June 15, 2008

Rumble in the Bronx: Saturday

BRONX, N.Y. -- The summer heat was certainly felt inside of Fordham's Rose Hill Gym on Saturday as the Rumble in the Bronx rolls on. High-energy and production were the ingredients to success as pool play finished up and a number of new faces emerged from the event.

STAR POWER

Whatever the reason here at the Rumble in the Bronx, those that are supposed to be the big timers haven't really played like big timers. And then you have those like Thomas Robinson.

Sure, Robinson isn't the most talented player in the tournament field. And in fact, he may not even be the most productive player here. Heck, Robinson even admits he has been playing "just okay."

But what Robinson has done that very few have so far is play with maximum effort, rip rebounds off the rim and do everything he can to help his team win. The value of those things can't go unnoticed.

The byproduct of his play has been his recruitment taking off to new dimension. Robinson is too humble to say it but the bottom line is, nearly every school on the East Coast wants him or wants to get involved.

Kevin Parrom and Omari Lawrence, the 1-2 punch for the New York Panthers, are enjoying the Rumble probably more than anyone. Both are 15 minutes from home and both are playing well.

However, neither one can seem to play well at the same time. Parrom shined in the morning, crashing the boards and started the break with a quick look up the floor and a snap pass into transition basketball. He was great on the glass and scored mostly by attacking the basket. There wasn't a player on the floor that could defend him in an easy blow-out win.

A game later, Lawrence turned up the heat in the most anticipated pool game of the day against the L.A. Dream Team. The Rivals150 prospect scored 25 points by our count and was on constant attack to the rim. He stepped up to the challenge of the game's biggest day and led the charge for the majority of the game. Lawrence was also great on the glass.

Team Final guard Dion Waiters has been the top underclassmen in the tournament field so far. He's been effective at both guard positions and tough as nails to stop in going to the rack and as a scorer from deep as a perimeter threat. Waiters, a Syracuse commitment, has poured in the points all weekend long.

Texas A&M went to work and locked up Louisiana big man Kourtney Roberson earlier in the week and it looks like the Aggies snatched up a good one in the future Rivals150 prospect.

Roberson is a nuts and bolts big man that understands his strengths inside the post. He was good on the glass in the 8 a.m. game, ran the floor, scored with some nifty moves on the block and faced up to bury a midrange jumper. Roberson, so far, looks like the biggest sleeper commitment in the Big 12 conference to date.

NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD

  • Renardo Sidney scored 10 points in a losing effort to the New York Panthers. The five-star player also grabbed eight rebounds. He was handcuffed with foul trouble early in the game and never got into his rhythm.

    Teammate Jordan Hamilton, a five-star prospect, added 16 points in the defeat.

  • Lance Stephenson, Karron Johnson and the rest of the Raising Champions team went 0-3 in pool play and ended the weekend early.

  • Watching from a distance, Brian Oliver and Dominic Cheek have both played well. The two can score with the best of them.

  • Greg Robbins from Lower Merion (Pa.) High School is a good-looking mid-level player. The Jersey Shore Warriors wing plays a number of positions and with his well-built 6-foot-4 frame, he was hard to match-up with at the point and too strong for the two guards to defend.

  • New Jersey Panthers big man Marc Cisco, a 6-foot-8 post, has been a pleasant surprise. The big man loves to grind it out. He should find a nice home at the low-major level.

    HI, MY NAME IS…

    Perhaps no big man has helped himself more in the stock department Georgia Elite big man Jerome Hamilton so far at the Rumble. The athletic 6-foot-7 forward caught our eye with simplicity around the cup and ability to stick to his strengths.

    Hamilton was great on the glass and defended the post incredibly well in a pair of games we saw. He's still very raw offensively but he's an intriguing big man because of his long wing span, high energy and ability to crash the boards. Overall, Hamilton had the look of a solid mid-level forward.

    L.A. Dream Team point guard Antonio Bigelow, a prep school guard from Sound Doctrine (Ga.), was the top player for his team in the heated match-up against the N.Y. Panthers. Bigelow scored 20 points in the defeat and was a constant threat to score at the rim. The prep school guard is worth taking a look at for the mid-major level schools this summer.

    Martin Brothers wing Jaron Nash was one of the nice surprises of the day. The long-armed and athletic wing from Waterloo East (Iowa) is the top prospect on his team. He showed off his bounce and overall versatility on the wing. Nash is a mid-major plus level player that the high-major schools will want to take a good look at.

    New York Elite guard Ryner Moquette shined for his team in the first game of the day. The 6-foot-1 guard shot the ball quite well and mixed in some aggressive drives to the cup. The high-level student is being recruited by applicable schools in the academic department, too.

    THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

    On the same court with the likes of Sidney, Hamilton, Parrom and Lawrence, the top pool game of the day was stacked deep with class of 2009 prospects to watch. However, it was the play of class of 2011 guard Sterling Gibbs that had people talking in the second half.

    The 5-foot-11 rookie scored all 16 of his points in the second half and helped his New York Panthers team secure a big win over the L.A. Dream Team. Gibbs played composed and poised in a heated match-up in one of the hottest gyms in America. He's been touted as one of the next quality floor generals in the Northeast and he certainly proved that with his play on Saturday afternoon.

    Gibbs said Pittsburgh, where his brother Ashton will be a freshman in the fall, Rutgers, Maryland and Seton Hall are recruiting him.

    Juice forward Joel Wright, a 6-foot-7 combo forward from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, was a pleasant surprise on Saturday afternoon. White was the top producing big man for Juice, one of the top teams in New York, on Saturday. He's been good on the glass, good as a passer and scored when needed. His level of play was good enough to believe he'll be a high-major guy and one of the top big men in NYC in the 2010 class.

    SCHOOL LIST CENTRAL

    Robinson, the top big men from Saturday, said he will be leaving Riverdale Baptist in Maryland and headed north to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. The Rivals150 forward will take a strong school list with him. Robinson said he has offers from Boston College, Marquette, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgia, Kentucky, George Washington and George Mason. Robinson added Kansas and Texas both put out feeler calls recently, too.

    Robinson's Squash All Beefs teammate Percy Woods, one of the nice early surprises here in the Bronx, said Boston, South Carolina State and Robert Morris are interested in him.

    Dominic Cheek said Memphis and Louisville have both jumped a little deeper into the mix for his services. The powers aren't alone. Cheek said his list remains long and open. Villanova, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Texas, Southern Cal, Rutgers and Seton Hall are in the picture, too, he said.

    Juice big man James Padgett, one of the nice surprises from last month's Tournament of Champions, said he has heard from Rutgers, South Carolina and Houston have turned up the heat after the May events.

    Parrom said Xavier, St. John's, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Marquette, Miami, Clemson, Providence and Rhode Island remain deep in the hunt for his commitment. He and AAU teammate Omari Lawrence will visit Marquette together on June 26, Parrom said.

    Hamilton, one of the top sleepers on Saturday, and 6-foot-6 power forward Javon Dawson's list is identical. Florida State, Wichita State, Middle Tennessee State, Auburn, UAB, Jacksonville, College of Charleston, Nebraska, Belmont, ECU, South Alabama, Tulsa and Purdue have shown various amounts of interest in the South Georgia pair.

    Harold Doby, a 6-foot-6 wing from Augusta, Ga., gave a list of Clemson, Wichita State, South Carolina and Auburn.

    West Virginia, St. John's, Hoftstra, Rutgers, UMass and Rhode Island are all in the mix early in the process for Joel White, the 2010 star for Juice.



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