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February 17, 2014
Metro Classic Recap
UNION, NJ - One of the newer events in the northeast, the Metro Classic had a fantastic showing of games and talent with thousands of fans on hand. Numerous players had big days as they brought great intensity to the court and showcased their skills on a big stage. Here's a look at some of the top performers.
Carter, Ellison Elevating Game
Two of the more interesting developments to follow in the class of 2015 have been Life Center (NJ) guards Traci Carter and Malik Ellison. As both have struggled at times in their career, and haven't always lived up to the hype, they are starting to realize their talents and beginning to reach their high ceiling.
Carter - a 6-foot point guard - is ranked No. 138 in the nation has struggled with his decision making on the court over the years. It is something he wants to address and take responsibility for. Carter is trying to become a pass-first point guard, as opposed to one who doesn't run a team and forces shots. He is taking major steps and making tremendous progress as he now knows when to pass the ball and when to shoot. His jumper still needs work, but the three-star's quickness, explosiveness, handle and aggressive nature make him a very intriguing floor general in a class that lacks a lot of high level point guards. He holds offers from Cincinnati, Villanova, La Salle, Temple, St. Joseph's, Tennessee and Rhode Island with some interest from Kansas, George Washington, Auburn and Syracuse. Location won't matter to Carter, who is a homebody and feels comfortable at home in Philadelphia, but would probably do better away from home with less distractions. The maturity and self reflection on and off the court has taken Carter a long way in the past year, and could take him even farther in another year.
For Ellison, it has been about living up to the great hype that was created by being the son of former No. 1 Draft Pick Pervis Ellison, who now coaches his son. Still unknown for the most part, that will change soon. Ellison's confidence has gone up and he is no longer passive as a 6-foot-5 shooting guard. He does a bit of everything as can handle the ball, distribute it to others, shoot from outside and slash from the perimeter. Because of growing pains, he was not able to do this in the past. While he continues to grow, it is unclear how tall he will wind up, but it appears the junior is finally starting to reach his high ceiling. That is the exciting part. Ellison is just getting started and could be a late bloomer like Marcus Gilbert of Fairfield was. Similar to Gilbert, Ellison could end up going the mid-major route in order to have a bigger impact and better future on the court. Currently, he claims offers from Maryland, Temple, La Salle, Penn State and St. Joseph's. The Terrapins will be an interesting school to follow in his recruitment as his sister will play for the Terps in the fall.
While some compare him to Creighton senior Doug McDermott, a better comparison may be former NBA player Mike Dunleavy Jr. for Amarveer Singh.
The 2016 6-foot-7 small forward from St. Peter's Prep (NJ) is bound to blow up this spring when more schools see him. For now, however, he continues to perfect his craft game after game. A very efficient, versatile wing who can do anything from finish in the post to hit deadeye three's, Singh has a bright future ahead of him.
Oregon State, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Villanova, Seton Hall, Creighton, Virginia and Princeton have offered the sophomore, and Kansas closely evaluated him on Sunday. When he went to see Creighton play, he met McDermott and noticed some similarities in the way they shoot and play.
Singh is so developed and mature at an early age, which makes his destiny even more fascinating to watch because he is still unknown and so far away from hitting his ceiling. He needs to get stronger and work on his on-ball defense, but is more athletic than most give him credit for. He creates for teammates on top of being able to score in a plethora of ways. Point blank: Amarveer Singh could have one of the biggest springs on the U17 EYBL circuit as he will surprise and dazzle in a variety of ways.
Eubanks Remains Open
When Kobie Eubanks opted to leave sunny Florida for up and coming national powerhouse Our Savior New American (NY), few had any idea of how impactful his senior campaign would be. Eubanks is now one of the hottest unsigned seniors heading into the Spring Signing Period as a 2014 6-foot-5 shooting guard.
Eubanks is possibly the best scoring guard available in the class as his strong upper body mixed with his shooting and improved driving skills are all coming together. This has led to a major boost in the senior's recruitment going from a mid-major guard to a high-major lock, if he chooses to do so.
He is expected to narrow his list at months end, but for now he is considering offers from Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Wichita State, Murray State, Florida Gulf Coast, Missouri, Baylor, Florida State and USC with interest from Louisville, Michigan and Georgia. The Panthers have made him a major priority as they already have a commitment from his teammate, Damon Wilson, and are aggressively targeting Cheick Diallo and Kassoum Yakwe.
A visit to Pittsburgh is in the works, but despite the ACC school coming on strong, others are pushing hard, including darkhorse Minnesota.
Dickerson Adjusting to New Situation
The No. 43 player in the nation wanted a bigger challenge than North Atlanta (GA). Noah Dickerson will get that following a mid-year transfer to Montverde Academy (FL). Right now, he is sitting out as he needs to work his way into the rotation and fit in with the current team's chemistry, but long term this is big for the 2015 power forward.
A very skilled post player, Dickerson boasts great hands and footwork, as well as a good feel in the post. He can shoot the 15-foot jumper, but wants to continue to improve his handle in the post. This move to Montverde will help that and more, along with his recruitment.
With Ohio State commit D'Angelo Russell as his new teammate, Dickerson is benefitting with the Buckeyes staff coming to see him more than usual. Ohio State head coach Thad Matta was into see him Sunday night. Along with the Buckeyes, the four-star prospect is being targeted hard by Georgetown, Florida and UConn - all of whom have offered - and Duke and Michigan, which are showing interest. One has to be curious how the next six months can impact Dickerson's stock, whether it be through rankings, on-court improvement, recruitment, and possibly all.
It hasn't been as big of a year nationally for St. Benedict's (NJ), but the Gray Bees are still talented. Two key underclassmen for them are 2017 guard Trevon Duval and 2015 wing Elijah Cain. Duval - one of the top freshmen in the northeast - holds offers from Villanova, Rutgers and Seton Hall because of his early productivity. This is a result of great athleticism, length and his court vision. He is not a point guard yet, and isn't exactly a shooting guard as his jumper still needs work. At about 6-foot-1, his development and growth could determine how highly coveted he is. Cain, on the other hand, is a reclassified player who is reeking the benefits of being younger and getting to repeat. Memphis was the first high-major school to offer him this past week based off his big body and ability to score in transition. Maryland, Creighton, Virginia and others have been coming hard for the 6-foot-6 wing, who must find consistency in his on-ball defense, handle and jumper.
With Singh's skills on display, two other St. Peter's Prep (NJ) guards flashed signs of what they could do. 2016 shooting guard Najja Hunter and 2017 point guard Nate Pierre-Louis are still young and in their developmental stage as raw prospects. Both have bright futures ahead, however. The sophomore's specialty is attacking the basket in transition, but needs to become a complete shooting guard by solidifying a consistent jump shot and getting stronger. Rutgers, Oregon State, Fordham, Wagner and Seton Hall like what they see, though, and all have offered the skilled slasher. Pierre-Louis came into high school with a lot of hype, and has done a good job of addressing it as he has put up consistently strong numbers in points, assists and rebounds nearly every game. On Sunday night he needed to be more assertive with the ball, but wasn't for the most part. As he runs the point, the freshman tries to find a good balance of scoring the ball while finding an open teammate in an ideal position to score. His future is very bright and Penn State, Florida State, Rutgers, Wagner, Seton Hall and others believe so as they've offered. More will come for both young guns.
There was some confusion behind the recruitment of 2014 Life Center (NJ) power forward Malik Hines as some believed he was committed to Ohio State. That is not the case. The Buckeyes are the Mississippi native's favorite at the moment. That doesn't necessarily mean they will take him, though. Baylor, Miami and Penn State are the other schools he lists as being involved in his recruitment. An undecided power forward, who finishes strong inside, Hines makes an appealing spring option to some.
Two high-academic recruits in the 2015 class are power forward Sammy Friday of Hudson Catholic (NJ) and wing Isaiah Still of Union Catholic (NJ). Both had big days on the hardwood. Friday is an undersized post player that does a great job of boxing out and giving his team second chances with offensive rebounds and putbacks. He holds two scholarships from Holy Cross and St. Peter's with interest coming his way from Monmouth, Marist, Iona and Quinnipiac. Still has been shooting the ball a lot better, which has opened up his game and allows him to drive to the basket. A solid rebounder, Still holds offers from Lehigh, Harvard, Iona and Siena. Quinnipiac has yet to offer, but may be tracking him the hardest with a likely offer from them coming soon along with Monmouth.
One of the more gutsy performances of the day was in the nightcap where 2016 guard Breein Tyree of St. Joseph's Metuchen (NJ) showed his ability to distribute the ball, as well as score. Still very much undersized, he is starting to gain recognition and recently received a Richmond offer. LIU, Monmouth, Loyola (MD) and Holy Cross are also heavily involved for the developing talent, who did not play varsity last year.
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.