2021 Test the Waters Invitational College Prospects
When St Raymond High coaches Jorge Lopez and Chris Williams use their holiday day off to host a full slate of New York City power teams, it makes it very easy for RecruitTheBronx.com to live up to its name. On October 11, they did just that with their Test the Waters Invitational. It was a NYC hoops junkie’s dream, with so many of the region’s high talent players on display running with their high school teams.
Here are the college prospects that we took note of:
Jaden Daughtry (2023) 6’6 wing, St Francis Prep – Daughtry was impressive. He is a long, springy, lefty, with a great first step which made him both a scorer at the rim and a foul drawing magnet. Help defenders had to stay focused, because Daughtry would embarrass single man coverage. His basket drives were frequent because his ability to shoot the 3 warranted tight coverage. He was active without the ball and was a competitor on the boards. His length, athleticism and high motor also made him impactful as a help defender.
Vere Anthony (2025) 6’0 guard, St Francis Prep – If you wonder what it takes for a 6’0 freshman to crack the starting line up on a very deep SFP roster, you get to see that in Anthony. He uses his low-to-the-ground advantages well, creating his own gaps through the team defense, and has the body control to both finish and draw fouls. He has speed, quickness and a nose for the ball on defense, and excels at both getting the 50/50s and creating steals. He has good court vision and a nice mid-range pull-up. When he adds a reliable deep ball threat to his arsenal, he will draw collegiate interest over the next four years.
Chance Morrish (2022) 6’2 guard, St Francis Prep – Morrish has very live legs. They give him a lot of advantages on the hoops court. He has a quick rise jump shot that can’t be contested. He is a very active, will-to-win defender and especially nasty in his ability to pressure the ball.
Josh Pascarelli (2023) 6’2 guard, St Francis Prep – Pascarelli has a sweet, deep, game-changing 3 ball shot. It’s a problem, both because defenders have to extend beyond their ability to play help-defense elsewhere and because it makes his defender vulnerable to his quick first step blow-by moves. He also has the college-game complimentary floater game to beat the rim protection rotations.
Latiek Brisco (2022) 6’2 guard, St Francis Prep – Brisco has great foundational footwork that enables him to get up college-level quick release 3’s and mid-range jumpers. He has good court vision and leaves a jet stream behind when in transition. He earns free throws, and he makes them. He is also lock-down on-the-ball defender.
Justin Price (2022) 6’1 shooting guard, Immaculate Conception High (NJ) – Price was one of the highest percentage 3 ball shooters in the showcase. He consistently changed the momentum towards his team’s direction with every dagger 3 that he hit. He seems to be developing a complimentary floater game, which will serve him well vs college-sized rim defenders.
Jeremiah St John (2022) 6’9 forward, Immaculate Conception High (NJ) - St John has the D1 big man size. The ICHS offensive scheme avoided using him as a scoring or post passing threat, but he did score off of his offensive rebounds, and he likely set a single game record for number of screens set. He rebounds and defends as his great size would lend you to expect.
Mark Armstrong (2022) 6’2 guard, St Peter’s Prep (NJ) – This Villanova Commit is a very polished player. He has that High Major first step, hang time and body control. He shoots the 3, he shoots the floater, and gets himself into the paint as a Jay Wright-style playmaker. A vocal leader on defense.
Matt Kinsler (2023) 6’7 small forward, St Peter’s Prep (NJ) – When Kinsler matches up on defense with the opponent’s big, you’re initially led to believe he plays a skinny man’s version of center. Then as the game gets going, you start to realize, no, you are watching a D1 wing guard. He dribbles, he drives, and he finishes with either hand. He shoots the deep ball. He is the guy that his teammates look for to find the gaps and solve the press with IQ, vision and passing instincts.
Tobe Awaka (2022) 6’8 forward, Cardinal Hayes High - When you see Awaka in person, you just imagine that the Cardinal Hayes football coach probably weeps with jealousy every time he passes this Julius Pepper clone on campus. Awaka is big, strong and can overpower the opponent with deep post set-ups. It’s a big mistake to foul him, because he is money at the line. He leaves bruises and makes a great roll target off of his ball screens. There is no two-dribble scoring drives from the wing by the opponents; Awaka pins those to the backboard.
Ian Jackson (2024) 6’6 wing, Cardinal Hayes High – Nothing new to report here…i.e., Jackson is a High Major prospect loading… He has big time length, agility and explosive vertical lift. Terrific catch radius in receiving the ball, and is ambidextrous in his ability to finish. He also impressed with the intangibles of having scheme discipline and the patience to allow the offense to come to him. Right now, at this point in his development, his most impactful aspect is his ability and desire to destroy the opponent with his defense.
Elijah Moore (2024) 6’3 guard, Cardinal Hayes High – Although only a sophomore on a very talent-loaded team, Moore is the vocal leader on defense. He is athletic and agile and is gonna smoke you with his deep ball shooting.
Tarique Foster (2022) 6’7 forward, Cardinal Hayes High – A very competitive rebounder and a highlight reel Alley Oop target. Foster is active, athletic, and long, He is unselfish in nature and makes the team’s schemes work well.
Brandon Williams (2023) 6’8 guard, Christ the King High – Williams suits up and you think you may be looking at a physically dominant power forward, then he takes the court and you quickly realize that you are watching a very high ceiling guard. He is a load off of the dribble drive. He overpowers, and/or outsizes the guys trying to stop him on his way to a score, getting fouled or finding the teammate that he just got open. Trying to sag off and cut down his drive angles doesn’t help, he’ll splash the long ball in that situation. When in the paint, he rebounds well as his great size and athleticism enables.
Dwayne Pierce (2024) 6’5 shooting guard, Christ the King High – Pierce is the college built scorer. He will hit the three, but then can blow-by when that shot is over-contested. He has a great first step and the body control to attack the rim. He is a foul drawing magnet. Excellent ability to accelerate in transition.
Bryce Merchant (2022) 6’5 small forward, Christ the King High – Merchant is the “positionless” scheme coach’s guy. He is just as happy posting up and being a physical scorer as he is splashing it from deep. Try extending out to hand-check his three ball, and you’ll just trigger a freight train drive into the lane by him.
Nate Boateng (2023) 6’6 small forward, Fordham Prep - Boateng steals your heart with his will-to-win help-defense effort. He is long, athletic, very active and takes it personally if anyone with 10 feet of him is trying to score. He is like the Catholic School fundamentals student of basketball. He uses his D1 physical gifts and sets great screens, makes great passes, rebounds with desire, and finishes shots with either hand. But if you need a little splash with all those solid traits, then lob up an Alley Oop pass in his direction, he will throw that down for you too.
Thomas Whelan (2022) 6’0 guard, Fordham Prep - Whelan does not have typical D1 size, but boy does he have the “it” factor on the basketball court. He was clearly big factor in Fordham winning the City title last year. He does that, he wins games. He is very tough-minded and has an uncanny ability to break down a team defense with vision, decision making and his ability to make plays. He’s blessed with a quick first step and quick-off-of-the-floor ups. He embellishes those with pump-n-go deception. A coach’s scheme “genius” gets boosted up several levels when Whelan is in the game.
Don Colon Lewis (2023) 6’6 power forward, Xaverian High - Lewis is an absolute clinic on how to get open in the post. Truly one of the more impressive players we’ve seen in that technique. It’s clear why he works so hard and so well to earn the entry pass, because once he gets it, he is money. His wide body belies his quick pivot, soft hands and doesn’t-miss finishing talent. He also doesn’t let his opponents get their fair share of the rebounding pie. He is strong, active and very tough to get around. His college recruiting will take a hit because he is carrying a lot of extra pounds. But for some college coach, this will be seen as an opportunity, not a problem. I.e., whoever get Lewis to buy into a college level diet and conditioning program, will get themselves a key piece at the next level.
Michael Walker (2023) 6’7 forward, Xaverian High - Walker will lead your squad in rebounding. He combines his D1 size and strength with motor and instincts to really get it done on the boards. For similar reasons, he is a valuable help-defender. Offensively, he is a textbook roll man off of the ball screen. He loves to post up but is also hard to deal with when driving from the wing.
Tristan Davis (2025) 5’9 guard, Thomas Jefferson High - You know that Davis must be special, to be able to crack the starting line-up and be very impactful as the (maybe) 5’9 freshman in the guard-rich Jefferson roster. You rub your eyes in disbelief, seeing the impact that such an under-sized, baby faced player can have in a high level game. He does it with some Barry Sanders type quickness, agility and impressive vertical leaping ability. His cross-over in tight spaces is unguardable. His ability to finish near the rim is so much better than it should be for a (maybe) 5’9 player. Similarly, his stop-n-pop jumper is not going to get defended. He has four years to invest in building his long ball game, if he adds that floor stretching ability, he will over-achieve like the other exceptional small guards have. before him.
Javoy Thompson (2023) 6’6 guard, Mt St Michaels Academy - Thompson is a lengthy and athletic D1 sized guard who wants to lead the league in assists. And he is very good at it. When he drives, his length and athleticism is so threatening that the help-defense has to converge. He then uses his above-the-rim elevation and great vision to hit the most open teammate on the floor. He has a great catch radius, making it difficult to deny him the ball and the ensuing ability to make plays. He uses the same combination of length and athleticism to rebound well. The more he develops his ability to hit floor stretching 3’s, the higher up the D1 level he will play.
Noah Best (2022) 6’5 guard, Mt St Michaels Academy - Best is a clear D1 level prospect. He has a pretty, quick off-of-the-floor, jump shot that works both as a mid-range pull-up and from three ball range. He has deceptively effective ball skills for a guard of his length. He also has the athleticism to finish at the rim, and to defend at the rim at the other end of the floor.
Max Ragusa (2020) 6’0 point guard, South Shore High - Max Ragusa has jet speed. Max Ragusa is a gifted shot maker, floaters, rim finishes, 3 ball, etc. Oh, and by the way, Max Ragusa does those things as an sideline to running the show for his team’s offense in the half court and in transition. New York City high school ball will miss The Max Ragusa Show when he moves on to the next level, next year.
Davin Francis (2023) 6’6 shooting guard, South Shore High - The Vikings are gonna be hard to handle in PSAL this season. Teams will struggle to minimize the damage caused by Ragusa, Tyliek Weaks, Ibrahim Ba and Kyrone Alexander, but a lot of fatal daggers will also come from the sweet, high release 3 ball from Davin Francis. They cannot defend his shot, they just have to pray that he misses. When a defender over-commits to stop the long ball, Franics counters with D1 length and first step acceleration. He has the long arms and athleticism that also makes him tough to guard on a basket drive. He also has an impressive cross-over move for a player of his length. He is very useful in defensive rotations with his ability to defend above the rim.
RJ Greene (2022) 6’5 wing, Iona Prep - Greene’s game-within-the-game is that he wants to foul out all of your rim protectors as soon as possible. He has the James Harden long and strong arms and body control to bait the opponent’s bigs into whacking him on rim drives. He is a very invested defender, using those same physical gifts and a whole lot of motor to make potential scorers have a bad day.
Blaise New (2022) 5’10 point guard, Iona Prep - It was a treat to see New match up vs. Ragusa, in a battle of two of the region’s toughest small guards. (It seems like it turned out to be a draw). Jitter bug quick and nails tough, Blaise is a problem. He loves drawing the defense out with his long ball, then making them pay for having too many gaps. Opponents need to coach their ball handlers to quit dribbling whenever within 10 feet of New. If you don’t, your dribble is gonna become his dribble.
Isaiah Philbert (2022) 6’0 shooting guard, St Raymond High - Philbert finished his game with a game high 22 points (five 3 ptrs). Philbert is becoming one of the best shooters in NYC. He has long range on his 3, a nice pull up jump shot and is a versatile defender. The MVP of his 2021 JV Championship squad, Philbert is becoming a hot name within NYC basketball circles.
Brandon Stores (2025) 6’3 shooting guard, St Raymond High - Stores lived up to the billing as one of the top, if not the top, freshman in a deep NYC class. His versatility was on full display as he scored from all three levels, scoring 16 in this game. He is a physically imposing guard that has a ton of upside.
CJ Riley (2022) 6’0 guard, Wings Academy - Riley’s transfer into Wings has been impactful. He was their lead guard, with his skilled handle. He was their leading scorer, with 16. He is also a terror on the ball as defender, and a confirmed pick pocket as a steals threat. He has range as shooter and impact as a playmaker off of the dribble.
Mohammed Kante (2022) 6’3 guard, Wings Academy - Kante slashed his way to 11 points and six rebounds against the CHSAA power, St Raymond. He has an array of moves around the basket and uses his length to be a pesky defender at the other end. He is a fierce competitor who will keep Wings in the hunt for a PSAL title.