The 2009 NY2LA Sports Invitational attracted several elite squads from around the Midwest to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and when the dust settled, a local team grabbed the title while a host of others featured prospects who turned in excellent performances. Here's a recap of what went down in the 17U division this past weekend:
17U Platinum Championship – Wisconsin Scholars defeated Mac Irvin Fire
17U Gold Championship – IBA Select defeated Illinois Red Raiders
Top 15 performers from the 2010 class at the 2009 NYLA Sports Invitational
(Editor’s Note – Listed Alphabetically)
2010 G Austin Armga – Randolph Boys ClubThe biggest compliment NY2LA can issue is that he’s truly a coach’s dream in terms of his effort and competitive edge on the court. A “gamer” in every sense of the word, credit Armga with his game-winner against King James, allowing his underdog Randolph club to continue advancing in the Platinum bracket. At 6-foot-3, Armga is natural off-guard with a scorer’s mentality, but has the understanding and handles the ball well enough to run the point guard position on the circuit. More skilled than athletic, it was Armga’s hustle and tenacity that helped his team win games, and ultimately earned him a spot on the top performers list.
2010 F DeMondre Chapman – King James Shooting StarsOften considered a combo forward, Chapman’s full skill-set from the wing was on display at the NY2LA Sports Invitational. He’s an aggressive and active rebounder from the perimeter, but has the lateral quickness and length to defend the perimeter with little difficulty. While his athleticism won’t wow anyone, Chapman is still capable of making plays above the rim, and finishing through contact. If this perimeter slasher is able to demonstrate the ability to hit the 16-18 foot jumper during the July period, he should turn interest from the Big Ten, Big East, SEC, and Pac-10 into offers by autumn.
2010 G Matt Craggs – DTA Devin HarrisAthletic and strong, Craggs has quite the resume to still have not picked up any Division I offers. Offensively, he moves well without the ball and constantly found himself open for mid-range jumpers that he knocked down with consistency. While the few deep balls he shot didn’t go down, Craggs bread and butter comes off his drives to the basket, particularly when attacking from the baseline. One of the standouts on a talented DTA squad, Craggs proved to be the team’s most versatile and reliable defender.
2010 F Flavien Davis – Wisconsin ScholarsVersatile forward made our initial recap from Friday night and carried his effort through Sunday, where his Scholars team took home the 17u crown. Walking away with the MVP award, Davis had the deep ball falling late, even after a weekend where his legs should’ve vanished in heat of 80+ degree gym on Saturday. Still in the mold of a slasher, Davis isn’t exceptionally powerful, but his ball-handling ability is his trademark and allows him to get to the rim with relative ease. When he wasn’t scoring off the dribble, he was giving an all-around effort on the boards, and defending the perimeter and the post.
2010 G Josh Gasser – Wisconsin SwingAnother prospect NY2LA Sports pegged on our Day 1 recap, Gasser led his undermanned Swing team all the way to the semifinals of the 17u platinum division. Seemingly the only healthy player on his squad by the conclusion of the event, Gasser’s ability to rebound the basketball proved vital down the stretch, as did his versatility. Took the reins by serving as the main ball-handler and also defended smaller and quicker opponents as well as bigger wings. It’s all about basketball IQ for Gasser and he’s a leader on the court.
2010 G Maurice Jones – R.E.A.C.H. LegendsUltra quick point guard was fun to watch and used his blazing speed to get to the rim at will. Though he takes a beating at the rim and usually ends up on the floor, Jones finished through contact, and always found a way to get back on his feet. One of the event’s toughest players, he beat pressure at will, and excelled defending and pressuring in the full-court. While his deep ball didn’t fall in the glimpses NY2LA watched, Jones surprised with his ability to create space, and knock down the mid-range pull-up. Best off the bounce he’s a pass-first guard who is the exception when discussing how size limits players’ ability.
2010 G Chim Kadima – Playground EliteKadima shot the three point ball well off the catch and his flat out deadly off the dribble from 15 feet and closer. Saw his defensive abilities come through in spurts, as he utilized his active hands and feet, but did not defend with the sense of urgency that would have separated him from the rest of the field. Blessed with more natural ability than most, he’s an elite prospect in a solid Wisconsin class.
2010 C Jake Kreuser – Minnesota SelectTall and lanky post competed with great energy and gave a consistent effort the entire weekend. He’ll need to continue to add weight to make him more effective in the post, but he ran the floor well, and his length on the block allowed most of his shots to go uncontested. Kreuser had no problem catching passes or rebounding at the rim but could improve as a passer. He was double-teamed often and had trouble not only locating teammates, but making an effective pass out of the post. Like how he elevates toward the rim on scoring attempts and does not fade away from the basket.
2010 F Marquis Mason – Wisconsin SwingBefore going down with an ankle injury, Mason nearly solidified his spot with a three possession series early Saturday. Defending the post, he jumped in front of a skip pass for a breakaway dunk, blocked a shot on the next possession, and sprinted the floor where he grabbed an offensive rebound for a putback. The next play down, Mason nearly boxes out three opponents to snatch a defensive board that falls on the opposite side of the rim. The point is he’s a big-time athlete on the wing who plays with a great motor and collected court demeanor. A Wisconsin football commit, the Badgers could certainly find a way to use this glue guy on the hardwood as well.
2010 G Steve McWhorter – Wisconsin ScholarsA blow-up weekend for this strong lead guard who helped the Scholars to the 17u platinum title. McWhorter distributed down the stretch and made defensive stops like a true point guard; however, he scored the ball in spurts and provided a big lift for his team in bracket play. A solid mid-major recruit, props to NY2LA Sports headman Antonio Curro for pegging this breakout prospect in an article months ago. With everyone on board after this weekend, McWhorter must continue his defensive effort, and continue to develop his perimeter jumper to have the type of summer performances he enjoyed during the spring.
2010 F Silas Mills – DTA Devin HarrisIntriguing forward who hits the plus column in length and quickness for his position. Displayed a soft touch around the rim and a good stroke from the free throw line that may indicate even further development with his face-up skills. Adding weight will be crucial for his ability to compete around the basket, as he had a couple of attempts blocked at the rim, and was bullied for some rebounds that should have been his. Regardless, Mills certainly has the tools to work with and should have some low and mid-majors evaluating his progress as his game is progressing each time out.
2010 F Chip Rank – Wisconsin SwingUndersized but well-built forward lived around the rim on this weekend. He’s a bruiser who is capable of hitting the short jumper and will occasionally hit the high-post shot if the defense leaves him. Liked his effort on both ends of the floor and was extremely vocal in the paint as the tournament progressed. He plays primarily below the rim, but recognizes that he has to do the dirty work for that reason. He’s best using his upper and lower body strength to score off put backs at the rim, and defending taller, but thinner big men in the paint.
2010 F Jereme Richmond – Mac Irvin FireThe event’s most heralded player coming into the event, Richmond’s effort was decent but continued to show flashes of taking over the game at times with a versatile offensive skill package. Capable of hitting the deep ball, Richmond shot well from mid-range off the bounce, and used his length on defense, frustrating opponents who tried to get over jumpers over him. Richmond rebounded the ball extremely well went he went after it, and with additional strength, he could become one of the better rebounders in the class from the wing.
2010 G Storm Sanders – King James Shooting StarsQuick and powerful with the ball in his hands, Sanders aggressively attacked the rim, and was effective from the free throw line. Undersized as two guard, Sanders didn’t demonstrate a great understanding of the lead guard position, often playing at one speed and beating his teammates down the court. He did however, shoot the ball off the bounce well, and was able to beat defenders with relative ease off the dribble. His combination of strength and speed with the ball has a few high majors still sniffing around, hoping that the lead guard tools develop in the next time. For now, Sanders has a handful of low and mid-major offers.
2010 F Sami Onsomu – Minnesota SelectWell-built athlete with bounce around the basket, Onsomu is a physical specimen, who is capable of dominating a game on the glass. Offensively, he is very limited around the rim, scoring with sheer power and athleticism, but he attacked the rim with a power dribble off the catch with eight feet. On the defensive end he was prone to foul trouble as he initiated contact and feeds off physical play on the block. He’s a high-energy guy with plenty of emotion, but must learn to filter that energy in an efficient manner. Liked him altering shots and still being able to rebound and apparently regional hoop powers are taking notice too.
Other strong performers
(Editor’s Note - This list is not an exclusive one)
2010 F Lawrence Brown – St. Louis Primetime
2010 G Brandon Collier – Illinois Red Raiders
2010 F Reid Koenen - Playground Elite
2010 F Jamal Dantzler – Chicago Demons
2010 F Steve Durham – Playground Elite
2010 G Andy Fox – Wisconsin Swing
2010 G Derek Jackson – King James Shooting Stars
2010 G Creon Reed - DTA Devin Harris Superstars
2010 G Trey Jones – Wisconsin Wildcats
2010 G Troy Huff – Playground Elite
2010 G JJ Martin – Wisconsin Blizzard
2010 F Micah Parlow – Wisconsin Blizzard
2010 PG Marcus Kirk - DTA Devin Harris Superstars
2010 F Jon Cathey-Macklin - Milwaukee Spartans
2010 G Evan Richard – Wisconsin Swing
2010 C Tim Rusthoven – Velocity Red
2010 G Cameron Selmer – Minnesota Select
2010 G Ray Sterling – Wisconsin Pirates
2010 F Mitch Trewyn – Wisconsin Force