Without a doubt the most attended of the fall for NCAA coaches, the Philly Showcase has turned into a can’t miss weekend for players, coaches and media alike. The people at NXT Sports do a remarkable job running the weekend on the immaculate campus of Episcopal Academy and simply know how to run an event down to every single detail.
Though the vast amount of 2017 verbals may have slightly affected the level of play, there were zero complaints on my end. Well, except for the treacherous cold conditions. Well over 100 college coaches made the trip – some staffs doubling up for the weekend – whether it was a high Division I like UNC or Notre Dame looking for the so-called late bloomer, mid-to-high D1’s hoping to start gathering some names for their recruiting board or DII and DIII’s getting things going in the 2016 class. There were very few committed players (I’d estimate under 10) in attendance, however dozens of recruits helped their college options with standout performances.
Since I essentially set up shop in the Philly suburbs on November weekends, I stopped by the NXT Charity Showdown on a super cold Friday night in the southern part of the city to watch a few players in particular for my own personal notes. Then on Saturday, I spent much of the day trying to see as many 2017’s as I possibly could, making time for juniors when time allowed. Also stayed for the King of the X competition and 1.5 All-Star Games before succumbing to the cold and heading into the warmth to watch my beloved Crimson Tide knock off top-ranked Mississippi State.
I’m rambling now and you really don’t care, so now onto who caught my eye on Sunday. Before I do that, however, I have to thank people like Andy Hayes, Brett Manney, Marty Kupprion and Matt Chandik (among many others) who made it an awesome weekend with great hospitality. Pumped to be back next weekend for the Philly Freshman Showcase.
Alex Calkins, M, CBA-Syracuse (N.Y.) / Upstate Elite – Passing the eye test, Calkins is a big body who doesn’t beat defenders based on foot speed but with well executed dodges and a quick overhand release on his outside shot. Ric Beardsley’s pupil hustles hard and was able to make a series of nice plays in overtime, including a gorgeous look to Thomas Tenney to make it 4-2. Based on his performance over the weekend, I’d imagine that his college options will increase.
Matthew Cameron, M, Blue Ridge (Va.) / West Coast Starz – A Western Canadian, the lefty British Columbia native has an absolute laser of an outside shot, which he sometimes confidently stroked from near the restraining line. He has some pretty nice foot speed and was able to stretch the defensive with regularity, also doing a nice job in the All-Star Game.
Jacob Coleman, G, Riverhead (N.Y.) / LI Outlaws – Coleman consistently intimidated and baited shooters with his play, holding his ground and calmly collecting save after save when I watched him in the morning. He was great on low shots and had a bevy of great stops as well as money outlets to breaking midfielders and longpoles. Strong Division I re
Gavin Garrity-Rokous, M/FO, Middlesex (Mass.) / Laxachusetts – Hard nosed and scrappy, Garrity-Rokous had one of the best plays of the All-Star Game. It was a sick individual effort, spinning and bouncing off defenders before roll-dodging into a low shot. A lefty, he does a lot of things well and helped his team all day between the lines with heads up plays.
David Gottesman, G, Wando (S.C.) / Loggerheads – Here’s an intriguing prospect from the South, who despite his non-traditional hotbed status, has very strong technique and communication habits. Gottesman’s height is more than adequate, which allowed him to intercept a few passes when I watched him. He’s a surefire Division I recruit, though he’ll need to touch up his consistency first, as a goal or two went in that he should have stopped.
Jimmy Heidt, A, Brunswick (Conn.) / Eclipse – A crafty and explosive dodger, Heidt was often get to the spots of the field where he was most successful, within eight yards or so where the Greenwich native also showed impressive vision. Love his slick hands, IQ and footwork – three assets I can see thriving in the Ivy or Patriot League, among others.
Woody Kelly, M, Gilman (Md.) / FCA – Kelly is a player who, despite missing the All-Star Game, should feel very confident about the way he showcased his skills over the weekend. He possesses a fundamentally sound shot on the run, a lights out first step from up top and impressive two-handedness. Cashed in whenever he had the opportunity for time and room shots.
Jack Kiernan, A, Ridgewood (N.J.) / NJ Riot – What a talented lefty Kiernan is, following up a fantastic Saturday with a great Sunday at FLG in 3d from what I’ve heard. He’s shifty and confident when the ball is in his stick, giving defenses fits from all over the field with his dodging style and super-quick and accurate shot. Clearly a player who knows how to play the game and make the right decisions, also showing off some nice plays in the riding game.
Ryan Magnuson, M, Northport (N.Y.) / Team 91 – Though his speed isn’t excellent, Magnuson is a force as a downhill dodger with a strong overhand shot. He’s another player who will have to work on bringing it 100 percent of the time, however I really like Magnuson’s playmaking between the lines and ability to pick up groundballs. Have to think that he’ll be scooped up soon.
Mac Perry, D, Phillips Exeter (N.H.) / 3d New England – Superb off the ground and a fantastic 1-on-1 cover man, Perry looks the part of a high Division I defender due to his size and long arms. He’s a pest (a sizable compliment to any defender), meaning that he stays on the opponent’s hands and makes their life difficult. Showed some nice wheels and knew exactly when to slide, collapsing on ball carriers and disrupting offenses.
Kyle Prouty, M/FO, New Egypt (N.J.) / Leading Edge – The winner of the King of the X competition, Prouty showed exceptional well roundedness on the day. He’s not just a FOGO, he’s a slick little guy who is more than adequate playing defense or making runs out of the midfield. On the draws, Prouty was virtually automatic, popping the ball out to his wings or in front of him to create instant offense.
Reid Shilling, D, Deerfield (Mass.) / Fighting Clams – After enjoying what Shilling brought to the table in the summer circuit, I came away very impressed with what he did this weekend. He was a tremendous asset in transition, demonstrated special footwork and lateral movement and an active stick which he put in the passing lanes. Surprised that he’s still available, though that could change before the calendar year is up.
Colby Smith, M, Hempfield (Pa.) / NXT – It’s safe to say that after an awesome fall, the Ohio State commit has almost definitely made his way into the Top 75 rankings. Marked him down for an unofficial two goals and an assist in the 2017 All-Star Game, where he was arguably the best player on the field. Smith was constantly able to get a step on his man, blowing by longpoles and shorties before unleashing a well-placed shot that came screaming past the goalie. Heck of a player with all of the tools.
Tommy Sopko, A, Conestoga (Pa.) / NXT – There was a lot of chatter about Sopko coming from college coaches on the sidelines, as he put up two excellent goals, including a wildly impressive long range bomb with his left hand. Extremely two-handed and versatile, one play that stood out earlier in the day was when he ran out of the box, caught a pass, exploited his defender and unleashed a beauty of a low-to-low shot. Put himself in a great position this fall with multiple big-time showings.
OTHERS WHO IMPRESSED
Teddy Batson, D, St. James (Md.) / Crabs
Jack Calderone, D, Cherry Creek (Colo.) / 3d
Nicholas Casner, A, CBA-Syracuse (N.Y.) / United – SIENA
Jac Cutillo, M, Kings Park (N.Y.) / Team 91
Hunter Fasanaro, A, Weddington (N.C.) / Top Tier
Finn Gibbons, A, Garden City (N.Y.) / 3d New England
Samuel Goforth, M/FO, Bishop Shanahan (Pa.) / Freedom
James Hall, A, Massapequa (N.Y.) / True Blue
Michael Hawkins, A, Glastonbury (Conn.) / CT Cardinals
Tommy Nook, A, University (Oh.) / Titanium
Brendan O’Hara, G, Holderness (N.J.) / Tri-State
Eric Overbay, M, Lambert (Ga.) / Atlanta Rage
Kellen Paradine, D, Chaminade (N.Y.) / True Blue
David Peterson, D, Sacred Heart (Calif.) / ADVNC
John Psyllos, A, Manhasset (N.Y.) / LI Express
Nick Salameda, LSM, Archmere Academy (Del.) / Crabs
Riley Stewart, M, Darien (Conn.) / CT Chargers – BROWN
Cade Stratton, A, Ridley (Pa.) / HEADstrong
Thomas Tenney, A, Governor’s (Mass.) / Prime Time
Joe Theuer, G, Loyola (Calif.) / West Coast Starz
Kyle Tiernan, D, John Glenn-Elwood (N.Y.) / Team 91
Mick Upchurch, D, McCallie (Tenn.) / LB3
John Whiting, LSM/FO, Lawrenceville (N.J.) / 3d
2016’s WHO IMPRESSED
Trey Arnold, M/FO, Lambert (Ga.) / Lambert Longhorns
Christian Blackwell, M, Patrick Henry (Va.) / Virginia Elite
Matt Blommer, D, Episcopal Academy (Pa.) / NXT
Sam Bouhdary, LSM, Conestoga (Pa.) / NXT
Sal Cipriano, A, Herricks (N.Y.) / LI Pride
Jarrett Donaghy, M, Malvern Prep (Pa.) / Duke’s LC
Jeff Durden, D, McCallie (Tenn.) / LB3 Atlanta – RUTGERS
Jackson Herrick, A, University School (Calif.) / Alcatraz Outlaws
Mitchell Howell, A, DeMatha (Md.) / Blackwolf
Lucas Mendicino, A, Daniel Hand (Conn.) / CT Chargers
Liam O’Connell, D, St. John’s Prep (Mass.) / Fighting Clams
Michael O’Connell, M, Choate (Conn.) / CT Chargers
George Peele, G, King Low Heywood Thomas (Conn.) / CT Chargers – HOLY CROSS
Christopher Rota, M, Roxbury Latin (Mass.) / Fighting Clams
Kevin Todd, A, Spring-Ford (Pa.) / NXT – RICHMOND
Matthew Treiber, A, Medfield (Mass.) / Laxachusetts