The Hoop Group blanketed the Northeast this past weekend with over 600 teams attending Jam Fest tournaments in Providence, R.I., and Philadelphia, where the City of Brotherly Love served as the second stop on the Under Armour Championship Tour. We split our weekend to bring you a recap of the top performances from both locations.
(Saint Charles, Ill./St. Charles East)
2013, SG, 6-foot-6, 195 pounds
He has excellent size and length for the perimeter to go along with his big-time shooting stroke from downtown, which he connects on by spotting up, finding his sweet spots in transition and coming off screens. Stephens makes good use of his size and high release point to get the ball off with very little separation. His length also serves him well on the defensive end, giving him the potential to check multiple positions and aiding his efforts to jump into passing lanes.
Noah Vonleh (Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton)
2014, PF, 6-8, 220 pounds
Still nursing a sprained ankle suffered last weekend in Las Vegas, Vonleh turned what should have been a limitation into an opportunity to showcase his developing versatility. While still showing his trademark playmaking skills off the dribble, he went to work with his back to the basket. The Rivals took the title in Providence with a decisive second-half run, which came while running the offense through Vonleh in the post. He not only scored with jump hooks and double pivots but also passed out of double-teams to find shooters, punishing the defense for whatever coverage it attempted.
Jermaine Lawrence (Springfield Gardens, N.Y./Pope John XXIII)
2013, PF, 6-8, 190 pounds
Lawrence played extremely well for the second consecutive week, showing off an enhanced skill set that had him dropping jumpers from all ranges. He has developed into a consistent catch-and-shoot threat from behind the arc, was very proficient with his short jumpers in the midrange area and was even elevating to score over smaller defenders with his back to the basket. His length and athleticism continued to be weapons in the open floor and as he began to assert himself more and more on the glass as the weekend went on.
Riley Dearing (Minneapolis/Hopkins)
2013, SG, 6-5, 175 pounds
He seems to have added another inch to his frame in the past year and now boasts great size, and even better length, for the backcourt. He’s skilled and cerebral with a super-smooth floor game that saw him gliding to the basket in the open floor and utilizing his length and a pretty quick first step in the quarter court. His jumper is an equally dangerous weapon, and he proved it by knocking down what should have been a game-winning 3-pointer against the Juice All-Stars had their point guard not one-upped Dearing with a runner to beat the clock.
Travis Jorgenson (Columbia, Mo./Rock Bridge)
2013, PG, 6-0, 170 pounds
Missouri knows a thing or two about thriving with undersized lead guards, and Jorgenson compensates for what he may lack in inches with tremendous toughness, dynamic playmaking and deceptive explosiveness. He broke defenders down at will, rifled passes off the dribble with both hands and showed an ability to rise up to finish at the rim as well as to get into his pull-up. Right now, his preference behind the arc is to throw a fake to try to get to his pull-up jumper, but as his outside range becomes more of a weapon, he’ll be that much harder to stay in front of.
Conner Frankamp (Wichita, Kan./North)
2013, SG, 6-0, 170 pounds
His game is based on substance over style in every aspect. He plays a simple and efficient brand of basketball in which he lets the game come to him, forces nothing and values the ball -- all of which leads to a typically mistake-free floor game. His shooting stroke is as pure as you’ll find, with great loft and backspin from deep range to make the ball seem to rain into the hoop. Not lightning-quick or explosively athletic, Frankamp is a containment defender who keeps his man in front of him but has a terrific set of hands to deflect errant dribbles and unprotected passes.
Tyler Roberson (Union, N.J./Roselle Catholic)
2013, PF/SF, 6-7, 200 pounds
Even as his skill set continues to extend to the perimeter, it may be time to consider a position change. We have him listed as a small forward, and that’s a role he’s capable of playing, but his area of expertise is clearly eight-to-15 feet, prime real estate for a 4-man. He’s the exception to the probability statistics that call for layups and 3s only and as good a short jump shooter as you’re going to find. He thrives in the mid-post area, where he makes good use of jabs, rips and fakes, and typically only uses a single bounce afterward to either to get to the rim or into his trademark short jumper.