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January 20, 2014

Juniors rule the day on Sunday at Hoophall


THE RIVALS150: Class of 2014 - Class of 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mas. -- Sunday, a pair of four-star junior shooting guards and a five star big man stole the show at the Hoophall Classic. Jalen Adams and Jalen Coleman had electric scoring outbursts while Cheick Diallo put together a physical triple double. They weren't the only ones making noise.

Coleman goes off from deep

Since the summer, the class of 2015's No. 34 player Jalen Coleman has been in the gym working hard to rebuild his shot. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard at La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere showed much improved mechanics during December but the deep jumper wasn't falling with regularity. On Sunday, though, those jumpers started going in.

The four-star prospect was on fire from deep as he dropped 28 points on 10-17 field goal shooting and made 8-11 from behind the three point line in a win over Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior.

Capable of handling the ball and running the point for stretches, Coleman can lay either off the ball or be used as a combo guard capable of helping initiate offense. He has an ideal basketball frame with his long arms and wiry strength. Laterally quick, Coleman is also an outstanding on the ball defender who harasses his opponents into bad shots and turnovers.

After the win, Coleman stressed that he is wide open in the recruiting process. He mentioned Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue, Notre Dame, UCLA, Arizona, Illinois, Providence and Cincinnati as having offered, but he's been leaving most of the contact with programs up to his father.

"Lately my dad has been talking to (college coaches)," Coleman told Rivals.com. "I haven't really myself talked to many of the coaches personally.

"I'm just taking it slow right now and focusing on the school year."

Adams is an explosive scorer

During the summer, Ashburnham (Mass.) Cushing combo guard Jalen Adams, showed some serious flashes playing with Mass Rivals. Because of that, the junior was ranked No. 41 nationally in the class of 2015.

The last time Rivals.com saw Adams he had a tough outing. During November's National Prep Showcase he couldn't buy a shot and was a bit out of control. Sunday at the Hoophall, Adams was electrifying. The super athletic 6-foot-1 scorer went for 32 points, 3 assists, five rebounds and three steals while making 12 of his 20 field goal attempts.

Exactly how Adams went about scoring his buckets was most impressive. He made jumpers from deep but where he really excelled was attacking the rim. Adams has as quick a first step as there is in the class of 2015 and is a big time leaper who can finish from all angles once he gets into traffic. His game is all about speed and there are few capable of matching him.

The four-star prospect can be slightly out of control at times, but it is tough to have any issue with a player so aggressive who constantly puts pressure on defenses. Adams has emerged as a major priority for Connecticut and head coach Kevin Ollie was very visible watching him Sunday.

Others involved in the chase for Kansas State, Providence, Syracuse, Boston College, Minnesota, Maryland and more.

Diallo beastly in loss

Our Savior New American took a tough loss to La Lumiere. But, it wasn't for lack of effort on the part of their star big man Cheick Diallo. The No. 8 player in the class of 2015 was outstanding in every aspect during a 18 point, 17 rebound and 10 block effort.

A 6-foot-9 center who plays with what seems to be an unlimited supply of energy, Diallo is active, physical and tough on both ends of the floor. In the open floor he is a long strider who runs like a sprinter and around the rim he is quick off his feet. His offense is primarily dunks and short turnarounds, but his footwork and touch are both improving.

Not surprisingly, the five-star prospect is emerging as a major target of big time programs. UConn, Kansas, St. John's, Arizona, Iowa State, Kentucky, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Rutgers, Washington, West Virginia and many more are giving chase at one level or another.

More Sunday notables

- Keep an eye out on the development of 2015 big manJosh Sharma of Northfield (Mass.) Mt. Hermon. Already ranked No. 87 in the Rivals150, the seven-footer has a chance to make a move up the rankings this spring in summer. Not only is Sharma big, he is highly athletic, runs well and has very good hands. He isn't the most physical player just yet, but he showed loads of upside while scoring 13 points. After struggling with foul trouble early. He can play above the rim and has a good-looking jump shot on top of that. Sharma took a visit to Wisconsin earlier this month and says his recruitment has started to take off. Illinois recently offered, Boston College, Creighton and Vanderbilt have all offered while Indiana and Florida have recently gotten involved.

"Interest has picked up, especially after I took my first official visit to Wisconsin," Sharma told Rivals.com on Sunday. "Illinois offered and then I talked to Florida, Indiana, Gonzaga and Creighton offered yesterday (Saturday).

"I really like Wisconsin, Illinois, Vanderbilt and a few other schools. I'm talking to Creighton a lot, too. Boston College is recruiting me a lot and I like them, too. They are in the mix."

Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy coach Jason Smith has a stacked roster. On Sunday, they all played to their potential or above it during a win over Wilbraham (Mass.) Wilbraham & Monson. Leading the way was their highest ranked player, Georgetown signee Isaac Copeland. The No. 37 player in 2014 has been making a strong case all year for a bump in the rankings and he did so again during a 25 point, 11 rebound effort. He is a smooth athlete who can run the floor, play above the rim or make shots from the perimeter.

Current three-star point guard Devonte Graham continues to get better each time out. The 6-foot-2 floor general who is trying to get out of his letter of intent with Appalachian State is a good athlete, patient distributor and legitimate contender for a spot in the national top 100 when final rankings are done for 2014. The talent doesn't stop there, though, UCLA signee Jonah Bolden currently ranks No. 62 nationally and is likely on his way up because of his length, rebounding and ability to drill corner three pointers. Oklahoma State signee Jared Terrell checks in at No. 63 and was very solid. He defended with toughness, hit some jumpers and was steady throughout the game. Finally, junior Donovan Mitchell is another Rivals150 player. A big time athlete who finishes way above the rim, Mitchell is a major target for Providence head coach Ed Cooley.

N.C. State signee Abdul-Malik Abu looks to be in tip top shape. The No. 50, player in 2014, he has really gotten his body into shape and can be a force on the offensive glass. Abu has really taken his game above the rim and he had a few nast tip slams while scoring 15 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking four shots. Six of his rebounds were of the offensive variety and if he can be relied upon early to play active and steal possessions he will be a huge asset.

Jalen Adams was the main show for Cushing on Sunday, but he wasn't the entire show. Syracuse bound four-star point guard Kaleb Joseph and St. Bonaventure wing signee Idris Taqqee were both outstanding as well. Currently ranked No. 55 in the class of 2014, Joseph made another push for a bump in the rankings with an efficient 17 points and eight assists. Taqqee supplied the energy, willingness to do the dirty work and some solid jump shooting and transition finishing to finish with 19 points nine rebounds.

One of the top available big men in the class of 2014 is Worcester (Mass.) Academy's Matt Cimino. A 6-foot-10 interior player with soft hands, good mobility and touch to 18 feet, Cimino had a good outing on the offensive end scoring 22 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He lacks strength, but as he packs on weight he can contribute at the high major level. Cimino currently ranks No. 138 overall in 2014.

Sophomore four-star combo guard Lamonte Turner was impressive for Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day. A patient and cerebral offensive player, Turner capitalizes on breaks in the defense and had an efficient 16 points. He hit 3-4 from deep and never forced anything.

Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict wing Elijah Cain looks like a move to the class of 2015 is going to benefit him long term. He's starting to mature and has toned up his body. A versatile wing, he can make some shots, will hit the glass and even handle the ball a bit. He's a valuable utility player and had 18 points and four rebounds. Also, be sure to mark the nameTrevon Duval down as one to watch. Only a freshman, the native of Delaware his high level potential as a combo guard. He's quick, he can score and he has toughness you don't always find in a guard so young. He finished with 11 points, three assists, nine rebounds and four steals. He did have seven turnovers, but he'll cut those down over the course of time and it's hard not to be impressed by his aggressive nature.

One of the top high school coaches in the country, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha's Mike Jones won the 300th game of his career on Sunday night. His team was led by a four-star sophomore, a senior shooter and a freshman who accomplished a first in DeMatha's storied history earlier this season. 2016 four-star Joe Hampton is a tough matchup. At about 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, he's got an old man's game built on skill, using his body to create space and crafty fakes. He battled on the interior and the southpaw mixed in some jumpers while scoring 23 points and grabbing six rebounds. Hampton reports offers from Penn State, Xavier and DePaul.

Corey Henson will be a very good signee for Wagner. The senior is a dangerous jump shooter and fundamentally sound off guard who knows the value of defense. Finally, freshman D.J. Harvey looks like a big time player in the making. He has tremendous size at about 6-foot-5, s a good athlete and can shoot jumpers. Harvey finished with 10 points and five rebounds and is the first freshman at DeMatha to start from game one since Adrian Dantley. Xavier was the first to offer him earlier this year.

We have written in the past that Karl Towns has exceptional footwork, touch and ability to finish with either hand. When he starts off getting easy buckets at the rim, Towns becomes very confident and the jumpers he takes on faceup opportunities seem to fall with more regularity. The Kentucky signee and No. 11 player in 2014 was efficient scoring 21 points on 9-12 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds and blocking three shots. Too bad his teammates went away from force feeding him in the post as DeMatha broke open a tight game to route Towns and Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph.


Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.



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