By James Blackburn
James Blackburn was able to attend and scout the Elite 80 Scout Focus event in Concord this past weekend at the Carolina Courts Facility. Around 100 HS players were given the opportunity to showcase their games and be coached by college coaches at both the D2 and D3 level. Here are some of the top players he was able to scout.
Devin Mills (Providence Day School, 2014, 6’2”, SG/SF)
As I started looking at the basketball courts and the different games being played, Devin was one of the first players that stood out to me. I was able to watch today and I fell in love with his game early on. The first thing that Devin does so well is defend. His was arguably the top defender in camp as he collected blocks, steals, and tips on the regular. Fights around ball screens and hustles to get back defensively. Possesses great lateral quickness and good timing to block shots, even against taller players. Good length which allows him to play the passing lanes and disrupt momentum. He contests shots on the perimeter and pressures the ball. He is a good help defender and communicates on this end. Has a solid build. Is a right hander but prefers to drive left. Unselfish player who can really pass the ball- excellent passer who can throw multiple types of passes to create easy baskets for teammates. Decent handle and is capable of leading the break. Has a quick first step and changes speeds well. Not a big above the rim athlete but is athletic overall. Capable of hitting open 3’s. Is undersized for the SF position, needs to continue to improve ball handling and shooting consistency to play the SG position at D2 schools and higher. Needs to also improve finishing ability around rim. Is a high IQ player who will play at the next level. No offers at this point, but Queens and Randolph are recruiting him.
Chase Bransomb (Tennessee HS, 2014, 6’8”, C)
Big bodied true back to the basket player. Most of his work can off of put backs and catch and finish situations. Did show the ability to step out and shoot the midrange set shot. Plays under the rim and needs to improve conditioning. Sticks with his misses. Fundamental. Good use of head fakes and also showed above average passing skills. Can finish w/ either hand. Methodist, Bludefield, and Lees McRae have expressed interest.
Brandon Roddy (Monroe HS, 2014, 6’0”, G)
Fast player with the ball in the open floor where he is at his best. Has quick hands and high energy on defense. Very good rebounder for his size. Athletic. Solid ball handler. Good outside shooter who can hit 3’s and the midrange pull-up. Can get to the rim. Needs to improve his left hand. East Tenn. State, UNC-W, and Hampton have expressed interest.
Riley Jones (Lake Norman HS, 2016, 6’9”, C)
Does a good job of keeping the ball high. Good defensive rebounder. Showed he can hit 15’ shot. Still growing into body and needs to improve overall offensive skills. Also needs to develop a higher motor but has potential. Is a good student with a 4.0 GPA.
Parker Julian (Charlotte Latin HS, 2016, 6’6”, SF/PF)
High motor player who is probably more of a SF/PF, but was asked to play the C most of the day because of the lack of size on his team. Can handle the ball decently and is fluid. Does a great job crashing the offensive boards.
Darius Moore (Greensboro Day School, 2015, 5’11”, PG)
One of the top PG’s at the camp today. Is a pure PG who controls the tempo, is poised, can handle pressure, gets others involved, gets the court spaced properly before putting ball on the floor, leads. High IQ lead guard. Has very quick hands on defense. Can hit the 3, but needs to develop consistency. Creative player who can finish in multiple ways at the rim.
ZaQwuan Matthews (Myers Park HS, 2015, 6’4”, SG)
Athletic player who is at his best finishing above the rim in transition. Defense needs to improve as he has a tendency to reach too much. Passing skills have improved. Showed that he was willing to play physical at times today, but struggled to finish. Didn’t give up however and stuck with his misses.
Ryan Grigston (Central Academy of Technology and Arts, 2014, 6’2”, SG)
One of the best set shooters at the event. Has a low release but is automatic from distance. Shoots a straight ball. Needs to improve lateral quickness on defensive end. Crafty and smart player on both ends. Has a decent handle and is an underrated passer. Unselfish. Understands help defense and rotations. Capable of scoring off the dribble and can change directions with the ball. Made plays for others today. More then just a shooter.
Tyler Davis (Orangeburg Wilkinson HS, 2014, 6’4”, SF/F)
Athletic player with excellent length. Has a great second jump. Length was used to block and alter shots. Solid offensive rebounder. Needs to get stronger and improve ability to finish after rebounding ball. Can hit the corner 3 with consistency. Has potential.
Emmanuel Phifer (Elite Preparatory Academy, 2015, 6’3”, G)
Man amongst boys today. College ready body and build. Very strong slasher. Attacks the basket HARD. Aggressive player. Tremendous overall scorer. At his best in an up-tempo game. Scored lay-up after lay-up today, and can finish with contact. Can score with either hand. High motor who also defends. Athletic player who can finish above the rim. Good defensive rebounder. Plays like the old Ron Artest- is a bull. Needs to improve perimeter shot. Does not have a true position, but is a player.
Randolph Robinson (Clinton HS, 2014, 6’5”, F)
Strong and athletic player with a great build. Needs to improve overall offense and finishing ability.
Zach Boggs (Grace Christian School, 2016, 6’1”, G)
High motor and active player. Can create his own shot on offense. Good perimeter shooter. One of the better defenders here, probably the best in his class. Lead team in tips, steals, and blocks in event today. Very active hands and is a tremendous shot blocker for his size. Plays hard and hustles. Needs to improve passing skills and rebounding.
Nicholas Claxton (Legacy Charter HS, 2017, 6’2”, F)
Long player with a high ceiling. Was impressed with his work ethic and his ability to get on the offensive boards. Had multiple baskets in a row at one point in the last game of the day. Needs to get stronger and improve ball handling.