By MARCUS HELTON
BOWIE, MD - 61 seniors from the DMV, Delaware and New York displayed their talents in front of college and prep school coaches at the 2017 DMVelite Unsigned Senior Showcase last Saturday, looking for another chance to solidify their futures.
Coaches in attendance included Massanutten Military Academy, Capitol Christian Prep, Prince George’s Community College, Baltimore City Community College, Frederick Community College, Montgomery College, Harcum College (PA), Hillsborough Community College (FL), Essex County College (NJ), Becker College (MA), Catholic University (DC), Eastern Mennonite University (VA), Goucher College (MD) and Elms College (MA).
(For coaches who couldn’t make it out, please contact MHelton@DMVelite.com for contact info of the participants. Video of the warm-up and Skills portion as well as and the games on Court 2 are available on YouTube courtesy of Tri-Area Basketball.)
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Saturday’s guest speaker was 2016 IDEA Charter (DC) graduate Justin Milstead, who took part in last year’s Unsigned Senior Showcase and currently attends Potomac State Junior College in West Virginia.
“Just trust the process man,” he said. “Whoever is looking at you, don’t shake off the look, even if it’s not D-I. Everybody can’t go D-I; D-2’s got great ball, and even D-3. And JuCo - don’t sleep on JuCo. It’s a humble mindset; if you go JuCo, you can’t just go just to go, you’ve only got two years to prove yourself - or one year if you’re qualified. It’s a mindset, so what y’all do is just put your heart into it.”
Milstead originally committed to D-2 Newberry (SC) before decommitting late, and talked to the participants about the highs and lows of the recruiting process and staying focused throughout it.
“You’ve just got to trust God, believe in yourself and just listen to the right people, man.” he said. “Don’t let people give you that big head - just stay true and stay humble.’
Here’s a look at some of the standouts from Saturday:
FAHMMI MAMO, NATIONAL CHRISTIAN GUARD
The 6-foot-5 Mamo (PICTURED, TOP) transferred from TC Williams (Va.) to National Christian in December and quickly moved into the starting lineup, averaging 9.4 points per game for the Capital Beltway champions.
“Oh it definitely helped me,” Mam said of the move. “It got me way stronger; Coach [Trevor] Brown has been getting us in the weight room and making us lift more, so I think I put about 10 pounds of muscle on. I can finish at the basket better now that before; usually before I just liked to stay outside and shoot, but now I can take it in too.”
Mamo showed his offensive versatility on Saturday, averaging 9 points per game to tie for the scoring lead. He shot 11-of-20 from the field and 4-of-7 from 3-point range.
“I felt good today,” he said. “There was very good competition here and I just tried to go up and down and do the best I could.”
Mamo said he’s considering all of his post-high school options, and is confident that his skills can translate to the next level.
“I’m a very good shooter,” he said. “I practice a lot - I take about 500-600 shots and I work on my endurance and go running every day. I like to shoot the ball and for my size, I’ve got good ball handling skills.”
DAMIAN CHONG QUI, MCDONOGH (MD) GUARD
The 5-foot-9, 150-pound Chong Qui (RIGHT) holds a Division II offer from Kutztown (Pa.) and said he’s received D-I interest from American, Brown, Radford and Virginia Military Institute.
“I’m just looking for the right fit,” he said. “I want to go D-I - of course everybody does, but really I just want a perfect fit, whether it be D-II or D-I. But I’m really motivated to go D-I.”
Chong Qui has been a steady presence at the lead guard spot throughout his high school career, but took his game up a level this past season at McDonogh. He said the key was his mindset.
“Mostly playing with a chip because, I’m small and a lot of people are going to write me off because of my size,” he said. “So starting really within this last year, I really made it my thing to play with a chip no matter where I’m at or who I’m playing for.”
Chong Qui had a quiet but effective offensive day on Saturday – 3.8 points per game on 6-of-9 shooting from the field – but consistently made plays for his teammates.
“At the end of the day you can’t control what everybody else is going to do out there,” he said, “so really it’s just making the right basketball play and not just trying to do what everybody else is doing. You’ve got to separate yourself by playing basketball the right way.”
DEMARLEY SMITH, EAGLE ACADEMY (NY) GUARD
The 6-foot, 180-pound Smith travelled the farthest to take part in Saturday’s event, driving down from the Bronx with his coach at 6:30 am.
“My coach actually told me about it and I was like, ‘Why not?’” Smith said. “It’s another opportunity for me to get into a school.”
Smith,17, enjoyed a nice senior season, averaging 20 points, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 rebounds per game.
He started slow on Saturday but closed strong, leading his squad in points and assists in a one-point victory. He showed nice lead guard instincts and a good feel for the game despite playing with unfamiliar players in an unfamiliar environment.
“I know for a fact that I can make my teammates better,” he said. “I can score when I need to score, and at the end of the game the ball should be in my hands, because I will win the game for my school.”
ANTONIO COCKERELL, LANDON (MD) GUARD
Cockerell put up a team-high 14 points in his team’s first game, showing nice touch and good shot selection.
“Things are going well so far,” he said of his recruitment. “I’ve got just a couple of looks and I’ve got a couple of workouts that I’ve got to go to in order to make the right decision for school, so basically I’m just trying to look to get to the next level.”
Cockerell transferred from Wise to Landon two years ago and enjoyed two solid seasons for the Bears.
“I definitely got an opportunity my junior year and senior year, playing against some of the toughest guards in the area like Jared Bynum, Donovan [Toatley], Denmark [Slay] and all the of the good players,” he said. “Basically at Landon I kind of took on a role right away, and I had to just produce out there.”
DEMARIUS PITTS, FREDERICK DOUGLASS-PG (MD) WING
Pitts (RIGHT) had a breakout senior season, averaging 13 points per game for the Eagles.
“[The key was] just playing with heart,” he said. “Not taking a backseat, taking that leadership role to heart and leading my team. Even though we didn’t get to our goal, just picking up the intensity and picking up that leadership role, that’s it.”
Pitts’ most obvious attribute is his athleticism, which he showed on Saturday while averaging 8.3 points per game and adding to his career collection of rim-rattling dunks.
“My first dunk was my eighth grade summer going into ninth grade,” he said, “and ever since then when I got into the Douglass program, everyone just knew about my athleticism. I had my first in-game dunk my ninth grade year on JV, and it’s just always been that way.”
The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder has picked up offers from D-2 Franklin Pierce and Virginia Union and NAIA Washington Adventist, and has D-I interest from Drexel, Central Connecticut State and Savannah State.
“Right now I haven’t made a decision,” he said. “I’m not really leaning towards any school yet but I’ve got a couple of D-1’s, a couple of D-2’s and prep schools looking at me right now. I’m just looking for a place where I can fit in and especially contribute. I want to show the coaches that I can play and contribute to their team right away or whenever they need me.”
DESHAUN MOSLEY, POLY (MD) GUARD
The 5-foot-11 Poly product had a quiet offensive day - 3 points per game - but led his team in both assists (2.0) and most impressively, rebounds (3.3). He showed a willingness to chip in wherever his team needed, which was a role he grew accustomed to during his three years at Poly, which culminated in a Maryland 3A state championship this year.
“From when I first got there my sophomore year, we built it over time,” he said, “and it wasn’t pretty at the beginning but it was all worth it at the end because we got the championship. After a certain time I just had to embrace my role and what Coach Sam [Brand] wanted me to do. I wish I could have helped the team more, but at the end we still got what we wanted out of it, so I’m grateful for that.”
In an environment where players can look to stand out individually, Mosley impressed with his selflessness and versatility.
“I try to tell myself to go for me, but that’s just not how I play,” he said. “I try to get everybody else involved and I try to worry about playing my game instead of just trying to impress people. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Mosley said he has interest from D-3 schools - he added some more on Saturday - and is also considering prep school.
DONNELL FRAYER, LANDON (MD) GUARD
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Landon guard (RIGHT) showed his all-around game, averaging 4 points on 6-of-9 shooting while also contributing on the boards and in the assist department.
Frayer is coming off a senior season in which he averaged a team-high 16.9 points per game for Landon, earning him attention from recruiters at all levels.
“Everything’s open,” he said. “Today I heard from some D-3’s, and I’ve heard from D-2’s and then a D-I in Loyola of Maryland. But I’m open and nobody’s offered, so I’m just going to see where I end up, and like Justin said, trust that process.”
Frayer said he believes his ability to play both guard spots is his strength, and he hopes to be a better rebounder and defender at the next level.
DARYL BONES, MT. ZION PREP (MD) GUARD
A former IDEA Charter (DC) standout, Bones spent this past season at Mt. Zion Prep, where he picked up heavy interest from D-2 Lincoln University and Alderson Broaddus.
“It helped a lot,” he said. “I transitioned my game this prep year, because I was a shooting guard in high school and now I’m a point guard. And there’s a lot of competition in prep - D-I guys, different levels of skill - and it was just a good experience for me.”
On Saturday, Bones lead his squad in scoring at 7.3 points per game and dished out a team-best four assists.
“Today it went well, seeing guys around the area that I’ve played against and played with in AAU,” he said. “It was just having fun out here with guys that you know and guys that you don’t know and connecting and bonding. DMVelite always puts on great events like this for the DMV.”
Other standouts from Saturday included:
Kobby Ayetey, Capitol Christian (Md.) Wing
Darron Barnes, Wise (Md.) Wing
Irwayne Connell, National Christian (Md.) Forward
Ardie Dorsey, Largo (Md.) Wing
Justin Faison, Gwynn Park (Md.) Guard
Brandon Howell, Wise (Md.) Guard
Amir Lawrence, Westlake (Md.) Wing
Terence Lewis, National Christian (Md.) Wing
Ed Oliver-Hampton, National Christian (Md.) Forward
Gus Okafor, Eleanor Roosevelt (Md.) Forward
Josh Page, Rock Creek Christian (Md.) Guard
Brent Pegram, Wise (Md.) Guard
Lawrence Thompson, National Christian (Md.) Guard
Orlando Woods, Paul Charter (DC) Wing
2017 DMVeliteX Unsigned Senior Notebook
By MARCUS HELTON