Pictured: Melsahn Basabe #30
Written By: Hoops Weiss
NY Daily News Writer
July 7, 2009
Column contributor Pat Plunkett and I drove up the Pennsylvania Turnpike to see Rob Kennedy's Hoop Group Elite camp, which has relocated from the College of New Jersey to Albright. The new digs include six new outdoor courts, which were put up in less than a week and have much more room for observation; seven indoor courts and air conditioned dorms.
It was nice to spend time with St. John's coach Norm Roberts, whose son Niko, a rising senior guard from St. Anthony's, L.I., is attending the camp; St. John's assistant Fred Quartlebaum; Hofstra coach Tom Pecora, Rutgers assistants Jim Carr and Darren Savino and old friends like Fran McCaffery and Mitch Buonaguro of Siena, Monte Ross of Delaware, Fran O'Hanlon of Lafayette, Phil Martelli Jr. of Niagara, recently hired Virginia State coach George White, Mike Rice and Jimmy Martelli of Robert Morris, Stephen Sauers of Iona, Allen Griffin of St. Francis, Billy Burke, the former Louisville assistant from Brooklyn who has just joined Kevin White's staff with the Gaels; Gil Jackson of Howard, Bob Mackey and Steve Keller from the staff and recruiting service experts Allen Rubin and Norm Eaverson.
Hoop Group Elite has filled the void for Five Star camp in our area and even though the camp has moved farther west, Kennedy, celebrating his 20th year in the business, still filled 715 beds this week and his camp is once again a paradise for mid-majors.
As for the talent, the depth this week is probably down, relative to past seasons, but there are still some hidden gems, particularly at the center and power forward spots with 6-10 Naofall Folahan of Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., 6-8 Shaquille Duncan of Philadelphia Frankford, 6-7 Melsahn Basabe of St. Mark's in Southborough, Mass., who plays for the Gauchos; 6-8 Cleveland Melvin of Notre Dame Prep, 6-9 Raphael Akepejori of Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, and 7-3 Blake Vedder of Impact Basketball Academy in Vegas.
Hoop Group has always provided a huge showcase for New York prospects and we found 6-6 forward Mike Poole of St. Benedict's, guard Dashaun Wiggins of Wings, 6-6 forward Malik Thomas of Wadleigh, 5-9 Reynaldo Waters of Cardozo, 6-6 forward Shane Southwell of Rice, 6-6 forward Dave Samuels of Blessed Sacrament in New Rochelle, guard Justin Exum of Xaverian, guard Harold McBride of St. Ray's - who are all listed on Tom Konchalski's top 200 senior list - on rosters along with intriguing underclass prospects like 6-7 rising junior forward Maurice Harkless of Forest Hills and 6-3 rising sophomore Omar Calhoun of Christ the King - dotting rosters on the 62 teams.
You can't tell the players without a program, but at least they have numbers.