Saturday, August 16, 2008

Zoo Crew Summer League Recap

Shacore Edwards Was Impressive At Zoo Crew Summer League

I took a trip to the Zoo Crew Summer League in Newark, NJ and saw some of the playoff action. This gave us a chance to see some of the top 14 and Under players in the State of NJ. Here’s a breakdown of some of the top players we encountered in the Brick City.

Zoo Crew Top Performers

Shacore Edwards Guard (NJ Panthers)- Edwards was the top offensive player I saw at the Zoo Crew league. The silky smooth wing guard scored with ease in transition including changing his shot to avoid trailing defenders that wanted to block his shot. He also had a deep jumper flowing especially from behind the arc even on the double rim courts.

Aaron Bodie Forward (NJ Panthers)- Bodie is a very special athlete that can leap quickly which he demonstrated when he caught a follow up dunk. He runs the floor well and can be an effective rebounder when he’s in attack mode. Offensively he needs a lot of work with his footwork and touch around the basket. But right now you can’t teach his size 6’5 or his athleticism. He showed a be on the high school radar in 2 years.

Nikko Velez Guard ((NJ Panthers)- Velez is a good looking with some attributes. He has good size and court vision. He handles the rock and knows when to pick his spot to attack. Entering high school he must be conscious of taking care of his body and not to pack on any weight. I also think he will need to improve his explosiveness going to the hole.

Niko Kotoulas Forward (NJ Panthers)- Kotoulas has German decent and plays a European type game. He has good size and the fundamentals that stand out in the type of setting. He will need to pack on some pounds once he hits high school but I like his feel for the game. He reminds me of a young Tony Kukoc.

William Smith Forward (NJ Panthers)- Smith is undersized for a future power forward but he does has some physical attributes. He rebounds the basketball and will convert some points in the paint. I didn’t see much of his game away from the cup.

Zahir Bembry Guard (NJ Panthers)- The youngster showed some promise running the team. He hit the gaps to get to the basket and dropped off a few dimes. He has good body control and knows how to turn the speed on and off when he needs to.

Rodney Wilson Guard (Bayonne Mean Machine)- Wilson showed me some things even though his team loss badly. He has good size at the guard spot and created opportunities when he attacked the cup. Rodney got past the guards and finished over the big men with floaters. When the shot blockers over reacted he went right past them to score at the rim.

Kavon Stewart Guard (Paterson Plus)- Stewart struggled early as the double rims weren’t kind to his floater or jumper. He also had some uncharacteristic turnovers when passes were tipped or teammates weren’t ready. But when he came money time he proved why he’s one of the best guards around as he took over the game on both ends. He forced turnovers by pressuring the rock and made plays by either scoring, passing or getting to the charity stripe. He hit some big free throws down the stretch.

Errol McCarthy Forward (Paterson Plus)- I saw this kid with one of the older Playaz teams before. Today he was a problem inside for Tha Ballers. His size made it difficult for them to score inside and led to some transition opportunities for Paterson.

Jeffrey Ellerbee Guard (Paterson Plus)- Ellerbe is a lefty that played hard defense and ran the floor for easy buckets. I like his quickness and scoring awareness on the floor. He knows how to find the hole.

Nashian Brimely Guard (Paterson Plus)- Nashian is another scoring guard from this squad. He enjoys slashing through the lane for buckets. His speed also helps him get out on the break in front of the opposition.

Naji Newman Guard (Paterson Plus)- Newman has the size of a guard but doesn’t handle the rock as much as the others. He makes his living roaming the baseline and finishing after receiving passes.

Alex Similien Forward (Tha Ballers)- Alex did the scoring inside for the Linden boys. His Charles Barkley type play was very effective as he moved bodies and maneuvered his shot to avoid shot blockers. He’s not tall but he knows how to use the rim and backboard to convert.

Jaquan Matthews Guard (Tha Ballers)- Matthews ran the point and held off the Paterson pressure the best he could. He made some good decisions with the rock and scored for his squad he asked.

Jahad Harris Forward (Tha Ballers)- Harris was a force inside when he applied himself. He knows how to get position and has good hands. When he gets a mean streak and understands he could dominate he will be even better.