READING, Pa. – Hoop Group Elite Camp kicked off yesterday and dozens upon dozens of New Yorkers made their way to Albright College for the four-day showcase event.
NYCHoops.net had the chance to see nearly half the teams during Tuesday’s action and a number of players from the Big Apple stood out.
The number one standout of the evening was arguably 6-foot-8 class of 2013 power forward Jermaine Lawrence of Cardozo (NY). The rising junior is already a big name in New York City and this summer looks to be when he will breakout into a national name.
Lawrence displayed terrific athleticism and explosive leaping ability, slamming home dunk after dunk with his long arms. Although slender, Lawrence has a sturdy frame and can handle contact. He was able to score around the bucket consistently and did so in a number of ways, from driving and finishing to getting out in transition to receiving a pass in the low post.
Cavon Baker, a 6-foot point guard who is headed to NIA Prep (NJ) to do a post-grad year was another player who showed out. The Thomas Edison (NY) graduate is not an intimidating presence, but he has major hops and a great feel for the game. He can run an offense and both score himself and find the open man.
Another New Yorker who graduated in the class of 2011 at camp is Richard Council of Rice (NY). A 6-foot-6 power forward, Council displayed quality finishing ability around the cup. In addition, he was able to drive past defenders and attack the basket. He plays hard at the offensive end and can rebound the basketball.
Ellis Everett is a relative unknown, even in New York, but the 6-foot-5 small forward out of Bedford Academy (NY) is most certainly a player. Everett has great length to go along with quality leaping ability. The type of player who can get hot and give a defense fits with his scoring ability, Everett showed some of that skill on Tuesday at Albright.
Deonte Houston, a 2011 graduate of Wings Academy (NY), is headed to prep school in the fall. The 5-foot-11 point guard is strong and sturdy, which allowed him to consistently get to the cup in one of his team’s outings. Houston is not an explosive athlete, but he has pretty good body control and was able to score around the hole a number of times. In addition, he showed off a quality handle and the ability to run an offense.
Only a few weeks removed from his commitment to Kent State, 6-foot-7 combo forward Chris Ortiz had a solid outing on Tuesday. The class of 2011 Christ the King (NY) graduate and soon-to-be South Kent (CT) post-grad is long and active and has nice upside. On this day he showed his ability to be a factor down low at both ends of the court. In addition, Ortiz, who looks to have bulked up and gotten stronger, was able to take the ball to the hole off the bounce.
A 6-foot-1 class of 2013 point guard at Boys & Girls (NY), Wesley Myers showed a feel for the game beyond his years. Myers is a pure one who can really facilitate and offense and knows what to do with the basketball. He displayed a superb handle, nice floor vision and was quite unselfish, a rarity on the camp scene.
Malik Nichols, a former teammate of Myers at Boys & Girls, was another New Yorker who stood out on Tuesday. Although he signed with Hofstra, the 6-foot-6 small forward is headed to prep school and will bring his superb offensive arsenal with him. Nichols showed that he can handle and beat his defender off the bounce and also step out and knock down 3-pointers, making him a tough matchup.