SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – On Sunday, a trip to western Massachusetts was in order to check out the playoff rounds in the Hall of Fame Spring Classic. The older players competed at Springfield College.
In the 17-under Gold final, the New England Playaz ran out to an early double-digit lead and pulled away from a couple of charges en route to an 84-63 win over Connecticut Select. Kerem Kanter (6’8″ So. PF, Granby (MA) MacDuffie School) led the Playaz with a game-high 25 points, while Isaiah Lewis (6’3″ Jr. SG, Middle Village (NY) Christ The King HS) added 20 points to cap off a good day of action.
The 17-under Silver final was a close game most of the way, with New Rens pulling out a 73-66 win over the New England Cyclones.
The weekend finished with the 16-under final, a close game that came right down to the end. The New York Lightning was hanging on to a 67-66 lead in the final seconds, and Connecticut Select couldn’t get a shot off, allowing the Lightning to hang on for the win. Kadeem Carrington (6’3″ So. SG, Brooklyn (NY) Bishop Loughlin HS) led the Lightning with a game-high 25 points, while Shawn Jones (6’2″ So. SG, Bronx (NY) St. Raymond’s HS) added 20.
Now, a look at some of the players we saw in action on Sunday.
Labson Abwoch (6’6″ Jr. SF-PF, Portland (ME) Deering HS) Long and a baby physically, in limited viewing he impressed with the upside he has in part because he was a factor on the glass. He didn’t show much offense, but some of that should come with more physical development.
Gerard Adams (6’8″ So. PF, West Roxbury (MA) Catholic Memorial HS) A post player with a big and wide body, he’s carrying a fair amount of bad weight and his endurance seemed to be in question playing with a team that was trying to play fast. He’s fundamentally sound, knowing how to keep the ball up high and pass out of the post, but conditioning has been and still is the primary area where improvement is needed.
Andre Anderson (5’8″ Jr. PG, New Haven (CT) Hillhouse HS) Don’t let his stature fool you: this well-built guard will compete, and he led his team into the championship game. He scored 19 points, with four three-pointers, in a big win in the semifinals, and he wasn’t afraid to go inside against the big men to try to finish, although he had mixed success with it. He’ll need to be more crafty to finish inside, based on what he showed here.
Mohamed Bah (6’9″ Jr. PF, Lee (ME) Academy) Well-built post player has a good frame and was a nice complementary player inside in his team’s championship run. He’s athletic and scored often inside and in transition, although he could stand to improve his ball toughness as at times he seemed to lose the ball too easily.
Cane Broome (5’10″ Jr. PG, East Hartford (CT) High) Lefty guard was one of several guards who contributed to his team’s run to the 17-under title. He didn’t do any one thing exceedingly well, fitting into how the team ran with play like a couple of long jumpers, finishing while getting fouled and one time making a very nice pass to a cutter for a layup. Next year, he will attend St. Thomas More, and re-classify into the class of 2014.
Aaron Calixte (5’10″ Jr. PG, Stoughton (MA) High) Few guards in New England have come as far in the last couple of years as he has, going from a simple facilitating point guard to a more athletic, dynamic floor leader. He’s quicker and more aggressive, and the results have followed as he is more of a scorer and more adept at creating. Not long ago, it was rumored that he is headed to Bridgton Academy next year, but he told Hoopville that is not definite. The only definite for next year is that he will prep, with the school to be determined.
Kadeem Carrington (6’3″ So. SG, Brooklyn (NY) Bishop Loughlin HS) An athletic guard with a good frame, this left-handed wing showed good scoring ability in his team’s run to the 16-under championship. His body isn’t there yet, but when he matures, his ability to drive and finish as well as rebound from the perimeter will be even better, and he also was able to stop and pop from mid-range and had a nice block from behind on one play.
Joseph Connelly (6’2″ Jr. SG, Brookline (MA) Beaver Country Day School) He started Sunday off by hitting five three-pointers en route to 17 points to lead his team to a victory. In that game, he moved well without the ball to play off his team’s big men and penetrating guards.
Kahlil Dukes (5’11″ Jr. PG-SG, Hartford (CT) Capital Prep) Surging guard scored at will in his team’s semifinal loss, going for 27 points with a variety of plays. His body still has a ways to go, but he finished in traffic and shot the ball well, showing a slight natural fade on his jumper. At his size, he’s either an undersized shooting guard or a point guard who needs to be more of a playmaker than he’s shown thus far.
Levy Gillespie (6’2″ Jr. PG, Hartford (CT) Capital Prep) He looked better here than over a month ago, although his team lost in the semifinals. He drove effectively and finished well, including a creative finish on one drive, hit a couple of shots from mid-range and generally ran the team effectively. His body isn’t there yet, and he won’t wow you with quickness, but he’s effective at the point.
Kris Hargraves (6’1″ Jr. PG, Teaneck (NJ) Westminster School) An excellent student, the lefty point guard has made some good strides over the last year, and had a good day here after he played well at this even last year. He scored well in traffic, something he’ll surely do better if he adds strength, and while he hasn’t shown much with his jumper, he did show a little sign with that here.
Kerem Kanter (6’8″ So. PF, Granby (MA) MacDuffie School) The younger brother of Enes has slipped under the radar, but that’s starting to change. He has a good body an ran the floor well, but what stood out was his penchant for getting offensive boards and loose balls, then turning them into close field goals. The lefty also showed he can pass a little, as he didn’t force anything that wasn’t there, and also was able to use the right hand to finish as well.
Joseph Kuo (6’7″ Jr. PF, Byfield (MA) Governor’s Academy) Very good student is a solid post anchor for his team as he has a few tools with his length, fundamentals and presence. He has some post moves, but isn’t the most fluid as he has a tendency to hesitate after making his move, and he also forced up a bad shot instead of passing the ball back out. If he can ever become more fluid with his moves, that will go a long way toward helping him reach his potential.
Sammy Mojica (6’3″ Jr. SG, Chelsea (MA) High) An effective wing, he might not leap out at you at first but he can be effective. In scoring 15 points in a tough semifinal loss, he hit from long range and made good use of fakes, the latter of which helps since his body has a little ways to go and he’s not the most athletic player. Prep school is a possibility as early as next year.
Colin Richey (6’0″ Jr. PG, Whitinsville (MA) Christian School) Sunday morning began with a humbling defeat for his team, but for a while he did all he could to keep his team in it. His body is maturing and he looks better just about every time out. Next year, he will attend Choate Rosemary Hall and re-classify into the class of 2014.
Jacquil Taylor (6’9″ So. PF, Cambridge (MA) Beaver Country Day School) His physical gifts are still his biggest attribute, as he’s long and athletic and his body is maturing. He’s a shot-blocking presence inside and also got after a couple of passes with deflections. Offensively, he had 13 points in his team’s win to open the day, but the skill package continues to need some upgrading, mainly from a lack of control making a post move and going up.
Maurice Taylor (6’5″ Jr. SF, Cambridge (MA) Beaver Country Day School) His body is maturing now, but the most important thing is that he’s now making himself a factor more consistently. Since he’s always had the good size and body, the issue was that he didn’t compete enough and was often invisible on the court. He’s battled injuries in recent months, but he’s healthy now and playing better.
Jared Wilson-Frame (6’4″ Fr. SF, Windsor (CT) High) Well-built guard had his struggles in his team’s tournament-ending loss, scoring just seven points. He showed how athletic he is, and he rebounded well from the perimeter.
Other players who caught our attention
Jack Daly (6’1″ So. SG, Scarsdale (NY) Eastchester HS)
Marcelo Deschamps (6’10″ Jr. C, Lee (ME) Academy)
Aaron Falzon (6’6″ Fr. SF-PF, Newton (MA) St. Mark’s School)
Daniel Garvin (6’6″ Jr. SF, Bethel (CT) High)
John Powell (6’7″ Jr. SF-PF, Ashland (MA) Brimmer and May School)