The NJ Panthers basketball program hosted a showcase this weekend that brought together girls and boys high school teams from all over the area for two days of high-level action with college coaches in attendance. The games were close and had fun matchups that featured programs unfamiliar with each other going head to head. Here are the players that stood out from the Coaches Select/NJ Panthers showcase.
Sydney Gomes, G New Dorp 2022
New Dorp lost by two points in a great game that tipped off the weekend but Gomes’s 27 points looked effortless on her path to cross the 1,000 point mark…as a sophomore. Gomes scored 615 points in her freshman campaign and will be one of the state’s all-time special scorers when her 4 years of varsity time ends.
Sydney is aggressive on both ends of the ball and finishes strong at the basket through either hand in traffic. She showed her ability to score at will, relentlessly attacking the basket in the second half until her last-second three-point attempt missed after facing a stout Red Bank defense that held a 10 point lead with 2:30 to go in the game. That performance against the No. 18 team in the NJ.com top 20 bodes well for Gomes and a growing New Dorp team going forward.
Saniah Caldwell, G Saddle River Day 2022
Another elite sophomore, Caldwell nailed three shots from beyond the arc in the first quarter and stayed hot en route to 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists for No. 11 Saddle River Day in their 78-34 win over Mount St. Mary.
Caldwell is a legitimate threat from every area of the floor and looked primed to lead as the lone returning starter for the Rebels. As impressive as she is scoring the basketball she displayed an even more impressive ability to move the basketball and make plays for others when the defense zeroes in on her. The Saddle River hits their open shots and will be tough to defend with the high-IQ Caldwell at the helm. Caldwell is among the state’s assist leaders and is has already garnered D-1 interest.
Tahjay Moore, F New Brunswick 2020
The athletic forward for the New Brunswick Zebras is active on the defensive end and tries to dunk everything in his path.
Video: Watch this highlight reel of all 6 dunks by @MooreTahjay in @NBboysbasketba3’s 53-48 win over Toms River East on Sunday at the @njpanthersboys-Coaches Choice Showcase in Bound Brook on Sunday morning. #njhoops pic.twitter.com/GrRrTR2m3d
— GMC Hoops (@gmchoops) January 13, 2020
Moore’s 22 points 15 rebounds and 5 blocks were crucial in a five-point victory for the 6-1 Zebras. His defensive effort combined with a ridiculous 10-steal performance from Ahyan Brown Miller helped New Brunswick bounce back from an early deficit with a dominant second half where they only allowed 14 points total.
Tahjay is on the radar for several schools that want to get him on the gridiron including a Rutgers program looking to be able to keep talent in state. For now, he will be the anchor on both ends for one of the better basketball teams in the GMC conference.
Quadir Harrell, G Bound Brook 2022
Harrell was a second-team all Skyland Conference selection last season as a freshman and showed off his nonstop motor in host Bound Brook’s 57-53 win over Hightstown. Harrell did a little bit of everything, netting 13 points to go with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in an effort that earned him player of the game honors.
The Crusaders are 8-1 and showed great poise in the second half against a bigger and more experienced Hightstown team. Bound Brook only has one senior in it’s regular rotation and will grow quickly from wins like this as the varsity experience of their roster increases. Harrell lead the Crusaders down the stretch by blowing by whoever was in front of him and challenging the defense to stop him at the rim. Many of these attacks resulted in fouls or plays made for others.
Quadir plays at a pace beyond most guards his age and does not allow defenders to rest either in transition or the halfcourt. As his playmaking ability continues to improve Bound Brook should be able to use his speed and wide array of finishing moves to keep opposing big men in foul trouble or out of position.