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)

Devin was one of the top players 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.

By James Blackburn

Garner Road Fall League Session 1

James Blackburn was able to take in the action at the JD Lewis Center in Raleigh, NC to scout the semifinals and championship of session 1 of the fall league that Garner Road runs annually. We have scouted the Garner Road Fall league now for 3 years and the league never disappoints as we have seen numerous college prospects play in an organized pick-up setting over the years.

Here are some of the top players he spotted in both games.

Jamel McCalister, 2015, 6’5”, SF (Wake Forest HS)

Good slashing lefty who is also capable of leading the break with the ball. Versatile player who had several nice assists in the first game today. Defends and is unselfish. Can hit the perimeter shot but is inconsistent. Needs to improve ability to finish with his right hand.

Juan Munoz, 2016, 5’10”, PG (Panther Creek)

Good lead PG who is smart and controls the tempo. Gets to his spots, which is usually the middle of the lane where he can finish, draw contact (Does so at a high rate), or shoot the pull-up. Good ball handler. Crafty guard who changes speeds well. Can finish in variety of ways and creates for others.

Logan Vosburg, 2017, 6’5”, F (Cedar Ridge)

Played very well in both games today and he helped his team win the championship. Best rebounder that I saw today- terrific on the offensive glass. Led the league in tip-ins and garbage points in the paint. Runs rim to rim and has his hands ready. Keeps ball high on the catch and rebounds. Capable of hitting 3’s and the open perimeter shots with feet set. Showcased some athleticism with a 1 hand dunk at end of game 2. Needs to continue to improve ball handling.

Jerome Robinson, 2015, 6’4”, SG (Broughton HS)

Big time scoring wing guard. Capable of scoring in bunches from pull-ups, set 3’s, and drives to the rim. Creates space well. Good shooter with solid mechanics. Capable of hitting tough shots. Defends too.

Will Walker, 2014, 6’2”, G (Southeast Raleigh)

Was consistent throughout both games. Was a leader on the floor and was the player his team could go to when they needed a bucket. Very fast with the ball baseline to baseline. Is always going downhill attacking the rim. Athletic. Quick hands defensively. Underrated passer who also had several nice perfectly timed up-court passes. Gets to the FT line at a high rate. Quick 2nd jump.

Isaih Ridly, 2016, 6’2”, SG (Middle Creek)

Smooth and creative player. Athletic and fluid. Moves with out the ball. Has a low-release on his perimeter shot.

David Reynolds, 2015, 6’6”, SF (Ravenscroft)

Talented player on both ends who plays hard and would be good role player at next level. Athletic player who can finish over the rim. Capable of putting the ball on the floor and finishing drives. Has a nice floater for a player his size. Showed the ability to knock down the long ball. Smart. Good FT shooter.

Cory Gensler, 2016, 6’3”, SG (Cary HS)

Excellent shooter- best set shooter in league. Automatic from the 3-point line- good mechanics. Good IQ. Underrated passer.

Darius Simmons, 2015, 5’10, G (Garner HS)

Quick combo guard. Excellent ball handler. Can create his own shot. Lefty. Hit six 3 pointers in the championship game- shot has slight hitch in it however. Showcased a nice runner in the lane. Can score the ball and really go. Athletic player who can dunk at his size.

Darius Moore, 2015, 5’9”, G (Northwood Temple)

Really filled it up in the championship game and won the MVP as a result. No one on the opposing team could keep Moore in front of them, as he got to the rim at will. Scored multiple times on drives to the hoop. Size does not hinder his ability to finish as he has a strong upper body and is explosive. Tough player. Can hit the 3 and create his own shot. Highlight maker with the ball. Can score with contact and can finish with either hand. Competes on defense. Has a nice pull-up jumper and made his FT’s. Will need to become more of a pure PG to make it at next level, but the kid can play.

DALLAS – Tryouts for the North Dallas Vandals basketball team will be conducted at Jewish Community Center on Saturday, October 26, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Normal registration will be accepted until October 16. Late registration period is October 17- October 26. Walk-up registration will be allowed on the day of the tryout, from 3:30 to 4:00 p.m.

The North Dallas Vandals rank as one of the top basketball teams in the ABA. The Vandals have made two-straight ABA Final 4 appearances, including a trip to the 2013 ABA Championship round last season. Participants must be at least 18 years of age by November 2 to be elgible to tryout. All players must sign a release in order to tryout. Walk-ups will be allowed.

For more information concerning the tryouts, contact Staron Walker at (214) 808-6040, or via e-mail at

By James Blackburn

Event: ELITE 75
Location: Charlotte, NC

James Blackburn attended the Elite 75 Showcase event in Charlotte, NC. The event was well attended by scouts and coaches to take in the competitive event with over 180 kids. Here are his notes on some of the top players he scouted.

Pappy Kann, 6’9”, PF, 2014 (Northwood Temple, Fayetteville, NC)

Player with great length. Lefty with nice up and under move near the basket. Runs the floor. Fluid player with quick hands. Nice left hook shot. Must get stronger and improve finishing ability.

Deshawn Patterson, 6’0”, PG, 2015 (Flora McDonald HS, Fayetteville, NC)

One of the best passing PG’s at the event today. Sees the floor and hits cutters. Tries to make the highlight pass a bit too much, but has terrific vision. Capable of getting to the paint with solid change of pace dribble, capable of hitting the floater and the open perimeter shot. Size hurts him to a degree and he over dribbles at times, but is a solid lead guard. Has interest from Western Carolina, Wingate, and Virginia Tech.

Tyreece Brice, 5’11”, PG, 2014 (South Point HS, Rock Hill, SC)

One of the best on-ball defenders at the event. Strong upper body. Forced some shots on offense. Good slasher. UNC-W has shown interest.

Shaun Kirk, 6’6”, G/F, 2016 (Flora McDonald HS, Fayetteville, NC)

Tremendous athlete- one of the best at the event- had numerous dunks. Capable of being a solid shot blocker because of elite athleticism. Needs to improve shooting ability. One to keep an eye on.

Pape Ndaiye, 6’9”, F, 2016 (Quality Education, Winston-Salem, NC)

Big bodied player who establishes good post position. Good rebounder who has good hands. Plays mainly under the rim, but is a good finisher.

Austin Nelson, 6’5”, SG, 2017 (Charlotte, NC)

Athletic player who is always attacking the rim. Streaky Shooter. Plays hard. Has potential and a high ceiling.

Marsellis Purvis, 6’6”, PF, 2016 (Quality Education, Winston-Salem, NC)

Plays very hard. Attacks the glass. Solid rebounder on both ends. Played well today.

Brandon Watts, 6’4”, SG, 2014 (Weddington HS, Weddington, NC)

Great length. Underrated strength level. Willing to play both inside and outside. Attacks the rim. Competes.

Xavier Walker, 6’6”, SF, 2014 (West Charlotte HS, Charlotte, NC)

Great build. Strong athlete. Good rebounder on offense end. Can finish well with his left hand. Versatile player. Needs to get more consistent.

Jerelle DeBerry, 6’5”, SF, 2014 (Quality Education, Winston-Salem, NC)

College ready body. Man amongst boys here at the event. Scored at will in game 2 today. Lacks elite athleticism, but can certainly finish over the rim, which he did several times with authority. Dangerous in the open court. Strong rebounder. Needs to improve shooting ability.

Rashad Dixon, 6’3”, F, 2017 (Southern Durham, Durham, NC)

High motor player who is a good shot blocker. Tries to block everything- influences shots he doesn’t block. Good rebounder. Athletic and long. Good potential.

Jordan Bruner, 6’7”, F, 2016 (Spring Valley, Columbia, SC)

Player with great length. Fluid in the open court. Athletic.

Austin Harris, 6’3”, SF, 2014 (West Charlotte HS, Charlotte, NC)

Very long. Tremendous above the rim athlete. High motor. High release on shot- but inconsistent.

Kwe Parker, 6’2”, SG, 2016 (Trinity School, Fayettville, NC)

Best above the rim athlete in the gym. Had several highlight worthy dunks in transition today. Solid offensive rebounder.

Trey Foster, 5’10”, PG, 2014 (West Charlotte HS, Charlotte, NC)

One of the top players at the event today. Have been following his career for a few years now- has always played beyond his years. Poised leader on the court. Pure PG who has an excellent mix of ball handling, playmaking, and getting to the rim. Smooth player who almost gets to paint at well. Excellent in P/R situations- makes the right decisions. Has a nice left to right crossover dribble move. Does an excellent job of getting by initial defender and then keeping him on his back by using the trap dribble. Has a high IQ and he changes speeds well. Has offers from Drexel, Winthrop, and Western Carolina. Recent interests includes Miami, Old Dominion, and Rhode Island.

Luther Burden Dinner

Several basketball legends are coming to the aid of friend and teammate Luther “Ticky” Burden, a former ABA, NBA player and collegiate basketball star who set the FIBA World Championship scoring title in 1974, as well as helping the US win gold at the 1975 Pan American Games.

Burden, who currently resides in Winston-Salem, NC, is suffering from a life-threatening form of infiltrative heart disease known as ATTR amyloid, which will require relocation to Columbia University in New York for evaluation of potential heart and liver transplants. The treatment is expected to cost in excess of $500,000. Burden does not have health insurance.

Burden played for the University of Utah collegiately then spent time in the ABA with the Virginia Squires and in the NBA with the New York Knicks. Burden’s FIBA record remained intact until Kevin Durant broke it in 2010.

Former legends of collegiate and pro basketball, including All-Americans Skip Brown of Wake Forest and Phil Ford of North Carolina are coming together to help raise funds for Burden at a charity dinner on October 11, 2013.

The dinner will feature legendary NBA players including ACC alumni such as Chucky Brown of NC State, former NBA player and Wake Forest star Charlie Davis, Winston-Salem State head coach Bobby Collins and several more.

There will be several available auction items for sports memorabilia provided by the New York Knicks, including an exclusive autographed J.R. Smith jersey. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts of some of the memorable moments in basketball history, as well attend a meet-and-greet prior to the dinner. 100% of the proceeds for this event will go directly to helping Luther Burden battle his life-threatening illness.

For more information, to purchase tickets or offer a donation, visit

Otto Porter John Thompson

It’s no secret that the Big East is a former shell of what it once was. Aggressive expansion created a league that fractured to a point of no return have left the league with little in terms of marketable games. Georgetown, Xavier and Villanova are the marquee matchups in a league that once boasted Syracuse, Louisville and Connecticut. The schools without FBS football programs are all that’s left.

Fox Sports, who owned the broadcast rights for Big East basketball games, has shed them by selling them to CBS, who will broadcast a limited slate of games.

This is due to the fact that a network, with a massive audience in comparison to cable, cannot afford to broadcast anything but games they expect to draw high enough ratings to compete. Therefore, they are going to limit the broadcasts to the biggest expected games.