TRENTON, N.J. -- The Eddie Griffin Challenge matched many of the top prospects from New Jersey against their counterparts from Philadelphia in the senior, junior and sophomore classes. When it was over, New Jersey surrendered on its home turf, losing the series 3-0.
It's not how you start, it's how you finish a game. For confirmation, ask Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends Central).
"I was not good early," said Jefferson after accepting the Philly MVP trophy in the junior game.
The 6-foot-7 forward scored 23 points and did most of his damage when the game was on the line. Despite struggling early with the physicality of the game, Jefferson's relentless effort paid dividends in crunch time. He is an elite prospect in his class but that's not to say he doesn't have room for improvement.
The biggest area he can address is his frame and the weight room is where that will happen. Regardless, his competitiveness and overall versatility remain calling cards that make him one of the top forwards in the country.
Jefferson attended Duke's Countdown to Craziness on Friday and he holds offers from more than a dozen high-level programs including Villanova, Georgetown, Syracuse, West Virginia, Stanford, Temple and Texas.
Jabril Trawick (Jenkintown, Pa./Abington Friends School)
2011, SF, 6-5, 200 pounds
Maybe "surprise" isn't the right term since he's headed to Georgetown, however, what's happened with Trawick since June is noteworthy. He plays in attack mode, puts his head down and charges the rim with a certain confidence mixed with nastiness that you admire. He's a fringe top 100 prospect who could push his way through if his jumper improves. Bottom line: You want to play with him rather than against him.
Kyle Anderson (North Bergen, N.J./St. Anthony)
2012, SF, 6-7, 210 pounds
He is one of the unique high school players in the country, regardless of class. His passing ability and court vision are his signatures, and he was once a point guard. Anderson's grown into a situation where he can check 4's, but play with the ball in his hands facing the bucket in a creator's role on offense. It's this unique skill set that sets him apart. He's exactly the kind of intelligent player a coach recruits, evaluates within the confines of his own team and carves out a role for him based off his personnel. Anderson was Jersey's MVP.
John Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa./Life Center Academy)
2011, PG, 6-1, 170 pounds
The future Pitt Panther is the consummate Pitt tough guy. An attacking guard who won't show up in many top 100 lists, he's exactly the chip-on-the-shoulder kid who steadily works his way into Jamie Dixon's lineup.
Jaylen Bond (Plymouth Mtg., Pa./Plymouth-Whitemarsh)
2011, SF, 6-7, 205 pounds
Bond is a tweener height-wise at the forward position but his explosion around the rim and occasional jumpers will also be welcomed by Dixon.
Austin Colbert (Elizabeth, N.J./St. Patrick)
2013, PF, 6-9, 200 pounds
He never got it going in the junior game won by Philadelphia, but the natural materials to work with are present. Over the next few seasons, he's going to be cast in a starring role and this was somewhat of a neutral game for him.
Michael Young (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shady Side Academy)
2013, PF, 6-7
He was the only true post guy who played his position at both ends and was also the game's best scorer in the paint. The Pennsylvania native slid over to Jersey this season and he's going to be a name for the big programs to keep an eye on. When guys show they have legit moves and determination in the lane at a young age, it's not difficult to project the direction he's heading. He indicated offers from Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Seton Hall. Kansas, Villanova, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are also looking.
Brandon Austin (Philadelphia, Pa./Imhotep Charter)
2013, SG, 6-5, 162 pounds
He is a young wing who will develop right before our eyes. He's incredibly thin, but is a perimeter creator we think can transition into a scorer. At day's end, he's a talented kid feeling his way around. The ceiling is high and right now he's a fine transition finisher with high-major attention. He said West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers and Drexel have offered, while Villanova and Pitt are still looking.
Neville Fincher (Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony)
2012, C, 6-8, 215 pounds
You know a prospect when you see one and this young man has a nice ceiling. He's a natural shot-blocker who is prone to chasing down rebounds. In this setting, he didn't receive the touches needed to be a showcase player, but that's OK, his upside is evident.
Pinging the radar
Junior Fortunat (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic): He is a senior center who could get the mid-major call-up. With the shortage of bigs nationally combined with Fortunat's intention of stepping up his game, be on the look out to see if he can make some noise.
Jaren Sina (Lake Hopatcong, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's): He is a 2013 point guard who stepped up to the task defensively. The challenge for him going forward will be developing a gear that can get him past defenders.
Vaughn Gray (Elmwood Park, N.J./St. Benedict's): The slashing style of athlete committed to George Mason at the event.
Britton Lee (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic): He came off the Philly bench in the final quarter and drove his team to the win. More than anything, he took control in crunch time and steadied the ship.
Jerome Frink (Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony): He is all blue collar. A hard-playing small forward, Frink's got the markers of a tough guy who is going to get his board numbers. He's the guy who gets the rebound while surrounded by two 6-8 guys because he's athletic and broad-shouldered.
Sterling Gibbs (Scotch Plains/Seton Hall Prep): He attended Maryland's Midnight Madness and returned home in time to take MVP honors for Jersey in the senior game.
• Ryan Arcidiacono (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy) visited Florida this weekend and the trip was a success. He'll be at Villanova next Friday and Boston College on Saturday.
• Junior Savon Goodman (Philadelphia, Pa./Academy of New Church) attended but did not play due to injury. He's probably a week away from returning to the court.
• Senior Jarelle Reischel (Point Pleasant, N.J./Point Pleasant Beach) visited Seton Hall this weekend. Next up is Georgetown and then Penn State.
• The senior game at the E.G.C. is usually least eventful as guys feel like there's nothing to prove. That's not a great idea because the eyeballs are on you regardless. A lot of senior game participants played below their reputations. Maybe it's time to can the senior game and replace it with a freshman showcase.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.