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  • Jared Exler

Under the Radar High School Players who Need your Attention when Games Resume: NY/NJ

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Franklin Infante 5’11 160 Point Guard 2021-East Rockaway (NY): Infante is a floor general who balances his scoring and playmaking ability for his teammates well. Shoots it consistently from the three-point line both spotting up and coming off screens. Very crafty finisher at the rim to go along with an accurate floater for his in-between game. Uses his playmaking ability both in transition and the half court. If one of his teammates is sprinting down the floor for an open layup or three-pointer in transition, Infante will find him. In the half court, when he gets dribble penetration to get into the lane and the defense collapses on him he’s adept at making drop-off passes to a teammate for an easy layup. Defensively, he’s quick laterally which makes it difficult to get dribble penetration on him and he knows when to use his hands to create steals. Will need to improve his strength to be a reliable defender at the college level. D3 schools in the Empire 8 and SUNYAC should have their eye on Infante this next year.

Niko Ruffin 6’0 175 Shooting Guard 2021-Paramus Catholic (NJ): Playing for a very strong program at Paramus Catholic, Ruffin provided them with an excellent floor spacer this season with his shooting ability. A player who doesn’t demand the ball and thrives off ball movement to make his greatest impact. He has a quick and compact release on his shot to go with deep range. This has made him into one of the best shooters in North Jersey. Just as comfortable shooting off screens as he is from spotting up. Does a good job of letting his shots come to him and rarely shoots any bad shots. Has shown he’s more than just a shooter with his ability to get to the rim and finish with a good percentage. Likes using reverse layups in certain situations to get his shot off and confuse opposing defenders. Expect D3 schools in the NJAC to be attending plenty of Ruffin’s games in the near future.

Alijah England 6’4 195 Combo Guard 2021-Curtis (NY): England is a very intriguing prospect because of his size and ability to play above the rim with his athleticism. Uses his strong body to go with his skill and athleticism to finish efficiently at the rim. While getting to the rim is his first option offensively, he’s shown enough as a shooter where he can’t be left open. Is also good enough as a ball handler and playmaker to play at the point guard spot in certain situations. Defensively, he uses his athleticism to wreak havoc whether that’s from jumping into the passing lanes for a steal or deflection, or just causing a lower percentage shot for his matchup. A player who was consistent throughout this past high school season but took his game to another level at the very end of the season. D2 schools in the ECC and NE-10 should become familiar with England as a potential fit for their programs.

Pat Healy 6’1 170 Point Guard 2021-Northport (NY): Healy is a point guard who was a leader for one of the best teams in Long Island this past high school season. A player who raises the play of others around him and it’s evident his teammates enjoy having him run the show. He’s a three level scorer who has a smooth stroke from long range, an in between game with his pull-up jumper and floater, as well as the ability to finish at a high rate on both sides of the rim using either hand. Strong ball handler who uses his skills to pick apart defenses and find open teammates with his passing ability. Is smart as a decision maker as he hardly ever turns the ball over. He’s a good athlete who uses that on the defensive side of the ball to make it difficult for his matchup to get dribble penetration on him in addition to having the court sense of when to go for a steal. A strong student who D2s in the NE-10 should be looking at.

Jacob Morales 6’4 185 Small Forward 2021-Pascack Hills (NJ): A player whose bread and butter is his mid-range game with his pull-up that he makes with high frequency. Also has a soft touch when finishing around the rim where he loves to use a spin move to get his shots off. Solid playmaker as well who is adept at finding open teammates for high percentage shots. Has even more potential in the playmaking category as he improves as a ball handler. Defensively, he has good instincts about when to jump into passing lanes to go for steals in addition to being a smart defender in the halfcourt on his rotations. Very good rebounder who both gets good position and gives maximum effort going for the ball. A player who D3s in the NJAC will need to make a priority this season. Has the potential to garner some D2 looks if he can develop into a legitimate secondary ball handler in addition to showing he can make three-pointers at a higher volume.

Patrick Gardner 5’10 170 Point Guard 2021-Monsignor Farrell (NY): Gardner formed a potent backcourt this season for Farrell with Justin Zieris who is headed to play for College of Staten Island next season. Gardner has the ability to score at all three levels with his smooth shooting stroke from three, consistent mid-range pull-up, and despite his small stature, finish at the rim over taller defenders with slick finishes. Solid playmaker as well who makes the right decisions when defenders help on him. Defensively, he does a commendable job of using his size to his advantage as he gets under defenders when they are loose with their handle to create steals. Also possesses very good lateral quickness which makes opponents have to work especially hard to get past him. A player who I expect to take another step this year as he assumes greater responsibilities with Zieris graduating. D3 schools in the CUNYAC should be following his progress this year.

Daniel Boateng 6’6 200 Wing 2021-Woodbridge (NJ): The first thing that stands out when watching Boateng play is his playmaking ability for his size. He can make a variety of passes both in transition and halfcourt using his size to see over defenders. If a teammate runs hard on the break or is open spotting up for a three in the halfcourt off of his dribble penetration, Boateng will find them. A dependable finisher at the rim whether off of post-ups or drives. He’s a good enough three-point shooter where he can’t be left open which opens up his playmaking opportunities even more. Defensively, he understands how to use his size to make it difficult for opponents to finish at the rim as well as the correct times to be aggressive and go for a steal. Also a quality rebounder who has the necessary willpower of wanting the ball and understanding position to make an impact in this regard. D2 schools in the CACC should be taking a hard look at Boateng.

Gavin O’Farrell 6’7 220 Center 2021-St Peter’s Prep (NJ): Playing for one of the top teams in the state of New Jersey, O’Farrell embraced his role of being a guy whose main job was to defend and rebound. His toughness is evident when watching him play as he loves to get on the floor for loose balls or get physical for a rebound. Moves well for a player his size which helps him rotate on defense very efficiently. Has a good grasp of keeping his hands up straight on defense to stay out of foul trouble. Offensively, the majority of his points come off layups on drop-offs or offensive rebounds but he does this effectively. O’Farrell is a player coaches love because it’s clear he is not focused on individual stats and wants to do whatever is needed to give his team the best chance to win. Winning programs need a player like O’Farrell, so D3 schools in conferences like the NJAC should be keeping in contact with him this coming year.

Copyright © 2020 Jared Exler, All rights reserved.

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