College Basketball is Here, Alumni are Everywhere
College basketball tipped last night. 353 teams, and their fan bases all began a new four month journey to compete for a conference championship. As is custom with most years, Hoop Group alumni are flooded across college basketball, especially the Division 1 ranks. Whether it was RJ Barrett scoring 33 points on national television, or Pat Andree scoring 31 points to help Lehigh top Monmouth, #HGAlumni showed out in a big way on opening night. Let’s look at some of the best performances from our alumni.
We mentioned Barrett and his performance in the Champions Classic on ESPN, but former Hoop Group Elite camper and Westtown star, Cam Reddish, also tallied 22 points and 4 steals in the game, as Duke looked like the best team in college basketball. It’s crazy that Reddish is the third option on this team. He’s such a talented scorer that he will thrive all season without all eyes on him. On the other side, Keldon Johnson looked like a former McDonald’s All-American for Kentucky. Johnson put the same scoring talents that we’ve seen at the Southern Jam Fest to work, leading the Wildcats with 23 points in his first collegiate game.
Also making their debuts were a pair of 5-star centers, Moses Brown and Jalen Smith. Both Hoop Group Jam Fest participants in the past, Brown recorded 19 points and 17 rebounds in a UCLA win, while Smith could “only” tally 19 and 13 for Maryland, also in a win. Smith in particular we’ve seen dominate games at camp and tournaments that showed he was ready for the next level; both players will continue to be big pieces for their respective teams.
Rounding out the list of freshman that had stellar first games is AJ Reeves. The longtime Rivals AAU player showed why Providence fans were so high on his arrival; Reeves finished with 29 points off an extremely efficient 10-13 shooting in a Friar win over Siena. And then there was Xavier Johnson who will fly under the radar, but will be huge for Pittsburgh this season. Johnson had 16 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds in Putt's first win under Jeff Capel.
But not all alumni are one-and-done freshman talents
Senior Marcquise Reed stuffed that stat sheet for Clemson last night, with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Sure it wasn’t against ACC talent, but that’s a heck of a first game for the senior who will be a major player in Clemson’s success. Kellan Grady did the same for Davidson, finishing with a stat line of 24 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Eric Paschall, another senior, stepped up for defending National Champions, Villanova and had 26 points along with 7 boards in their first win of the year.
Junior Miles Powell also stepped up for a Seton Hall team who lost a lot of players. The former HG Jamfest stand out dropped in 30 points while going 5-7 from long range. Speaking of connecting from deep, Lehigh’s Pat Andree made 6 of his 10 three point attempts, en route to 31 points in a win over Monmouth. The performance was reminiscent of Andree’s performances at the Boardwalk Showcase, where he led CBA during his time in high school.
Andree’s performance, like many others, often gets lost among the performances by players “high major” teams. But several HG alum put in great efforts all across Division 1. Former NJ Shoreshot Brendan Barry scored 26 points off 8 threes in a Dartmouth win, Tyler Kohl dropped 30 and grabbed 10 rebounds for Central Connecticut, PK Flash standout Brian Parker had 26 of his own for Marist.
But it’s not all about scoring
A number of players shined without scoring 20+ points. Former Elite Camp all-stars Jehyve Floyd dished out 11 dimes for Holy Cross, as did Isaiah Washington for Minnesota. Jeff Dowtin also tallied 9 assists for Rhode Island. Former Minnesota Fury and Jam Fest attendee Steffon Mitchell hauled in 12 rebounds for Boston College. Tremont Waters, former NE Playaz guard, had 5 steals. Juwan Durham had 6 blocks for Notre Dame. AJ Brodeur tallied a double-double of 19 and 10 for Penn, as did Stony Brook’s Elijah Olaniyi (18 & 10).
Whether it was a star player performance, or a role player doing his job exceedingly well, Hoop Group alumni showed up on night one of the college hoops season. There will be a lot more to come this year.