basketball Edit

Cassidy's Takeaways: MADE Hoops Academy Northeast

Tahaad Pettiford
Tahaad Pettiford (Rob Cassidy -

MANALAPAN TOWNSHIP, N.J. – The first day of MADE Hoops Academy Northeast unfolded in Central New Jersey on Saturday, and it attracted a number of prospects that project as high-major athletes. Rivals national analyst Rob Cassidy was on hand at the event and shares some of his takeaways below.


More: Rivals analysts discuss big 2024 Rivals150 questions

2023 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2024 Rankings: Top 125 | Team

2025 Rankings: Top 40

Transfer Portal: Latest news




The most established prospect at the event was 2024 point guard Tahaad Pettiford, who holds a long list of national offers, including a newly delivered one from Kentucky. But while Pettiford is almost certain to tour Lexington in the year ahead, his recent visit to Auburn was at the front of his mind when he spoke to Rivals on Saturday.

"I really liked it a lot,” Pettiford said of the Sept. 17 trip. "I got to know the whole coaching staff and all the players. It was cool watching the team get their rings for last year at the little ceremony they had. The rings were nice. They had diamonds and their names on the side.”

According to Pettiford, UK and Tennessee are virtual locks to receive official visits down the road, though he is yet to set a date for either. The allure of Kentucky is its history, obviously, but Tennessee, Pettiford says, has a different selling point – one based on comfort.

“I know I want to check out Tennessee and Kentucky for sure,” he said. “With Tennessee , it seems like a really great environment. I actually already once watched a practice on film that they sent me. One of my old teammates Zakai [Zeigler] goes there. The stuff he tells me about seems cool, and I really want to go out there to see it for sure."



Darius Adams
Darius Adams (Rob Cassidy -

The No.25 prospect in the class of 2025, Darius Adams already holds offers from St. John’s, Syracuse and Seton Hall. On Saturday, he showed why. Sophomores that stand 6-foot-6 and can shoot the ball reliably from the outside are rare, but that’s exactly what the New Jersey based two-guard is.

Adams has already been on campus at Syracuse, as he attended camp there but is yet to take any true visits. That said, his trip to the school made an impression nevertheless.

“I actually went to their elite camp,” Adams said. “I like them a lot and the coaches seem to like me a lot. I got to talk to [Jim Boeheim]. He told me I was a really good player. He says he’s seen the best and thinks I can be up there."

Adams’ offer list is almost certain to expand quickly this year, so projecting his recruitment is difficult at this juncture.



Five star sophomore Badara Diakite flashed the reasons behind his lofty ranking on Saturday, as the explosive big showcased a soft shooting touch to go along with his trademark shot-blocking and ability to play above the rim.

One of the more vocal leaders at the event, Diakite comes equipped with the intangibles that match his impressive length and agility. Penn State and UConn have already offered. And while the developing big man is yet to visit either, he has a loose familiarity with UConn, as his friend Youssouf Singare is committed to the Huskies which has strengthened Diakite’s existing ties to the program.

According to Diakite programs such as Michigan and Kansas have made preliminary contact with his coaches and could offer down the road.



One of the most impressive prospects of any age at the event, class of 2025 wing Will Riley is a name to watch closely going forward, as major schools are already starting to take notice of his talent. The 6-foot-7 point forward handles the step ball incredibly well for his size and is a supremely creative and talented offensive weapon that plays with poise beyond his years.

Kansas recently made things official and represents Riley's only offer, while Notre Dame is expected to watch him in person this week and could make things official thereafter.

Whatever the case, expect Riley to have plenty of schools from which to choose. He’s already a decent shooter from outside and if his long-range jumper and his defense catch up with the rest of his game, the top-25 of the Rivals150 isn’t out of reach for the versatile wing.

Just a sophomore, Riley was dominant in his final game on Saturday, scoring in a number of manners and showing off the court-vision and passing ability of a much older prospect.

Originally from Canada but set to take the floor for the Phelps school this fall, Expect major national programs to be knocking on his door eventually.



JJ Addison is just a freshman, but you wouldn’t guess that by looking at him. A big, physical guard that gets to his spots and finishes with either hand, Addison already stands 6-foot-6 and projects as a high-major prospect. The class of 2026 standout will realize his full potential as he becomes a more confident shooter from long-range. For now, however, he’s a gifted ball handler and skilled prospect that gets to his spots with relative ease and is capable of finishing with either hand. Addison is gifted when it comes to using his upper body strength to create shots for himself and also seems to have developed beyond his years as a passer.

Addison, who plays his grassroots basketball with the PSA Cardinals organization, is yet to begin his freshman season at Virginia’s Bishop O'Connell High School. Offers probably won’t take long to arrive once he does.