By James Blackburn
I did my best to watch all three courts, but I am sure I missed some players (which I apologize for). The scouting reports below are of the top players I saw in the games I witnessed both in the 16 and 17U age divisions.
Top Players by Class
Class of 2014
Swish City Magic Select
Jordan Lucas, 6’5”, F (Louisburg HS, NC)
Good help side shot blocker. Had a nice tip in dunk showing his athleticism. Nice strong build for age. Moves well. Understands help side defense. More of a defensive specialist at this point. Needs to be more aggressive and more assertive offensively. College prospect.
Swish City Elite
Cory Kelly, 6’7”, F (Body of Christ, NC)
Extremely long player who runs the floor well- high ceiling prospect. Needs to refine offensive game- but is a solid shot blocker and rebounder. Did a good job of using length to keep rebounds alive, even ones outside of his area. Needs to improve ability to block shots with out fouling- tends to swipe arms downward causing him to pick up fouls even on clean blocks. Needs to be more aggressive and get stronger. JUCO might be a good route for him to develop.
Justice Cuthbertson, 6’2”, PG (Westchester, NC)
Strong and physical guard. Has a good speed dribble. Very good passer who hits teammates in perfect scoring position- always has eyes up scanning court. Hits players right in the hands and on point. Uses strength to go through defenders- good finisher. At his best in transition. Drives to create for teammates- but also can score. Above average 3-point shooter- made several today, but he has a hitch near the end of his release. Team leader on the floor- vocal and by example with his play. Needs to improve left hand- not as explosive with left as he is with his right. Top 16U PG I saw today. Would really contribute at the DII level and LM schools should add him to mailing list.
Javis Howard, 6’7”, PF (Irmo HS, Columbia, SC)
Strong low post presence- a handful to guard down low. Gets good low post position. Draws fouls and gets to the FT line. Needs to improve body language when he doesn’t get the ball. Radford, Middle Tennessee State, and App State have shown interest.
Wesley Johnson, 6’8”, C (Eastside, Greenville, SC)
Big time shot blocker-one of the best I saw today. Runs the floor well. Has interest from Winthrop, Radford, and a few other LM schools.
Class of 2013
Sidy Djitte, 6’11”, C (Northwood Temple, Fayetteville, NC)
Very fluid movement for a player of his size. Showed the ability to play defense on the perimeter and slide his feet laterally. Runs the floor well. Has good energy- good second jump/bounce. Active on offensive glass- had several tip in baskets. Good rebounder overall- needs to improve positioning to a degree. Has an above average build at this point with shoulders and a frame that can easily add weight. Has only played basketball for 2 years- has a high upside. His shooting needs to improve- not a lot of rotation. He failed to showcase a go-to post move in this game- leading me to believe he is still lacking a go-to back to basket scoring move- still raw offensively- but shows promise. Mid major schools should and are interested. Xavier has shown interest and Coastal Carolina and Davidson have offered. Best center in tournament in my opinion- very impressive showing.
Rontavius McClure, 6’6”, PF (Northwestern, Rock Hill, SC)
Strong/Physically imposing player. Excellent rebounder on both ends- demon on the boards. Active- attacks offensive boards hard- opponents had difficulty boxing him out- he was relentless and did not give up- fought hard for positioning. Grabs rebounds with authority and chins the ball- also does a great job throwing outlet passes. Did a good job finishing around the basket and in paint with contact. Uses strength to his advantage. Good interior defender- protects the rim with out fouling. Needs to improve perimeter defense- needs to get lower- guards went by him too easily. Lefty. Currently plays the PF position, but needs to improve shot, handle and lateral movement to make the move to the SF position to garner D1 interest.
R.J. Curington, 6’4”, SG (Oak Hill, VA)
Runs the floor hard and fills the lanes wide in transition-finishes on the break. Long 6’4” outside shooter- can shoot it from deep. Can use either hand and had several finishes using his left. Excellent slasher who uses head fakes and jab steps craftily to get to rim. Changes speeds and directions easily. Good footwork. Understands the game and angles-high basketball IQ. Active defender. Patient on the offensive end- makes the right plays. Good passer. Always seems to be in the right place a the right time. Active on the offensive glass. High motor. Underrated athleticism. A top 3 player seen today in my opinion. I talked with his mother- she said he has offers from Cornell and Stanford and that Wake Forest has shown interest. He has attended Oak Hill since the 8th grade and he is originally from Indiana. High major player and skill level.
GeJuan “Nate” Long, 6’5”, F (Mt. Tabor, Winston-Salem, NC)
Very long player who is a good shot blocker- influences shots he doesn’t block- uses length to his advantage. Talks on the defensive end. Active rebounder on both ends. Showed improved passing ability since the last time seen- routinely found open teammates and shooters. Attacks the rim hard off the dribble and does a good job of drawing fouls. Needs to get stronger- gets pushed off the block too easily for rebounds. Had several highlight dunks this game- one of them over a defender. D2 schools who have a need for a long athletic rebounder and slasher should add Long to their list.
Phillip Reed, 6’9”, C (Northside Christian, Pineville, NC)
Very long and mobile big man. Above average rebounder. Runs the floor. Does a good job of keeping the ball high and out of reach. Needs to bulk up and get stronger- tends to shy away from contact. According to Jeff Mcinnis, his coach, Charlestown Southern, Liberty, and UNC-C have offered.
Deriece Parks, 6’5”, G (Olympic HS, Charlotte, NC)
Excellent shooter who can fill it up in a hurry when he gets hot. Really long player who is a solid on-ball defender with active hands and a high motor. Really impacted the game in several different ways. Low major schools should begin to monitor.
Jarrett Thorpe, 5’10”, PG (United Faith, NC)
Lightning quick PG who can both score and pass. Excellent ball handler with either hand- had the ball on a string and did what ever he wanted the ball, showcasing several high level moves to get to the rim. Very quick crossover dribble. Good shooter with range extending out to the 3-point line. Very good speed dribble- fast with the ball from baseline to baseline. At his best in transition- had several highlight passes and finishes this game. Flashy ball handler and passer- good playmaker. Tight handle and speed/quickness enables him to get to rim practically at will. Would excel at the Division II level and would be a surefire D1 player with a couple more inches. Furman and Campbell have expressed interest according to his dad.
Torian Graham SG, 6’5″ (Word of God, Raleigh, NC)
Elite athleticism and was really stroking it from outside today. A strong player who is explosive up and down the floor. Plays above the rim and was able to burn the defense when they were out of position.
Jonathan Milligan PG, 6’2″, Christian Faith Center Academy (Raleigh, NC)
Agile guard who is effective in the full speed transition game. Has good passing vision and handle. Can hit from the mid-range.
Josh Newkirk PG, 6’2″ Word of Goad (Raleigh, NC)
Super quick guard. Gets baseline to baseline in a hurry and has a nasty little crossover at full speed. Really puts his defender on his heels and will blast up the floor and often draw the foul driving to the lane because he’s got a step on his man.
Class of 2012
Chris Williams, 6’5”, SF (Oscar Smith, Virginia Beach, VA)
Strong upper bodied player-plays bigger then 6’5”. Did a great job of guarding Team Loaded bigger players. Inside/outside threat. Good rebounder- tough nosed player. Well conditioned player- played the entire game and did a great job on both ends. Showed the ability to hit the midrange jumper with consistency. Moves with out the ball and hits cutters with passes. Would be a great get for a D2 program- Johnson C. Smith has offered him according to his coach.
Rahson Robinson 6’3″ G (Norview HS, Norfolk, VA)
Active guard, all over the place and impacting the game. Good timing in the lane, rebounding for a guard, plays the passing lanes well. Can finish with contact.
Daniel Robinson, 7’0″, C (Atlantic Shores Christian, Virginia Beach, VA)
Mobile big who runs the floor fairly well, needs to be a lot more assertive and strong in the post.Needs to keep the ball high on the post to prevent the guards and forwards from negating his height advantage. Decent hands and looks like a decent free throw shooter in today’s game. Will reportedly prep next year at IMG Academy.