HANOVER, Mass. – The travel basketball season is underway, and in New England a big sign of that is the Northeast Hoops Festival, which got going on Saturday. The event featured many of the region’s top teams, as well as some top teams from New York.
Playoff action got going late on Saturday and continued Sunday, but Saturday was the day to take in a lot of game action. We got quick looks at some teams and good looks at others, from a young New York Lightning team and promising New Heights and DC Blue Devils teams, all the way to older teams like BABC, New Day and Wrightway. BABC West, LOX, New England Storm, Next Level and The System also had teams worth checking out again later on, and Middlesex Magic had a big weekend.
Here are notes on some players who caught our attention.
Athiei Bol (So. SF-PF, Manchester (NH) Trinity HS) A long forward, he seems to process the game a bit slowly and tended to hang on the perimeter a bit much (even though he knocked down a three-pointer one time), but there’s something to like. Besides his length, he probably is not done growing yet and his body has a ways to go, so he’s a long way from what he will be.
Dan Braster (6’4″ So. SG, Briarwood (NY) Archbishop Molloy HS) Lanky wing has a thin upper body but a nice skill set, as he hit shots from very deep and pulling up from mid-range.
Dimon Carrigan (6’8″ Jr. PF, Cambridge (MA) Rindge & Latin School) Very long post player, he used his length to block and alter shots, which he has done for a while. He’ll also get stickbacks and run the floor, and he helped his team win a second straight state title this season as well. He is headed to Woodstock Academy next season.
Micah Coates (Fr. SG-SF, White Plains (NY) Archbishop Stepinac HS) Though he has a thin upper body, he has a good frame and was in a lot of plays for his team.
Darius Ervin (5’6″ Fr. PG, Northfield (MA) Mount Hermon School) A diminutive point guard like his big brother, he’s quick and can use that to his advantage. He made a nice steal that he turned into a layup at the other end, accelerating his way to the basket.
Myles Foster (6’6″ Fr. SF-PF, New York (NY) Fessenden School) Built like a power wing, not all of his weight is good weight but he was in a lot of plays. While he will intrigue you with his ability to handle the ball and pass as well as rebound all day, the lefty also tended to over-dribble.
Noah Kamba (6’1″ So. PG, Brookline (MA) Dexter School) With a couple of key players either out or not full healthy, he took over at times, though his team couldn’t quite pull out a win. He consistently got to the basket, where he finished some tough shots including while fouled, and played perhaps the best we have seen him as his body looks better as well.
Nate Lebron (Jr. SF-PF, Salem (MA) High) His good body will catch your eye immediately, and at times his play will maintain your attention, but the skill package needs a little work, and he lost the ball a bit too easily one time.
Osiah Lewis (So. SF, Manchester (NH) Central HS) A wing with a good frame, he impressed in the first game of the day by being in a lot of plays at both ends. While his ball skills need some work, he didn’t shy from contact and hit from deep one time.
Jordan Mason (6’4″ So. SG, Brookline (MA) Dexter School) He was under the weather leading up to the weekend, and didn’t look to be 100 percent, but he competed at both ends and had his moments. His shooting from deep is well-known, but he continues to get better at many other aspects of his game every time out.
Tayjaun McKenzie (Sr. SF-PF, Winthrop (MA) High) A forward with a good body, he impressed with his offensive tools, hitting several shots from long range and one time making a nice pull-up from mid-range.
Abou Ousmane (Fr. PF-C, Bronx (NY) Our Savior Lutheran) Post player has a good body and is relatively new to the game, which makes what he showed even more impressive. He showed a couple of good moves, helped by good footwork, and used his length to rebound a couple of times. With that and a clear feel for the game, he will be a big man to keep an eye on.
Tyrone Perry (6’2″ Sr. SG, Brighton (MA) High) The best player on the floor as he led his team past Wrightway, he was finishing at the basket including with contact, getting stickbacks and even hit a three-pointer. He’s been on the radar at times during his high school career, which just concluded with a state title.
Angel Soto (Jr. SG-SF, Lynn (MA) English HS) He was a garbage man for his team, getting chances from loose balls and broken plays at times. He finished with contact, something he will surely do even better if he gains strength, has a good frame and made a nice bounce pass on one play as well.
Cole Swider (6’8″ Jr. SF, (RI) St. Andrew’s School) He’s grown several inches over the last couple of years and looks to be more athletic as well. Add that to his ability to shoot that he had established earlier, although he didn’t shoot well in a game here, and it’s no surprise that he’s getting high-major offers.
Quincy Taylor (6’4″ Jr. PF, Brighton (MA) High) He has a good body and used it well inside to help his team pull out a good win. He was a factor on the glass and also ran the floor, one time getting a rebound and beating others up the floor to finish the break.
Other players who caught our attention:
Laqu Howard (Jr. PG, Brighton (MA) High)
Taylor Mattos (6’10” Jr. PF-C, North Sutton (NH) Kearsarge HS)
Matt McDevitt (6’7″ Sr. PF, Cumberland (ME) Greely HS)
Anthony Morales (So. PG-SF, West Roxbury (MA) Catholic Memorial HS)
Matt Murstein (Fr. SG-SF, New York (NY) Dalton School)
Abdul Ndaiye (So. PF-C, West Simsbury (CT) Masters School)
Mason Vega (Jr. PF, Chestnut Hill (MA) Beaver Country Day School)
Tyler Whitney-Sidney (6’0″ Fr. PG, Somerville (MA) High)