The NY2LA Sports Summer Jam ran from July 15th through July 20th, with hundreds of club teams competing against each other in 15-and-under, 16U and 17U divisions in front of over a 1,500 NCAA coaches.
With games going on simultaneously on six different courts in two separate locations, this breakdown only includes what my two eyes could see.
Dwayne Washington’s program UPLAY made its presence felt at all three levels at the Summer Jam, with the 16U squad – Stackhouse Elite – capturing the Platinum Division title over Chicago-based Meanstreets.
UPLAY’s 17U team featured 6’10 San Diego State pledge Nolan Narain, and turned heads all tournament due in large part to the 6’5 orchestrator on the court Marquell Fraser.
Fraser has spent the last two years in the United States playing at Mount Mission and Southwest Christian Academy, but will play his senior year at The Hill Academy in his home of Ontario, Canada. With more and more Canadians starting to standout on the NCAA level, and in the NBA, he said he’s started to see a change on the court from his counterparts born in the United States.
“I think now since Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Tyler Ennis, and all those guys have come up, the Americans are starting to respect our games now,” Fraser said. “In past years when we came to tournaments, people took us as a joke and were like, ‘Who are these guys?’ But now, I consider ourselves a powerhouse where people are going for our heads and not us going for theirs. I believe all of Ontario is turning into a basketball place. Hockey is starting to slow down, especially in Ontario.”
Because of his height and skill set that allows him to be a point guard, and play off the ball as well, Fraser already had some high Division I interest prior to the Summer Jam. But his play throughout the tournament has attracted more interest, and he even picked up an offer from Georgia Tech in the middle of the tournament.
“I try to block out all the college coaches, so I can just concentrate on my team and myself individually,” Fraser said. “If you’re focusing on (the college coaches), it’s going to ruin your play. I like to keep the chemistry between my teammates.
“I have the most fun attacking and facilitating. I like getting my teammates involved in the game. Whenever I see my teammates thrive making threes whenever I penetrate and pass out, I feel happy for them. I enjoy that more than scoring myself.”
That mentality in which Fraser embodies is ideal for a floor general, and one a college coach hopes their point guard has. But on a more tangible level, Fraser’s handle, vision and ability to dictate tempo is what makes him such an intriguing prospect given his size and effectiveness guarding both guard spots on the floor. Though many tried at the Summer Jam, no defender was able to speed Fraser up and turn him over.
“I have to thank my coach Dwayne Washington for that,” Fraser said. “He worked on me staying calm and collected with the ball a lot. A lot of my coaches at UPLAY have helped me with that.”
With one more live evaluation period in front of college coaches this summer, Fraser doesn’t intend on focusing on where he’ll be playing ball in ’16-17. For now, he’s just going to be concerned with helping his teammates get buckets this coming week in Las Vegas at the Adidas Summer Championship.
“I want to go to a college that will develop me and help me get to the next level,” Fraser said. “It doesn’t matter what program it is. After the July period ends, I’ll see what offers I have then pick five schools to visit.”
High major coaches flocked to California-based Dream Vision’s 17U games at the Summer Jam to check in on 6’8 wing Vance Jackson (St. John Bosco), 6’8 wing Brendan Bailey (Santa Margarita Catholic) and 6’8 uber-athletic forward Kenneth Wooten Jr. (Manteca).
All three players from the class of 2016 flourished at the Summer Jam at various points, but class of 2017 big man Evan Battey may have caught some high major attention as well.
At 6’8, 275 pounds, it is hard to miss Battey on the court.
“I’m a real physically imposing person, I weigh a lot,” Battey said with a smirk. “So I try to use my physical abilities to my advantage. But I can also step out and shoot a jump shot, so I just try to have as much all-around things to my game to make me a versatile weapon.”
Battey said a handful of mid-major programs from the West coast have already inquired, but he should see his recruiting stock soar over the next two years as he continues to improve his body. Against Chicago powerhouse Mac Irvin Fire, Battey was absolutely dominant.
Not only did he control the glass, and show off nice passing skills, he hit shots from the perimeter and even showed off two gorgeous fall-away shots from the baseline.
“The shooting ability is natural and I was actually a backup point guard back in the day,” Battey said. “But for the last month, I’ve been down in San Diego working on all those moves and all those shots trying to perfect things I already had.”
Last season as a sophomore at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Students, he averaged 20.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.9 blocks. His unique blend of a bruising nature and feather touch shooting the ball are rare for post players. Battey was also talkative among his teammates on defense, and was diving on the floor. He’s got all the tools to be a big time recruit, but he knows a lot of the work to get there will have to be done off the court.
“We’ve had two-a-days,” said Battey of his offseason workouts. “We do basketball in the morning, then weights and conditioning in the afternoon. I’ve stayed in the high level of weight, but it’s better weight. It’s muscle and I’ve lost a lot of fat. I’ve slimmed down a little bit.”
As he continues to transform his body, seeing where his game goes will be one to watch.
2017 POINT MEN
Collectively, there wasn’t a more talented position respective to class than the point guards from the class of 2017 at the Summer Jam. Aside from Marcus Carr, who will be featured on the site tomorrow (Tuesday), here are some other point guards’ names you could end up seeing shining in a few years in the NCAA.
– Nick Weatherspoon, 6’1, Velma Jackson (MS): Weatherspoon played up an age group with MBA Hoops Elite and alongside Tyson Carter, and showed out in a big way. He’s a highlight waiting to happen as he’s always in attack mode with a crafty handle and ability to dunk on someone’s head. He’s also got the strength and quick enough feet to apply the cuffs defensively. If he can polish his shooting ability over the next two years, watch out.
– J.R. Mathis, 6’0, Kentucky Country Day (KY): There weren’t many more complete point guards than Mathis at the Summer Jam. Though smaller in stature, no one could keep Mathis from getting into the paint where he showed excellent decision making skills in regards to getting all the way to the cup or kicking out to an open teammate. He also drilled shots all the way out to behind the three-point line off the catch or off the dribble from screens. His play at the tournament has gotten some mid to high major schools interested, and he should see his recruitment continue to soar over the next two years if he continues to play how he did in suburban Milwaukee last week.
– Evan Gilyard Jr., 5’10, Simeon (IL): Gilyard guided Meanstreets all the way to the 16U title game and figures to be one of the best players in Chicago for the remainder of his high school career. The lefty combines a great balance of being able to score the ball in a variety of ways, including an awesome floater game, and great passing ability. His size may make some high major programs hesitant, but coming up through the ranks in the Chicago Public League it’s a sure bet he won’t back down from anyone.
– Shai Alexander, 6’3, Hamilton Heights Christian (TN): The Ontario native ran the show for the 16U champion Stackhouse Elite/UPLAY team. He showed some scoring ability throughout the tournament, but with high major teammates like Shamiel Stevenson and Abu Kigab his distribution skills were in full effect. Alexander’s passing ability both in transition and in the half-court will be his calling card in attracting the attention of high major programs.
– Da’Monte Williams, 6’3, Peoria Manual (IL): The son of former NCAA All-American at Illinois, Frank Williams, didn’t have his perimeter shot falling consistently at the Summer Jam, but already has an offer from the Illini and plenty of other high majors tracking him because of his ability to defend, devastate opposition in transition and put pressure on the defense in a half-court setting.
– Jesse Hillis, 6’0, Caledonia (MI): According to the Grand Rapids Storm coach, Hillis has only received Division III interest thus far. He doesn’t have ideal height, and has a slight frame, but he’s a blur with the ball in his hands and is also lights out as a shooter. File Hillis under the super-sleeper category.
– Myles Franklin, 6’3, Villa Park (CA): Franklin is starting to pick up some mid to high major Division I interest, and has a smooth game for a point guard. With a lanky frame, Franklin showed off fluid athleticism and a versatile skill set for a lead guard.
CLEARING OUT THE NOTEBOOK
• All Ohio Red won the 17’s Platinum Division championship behind a balanced effort from a collection of mid-to-high major DI players. 6’6 guard Ibi Watson (Pickerington Central), the club’s highest rated prospect, arrived midway through the tournament to help put the perennial powerhouse over the top with 12 points in the championship win. Dayton-bound Trey Landers (6’5, F, Wayne HS), D’Mitrik Trice (6’1, G, Wayne HS), Rodrick Caldwell (5’10, G, Wayne), Jalen Tate (6’6, G, Pickerington Central), Andre Wesson (6’6, G/F, Westerville South), James Manns (6’7, F, Walnut Ridge) and Darius Harper (6’8, F, Springfield) also played integral roles in helping All Ohio Red plow through the loaded field on the way to a title. And, yes, Trice is the younger brother of former Michigan State Spartan Travis and Jalen is the younger brother of Ohio State sophomore Jae’Sean.
• Boise Hoop Dreams first participated at the Summer Jam last year and were bounced in the first round of the Platinum Division playoffs, but reversed their fortunes this year despite having no high-profile commitments. Coached by Roberto Bergersen, who played collegiately at Washington and Boise State, the kids from Idaho knocked off several teams featuring high DI prospects before falling to All Ohio Red in the title game. Behind class of 2016 DI prospects Rylan Bergerson (6’4, G, Borah), Travis Yenor (6’8, G/F, Ambrose), Talon Pinckney (5’9, G, Capital) and Logan Miller (6’5, G, Boise) along with 2017 6’9 horse Kolby Lee – who has an offer from Boise State and heavy interest from BYU among others – the squad stymied the opposition with disciplined man-to-man defense, and traps and excellent ball movement offensively with a variety of sets. They also capitalized a lot in transition of missed shots, and leak outs. 5’10 senior-to-be DeAndre Jones (Borah) also helped his recruiting stock big time throughout the tournament showing off great quickness with the ball and shot-making ability from three-point land.
• Though their 17U team wasn’t in attendance, the Louisville Magic’s 16U and 15U squads represented themselves well as both reached the final four in their respective loaded fields. From the class of 2017, 6’6 wing Jaylen Sebree (University Heights) and 6’4 wing Tony Jackson (North Hardin) both played themselves into high major college attention, while Steven Fitzgerald (6’3, G, Southwestern Pulaski) seemed like a no-brainer high major prospect in the class of 2018. Since there’s such a long way to go, Willie Hill (6’3, G, Fern Hill), Danny Butt (6’2, G, Southwestern Pulaski) and lefty Dorion Tisby (6’2, G/F, Ballard) also seem to have the tools of being heavily recruited.
• Milwaukee-native Te’jon Lucas (6’, PG, Washington) was arguably the best passing point guard in the tournament, and also hit big shots throughout the 17U playoffs before bowing out to Boise Hoop Dreams in the final four. Lucas came in with a pile of mid-major offers, as well as an offer from Memphis. But his play this summer has been to the level of drawing coaches from the Big Ten and other power conferences to the Milwaukee Spartans games.
• One of the most explosive scorers at the Summer Jam was the Martin Brothers’ class of 2016 prospect Jordan Bohannon (6’, G, Linn-Mar). The Iowa native has a quick trigger, and unlimited range. His play over the last year has garnered a ton of mid-major offers, an offer from DePaul and has several high major programs including Iowa, Wisconsin and Texas Tech monitoring him closely. He’ll suit up in Louisville this week for the AAU Super Showcase before his senior season to prove he can be a high major point guard.
• The Wisconsin Playground Warriors have churned out plenty of high major players over the years, and class of 2017 guard Kobe King (6’3, La Crosse Central) may be the program’s top prospect. But the backcourt of their 15U team, Jordan McCabe (5’10, Kaukauna) and Tyler Herro (6’2, Whitnall), both seem to be on their way to becoming national recruits. McCabe has already gained notoriety from his appearances as 9-year-old at halftime shows and on ESPN putting on ball-handling exhibitions. Though he still possesses a flashy handle, and can deliver highlight-reel worthy dimes, he’s proving he’s no gimmick. At the Summer Jam, McCabe showed off his range and ability to knock down shots off the dribble after creating some separation to go with a nice distributing ability. Herro oozes potential because of his length, cash shooting stroke and all-around floor game. It will be interesting, to say the least, to watch both their games develop throughout the remainder of their high school careers.
• The Summer Jam has always featured high major prospects, some who are one-and-done in the NCAA before becoming lotto picks. It is awesome to see those players compete, but my favorite element to the Summer Jam after covering it the last five years is seeing kids without any DI offers prove they’re worth and those with low to mid DI offers prove they’re worthy of even higher looks. With over 1,500 coaches who came through the doors of Homestead and Brown Deer high schools, many who competed at the Summer Jam this time around got their chance. Here are a few that stood out to me as proving their recruitment should raise another level: Michigan Triple Threat’s Riley Lewis (2016, 5’11, G, Williamston), Wisconsin Playmakers Bennett Vander Plas (2017, 6’7, F, Ripon) and the Wisconsin Swing’s Kyle Clow (6’4, G, Germantown).
Lewis’ small stature has limited his DI attention to this point to no offers or interest, but wherever he winds up that program is going to be getting a steal. He’s a great shooter with some flare to his game, and gave Dream Vision buckets from everywhere on the court including 18-first half points – and a major upset scare in the playoffs before Dream Vision eeked out a 75-71 win. He also showed the ability to set his teammates up with nice passes off the bounce. His squad will play in Fort Wayne during the final evaluation period before he gets ready to play his senior season.
Vander Plas came into the Summer Jam with an offer from IUPUI, and left with one from UW-Milwaukee. He’s got a strong body, range out behind the three-point arc and an inside-out game which should continue to attract DI programs over the next two years. The Playmakers finish up their summer in Louisville at the AAU Super Showcase.
Clow will have a chance to earn his first DI look as Swing teammates 6’7 athletic forward Chris Knight (DeForest) and 6’5 sharpshooter Ryan Kreuger (Hortonville) both currently hold offers from UW-Milwaukee and have other mid-to-high majors tracking. Clow’s all-around floor game, feel and athleticism could catch a DI coach’s eye over the course of the last live period at the Las Vegas Classic and beyond.