Kentucky Hoopfest: Day 1


I’m here in Louisville, KY, where the Hoopfest is in full force. Many of the teams I saw in Indianapolis made the trip across the Ohio River, but I got to see some players today that I missed there. The setup is much nicer than at the Invitational. There’s one huge building with 12 courts set up, making it easier to get around and see more games. I got here at midday, so I didn’t get to see as many players as I would have liked, but here are some of the players I got to see yesterday and what I thought of them.

Coaches Watch I was going to these games according to a preordained schedule, but just happened to run into Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer nearly everywhere I went. He was clearly keeping an eye on Jalen Reynolds, Matt Costello and Ray Lee, and also watched the Mustangs 17’s game. Coach Izzo also took in a Pride 16’s game.

Ray Lee Very good day for Lee. The first game I saw him play was for the Pride 16’s, and he willed them to a victory after being down at half. Pride was playing so bad I actually texted Dylan during the first half that I had never seen them play worse. Then in the second half, Ray turned it on and from there it was a Ray Lee highlight film. One thing is clear: though he can pass, he is primarily a scorer. That’s undoubtedly where he does the most damage. He was getting to the basket whenever he wanted and showed impressive touch on some tough floaters. He simply took over the game and turned some heads in the process, I’m sure.

Matt Costello Costello picked up right where he left off in Indy. It’s shocking how far along his game is at such a young age. He already has a 3-point shot, a midrange shot and an impressive array of post moves. It would be easy for him to be a finesse post player, but he still goes after every rebound and blocks any shot that comes his way. He showed off his offense yesterday, particularly his midrange shot, which I hadn’t seen much of to that point. He also got some baskets off a lightning-quick drop-step. Love his game.

LaDontae Henton I saw Henton play for the Mustangs 17’s yesterday for the first time all year, and he looked pretty good. At Michigan’s Elite camp he claimed he was 100 percent recovered from his knee injury, but he looked to me like he’s still recovering a bit. He’s running well, but gets a little gassed too easily, which is understandable. He still does his thing: score. He shot the ball well from beyond the arc and got to the basket easily, but needs to finish more consistently. One underrated aspect of his game is his passing ability–he was dropping dimes all game. He has an impressive all-around game. He handles the ball and shoots very well for a guy his size.

Jalen Reynolds This was the first time in a while I got to see Reynolds play, and this was better competition than he went against at the Great Lakes Classic. Offensively, he had flashes but took some bad shots and didn’t shoot the ball very well. What I was impressed with was how he continued to be aggressive and played even harder on defense and on the glass when his shots weren’t falling. With so many players, it’s the opposite. He rebounded really well and played great defense all game. It’s clear he likes to focus on being a versatile player–he made a point of getting out on picks and staying in front of guards on switches, and on offense he used his quickness on players much smaller. I know he can be better offensively, but I was impressed with what I saw yesterday.

Notes I spoke with Jalen after his game and he said he’s been in contact with Michigan as well as Michigan State, Syracuse, Oakland, USC, Xavier, Cincinatti and Purdue. He’s been offered by Xavier, Oakland and USC.

  • Brian W

    Coach Beilein in attendance at the Next Level Invitational. Paul Jesperson scored 27 points in a win.

    Jared Drew, who plays for Indiana Elite One, is getting interest from Michigan…

  • Bluebufoon

    Haven’t heard anything on Javonte Hawkins– anyone know where Team Detroit is playing ?

    Here is a short update on Flint sophomore Monte Morris

    Pangos and Canada take on the US in the 17 & Under World Championships over in Hamberg, Germany.

  • team pride

    michigan team pride 15u have a couple of d1 players,6’5 steve haney lansing eastern,5’10 richie lewis flint northern,6’2 brian morton lansing eastern,6’3 domnic jackson saginaw,6’6joe powell 2014 saginaw

  • Bluebufoon

    Indiana PF Justin Gant committed yesterday to home-town Indiana State.

  • Paul

    GREAT, VERY INFORMATIVE coverage as always guys! Cheers

  • I think Hawkins’ first July games are this Tuesday at Great Lakes Summer Championship in Flint.

  • Bluebufoon

    Thanks for the info SBell. Pangos and Canada fell to the USA 103-83.
    Pangos scored 17 points but only finished with one assist. Michael Gilchrest, who’s headed to Kentucky was the best player on the floor for the USA.

  • sven

    1 assist and 9 turn overs.

  • Brian W

    SBell, nice article…

    Baylor Youth Tournament, Michigan was at “at the 15-and under game between Meanstreets and Eric Gordon All-Stars.” Austin Burgett, Zak Irvin and A.J. Hammons were mentioned in this report.

  • You guys are doing a great job at these camps. I look forward to checking this out daily because you have putting new info out that often. Keep up the great work!

  • aMaized

    notes on Tarczewski, Murphy, Hollowell and RJ Hunter:

  • Bluebufoon

    This is an item from late June edition of Illinois

    Staying on the subject of high major programs in Michigan, University Of Michigan head coach John Beilein made an outstanding choice by hiring LaVall Jordan as an assistant coach. Jordan not only has strong ties throughout the state of Michigan, but will also prove to be instrumental in the Wolverines’ recruiting efforts in the state of Illinois. At the present time, Michigan is still among the schools on the recruiting list of 6’2 class of 2011 combo guard Chasson Randle from Rock Island High School in Rock Island, IL and the Wolverines are also very much involved with 6’4 class of 2012 guard Austin Angel from Boylan Catholic in Rockford, IL, who attended the recent University Of Michigan elite camp.

  • Bluebufoon
  • My bad, looks like Team Detroit played in Chicago this wknd.