Tag:Jeff Borzello
Posted on: December 15, 2011 2:56 pm
 

Six players make Naismith watch list



By
Jeff Borzello

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Thursday the preseason watch list for the Naismith High School Player of the Year.

On the boys’ side, six players made the cut: Shabazz Muhammad (uncommitted and ranked No. 1 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100); Kyle Anderson (UCLA, No. 4); Brandon Ashley (Arizona, No. 3); Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State, No. 9); Isaiah Austin (Baylor, No. 7); and Alex Poythress (Kentucky, No. 12).

“We’re extremely excited to watch this year’s nominees battle it out for the right to be called the best high school basketball player in 2012,” said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

The players ranked in our top 10 who weren’t recognized were Mitch McGary (No. 2), Kaleb Tarczewski (No. 5), Archie Goodwin (No. 6), Cameron Ridley (No. 9) and DaJuan Coleman (No. 10.

The Naismith Awards national voting academy, comprised of basketball writers around the country, made the selections. The winner will be announced on March 22.

Last year’s winner was Austin Rivers.

On the girls’ side, the seven players were: Breanna Stewart (Connecticut), Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut), Alex Jones (Duke), Jewell Loyd (Notre Dame), Jordan Adams (USC) and junior Diamond DeShields (undecided).

Photo: Las Vegas Sun

Posted on: December 15, 2011 10:44 am
 

Jordan Mickey shoots up the rankings



By
Jeff Borzello

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – With Isaiah Austin, Emmanual Mudiay, Jelon Hornbeak and others on the Grace Prep (Texas) roster, it might be hard for a player to break out.

For Jordan Mickey, the increased attention to the team enabled him to demonstrate his skills on a bigger stage.

“I was able to show what I can do,” Mickey said.

Mickey, a 6-foot-8 forward, is one of the fastest-rising players in the class of 2013. The hype surrounding him has been increasing throughout the fall and he backed it up with his performance at the National High School Hoops Festival against Oak Hill Academy (Va.). Mickey is very athletic and can run the floor extremely well. He knows how to finish at the rim, and his length enables him to be a factor on the glass. Mickey can also block shots well.

Against Oak Hill, he was the one Grace Prep player who took his game to a new level.

“My team needed me to step up in the second half,” Mickey said. “I needed to be more aggressive, grab more rebounds, step up on defense.”

Although Grace Prep lost, Mickey solidified himself as a lock to be in the next Top 100 when it’s released later in the season. Once he adds weight and refines his offensive game – all things he is working on – he is going to be a major talent.

Mickey currently has offers from Texas A&M, Kansas, Providence and Houston, with interest coming from Texas.

For someone who loves to run the floor and make plays in transition, it’s no surprise as to what he’s looking for in a school.

“One that lets you get up and down,” Mickey said.

Photo: Adidas 

Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:15 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 2:15 pm
 

Slimmer BeeJay Anya holds his own down low

By Jeff Borzello

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – When the National High School Hoops Festival schedule came out, many people look at DeMatha vs. Jamesville-Dewitt.

BeeJay Anya vs. DaJuan Coleman. Two big guys pushing 300 lbs. going at it in the paint.

Then something happened. Anya lost 40 lbs. in the past few months and is looking considerably slimmer. He was still able to hold his own against the Syracuse-bound Coleman, bodying him up in the paint and using his length to make up for the height disadvantage.  

“I think he came out and played well and it was a good showing for both of us,” Anya said.

Anya was certainly more mobile and active than he was in the summer, getting open in the post and showing off a variety of post moves. His rebounding is still a huge asset at both ends of the floor.

His conditioning has helped in all facets of his game.

“Last year, that’s what was holding me back from being a better player,” Anya said. “I am more agile and athletic than I was last year.”

Anya isn’t focusing on his recruitment, but he has a long list of schools pursuing him. Syracuse, Texas, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Georgetown, Indiana, Ohio State, North Carolina State, Florida and Georgia Tech have all extended offers to the 2013 big man.

Anya ranks No. 30 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100.

Photo: National Recruiting Spotlight

Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Stanford Robinson comfortable as facilitator

TEAMS INTERESTED:



By
Jeff Borzello

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Stanford Robinson might not score as much as some other top guards in the class of 2013, but that certainly doesn’t mean he’s not as good.

Paul VI (Va.) is one of the top teams in the WCAC, and the Panthers are blessed with a deep and talented roster. Four seniors have already committed to go D-I. As a result, it’s not necessary for Robinson to lead the team in scoring every night.

“I’m a scorer, but on this team we have a lot of scorers,” Robinson said. “I don’t think we have anybody that needs to score 30 points a game for us to win.”

Robinson, a 6-foot-4 prospect who ranks No. 71 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100, is certainly able to get points when needed. He has a strong body and is an effective finisher in the lane, while also possessing the ability to step outside and knock down jumpers. He does need to become more aggressive, though, if he wants to reach his true potential.

“We like to share the ball,” Robinson said. “Right now I’m being a facilitator and creating shots for my team, but when I need to, I can score the ball.”

His high ceiling has led to several schools pursuing him in the past few months. Robinson holds offers from Marquette, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Villanova, Miami (Fl.), South Florida, Rutgers and Xavier. Syracuse and Maryland are showing interest.

Over the summer, he checked out Villanova, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and Miami (Fl.). Despite the trips, he’s not ready to make a decision.

“It’s still early,” Robinson said. “I don’t think I’m going to commit until the beginning of the school year next year.”

With his versatile talents, Robinson can afford to be picky with his college. However, he thinks he can thrive in any system.

“I can fit anywhere,” he said.

Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:32 pm
 

Big man Kennedy Meeks drawing plenty of attention

By Jeff Borzello

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Kennedy Meeks didn’t have his best game against Paul VI (Va.) on Saturday, but that didn’t stop head coaches from stopping by to check out the big man.

North Carolina State’s Mark Gottfried strolled in; Tony Bennett of Virginia was there; Mark Turgeon came by; and even John Thompson III, after beating Howard, had to get a glimpse.

Meeks struggled, scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds before fouling out in the loss.

However, Meeks was still able to show some of the tools that make him the No. 34-ranked player in the class of 2013. Because of his size – 6-foot-8, 270 lbs. – Meeks dwarfs most opponents that try to defend him. He has great hands and looks to pass out of a double team. He knows how to finish at the rim, and he has a soft touch. However, on Saturday, he wasn’t nearly aggressive enough and didn’t make himself available down low.

“I don’t think I played that good,” he said.

Meeks has plenty of college interest, citing offers from everyone in the ACC besides Duke and North Carolina, while also hearing from Georgetown, South Carolina, Syracuse and others.

Despite not offering, the Tar Heels are firmly in the race for Meeks.

“They’re going to be in the picture,” Meeks said.

The top priority on Meeks’ wish list is his ability to be a factor down low at the next level. He wants to be involved in the offense.

“Somewhere that feeds the big man,” he said.

Expect West Charlotte (N.C.) to be a revolving door of coaches in the next two years.

Photo: Charlotte Observer

Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:49 pm
 

Ja'Quan Newton is one of the best PGs in 2014

INTERESTED TEAMS:



By
Jeff Borzello

WASHINGTON D.C. – The class of 2014 is shaping up to be a dynamite high school class, especially at the point guard position.

One of the top lead guards in the class is Ja’Quan Newton, a 6-foot-2 prospect out of Neumann-Goretti in Philadelphia. At the Gonzaga DC Classic over the weekend, Newton was one of the best players. He averaged 19.7 points in three games, including 28 in the semifinals. While North Carolina-bound Nate Britt and host Gonzaga knocked off Newton’s troops in the championship game, he did solidify himself as a top-50 prospect in 2014.

“I played pretty good, considering it was the first game of the season,” Newton said after the tournament opener.

Newton is a very good scorer who can beat his defender off the bounce consistently. He knows how to get to the rim and finish, and his speed and quickness are a huge asset in transition. Newton is adept at drawing defenders in the lane and then finding open teammates for shots. Over the summer, Newton showed an ability to facilitate offense in the half-court with Team Final.

While he was able to knock down several jumpers at the event, he’s looking to improve his outside shooting.

“I’m working on my jumpshot and my defense,” Newton said. “Also, making my teammates better.”

In terms of recruiting, expect Newton to be a sought-after prospect over the next couple of years. He is already hearing from Rutgers, Villanova, Georgetown, North Carolina State, Maryland, Boston College, Saint Joseph’s and others.

Although he’s not planning to finish his recruitment soon, Newton has taken trips to Rutgers, Villanova and Saint Joseph’s.

Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Kris Jenkins uses versatility to his advantage

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By
Jeff Borzello

WASHINGTON D.C. – Kris Jenkins doesn’t have a true position.

He’s not a small forward, he’s not a power forward, and he’s not a shooting guard. And Jenkins is just fine with that.

“I don’t really have a definite position,” Jenkins said. “I’m a basketball player. You can’t limit me to one position.”

Jenkins is a 6-foot-5 junior from Gonzaga (D.C.) who has been on the radar for several years. He’s a physical player who can step outside and knock down 3-pointers, and is still effective at scoring around the rim. Jenkins seems to have become more athletic in the past few months, too.

At the next level, Jenkins might have to make the move to the perimeter on a full-time basis, so he’s working on other skills.

“I need to be more assertive,” he said. “I’m working on lateral movement, handling the ball under pressure.”

Jenkins is getting plenty of college interest. He holds offers from Rutgers, Miami (Fl.), Xavier, George Washington and Penn State, with interest coming in from Villanova and Boston College.

He’s looking for a school that will help advance him both athletically and academically.

“Good academics, a place that’s going to prep me for the real world,” Jenkins said. “Also, a good basketball program that gives me an opportunity to fulfill my dream.”

Jenkins took trips in October to Penn State and George Washington, but he’s not close to making a decision.

“I’m focused on the season,” Jenkins said.

Photo: Washington Post

Posted on: December 12, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Josh Hart gets bigger, expands his game

INTERESTED TEAMS:



By
Jeff Borzello

WASHINGTON D.C. – For many players, shooting outside jumpers and finishing at the rim is all that matters. For Josh Hart, it makes him want to expand his game.

“My coach said I was always settling for a 3 or dunking,” Hart said at the Gonzaga DC Classic. “I need that in-between game.”

Hart, a 6-foot-4 guard from Sidwell Friends (D.C.), is one of the top shooting guards in the mid-Atlantic region for the class of 2013. He has gotten stronger and bigger since the summer, giving him another asset to use offensively. He constantly attacked the rim with aggression, despite taking a few hard spills. On the defensive end, Hart also showed good athleticism, contesting shots and grabbing boards.

In addition to his mid-range game, Hart is also working on his ball-handling ability. Once he irons out the wrinkles offensively, he is going to be a big-time scorer.

As a result, several schools are in the mix for Hart. He holds offers from Georgetown, North Carolina State, VCU, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Penn State and Xavier. Moreover, Georgia Tech, Maryland, DePaul, Villanova and Saint Joseph’s are all showing interest.

“I want to play up-tempo, and a good coaching staff,” Hart said when asked what he was looking for in a school.

He is not ready to make a decision in the near future.

“I’m focusing on school,” Hart said. “I’m just letting everything happen.”

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