This year’s West Virginia Jam Fest presented by the Hoop Group was filled with over 200 teams from the U15, U16 and U17 divisions.
There were 144 U17s squads battling it out for the championship but only one rose to the top. With hundreds of different colleges represented, it was an amazing event. Bob Huggins of West Virginia, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin, Boston College’s Steve Donahue, Boston University’s Patrick Chambers, Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua and Villanova assistant Jason Donnelly were among the coaches on hand.
In the 15’s division, the talent was through the roof. Rising sophomores such as Tyler Ennis and Aquille Carr put on shows. In the end, Expressions out of Massachussets won it all. The squad beat Boo Williams in overtime, 53-51.
In the 16’s division, the ‘chip went to Team Takeover Canada, who won it last year at that level. The big story for them was 7-foot-4 rising junior Sim Bhullar. College coaches flooded to see him play as his squad knocked off the Delaware Panthers in the title game. Naz Long had 17 points in the win. Lastly, in the 17’s division, the New England Playaz came up big against Cinderella story Friends 4 Life out of Ohio. Friends 4 Life had pulled up major upsets over Expressions and Team Philly 2012 including a buzzer beater to beat Philly. Their run came to a stop against New England as Alex Murphy dropped 19 points to lead his team to a 67-57 win. It was an impressive performance by all participants.
Now onto the recruiting…
Alex Murphy ’12 – New England Playaz – Murphy put on a big performance to lead his team to the crown in West Virginia.
Murphy, the No. 7 power forward in the Class of 2012, currently has a list of “Florida, Duke, Butler, Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Boston College, Arizona and UConn.”
“I’d like to get out and see Arizona and Butler and Texas,” he told the Providence Journal, adding that his favorites included BC, Duke, Florida, Syracuse, Kansas and Villanova, all of which have offered.
While his father, Jay, is a Boston College alum and brother, Erik, plays for Florida, Alex said neither is influencing his decision.
“Neither my father nor my brother have told me to go to their schools,” Alex said.
Dylan Ennis ’11 – Team Takeover Canada – Despite losing in the quarterfinals, Ennis showed why he is one of the most underrated players in the nation. He scored 36 points and came up short. At one point, Dylan had been committed to Akron, but decided to open up his recruitment. This has paid off as he is being pursued by “Northeastern, Wisconsin, Akron, Wagner, St. Bonaventure, Bradley, Boston College, North Dakota and Santa Clara.” Ennis is showing why he could be a steal for a high major school at this point.
Kaleb Tarczewski ’12 - New England Playaz – The 7-foot Tarczewski has made a name for himself recently. While he is one of the best defensive players in his class, colleges are taking note. Kaleb’s list is “Kansas, Arizona, Indiana, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Michigan, Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Providence and Boston College.” While the New Hampshire native is also wide open, he is drawing a lot of comparison’s to former Kansas star Cole Aldrich. He and Murphy are also close friends who are being looked at by similar schools. Could the two wind up playing together in college? That is a possibility.
Ricardo Ledo ’12 - Expressions – Ledo, a Rhode Island native who is attending South Kent in the fall, had a very impressive performance. He can score the ball in all ways. He is hearing from “Villanova, Providence, Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville, UConn, Florida, Kentucky, Miami, Georgia Tech, Texas, Kansas, Virginia, West Virginia, Rhode Island and Boston College.” He claims offers from all of the schools except “Kentucky and Texas.” Although he is wide open, he knows what he wants in a school. Ledo is looking for playing a time and wants to be with a winning team. His stock will rise in the coming months.
Naadir Tharpe ’11 - New England Playaz – The former Providence commit is blowing up on the AAU circuit. Tharpe is getting looks from “Miami, Wake Forest, Boston College, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, North Carolina-Charlotte, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Hofstra and a few others.” He is not focusing on his recruitment as of now since basketball is the main focus. He recently visited Rutgers and enjoyed it. Tharpe also planned a visit to Boston College last month but could not make it. He hopes to take visits in August. Naadir keeps rising as his top one hundred player status has to be set in stone at the moment.
Luke Piotrowski ’11 – Team NJABC – Piotrowski drew a crowd of schools from all over to watch him play. Cincinnati joined in on his recruitment recently as Cronin watched him play. With a list of “Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford, Boston, Boston College, Wake Forest, Florida and Georgia Tech,” Piotrowski has his options. Luke loves the ACC but is evaluating all schools closely. One interesting note is that Luke’s brother, Matt, is an incoming freshman on the Boston University basketball team. Head Coach Patrick Chambers watched as Piotrowski had three dunks in one game, including two put back jams.
While West Virginia took place, a few other recruiting and transfer happenings took place.
Jabari Brown ’11 - Oakland Soliders – Brown played great at the Nike Peach Jam despite his team not being able to win it all. Three major schools noticed his excellent performance and decided to offer. Georgetown offered a day after Jabari’s Soldiers were knocked out of play. Kansas waited until a few days after to pull out an offer for Brown. And St. John’s offered Sunday night. They join the ranks of most Pac-10 schools, as well as Maryland, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Chane Behanan ’11 – Ohio Basketball Club – It was announced by several media outlets this week that Behanan was going to cut his down to seven schools next week. At this point, that is the case, however, he saw a new school come into the picture recently. Ohio State showed their love for Behanan by offering him. “Yeah they did today,” he said. “It’s a great offer to have.” Now that the Buckeyes have offered, will this change Chane’s plans for his top seven? They certainly have to be up there as one of his favorites considering he hails from Ohio.
Markus Kennedy ’11 – New England Playaz – Recently, Markus saide would be transferring out of Winchendon in Massachussets. Now it appears that he is leaning towards a school for his postgrad year. The Villanova commit said early on that he deciding between Brewster Academy and NIA Prep. Now, it looks like he has a leader. “I’m not focusing on that at this point,” said Kennedy. “I’d say I’m leaning towards Brewster at this point though.” With AAU teammate Naadir Tharpe running the point at the New Hampshire school, look for this to be a huge advantage in their favor.
Blaise Mbargorba ’11 – New Jersey Roadrunners – Despite rumors that Blaise is the next player to transfer out of St. Benedict’s, that is not the case. He actually laughed about it when asked. “Really?,” remarked a smiling Blaise. “I love St. Ben’s.” Despite Coach Dan Hurley and players Myck Kabongo and Sidiki Johnson leaving the program, it appears that Blaise is a strong lock to stay at the school now coached by Roshown McLeod.
Kazembe Abif ’11 – Team NJABC – Abif picked up another offer on Monday night. Rice out of Houston called him late and gave him an offer. Kazembe has offers from La Salle, Florida Atlantic, Penn, Drexel, Fordham, Elon, Wagner, Boston University and more. Rather than headed to Orlando or Las Vegas for Nationals, Kazembe takes his game to tournaments in Virginia, Arizona, Philadelphia and New York instead where he will diversify his interest.
Davon Reed ’13 - Move Ur Feet – Reed made big moves at Hoop Group Elite camp. This led to the rising sophomore from New Jersey gaining his first offer. Reed picked up an offer from VCU. The CAA school was very impressed with him. The 6-foot-4 Reed was extremely excited to pick up the credit for all of his hard work.
Myles Mack ’11 - New Jersey Playaz – Mack had a wide variety of offers coming into the Nike Peach Jam. He played well and Boston College Head Coach Steve Donahue, along with West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins, witnessed this. Both the Eagles and Mountaineers extended a scholarship to Myles. Outside of these two offers, the rising senior has offers from a variety of high to mid majors, mainly in the Big East.
Richard Peters ’12 - Team Takeover Canada – Peters had decided to leave Brewster Academy and transfer to Westwind Prep in Arizona. The Oklahoma commit said, “It was a family decision. We thought it was time to move on elsewhere and ultimately came to the conclusion that Westwind was the right school for me.” Richard remains fully committed to the Sooners. He came in on the last day of the West Virginia Jam Fest to help his team capture the U16 title.
Angel Nunez ’11 – New York Gauchos – Although Angel’s recruitment has been the same for a while now, he picked up a new offer recently. Cincinnatti offered the Bronx wing. As of now, he claims offers from UConn, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Arizona, West Virginia, Miami, Louisville and Wake Forest. Nunez has plans to focus on his recruitment after his Gauchos play in the Super 64 Showcase in Las Vegas.