Tuesday, March 10, 2009

NEPSAC Tournament . . . A Player Report

A Moose Track

Yes, I know that picture is lame. It was the only NEPSAC logo I could find. Speaking of NEPSAC, it stands for New England Preparatory School Athletic Council, a prep sports division for, well, New England. As you've probably figured out. Anyways . . . this past week there was a tournament there, and some guys with pretty big names were present. Some of them were postgrad, some of the schools had a lot of PG guys there.

Well, you guys know me, I'm gonna go to as many games as I can. And, I want to take all of the opportunities possible. I walk up to all of the players that I can and I meet them, tell them that they played great, ask them where they're going to play college ball. Anyways, I'm not going to go into a big summary about the tournament, but I do want to give a report on all of the players that I talked to. Here are the guys that I saw play and met in order by ranking on NERR (New England Recruiting Report). These are only the guys who really stuck out to me.

Alex Oriakhi - C - Tilton Prep - NE Rank: 1 - College: UCONN
This guy is a beast. Huge. 6'9", 230, with muscles bigger than a monster truck. OK, not really. But he's got some big guns. Anyways, he's ranked number one in New England, and he's in the top 20 for national high school rankings. He's just a dominant post player, and he grabs rebounds like nobodies business. He was nice to me, he stopped in the middle of one of his conversations because he noticed me lingering. He's a bit small to play the 5 at UCONN, so he'll be a power forward there most likely. He's been committed to UCONN since 2006.

Thomas Robinson - PF/SF - Brewster Academy - NE Rank: 4 - College: Kansas
This guy is bigger than their center and can jump flat over him. Thomas Robinson is a big guy, 6'8", 210. His tenacity on the boards is phenomenal, his rebounds are up the roof because of it. He knows how to grab them, and with a combination of that, size, and hops, this guy is tough to beat when there's a loose ball. Very athletic. Will dunk on anyone and everyone, as I saw in the tournament. Can dominate at times. Is going to Kansas next year, but also got offers from Memphis, USC, Miami University and Texas. I didn't know who he was when I asked him where he'll be playing college ball, but when he said Kansas the word, "Sweet" popped out of my mouth. He laughed.

Andrew Fitzgerald - C/F - Brewster Academy - NE Rank: 6 - College: Oklahoma
This dude is a flat-out beast. 6'9", 245 pounds and will dunk on you, pick up the foul and hit the free throw. Seriously, that's what he does. He got five three-point-plays in one of the tournament games. And I only saw him miss two free throws in three games. And he shoots a lot of them. Conditioning is a slight problem, but he has a very good midrange jumper that falls in more often than not. Pretty quick in the paint and scores there easily. He's going to Oklahoma, but got offers from--are you ready for it?-- Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, St. Johns, Xavier, Tennessee, California, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette and Minnesota. Wow. He was nice to me as well, I told him I'd be watching for him in college and such and he was like, "Great!" or something like that. Nice guy anyways. Very animated on the court as well.

Kevin Parrom - SF - South Kent Prep - NE Rank: 8 - College: Xavier
Parrom can just ball. He can do a little bit of everything on the court, he does everything pretty well but isn't spectacular in one category. He is a great scorer, a good shooter, a good defender. From what I saw and the games I watched, he needed to get the ball a lot more; he was clearly on another level than most of the other guys. Some nasty high-flying blocks were performed by Parrom in the tournament, and he has clear athleticism that is just crazy. 6'6", 200 pounds, he will be attending Xavier, but he also got offers from Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Rhode Island, Clemson, South Carolina, and St. Johns. He was kind of into his music when I met him, but I got eye contact and a handshake.

Omari Lawrence - G - South Kent Prep - NE Rank: 9 - College: St. John's
Omari Lawrence was probably my favorite player from the tournament. He was funny on the court, he interacted with other players well, he was just a good-natured player. He was most likely the nicest one that talked to me, and he's not a bad player either. The 6'4", 185 pound lefty threw down two alley oops in the three games that I saw him, he can get off. He is stocky, with a Barkley butt that helps him penetrate more effectively. He's quick. Good in transition. Pretty good shooter. Again, just a cool guy. He's going to St. John's, but he got offers from Georgetown, Memphis, Clemson, Auburn, Xavier, Arizona, Pittsburgh. Again, he was nice to me he looked me in the eye, thanked me and all of that.

Givon Crump - SF - Brewster Academy - NE Rank: 15 - College: Baylor
When Givon Crump gets hot, he gets really, really hot. I'm not suggesting anything here. He has great athleticism, he's very explosive. He does a good deal of damage on his jump shot, which falls through a ton (there's a YouTube video of him hitting 25/28 in practice, pretty funny). Good size, high release point on his jumper makes it unblockable. Textbook release and form on it. He's going to Baylor but also got offers from Iowa State, South Florida, Nebraska, Oregon State, Providence and Rutgers. He was fun to watch, although he didn't play a ton in two of the three games. I wondered why. He was nice to me, he was a little tired though, you could tell.

Malik Stith - PG - Bridgton Academy - NE Rank: 22 - College: Kentucky
This is another one of those guys who I liked a lot by watching him play and meeting him. He's a little guy, 5-10, 170, but he can ball better than he looks like he can. He's got a nasty ankle-breaking crossover, lights-out jumpshot and quickness that would make Chris Paul jealous. Not really on the last one. But he's fast. He's really fast. He's so fast he makes fast people look, well, not fast (if you get the reference, I'm happy). He's intense, he's tough, a complete team leader. In one of the tournament's championship games, he pretty much single-handedly won it for Bridgton, just nailing jumper after jumper. He can move around the court at will with the ball. He had committed to St. John's, but I guess he backed outta that because he told me Kentucky. He was really nice, one of the few guys who said something more intelligent than "Thanks" when I told them their play was good. Nice guy, seems a bit small for the League, but he was great to watch.

So, there are the big-name guys that I met. There was one other worth noting, Majok Majok, from, whaddya know, Australia! I had talked to Hursty about him beforehand, so during one of the other tournament games I went up to him and asked him about our favorite Aussie (and you too, MBW). And, sure 'nuff, he knew who he was. Small world, no? Another big name guy that I saw (3rd in NE), Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, dropped 42 in one of the games. That will get you to UCONN on a full ride, everybody. I didn't get to meet him, though I wish I did. It was great stuff.



Anonymous said...

I gotta say, I love watching high school ball. If you get two good teams with good players, like it sounds like you did, it can be amazing to watch. I'll definitely have to watch for these guys next season. Don't disappoint me Moose!

jameyburke said...

I can see why you were so busy, you mini-Sager you...If anymore of our guys go down, Doc might ask you to suit up too.

Moose said...

Baconator, it was great, high-level ball. Great stuff. And I hope I won't disappoint you, haha. I wish those guys luck too. Oh, and just to give you a kind of idea of the level: Michael Beasley played in the same tournament in 2007 and won MVP. And yeah Jamey, if I am asked to suit up for the Celtics, I'd do it in a flash. In a flash.

jameyburke said...

check your email Bullwinkle

Bielasiak33 said...

I go to Phillips Academy and there are two hoops PGs in my dorm. We're in the second division this year after being completely miserable the past few years, but were much improved and we're looking at stepping up our game for the next few years. Some good young kids coming up too, including a freshman (TRUE FRESHMAN, like he's actually 15) who's 6-7 or something and enormous.

But yeah, Tilton's got something like 3 UCONN guys, and my friends on the team thought they were straight filthy....

And my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana is home to the current top-ranked public school in the country (#4 overall, USA TODAY). 22-0.

Moose said...

Tilton has two UCONN bound guys, Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, who are both mentioned in this piece. I saw Coombs-McDaniel drop 42 in one of the games. BAM! Roasted.

Bielasiak33 said...

I think they have a younger guy who's being recruited or something but yeah, I don't know. I talked to Zach Burdeau (starting SF) for PA and he said that Oriakhi is the biggest dude he's ever played against.

Moose said...

He's got some serious guns. 6-9 is tall. He's just mammoth. When I shook his hand, they were bigger than any other hand I've ever shaken. He was crazy huge.

B. Long said...

Good stuff, Moose. New A.I. write up on WBBL.

Karl the Marxist said...

Moose, aside from this post being really interesting, I think it's wicked cool you wrote all this up, and took the time to talk to some of the players too. It would've been one thing to get a report on the games, but hearing a little about what these guys are like...This is an impressive journalistic endeavor. Anyway, wicked cool, as I said.

Moose said...

Thanks a lot, Karl, I really appreciate it. I was astounded that they took the time to talk to me. And the ones that I really liked on the court were also the ones who were the nicest to me as well.

Anonymous said...

Givon Crump is one of the best shooters in the class of 2009, and he played limited minutes for Brewster this year. No one is sure why, but there is one thing that most people who have seen him play is that he is good enough to play for most people except "coach" Smith at Brewster. His youtube shows some great examples of his ability against the top players in this class. Maybe "coach" Smith understand more about his talent level than we do. Only time with tell if he really understands talent. Funny, I also watched the great Brewster Academy team from 2008, and Chauncey Gillium never got of the bench and he clearly had the best freshman year of all the 2008 Brewster, graduates. This make you wonder if there is more than meets the eye or if the eye of "coach" Smith is not what it should be.

Anonymous said...


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