Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
The Reebok Breakout Challenge, hosted at Philadelphia University this week, brings together 100 of the top high school basketball players in the country to play in front of collegiate coaches during one of the July open recruiting periods. City of Baskeball Love will be at Philly U this week, filing reports on the players participating in the event.
The first night of the 2012 Reebok Breakout Challenge took place on just two of the three courts; I stayed put on Court Two for two games. There were a few kids who made an impression:
Aaron and Andrew Harrison Class of 2013
After watching these Texas twins play in person for the first time on Wednesday, there was no way I could write about them separately. Both ranked in the top 10 nationally for the senior class by every major recruiting service, Andrew (a point guard) and Aaron (a shooting guard) led their AAU team to a 100-61 victory in the first game I took in. You can’t even call the two of them prospects–Aaron shot 6-of-11 from beyond the arc for 28 points; Andrew had 11 (on six shots), five assists and six steals.
Both of them are listed at 6-foot-5 and look every inch of it with NBA-ready bodies. One coach I talked to told me “whatever team gets them goes to the Final Four,” and the way they played today it was tough to argue. Physical, attacking guards who play very well off each other, the Harrison twins put on a show. Baylor, Kentucky, SMU, Maryland and Villanova are listed on ESPN as possible destinations for both Harrisons.
Zach Haney Class of 2014
Haney is a 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward who said he plays center for his high school team but actually prefers to play as a shooting guard/small forward. Indeed, Haney spent a lot of time out on the wing on offense (playing on the same team as the Harrisons), crashing the boards for five rebounds (in 13 minutes) to go along with his four points and one block, steal and assist. A rising junior at Atascocita (Tx.), he said he holds offers from Texas A&M and South Carolina after scoring about 10 points per game and eight rebounds in his sophomore year.
Malik Newman Class of 2015
Newman, one of the top rising sophomores in the country, looked nothing like one of the youngest players at the Breakout Camp when he scored 15 points in Game Two. A 6-4 shooting guard from Calloway High School (Miss.), ESPN Recruiting has him as the fourth-best player in the entire 2015 class. A confident combo guard with a smooth shot, Newman looks and plays at least two years above where many of his classmates are at this point in their careers. Is on track to be a potential one-and-done, and almost certain to be a ultra-high-major prospect–especially if he grows another inch or two. On the same team as five-star prospect Jermaine Lawrence, it was Newman who stole the show.
Rysheed Jordan Class of 2013
Jordan and Miles Overton played together in Game Two, with Jordan scoring nine points and Overton adding 12 in a 64-59 victory. Jordan, a rising senior at Vaux, showed off the athleticism and slasher’s mentality that has him high on the wish list of every area school, but showed off some flaws in his game, too. At one point, the 6-4 point guard passed up an open 3-pointer and had to settle for a contested 18-footer, which he missed. While attacking the rim is a good quality, he needs to learn when to take the open shot instead of trying to initiate contact on every single possession.
Obi Oleka Class of 2013
A strong, 6-foot-8 power forward, Oleka showed off surprising touch on his jump shot as one of the standouts in Game Two. Finishing with 12 points on the same team as Overton and Jordan, Oleka held his end at both ends of the court. A rising senior at Florida Christian in Fort Myers, Oleka doesn’t have a profile on any of the major recruiting services–but that could certainly change if he keeps playing the way he did on Day 1 at the Reebok Breakout Challenge.