with his jumper out to long range.
Harry Rafferty (5’11” Jr. PG, Durham (NH) Berwick Academy) A key cog in his team’s run to the championship game, the lefty had a big game in the semifinal with 24 points, including six three-pointers. He was deadly from behind the arc when he got a decent look and ran the show well all weekend.
Tom Rivard (6’6″ Jr. SF, Worcester (MA) Academy) He’s always looked like a kid with some potential, but now he’s making himself a factor. He got some offensive boards and was more aggressive offensively, scoring in double figures in one early game.
Harrison Taggart (6’5″ Jr. SF, Concord (NH) St. Paul’s) Continuing a good start to the spring, this solidly skilled wing was aggressive and led a comeback that fell short on Saturday night. He finished with 19 points in the game, including a big three-pointer late, and was attacking for much of the game.
Devin Thomas (5’10” Jr. PG, Meriden (NH) Kimball Union Academy) A point guard with above-average quickness and athleticism, he drove often to make plays at the offensive end. While he was able to finish, to the tune of 22 points in one game, he looked to pass more on the go, and given his size that’s a good trait to have.
Avery Ugba (6’7″ Sr. PF, Silver Spring (MD) James Hubert Blake HS) Active forward has a good body that can still get better and may be worth a look for a team still trying to fill out a roster for next season. He’s a plus athlete who showed the ability to finish close, including while fouled, and get some rebounds, and he’s not lacking post moves although he’ll need to get more fluid with them.
Linzell Vaughn (6’2″ Jr. SG, New York (NY) Wings Academy) Well-built guard is an aggressive scorer whose athleticism doesn’t stand out because he’ll fearlessly look to score. If he sees a chance to score, he’ll go for it, and besides the driving field goals he hit from mid-range and a couple of times from long range, although that doesn’t appear to be close to his forte.
Majak Wenyin (6’6″ Jr. SF, Manchester (NH) Memorial HS) An intriguing prospect, he’s relatively new to the game and looks it since he’s not the most fluid player. He’s long and lanky and his body has a ways to go, and the skill package has some development needed, but he showed enough to be worth keeping an eye on.
Other players who caught our attention:
Max Joseph (6’1″ So. PG, Montreal (Que.) Ahuntsic HS)
Magnus Richards (6’6″ Sr. PF, Silver Spring (MD) James Hubert Blake HS)
Jonte Rutty (6’5″ Sr. SF-PF, Newburgh (NY) Free Academy)
Kurt Steidl (6’6″ Jr. SG-SF, Ridgefield (CT) High)
Tevon Walker (6’2″ Jr. SG, Montreal (Que.) Vanier Prep)
Nolan Woodward (6’4″ Jr. SF, LaSalle (Que.) Champlain HS)