by Randy Miller

We caught some hoops action last weekend in Newark, New Jersey for one the state’s premier high school hoop events, the 7th Annual Newark Invitational. Hosted by St. Benedict’s High School, the tournament took place at the Prudential Center, and featured some of the Garden State’s cream of the crop.

Here are some of the player who stood out:

Jabreel Ahmad, 5’11, G Newark East Side High (NJ) 2015

Jabreel Ahmad had a 21 point scoring performance as he led Newark East Side to a 53-49 win over Gil St. Bernard. Ahmad possesses quickness and a crafty handle. He also used change of direction & speed moves to get maneuver on the court. While most of his points came by creatively finishing at the basket, mid-range jump-shots or floaters, the senior guard also hit shots from downtown. Ahmad would fit nicely in a Division 2 or Division 3 program.

Isaiah Briscoe, 6’3, G Roselle Catholic (NJ) 2015

The top rated point guard in the 2015 class only scored 11 points in Roselle’s 70-44 win over St. Benedict’s, but it was how he scored them that was truly amazing. Briscoe scored by using combo moves followed by pull-up jumpers to get himself going. If he didn’t connect from outside, Briscoe used his stout frame to get to the basket and draw fouls. The play of the game (and maybe the tournament) came when the senior guard beautifully executed a spin move combined with a step-back jump-shot- leaving his defender dazed and confused. Aside from his offensive exploits, Isaiah Briscoe played good perimeter & post defense, and used his long arms and catcher’s mitt-like hands to intercept passing lanes for steals. Briscoe’s mature decision-making, and polished offensive arsenal should make the transition into college basketball a little easier as a University of Kentucky Wildcat.

Nathaniel Pierre-Louis, 6’3, G St. Benedict’s (NJ) 2017

Nathaniel Pierre-Louis was the lone bright spot for St. Benedict’s scoring 21 points in a 70-44 loss to Roselle Catholic. What was promising about the sophomore’s performance was that he didn’t shy away from defending Isaiah Briscoe, and that he played with maximum effort until the very end. Pierre-Louis is a combo guard who excels at attacking the basket, but can also drain the long ball. He also has deceptive hops, as proven when he flushed one on a taller defender during one of his drives to the hoop. Pierre-Louis’ play has gathered offers from schools in the ACC, Big Ten, and AAC

Chris Silva, 6’9, F Roselle Catholic (NJ) 2015

Silva netted 20 points, snatched 8 boards and came away MVP honors in a rout over St. Benedict’s. Silva is an athletic, physical forward who makes his living around the basket. He is at his best when the game is fast paced, and is able to get out in transition. Defensively, Silva is able to alter shots and provide a solid post presence. If he continues to develop offensively, South Carolina Gamecock fans will be in for a treat once he hits campus.