Posted on: April 14, 2011 1:39 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:30 pm

Notebook: Cauley rising up big men rankings

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Although he was giving up around 65 pounds to DaJuan Coleman, Willie Cauley showed flashes as to why he’s one of the nation’s fastest-rising big men in the country.

Cauley has trouble with Coleman’s strength and size, but he was able to give Coleman problems with his length and athleticism defensively. Cauley runs the floor well and can finish at the rim, and is also solid on the offensive glass.

“I played well, but there are some things I can improve,” Cauley said. “I had some problems with how strong he is.”

In terms of recruiting, the 6-foot-11 center from Olathe Northwest (Kan.) said he is hearing from the entire Big 12, as well as Florida, Alabama and Georgia.


Bridgewater anchors Hoops frontline

With three five-star guards on the roster, the perimeter group for Houston Hoops garners most of the attention.

However, people will start looking down low in the next couple of years, as 6-foot-6 forward Brian Bridgewater has the makings of a high-major prospect. The Episcopal (La.) product has a very strong body and can run the floor with the best of them. He can finish effectively despite being undersized.

“I love playing with great guards,” Bridgewater said. “It’s a great thing; I just go with it.”

The 2013 prospect as an early list, claiming offers from Baylor, Oklahoma State and LSU, with interest coming from Kentucky and North Carolina.

Jaylen Brantley lights it up despite small stature

Don’t let the 5-foot-9 size fool you – Jaylen Brantley can flat-out play.

Surrounded by highly-touted prospects across then BABC roster, Brantley still manages to make a name for himself on the AAU circuit. The Wilbraham & Monson (Mass.) guard scored 33 points against a talented CIA Bounce group at the Boo Williams EYBL last weekend.

He is a very good 3-point shooter, but he can also get to the rim, as evidenced by his 15-of-18 performance from the free-throw line against CIA.

Brantley, a 2013 prospect, claims offers from Pittsburgh and Boston College, as well as interest from Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Maryland and Providence.

Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:13 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:31 pm

Smith-Rivera ready for second recruiting process

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was planning on sitting out the entire AAU circuit.

“I wanted to improve a lot of aspects of my game,” Smith-Rivera said over the weekend.

Most opponents now wish Smith-Rivera had stayed true to his original intentions.

Instead of staying home, Smith-Rivera lit up the Boo Williams EYBL event in Hampton last weekend, averaging 20.8 points per game for Spiece Indy Heat, including a 31-point effort against MoKan Elite on Saturday.

In a relatively weak guard class, Smith-Rivera has made himself one of the most attractive options in the country. The 6-foot-3, 210-lb. combo guard can handle the ball and initiate offense for his teammates, while also showing the ability to penetrate past his defender and finish at the rim. He is physically stronger than most opponents and uses that to his advantage, drawing fouls and getting baskets through contact. Smith-Rivera also has very good range and accuracy on his 3-point shot.

When it comes to recruiting, Smith-Rivera committed to Xavier in October before decommitting from the Musketeers in late December and reopening his recruitment.

“I just wanted to explore my options,” he said.

Chris Mack and company still have an edge on the rest of the suitors, though.

“I think Xavier has a leg up,” Smith-Rivera said. “They got on me early.”

Other schools in the mix include UCLA, Texas, Baylor, Miami (Fl.), Georgetown and Ohio State.

Expect the North Central (Ind.) product to take his time with his new decision – after he gets finished filling it up on the AAU circuit.

Photo: Indy Star

Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:33 pm

Notebook: Kethan Savage lights up scoreboards

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Kethan Savage was struggling for much of the game against California Supreme. He couldn’t get the open lanes he needed at the rim and was failing to finish against Cal Supreme’s size.

It seems he took out his frustrations on Emmanual Ndumanya, hammering a one-handed dunk on the 6-foot-10 big man.

“I had to get one,” Savage said. “It was exciting.”

Savage, a 6-foot-2 guard from Episcopal (Va.), is a very aggressive scorer who uses his strength and athleticism to finish at the rim. He doesn’t have much of a jumper and has to work on his left hand, but he is nearly impossible to keep out of the lane or slow down in transition.

Several colleges have taken notice of his scoring ability, as Savage boasts interest from Virginia, Penn State, Iowa, VCU, Duquesne and UCF.

He plans on visiting Virginia next week and Penn State sometime in the near future.


Ferguson next to lead Takeover

With the talent in the Washington D.C. Catholic League, it’s no surprise Team Takeover annually produces one of the best teams on the AAU circuit.

The next player to take the reins of the program is Will Ferguson, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Bishop O’Connell (Va.).

Ferguson is a very quick player who can get to the rim and finish well over bigger players. He is effective when driving in the lane and creating shots for himself or teammates.

“I like playing with other good players,” Ferguson said. “Plus, other people get to see you.”

The 2013 prospect has offers from Virginia Tech, Xavier and Massachusetts, with interest coming from Virginia, Wake Forest and VCU. Ferguson has taken trips to Georgetown and Villanova.

Miles holds his own vs. Gathers

Baltimore Elite has no players taller than 6-foot-7 or bigger than 230 lbs., so it was interesting to see how they planned on defending Ricardo Gathers, the Louisiana Select forward who has one of the most imposing physiques on the circuit.

Isaiah Miles was up to the task.

Miles, a 6-foot-7, 205-lb. forward from Gleneig (Md.), didn’t allow Gathers to dominate the paint, grabbing rebounds and pushing Gathers out to the perimeter.

“We wanted to play it like any other game,” he said.

The 2012 prospect is hearing from Maryland, Xavier, South Florida, Saint Joseph’s and Loyola (Md.). 

Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:50 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:35 pm

Gathers transitioning to the perimeter

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Built like a defensive end, Ricardo Gathers is a guy you don’t want to deal with inside the paint.

The 6-foot-6, 240-lb. forward is looking to make himself even more dangerous on the offensive end, though, working on his perimeter game and becoming a match-up nightmare for opponents.

“I’m working on being a perimeter player,” Gathers said over the weekend. “I’m working on my shooting and ball-handling. I’m gonna have to be [a three] at the next level.”

The next level is right around the corner for Gathers, one of the top players in the class of 2012.


Right now, he has a long list of suitors, including St. John’s, Baylor, Syracuse, Connecticut, West Virginia, LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Kansas.

Gathers said he wants to visit St. John’s and Florida in the near future.

“I’m looking for atmosphere and the coaching style,” he said.

Gathers is a beast inside, dominating the glass at both ends of the floor against taller opponents. He runs the floor extremely well and can finish at the rim. His physical style makes him an imposing presence around the basket. Gathers used those attributes to average 18.2 points and 12.8 rebounds over the weekend.

If he continues to improve his perimeter play, he will be a force over the next couple of years.

Posted on: April 12, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:36 pm

Notebook: Calhoun separates himself as scorer

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – He’s not overly explosive or extremely quick, but Omar Calhoun has cemented himself as one of the best pure scorers in the country.

Calhoun, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Christ the King (N.Y.), has deep range on his outside shots and is lethal on pull-up jumpers from inside the arc. He can also beat defenders and finish at the rim.

Over the weekend at the Boo Williams EYBL event, Calhoun averaged 29.4 points in five games, including a 38-point performance against All Ohio Red.

In terms of recruiting, Calhoun currently lists offers from West Virginia, Virginia, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, St. John’s, Rutgers and Vanderbilt, with interest from North Carolina and Kentucky.

“I visited UNC, it was nice,” he said. “I’ve also been to Pittsburgh, Villanova, Connecticut and Seton Hall.”

Calhoun plans to trim his list after the July live period.

Several schools courting Marcus Hunt

With Tony Parker and Alex Poythress dominating the paint for the Georgia Stars, Marcus Hunt gets plenty of opportunities to impress on the perimeter.

Clearly, Hunt is intriguing to many schools.

Over the weekend, the 6-foot-6 swingman from North Clayton (Ga.) listed Florida State, Nebraska, Alabama, Miami (Fl.), UTEP, Louisville, Missouri, Florida and Georgia as schools currently tracking him. Hunt also has an offer from Georgia Tech.

Hunt is a very good offensive player who can score from the perimeter and around the rim, and his strength and size make him a tough match-up.


Nunn and Tate lead loaded Meanstreets 16s

It’s not often that an AAU program 16s squad is better than its 17s, but that might be the case with Meanstreets this season.

There’s no Anthony Davis on the 17s team, or even a Phil Greene. However, the 16s boast several high-major prospects, led by guards Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate.

Nunn is a high-level guard who can create his own shot and get to the basket against most defenders. The lefty from Simeon (Ill.) finishes in traffic and also draws fouls. Over the weekend, he listed Memphis, Alabama, Saint Louis, Ohio, Pittsburgh and Arizona as schools on him early.

Tate, a 6-foot-2 De La Salle (Ill.) product, had several nice offensive plays at the Boo Williams EYBL event, knocking down perimeter shots and also driving baseline for finishes at the rim. Tate picked up an offer from Northwestern in March, while also receiving interest from Marquette, Xavier, Florida and a host of Big Ten schools. 

Photo: Nypost.com

Posted on: April 12, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:37 pm

Former UCF commit taking time with new decision

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – When Shawn Smith committed to Central Florida in January, the general thinking was that the Conference-USA school picked up a major coup.

That excitement quickly soured, as Smith decommitted from the Knights about six weeks later, in early March.

“When I went there, I fell in love with the school,” Smith said over the weekend at the Nike EYBl Hampton. “The campus was like, whoa.”

Clearly, those feelings didn’t last – Smith had a change of heart after thinking about his decision.

“I decommitted because I was thinking about the conference,” he said. “I didn’t think we could make the NCAA tournament.”

Now, the 6-foot-4 Smith has a host of high-major schools expressing interest, and he plans on taking his time before making a final decision.


Smith claimed offers from Cincinnati, Florida State, West Virginia, Kansas State, Mississippi and South Carolina, with interest coming from Louisville. Florida was in the mix, but the Gators picked up commitments from two guards and have since backed off.

Smith, who plays at Providence School (Fla.) and runs with Nike Team Florida on the AAU circuit, said Florida State and Cincinnati are coming at him the hardest.

“I have no favorites,” he said. “I’m going to decide at the end of the summer.”

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.

Photo: Highschoolhoop.com

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