Thursday’s showcase continued that strong tradition as it once again featured many of the best players the region has to offer. Here is a look at how the top prospects fared:
Erik Murphy – Fresh off an impressive performance this weekend at the Adidas Basketball Experience, Murphy said he was a little fatigued coming into Thursday’s showcase. He certainly didn’t look it as he was dominant throughout the day. While the Florida bound big man continued to show the skill set that made him one of the nation’s most widely pursued forwards, his undervalued athleticism was what had the gym buzzing.
With a series of explosive finishes and alley-oop dunks, including two that literally came on top of challenging defenders, Murphy showed he is much bouncier than many give him credit for. More importantly, he was flat out the best player in the gym.
Jordan Williams – The big man from Torrington (Conn.) picked up right where he left off in July as he was very impressive throughout the day. Matched up against Carson Desrosiers in the first game and Murphy in the second, Williams rebounded the ball with authority, scored consistently in the post, and blocked a variety of shots on the defensive end. He also had a highlight reel dunk of his own as he threw one down hard on Murphy.
Thomas Knight – The Maine native picked up a scholarship offer from Notre Dame late last month, and that may be because his game is eerily reminiscent of current Irish forward Luke Harangody. In addition to having a similar body type, the southpaw shoots it with great touch and range, moves well for a player his size, and gets off the ground quickly to go after rebounds.
Steven Samuels – One of the few perimeter players who managed to make plays on the defensive end of the floor, Samuels was pressuring the ball, getting into passing lanes, and forcing the opposition into turnovers. That funneled the transition game going the other way, which is this guard’s specialty as he just has a knack for putting the ball in the basket in the open floor.
Kyle Casey – Today marked the end of a very successful summer for Casey as he has shown himself to be an inside-out offensive threat and a presence at the defensive end of the floor. Thursday was no different as he scored around the rim and from the perimeter while also crashing the glass and blocking shots.
Matt Brown – He put on a show in his second game as he went for 30 points with a series of strong drives, mid-range pull-ups, and deep jumpers. If that weren’t enough he also showed an absolutely chiseled physique and a solid effort on the defensive end of the floor. He’s playing at a very high level right now and seems poised for a break-out season at Northfield Mount Hermon.
Denzel Brito – He was the unofficial winner of the “Mr. Station’s” award as he played with great energy in the skill development sessions and was encouraging his peers to do the same. He was equally impressive during games, showing his super smooth and versatile offensive repertoire.
Carson Desrosiers – He didn’t get the number of touches to put up big numbers on the offensive end but he made a few plays that had “superstar” written all over them. The first was on the defensive end where he flew back in transition, jumped from one side of the rim to the other, and swatted away what appeared to be a break-away lay-up. The second was on the offensive end, where he caught the ball just inside the foul line, took one long step and slammed the ball home with conviction without ever putting it on the floor. Throw in his patented skills from the perimeter and you can see why the high majors are now on board.
Anthony Jernigan – The rising sophomore point guard from East Hartford, Connecticut may have turned in the best performance of any guard in the gym on Thursday. He is an absolute wizard with the ball in his hands, showing a unique ability to weave in and out of defenders and get wherever he wants. He also had no problem finishing inside among the trees, despite his small stature.
Michael Carter-Williams – An extremely smooth and versatile offensive player, Carter-Williams will head to St. Andrew’s next year and play for Mike Hart, who has a long history of turning out high-major division I players. Carter-Williams already has all the skills, once his body fills out there will be no stopping him.
Andre Drummond – Of all the rising sophomores in New England his upside is the highest, but he also has the longest way to go. The 6’9” center has great speed, athleticism, and agility along with an emerging skill set and a true gift for blocking shots on the defensive end. If his understanding of the game can ever catch up, the sky is the limit.
Alex Murphy – Erik’s younger brother will repeat his freshman year at St. Mark’s next year and has to be considered one of the nation’s top prospects in the class of 2012. He is already 6’8”, plays all five positions on the floor, and is farther ahead in his development than his big brother was at this point.
Harvard appears to be the front-runner for Kyle Casey over schools like George Washington, Holy Cross, and Pennsylvania. But that could all change if Stanford or Davidson extends an offer. New Cardinals head coach Johnny Dawkins did come to see him play on three different occasions in July.
Carson Desrosiers picked up his first two high major offers last week as Providence and Syracuse joined Fordham and New Hampshire.
Thomas Knight has offers from Seton Hall and Notre Dame as well as a host of low and mid-major schools from the northeast.
Thursday wasn’t just about the big names as a number of players flying under the radar proved they could more than hold their own. Ike Azotam, a 6-foot-5 undersized four-man from O’Bryant High School in Massachusetts, was an absolute beast inside using his strength and athleticism to throw down countless dunks, rebound, and block shots. New Hampshire’s Jordan Laguerre also proved his worth combining a high motor with great speed and quickness. He was creating his own offense consistently while also locking down the opposition on the defensive end of the floor.
Louis Montes (6’5”, small forward, Brockton High School, 2009), Danny Lawhorn (5’10”, point guard, Hartford Public, 2010), Akeem Williams (5’10”, guard, Winchendon School, 2010), Pat Donnelly (6’3”, shooting guard, Phillips Exeter Academy, 2009), and Mike Rivera (6’0”, point guard, Durfee High School, 2009) also showed themselves to be legitimate division I prospects.