CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
CoBL’s writers were all over the area this July, watching camps and AAU tournaments throughout the three live recruiting periods to see which prospects had been working on their games to showcase their skills in front of Division I coaches.
For the Class of 2015, it was their last chance to get a large number of games in front of a large number of coaches, and quite a few area players took full advantage of that to reel in numerous additional offers over the last few weeks. Here are 10 area rising seniors who’ve yet to make their college decisions who impressed in front of the CoBL staff this month:
Ernest Aflakpui (Archbishop Carroll, Pa./WE R1)
The 6-foot-9 center capped off an impressive AAU season with a offer-heavy July. Aflakpui was dominant in the post throughout the month and picked up additional offers from Seton Hall, VCU, Memphis, Rhode Island and George Washington to add to scholarship invites from San Diego State, St. Joseph’s and Temple. Aflakpui impressed at events across the country and is certainly one of the more intriguing prospects in the region. While it’s unclear when a decision will come, Aflakpui’s recruiting will be a big story to track as we get closer to the high school season.
Levan Alston (Haverford School, Pa./Team Final)
Alston’s offer list ballooned to more than 20 as he continued a strong summer through July. The 6-4 combo guard with a sweet outside shot and a frame that screams “upside” added looks from schools like Marquette and Georgetown in the last few weeks, and is expected to cut his list down to six in the coming days. Coaches love his mature, steady game, with his ability to score and create in the half-court offense as well as he finds teammates in the open court, and he’s a very good defender as well. Finished the Nike-backed EYBL season averaging 13.5 ppg shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Samir Doughty (Math, Civics & Sciences, Pa./Team Philly)
This 6-4 guard is going to challenge for the city’s scoring title as a senior is keeps his play up. He’s ultra-confident in his ability to get the ball through the bucket from all three levels, and is incredibly slippery at getting into the lane and getting his shot off. He’s a typical Philly guard who wants the ball in his hands to either score or make plays for his teammates, and he plays his best when the lights are brightest. If we weren’t limiting ourselves to uncommitted prospects, Doughty’s year-round teammate Mike Watkins might have a good argument for inclusion on this list as well.
James Fives (Hill School, Pa./JB Hoops)
The 6-6 combo forward has been solid for a while, but it seemed like he really stepped it up to another level this month. The final game of his July live period–a 39-point effort in double OT in the Buzzer Beater Classic championship game–was a fitting end to a very impressive month for Fives. He plays the game as hard as anybody around, and now his skill set has come around to match. Fives can now take people off the dribble and score from all three levels; it’s surprising that more high-academic low-to-mid-majors haven’t offered considering how well and how consistently he’s playing.
Ahmad Gilbert (Constitution, Pa./Team Final)
Ever since the July live period kicked off with the Reebok Breakout Classic for Gilbert, his stock has soared. A number of great shooting performances against some of the nation’s top talent vaulted the 6-foot-6 wing into the next tier with an offer from South Florida, on top of a number of other mid-major offers. Gilbert displayed a great mid-range game throughout his junior season at Constitution, which led to a AA state title and a public league final berth. If Gilbert continues to show that consistency through his final high school year, more high-major schools will be trying to get involved.
Derrick Jones (Archbishop Carroll, Pa./WE R1)
It’s tough to say that Jones had a “disappointing” junior year, as he averaged nearly 16 ppg and led Carroll to a 23-5 record, but he didn’t quite take the steps forward in his game that many had expected. Well, his jump shot finally came around this summer, and Jones became the prospect that many he believed he could be, putting out strong performance after strong performance at every event he played in. The 6-6 wing has always been one of the best athletes in his class nationally, and now he’s becoming a real basketball player as well. Watch out.
David Krmpotich (LaSalle College HS, Pa./Jersey Shore Warriors)
There’s a common thread in this list, as all of the players named showed us something this summer that they hadn’t been doing previously. It was that kind of summer for Krmpotich, who showed he’s more than just an athletic 6-7 forward with solid performance after solid performance this July. Previously known as a defensive specialist and a shot-blocker, he’s becoming a much better shooter both from the perimeter and the mid-range, and it’s why his recruitment jumped all the way up to the Atlantic 10 with a scholarship offer from St. Bonaventure’s near the end of the month.
Jake Silpe (Cherry Hill East, N.J./Jersey Shore Warriors)
Silpe took advantage of a selection into the Reebok Breakout Classic at the beginning of the month to show hundreds of coaches that he was fully capable of defending top-level guards, and he brought his toughness every time he took the court. His offer list has grown to more than a dozen after Florida Gulf Coast and Drexel joined the fray during the month, but the high-academic student still is likely to end up in the Ivy/Patriot range, where he would be an all-league selection before long. (Edit: Silpe committed to Penn 15 minutes after we ran this piece)
Isaiah Still (Union Catholic, N.J./NJ Got Game)
A 6-6 shooting guard with long arms and a sweet outside stroke, Still is tough to stop once he starts draining buckets. He does a great job of staying active without the ball and weaving through the defense to find himself some space on the perimeter, where he can either pull up from long range or attack the bucket. His scoring ability is what gets him a lot of attention, but he’s also a capable defender who can guard all three perimeter positions; he’s got Ivy League offers as well as most of the MAAC and a few CAA teams as well.
Mustapha Traore (Phelps School, Pa./Team F.O.E.)
This really should be a tie between two players, as both Traore and Schalick (N.J.)/Philly Ballhawks forward Mike Holloway both picked up numerous mid-major offers during the month. We gave the nod to Traore thanks to an impressive final weekend at the Buzzer Beater Classic, where the 6-8 forward showed why schools like Iona, Wagner, North Texas, Saint Peter’s and others all extended offers during the month, bringing his list up over 10. He’s got a great frame, with a near 7-foot wingspan and good hands that serve him well on both ends of the court. As his mid-range game develops, he’ll be a standout player at the low-to-mid-major level.