Recruiting Central: Wall, discovered at 2007 tryout, offers same chance to local players

Thw Wizards' John Wall was first noticed as a high school player at a 2007 tryout.
Thw Wizards' John Wall was first noticed as a high school player at a 2007 tryout. (HARRY E. WALKER / MCT)
Posted: July 06, 2011

Reebok's grassroots officials are in Philadelphia this week, looking for the next John Wall.

The sneaker company will host 118 of the nation's top high school basketball players at the Reebok Basketball Breakout Challenge at Philadelphia University.

The camp, which began with Tuesday night's media reception with Wall, will conclude Saturday.

"I think the key point is this is an event that mirrors John Wall's discovering path," said Brian Lee, head of global basketball at Reebok.

Nowadays, Wall is recognized as the Washington Wizards' first overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft after he completed a stellar freshman season at the University of Kentucky.

However, back in July 2007, he was an unheralded teenager heading into his junior year of high school without a scholarship offer.

Looking for an opportunity, the 6-foot-4 guard drove 18 hours from his hometown of Raleigh, N.C., to a Reebok Headliner tryout in Chicago. After dominating that field, Wall was invited to the Reebok All-American Camp here, where he put on a show.

After his time in Philadelphia, the former unknown turned into one of the nation's most talked-about guards. He credits the Headliner tryout and all-American camp for his being recognized as one of the world's elite players.

So after a year's absence, Wall and Reebok, the shoe company he now endorses, relaunched the breakout camp.

A portion of the participants were chosen from the various Headliner camps at locations across the nation, including Cabrini College.

Constitution High point guard Daiquan Walker, who will be a senior in the fall, is one of six local players participating in this week's camp.

The other local guards are Imhotep Charter's Brandon Austin, St. Joseph's Prep's Miles Overton, Robert Vaux's Rysheed Jordan, and Roman Catholic's Shep Garner.

Austin, Overton and Jordan will be juniors in the fall, while Garner will be a sophomore.

Horace Spencer, who will be a freshman at William Tennent High School in the fall, is regarded as the nation's second-best player in the class of 2015, according to HypeBasketball recruiting service.

Ben Bentil, who will be a sophomore center at Haverford School, is the other local player at the camp.

Donovon Jack, who will be a senior power forward at Reading Central Catholic, will also participate. Jack plays AAU basketball for PA Playaz of Bucks County.

Jefferson in top five

Amile Jefferson, who will be a senior at Friends' Central School, is the nation's third-ranked prospect in the Class of 2012, according to the Bob Gibbons All-Star Scouting Service.

The 6-foot-8, 190-pound forward's lofty ranking came after he won the scoring title at last month's National Basketball Players Association's Top 100 camp at the University of Virginia.

Neshaminy point guard Ryan Arcidiacono (Villanova commit) is also listed as the nation's 20th-rank prospect.

Westtown center Daniel Ochefu (Villanova commit) is ranked 39th, while Academy of the New Church forward Savon Goodman (Villanova commit) is 41st.

Mind made up

Dan Mastromatteo knows the NCAA recently sent North Carolina a formal of notice of allegations, outlining "numerous potential rules violations" for its football program.

But that news hasn't changed the Holy Spirit linebacker's decision to accept a scholarship to North Carolina.

"I have been talking to the [UNC] coaches a lot," said Mastromatteo, who will be a high school senior. "And they said 'It's not going to be nothing major.' "

Williams watch

West Catholic tailback David Williams hoped to receive a scholarship offer from Rutgers after participating in June's Scarlet Knights camp on June 27.

And that's exactly what happened for the 6-foot, 188-pounder, who will be a junior.

As a result, Williams has scholarship offers from Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Temple, Virginia and Maryland.


Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939, kpompey@phillynews.com, or @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog "Owls Inq" at www.philly.com/owlsinq

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