HoyaReport – Combine Produces Opportunities:

Much of the college basketball world focuses solely on big time hoops. It’s NCAA Division I or nothing. That makes sense in one way, as those are the schools televised constantly, generating great interest. Additionally, D-1 is the predominant pathway to future professional basketball opportunities.

Yet the fixation on that strata of college ball is short sided; many players compete collegiately in NCAA D2 and D3 competition, more still at NAIA schools. Like National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) member institutions, colleges that are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics boast opportunities for kids to play in college, many times at free or reduced cost.

For those counting, that’s 250 NAIA schools fielding teams in multiple sports, with basketball being one.

Recently at Prince George’s County Community College, the Home Court Elite Combine (HCEC) helped not only it’s primary NAIA target market in marrying talented players with programs, but did the same for NCAA D2 / D3 and junior college institutions: Players participating hailed from all four, with a few high schoolers sprinkled in. At least 18 scholarship offers were tendered by attending college coaches! to the 90 or so participants.

“This is our second combine” shared Mel George, DC native, corporate executive and one of the HCEC founders. “The first one was in 2018, pre-Covid. We had 75 attendees, 15 of which got scholarship offers, that day”.

Why focus on this collegiate strata – NAIA, NCAA D2 / D3 and JuCO – thereby ignoring what most in the college basketball recruiting world value the most, NCAA D1?

“Primarily because of the number of youngsters that do not reach the NCAA D1 target group” responded George, a man who excels at identifying and servicing niches. The guys he’s focused on includes overlooked players, non-requirement meeters, those who need additional development for college and late bloomers, amongst others.

In terms of the HCEC and NAIA schools, George et al have an advantage in travel assistance for coaches. Yes, they really had help. .

“Every NAIA coach that attended was supplied a travel voucher” to apply towards transportation, lodging and food, revealed George. “Each received $ 500 … which is totally legal for NAIA member schools. You do that in the NCAA market, you could be in the penitentiary”.

His business partner, Malcolm Battle, also provided great value to the HCEC and attendees, further increasing the event’s effectiveness. Nobody in the District-Maryland-Virginia region has their fingers on the pulse of overlooked basketball players like Battle. . Also few care as much for young people as he does.

“Compiling player lists, as well as the coach’s list”, shared Battle on his HCEC role – he’s a talented school administration professional who is also an excellent hoops coach in his own right, one what has created championship level programs at two separate high schools . “Managing agenda for the day. Basically operations management”.

How did Battle view the HCEC, grade-wise?

“If I was grading it, I’d probably say a ‘B'” answered Battle. Ever the coach, he turned his gaze inward, saying “From our end there are things to clean up … do some self reflection”.

Future editions are poised for even greater success. . One in August is being planned!

Below are several players who attended the HCEC, with brief notes on each.

Amadi Lee-Kane – Covenant College Prep, 6’2 “, 160 pound guard. Really good shooter who has worked on ball handling.

Myles McDuffie – Lake Clifton HS (MD), 6’3 “, 225 pound senior swingman. Is a tough, athletic performer. Northeastern, High Point and Canisus have shown interest.

David Harris – Lake Clifton HS (MD), 5’9 “, 160 pound point guard. A competitor who graduated from Lake Clifton in 2019 and has spent time in JUCO ball, Harris loves to find teammates for scores. Also picks up defensively, is aggressive.

Charles Neverdon – Lake Clifton (MD), 6’2 “, 180 pound combo guard is a good two way player. UMBC has shown interest.

Phillip Flegler – Teddy Roosevelt (DC), 5’9 “, 175 pound point guard can strap up 94 feet, constantly pressures the ball. Attacks challenges.

David Negash – Teddy Roosevelt (DC), 6’2 ‘160 pound shooting guard is a knock down shooter. Plays with some moxie.

Brandon Joseph – Lane College, 6’6 “, 215 pound swingman loves to attack offensively.

Caiere King – Harford CC, 5’11 “, 190 pound point guard is tough and strong. Excelled at the full court component.

Azim Sana – Arundel HS (MD), 6’8 “, 240 pound forward has size and the ability to score from midrange. Frostburg State, Chesapeake CC, Howard CC, Bethany CC have all shown previous interest. UDC did so during the event .

ReJuan Gray – Arundel Christian School (MD), junior swingman is an up and comer. St. Johnson University and UDC both offered on sight, after watching him slash and finish against older, stronger foes.

Who walked away with a scholarship offer?

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