HAMPTON, Va. -- The action never stops on the grassroots circuit, and this weekend several of the top teams from the Mid-Atlantic region have descended upon the Boo Williams Sportsplex for the Hoop Group's Southern Jamfest. On opening night, both Team Loaded's Virginia and North Carolina teams lived up to their name, while 2014's Devin Robinson emerged in a big way.
It was at last summer's Reebok Breakout Challenge that Robinson, a small forward, put himself on the national radar. Already well known regionally at the time, he used a strong camp to showcase his game to coaches from across the country. After a strong junior season and a good run at April's Pitt Jam Fest, Robinson was back at it again on Friday night in Hampton.
Ranked No. 106 nationally, the 6-foot-7 wing from Christchurch (Va.) is going to be making a major move up the next time class of 2014 rankings are updated. A tall wing who has a terrific-looking jumper and deep range, Robinson is one of those guys who makes the game look easy. He will put the ball on the floor, he is an alert and crisp passer, and he can dial up high-level athleticism.
Robinson is pencil thin, and there are times when he could be more demanding and assertive on the floor. He could also be a more involved defender, but he has the length and feet to develop well on that end of the floor.
"I played pretty well. I hope to show more of that this weekend," Robinson told Rivals.com after scoring 25 points in a win. "I'm a guy who likes to compete and make plays for others and myself. I think I'm a high-level shooter and a good all-around player."
Indeed, Robinson is all of the above. While his ranking may be lacking at the moment, attention from college coaches isn't. Robinson mentioned offers from Florida State, Connecticut, Rutgers, Boston University, Xavier, Notre Dame, VCU, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, USC and others. For now, he says he's in no rush to chop his list.
Team Loaded is just that
The all-bracket-play format of the Southern Jamfest lent itself to some blowouts on opening night, and the North Carolina and Virginia editions of Team Loaded were busy running teams out of the gym. Keeping things in alphabetical order, we'll start with the North Carolina bunch.
Headlining the Team Loaded NC bunch are three four-star wings committed to high-major programs in Caleb Martin, Cody Martin and B.J. Stith. The Martin twins are headed to N.C. State, while Stith is ticketed for Virginia. All are good, and all looked the part. The highest-ranked of the trio, Stith continues to fill out his 6-foot-5 frame and he's a jump shot maker who rebounds and can finish some at the rim. Both Martin twins have added strength, and of the duo Caleb looks like he might be separating himself a little bit. He seems more comfortable and natural on the perimeter, and he looks to be slightly more athletic. Caleb had his way finishing at the rim and making deep shots.
There is more than just the Martins and Stith combining to make the NC group go. VCU-bound point guard Jonathan Williams is a capable lead guard. The 6-footer has become much more explosive off the dribble, and he has a burst with the ball that gets him into the lane, where he can finish or create. Big man Zane Waterman can do the dirty work on the interior, or he can step outside and make jumpers facing the hoop.
The Team Loaded VA group looked just as strong on Friday night and had a few guys open eyes. Unknown to Rivals.com at the beginning of the evening, 6-foot-3 point guard Isaac Fleming is on the radar now. A big floor general who can score off the dribble, the lefty can also play off the ball. He's headed for a prep year at Woodstock (Va.) Massanutten to improve his test score, and he has offers from Radford, Fairfield and St. Francis, along with recent attention from Miami and Xavier.
When Fleming was dishing the ball, one of his regular recipients was dunking machine Markell Lodge. A long-armed, physical, tough and extremely bouncy 6-foot-6 power forward, Lodge is a beast when it comes to attacking the rim. Nothing fancy here, he just goes for straight power dunks every chance he gets and he competes on the glass. He runs the floor and plays much bigger than his size. Lodge says that Oklahoma State recently offered to go with offers from George Mason, Winthrop and Austin Peay. The three-star also mentioned Florida State, Saint Louis and Saint Joseph's.