Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sights and Sounds from the National Prep Showcase

Spent the morning at the National Prep Showcase at Albertus Magnus College. Many college assistant coaches were there, including UConn's Glen Miller and Ricky Moore, who were taking in the Brewster-South Kent game that featured 2015 Husky recruiting targets Donovan Mitchell and Jarred Reuter, both of Brewster, as well as a potential big star down the road: South Kent freshman Tremont Waters of New Haven.

Miller was there all day Saturday, watching kids like West Haven's Mustapha Heron, who poured in 35 points on 12-for-17 shooting in Wilbraham & Monson's 89-82 loss to Elev 8. Moore was slated to stay for most of the day Sunday, ostensibly to see Cushing's Jalen Adams play the tourney's final game at 6:30 p.m. And it appears Kevin Ollie showed up Sunday night, as well.

Here are some observations:

*** Waters, who's being touted as one of the top freshmen in the nation, seems worthy of that title. He popped off the bench about five minutes into the game and immediately knocked down a 3-pointer almost as soon as he touched the ball. Hit a few more treys as the game went on and finished with 17 points. On Friday evening, Waters, a 5-foot-10, 145-pound point guard, was 8-for-14 from the floor (including five 3-pointers) to score 26 points in a 94-91 win over Elev 8.

He's a quick, smart player with remarkable poise for a freshman. Perhaps just as important, his parents, Ed and Vanessa, are very protective and won't allow him to get swallowed up by all the hype. Waters is definitely one to keep an eye on for the future.

*** Perhaps the biggest revelation of the day was South Kent's Schadrac Casimir, a 5-foot-9 guard from Stamford. Casimir was lightning-quick and athletic and draining 3's all game, finishing with 36 points on 13-for-20 shooting (4-for-6 on 3's). He had 22 points on Friday in the win over Elev 8.

Casimir, a postgrad who starred at Trinity Catholic, hasn't been getting much recruiting attention. That could very well change after Sunday, with possibly even some high majors taking a greater interest.

"It's been really quiet," said South Kent coach Kelvin Jefferson. "I think what a lot of people are concerned about is his size. He's small, he's always going to be small. I love him. I saw him in high school, he was one of the top scorers, if not the top scorer, in Connecticut. I've seen him play AAU, he led his team to numerous championship games. And, I've seen him play here, and I think he's one of the best guards around. Regardless of size, all the kid does is put the ball in the basket, whoever he's playing against. I'm hoping that college coaches see what I see -- that he's a great point guard, he can put the ball in the basket, and he's got a lot of heart."

Casimir has another good guy on his side: ex-UConn guard Craig Austrie. Austrie is living in Fairfield and runs the Craig Austrie Basketball IQ Skills Academy in Stamford. Casimir is one of his prized pupils, along with several other high school kids from around the area. Austrie, who was at Sunday's game, said he'd like to get into coaching some day.

*** There are some good bloodlines on the South Kent team: Jordan Strawberry is the son of Darryl, who was also at the game. Meanwhile, guard Kalvin Hobbs is the nephew of UConn assistant Karl Hobbs.

*** Brewster won the game, despite just seven points from Mitchell and 10 from Reuter. On Saturday, Mitchell had netted 17 in a win over Kiski School.

Here, Mitchell drives to the hoop and misses, but Reuter is there for the rebound putback and foul:

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