Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tip Off Classic 11U Championship Top Performers By Spencer Pulliam

Jaheim Tanksley (Playtime Panthers)

Two of the Northeast’s top 11U squads went head-to-head on Sunday at the Hoop Group Headquarters in Neptune, New Jersey as a handful of players stood out in the weekend’s championship game for the class of 2019. As the season moves forward, it should be expected that both the Playtime Panthers and NJ ABC will be competitive against the nation’s best at their age level. Here are just a few of the players to keep an eye on who participated in the inaugural Tip Off Classic.

Jaheim Tanksley – Guard – Playtime Panthers
For what he lacks in size, Tanksley gives back tenfold in heart and leadership. He’s the vocal cog for his young team and his teammates and coaches look for him to make plays in crunch time. A capable outside shooter, his midrange game must continue to progress in order for him to be an efficient playmaker in the lane.

Raejan Figures – Guard – Playtime Panthers
Some of his teammates have received more ink in previous Spotlight events, but Figures had his moment in the championship contest. The ball-hawking guard anticipates well on defense and came up with important buckets for his team. As a backcourt prospect, he has above average size for his age level right now and seemed the least fazed of anyone on his squad by the pressure and pace of the game largely dictated by the opponent.

Jalen Gaffney – Guard – NJ ABC
The consummate point guard is extremely polished at a young age. He recognizes the talent around him and makes an effort to get others involved. During the championship run, Gaffney did a nice job of finishing around the rim and showed the ability to knock down open looks for the perimeter. Any team is at a benefit when they have a guard at the 11U level that can already be classified as a ‘floor general’.

Anthony ‘AJ’ Hoggard – Guard – NJ ABC
For such a young player, much praise has been given to Hoggard, and he is deserving of the recognition. He’s well-built for a young guard and after helping lead Team Nelson to a top 10 finish nationally last season, he hasn’t missed a step since coming over to join NJ ABC. Right now he’s one of the top players we’ve seen in his class nationally, but to remain there his burst will have to improve, as well as his ability to show he can score consistently on all three levels.

Jordan McCoy – Forward – Playtime Panthers
The versatile and wiry forward may have been the best long-term prospect on the court during the 11U Tip Off Classic Championship. His handle and quickness on the perimeter are legitimate and he showed developing range while doing most of his damage getting to the cup. Showing the ability to dominate on the defensive end as a stopper and rebounder would also be a huge step forward for McCoy.

And One (To Keep An Eye On) – There’s another Pierre-Louis on the horizon and this time it’s Frantz youngest son, and Nate’s brother, Joshua. The younger Pierre-Louis is a blend of his dad and older sibling right now, fitting the mold perimeter-oriented forward who just becoming comfortable with his frame. If his confidence matches his developing skills, keep this name in a safe place and check back sooner than later, Josh Pierre-Louis.