RADNOR, PA - Heading into the final weekend of the spring AAU circuit, a number of other events took place to prepare teams for their final spring showing. The Big Shots Team Final event provided exposure for a number of underclassmen in the Mid-Atlantic area.
Newton, Garner Eyeing Fall Decisions
The 2014 backcourt of Ja'Quan Newton and Shep Garner has helped keep Team Final in check this spring, but both have been banged up with nagging injuries. Garner was not able to play on Sunday in hopes of getting back on the court soon, while Newton played his way through the pain.
With a bit of a back injury, Newton struggled in his first game, but played well in his second as he played his style of slashing to the rim off the dribble. While he didn't take many mid-range jumpers or three-pointers, the Philly guard has improved on his consistency in order to play the role of floor general and lead scorer. Working on that and handling pressure are still areas of attention the No. 60 player in the Rivals150 must handle.
As the consensus thought in the fall was Newton to Villanova, his recruitment has been much more than that.
"It's been really tough and stressful selecting a school with new options continuing to come in," he told Rivals.com.
Newton already held scholarships from Miami, Temple, Villanova, Arizona, SMU, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Xavier, Wake Forest, Penn State, Nebraska, La Salle and Rutgers, but has now expanded his list with USC, Syracuse, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Missouri and others coming on strong as of late.
For now, he will cut his list following the AAU season, and no one is really standing out at this point. Georgetown, however, continues to do a good job of pursuing the scoring machine, while Villanova still has high hopes of landing a backcourt of Newton and Team Takeover DC's Phil Booth.
As for Garner, he has two Atlantic-10 schools in Xavier and St. Joseph's fighting over his recruitment, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will go there. Garner cited that he wants to play the best competition night in and night out, which could help Xavier due to their move to the new Big East. Penn State, Miami and Florida are making an impression on the No. 123 player in the nation, with others around the nation looking at him.
"My plan is to take my visits in October and make a decision before my senior season begins," Garner said.
With their health still in question, the dynamic backcourt has to get healthy soon in order to make the most of a busy summer on the circuit.
Holloway Holds His Own
Big men are always a mystery as they are usually never finished projects at the high school level. As Rashaan Holloway has done a good job of treading fat, he still needs to get in better shape. Nevertheless, he has made a major improvement, and used his physicality to his advantage on Sunday.
Temple, La Salle, Drexel and Richmond are involved, and Holloway seems to really like the Explorers and Owls after seeing their campus. The 2014 center also has plans to visit Richmond on June 17th, but is a few big performances with the Philly Ballhawks away from breaking into high-major territory because of his elite size.
His skill set on both the offensive and defensive end give him an advantage over most as his upside seems to be very high. Once Holloway can get in full shape, he will be able to maximize his full potential.
Doughty Has High Ceiling
Different than most players in his area, the 2015 combo guard plays very relaxed and non-chalant on the court as the leader and floor general. Doughty has been billed as the next great guard to come out of Philadelphia.
He possesses great court vision, can break down his defender and scores in the lane. He does this is a calm manner and is flashy at times, but makes it look easy. He has a number of believers in the Philly area as most of the top players think he can be a special one.
The Philly Pride product is hearing from Temple, Villanova, St. John's, Xavier, Penn State and La Salle early on. With a long summer ahead, plenty of offers could be on the table by summers end.
Bridges, Foulland & Rahkman Rise Stock
The 2014 trio of Mikal Bridges, Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rakhman and Nana Foulland are new to Team Final, but have utilized their opportunity at exposure on the Nike circuit.
Bridges is a long wing player who does a little of everything and can play everywhere on the court. He excels in transition and can score down low and from the perimeter, whether its slashing or shooting the long range shot. The No. 99 player in the Rivals150, Bridges holds offers from Charlotte, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Penn State, South Carolina, Fairfield and others with a huge summer ahead of him. As high-major schools are about to be all over him, he has elite length and is one to two inches in growth away from being an elite small forward.
Abdur-Rakhman is a big guard who can score in a variety of ways. He can play on and off the ball, and projects to be a point or combo guard at the next level due to his height at 6-foot-4. After gaining a lot of attention last year, he had a quiet junior year, but is back in the spotlight and remains a mid-major plus prospect. With VCU and Drexel pursuing him the hardest, he also holds offers from Delaware, George Mason, Robert Morris, Harvard, Fairfield, Quinnipiac, Marist, Bucknell and Lehigh. The rising senior hopes to sneak in some visits during some down time in June.
Foulland didn't have much heading into the spring, but as schools began to discover his big body, feel for the game and major upside, the offers began to come in. A legit 6-foot-8 power forward who runs the floor well, has a good feel for the game and finishes around the rim with a stellar jump-hook, Foulland's stock is going to continue to elevate. George Washington, Drexel, Holy Cross, George Mason, Bucknell, Old Dominion, Towson, Delaware and Boston have offered, thus far. Many more offers could come his way in the near future, too. Interested in all of those schools, Foulland isn't focused on making recruiting trips just yet.
Another new name on the scene for them is 2015 guard Donte DiVincenzo, who is playing with Team Final Black. A tough, athletic guard, he does a great job of coming off picks and shooting the three ball. With his athleticism, he doesn't just attack the basket. DiVincenzo challenges players at the rim. While he still has a lot to work on, interest has come in from Xavier, Northwestern State and Notre Dame. Look for more options to emerge for him this summer.
Cooper, Hughes Improving
Last year, 2014 guards Jojo Cooper and Todd Hughes of We-R1 projected as D2 caliber players. The amount of improvement has been quite impressive and mid-major schools are taking notice.
Cooper, a defensive standout at 5-foot-9, is still a bit erratic at times on offense, but could serve as a very good role player in college. Wagner has offered, plus Drexel, Florida Atlantic and Buffalo have shown interest.
Hughes doesn't move to well laterally, but gets the job done when it comes to scoring the ball. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard can score at will when getting to the rim and has developed a consistent mid-range jump shot. Wagner has also offered him, plus UMBC, Marist and Boston have expressed some interest. Hughes visited UMBC in April.
For the latest in college basketball recruiting, head to TheRecruitScoop.com for the latest details and notes on offers, visits, commitments and more. To contact Alex Kline, you can reach him by email at MaryKlineClassic@gmail.com or on Twitter at TheRecruitScoop.