• Jared Exler

Philly Area 17u AAU Preview Part 3

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

*Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, AAU basketball competition has unfortunately been delayed. I’m still hoping for the best, and that these players will be able to get the opportunities they deserve to showcase their abilities at some point, whether that’s sometime in the mid to late Summer or even early Fall. This is the second of a 3-part series of team previews.

K-Low Elite: The team named after NBA champion and 6 time all-star Kyle Lowry is a member of the Adidas 3 Stripes Select Circuit. K-Low is a program that is known for instilling values in their players such as always playing hard and with a chip on your shoulder just like how Lowry plays, which has made him into one of the best point guards in the world.

Headlining this team is a player who the Philly audience has known for some time now but is just introducing himself nationally in 6’5 shooting guard Nisine Poplar from Math Civics and Sciences. Poplar brings very good size for his position but what makes him stand out is his elite level athleticism. He is a player who is constantly playing above the rim, whether that’s dunking on somebody or just a smooth finish off of a layup. He is able to use his athleticism just as effectively on the defensive end as he’s very hard to shoot over. What really impressed me this year was the development of his three-point shot. He showed he is a very good shooter both spotting up and coming off screen as he made 60 three pointers this year at 38 percent for MCS. Finally got onto the national rankings recently as Rivals ranked him 108th in his class but that’s low as when he gets a chance to showcase his game more nationally I expect him to play himself into the top 50 player that he’s capable of being.

Adding more firepower next to Poplar is Aaron Lemon-Warren who is a 6’6 wing from Archbishop Ryan. Lemon-Warren is a pure scorer who gets it done both inside and out. He uses his size and skill to finish at the rim on both sides with creative finishes. What helps him to finish efficiently at the rim is how good of a three point shooter he is as well. Has very good form and a smooth release which helps his three-ball go in at a high rate and also opens up the driving lanes for him. Is a player who would fit great in a league like the A-10, where he has current offers from in Richmond and Saint Louis. He went down with injury halfway through the high school season this year while he was leading the Philadelphia Catholic League in scoring so expect him to come in this AAU season with a vengeance.

Manning the inside for this squad is 6’8 power forward Anquan Hill from Archbishop Carroll. He is a guy who has shown a lot of flashes of what he can be with his potential but hasn’t put it together on a consistent basis yet. He is one of the better rim protectors in the Philly area as he uses his height and very good athleticism to be a disruptor on that end whether that’s from rebounding or blocking shots. He has a good grasp on where to be with his rotations. Offensively, he is inconsistent but shows in spurts of what he can become. He is already an excellent finisher at the rim because of his size and athleticism, but needs more polish on his post moves and to show he can be a more consistent shooter both from the mid-range and three-pointer. Currently has low major offers from Bryant and Mount St. Mary’s but I expect more mid major offers to pour in for him from schools in the MAC or CAA when AAU resumes. He has the potential to play his way into an A-10 or AAC player if he can show coaches he can more consistently put together strong offensive games to go with his reliable defense.

Carl Schaller from Garnet Valley gives this squad a strong option at the point guard position. Doesn’t pass the look test as he’s 5’11 170 and not a great athlete but he can flat out play. Schaller won the Central League MVP this year and led Garnet Valley to a 23-5 record. The first thing that stands out when watching him play is his ability to shoot the ball. He has incredible range on his shot out to the NBA line and he’s just as effective shooting off the dribble as he is from spotting up. He is also the definition of a floor general as he always knows where everyone on the court is or is supposed to be and uses his playmaking ability to make his teammates better. Defensively, while not a standout, he is certainly not a liability on that end as he uses his high basketball IQ to make the proper rotations and knows when to go for steals. A very strong student in the classroom, Ivy/Patriot league schools need to be keeping a close eye on Schaller this next year.

Next on this team is 6’6 forward Muneer Newton from Archbishop Wood. Newton is a guy who does a lot of the little things that don’t always get the most credit as he was a player for Wood this year whose main role was to defend and rebound. He played that role to the fullest of his ability though as he uses his strength, long arms, and athleticism to be a menace on that end and has shown he can be a guy in college who can guard the 2-4 positions. Offensively, while his role was limited at Wood, he took advantage of the chances he did get as he was very efficient finishing at the rim. Has very good vision as a playmaker which helped get guys like Rahsool Diggins and Jaylen Stinson easier looks. Is a very selfless player who makes it evident he isn’t concerned about his own stats and just wants to do whatever it takes to win. Has a current offer from Delaware State and that certainly makes sense as he should be an NEC and MEAC priority. He has the potential to play his way up into more of a mid major player if he can show he can create better off the dribble to make plays for himself and teammates as well as becoming a guy defenders need to respect from three-point range.

Adding spacing to this team is one of the best shooters from the Philadelphia Catholic League this season in 6’3 shooting guard Chris Evans from Neumann Goretti. Evans has a lightning quick release which allows him to get his shot off with ease even against taller defenders. Made 61 three pointers this past season for NG at a very efficient rate of 42%. A player who should be a priority for schools in PSAC and could play his way up to schools in the MEAC and NEC if he can show he can do more off the bounce both as a scorer and creator to compliment his already potent shooting ability.

Adding more scoring ability to this team is 6’3 shooting guard Christian Clover from The Haverford School. Clover is a pure scorer who can make shots from all three levels at a high rate. He uses his strength to punish defenders to finish at the rim as well as being able to shoot it well from the perimeter. Has a very nice mid-range pull-up in his game which counters his three ball effectively. Also has a good enough handle to act as a secondary ball handler and creator. Has the game and GPA which make him a prospect that Ivy/Patriot league schools should be looking at.

Adding beef in the paint is 6’7 power forward Tairi Ketner, a former Bryant commit who just announced he will be moving to the class of 2021 and attending Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. Ketner is one of the best rebounders in the Philly area as he uses a mix of his size and knowing how to get position to secure rebounds. Also does a good job on defense of keeping his hands up straight to effectively guard his opponent while at the same time staying out of foul trouble. Offensively, he’s shown progress as he has developed a nice drop-step move in the post as well as a baby hook which he finishes at a high rate. Look for schools in the NEC to again be very interested in him with the potential for him to play his way up to schools like the CAA or MAC if he can show he can become a legitimate threat from three-point range.

Rounding out this team 6’0 shooting guard Steve Martin from Dock Mennonite Academy. Martin plays with a pure scorer mentality who hunts his shots. Is most effective scoring from three-point range as he has a very quick release and can make threes both spotting up and off of screens. Can also score at the rim but is inefficient at times in this regard because of his lack of strength. Took a nice step for Dock this year as a junior and with the graduating seniors will become the go to guy on offense for them next season. Area D3s should be making themselves familiar with Martin because of his scoring ability.

This is a team that may not have the firepower of multiple high major players that some of the other teams on the Adidas 3 Stripes Select circuit have, but what they do have are a bunch of guys who play the game right way for each other and the toughness that Philly teams are always known to bring. Because of this, I fully expect them to be a tough out for any team they play this year.

Team Final Red: This is a program that has consistently gathered talent from the Allentown and Central PA areas over the last few years. They will be competing in the Hoop Group Summer League this year and from first glance they possess a roster that is very intriguing.

Playing up on this squad as a 2022 is 6’8 wing Javon Adams from Olympus Prep (NJ.) The first two things that stand out with Adams are his physical tools and athleticism. Adams brings great size and length for a wing with a lanky frame that suggests he may have a few more inches of growth left as well. He is also a very good athlete who constantly plays above the rim whether that’s off alley-oops or finishing with lay-ups in the halfcourt. Defensively, he uses his length and athleticism to wreak havoc by getting steals and blocks. Currently holds an offer from Rider and expect schools of that level to be prioritizing him, but if he can show he can develop into a consistent three-point shooter and gain some muscle expect schools in the A-10 and AAC to be looking more closely at him.

Adding more size to this team is 6’6 combo guard Daryl Coleman from Southern Lehigh. Coleman is a player who can score very well both from three-point range and at the rim. He’s just as comfortable shooting the three off the dribble as he is spotting up. Has nifty body control with his moves at the rim which allow him to finish efficiently on both sides. Coleman is also a good enough ball handler and playmaker which allows him to periodically take on point guard responsibilities. He is an instinctive passer with the ability to thread the needle with bounce passes in certain situations. Is a player who schools in the NEC and MEAC need to be taking a hard look at this next year.

Coming to this squad from Pittsburgh is 6’2 point guard Alex Griggs who was a standout at Vincentian Academy this year and has decided to transfer to Western PA powerhouse First Love Christian Academy. Griggs is a floor general who understands when to get his own points and when to get his teammates involved with his playmaking. He has a smooth shooting stroke from three-point range that goes in at a high rate along with the ability to finish at the rim with his strong frame. Defensively, he moves his feet well laterally which makes it hard for players to get dribble penetration on him. Is also very adept at being in the right spots and rotations on the defensive end. A very good student in the classroom he would fit well at a D2 school in the NE-10 but has the potential to play his way up to the Patriot league if he can improve his explosiveness.

Giving this team another quality option at the point guard position is 6’1 Davon Lee who will be attending another prep powerhouse in PA, Scotland Campus Prep. Lee is a southpaw who has a cerebral game using his shifty ball handling to create shots for himself and others. Does a very good job of letting the game come to him and never looks out of control. Plays like a coach on the floor. He’s a guy who PSACs need to be all over in this next year but if he can prove to be a standout playing against top competition in the HGSL and with Scotland Campus Prep, schools in the MEAC and NEC should start checking him out more closely.

Adding to the frontcourt is 6’6 power forward Mo Osumanu from Reading High School. What stands out the most about Osumanu is his motor. He’s a player who is always giving his all on the court which translates into him being an elite rebounder on both sides of the ball. He’s not the most athletic forward but because he plays with the consistent mentality of wanting the ball more than his opponent, he comes down with tough rebounds in timely situations. Also does a very good job of keeping his hands straight up to stay out of foul trouble in addition to knowing when to go for blocks. Offensively, he is mainly a player who scores on drop-off passes and putback layups but has shown to be progressing on his mid-range jumper. Any PSACs who are in need of a low maintenance player who loves to do the dirty work in order to help a team win need to get on Osumanu this next year.

Next up on this team is Caelin Peters who is a 6’3 combo guard who just finished up a standout career at Plymouth Whitemarsh. He has chosen to move to the class of 2021 and attend a prep school, although he hasn’t decided where yet. Peters is another southpaw on this team who is a smooth scorer that gets it done both from three and at the rim. Extremely quick release on his shot, along with textbook form, makes him an efficient three-point shooter. Finishes at the rim with creativity which allows him to score against bigger defenders. Defensively, is a fundamentally sound defender who moves his feet well laterally and understands when it’s a good time to go for a steal. A player who would be an instant impact guy at a D2 in a high academic league like the NE-10 as he’s a top notch student. Has the potential to play his way into a Patriot League level player if he can show he can be more of a true point guard and run an offense.

Another player who will be attending First Love Christian next year and was also a teammate of Alex Griggs at Vincentian this past year is 6’7 power forward Angelo Reeves Jr. Reeves is a very good athlete who plays above the rim and uses his athleticism to be a force on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he plays primarily in the paint right now and is a reliable finisher whether that’s off a drop off pass or rolling to the basket off of screens. Has also shown flashes of being able to shoot a mid-range jumper. Defensively, it’s clear he takes a lot of pride in rebounding the basketball and uses his athleticism to do this at a high level. Is very instinctive as a defender and times his blocks well which helps him to not pick up cheap fouls. One who NEC and MEAC schools need to be taking a hard look at right now but could play his way up into MAAC and CAA territory if he can show he can play more on the wing by improving his ball handling and three-point shooting.

Another player giving this team more depth is 6’4 shooting guard Chris Walls, who will be attending Scotland Campus Prep next year with Davon Lee. Walls is an athletic scorer who gets to the rim with ease with his quick first step and finishes at a high rate. Also is a good enough shooter from three-point range where the defense has to respect him which opens up his ability to get to the rim. Defensively, uses his athleticism to make it hard for opponents to shoot over him in addition to being a solid rebounder. Look for schools in the NEC and MEAC to be following his progress closely.

Team Final Red has put together strong teams before, but this is the strongest one I’ve seen put together in recent years. From 1-8 on this team there is absolutely no drop off and because of this I believe they will be one of the legitimate contenders in the HGSL.

Copyright © 2020 Jared Exler, All rights reserved.

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