NEW YORK, N.Y.–The Hoop Group Buzzer Beater Classic tips off Saturday and runs through Sunday, concluding the 2012 July live recruiting period.
Below is NBCSports.com’s preview of the 17U and 16U divisions:
Marquee Player 17U: Isaiah Whitehead, Juice All-Stars (N.Y.)
Whitehead picked up the intensity on Day 2 of Live in AC this week, so expect that to continue here at Buzzer Beater. He is crafty, knows how to use his body to create space, and is capable of taking over a game if he wants to.
He has had high-major coaches trailing him throughout July. That’s not changing anytime soon.
Player to Watch 17U: Reggie Cameron, NJ Playaz
Cameron is an elite shooter and a Top 100 prospect in the Class of 2013. At 6-7, 215 pounds, he has the size to compete at the high-major level and has a long list of offers, among them West Virginia, Villanova, Providence, Seton Hall, Rutgers, and many others.
Favorite to Win 17U: Sports U (N.J.)
With a triple threat of guards Josh Brown and Hallice Cooke, along with wing DeAndre Bembry, Sports U made it to the finals of Live in AC before losing to a strong Team Takeover (DC) squad.
Sports U took home the championship at the Under Armour Summer Jam this July, which was the latest in a long streak of strong showings in 2012.
Marquee Player 16U: Abdul-Malik Abu, Expression Elite (Mass.)
The young, talented Abu has transformed his body since last summer and is now an explosive force around the rim. As has been mentioned, one Division I coach compared him to a “young Emeka Okafor,” an elite rebounder with moves around the basket.
Player to Watch 16U: Wade Baldwin, Sports U
Baldwin has an offer from Northwestern, a smart kid with a good frame and the ability to score. He has length and is a solid passer, which makes him versatile on the offensive end. Like the 17U team, Sports U 16s are a team to keep an eye on.
Favorite to Win 16U: Expressions Elite (Mass.)
This team had a strong showing at the Summer Jam Fest last week, falling in the semifinals. Jared Terrell is still injured, but Abu and fellow forward Alec Brennan lead an Expressions team that is the favorite this weekend.