Monday, July 18, 2011
West Virginia Jam Fest recap
By Dave Telep ESPN Recruiting
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Despite an NCAA ruling that prevented the event from being played on West Virginia's campus, the Hoop Group West Virginia Jam Fest was a success. During the two-day event, we had a chance to witness a breakout 2011 guard, evaluate a host of seniors and examine a top-10 2014 prospect.
Omar Calhoun is the No. 38 overall player in the 2012 class.
Omar Calhoun (Middle Village, N.Y./Christ The King)
2012, SG, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds
We certainly subscribe to the notion that the highest rated guys should play as such, no matter the setting. Calhoun couldn't get his team to the Peach Jam so he opted to take out his frustrations on the Jam Fest field. The performances were vintage Calhoun as he rained deep 3s and crushed defenders at the rim. He was particularly chatty and equally effective. We watched him hang 34 points on Philly's Finest and Calhoun was as dialed in as we've seen him this summer.
Semaj Christon (Cincinnati/Brewster Academy)
2012, PG, 6-2, 180 pounds
Reggie Rankin's a big fan and I'll second the notion. Christon came up short of qualifying so he's off to Brewster Academy. The near 6-3 point guard changes gears quickly and has an explosive step to the basket. You're not going to take the ball from him and his athleticism -- especially in this class of points -- is particularly pronounced. He's high-major all the way and could be an under-the-radar impact lead guard.
Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia/Friends Central)
2012, PF, 6-7, 180 pounds
If he's not the best baseline player in the class, he belongs in the conversation. Jefferson is ideally suited to be a presser in an attacking defensive style because his motor and length need to be put to use. Of the elite prospects in the class, Jefferson shows the least entitlement and is one of the most coachable prospects in the ESPNU 100.
McKenzie Moore (Pleasant Hills, Calif./College Park)
2011, PG, 6-5, 180 pounds Saturday's blog detailed his past and explains why this Class of 2011 combo guard is still on the board. Moore is 6-5 and plays the point for Team 94. A confident player, solid handler and good passer, he's in the high-major ballpark and he would even be a steal for a BCS team at this stage. There's always a story why guys this talented are available and Moore has his own. Saint Mary's had him committed and was surprised that he qualified, and now the Gaels don't have a scholarship. Wise programs with a scholarship will research him immediately.
Blaise Mbargorba (Highstown, N.J./Peddie School)
2012, C, 6-11
The native of Cameroon has to be one of the more improved players we have seen this month. A center who is pushing 7-0, Mbargorba is an equally talented defender and offensive threat. Most are surprised by his ability to pass the ball which makes him more valuable for high-majors, however, a handful of CAA and A-10 schools hang on for dear life. Mbargorba will visit Vanderbilt in the fall before he makes a decision.
Chris McCullough (New York/Salisbury)
2014, PF, 6-9, 200 pounds
I'll never forget the first time I saw this young man. Playing in a small gym tucked away in a mountain community, McCullough impressed as a 6-9 power forward whose body is a blend of Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh. Against kids in the 15-and-under group, McCullough was surely bored as guys multiple inches shorter tried to pester him to no avail in the post. He's a top-10 prospect in the Class of 2014 and has all the physical tools and size to be an impact prospect.
Eye on underclassmen
Steve Vasturia (Philadelphia/St. Joe's)
2013, SG/PG, 6-2
This young man has real game. Vasturia is a ballhandling guard who makes few mistakes while showcasing a savvy mix of skill and range. Few guys we've seen this summer display the kind of poise he already owns. His high school coach is former LaSalle coach Speedy Morris, he hails from an athletic family and his game is mature. Temple sent its entire staff to watch his first game in West Virginia and Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli was also present.
Jaren Sina (Lake Hopatcong, N.J./Gill St. Bernard)
2013, PG, 6-1, 175 pounds
The Alabama commit is on an AAU team that requires him to score big numbers. Sina, a coach's son, works his way through a myriad of ball screens and dribble handoffs to get his shot off. An improved ballhandler, he's a mature junior who is used to shouldering the burden as a scorer.
• Marshall Wood (Rustburg, Va./Rustburg), a wing from the East Coast Fusion contingent, is a late-blooming, skilled player.
• Maurice Watson (Philadelphia/Boys Latin), a sub-six-footer, said Boston University leads for his services. He is one of the best student-athletes at the point position in the country. Morehead State, Vermont and Quinnipiac sent coaches to see him.
• Coleman Johnson (Fairfax, Va./Paul VI) is a strong, mid-major prospect. Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary's are out in front with Radford and Howard in the mix. He's a quality, undersized, shot-blocking 4-man.
• The CAA talent pipleline continues. James Madision scored a strong point guard pledge from Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI). Final Four participant VCU used family ties to secure a pledge from Jordan Burgess (Richmond, Va./Benedictine). Burgess is ahead of his brother Brad, a senior at VCU, at the same time in his prep career.
• Among the heavy hitters we saw in Morgantown were Ohio State's Thad Matta, Villanova's Jay Wright and Georgetown's John Thompson. Each was in town to earn face time with Jefferson.
• St. John's and Rutgers evaluated McCullough in the remote gym where we watched him. As a Big East target, there will be less evaluating and more scholarship offers for this big man in the near future.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.