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  • Jared Exler

2020 17u AAU Season Previews: Jersey Force Elite

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Jersey Force 17u Elite

Running the point for this squad is 6’0 Sam Fagan who recently committed to Monmouth. It’s evident that he’s a coach’s son with his cool and calm demeanor and ability to lead a ball club. Is adept at raising his teammates’ games with his playmaking ability. Finds teammates for open shots proficiently on drive and kicks, pick and rolls, and cuts to the rim. Also a superb ball handler who hardly ever turns it over. He has outstanding range on his three-pointer where he can easily shoot it from NBA range when he’s feeling it. Shoots the ball just as well off the dribble as he does spotting up. Counters his potent three-pointer with a consistent mid-range pull-up to go with an array of creative finishes he uses at the rim with precise body control to score against big guys. He’s a smart defender who regularly is in the correct spots on his rotations which allows him to be in help position. Also does a good job determining the right times to go for steals. Will need to dedicate himself in the weight room to maximize his strength and athleticism to make an impact defensively at Monmouth.

Bringing size as a forward is 6’9 Chris Rubayo from Montgomery HS. He’s a modern day forward who excels when facing up. Has the quickness to take defenders off the dribble where he can finish with both hands and can use a spin move. Makes himself harder to guard as he’s proven he can’t be left open from three-point range with his shooting ability. Is very effective playing out of pick and rolls and popping for a three-pointer. While he prefers facing up on offense, he also has the ability to play on the block at certain times where he likes to use a drop-step. Also a solid playmaker who uses his size and good vision to find open teammates for three-pointers and layups cutting to the basket. Defensively, he takes pride in rebounding where, despite his lack of strength, he comes up with timely rebounds due to his height and desire for the ball. Times his jumps well when going for blocks which has helped him make a significant impact in this regard as well as keeping him out of foul trouble. Has the potential to make an impact defensively at the next level, as he has done at the high school level, if he improves his strength. Has the game and the grades to be a player Ivy and Patriot league schools should be pursuing aggressively, and with Patriot League offers from Army and Lafayette in hand, that is already happening

Bringing quality scoring ability at the shooting guard spot is 6’3 Ray Ford Jr. from St. Peter’s Prep. He was one of the top scorers on his high school team this year which was the 9th best team in the state of New Jersey according to MaxPreps. Ford has a quick first step which allows him to get into the lane with ease where he can finish at the rim athletically to go along with a soft floater. While his three ball is still developing, he took major strides this year and proved he can make opponents pay if he is left open from that area when spotting up. Defensively, he’s quick laterally which limits opponents from getting dribble penetration on him. In addition, he uses his length effectively which allowed him to average close to 2 steals per game this past high school season. Would fit well in a D1 league like the NEC where he currently has an offer from Fairleigh Dickinson.

6’6 small forward Dominick Barlow from Dumont HS provides outstanding athleticism for this squad. Barlow consistently plays above the rim whether that’s for dunks or finger-roll finishes. Can score in other ways such as using a floater when he can’t get all the way to the rim or using a drop-step on the block. Defensively, uses his size and athleticism to block opponents’ shots when they drive to the rim as well as creating steals with his length to create easy points for his team. Expect low D1 schools in the NEC and MEAC to be offering Barlow when play resumes. Has the potential to get CAA and MAAC schools involved if he can prove to be a player who needs to be guarded more closely from three-point range in addition to improving his ball handling to the point where he can make more plays off the bounce from the wing in the halfcourt.

6’5 shooting guard Brian Johansson brings size and high level shooting ability to this squad. Has a quick release on his shot to go along with his size which helped him shoot 43% from long range this past high school season. Shoots it at a high rate both spotting up and coming off of screens. Johansson can also finish at the rim smoothly with finishes off the backboard where he’s comfortable using either hand. Defensively, he has no problem putting his body on the line to take charges where he does a good of getting set before an opponent makes contact with him. Also a solid rebounder who uses his size and knowledge of getting position to make an impact in this area. D2s in the NE-10 should be looking hard at Johansson. Ivy and Patriot league schools could look at him more closely if he can prove to be a standout playing higher level competition in the 17u HGSL circuit as well as proving he can be counted on as a secondary ball handler and defending more athletic players at his position.

6’7 power forward Joe Carroll, who attends Don Bosco Prep, provides this squad with a player with a great motor. Although not particularly muscular, Carroll uses his toughness to time and time again outplay opponents who are bigger and stronger than him in the paint, both offensively and defensively. Is a smooth shooter from beyond the arc who spaces the floor for his teammates, making threes on spot-ups and pick and pops. Also, can score in the mid-range with his pull-up along with getting the ball on the block and drop-stepping to the middle in order to finish with his opposite hand. Defensively, he uses his height to alter opponents’ shots and does a good job positionally when he rebounds, which is why he was a consistent rebounder, at 6+ per game, for Don Bosco. Expect D2s in the NE-10 to be in frequent contact with Carroll. He also has the opportunity to play his way into stronger consideration by Ivy and Patriot League schools if he can improve his ball handling so he can create more off the bounce, and if his game continues to improve in an increased role at Don Bosco this coming year.

Giving this squad another good option at the point guard position is 6’0 Elijah Barlow who played at Union Catholic this past season and just announced he will be attending St. Joseph's Metuchen this coming Fall. Barlow is a floor general who understands the proper balance of getting his own points and making his teammates better with his playmaking. Loves getting to his spots in the mid-range for his pull-up which he makes with good efficiency. Has also proven to be a threat from three-point range particularly when spotting up. Crafty finisher at the rim which allows him to finish against taller players despite his slim frame. Solid playmaker who excels at finding the open man when the defense rotates to him. Always has his head up in transition to consistently find teammates for easy layups. Defensively, he is quick laterally which forces opponents to work hard to get by him. Also understands when to use his hands to go for steals when opponents are loose with their handle. Will need to gain strength to be able to consistently get to the rim and keep opponents out of the lane at the next level. Would be a good fit in a D2 league like the CACC.

Adding further scoring ability to this squad is 6’2 combo guard Ben Pearce from Rye Country Day School (NY). Pearce is a gifted shotmaker who can fill it up proficiently from all three levels. Very good shooter who can make three-pointers spotting up, coming off of screens, or off the dribble. When the defense takes away his three-ball or the bigs block the path to the rim, he uses his reliable floater and mid-range pull-up. Finishes at the rim effectively with acrobatic finishes using both hands. While scoring is his forte, he’s shown he’s also capable of being a secondary playmaker. He makes the defense pay when they give him too much attention, as he has the ability to make drop-off passes off of dribble penetration in the lane to teammates for easy layups. Defensively, he’s fundamentally sound and can be counted on to be in the right spots on his rotations. Shows admirable effort on that end by limiting dribble penetration with his lateral quickness in addition to understanding the correct times to jump into passing lanes for steals. A player who should be a priority for D3s in the NESCAC. Could get NE-10 schools to show stronger interest if he can show on the 17u HGSL circuit that he can capably run an offense from the point guard position.

Rounding out this squad is 6’0 shooting guard Will Parisi from Don Bosco Prep. Parisi is a pure shooter who has solid mechanics on his shot to go with a quick release,, and he makes three-pointers at a high rate. Excels making threes off of drive and kicks. Defensively, while not the most physically gifted player at his position, he makes the most out of what he’s got by using his high basketball IQ and intense demeanor to make his matchup’s shot as difficult as possible. Needs to work on his ball handling so he can shoot three-pointers off the dribble in addition to becoming more of a playmaker. D3 schools in the NJAC should be tracking his progress this next year as he will have his opportunities playing against top competition on the 17u HGSL and with Don Bosco.

Copyright © 2020 Jared Exler, All rights reserved.

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