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  • Jared Exler

2020 17u AAU Season Previews: Olympus

Updated: Jul 6, 2020


Adding strength, toughness, and shooting for this squad is 6’7 stretch four Matt Delaney from St. Augustine Prep. He’s a player who can play both inside and out. Shoots it well enough from three-point range both spotting up and off pick and pops where opponents cannot leave him open. Does an admirable job of using his strength to get an advantageous position when posting up. Scores efficiently in the post with both hands and his turnaround jumper. Defensively, he time and time again gets rebounds against more athletic players because of his desire for the ball and effectively using his strength to box out. Also has a good understanding of his rotations on this end as he’s constantly in the correct position for help defense. Recently picked up his first D1 offer from Boston University. More Patriot League schools will be following Delaney closely as AAU picks back up.

6’4 Najee Coursey, who will be prepping at Feltrim Academy (FL) this Fall after playing at Cedar Creek HS this past year, gives this squad quality size at the shooting guard spot. He’s a good athlete who plays above the rim. Has shown he can make threes at a high rate when spotting up or coming off screens. When defenders guard him too closely he has the quickness to get to the rim where he loves to use reverse layups. Also is very effective as a cutter getting easy layups and dunks off of backdoors. Rounds out his offensive game with a soft floater. Defensively, he uses his leaping ability and length to block opponents’ shots at the rim in addition to being difficult to shoot over. Because of his natural gifts, when he’s fully engaged on this end he makes a significant impact. Would be an instant impact player in a D2 league like the CACC. Could get low D1 schools in the MEAC and NEC to show stronger interest if he can prove to be a standout playing higher level competition with Olympus and Feltrim in addition to getting stronger and showing a consistent motor defensively.

Antoine Arnett is an athletic 6’5 wing from Sterling HS. He uses his athleticism along with his quick first step to get to the rim to finish with dunks and reverse layups. In addition to his ability to get to the hole, he has a smooth mid-range pull-up. Arnett is an outstanding player in transition as he’s a consistent finisher with his leaping ability. Defensively, he makes it very difficult for opponents to finish against him at the rim with his ability to time his blocks well. Also possesses good lateral quickness which limits his opponents from driving past him. Is a good rebounder because of his natural gifts who has even more potential in this area if he improves on getting position. A player who would be a good fit in a D2 league like the CACC. Has the potential to play his way into getting low D1 looks from leagues like the MEAC or NEC if he can become a legitimate three-point threat in addition to taking his ball handling to the next level to become a secondary ball handler. Will also need to dedicate himself in the weight room to adding muscle to his slender frame.

6’7 small forward Keith Palek was Delaney’s teammate and was also a key player this past season for St. Augustine. Palek brings very good size for his position which he uses to shoot over opponents from long range at a high rate with his textbook form. Has three-point range well beyond the college line. Lets the game come to him as he rarely shoots bad shots. A selfless player who is a good passer, finding open teammates for layups and three-pointers. He defends his position well, using his height and lateral quickness to force opponents into difficult shots. Avoids picking up cheap fouls by effectively using his length instead of reaching in. Currently holds a D2 offer from Georgian Court. More CACC schools should be offering in addition to NE-10 schools as Palek is a great student. Ivy and Patriot League schools could begin to show stronger interest if he can show he can score at a higher volume. Has shown flashes of being able to use a mid-range pull-up and finish at the rim against bigger players; he just needs to do it more consistently at a high volume to complement his potent shooting ability.

Bringing this squad offensive firepower at the point guard position is 6’0 Tazir Cantey from Lindenwold HS. Cantey averaged 25 points per game this past high school season. He is an extremely versatile scorer who makes three-pointers spotting up or off the dribble, has a middle game with his pull-up and floater, and gets to the rim with his shifty ball handling where he finishes efficiently with a soft touch on layups. While Cantley is always thinking score first, he understands as a point guard he needs to get his teammates involved too. He uses his good vision to find teammates out of pick and rolls and for easy layups when big men collapse on him in the paint. Defensively, he is a pest using his quick feet and hands to jump into passing lanes or rip opponents who are loose on their handle for steals. His consistent defensive intensity was impressive during the high school season considering the offensive load he was shouldering. Currently holds a D2 offer from Lincoln (PA) and I expect more CIAA schools, as well as CACC schools, to be keeping tabs on Cantey this coming year.

6’1 combo guard Devin Benson from Camden HS played a crucial role for the #16 team in the country this past season according to MaxPreps. Benson was a floor spacer with his dependable shooting ability on a team with players including Lance Ware (Kentucky), TaQuan Woodley (Penn State), and DJ Wagner (#1 ranked 2023 in the nation by ESPN). He excels on making three-pointers spotting up off of drive and kicks from his teammates. Benson is a southpaw with a smooth release on his shot that he gets off quickly. While shooting is what stands out most in Benson’s offensive game, he also is a smart playmaker and doesn't force any passes to teammates for open shots. His effort is just as strong on the defensive end. He loves to get up on opponents to leave them limited space while using his impressive lateral quickness to make them work even harder to get into the lane. D2s in a league like the CACC should be following Benson closely this coming year.

Adding more scoring ability to this squad is 6’2 combo guard Rob Peterson who played this past season at Pitman HS and will be prepping at Phillips Exeter Academy (NH) in the fall. Peterson is a player who scores from three-point range both spotting up and off the dribble, uses his pull-up in the mid-range, and finishes with creative moves at the rim with both hands. While scoring is his strength, he is adept at finding his teammates for easy layups in the paint and off of cuts. Defensively, while he isn’t the most physically gifted, he gives a valiant effort. He uses his high basketball IQ to be in the correct spots on his rotations for help defense and jumping into passing lanes for steals. A top notch student, a high level D3 league like the NESCAC should be tracking Peterson closely. D2 schools in a league like the NE-10 could become more involved if Peterson can prove his scoring ability can translate to higher levels of competition with Olympus and Phillips Exeter, in addition to showing he can consistently defend more athletic guards.

Providing another option for this squad at the point guard position is 5’9 Kyree Tinsley from Cedar Creek HS. Tinsley is a southpaw who uses his slick ball handling and quickness to get into the lane to create layups and three-pointers for his teammates. Does a nice job placing his bounce passes in good spots for teammates where opponents can’t reach in to steal the ball. Shoots it well enough from three-point range where opponents can’t leave him open. Despite his small stature, he finishes at the rim at a good rate with his exceptional body control and ability to use angles off the backboard. Defensively, he makes a solid impact as he’s not easy to dribble past because of his lateral quickness. He also uses his size to his advantage by getting under opponents to create steals when they aren’t strong with the ball. Outstanding rebounder for a player his size who makes opponents pay when they don’t box him out by stealthily getting into the right spots. He was ninth in his high school league this past season in rebounding. D3s in a league like the NJAC should be tracking Tinsley this coming year.

Copyright © 2020 Jared Exler, All rights reserved.

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