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Posted on: April 12, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:38 pm

Davon Reed, Rondae Jefferson taking on new roles

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – A season ago, Team Final was loaded with some of the top seniors in the country. Michael Gilchrist, Rakeem Christmas and a host of other highly-ranked 2011 players led Final to the Nike EYBL semifinals.

This year, the roster consists entirely of 2013 and 2014 players, with not one rising high school senior in sight.

While Austin Colbert is the headliner, two of the better ones this weekend were Rondae Jefferson and Davon Reed.

Jefferson is the younger brother of Temple sophomore Rahlir Jefferson, a very good player in his own right. Rondae is an effective lefty who is active around the basket but did struggle to finish at times. The 6-foot-5 wing has a good build and can shoot it from the perimeter.

Right now, the Chester (Pa.) product’s list includes the entire Big Five – Temple, Saint Joseph’s, La Salle, Penn and Villanova – as well as Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Kentucky.


Reed, a 6-foot-5 guard, is a long and athletic scorer who can really light it up from the perimeter. He has a very good stroke from behind the arc and is capable of getting his shot off under duress. Reed also had a couple of nice buckets around the rim.

Reed, who plays his high school ball at Princeton Day School (N.J.), listed St. John’s, La Salle, Rutgers, West Virginia, Seton Hall, VCU, Cincinnati, Providence and Florida.

“We’re playing against the best of the best,” Reed said over the weekend at the Nike EYBL Hampton.

For Team Final, being competitive against the field now requires leaning on rising juniors as opposed to tested veterans. 

Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:38 pm

Shaq Goodwin stakes claim for top-10 ranking

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Shaq Goodwin was as surprised as anyone at his meteoric rise in the class of 2012 rankings.

“I really don’t know what happened,” Goodwin said over the weekend at Nike EYBL Hampton. “I was ranked 40, and then all of sudden I’m No. 13. I was like, wow.”

Goodwin, a 6-foot-8 forward from Southwest Dekalb (Ga.) who ran with Memphis YOMCA this weekend, has made himself a clear candidate for a top-10 spot. He is a long and athletic combo forward that runs the floor and finishes in transition. Goodwin is an unbelievable passer for someone his size, and he can also post up players around the rim.

He said the talent has always been there – the publicity hasn’t.

“I started playing with good players,” Goodwin said. “And I think people started noticing me.”


As far as recruiting, Goodwin has a clear top four: UCLA, Memphis, Miami (Fl.) and Georgia.

Despite the fact Miami doesn’t have a head coach, he said the Hurricanes would be among the finalists regardless of who they hire.

“It doesn’t matter,” Goodwin said.

He also plans on taking an unofficial visit to UCLA in June.

Based on his recent play, there is little doubt Goodwin will be ranked among the elite players in the class by the time he makes a college commitment.  

Posted on: April 11, 2011 10:39 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:40 pm

Top performers at EYBL Hampton

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Although the AAU circuit started three weeks ago, the NIKE Elite Youth Basketball League event in Hampton this past weekend is recognized as the official start to the travel team season. With 40 of the best 17s teams gathered in one place, as well as top teams on the 16s and 15s levels, there were hundreds of future Division I players in attendance at Boo Williams. From Friday to Sunday, though, several players consistently stood out from the rest of the pack.

Kyle Anderson, 2012, Playaz: Despite his supposed weaknesses, Anderson continues to separate himself as one of the top players in the class. He simply has unbelievable feel for the game, using a variety of crafty floaters and finishes in the lane to score. Anderson doesn’t rely on explosiveness or quickness to get baskets, but the point-forward from St. Anthony (N.J.) knows how to make plays. He is a very good rebounder and showed some athleticism on a couple of impressive blocks.

Anthony Bennett, 2012, CIA Bounce: Bennett impresses nearly every time out, but the problem has been his ability to stay healthy. He is seemingly injured for every big event. Bennett was certainly not injured for Boo Williams this weekend. He took his game to a new level this weekend, scoring in a variety of ways and demonstrating his ability to be a match-up problem for most opponents. Bennett hustles defensively and loves to run the floor.

Rodney Purvis, 2012, CP3 All-Stars: Purvis opened the EYBL with a big-time performance against Team Takeover, and never looked back from there. He was consistently impressive offensively, dominating whichever opponent attempted to defend him. Purvis is explosive at that end of the floor, with the ability to blow by defenders and finish at the rim, or knock down perimeter shots. He is fantastic in transition and can also find teammates for open shots.

Shaq Goodwin, 2012, Memphis YOMCA: When the 2012 rankings are updated, Goodwin is a lock to be in the top 20, if not higher. His ceiling is as high as anyone in the class, due to his 6-foot-8 size and versatile skill set. Goodwin is a tremendous passer for someone his height, and his length makes him very difficult to defend around the basket. He runs the floor with the best of them and crashes the offensive boards. Defensively, he can block shots and control the glass.

Omar Calhoun, 2012, NY Gauchos: He’s not as athletically impressive as some of the other top players in the class, but Calhoun can score with anyone in the country. His mid-range jump shot is deadly and he has the ability to create his shot off the dribble. Calhoun has a solid build for a 6-foot-5 wing, and he uses his strength to score at the rim. He has very deep range from behind the arc and is nearly impossible to contain when he gets hot from three.


Ricardo Ledo, 2012, Albany City Rocks: Not playing with his usual Expressions AAU team, Ledo still managed to showcase his all-around offensive game and demonstrate why he is one of the top-three perimeter players in the class. He was knocking down perimeter shots over defenders; getting to the rim at will and finishing with both hands; and hitting difficult step-back jumpers and other mid-range shots. Ledo changes directions quickly, and is effective with ball fakes.

Alex Poythress, 2012, Georgia Stars: Poythress continues to rise up the charts. He is long and athletic, and can score in a variety of ways. In the half-court, he can post up defenders and score around the basket. Poythress improved his face-up game and his ability off the dribble, driving to the rim and finishing in traffic. He also added an outside jumper to his repertoire. Going into the weekend, Poythress had a reputation as a very good rebounder; that didn’t change one bit.

Nerlens Noel, 2013, BABC: Noel staked his claim to the No. 1 spot in the class of 2013 this past weekend. Offensively, he is still raw and has plenty of room to develop. However, he had a nice jump hook that was effective and he ran the floor well, finishing in transition. What separates Noel from most players is his defense. His length, timing and athleticism make him the best shot-blocker in the class. Noel isn’t muscular or physically imposing, but his ability to block or deter shots makes him intimidating.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, 2012, Spiece Indy Heat: Smith-Rivera isn’t a pure point guard, but his scoring ability ranks among the best backcourt players in the country. When he gets it going, Smith-Rivera is difficult to stop. He has deep range on his jump shot, knocking down 3-pointers with consistency. He is quicker than one might think, while his strength and build enable him to finish over bigger players in the paint. Smith-Rivera works off screens effectively and is smart with the ball.

Arnaud Adala-Moto, 2012, Team Takeover: Adala-Moto has been impressive in the past, but this weekend was different. He showed that he is a clear-cut high-major recruit, showing abilities at both ends of the floor that will make him attractive to college coaches. Adala-Moto has lost weight in the past year, looking quicker and more athletic. He is no longer an undersized forward; he can knock down perimeter shots and is a legitimate wing. Adala-Moto runs the floor extremely well and finishes in transition.

Also Impressive:

Andrew Wiggins, 2014, CIA Bounce: Separated himself as the top prospect in the class of 2014. Wiggins has a versatile skill set and is still developing.

Wayne Selden, 2014, BABC: Physically dominant, Selden simply owned the 15s division. He is extremely strong and is impossible to stop when driving to the rim.

Matthew Jones, 2013, Texas Titans: Overshadowed by Julius Randle, Jones knocked down perimeter jumpers with consistency and can also get to the basket.

Aaron Gordon, 2013, Oakland Soldiers: Gordon is simply too active and aggressive offensively for most opponents. He runs the floor and can also post up.


Posted on: April 11, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:41 pm

Jakarr Sampson still on track to qualify

Posted by Jeff Borzello

On Sunday, rumors swirled regarding St. John’s-bound forward Jakarr Sampson and his plans for the fall.

One site in New York reported that Sampson would be doing another year of prep school at Brewster Academy (N.H.), and would not suit up for the Red Storm next season.

Sampson’s prep school and AAU coaches refuted the story.

“Jakarr is a senior and will graduate in May,” Brewster head coach Jason Smith said. “He’s signed with St. John’s and looks forward to joining them this summer/fall.”

Added Don Anderson of the King James Shooting Stars: “No truth to it whatsoever.”

The story seemingly centered on Sampson not qualifying and needing additional course work in order to be eligible to play at St. John’s.

However, a source close to the Red Storm program told that another year of prep school is not necessary.

“Whatever [Jakarr] can get in prep year he can get done in summer school,” the source said.

Sampson is ranked as the No. 31 prospect in the country by The 6-foot-7 forward originally hails from St. Vincent-St. Mary (Ohio) – the same high school that produced LeBron James.

Posted on: April 10, 2011 2:41 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:41 pm

Kansas gets commitment from Canadian forward

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. -- With Marcus and Markieff Morris leaving for the NBA draft, Kansas desperately needed frontcourt help for next season.

On Sunday, the Jayhawks helped shore up the forward position by getting a commitment from senior Braeden Anderson.

“Just made a gut decision,” Anderson said in a text message. “It felt right, man.”

Kentucky and Arizona were also involved down the stretch. As recently as a week ago, Anderson told he was considering a commitment to Kentucky.

Things clearly changed.

“It was a tough choice,” he said. “But KU is a better fit.”

The 6-foot-8 forward is a Canadian native that attends Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.). He committed to DePaul in the fall before reconsidering and opening up his recruitment in January. 

Citing Danny Manning and the tradition of the Jayhawks as the main reasons he chose Kansas, Anderson is ready to make an impact in the Big 12.

Anderson is active offensively; he can score around the basket off of post moves, or step out and knock down perimeter jumpers from just inside the arc. He should be effective in the Jayhawks’ high-post offense.

Said Anderson: “I just can’t wait to get to Kansas and get to work.”

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 9, 2011 7:07 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:42 pm

Ledo has a new list of schools

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – It’s hard to keep a constant eye on Ricardo Ledo these days.

Ledo, a 6-foot-6 guard and one of the top players in the class of 2012, attended two high schools this past season and also switched AAU teams from last season. He started at South Kent Prep (Conn.) and ended at Notre Dame Prep (Mass.), while also switching from Expressions to the Albany City Rocks for the NIKE Elite Youth Basketball League.

No matter what team he suits up for, though, Ledo has been putting on a show.

On Saturday at the EYBL, Ledo demonstrated his full arsenal offensively, knocking down outside shots and also getting to the rim at will against defenders. He knows how to get defenders off-balance and is not afraid to rise up over opponents. Ledo’s length, size and skill set make him a match-up nightmare for most teams.

As for recruiting, since he decommitted from Providence in late January, Ledo has been hearing from a number of schools.

He listed Texas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Providence, Connecticut, UCLA and West Virginia as his main suitors, later adding Louisville and Virginia Tech to the group.

“I just wanted to see the rest of my options,” Ledo said as to why he decommitted from the Friars.

With a new staff settling in at Providence, the Friars are back in consideration.

“[Ed Cooley] is from Providence, so my family knows him,” Ledo said. “But in the end, they’re looking for the best situation for me.”

After making an early commitment on Christmas Day this past year, Ledo is planning on being patient with the process this time around.

“I’m looking for somewhere I can play, where I will earn it,” he said. “I also want to win, I want to get to the tournament.”

Posted on: April 9, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:42 pm

Notebook: Five-star big man advances process

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – In a 2012 class loaded with quality post players, Miller Grove (Ga.) big man Tony Parker stands out.

Parker is a dynamite offensive player, capable of beating defenders on the low block with a variety of post moves or facing up from the elbow and knocking down mid-range jumpers.

Although he is not ready to make a college decision, Parker’s recruiting is heating up.

“Duke is coming at me very hard right now,” he said. “Duke and Georgetown are coming at me the hardest.”

North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida are also in the mix for his services.

Some scouts were souring on Parker a season ago, but the 6-foot-8 space eater has lost weight and is looking more effective at both ends.

“I’m getting in better shape and I’m playing hard,” he said.

Texas Titans more than Randle

Although Julius Randle gets most of the publicity on the Team Texas Titans, coach Scott Pospichal has another 2013 star in the fold.

Matthew Jones, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from DeSoto (Tex.), impressed onlookers Friday with his shooting stroke and ability to score from behind the arc. Jones was aggressive offensively and made things happen against CIA Bounce (Canada).

“It’s sort of overwhelming at first,” Jones said of the Boo Williams event in general. “But I like it. It helps me get better.”

Six schools currently comprise Jones’ list: Kansas, Texas, Washington, Missouri, Oklahoma and Baylor.

Canadian native impressive in Hampton

Canada continues to make an impact on AAU basketball in the United States.

CIA Bounce is a newcomer into the Elite Youth Basketball League, yet boast at least nine potential high-major prospects. In their first game on Friday, they absolutely dominated the Texas Titans and the No. 1 player in 2013, Julius Randle.

One of the more unheralded players on the team is Naz Long, a 6-foot-3 guard who suits up for Findlay Prep (Nev.) during the high school season.

At this point, the five colleges standing out to Long are Marquette, UNLV, Virginia, New Mexico and LSU.

“I’m taking my time,” he said.

Posted on: April 9, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:42 pm

Longrus increases role with Soldiers

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – What a difference one year makes.

Last AAU season, Oakland Soldiers forward Richard Longrus was stuck behind star high school recruits Nick Johnson, Jabari Brown, Josiah Turner and Kyle Wiltjer.

Now, Longrus is one of the leaders for yet another loaded Soldiers group.

“We couldn’t wait for next year to come,” he said of his mindset last summer. “This year, we were really excited. We want to build our own legacy.”

Longrus demonstrated his entire arsenal against the Arkansas Wings on Friday at the Boo Williams Elite Youth Basketball League. He finished with both hands around the rim and even knocked down a step-back jumper. Longrus has a good build and uses his strength to his advantage on the glass and at the defensive end.

Right now, five schools are coming at Longrus the hardest: Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Gonzaga and Texas.

“Gonzaga has offered, UCLA has offered,” he said. “Washington and Texas are showing heavy interest, and I have to take the SAT for Stanford.”

The 6-foot-7 forward from Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.) has a GPA in the range of 4.11-4.2.

“I’m always up at Cal and Stanford,” Longrus said. “But I want to wait to take all my official visits in the fall.”

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or