HANOVER, Mass. – The Northeast Hoops Festival is one of the big early spring events in the region, and this year it was better than ever. You name the elite program in New England, and they were in this. In addition, they had a number of good teams from outside the region to make it a packed field, and it was held at a fine new facility, the University Sports Complex in Hanover.
Sunday’s games included playoff rounds and saw some games that came right down to the end. Included in that was the Varsity American championship game, which featured New York-based House of Sport and Maine-based MB Nation. MB Nation controlled the game for most of the first half and a lot of the second, but House of Sport gradually rallied. They got within one in the final minute, when MB Nation took an ill-advised shot in traffic and lost possession. After a free throw tied it at 48, MB Nation threw the ball away, and House of Sport got a buzzer-beater to win 50-48.
Here is a look at some of the players we saw.
Tyrell Alexander (So. SG-SF, Stamford (CT) Westell HS) Although not the most athletic wing, he has a good frame and showed a good touch shooting the ball out to long range. He has a couple of frontcourt players to play off of, so he can get some good looks.
Kueshawn Askew (6’7″ So. SF-PF, Stamford (CT) High) A very athletic forward, he has a good frame and his body has a ways to go. He blocked a few shots and was a factor in transition a few times, and he might have the most upside on his team.
Marc Gasperini (6’9″ So. PF, Brookline (MA) Brimmer and May School) There’s a lot to like about this young man, as he’s baby-faced and his body has a ways to go. He also has a reasonably good skill package, but what stood out is that he struggled to finish. That will improve with added strength, but confidence may be part of it as well, and he did finish better later in the day on Sunday.
Zach Gilpin (6’5″ Jr. SF, North Bridgton (ME) Bridgton Academy) A nice complementary player, he has a good frame and his body isn’t quite there yet. He showed a touch shooting the ball and played well within his team’s grind-it-out style.
Isaiah Godwin (Fr. PG, Marlborough (MA) Hillside School) A baby physically, he showed nice passing ability and is unselfish. He has some guys who can score on his team, so he works to make them better and looked very good doing that. Next year, he will attend the Brooks School (will not repeat this year).
Kellen Grady (6’1″ So. SG, West Roxbury (MA) Catholic Memorial HS) Although he didn’t star here, he did show a touch from long range, which he’s been known to do, and was able to finish with the left (off) hand and his body still has a ways to go.
Tyreik McCauley (6’6″ Sr. SF, Worcester Academy) He showed a variety of ways he can score on Sunday. He drove and scored while fouled, hit from mid-range, finished an alley-oop and hit a long two-pointer during overtime of a game his team barely pulled out.
Rickey McGill (6’1″ Jr. PG-SG, Spring Valley HS) A Manhattan commit, his body has a ways to go, so there’s some upside to go with his ability to score, which he showed with a couple of big games. He also showed that he can shoot, so he’ll have a chance to help the Jaspers out when he gets there.
Gheorghe Muresan, Jr. (6’7″ So. PF-C, (MD) St. Andrew’s HS) The son of the former NBA big man, he will be worth watching as he’s a baby physically but has enough of a motor to have some potential.
Tomas Murphy (6’8″ Fr. PF, Wakefield (RI) Prout School) The youngest of the Murphy boys is making his way back after a left wrist injury cost him a good portion of the season, and he hasn’t had a lot of game play yet so there is some rust. He has a good motor and his effort wasn’t lacking, and that’s a good start, knowing he’ll look better before long.
Jonathan Nwankwo (6’10” Jr. C, New York (NY) Monsignor Scanlon HS) A well-built post player, he uses his body inside but didn’t always get a lot of touches to be a consistent factor on offense. He showed he can finish while fouled and was active enough to be a factor inside.
Tyler Stewart (So. SG, (MD) St. Andrew’s HS) Long and athletic, he’s a baby physically and shows enough signs of his ability to make you want to watch him more. He hit a long jumper off the dribble and showed some ball skills, and if he develops them more as his body matures he will turn into a solid prospect.
Matt Talbot (6’6″ Sr. SF-PF, Portland (ME) High) A plus athlete with a good frame and relatively mature body, he was a constant factor in helping his team to the championship game. He finished the break, got a stickback dunk and rebounded more, and his ball skills aren’t bad. He can help a college out in the fall, although it wouldn’t be a surprise if he ultimately did a post-graduate year.
Anthony Tarke (6’4″ Jr. SG-SF, Gaithersburg (MD) High) A very athletic wing, he made his mark in part with some blocked shots at the defensive end. He looked like more of a scorer than a shooter, driving and scoring and also getting out in transition.
Brandon Twitty (6’1″ So. SG, West Roxbury (MA) Catholic Memorial HS) He impressed in a couple of games on Sunday, reinforcing his scoring ability, especially shooting the ball out to long range. What is noticeable is that while he seems quick enough to get by a defender, he doesn’t seem to drive with the same amount of confidence he shoots with. He shoots with plenty of confidence, so when he drives with the same confidence he will be that much tougher to contain.
Boris Ulker (So. PF, Winchendon (MA) School) An intriguing prospect, he’s long and has a good frame that he can add a lot of good weight to. He showed a touch from long range and looks to have some nice upside.
Tyree Weston (6’3″ So. PG-SF, New Bedford (MA) Cheshire Academy) At times, he carried his team to a victory that was not a sure thing as they were threatened often. He’s well-built and a plus athlete, and looks like he’s come a long way in the year at prep school. He finished while fouled, made a nice long lead pass for a layup and got his share of rebounds.
Aaron Wheeler (So. SF-PF, Stamford (CT) Trinity Catholic) Long and a baby physically, he has a slight frame but also some potential. He had his moments on Sunday, including a steal and then finishing the break from it, so he’ll be worth keeping an eye on, especially as his body develops.
In addition, there were some eighth graders that will be worth keeping an eye on: Tyler Aronson (Holliston (MA) Rivers School), Jonathan Cenescar (Cambridge (MA)), Wildens Leveque (Franklin (MA) Charter School), Junior Monteiro (Brockton (MA) Trinity Catholic Academy), Nyzair Rountree (Waterbury (CT)) and Preston Santos (Providence (RI)).