By Sammy Newman-Beck
With the Boston basketball scene booming this year with big names such as Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce on the pro-level and young phenoms Alex Oriahki and Jamal Coombs (UConn Commits) on the high school level it was only a matter of time before the 9th graders in the New England area—or in this case, the northeast—had a chance to showcase their skills and talents. Under the guidance of Claude Pritchard and Bob Wren, the northeastern young-gunners were able to showcase their skills last weekend at the Adidas sponsored Junior Phenom Camp held outside of Boston.
With the camp being hosted at brand new Bridgewater Raynham High school the stage was set. Bringing such sponsors like Elevation Sports, Hoopscoop Online and yours truly SLAM Magazine, the players ventured out from all over. Budding Canadian stars Christopher Joseph (The BEST player in camp by far. A man among boys. 5’11 guard with talents that most high school kids don’t have) and big man Khen Birch (6’7 lanky big man who will grown even more) gave the viewers a glimpse into the next two beasts who you will hear about (Also be on the lookout for the two heading to a prep-school near you!). From Delaware, 5’4 PG Tarriq Cephas controlled the floor and had an incredible basketball instinct—while his defense needs some work and maybe just more focus, he had skills that cannot be taught.
While Canada and Delaware brought its fair share of talent out, Massachusetts held its own. Players such as 6’5 big man Egi Gjikondi showed that with a couple more years and a couple more inches he will be a problem. Somerville native Rakim Smith-Lartey showed his exquisite ball handling ability and his natural poise on the floor—his match up with Cephas was a pretty interesting one to watch. Another bright spot was the surprise play of Zach Horyorowicz. The 5’11 point guard surprised everyone with his uncanny ability to finish with both hands, see the floor unbelievably well and handle any kind of pressure thrown his way. Last but not least was Boston native Stanley Wynn, who seemed composed at all points in every game. The Brighton High School native has good size for his age and easily may grow into a very smart and talented small forward.
While many may frown upon having exposure camps for kids at such a young age, Pritchard and Wren know how to run things right. Whether it was the strong academics lecture midway through camp, or the appreciative coaches they had on hand, the Junior Phenom Camp is a complete benefit to all these young hoopers. So stay tuned, these youngsters may just be the next big thing!
**Side note: There were also 5-8th graders at the camp. While we tend to shy away from ranking players at such a young age. Some names you may hear soon enough are:
Kenny Reed (Boston) and Antoine King (Conn.) both are 8th graders.