RJ Blakney

Posted On: 11/26/18 5:02 AM

This past weekend was the 36th annual Mid Atlantic Invitational Tournament, one of the longest running tournaments on the east coast. Held at St. Maria-Goretti in Hagerstown, Maryland, the tournament featured four top programs from across the Mid-Atlantic in Miller School and VA Academy of Virginia, Westtown of Pennsylvania and host St. Maria-Goretti.

While I wasn’t there in person, I was able to watch the live stream of the semifinal games thanks to our friends over at DMV Elite. When watching it, I focused on some of the top available guys playing in the tournament. Here’s a feature on five seniors in the DMV area who showed why they should be playing at the scholarship level next year.

  • DeArvae Heard | 6’3” WG/WF | Miller School

Dae Dae Heard

Of the Miller guys on this list, Heard is probably the most experienced and accomplished but isn’t getting recruited like it. He has sort of an unorthodox style that you may compare to the guy at the YMCA who you for some reason can’t guard, but he’s productive and competitive and knows how to play the game. He’s great in the middle against a zone where he can shoot the midrange or get to the basket, and while he’s only about 6’3” he rebounds the ball like he’s 6’6”.

  • Tariq Balogun | 6’9” PF | Miller School

Tariq Balogun

How Balogun doesn’t have a dozen or so offers doesn’t make sense to me. The 6’9” big is still raw but he possesses good touch, mobility and has the chance to turn into a good two way player at the division one level. He showed flashes of what he could do on the offensive end, hitting on a hook shot in the lane, catching and finishing above the rim and keeping plays alive on the offensive glass. Someone could get a late steal with Balogun as a primary project.

  • Daryl Anderson | 6’6” WF | Miller School

Daryl Anderson

Anderson is another Miller guy who should have a handful of offers but is only sitting with Norfolk State currently. He was a primary option at Millwood last year before transferring to Miller, but his skill set as a three and d guy should fit in nicely at Miller. While he wasn’t shooting it particularly well from the field, Anderson showed one of his better next level traits as a pesky perimeter defender. His length is a big factor in the zone, bothering passers and causing deflections and turnovers, and he moves his feet well on the ball too.

  • RJ Blakney | 6’5” F | St. Maria Goretti

RJ Blakney

Blakney is one of the best available prospects in the DMV area, and he showed why in their first round win over VA Academy as he dazzled with buckets in bunches. The 6’5” forward has a good frame with a strong upper body, and when he’s shooting it well he’s tough to stop. He opened the game aggressive with a couple of strong takes, and he showed that athleticism with some big finishes and rebounds above the rim. He also shot it well from deep, hitting a handful of threes and making it really tough for the defense to guard him. He’s a borderline high major talent with a good ceiling.

  • Jaylen Cole-Williams | 6’0” G | VA Academy

Cole-Williams was the surprise of the group, as we came in knowing a lot of the VA Academy prospects and he was the most productive one all week. A transfer from Georgia, Cole-Williams showed a mix of toughness, grit and skill as he did a little bit of everything to keep them in the game against Goretti in the semifinals. He showed some range on his shot, attacked the rim hard and got to the free throw line, but his biggest contribution wasn’t in the scorebook as he fought for extra possessions and showed a lot of heart. He was named to the All Tournament team and could be a newcomer in the DMV to keep an eye on.