Denzil Haynes Jr. Looking to Lead North Oklahoma College-Enid to JUCO National Championship





ENID, Okla. — Denzil Haynes isn’t content just being on the first Northern Oklahoma College Enid men’s basketball team to reach the national tournament.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., freshman says he and his teammates, who will face the College of Southern Idaho at 4:30 p.m. in Hutchinson, Kan., Monday, have raised their goals to winning it all.

“My goal was to make nationals and win nationals,” Haynes said. “We got to win it.”

Haynes and his teammates will be prepared if they do win it. They had a ceremonial cutting down of the nets Tuesday to celebrate. NOC Enid — as the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference runner-up — qualified for nationals Saturday when regular-season champion Connors State beat NOC Tonkawa.

“That was pretty fun,” Haynes said. “I’m really happy for the sophomores.”

Haynes found it easier playing than watching as he followed the Connors-NOC Tonkawa game.

“I was pretty nervous because it was going back and forth,” he said. “We would have rather been playing in the finals and won it ourselves, but I was happy when Connors won.”

Haynes promises he won’t have those nerves against the Golden Eagles Monday in the biggest game of his life.

“We have worked hard for this,” he said. “We know we’re fine. We should do our job. Just being there and playing is pretty fun.”

Haynes, who has averaged 5.7 points and 4.8 rebounds coming off the bench, says he thrives under pressure.

“I play up to the level of competition, not down to the lower level,” he said. “The harder the competition, the better and harder I play. I’m going to give it my best.”

Haynes immediately looked up Southern Idaho after the bracket was announced Monday. He agreed with head coach Greg Shamburg that it was a good draw for the Jets.

“It will be a tough match-up this week, but we’re getting ready to go to war against those guys,” Haynes said. “They are not that big. They are like us — pretty small. I think we have the edge on them in heart.”

Haynes has shown a lot of heart in his work ethic to improve. He has put on 12 pounds of muscle in the weight room. Haynes has transitioned from center to forward with the Jets.

“It (junior college) was tougher than I expected,” Haynes said. “The athletes here are very strong and they’re tougher than they were in high school. I have to adjust to it. As freshman, I know I’m not as big or skilled or faster so I have to work to get better at it.”

Haynes is beginning to feel “more confident” as he sees more playing time.

“My role is to come off the bench and bring some defensive energy,” he said. “I help with the post guy. I just try to bring energy on offense and defense.”

Haynes 53.2 percent from the field this season and had 44 offensive and 96 defensive rebounds.

“I try to physically attack the rim,” he said. “I’m there to get rebounds and second-chance points.”

Haynes was discovered by the NOC Enid coach at a showcase in New York. Shamburg and Hasani Stewart, Haynes’ AAU coach, were acquainted. Stewart told Haynes Shamburg was “a good coach” who could help him.

“He told me Coach Shamburg would make me better,” he said. “I’m happy I came here. Everybody back home is excited for us to have made nationals.”

He has friends on three teams that made the national field and is looking forward to seeing them in Hutchinson.

Enid was “a very big change” for him culturally — a change he says was good for him.

“It’s more like a rural area,” he said. “It was different seeing a lot of land compared to buildings and cars everywhere. It’s been nice and I’m settling in pretty good. There’s a lot more quiet and calm. I can get away from the commotion and concentrate on school and basketball. The change helped me focus more on the books, my education and basketball.”

Shamburg is impressed with how Haynes has adjusted both athletically and culturally.

“It’s a big transition lifestyle for him,” Shamburg said. “He’s done a good job coming into a small town and making the adjustment. He’s having fun and learning how to play and all those things.”

“Denzil is a good kid,” said Jets assistant coach Connor Brooks. “We have enjoyed having him around. He plays hard and when you play hard, good things will happen.”

Haynes gladly gave up a chance to spend spring break at home to be practicing basketball.

“You can concentrate a lot more on basketball this week,” he said.

Haynes has had some breakout games this season — 15 points against Rhema Bible College, 20 against Sunrise Christian, 18 against Oklahoma City Metro Prep and 14 against Eastern Oklahoma for the 20-9 Jets.

“All of them are memorable,” he said about his freshman season. I remember all of them very well. This has been a good learning experience. This is when I get better for next year and try to come back to the nationals again. I’ve improved a whole lot since last summer shooting-wise, athletic-wise and strength-wise …. everything has improved a whole lot.”


Adrien Nunez Top Three Target for Big Ten School


By Eric Gibson on August 31, 2017 at 11:30 am
Pat Chambers

Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports


Since Rasir Bolton’s verbal commitment in July, the pressure has eased off Penn State’s coaching staff for this recruiting cycle. They needed to land a quality lead guard to develop behind their current talent, and Bolton fits the bill. But the staff still has one more scholarship available on paper, and they look determined to fill it this fall.

Ideally the Lions would be in the market for another big man to bring up behind Mike Watkins, but 2018 has proved to be a weak class regionally on that front. Therefore the staff has been in the market for a scoring wing and have positioned themselves well for a trio of late-bloomers.


Clark was offered by Penn State back in April when he had a strong spring with current Nittany Lion John Harrar on Philly Pride’s 17U team. Per the City of Basketball Love, Clark underwent a recent growth spurt in the last year that saw the 6’2 guard shoot up four inches. While his newfound length certainly boosted his stock, he has yet to fully grow into his wiry frame, which has prevented other big schools from joining the party.

Clark recently released his top five which included the Nittany Lions along with South Florida, Massachusetts, La Salle, and Dayton. No scheduled visits for Clark have surfaced yet on Twitter, but it seems likely he’ll check out Penn State in the coming months over a football weekend.


The highest rated player of Penn State’s three main targets, Rhoden had a tremendous summer on the Nike EYBL circuit. PSU extended an offer after he averaged 15.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game at the Peach Jam. Originally a 2017 recruit, Rhoden made the decision to reclassify to 2018 after he was unsatisfied with the level of his recruitment.

Now, the versatile wing currently has a list of 11 schools he’s considering: PSU, Wichita State, Oregon State, Seton Hall, VCU, Dayton, St. Louis, UMass, Hofstra, Santa Clara, and Wyoming. He already took an unofficial visit to PSU a couple weeks ago, but if Chambers can convince the Long Island native to come back for an official, the Nittany Lions would be in great shape to land the No. 127 prospect in the 247Composite.


Nunez has also seen his recruitment take off after a strong July, because he was an unknown commodity prior to this summer. Nunez was actually a senior this past year at Bishop Loughlin in New York, but he didn’t receive any scholarship offers. Therefore he settled on a prep year for this upcoming season at St. Thomas More, so he could reclassify into 2018. Now he has a handful of offers including Boston College, VCU and St. Joseph’s.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Nunez has shown serious interest in the Nittany Lions.Twitter reported his first unofficial visit to Happy Valley a few weeks ago, and he will be back for an official visit for the Georgia State football game. Adding Nunez to Myles Dread and Rasir Bolton would give PSU three capable marksmen from three-point range.



Greg Poleon Leads a Stellar 2017 Recruiting Class at Pace University

Pace Men’s Basketball Announces 2017 Recruiting Class

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Pace University’s Men’s Basketball Head Coach Matt Healing has officially announced his 2017 recruiting class, which brings seven new student-athletes to Pleasantville. The newest group of Setters is comprised of four talented freshmen and three experienced transfer students.

“We are very excited about this year’s newcomers and how they can impact our program both this year and during the course of their careers at Pace,” states Coach Healing. “We believe we have assembled a group of driven student-athletes who will help us continue to build the program both on and off the basketball court.”

Greg Poleon (6-6 Forward/Brooklyn, N.Y./Abraham Lincoln/Coffeyville CC (KS)
Poleon comes to Pleasantville from NJCAA Division I member Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, where he was two-year contributor. The 2016-17 season saw Poleon average 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 51.8% from the field, which included a career-high 18 points against Pratt CC (2/4/17). The standout forward also helped Coffeyville win the Region VI Championship, advancing the Red Ravens to the NJCAA National Tournament. Poleon hails from Brooklyn, where he played for Abraham Lincoln High School and will be studying Healthcare Management at Pace.

Nunez takes Unofficial Visit to Big Ten School



Penn State has built a very solid foundation for its 2018 recruiting class with three/four-star guards Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread. Now, they’re looking for pieces to supplement those two.

One possible name could be Adrien Nunez (St. Thomas More, NY), who took an unofficial visit over the weekend.


Adding Nunez would mean adding a third guard to the mix, so we’ll have to wait and see if that’s what Chambers wants to do with this next open spot in the class. Nunez also holds offers from Boston College, Bowling Green, Brown, Dartmouth, Fordham, La Salle, UMass, Robert Morris, St. Joe’s, VCU, Wagner, and Yale.

From Nothing To Something: Adrien Nunez’s Stock Has Exploded

August 9, 2017

By: Julius Kim

Before this summer started, 2018 wing Adrien Nunez didn’t have any interest or scholarships when it came to his recruitment. Now, the St. Thomas Moreproduct has earned offers from Wagner, Bowling Green, Robert Morris, Fordham, Saint Joseph’s, Dartmouth, VCU, and Penn State. He breaks down three schools that are recruiting him the hardest.

St. Joe’s: “They’re really straight forward,” said Nunez about the Hawks. “They explained how I fit on the team in detail. I met a couple of the guys on the team and I felt right at home. I trust coach (Phil) Martelli; he’s had a ton of pro guards go through there. It was a really warm atmosphere and I got a good feel from the coaching staff.”

VCU: “Haven’t been to VCU yet so I don’t know much about them but the head coach (Mike Rhoades) and associate head coach (Jeremy Ballard) have been calling me expressing how excited they are.”

Fordham: “They outlined my role clearly. The facilities were great and it’s close to home in New York, which is great. There’s a lot of opportunity to play on that team.”

As mentioned above, the 6-foot-6 wing had nothing in terms of his recruitment. Since his stock has sky rocketed, he spoke about what this summer has meant to him.

“It’s great,” said Nunez about his stock. “I went four years with nothing so I’m glad it’s all happening the way it is.”

The Born Ready Elite prospect plans to keep working on all parts of his game for this upcoming season.

“My overall game,” said Nunez about his developing process. “But more specifically my ball-handling, guard skills, and my strength.”

The New York native stated that he plans to commit by early October.

Elevate Hoops Standouts


July 25, 2017

By: Julius Kim

The Summer Showdown, hosted by Elevate Hoops, is in the books as numerous amounts of college coaches came to evaluate their prioritized recruits. Here’s part two of the best performers from Saturday and Sunday’s action.

Adrien Nunez – Class of 2018 (Born Ready Elite)

Since our last event (Summer Icebreaker II), the 6-foot-5 natural wing has earned offers from Bowling Green, Wagner, Lafayette, Fordham, Robert Morris, and La Salle. This weekend, Nunez has showed off his range and his shooting stroke, as he wasn’t afraid to fire the trigger. With good size at his position, he also showed the ability to drive and finish through contact.

Josh Alexander – Class of 2018 (Team Rio)

The 6-foot-8 forward was impressive in the morning, as he has shown his ability to knock down midrange shots, where he did most of his scoring. The smart and physical Alexander fought for rebounds on both sides of the floor as he pushed the break at times on offense. The Iona Prep (NY) member has offers from Columbia, Hampton, Howard, Stony Brook, Binghamton, Lehigh, Fordham, among others. He stated he plans to take visits to Stony Brook, Columbia, and Binghamton in August.

KVonn Cramer – Class of 2019 (Team Final 2019)

As the 2019 forward depended on athleticism to score inside, his timing and bounce also lead to many second chance points. As time goes on, the Mount Pleasant (DE) product will need to develop a jump shot in order to succeed at the next level. He has interest from UConn, Miami, and Villanova among others.

Andrew Funk – Class of 2018 (Jersey Shore Warriors)

As Funk’s brother is currently playing for Army, the 6-foot-4 guard made multiple open and contested shots throughout the weekend. At times when the Archbishop Wood product’s shot wasn’t falling, he racked up points at the foul line as he drew fouls using his body. Funk has offers from Drexel, Bucknell, Army, Lafayette, and others.

Dahmir Bishop – Class of 2019 (K-Low Elite)

Although on the final day, in the first half, Bishop started off slow, he got it going in the second half by knocking down shot after shot. After recently earning offers from Seton Hall, Rutgers, and VCU, the Pennsylvania native showed his athletic abilities by grabbing rebounds over big defenders and fearlessly drove the lane. As time goes on, Bishop will need to add upper body strength and tighten up his handle.

Kenny Jones – Class of 2018 (Jersey Force)

It seems every time that Elevate Hoops is hosting an event, Jones seems to be a standout. The floor general did an excellent job of leading his team and engaging others play after play. The smooth facilitator played under control and made winning plays in transition. Jones has offers from Loyola (MD), Boston, Towson, Quinnipiac, and others.

Additional Standouts:

Khalif Battle – Class of 2019 (Team Final 2019)

Jared Kimbrough – Class of 2018 (Jersey Force)

Drew Friberg – Class of 2018 (Jersey Shore Warriors)

Tyree Pickron – Class of 2018 (K-Low Elite)

Ray Bethea – Class of 2018 (Jersey Force)

Hassan Drame – Class of 2019 (Born Ready Elite)

Matt Cotton – Class of 2018 (K-Low Elite)

Dymir Montague – Class of 2018 (Hoopdreamz – Blue)

Curtis Holland – Class of 2018 (District BC)

Caleb Fields – Class of 2018 (Jersey Force)

Christian Ray – Class of 2019 (K-Low Elite)

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After Stellar High School and AAU Season Zack Bruno looking to Score his First D1 Offer


Unquestionably one of the top players in the CHSAA the past two years, it has to be considered a shock that 6’4″ guard Zack Bruno (Xaverian ’17) never saw his recruitment take off.

The MVP of the CHSAA Intersectional Championship Game as a junior, and a 21 point per game scorer in the CHSAA as a senior against some of the top teams and players in New York City, Bruno did everything that anyone could’ve asked of him but after his senior season there were no colleges there wanting him.

It had to be considered a surprise to those who watched him play that he really had no college interest as Bruno wasn’t just a great and consistent scorer, but he was a top-notch defender who could play anywhere on the floor when needed. It was incredibly frustrating for Bruno himself as he knew what he was capable of and felt like he wasn’t getting his chance.

“It was very frustrating for me,” Bruno admitted. “The past few years has been really hard mentally. I won a city championship so I had my name out there, and I was going up against guys I know I am better then who all have schools now.”

All that did though was motivate Bruno to work and push himself even harder. He began to put up 1,500 shots a day, and worked even more on his ballhandling as he wants to become a point guard going forward, believing that he has that ability to make that move, which in turn should help his recruitment.

With nothing on the horizon college wise, Bruno said that he considered Vermont Academy for a postgrad year but ultimately chose SPIRE Institute in Ohio after visiting the campus with his family in June.

“I visited there and it all worked out. I feel like they will help me get better there and that it’s the best place for me to get better and mature more mentally as well,” Bruno stated.

Bruno hopes that a year at SPIRE will help get him to where he wants to be, and believes he should be, a Division 1 campus as he knows with all his heart that he can make his name on the highest level of college basketball if just given the opportunity, an opportunity he is convinced he would make the most of.

“I am just so motivated to prove myself, and I want coaches to know that I deserve a chance. A chance is all I need.”