Boston High School: Connecticut Basketball Club

X's and O's: Capital Prep's Kahlil Dukes

January, 2, 2012
1/02/12
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Scoring is in Capital Prep junior Kahlil Dukes’ DNA. He reached 1,000 career points as a sophomore. He dropped 51 points in a game against Classical Magnet recently. Dukes has always been a scorer. You can go on YouTube and find videos of him from middle school doing exactly what he does today: embarrassing defenses.

There have been questions about Dukes too. Many scouts consider him to be an undersized two guard at 5-foot-11. Some question his upside at the next level as well.

After seeing him go up against West Roxbury, here are some observations I made:

Scoring

Dukes had an effortless 31 points against West Roxbury last Wednesday in the BABC Holiday Classic. He was scoring in every imaginable way, whether it was acrobatic drives to the hoop, pull-up jump shots, or deep three-pointers. Here are some clips of Dukes’ field goals:



The first two clips show Dukes’ great body control. He is that type of player that never is out of control. He’s always on balance and driving to the basket with a purpose. In the third clip, Dukes gains separation from the defender with a nice step-back move to get a pull-up jump shot. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth clip, Dukes demonstrates his superior basketball I.Q. Part of the reason why he is such a good scorer is that he knows defensive tendencies and how to take advantage of them. I made the last clip in slow motion to show just how good Dukes’ shooting form is. He has serious range on his jump shot and shoots a great percentage from everywhere on the floor.

Passes

There is no getting around the fact that Kahlil Dukes is a combo guard. He is by no means a point guard. At the high school level, he can play the point. At the next level he will need to improve his ball-handling and quickness to play any minutes at the point. He has the court vision and passing ability, which is key to his development into a point guard.



In all of these clips, Dukes does an excellent job of feeding the post. As a wing and a point guard, this is critical to a team’s success.

Shot Selection

For the most part, Dukes has good shot selection. As one of the Nutmeg State's finest scorers, it is Dukes’ role to take the most shots on his team. There were a few shots, however, there were questionable decisions.



Look at where Dukes is standing in the first clip. That is a three-pointer well beyond the NBA three-point line. This is a bad shot. Yes, Dukes did hit the back of the rim proving that he can hit that shot, but with 25 seconds left on the shot clock, he could have found a better shot. When he faces tougher defenses, Dukes cannot settle for deep range shots like this. In basketball, every possession counts and it is imperative for players to capitalize on every possession to get the highest percentage shot as possible.

In the second clip, Dukes makes a nice move around his first defender but gets his shot partially blocked because of the second defender. On a fast break, it would have been a better decision to pull the ball out and run a play rather than forcing a difficult shot on two defenders.

Observations

There were some things that stood out about Dukes that could not be seen on video.

-- Dukes has the poise of a Division I player. He never talks to the refs. He never talks back to his coach. He always supports his teammates. Dukes has the intangibles to play at the next level, which is why he has had a solid dose of low Division I offers.

-- Upside seems to be one of the main concerns with Dukes, but if he can develop into a point guard, what is there to worry about? This past summer, Dukes performed well on the national level with the Connecticut Basketball Club alongside superstars like Andre Drummond and Kris Dunn, proving that he can score on more than just the competition he faces in Connecticut.

-- The main concern at this point may be on the defensive end. Dukes has to play a less aggressive role on Capital Prep because they need him to stay out of foul trouble. As a small guard, he will need to work on his build (while maintaining his coordination and quickness) if he wants to play serious minutes at a Division I school.

Conclusion

Every high school team in America could use a guy like Kahlil Dukes. He can flat out score and has an unbelievable feel for the game. Sure, he is doing this type of damage on a team that is not a Top 35 team in Massachusetts, but Dukes does this to nearly every team he faces, regardless of the level.

With his elite scoring ability and underrated potential, Dukes could be a diamond in the rough on the New England basketball scene.

Locals named breakout July performers

August, 8, 2011
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With the July evaluation period over, ESPN's group of basketball recruiting analysts got together for a roundtable on the biggest breakout performers of the summer. Several locals popped up on the radar, as shown below:



Mike LaPlante: BABC won as many games as anyone this summer, and Georges Niang (Methuen, Mass./The Tilton School) was a major factor. He is the ultimate lunch-pail guy who goes about his business without a lot of fanfare, while consistently outplaying higher-rated opponents. Although the Iowa State commit may not pass the eye test with flying colors, he is a deceptive athlete who understands how to maximize his abilities and is as tough as they come in the low post. I love his high basketball IQ and the fact that he is obsessed with winning. The rest of the country now knows what Iowa State and a handful of other programs knew all along -- this kid is a winner who was grossly undervalued.

Reggie Rankin: Xavier commit Semaj Christon (Cincinnati/Brewster Academy) is a postgrad, but his talent and ability to take over games from the point guard position was a treat to watch this summer. He has size, speed, quickness, athletic ability and skill. Plus, he can make a positive play with the clock winding down. Christon has the talent to have an immediate impact for the Musketeers from Day 1.

John Stovall: Kris Dunn (New London, Conn./Wilbraham & Monson) is a scoring point guard who had a limited national profile coming into this spring and summer. Playing alongside Andre Drummond (Middletown, Conn./St. Thomas More) all summer has really helped raise his profile, but he is very talented in his own right. Dunn is very quick, athletic, hard to keep out of the paint and very good at creating for himself or his teammates. The 6-3, 180-pounder understands how to use his size to score, pass and defend.


Drummond, Tarczewski square off in Vegas

July, 24, 2011
7/24/11
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ESPN recruiting has a recap today of Day 1 of the Adidas Super 64 and Las Vegas Fab 48 tournaments, and among the most notable matchups was No. 1 Class of 2012 center Andre Drummond of Connecticut Basketball Club squaring off with highly-touted St. Mark's 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski of the New England Playaz. The game was decidedly a backyard brawl, if you will, with CBC just edging the Playaz in the final minute.

Here's how the analysts summed up the matchup:



Andre Drummond vs. Kaleb Tarczewski
Two of the premier big men squared off on Day 1 of the adidas Super 64, and it was the nation's No. 1 overall player who served notice on the final play. Drummond stroked the game-winning turnaround jump shot over Tarczewski as CBC won a neighborhood AAU tussle over the New England Playaz. The take from the game is Drummond's mobility is at an elite level. He scored 21 points (9-11 FG) and had four rebounds, all while being saddled with fouls. Tarczewski, from St. Mark's School in Southborough, Mass., had 16 points (5-8) and seven rebounds. A good portion of his hoops came without Drummond in the contest. Guard Kris Dunn (New London, Conn./Wilbraham & Monson) was the game's highlight player. His drives to the bucket could not be contained.


CBC stars shine at Adidas Invitational

July, 12, 2011
7/12/11
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ESPN's Paul Biancardi and John Stovall check in today from the Adidas Invitational out in Indianapolis, where they found some under-the-radar prospects within a deep pool of talent.

Highlighting that deep pool were two of the Connecticut Basketball Club's most heralded players, New London's Kris Dunn and the nation's No. 1 incoming senior, 6-foot-10 Andre Drummond.

Drummond will be pursuing a post-graduate season this fall, but where exactly is yet to be determined. Wherever he goes, he's sure to continue drawing more and more attention as the praise continues to roll in, as it did this weekend:



His physique compares to an NBA power forward right now. He uses his large, long and powerful body on the defensive end to challenge, change and protect the rim. When he goes to the glass, he is the type of player who not only gets rebounds, he takes them away from others. He is at his best offensively when he receives a pass at the elbow or mid-post area with his back to the basket and then faces up his opponents. This gives him more room to score or pass which he does very well. However, when he gets too deep on the block he often contends with two and sometimes three defenders, which shrinks his space to move and score. His free throw shooting is a work in progress, but you can see improvement. Kentucky, UConn, Duke, Kansas, Louisville, Georgetown, are in the mix with many other elite programs.




Dunn, the Class of 2012's No. 7 point guard and No. 48 overall player, is transferring from New London (Conn.) High to Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts for his senior year. Where he was viewed as an Atlantic-10 type of player to start the high school season, his stock seems now affirmatively in the upper echelon:



He is the ultimate scoring point guard who has great size, length and is an excellent creator. Dunn has solid vision, is very good at finding open teammates and has no problem with penetration because he practically lives in the lane. He is a solid, but streaky shooter with range to 19 feet and is at his best when moving forward looking to create or score. Dunn will be a priority in the Northeast and rumor has it he may be teaming up with Drummond as a package for some lucky college program.


BABC to host Boston Shootout this weekend

June, 2, 2011
6/02/11
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The Boston Amateur Basketball Club will be hosting the 2011 Boston Shootout this Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5, at Tufts University's Cousens Gymnsium. The weekend event marks the 39th year of the longstanding tournament that has annually featured some of the top youth basketball teams and players in the region.

“We are excited to host some unbelievable talent in this year's tournament,” Shootout Tournament Director Jay Demings said in a press release. “The Northeast is full of elite-level basketball players who are among the best nationally. The teams and players taking part will showcase some extremely talented young people who will play on the next level very soon.”

This year's Shootout will consist of a freshman and a junior division, where top area talent will be on display. Participating clubs include the Metro Hawks (N.Y.), Middlesex Magic, Connecticut Select, New England Storm, Albany City Rocks (N.Y.), Connecticut Basketball Club and tournament host BABC.

One particularly interesting game on the first day falls in the Junior A division, where BABC's highly-touted big man Nerlens Noel could potentially match up against CBC's Andre Drummond, the No. 1 ranked player in the Class of 2012. That game will be followed by the Mike Crotty Memorial Game at 5:45, to be held between the late Crotty's Middlesex Magic and the Albany City Rocks.

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