ROXBURY, Mass. – The 2014 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of things happen. There were some thrillers along the way, as well as some blowouts, as is often the case. A number of players capped off a good spring, while a few others showed that they could be primed to break out in July. Two programs in their first spring of competition won championships.
With those thoughts in mind, let’s take a look back at some highlights from the weekend.
- One player who has had perhaps as good a spring as anyone around here, yet has been under the radar, is Tyree Robinson (6’4″ Jr. SF, Fall River (MA) Durfee HS). It feels like he’s been around forever, and while he doesn’t pass the “look” test as far as a position goes at the next level, what he’s done this spring is establish that he’ll do something far too many young players don’t: defend. He’s taken on all comers big and small, and passed every test despite often being undersized. He’s battled inside and rebounded, and he’s been disruptive on the perimeter. Junior college is his likely destination, but if he does what he needs to we should see him in Division I in a couple of years either on the hardwood or the gridiron. He will play football in the fall, and there’s no reason to think he won’t embrace the defensive side of the ball in the same fashion and make a similar impact.
- Robinson’s teammate on BABC, Jeremy Miller (6’9″ Jr. PF, Milton (MA) New Hampton), has become a better rebounder. In all, he’s had an up-and-down spring and not at the best time, as he de-committed from Boston College before that. He is still very interested in the school, as he committed at a time when most figured Steve Donahue was in his final weeks as head coach there. The commitment was about much more than a coach. He will take his visits and hopes the Eagles will end up among his suitors.
- The 14-Under provided everything you could ask for. It featured four of the top eighth grade teams in Massachusetts, and the fun started on Saturday night, with four teams all sitting at 2-0 in their pools. That made the two games with the pool at stake effectively semifinal games, and both lived up to their billing. First, All For One beat the Greater Boston Lions 70-68, then Team DEMI held off the Shooting Stars 49-46 to set up the championship matchup, and that game came right down to the buzzer.
- Boston Elite had a great spring, and while it’s easy to first notice Brandon Twitty (6’1″ So. SG, Randolph (MA) Catholic Memorial HS) and Tyree Weston (6’3″ So. PG-SG, New Bedford (MA) Cheshire Academy), they were far from alone in the run they have had. Twitty has had a breakout spring after a breakout year with CM, but as important as anyone in that group is Jamal “Sauce” Allen (So. PG, Lincoln-Sudbury HS), a lefty who finished with contact and also shot well from long range. He’s a baby physically and averaged over 20 points in his three games this weekend.
- Twitty’s school teammate, Kellen Grady (6’2″ So. SG, West Roxbury (MA) Catholic Memorial HS), is handling the ball much more. To this point, he’s largely made his reputation as a shooter, but he’s growing with his game aside from that and his body still has a ways to go. With added strength, he should get even better at finishing with contact, which he did here.
- Boston Elite beat a BABC South team that had a good run in their two pool games on Saturday. They were led by a few perimeter talents in Dimitri Rosa (6’0″ So. SG, Warwick (RI) Bishop Hendricken HS), Jacee Hamelin (6’2″ So. SG-SF, Westerly (RI) High) and Kyle Henseler (6’0″ So. PG, Warwick (RI) Bishop Hendricken HS). Rosa had 15 three-pointers in the three games, including seven in the losing effort in the 16-Under championship game. Hamelin was no slouch in knocking down 12 shots from long range, including seven in his team’s second game in a fine 28-point outing. Henseler didn’t come close to matching their scoring or shooting totals but was the steady hand running the show and took advantage of driving opportunities in the final.
- The Capital City Lightning had a 3-1 mark, losing only to eventual champion BABC. Impressing for them was St. Rose-bound Matt Cerutti (Sr. PF, Guilderland (NY) High), who showed a nice combination of an inside-outside game with good post moves and a few shots from long range, and Zach Radz (Sr. SG, Troy (NY) High), who has a good frame, competes and shot the ball very well from long range.
- Although they didn’t have the success one of their younger teams had, or their senior team that won a pool in an older group, the Red Rush 15-Under team had a nice prospect in Jonathan Noel (Fr. SF, Montreal (Que.) Henri Bourassa HS). He’s long and has a good frame that will fill out as he matures.
- The Greater Boston Lions have two solid teams in 14-Under and 15-Under, and they showed it this weekend. Some players on the younger team played up with the 15-Under once their weekend was over, and they weren’t out of their league. Jonathan Cenescar, who has impressed often this spring, was chief among them, as he’s very athletic. He’s not a baby physically, which means developing his perimeter skill package is going to be of utmost importance. Dimon Carrington (Fr. SF-PF, Cambridge (MA) Rindge & Latin School) is very new to the game and thus an intriguing talent, especially since he’s long, athletic and a baby physically. He has a good frame and a world of upside with only a year of basketball under his belt. Teammate Daniel Rymer (6’7″ Fr. PF, Cambridge (MA) Rindge & Latin) showed some of his potential here, as he has a good body and figures to have an expanded role with his school team next year.
- Jordan Galloway (5’7″ Fr. PG, Boston (MA) Taunton HS) was out for a while until recently with an injury, but he looks to be getting back in the flow with his play this weekend for BABC. He got to the basket a few times and was effective in the press.
- A couple of additional freshmen to watch include Thomas Maybine (Fr. SG, Jamaica Plain (MA) Boston English HS) and Rodnell Louis (Fr. SF, Jamaica Plain (MA) Boston English HS). Maybine can get to the hoop and did so several times, but he’s not a baby physically and can over-dribble at times and thus stall the offense a bit. Maybine is active and with a body that can mature more. His game is a bit rough around the edges, but his competitive motor is always running and that’s a plus.