Woodhaven’s Villanueva named MVP of ABCD camp

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In addition to an already established jump shot, handle and rebounding prowess, Charlie Villanueva proved he had another quality at the Adidas ABCD camp last week at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J.

He is opportunistic.

The Woodhaven resident and former Newtown standout took advantage of a broken left wrist that sidelined LeBron James, the consensus top high school player in the country, and garnered MVP honors in the senior all-star game.

The 6-foot-9 senior forward at Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., the same prep school former Cardozo standout Royal Ivey attended before playing at Texas, scored 19 points and 10 rebounds for the White team in a 138-109 win over the Green team.

Villanueva finished tied for third in scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game, and ninth in rebounding, averaging 7.9 boards a game. He also shot 51.9 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from the three-point range.

For Villanueva, this was his third and final trip to the ABCD camp, which featured 240 of the top high school players in the country. As has been the case his other two times, Villanueva improved from each camp.

Two years ago, just after transferring from Newtown following his sophomore season to Blair Academy, where he was reclassified as a sophomore, Villanueva averaged 9.1 points and 5.4 rebounds and was named to the Underclassmen All-Star game.

Last year Villanueva peaked more interest from college coaches after being one of the top players in the camp. He scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds his second appearance in the Underclassmen All-Star game.

This year, Villanueva, one of the highly sought-after players in the country, was one of the top players at the ABCD camp.

He even drew the interest of a few NBA scouts, as rumors started to stir about Villanueva possibly turning pro out of high school.

“If they say I’m in the lottery, I’m going to take it,” Villanueva told reporters. “But if I’m not a lottery pick, I’m going to college. Then I’ll stay as long as it long as I know I’m ready.”

Odds are Villanueva will be playing at college next year, and St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Illinois and UCLA are the leading suitors.

Daon Merritt, a 5-foot-8 point guard at St. Raymond’s, also played well at the ABCD camp as the Jamaica resident was a last-minute addition to the senior all-star game, replacing Florentino Valencia, a 6-foot-6 power forward from Chicago.

While he struggled to score — he only averaged 6.4 points and shot 25 percent from the three-point range — Merritt led the camp in assists with 6.1 per game.

Pittsburgh and Connecticut top the list of schools interested in Merritt.

Showtime misses the grade

Former Cardozo star point guard Daryll Hill did not get the qualifying score on the SAT test for freshman participation, so the 6-foot guard from Milford Academy in Connecticut will be a partial qualifier at St. John’s next year.

Hill, who averaged 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds at Milford and chose St. John’s over Hofstra and Providence, can practice but can’t play or travel with the Red Storm next year.

Hill will lose the year of eligibility, but can regain it if he graduates on time — ala Anthony Glover.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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