The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 12 – Hartford vs UMBC

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 12

 

February 6 – Hartford vs UMBC

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This was my first game in a while. I have been watching games on t.v., but just have been super busy. I went to New York for a Third Eye Blind concert, and for my wife’s work event. I also went on a week-long family cruise to the Bahamas. So, I have been all over the place in the last couple of weeks. I returned from the cruise on super bowl Sunday….. That game sucked. Being a Ravens fan, or maybe a football fan in general I am tired of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots. I digress……

 

After another boring and typical day at work, that consisted of many podcast’s being listened to, I left to pick-up my kids from the in-laws. What podcast’s did I listen to? Thanks for asking. I had many episodes to catch up on since I was gone for a week in the Bahamas. I listened to “The Pat McAfee Show”, “Heartland Radio 2.0” and my personal favorite “Pardon My Take”. Once I got the kids I came home, cleaned up some dog piss and throw-up on the couch; then preceded to eat a quick left over Little Caesar’s pizza for dinner with the kids and wife. I bought seven pizza’s for the super bowl, so I have a weeks worth of left overs. After dinner and watching some of “Kid’s Baking Championship” with the family I put the kids in the van and headed to off to church to drop them off at Awanas. My wife was doing a free financial seminar at the church and needed to get there early, so Mr. Mom in the minivan had to take the little ones before I departed for the game. I arrived at the game around 6:30 with plenty of time to settle in. As you can see I have a very glamorous Dad life.

 

The last time Hartford and UMBC played Hartford won at home in overtime. I watched some of it on t.v. Hartford has six seniors and all of them contribute. This was a big game for me to watch since my scouting service I provide for professional teams is for collegiate senior prospects. Hartford does not have a ton of depth, but their starting five has plenty of firepower. They are led by Irish big man John Carroll. Carroll struggled on the night. He seemed a bit off. He struggled to get things going and missed several close range shots. He was only 3-12 from the field and finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds. He also had four turnovers and four fouls. Their other big man George Blagojevic from Australia showed some versatility. He has good mobility and a decent handle for his size. This handle caused him to force some dribbles however. He finished with 13 points, six rebounds, two blocks and six turnovers. Jason Dunne the shooting guard displayed exactly what his position should entail, shooting. He made four three-pointers on the night. Several of his misses were forced up towards the end of the shot clock or were just forced in general. He has ideal size to play shooting guard at the next level. He will be able to run off screens and has a very quick release. Dunne also has solid vision and plays good defense. Travis Weatherington plays shooting guard and a little small forward. He is an interesting player. He is built like a fullback. He’s 6’2 215 pounds. Honestly probably closer to 225. His arms are like tree trunks. Weatherington is strictly just a spot up shooter on offense. He plays decent defense and is a solid rebounder as well.

 

The player that dominated this game was 5’10 point guard J.R. Lynch. Lynch penetrated at will for Hartford. He knew when to play fast or slow the pace. He is going to be a player overlooked for the next level just due to his size and playing at a smaller school. Lynch had 28 points, six rebounds and four assists. He also went 15-16 from the foul line. The fact that he got to the line that many times is super impressive. He drew fouls at will when penetrating the paint, and is an open court threat as well. Lynch played all 40 minutes of the game. The dude doesn’t get tired.

 

Lynch led the Hawks to a 70-61 win on the road. This was huge for them. It brought them to 12-12 on the year and 5-4 in conference play. UMBC fell to 14-10 overall and 6-3 in conference. This also snapped UMBC’s five game win streak. I understand Hartford lacks in depth, but I still feel that they should have a better record than this. Multiple guys on their team could play at higher levels.

UMBC was led by K.J. Jackson who had 16 points, four rebounds and four turnovers before fouling out. Arkel Lamar also chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds.

  

SIDE NOTE: UMBC is drawing many more fans than they use to. They have a new arena and they also beat number one seed Virginia in the NCAA tournament last season if you didn’t know…… The thing I was most impressed with was the full-fledged attacking of the refs last night. The verbal abuse from fans was something that never would have happened a few years ago. “Hey ref watch the replay so you can see how much you suck”. There were many more zingers, nothing inappropriate like you may hear at some other colleges. Its amazing how much people care about teams when they start winning isn’t it? By the way the refs were pretty bad too.

Famous Prince Street Pizza in Soho, Manhattan

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My son Junior and my daughter Winter on the cruise ship

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Bush Crack the Bahamian beer

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The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 11 – Binghamton vs UMBC

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 11
 
January 16 – Binghamton vs UMBC

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 11

 

January 16 – Binghamton vs UMBC

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Another typical busy day during work and after work. At work I shoveled snow and did the all too familiar snow cleanup. I am already done with snow to be honest. I picked up the kids from my brother in law’s house. My mother in law was watching all of her grandkids there. After picking them up I brought them with me to another doctor’s appointment. This one was special. My wife is pregnant with our third child. This was the first time Winnie and Junior would get to see their new sibling on a monitor. They looked at the sonogram image on the tv monitor and were pretty unimpressed, as any typical 3 and 4 year old would be! This one will be a surprise. We have one of each so we are just going to wait until the baby is born for the shock factor. We’re pros at this now, so it won’t be much of life altering moment. We already have clothing for both sexes. We are very blessed and thankful for that.

 After the appointment. I filled up my diesel truck only halfway….. It cost 50$ just to do that. Now that is called a life altering moment….. We went back home and I started to get ready for the game. The kids ate dinner. Then the wife and I cleaned our old tv stand, so I could take it to my parents. I loaded it in the truck, and threw the kids in there as well. I dropped the kids off at Awanas at my church. It was about 6:15 at this point. The game is at 7, and about 18-20 minutes away. So not too bad. I still had to unload the tv stand and glass panels at my parents however. So I didn’t get to leave until 6:35. I ended up walking into the arena during the singing of the national anthem.

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The game was pretty uneventful. Just a meh America East game in the middle of the conference regular season. For Binghamton senior forward Caleb Stewart started off like a demogorgon straight out of the upside down. He had 13 points in the first nine minutes. He was hitting spot up jumper after spot up jumper. Now he only scored three more points the rest of the game, but he at least kept them in the game early. He chipped in 7 rebounds and three steals as well. Sam Sessoms was the only other offensive threat for the bearcats. Sessoms is a freshman point guard that will be a real issue for the America East for the next several years. He can create his own shot and has a good feel for the pick and roll. He had 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 7 turnovers. The turnovers were due to the fact that literally the entire offense is put on his shoulders. He struggled this game with forcing the issue, but I think its pretty clear he will be able to handle it better in the future.

 For UMBC the scoring was pretty well spread out as usual. They have many options to knockdown three’s. They hit 10 of 23 on the night. They were led by senior, Joe Sherburne and junior, Arkel Lamar. They both provide a consistency that lacks from some of the other players on UMBC. Sherburne is a smooth player. He never forces anything. As a matter of fact he should be more assertive. I’ve always thought this and he is starting to feel more comfortable in doing this on the court, but there is still more room for him to grow. Sherburne is very effective in the high post. He see’s the floor well and had some success driving the ball also. He flirted with a double-double on the night. He had 15 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. UMBC is a much better team when Sherburne looks to get his own. Lamar is a well-rounded player. He is a sniper with deep range from three. He also rebounds and defends very well. Arkel comes off the bench at times and that seems to suit his style of play well. Lamar looks to get shots off and make plays as soon as he enters. He is the spark that UMBC needs. Arkel finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Also, I have never seen a player that gets as much lift as he does on his jumpers. Its mind blowing……

 After the game I raced home. I said good-night to the kids. It’s always nice when I can come home and say goodnight to them. This normally only happens when its an early game or a game that is close-by like UMBC. I then threw a frozen meat lovers stuffed crust pizza in the oven, had a couple of craft beers and watched some “Friends” on Netflix with the wife. She watched all of “The Office” series; so, I in turn have to watch all of Friends. I enjoy Friends and Chandler Bing, but I’m a Michael Scott guy till I die.

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 4

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 4

American vs UMBC

Sam Iorio game winner against UMBC

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 4 

November 24 – American @ UMBC

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The next day after my trip to College park to see Marshall vs Maryland, I made the short trip to see American University vs UMBC. UMBC was coming off a successful trip to the Bahamas, where they went 2-1. They had wins over High Point and Air Force. There loss was against South Dakota. UMBC was 4-2 on the season. American was 2-1 on the season, with wins over George Mason and New Hampshire. Their only loss was to Northwestern.

This game was a back and forth affair. UMBC led most of the way but faltered to execute on defense down the stretch. Sa’eed Nelson, the quick and craft point guard for American consistently shredded the defense. He got to the rim at will and also found his teammates regularly. He found teammate Sam Iorio for the eventual game winning 3, with under 2 seconds left.

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Nelson is a problem at the college level. If he can hit the three consistently, he will have a shot in the NBA G-League and for sure a legit chance to be a solid pro overseas. The junior point guard had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Iorio does a little bit of everything for the Eagles. He is the leading rebounder on the team and provides a 3 point threat, as well as playing solid defense. He had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Stacy Beckton Jr. had a solid game also. He chipped in 14 points and 4 three-pointers.

For UMBC it was a disappointing finish. They had the game in hand, but let American score 46 points in the second half. Max Curran had a nice game. The slender built junior, had 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and a highlight dunk over Marvin Bragg. Sometimes the skinny tall guys can extend and yam over the broader shoulder fellas.

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This dunk is a different one. This is actually the game tying one late in the second half.

Senior Joe Sherburne did his normal thing contributing a steady presence on offense and defense. He could still be more aggressive at times though. He had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Arkel Lamar also was not as aggressive as he may need to be. Junior point guard K.J. Jackson filled the stat sheet with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 6 steals. Problem is he shot only 1-10 from the field. Brandon Horvath the other slender man on the team(see what I did there?), who also yams on people from time to time, had 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Overall the issue was UMBC could not stop the penetration from Nelson. He carved them up and American passed the ball very well in the second half. They could be more of a factor in the Patriot league than people originally thought.

Food for thought – UMBC had breakfast food in the media room. I chose to pass. I ate a muffin and had some water….. Very basic I know…… But I did get carryout Indian food for dinner from Tandoori Kabob in Pasadena. Spicy ginger chicken with garlic naan. Well worth the price.

 

 

 

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout

Game 2 of the Season

November 12 – Manhattan @ UMBC

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 Once again it was raining on my trip to a game. Annapolis and now in Catonsville or Baltimore County. UMBC is only 20 minutes from my house so it’s not bad, even while driving an old ’94 Ford F-150.

 UMBC has really stepped its game up this past year and no I’m not talking about being the only #16 seed to ever defeat a #1 in NCAA tournament history. I am talking about their facility, the UMBC Event Center. It opened last year when they were crushed by Vermont late in the season. They of course got their revenge with a Jairus Lyles buzzer beater in Vermont to send the Retrievers to the NCAA tourney. More specifically though I am referring to the pregame spread. It was a taco/fajita/salad bar. It was solid, catered food. Now this doesn’t seem like much to some people in the media, but as far as I know there other gym did not have a spread….. Now I could be wrong, but my only experience out of the three years I have attended games there was meandering my way to a small crowded media room the size of the break room at a small paper company (yes, picture the break room from Scranton’s finest Dunder Mifflin). When I arrived there was an empty container of cookies. All of UMBC’s media staff had already consumed them, and yes famous UMBC Twitter guy was one of them…….

 So needless to say they have come a long way! The media staff does a great job there for sure. In the old gym as well as the new. Shoutout to Mr. Steve Levy.

 As for the game it was a one sided affair. UMBC handled Manhattan for majority of the game, with a final of 75-52. UMBC was shooting lights out from three. They were 13-29. Its very difficult to beat any team that makes 13 three’s. Coach Steve Masiello and the Jaspers didn’t have a chance to match the firepower of Coach Ryan Odom and the Retrievers. These are two really solid head coaches too. I wonder how long Odom will stick around. His coaching style and teams style of play will be very intriguing for many high major universities.

 For UMBC the star player of the game was, K.J. Jackson. Jackson, a JUCO transfer from Texas, struggled to run the offense early and played tentative. The 6’2 180 lb. point guard started playing with more decisiveness and conviction and quickly turned the game around. He finished with 20 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds. Jackson is a tough player to stop when driving from the perimeter and he see’s the floor pretty well. He made 4-7 from three and was not taking shots out of the offense. Jackson is going to be one of the guards to watch in the America East Conference.

The other two veterans for UMBC that played well as expected were Arkel Lamar and Joe Sherburne. Lamar, a 6’5 235lb. junior guard/forward, may be the most important player on the squad. Lamar is a knockdown three-point shooter and has the ability to pull up or drive to the rack. Lamar has expanded his overall game. He see’s the floor better than years past and he also seems to be taking more of a leadership role on the floor. Lamar finished with 15 points. Joe Sherburne, a 6’6 220lb. senior shooting guard, provided his steady play. He played well in the high post and at the foul line. Sherburne’s calming presence is what holds this team together. The sharpshooter finished with 13 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds.

For Manhattan it was not pretty on offense. They lacked continuity and a purpose most of the time. Freshman Elijah Buchanan lead the way with 10 points. Senior guard Thomas Capuano chipped in 9 points and senior guard/forward Samson Usilo had 7 points and 7 rebounds. This team is going to struggle to score. They seemed to be lacking a playmaking point guard and they are a very young team. Masiello will have some work to do.

 Fan of the game goes to the random UMBC fan that was yelling at all of Manhattan’s players by name and telling them they suck and they all need shape-ups. Very entertaining sir.

 UMBC had a decent crowd there. I guess the interest garnered from the NCAA tourney upset over #1 seeded Virginia is starting to generate some more profit.

 

 

Top 20 Pro Prospects In Maryland and DC

Top 20 Pro Prospects In Maryland and DC

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This list is in order of higher rated pro prospect. I value seniors or upperclassmen more so, but still include players that are very productive as underclassmen.

I have finally had a chance to see everyone on this list. Thus the fluctuation of the first one that was out.

  1. Bruno Fernando
  2. Kevin Huerter
  3. Justin Jackson
  4. Jessie Govan
  5. Jairus Lyles
  6. Anthony Cowan
  7. Michal Cekovsky
  8. Tiwian Kendley
  9. Zane Martin
  10. Yuta Watanabe
  11. Marcus Derrickson
  12. Mike Morsell
  13. Jair Bolden
  14. Andre Walker
  15. Shawn Anderson
  16. R.J. Cole
  17. Junior Robinson
  18. Sa’eed Nelson
  19. Otis Livingston II
  20. Patrick Steeves

On the rise: Tiwian Kendley, Otis Livingston II, Anthony Cowan, Marcus Derrickson, Andre Walker

On the decline: Darryl Morsell, Sa’eed Nelson, Shawn Anderson, Justin Jackson

Others in consideration: Charles Williams, Jonathan Mulmore, Hasan Abdullah, Deshaun Morman, Justin Gorham, Darryl Morsell, Jared Nickens, Ivan Bender, Cam Gregory, Chuck Champion, Martez Cameron, Arkel Lamar, Joe Sherburne, Joshua Tomaic, Phillip Carr, Jaire Grayer, Goanar Mar

Howard – R.J. Cole and Charles Williams

George Mason – Otis Livingston II, Jaire Grayer, Goanar Mar

Georgetown – Jessie Govan, Marcus Derrickson, Jonathan Mulmore

Navy – Shawn Anderson, Bryce Dulin, Hasan Abdullah and Tom Lacey

American – Sa’eed Nelson, Larry Motuzis

Towson – Zane Martin, Mike Morsell, Brian Starr, Deshaun Morman, Justin Gorham, Eddie Keith

Maryland – Huerter, Fernando, Jackson, Cekovsky, Morsell, Cowan, Wiley, Nickens, Bender, Tomaic

Loyola MD – Andre Walker, Cam Gregory, James Fives, Andrew Kostecka, Chuck Champion, Isaiah Hart

Mount St. Mary’s – Junior Robinson and Jonah Antonio

George Washington – Yuta Watanabe, Jair Bolden, Arnaldo Toro, Patrick Steeves, Terry Nolan Jr.

Morgan State – Tiwian Kendley, Phillip Carr, Martez Cameron, LaPri McCray-Pace, Stanley Davis

UMBC – Jairus Lyles, Arkel Lamar, K.J. Maura, Joe Sherburne, Jourdan Grant

Maryland Eastern Shore –

Coppin State –

The Top 20 Pro Prospects in Maryland and Washington D.C.

The Top 20 Pro Prospects in Maryland and Washington D.C.

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Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

 

The following is my first list of the top 20 D1 prospects in MD/DC. This list will change every so often the more I get to see different schools and players. Schools I still need to see more from are George Mason, Morgan State, Mount St. Mary’s, Maryland Eastern Shore and Coppin State. This list is as current as January 2, 2018.

Here we go…..

  1. Justin Jackson
  2. Bruno Fernando
  3. Kevin Huerter
  4. Jairus Lyles
  5. Jessie Govan
  6. Darryl Morsell
  7. Anthony Cowan
  8. Michal Cekovsky
  9. Zane Martin
  10. Yuta Watanabe
  11. Mike Morsell
  12. Shawn Anderson
  13. Jair Bolden
  14. Sa’eed Nelson
  15. Marcus Derrickson
  16. R.J. Cole
  17. Junior Robinson
  18. Andre Walker
  19. Tiwian Kendley
  20. Patrick Steeves

 

Others in consideration: Charles Williams, Jonathan Mulmore, Hasan Abdullah, Deshaun Morman, Justin Gorham, Jared Nickens, Ivan Bender, Cam Gregory, Chuck Champion, Martez Cameron, Arkel Lamar, Joe Sherburne, Joshua Tomaic, Phillip Carr, Otis Livingston II, Jaire Grayer, Goanar Mar

Here is a breakdown of prospects looked at per school

 

Howard – R.J. Cole and Charles Williams

 

George Mason – Otis Livingston II, Jaire Grayer, Goanar Mar

 

Georgetown – Jessie Govan, Marcus Derrickson, Jonathan Mulmore

 

Navy – Shawn Anderson, Bryce Dulin, Hasan Abdullah and Tom Lacey

 

American – Sa’eed Nelson, Larry Motuzis

 

Towson – Zane Martin, Mike Morsell, Brian Starr, Deshaun Morman, Justin Gorham, Eddie Keith

 

Maryland – Huerter, Fernando, Jackson, Cekovsky, Morsell, Cowan, Wiley, Nickens, Bender, Tomaic

 

Loyola MD – Andre Walker, Cam Gregory, James Fives, Andrew Kostecka, Chuck Champion, Isaiah Hart

 

Mount St. Mary’s – Junior Robinson and Jonah Antonio

 

George Washington – Yuta Watanabe, Jair Bolden, Arnaldo Toro, Patrick Steeves, Terry Nolan Jr.

 

Morgan State – Tiwian Kendley, Phillip Carr, Martez Cameron, LaPri McCray-Pace, Stanley Davis

 

UMBC – Jairus Lyles, Arkel Lamar, K.J. Maura, Joe Sherburne, Jourdan Grant

 

Maryland Eastern Shore –

Coppin State –

 

As I said before this list will change periodically. This is what I have right now. Stay tuned for updates on prospects in the Maryland/DC area.

 

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