Wednesday began the mark of the commencement of the first open period that college coaches are allowed to head out onto the grassroots circuit and watch, evaluate, and in some cases, babysit potential recruits. I was in Philadelphia for the beginning of the Reebok Breakout Challenge as over 100 of the top ballplayers throughout the high school ranks showed off their skills in front of a bevy of college coaches and high ranking media folks. Below are just some of the kids that caught my eye.
LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE AWARD:
JEAN-MARC KOUMADJE/7’3 Team Breakdown 2015
WOW. It happened at Montverde a few years back with Joel Embiid, but can it happen again this time with Jean-Marc Koumadje? The progressions that the African center has made within his game over the past several months is quite remarkable where, at powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida, the 7’3 big barely saw court action. In Philadelphia, JMK displayed unreal foot speed where he runs the floor more like a 6’5 guy, is quick to the rim on the dunk attempt, and his motor never wanes. Coming into the event fresh off a UCLA offer and potentially transferring to the Village School for his senior campaign, the import out of Africa, of whom has spent just eight months within the States, is about to enter himself into the blueblood culture with multiple elite level, high-major offers and UConn and Tennessee wasted no time with offers shortly after the performance.
INTRIGUING BALL SKILLS AWARD:
MATT MOYER/6’7 VCC Ohio Warriors 2016
Moyer has been a known name throughout the Midwest for some time due to his long frame and ability to play further away from the bucket, yet it seemed like ever since the AAU season rolled around, the Ohio native has taken his game to the next level. With multiple offers across the board, the lanky forward showed off an evolving set of ball skills off of the face-up and the intensity to match. He shows good techniques in defending the perimeter and has a quick and confident shot from deep. Once his body catches up to his game, his contributions and production should increase that much further.
REMARKABLE UPSIDE AWARD:
ABDUL ADO/6’11 Georgia Stars 2016
Ado, nursing a strep throat, was still fabulous with his motor and constant rejections of everything within sight near the rim. His back to the bucket skillset has continued to develop as he showed a nice up and under move off the low block, yet he is most comfortable running the floor and dunking off of dump offs thrown his way. The highly energized Nigerian doesn’t take plays off, is a well-composed young man off the floor, and has all the tools to be something that only the elite level programs can chase after. Only holding offers from Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Memphis, expect for this recruitment to escape the Volunteer State by the end of the week as Ado is a capable top-10 guy with the upside to be one of the best out of his 2016 class in five years.
EHH, WHO IS THAT AWARD?
IAN GARDENER/6’4 High Rise-Team Up 2015
Getting a first glance of Gardener at the gym of Philadelphia University, I was immediately drawn to Gardener and his sweet looking J off the catch. Throw in his giant set of arms and quality pull-up game, and what you have is a deep sleeper in 2015 up north. Gardener failed to make the grades to get it done in qualifying for 2014, but that doesn’t give an excuse for the low-majors to have not thrown out an offer to the Connecticut native as the wing definitely has the looks of a mid-level guy next year. Teaming up with Steven Enoch in finishing out the summer, Gardener could really add to his stock if he continues to shoot the ball better and play with a consistent motor on the hardwood, of which he did so appropriately on Wednesday night.
MOTOR BUILT IN A LAMBO FACTORY
HORACE SPENCER/6’9 Gym Rats 2015
Spencer played hard the entire time that he was in Virginia a few weeks back for the NBPA Camp, and in Philly, the Findlay Prep big man competed with an all-out assault on the bucket where he tried to send defenders through the rim. The big man looks to dunk everything and doesn’t stop moving until the whistle blows. Throw in his quality physique, good instincts, and solid physical traits, and what you have is a potential pro due to his willingness to buy into all of the small things on the floor. Not many guys have the motor and mindset that Spencer encapsulates within his arsenal as the hard-nosed big man is one that will enter high-major, priority levels this July as he continues to assault the rim with thunderous dunks and interior domination.
Bryce Aiken, 2016 Team SCAN guard, continues to escalate his game to the next level as he brought it on the defensive end and showed that he can run a team in finding others off the bounce.
The guards dominated the ball tonight, yet the bigs showed up by the likes of those that were
already stated, along with solid play from Nysier Brooks, Ernest Aflakpui, and Sedee Keita.
USC got a really good one that fits the style of Dunk City with Chimezie Metu. The big man has a confident face-up jumper and the length that allows for him to make plays out of his area.
Orlando Antigua and his brother/assistant, Oliver Antigua, were front and center repping the USF gear for 2015 St. Raymond’s big, Luis Santos.
Tennessee head boss, Donnie Tyndall, was present for Jawun Evans and Dwayne Bacon.
UConn head coach, Kevin Ollie, watched Steven Enoch and Dwayne Bacon.
Matt Moyer stated that he wants to visit Iowa, Virginia Tech, Michigan, and UNLV in the upcoming future.
Ernest Aflakpui listed offers from San Diego State, Temple, La Salle, Seton Hall, VCU, Providence, George Washington, and Manhattan, with interest from Washington, Georgia, and Villanova.
Louisville head coach, Rick Pitino, watched Abdul Ado and Jean-Marc Koumadje tonight; offers could be on the way.
Lastly, Reebok has outdone itself this time around; it was the who’s who of coaching in the house. The likes of Jay Wright, Larry Brown, Phil Martelli, John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Kevin Ollie, Donnie Tyndall, Jim Ferry, Dan Hurley, Bruce Weber, Frank Martin, Fran McCaffery, Pat Chambers, Paul Hewitt, Lorenzo Romar, and Anthony Grant were all out searching for their next bluechip recruit.
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