By Sean Moran
Each year the National Prep Showcase brings in the high school basketball season. A three day tournament held at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT brings many of the top prep powers together. College coaches gather in hope of finding an unknown prospect and talented players try to get that next offer. The 2014 kicked off with an overtime game won by Notre Dame Prep and continued with six more games throughout the day.
Danjel Purifoy, 6’7”, SF, Hargrave Military Academy, 2015
Purifoy, an Auburn commit, was a man amongst boys in his first game of the Prep Showcase. Known for his physical strength and slashing abilities, Purifoy played to these attributes early on. With a powerful right hand dribble, Purifoy attacked the basket consistently. In the second half, he hit back to back deep three’s showing a new look to his game. Next year Purifoy will head to the SEC and there is no doubt that he will be an impact player from the get go. He finished with 29 points and 8 rebounds on 10-19 shooting and 4-7 from three.
Tremont Waters, 5’10”, PG, South Kent School, 2017
Waters put his name on the map at this tournament last year with clutch shooting. This year, South Kent School belonged to the older and more confident Waters. Despite just being a diminutive sophomore, Waters controlled the ball and the game for South Kent. Not the quickest of guards, Waters uses hesitation dribbles and constant pace changes to get into the lane for lay-ups or assists. In the first half he hit a three but also had a propensity to force shots at times with his increased role. He finished 1-7 from behind the arc and was a bit careless at times getting called for a carry in the second half. For the game Waters finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 7 turnovers on 6-19 shooting.
Trey Grundy, 6’8”, PF, Hargrave, 2015
A strong and powerful forward, the UNC-Wilmington commit put together a strong game with 21 points and 8 rebounds on 9-13 shooting. Grundy finished down low and also attacked the basket off the dribble from the high post. He was often over-shadowed in AAU play and that trend continues on a talented Hargrave team, but on Friday Grundy was a dominant force around the basket.
Omari Spellman, 6’8”, PF, MacDuffie, 2016
A Kennedy Meeks look alike, Spellman put up 21 points and 8 rebounds in a losing effort. Looking slimmer than when he was at the Global Challenge, Spellman beat his man off the dribble several times in the low post for baskets. While his three point shot was off, his soft touch was on display when his coach selected him to shoot any technical fouls that came up throughout the course of the game. Spellman still gets winded a little too easy and just like Meeks, will need to continue to work on his body.
Kealen Ives, 5’9”, PG, Putnam Science Academy, 2015
In all of the Friday games, Ives was the best coach on the floor. He quickly picked up the opponents half-court and out-of-bounds sets and instructed his teammates where to go. The Rider-commit also stepped up his scoring in the second half with several crucial late baskets to push his team to a victory. Ives hit several pull-up jump shots from 15 feet and also added in a three off the dribble finishing with 14 points, 5 assists, and 0 turnovers.
Andrew Robinson, 6’6”, SG, Putnam Science Academy, 2015
Robinson was lighting up the arc in the second to last game. He hit three first half three’s against IMG Academy and then added two more in the second half. Robinson preferred letting it fly from the wings and had range several feet beyond the arc. In addition, Robinson showed a great vertical when spotting up for the deep outside shots. He also proved much more than a shooter with athleticism and a quick first step to get to the basket. Robinson is committed to Quinnipiac.
Quadree Smith, 6’7”, PF, IMG Academy, 2015
Smith used to play for Paul VI in Fairfax, VA and was a steadily improving big man on a talented team. Despite being undersized for his position, Smith has always used his body well to create space and has soft hands and light feet around the basket. Smith came off the bench for IMG and was a difference maker finishing with a monster double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Left Wanting More:
Steven Enoch, 6’8”, PF, St. Thomas Moore, 2015
Talented big man Steven Enoch blew up in the spring and summer and didn’t take long committing to his hometown UConn Huskies once the offer came. In his early afternoon game, Enoch started the game with a pretty three from the right wing. Showing good body control and agility it looked like Enoch was set to dominate throughout the game. Unfortunately foul trouble and a shortness of breath hampered his ability. Not in tip top shape, Enoch was forced to come out for continuous breathers when he wasn’t in foul trouble. He certainly has the size and skill to dominate, but Enoch did not perform up to his high potential on Friday. He’ll have another shot as St. Thomas Moore has the first game of the morning on Saturday.
Northfield Mount Hermon vs. Lee Academy
The fifth of seven games was over just a few minutes in. Northfield Mount Hermon jumped to a quick 15-2 lead which was stretched to a 41-16 halftime lead. It didn’t matter that senior forward Josh Sharma (Stanford) was out with a fractured wrist as the four out one in offense flowed seamlessly. Northwestern bound Aaron Falzon rained three’s from well beyond the NBA arc and the two powerful guard in senior Jashanti Allen and senior Dequon Ervin penetrated at will. 6’10” Collin McManus (Penn) also got into the action with a fundamental left hand hook shot.
Leroy Butts, from the DC area has landed at Elev8te prep in Florida after stints at Bishop O’Connell (VA) and Riverdale Baptist (MD). In the first half, Butts hit a nice one footed fade-away over a smaller defender but was relatively quiet after that. Butts lives in the mid-range and while he caught several passes in the high post he didn’t affect the game as expected.
Future Ole Miss guard JT Esobar isn’t afraid to let the outside shots fly. The 6’0” guard from Florida scored 18 points in a losing effort and was more than just an outside shooter as he crashed the boards on numerous possessions.
Junior guard Christian Vital from South Kent finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds and was the spark plug off the bench in a win. His defensive intensity also frustrated the opposing guards.
Kamau Stokes from Fork Union Military Academy led the way on Day 1 with 33 points on 9-14 shooting.
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