HAMPTON, Va. — The best part about covering an AAU tournament is following along with the kids who go from relative unknowns to hot commodities, and at Nike EYBL Hampton, Wisconsin Playground Elite’s Sandy Cohen may just be that guy.
Cohen entered the game with just four offers — Wisconsin-Green Bay, La Salle, North Dakota and George Washington — but that will likely change after this weekend.
On Friday night, Cohen, a 6-foot-4 combo-guard, was one of the best players on the floor despite going scoreless in a loss, as he finished with seven boards, seven assists and two blocked shots. He found his shooting stroke on Saturday, however, as he led Playground Elite to a win over Tyus Jones’ Howard Pulley squad with 24 points on 8-14 shooting (4-7 from three) to go along wit six boards and three assists.
Cohen has played well on back-to-back weekends in the EYBL, and some of the big boys have started to notice.
“It’s definitely picked up my recruitment,” the Seymour, WI, native said. “I was getting low-major D’I’s and now I’m starting to hear from high-majors.” Minnesota and UCLA are two of the high-major programs that have reached out to him recently.
Minnesota, in particular, seems like an intriguing destination for Cohen as the lanky combo-guard should be a perfect fit in the pressing style that new head coaching Richard Pitino likes to play.
“I’m just looking for a coach I really like and a school that plays to my personality and style of play,” he said. “I like a fast-pace, pick-up pressure.”
Cohen, who is rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals, sees himself playing the point in college, but there is some work to be done in order for that to happen. At this point in his development, Cohen is a playmaker, but he’s admittedly not yet ready to be a primary ball-handler.
“I think I got alright handles,” he said, “but I need to work on them more.”
Ja’Quan Newton continues to collect offers: Ja’Quan Newton is everything that you should expect out of a Philly point guard.
He’s quick and strong getting into the lane, and he’s tough enough to take a hit and finish through contact. His jumper isn’t where it needs to be yet, but he’s got the (ahem) intestinal fortitude to take, and make, a shot when his team needs it.
As you might expect, all of the Philly schools are coming after the Neumann-Goretti product and the 60th ranked recruit in the Class of 2014, but he’s not all that concerned about staying in Philly for school.
“It doesn’t really matter if I get away,” Newton said. “Whatever school fits me. If it’s in Philly or all the way on the other side of the country on the west coast, it doesn’t matter.”
Newton currently holds offers from Georgetown, Miami, Cincinnati, Missouri, Villanova, Temple, La Salle and Xavier, but he says he’s not trying to narrow his list down until after the AAU circuit.
“I’m just playing out the summer,” he said.
Remember the name Terrance Ferguson: Terrance Ferguson has been putting on a show at the Nike EYBL Hampton this weekend. In three games for Texas Pro, the Dallas native is averaging 17.3 points and shooting 54.1% (13-24) from three, playing with the 17’s.
Should I mention that the 6-foot-5 sharpshooter doesn’t turn 15 until May 17th?
Yup. He’s still a freshman at Prime Prep, but he’s been impressive enough this weekend that he was offered a tryout for the 16U USA team on Saturday.
“It feels amazing to be my age and doing all this,” Ferguson said, although acknowledging that he needs to really improve his ball-handling to be “more than just a jump-shooter.”
So how good is he?
“Terrence Ferguson is the best freshman in the country.” That quote is from Rivals No. 2 player in the Class of 2014, Emmanuel Mudiay, who is Ferguson’s teammate at Prime Prep and with Texas Pro. He may be biased, yes, but in time we may find out that it was a factually correct statement.
(Image via Green Bay Gazette)
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.