The Future is Now
Recapping the third annual Mary Kline Classic.
by Jake Fischer / @JakeLFischer
Since its inception in 2011, the Mary Kline Classic has played host to some of the top amateur basketball players in the nation while raising thousands of dollars for brain cancer research. The event originally included primarily Mid-Atlantic prospects hooping in founder Alex Kline’s alma mater, Pennington School.
But the MKC of today has players flying into the City of Brotherly Love from all across the country to participate. With an underclassmen and senior game, three-point shootout and dunk contest, the crowd at Philadelphia University was more than entertained by the college basketball stars of tomorrow.
Without further ado, here’s a look at some of the players who impressed at the Mary Kline Classic:
Ben Bentil, 6-8, SF/PF, St. Andrew’s (DE), 2014
One of the top frontcourt players in his class (ranked No. 38 in the Class of 2014 SLAM Fresh 50), Bentil displayed how well he can impact a game having the ball run through him. His relentless rebounding and diving hustle plays didn’t bring shock and awe to the crowd, but his offensive rebounding definitely made a solid impression on press row. Bentil is considering offers from the several 2012 Big East schools.
Moustapha Diagne, 6-9, PF, Pope John XXIII (NJ), 2015
With a similar build to Bentil, Diagne can also impact the game by doing the little things. The most impressive aspect of his game was how well he ran the floor. Considered a three-star prospect, Diagne doesn’t just run the floor well, he fills lanes that allow his team to spread out the defense and score easily. Most bigs who run like gazelles are just taught to run directly from rim to rim. Just a sophomore, Diagne has plenty of time to move his way up recruiting charts.
Justin Jenifer, 5-11, PG, Milford Mill (MD), 2015
Before the underclassmen game began, many were wondering who gave a portly kid wearing long-sleeves an official MKC jersey. The dude’s shots weren’t coming close during warm ups and he was sweating within minutes. But when the lights were on, Jenifer (pictured) absolutely captivated the crowd. Outside of a certain 7-footer, Jenifer was arguably the most impressive underclassman at Philly U. Despite his size, Jenifer his blazing quick and pairs his speed with a dazzling handle and fantastic vision. His change of speed capabilities rivals that of Khalif Wyatt. Jenifer picked up underclassmen game MVP
Karl Towns, 7-0, C, St. Joseph (NJ), 2014
Committed to Kentucky and considered a leading candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Towns commands an entire gym’s attention upon entering the room. Recruiters have raved about Towns’ physicality, defense and rebounding, but he also showed an impressive handle, some nice passes and a mean shooting stroke. The big man (ranked No. 4 in the SLAM Fresh 50) even finished second in the three-point shootout. Cal found himself a good one.
Malachi Richardson, 6-6, SG, Roselle Catholic (NJ), 2015
Already with great size and a smooth stroke, Richardson said at the MKC that he still expects to grow at least two or three inches. And, when you pair his height and wingspan with the lift on his jumper, it’s almost unguardable. Richardson (ranked No. 21 in the latest Class of 2015 SLAM Fresh 25) can also do a little off the dribble, but that is certainly the aspect of his offensive game that he needs to improve the most. Just a sophomore, one can only imagine where his game will be in two years.