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  • Jared Exler

Under the Radar 2023 NJ Players to Watch this AAU Season

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

Jack O’Leary 6’1 Combo Guard (Jersey Force/Raritan HS): O’Leary needs to be accounted for from beyond the arc. He makes three-pointers at a good rate on the move or when spotting up. Gets to his smooth mid-range pull-up when attacking closeouts or coming off a ball screen. O’Leary is also a solid playmaker. He uses shifty crossover and through the legs moves to get into the lane and find teammates for drop-off layups. Defensively, he has good instincts on the glass being around the ball when it comes off the rim. O’Leary rebounds at a solid rate for his position.

Greg Jones 5’11 Point Guard (NJ Shoreshots/Oratory Prep): Jones is a solid passer in the half-court and transition. He uses sharp crossover or start and stop moves to get into the paint and kick the ball out to teammates for open treys. Does a nice job finding teammates on the break for hit-ahead layups as well. While Jones is adept at making plays for others, he also is a threat as a scorer. Has a soft floater in the lane when defenders collapse on him, along with making open standstill three-pointers at a good rate when the ball is swung to him. Defensively, Jones creates steals well. He uses active hands when guarding on the ball or as a back-tapper.

Jordan Summers 6’7 Power Forward (NJ Panthers/Bound Brook HS): Summers can stretch the floor from long range. He makes three-pointers at a good rate when spotting up. Has intriguing pick and pop potential at the college level. Summers can put the ball on the floor, attacking closeouts to finish proficiently around the rim with his leaping ability. Also shows flashes of some wiggle, taking opponents off the bounce with crossover or through the legs moves. Creates high percentage layup opportunities for himself by rolling hard out of ball screens and being aggressive on the offensive glass. Defensively, Summers uses his explosiveness well to block or alter opponents’ shots around the rim and come down with crucial rebounds.

Nate Burleson Jr. 6’3 Wing (Hilltopper Heat/Ramapo HS): Burleson has a smooth stroke from deep. He makes spot-up treys at an efficient rate. Also shows flashes of hitting three-pointers on the move. Burleson shows good fluidity running the floor on the break, creating high percentage scoring opportunities for himself where he can finish above the rim. Uses his length well on the defensive end. He forces opponents into lower percentage shots when contesting and does a nice job getting his hands on balls for steals. Burleson also has the potential to guard the 1-3 positions in college with his size and lateral quickness.

Ryan Leskauskas 6’4 Small Forward (Jersey Shore Predators/Chatham HS): Leskauskas is a consistent three-point threat. He can rise over defenders with his size and high release point on his shot. Makes treys off movement or on standstill attempts. Leskauskas has some wiggle in his game, creating dribble penetration well with crafty crossover or hesitation moves. Finishes well around the rim through contact with his strong frame. Uses inside hand layups to evade bigger opponents from blocking his shot. Leskauskas also has a soft floater in his mid-range arsenal when an opponent takes away his driving lane to the basket.

Dasear Haskins 6’7 Combo Forward (NJ Scholars/Camden HS): Haskins is a reliable floor-spacer from beyond the arc. The southpaw makes treys proficiently on standstill attempts. Has the ability to attack closeouts, scoring at the rim well where he has a soft touch with his left hand. He has good mobility, beating opposing forwards down the floor in transition for explosive finishes around the basket. Haskins also has the skill to push the ball on the break after securing a rebound. Defensively, he uses his high motor and leaping ability to rebound at a solid rate.

Jalen Pichardo 6’6 Power Forward (NJ Bulldogs/St. Thomas Aquinas): Pichardo is a very good rebounder on both ends of the floor. He uses his strong frame and intense desire for the ball to create high percentage second chance layups for himself and limit opponents from getting those types of chances. Also generates efficient scoring opportunities for himself around the rim with his fluidity running the floor on the break. While finishing layups from his effort on the offensive glass or in transition are Pichardo’s bread and butter as a scorer, he has shown spurts of flashing to the foul line for jumpers or using a jump-hook in the post.

Theodore Sica 6’0 Shooting Guard (Unity Legends/Westfield HS): Sica is an impressive shooter from long range. Has a quick release, needing very little time and space to get his attempts off. He makes three-pointers on the move or when spotting up. Creates high percentage layups for himself, making sharp cuts to the basket if an opponent is overplaying him on the perimeter. Sica shows flashes of putting the ball on the floor to get to his mid-range pull-up when defenders close out hard on him. Also can find others, making quick passes to teammates in the half-court for cutting layups.

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