Commentary

Hoop Group Fall Jam Fest recap

Originally Published: September 27, 2011
By Adam Finkelstein | ESPN Recruiting

NEPTUNE, N.J. -- The Hoop Group hosted some of the top teams in the Northeast at its headquarters this weekend for its annual Fall Jam Fest. The four-court facility was the site of some exciting action on Sunday as pool play gave way to headline matchups in the championship brackets with the New Jersey Roadrunners and D.C. Assault taking the big prizes in the U17 and U16 divisions.

Standout players

Tyler Roberson (Union, N.J./Roselle Catholic)
2013, SF, 6-7
He's an incredibly efficient offensive player who specializes in the midrange area. He uses his size and length to shoot over the top of defenders, has terrific footwork off the catch to create separation and utilizes the glass extremely well on his shorter pull-ups. Roberson was also impressive on the interior, rebounding in high volume and spinning off contact to create with his back to the basket. While he rarely looked to make a play with his dribble or extend his range to the arc, he knows his strengths and attacks accordingly.

Jameel Warney (Plainfield, N.J./Roselle Catholic)
2012, PF, 6-8
College: Stony Brook
Warney picked up right where he left off at AAU Nationals, impacting the game in a variety of ways. His power and athleticism are the first things you notice as he finishes above the rim in congestion and rebounds out of his area in high volume. However, he has numerous other assets that may be more subtle but translate especially well to the college level. He's a good screener who runs off his picks to create his own scoring opportunities, passes very well within the flow of the offense and shows an excellent understanding of high-low footwork.

Noah Vonleh (Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton)
2014, SF, 6-8
What was most impressive about Vonleh this weekend was the way he was able to impact the game without scoring points. He anchored his team's defense as an eraser inside the lane, while acting as the primary facilitator on the offensive end. There were several occasions where he would block a shot on one end, push the ball up the court himself and then find his teammate for an assist. Vonleh is also starting to develop his leadership skills, not only setting the tone with his effort and unselfishness, but becoming more comfortable being vocal.

Anthony Dallier (Wexford, Pa./Northfield Mount Hermon)
2013, SF, 6-6
Dallier spent the majority of the weekend with the ball in his hands, operating as a point forward. While he's naturally suited for the wing, his high basketball IQ and efficient handle enable him to facilitate as well as he scores. His individual offense comes primarily inside of 16 feet right now, where he uses his size and length to his advantage. What really separates him is his understanding of the game as he moves without the ball, passes, screens and does all the little things needed to thrive in an offensive structure.

Breakout players

B.J. Johnson (Ardmore, Pa./Lower Merion)
2013, SF, 6-7
A long and athletic southpaw with great size for the wing, Johnson has all the tools to emerge into a high-level prospect. He is a consistent shooting threat with range to the arc, long with his dribble going to the rim and a very bouncy finisher. His physical tools also enable him to create pressure on the defensive end of the floor, especially in run and jump situations, while also giving him the potential to eventually defend multiple positions. He needs to get stronger in order to play through contact but has the frame to do it in another year or two.

Isaiah Briscoe (Union, N.J./St. Benedict's)
2015, SG, 6-2
Briscoe has yet to play his first high school basketball game but already owns high-major offers and a big-time reputation. He's a dribble-drive player who can be both smooth and powerful with his attack. His crossover is very low to the ground and his body is capable of absorbing plenty of contact on his way to the rim. He has star-caliber intangibles with great presence and confidence and scored in high volume throughout the weekend by imposing his will off the dribble.

One to watch

Tyus Battle (Edison, N.J./Woodrow Wilson)
2016, G, 6-3
Still just an eighth grader, Battle played against high school seniors in the open division, not only holding his own but showing some tremendous upside along the way. A long and active guard, Battle has an instinctive feel for the game. He has a smooth handle, uses bounce passes and feeds the post. He's still just a baby physically but has all the signs of being an impressive physical prospect before it's all said and done. If he can stay focused and continue to improve, he has a chance to be a very good player down the road.

Notes

• Sunday's action was headlined by an individual battle between Roberson and Vonleh. Going strictly by the numbers, Roberson had the edge but in reality it was much closer. Roberson is far more polished right now, especially in the midrange area, but he had no answer for Vonleh at the rim and struggled to stay in front of him off the dribble. Give him credit, though, for raising the level of his game and putting up big numbers with 20 points and nine rebounds.

• Skyler White (Seattle, Wash./Rhode Island Hawks) is a face-up 4-man with a smooth stroke and high release. He was very effective stretching the floor this weekend and is ideally suited to trail the break or play pick-and-pop.

• Matt Billups (Summit, N.J./Oratory Prep) was one of the more pleasant surprises of the weekend. He's still lean physically but has a lot of tools at his disposal and could very well end up getting some Division I looks, if he's willing to wait until the spring.

Justin Sears (Plainfield, N.J./Plainfield) is a high-level athlete who may end up in the Ivy League, where he would be an absolute steal.

Adam Finkelstein has been a coach or scout at the high school, college and pro levels. He was an assistant coach in Division I by the age of 24 and also worked as a scout for Marty Blake, the NBA's director of scouting. John Stovall contributed to this piece.