Anthony Bellino (@Bellino_Anthony)
(Ed note: Over the next few weeks, high schools all around the greater Philadelphia area will have open gyms for their basketball teams after school, giving college coaches a chance to see drills and scrimmages. CoBL will be attending many of the open gyms; Anthony Bellino takes a look at Math, Civics and Science.)
The Mighty Elephants come into the season with mighty expectations led by a roster loaded with raw talent and athleticism. Last year the Mighty Elephants were ousted from the PIAA Class-A state playoffs in the semifinal game by Constitution High and their powerful duo of Savon Goodman (UNLV) and Daiquan Walker (Central Florida).
Tuesday afternoon, they held their first open gym, in attendance were coaches from Stony Brook, Niagara, Siena, LIU-Brooklyn, St. Peters, Rosemont College and Immaculata. CoBL was also in attendance to gain some insight on the Mighty Elephant’s seniors’ recruiting process as well as their season outlook.
We’ll also be joined by Coach CoBL, an anonymous area college coach (or coaches) who will be providing his (or their) insights into many of the local schools and players throughout the City of Basketball Love.
Forward, Class of 2013
Worthem is the recruit almost all of the Division-I coaches in attendance Tuesday were there to see. The senior is listed at 6-foot-7, 210-pounds, and while parts of his offensive game may be raw the senior already has a man’s body. MCS coach Dan Jackson plans to use Worthem at both small forward and power forward, depending on matchups.
Worthem’s performance in the scrimmage could be described as inconsistent, but coaches love his defensive skills and hustle. Throughout the scrimmage Worthem went to the basket, rebounded, and used his athleticism to set up his own and others shots. Worthem’s ball handling needs improvement to play the kind of game he played in the scrimmage at the Division-I level–as one coach noted, there are several things about Worthem to love, and some things that he needs to work on.
Coach CoBL Says: “He’s a great competitor and leader, really tough going to the rim and uses his spin move to create space. Needs to work on ball handling and extending his range further than 15 ft.”
Power Forward, Class of 2013
If today’s scrimmage was played using actual referees and free throws, Welton may have gone to the line 25 times. The 6-8, 215-pound power forward used his size advantage over his teammates to gain second and third opportunities on several offensive possessions. A St. Peter’s commit, Welton had wavered on that decision over the summer but ultimately settled back on the Jersey City school.
“The reason why I decommitted, I was going going to see what other schools were interested in me, weigh my options out for the AAU season,” Welton said. “Then I went up to St. Peter’s like it, liked the team, incoming players and wanted to go.”
Welton displays great hands around the rim and is able to finish with both his right and left hand. With his size though it will be difficult to bully forwards and centers around in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference when he gets there, he won’t be able to just rely on his height alone to score at the Division-I level.
Coach CoBL Says: “Great hands around the rim and really good at finishing on either side of the hoop. Needs to develop some sort of jump shot and must get stronger to be effective at the next level.”
Small Forward Class of 2013
Powell may be the most interesting player on the Mighty Elephants roster when it comes to recruiting. As far as Jackson is concerned the 6-6 200-pound forward is a player who is improving every day, and will play a crucial role both as a scorer and rebounder for the Mighty Elephants.
The real question Powell faces is where hes fit in at the next level. Most of Division I coaches in attendance were all there to see either Worthem or Welton, and coach was overheard saying about Powell that he “would be an absolute steal at the Division-II level,” but not a single D-II coach was there that day. Powell showed the athleticism throughout the scrimmage that he could play at that level, if not even at the low-major D-I level.
Coach CoBL Says: “Tremendous athlete and physical ability, great finisher in transition and plays above the rim. Needs to work on his translating his transition game to a half court offense, most important he can’t go through an entire open gym and only make one jump shot.”
Point Guard, Class of 2016
Mccall is one of three freshmen on the Mighty Elephants roster, but is expected to make a big splash immediately. The 5-11, 160-pound freshman has a level of maturity with the ball in his hands that is not common when it comes to freshman point guards playing against seniors that are already fully developed. Jackson is very high on his young point guard and sees him as a huge addition to the team.
“He’s actually one of the top if not the top freshman in the state of Pennsylvania,” Jackson said. “I think he’s going to have a major impact at the point guard position, that’s one of the positions where we lack as a team, I believe that with the supporting cast that we have he’ll be able to come right in and be a good leader on the team.”
Coach CoBL Says: “Great feel to the game and plays with a lot of confidence. He make the right basketball play instead of trying to do too much…Needs to work on creating his own shot off the dribble and work on his ball handling.”
Shooting Guard, Class of 2013
Taylor, who is listed at 6-4 and 195-pounds, will be relied upon for leadership in the backcourt this season. The guard did a little bit of everything thing in the scrimmage whether it was score, set up his teammates, run the fast break, or play defense. This is what he is going to have to do all season. With the offense primarily running through the big men, Taylor will get his fair share of open looks and will be counted on to knock down the jumper. While he may not get the big time looks that some of his teammates will get, he will be counted on to contribute this year if the Mighty Elephants want to make another deep run in the state tournament.
Point Guard, Class of 2013
Stevens is the definition of a spark plug. The 6-foot, 165-pound guard was a hustle man all throughout the scrimmage. When his teammates were getting a little tired by the end of the two-hour scrimmage, Stevens was still the first guy back on defense trying to stop the fast break. With the team’s overall size, a player like Stevens will fit in perfectly as an energy guy whether he is starting or coming off the bench. At one point Stevens got hot from the outside and hit a couple of 3-pointers, showing that he has more than just the hustle aspect of the game that he can contribute to the team.
The shooting needs to become more consistent as well as his passing, this team will live and die with Welton, Worthem, and Powell playing in the backcourt, and if Stevens is able to get them the ball isolated in the post it will be a long afternoon for opposing teams.