Lions247 hit the road this weekend during the first live period of the 2012 AAU basketball season, which allows for college coaches to attend the events and evaluate players in-person.
Hankerson put forth a great effort over the weekend.
The Pittsburgh Jam Fest, featured over 300 total teams and over 2000 participants in total, and we caught some prospects Penn State has been involved with, or is going to be involved with over the course of the tournament.
Ohio Basketball Club 6-foot-7 big man Devin Williams was solid in an early-round win, and helped his team to the 17U final before losing to Sports U.
The Cincinnati native was impressive on the defensive end in particular, patrolling the paint and barking out orders.
“I try to be vocal because I'm going to have to do at the next level,” said Williams after the game. “Playing hard, rebounding, being vocal and trying to be a leader – that’s what I do best.”
Though it was said Penn State was in on Williams hard late last week, when we caught up with him on Saturday he offered some contradictory information.
“Penn State hasn’t contacted me since the dead period ended,” Williams said. “I'm trying to get out to California to see UCLA and USC in June, and I also want to get down to West Virginia as well.”
A gritty performance from point guard Sam Singer elevated his Florida Gold Coast squad to a narrow four-point victory over the Virginia Assault. Singer was running the point with some nice dishes, but took it to the rack and finished some difficult drives a number of times.
The 6-foot-4 Miami native was named First Team All State in Florida this past year and his 2011-12 campaign included a 51-point performance.
“I'm a point guard, but I'm definitely trying to become more of a combo guard,” said Singer. “I'm trying to get better defensively, improve my athleticism, and playing both sides of the ball equally.”
With offers from South Carolina and Miami, among others, Singer has also been hearing from Virginia, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Indiana, Notre Dame and Wake Forest lately, but doesn’t have a timetable for his decision.
Brian Daly has been in contact here and is looking to check Singer out in person in the near future. Singer is an underrated prospect who has some serious game.
Florida Gold Coast teammate Cedric Hankerson is another Sunshine State prospect on the rise. Hankerson, who sports a 5.1 GPA, has serious interest from Princeton in addition to an offer from Boston University.
The 6-foot-5 perimeter option impressed throughout the weekend, including a 28-point performance against Rysheed Jordan’s Philly Pride team, where Hankerson guarded the heralded guard all game.
“My athleticism and speed were my most improved traits this past year,” said the 6-foot-5 guard. “I like to attack the basket and finish in the paint, and I'm working all the time on making a more consistent jumper.”
The National Honor Society member has also heard from Coach Daly, who plans to check out the Gold Coast duo this summer.
Pulling double duty was 2014 big man Ben Bentil, competing with both the 17U and 16U ECE/NJ ABC squads this weekend. The 6-foot-9 center showed flashes of his high potential despite playing older opponents.
Both of Bentil’s ECE/NJ ABC squads were ousted by Sports U – the 17s lost in the quarterfinals while the 16s lost in the semis – but the big man had a busy weekend playing in a total of nine games.
“I think it is beneficial playing up, it helps show me what I need to improve on and what it will be like playing older guys in college,” Bentil said between a 17U victory and a 16U second round match-up. “I'm kind of like a scrappy guy, I like to get rebounds and play good defense.”
Bentil was around the boards on both ends of the floor, and will be working on his perimeter game going forward. Temple, St Joes, Villanova, Syracuse, Indiana, Baylor and Penn State, among others, have all been in touch early on. He is also playing alongside teammate and 2014 Nittany Lion verbal commit Isaiah Washington on the 16U team.
Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports will have an in-depth article on Jordan later this week, who is high on Maryland but still maintains he will take a visit to Penn State.