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  • Jared Exler

2020 17u AAU Season Previews: Jersey Force Select

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

Jersey Force Select

Bringing outstanding scoring capabilities to this squad is 6’2 combo guard Marcus Pierce from St. Joseph Hammonton. Pierce utilizes his slick ball handling skills to get into the paint where he uses athletic finishes to score at a high rate. Is also very dynamic in transition where he uses his quickness to get by opponents to finish strongly at the rim. Makes his teammates better with his playmaking, especially on drop-offs in the paint for easy layups. Defensively, he makes opponents pay when they’re careless with passes or loose with their handle by using his aggressiveness to create steals. Also knows when it’s better to be less aggressive and play his opponent straight up to try to force them into a tough shot. Pierce is a player who D2s in a league like the CACC should be taking a hard look at. Could get D1 schools in leagues like the MEAC and NEC to show interest if he can take the next step as a three-point shooter to make them at a higher volume so they’re not one of the last options in his offensive arsenal.

Bringing high level playmaking abilities at the point guard spot for this squad is 6’1 Luke Albrecht from Middletown High School South. Albrecht is a pass first point guard who is always looking to find open teammates for shots. Makes few mistakes which minimizes his turnovers. He plays with a very good change of pace to keep defenders off balance. Excels having shooters around him as he’s great at probing the defense into thinking he’s going for a shot in the paint only to kick out to an open teammate for a three-pointer. Rewards teammates in transition for running their lanes hard for easy layups. Uses crafty finishes at the rim to finish against taller opponents at a solid rate. Defensively, he doesn’t take many risks and would rather just play defense straight up to force an opponent into a tough shot. Does a commendable job of talking on this end to let teammates know when a screen is coming or that he’s in position for help defense. Will need to improve on making three-pointers at a higher volume to be more of a floor spacer at the next level and will also need to get stronger. A player who also excels in the classroom and as a result, D3s in leagues like the Centennial and NESCAC should be paying close attention to Albrecht.

Ryan Smith is a 6’5 combo forward from Robbinsville HS. Smith excels at using strong moves from the wing to get by his defender to finish at the rim. He’s a very consistent finisher who uses his strong body to score through contact. When he can’t get all the way to the bucket he has a nice floater as part of his in-between game. Also a good playmaker who uses his size to see over opponents to find teammates in open spots for layups. Defensively, he makes his biggest impact on the glass with his rebounding ability. A solid rebounder who uses his physicality and effective positioning to rebound at a very good rate, averaging six rebounds per game this past high school season. An elite student who D3s in a league like the Centennial should be taking a close look at. Has the potential to get NESCAC schools to show stronger interest if he can improve his three-point shooting to become a consistent threat in that area in addition to proving he can guard more athletic players on the wing.

A player for this squad who impacts the game in a variety of ways is 6’2 combo guard Jordan Stafford from St. Joseph Hammonton. Stafford excels at getting to the rim and finishing efficiently with his great use of body control. Has a very soft touch off the glass on layups. Also has good vision and can be counted on as a secondary playmaker in an offense. When opponents help on him in the lane he will find teammates on drop-offs for easy layups and spot-up three-pointers in the corners. Defensively, he is quick laterally and makes opponents work to get by him off dribble penetration. Averaged 2 steals per game this past high school season by using his high basketball IQ to jump into passing lanes at the right times. Is a good rebounder for his height who gives great effort in this area in addition to understanding how to get position. Will need to work on his three-point shooting, especially at his size, so that he will be able to get to the rim effectively at the next level. A very good student in the classroom who D3s in leagues like the Centennial and Landmark should be checking out.

Adding strength inside for this squad is 6’6 power forward Chris George from Piscataway Tech. George is a player who makes his greatest impact on the defensive end with his rebounding ability. Using his toughness, he can be counted on to put a body on an opponent when boxing out in addition to getting 50/50 balls. Also does a good job of consistently playing defense with his hands straight up to avoid picking up cheap fouls. Offensively, the majority of his work comes on the block where he backs defenders down using his muscle to score at the rim. Also is very good at creating second chance opportunities for his team by being in the right place at the right time to get offensive rebounds. Will need to work on expanding his post move repertoire to score in ways that aren’t primarily due to his physicality. D3 schools in a league like the NJAC should be following George this coming year.

Raul Lugo is a 6’1 shooting guard from Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS. He is a consistent three-point shooter particularly when spotting up. Needs very little space to get his shot off with his quick release. When defenders overplay him from behind the arc, he can get by them using his first step to get to the rim and finish creatively. Also a solid playmaker who finds teammates cutting for layups and spotting up for three-pointers. Defensively, he has a good understanding of where to be on his rotations and can be counted on as a help defender. Can also take advantage of when opponents are lazy with their passes by jumping into passing lanes for steals or deflections. A player who D3s in a league like the NJAC should be tracking this coming year.

Bringing quality shooting ability to this squad is 6’1 shooting guard Joe Fiumefreddo from Monsignor Farrell HS (NY). Fiumefreddo has a very smooth release on his shot, keeping his elbow very compact. Excels on making catch and shoot three-pointers at a high rate. While three-point shooting is his forte, he has also shown flashes of being able to score in the mid-range with a pull-up in addition to making finger roll layups at the rim. Defensively, while not the most physically or athletically gifted, he uses his high basketball IQ to regularly be in the correct spots on his rotations both on the help side and to challenge an opponent’s shot. Will need to continue working on his mid-range pull-up, in addition to his layup package, to diversify his scoring arsenal as he will be taking on a larger role next season at Farrell. A player who D3 schools in leagues like the CUNYAC and Skyline should be keeping an eye on.

Copyright © 2020 Jared Exler, All rights reserved.

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