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2012 Hoopville Spring Finale – Notes

June 30, 2012 Columns No Comments

BOSTON – The 2012 Hoopville Spring Finale saw over 70 teams compete at three sites. The high school age groups played all of their games in Boston at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, while the younger age groups played in Lynn. We look back at some notes from the weekend, starting with the champions in some of the younger age groups.

Champions in the younger age groups were Expressions Elite (fourth grade), Xtreme Ballarz (fifth grade), All For One (sixth grade) and Expressions South (seventh grade).

All For One brought two teams, fielding a team in the 17-Under/Open division in addition to the sixth grade champions. The younger group beat the Shooting Stars 42-33 on Sunday morning to go 3-0 on the weekend. They got a big double-double from Abdul Teslim with 10 points and 15 rebounds, while Shandon Brown had some clutch shooting as part of the four three-pointers he hit. David Mitchell was a key inside at both ends, while Noah Downing and Dante Eldridge also had clutch jumpers to help them hang on.

The Rens brought three teams to Boston and won two championships, as Rens Mark won the 16-Under and their 17-Under entry pulled out a win over Connecticut Select in the final. For their older team, it was a continuation of what they have done all spring, as they have battled through injuries and over-achieved to make deep runs in several tournaments. This weekend was their second straight championship, as they won the Game Over Classic a week earlier.

Jason Boswell (6’7″ Jr. SF, Bronx (NY) Trinity Catholic HS) was the Rens’ best player all weekend long, as he has a good body that has developed over time, is athletic and can score inside and out. The biggest knock on him is that he doesn’t get much lift on his jumper. Teammate Kris Hargraves (6’1″ Jr. PG, Teaneck (NJ) Westminster School) capped off a fine spring with his play here, especially in the final as he played through a broken nose he suffered in the first half. He was a floor leader all weekend, driving and dishing and scoring a big reverse layup late in the game. His improvement is to the point where coaches in the Ivy and Patriot Leagues and at other academic Division I schools will do well to check him out in July, as he’s also an excellent student.

The Rhode Island Hawks brought three teams and saw all three advance out of pool play. The 14-Under team, led by seventh grader Tomas Murphy and Corey Romich, won the championship over the New York Lightning. Murphy is the younger brother of Erik (Florida) and Alex (Duke) and should be the next star coming out of the family. Romich is the younger brother of recent high school stars Ryan and Kyle from Groton-Dunstable. The 15-Under entry lost a heart-breaking semifinal game in overtime, while the 16-Under team had a halftime lead before falling against a more talented Expressions team in the semifinals. A day earlier, they beat one of the Rens teams to win their pool, with help from the likes of Henry Bolton (6’1″ So. PG-SG, Portsmouth (RI) St. Andrew’s School) and Jackson Donahue (5’11” So. PG-SG, Pawcatuck (CT) Stonington HS).

It was a good weekend for Connecticut Select, which saw two teams advance out of pool play and was within a whisker of going three for three. The one team that didn’t make it out has a prospect to watch in E.J. Crawford (6’3″ Fr. SG, Simsbury (CT) High), a lefty who has a good frame and a good body for his age.

Maine MAC got a couple of excellent games from Garet Beal (6’4″ Jr. SF, Jonesport (ME) Jonesport-Beals HS) to win their pool. But on Sunday, they were without him due to an injury he suffered in the second game on Saturday. Beal is a solid wing who shot the ball very well from long range, and he’s still growing as a player, which along with being coachable should make him an attractive prospect for college coaches to watch in July.

The Rhode Island Breakers reached the semifinals of the 15-Under before falling to the eventual champion Shooting Stars. They started off the weekend getting a big game from Kody Greenhalgh (5’9″ Fr. PG, West Warwick (RI) High) and Jordan Scurry (6’3″ Fr. SG-SF, Chestnut Hill (MA) Beaver Country Day School), who had 28 and 24 points, respectively.

Blackstone Valley Chaos brought two teams, and their 16-Under entry got a big weekend from Jason Ganley (6’4″ So. SF, Northbridge (MA) High). Ganley averaged over 22 points and eight rebounds per game, running the floor and hitting several shots from long range. He had good help from Tom Annan (6’0″ So. PG, Worcester (MA) St. Peter Marian), who very capably ran the show, and Cam Morin (6’4″ So. SF, Douglas (MA) High), who averaged 11 rebounds and had a couple of big scoring games.

The Boston Titans brought three teams, and while none had a big weekend they were all very competitive. Worth noting is that their seventh grade entry was not the group that had won the state Division II AAU title earlier this spring, so they didn’t make the splash one might have expected. One player from their ninth grade team that caught our eye is Jordan Ambroise (Fr. SF, Brockton (MA) Noble & Greenough), who has a wide body and some good skills that included a nice touch from long range. If he works his body into better shape over time, he can turn into a nice college prospect.

Mike Rodriguez (5’8″ So. PG, West Roxbury (MA) Redemption Christian Academy) is back home for some time and looks stronger and showed his quickness with the basketball. He looks like a better creator and more than just a guard who can get by defenders.

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