AAU recap: Baltimore Assault
If the goal of an AAU basketball program is to get as many players Division I looks as possible, then Baltimore Assault’s second season on the circuit was a successful one.
Assault coach Nick Myles said his squad didn’t have a headliner this season. Rather, the adidas-sponsored program was a team full of integral parts.
Here’s a player-by-player look at Baltimore Assault’s 17-and-under squad:
• Former Douglass power forward Lamont Huggins returned for a second season with Assault and fared well on the block. “He’s an athletic power forward,” Myles said. “He really worked on his 18-foot face-up jumper. He rebounds at a high level.” The 6-foot-8 Huggins, who’s spending a post-grad year at Southern Carolina Prep, has drawn interest from Morgan State, Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac and St. Francis (Pa.).
• Digital Harbor point guard Kevin Smith was probably the most recognizable name on Assault’s roster. The former Baltimore Freedom Academy scoring machine showed off his floor-general skills this summer. “The kid is quick with the ball in his hands,” Myles said. “He’s quick, he’s athletic, and the thing that really changed in his game is that he’s a pass-first point guard. Everyone knows Kevin for his scoring, but he really does have great floor vision. He’s distributing the ball a lot more than he used to, which has made his game a lot better.” Myles said Central Florida, Marshall, Rutgers, South Florida and UNC-Wilmington, among others, are involved in Smith’s recruitment.
• Before heading to Vermont Academy for a post-grad year, former Pallotti combo guard Keron DeShields suited up for Assault and played the role of go-to scorer at 19 points per game. “I think he was the one that used this summer to his advantage the most,” Myles said. “He led us in scoring all summer. He worked so hard. He’s truly a late bloomer. Whatever program gets him at the Division I level, they’re going to get a diamond in the rough. We had so many guards, but the kid has a tremendous work ethic. He lives in the gym. He puts in the work and it paid off this summer.” Elon, Morgan State, New Hampshire, Quinnipiac and UNC-Wilmington have made contact.
• St. Frances senior Josh Forney recently picked up his first scholarship offer – from Loyola – based on his improved play this summer. Myles expects the 6-foot-9, 230-pounder to be a double-double guy for the Panthers this season. “He finally put it together,” Myles said. “I think offensively, he’s still got a ways to go. But definitely rebounding and as an inside presence, he understands what it takes to be a productive big guy. He’s a true center. That’s what I like about him. All he wants to do is bang, block shots and get rebounds. He’s really trying to put it together in the fall league and score a lot more. He’s just a great inside presence that you really don’t find in this area a lot.”
• Aberdeen combo guard Gerrae Williams was an unknown quantity when he joined Assault in the middle of the summer, but Myles said it didn’t take long for the 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior to make a name for himself. “He didn’t have any Division I looks [before the summer],” Myles said. “Since then, The Citadel has been in contact, Central Connecticut and High Point. But he can definitely score. He’s probably going to be one of the better players in Harford County.”
• Old Mill shooting guard Eric Savage has been one of Anne Arundel County’s better-known players for the past couple years, but this summer put him in the national spotlight. “He’s very athletic, gets to the rim, is a good scorer,” Myles said. “He had a real good summer. He can be a first-team All-Anne Arundel County guy.”
• A returning rotation guy for St. Frances, Eddie “Scoop” Tarver is a 6-2 guard who likes Temple and has received interest from Morgan State. “Eddie played well. He’s very, very athletic,” Myles said. “But he’s another guy in his first year really getting out on the scene. It’s actually the first summer he’s ever been on the circuit.”
• Baltimore Assault should return three young players next season who saw some action this summer: Miles Code, a St. Frances junior who transferred from St. Paul’s, Lawrence Davis, a 6-foot-6 forward from Glenelg Country, and Shakir Brown, a 6-foot-5 junior from St. Frances. Code was coming off a broken foot and didn’t play much, but Myles called him a “surefire Division I guy.” Davis is just a sophomore, but Myles said he should “make a major impact” for the Dragons this year. Brown is expected to play a key role for the Panthers on the wing.
Baltimore Sun photo of Lamont Huggins by Karl Merton Ferron / Jan. 16, 2010