By David Cordova
Everybody wants to play basketball. But the question is: do you want to work hard? Will you be able to push your to the maximum ability? There was one event in New York City in which many people were put to the test, the Jim Couch National Training Showcase inside the Mott Haven Educational Campus in the South Bronx.
The event, which is named after Jim Couch, a legendary trainer who has been involved with the game of basketball for over 50 years and is a member of the New York Basketball Hall of Fame. He was also the man responsible for training one of the best players of all-time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in his youth.
This event has been one of the best events in the tri-state area every fall since its inception in 2010, is famous for bringing out the top players in their younger years and giving them a platform to showcase their talent before their games ascend to bigger heights.
Some names that have come through the event in recent years have been players such as Thon Maker, the 10th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, Thomas Bryant (Indiana University), Isaiah Briscoe (University of Kentucky), Rawle Alkins (University of Arizona), Mustapha Heron (Auburn University) and Ty Jerome (University of Virginia), to name a few.
This past weekend’s event had 75 of the best players in the Class of 2019 and the Class of 2020, many of them from around the tri-state area. Some of the players who have not even played a high school game as of yet, are already catching the attention of major colleges from around the country.
There were three great games that took place on this date. The first was between the freshman game, the second was the sophomore game and the finale was an exhibition between NYC and the National Select team, comprised of players from Charlotte Basketball Academy, an elite basketball prepatory school based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
All in all, it was a great day in the Bronx, in honoring a Hall of Famer who has done so much for many youth in the community for half a century. As this event continues to grow into the next generation, there will be more gems coming through this event that may one day rise to bigger heights. When they make it to that ultimate stage, they will be able to say that they participated in a workout and showcase named after a legendary basketball figure.
Outstanding Players in the Jim Couch National Training Showcase:
Freshman Game (2020):
Noah Farrakhan, St. Benedict’s Prepatory School (NJ), Guard
Farrakhan had a knack for going to the hole, and burns defenders with a quick first step to the basket. Also has a great jumper from long range. Also possesses athleticism.
Lynn Greer III, Roman Catholic High School (PA), Guard
Greer is a player that can snipe threes from long range and runs the floor very well for a guard and is very smart playing the one.
R.J. Davis, Archbishop Stepinac High School (NY), Guard
Davis has a knack for scoring. Has a potent jump shot and always goes up strong to the basket.
Posh Alexander, Our Saviour Lutheran High School (NY), Guard
Alexander is a fast guard that looks to score and can jump out of the gym. Has a game similar to Russell Westbrook.
Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Seton Hall Prepatory School (NJ), Guard
Abdur-Rahim is a dangerous shooter from three and has a great handle. He uses his size to dominate smaller defenders.
Andre Curbello, Long Island Lutheran High School (NY), Guard
Curbello is a three-point threat, but also can play the point guard position very well. Makes passes that transcend into assists.
A.J. Hoggard, Archbishop Carroll High School (PA), Guard
Hoggard is a guard that can score in bunches and can punish anybody from long range if left open.
C.J. Wilcher, St. Benedict’s Prepatory School (NJ), Forward
Wilcher is a sniper from long range, but can also do damage in the paint as far as rebounding and muscling his way to the basket.
Cole Anthony, Archbishop Molloy High School (NY), Guard
Anthony is a guard that takes no prisoners. Made plenty of highlight-reel plays and made plenty of jumpers from the paint. His explosion separated him from many of his peers.
Bryce Wills, Iona Prepatory School (NY), Guard
Wills is a smooth two-guard that can dominate a game when he has the ball in his hand. Has shown plenty of explosiveness.
Tysheem Pickett, Wadleigh High School (NY), Guard
Pickett is a guard that displays athleticism and can score in more ways than one.
Qudus Wahab, Virginia Academy (VA), Center
Wahab is a big man that has a great upside that has plenty of post moves and dominates in the paint.
Aidan Harris-Ighieon, Lawrence Woodmere Academy (NY), Forward
Ighieon is a high-riser that is a monster at the rim and is a terror on both ends of the court.
Jalen Nesmith, Cardinal Hayes High School (NY), Guard
Nesmith was one of the best guards on the floor as he displayed plenty of playmaking ability by making assists and also powering his way to the basket.
Hassan Drame, Our Savior New American School (NY), Forward
Drame is a forward that looks to score whenever he gets to the basket and will attack the glass when going up for rebounds.
DeMarley Smith, Eagle Academy (NY), Class of 2017, Guard
Smith is a two-guard that can score in bunches and is not afraid to shoot from deep.
Walter Whyte, St. Luke School (CT), Class of 2017, Guard
Whyte is a player that has plenty of athleticism and is a nightmare when allowed to drive through the lane.
Chris Orlina, Charlotte Basketball Academy (NC), Class of 2017, Guard/Forward
Orlina is a player with size that can play both the the two and the three and can attack the lane with precision and take the ball to the cup. Very versatile in more ways than one on offense.
Akeem White, Charlotte Basketball Academy (NC), Class of 2017, Forward
White is a forward that runs the floor well and looks to score in bunches. Can be a terror in the low post.
Marcus Wesley, Charlotte Basketball Academy (NC), Class of 2017, Guard
Wesley is a jumping jack that looks to dunk everything. Has a great awareness of the ball when going up for an alley-oop or going for a rebound.