By Marcus Shockley
Notes from the Fall Phenom 150, Session 1, held in Winston-Salem, NC on October 6, 2013. With approximately 180 players in attendance, it’s extremely hard to see every good player, but here are some players who stood out to me and my notes on them from this event. I did note that a few teams were playing extremely hard, getting after it in a way that I normally would see in high profile elite AAU.
Emmett Tilley (G, 6’2″, 2016) Northern Durham HS (NC) I started tracking Tilley last year, and I liked his basic skill set. However, he’s become a serious collegiate prospect since then, adding weight and quickness. He often just looked a step ahead of the other players on the floor. His look ahead passing is elite, he has a very quick first step, can finish with contact or hit the mid range jumper. He has a good build and will continue to add strength over the next 3 years. Division I colleges should actively getting involved with him now. We had added Tilley to our scouting database and subscribing colleges can read our full scouting reports on his progress here. Tilley plays AAU with the Garner Road Bulldogs.
C.J. Bryce (SF, 6’5, 2015) One of, if not the most explosive athlete in the gym today. Putback timing is his calling card, and timing is something that translates to every level of basketball. Easily gets above the rim, great touch on the ball, can finesse the ball over players on the move without even hinting at a charge. Great bounce and agility. Colleges should be actively recruiting him.
Clay Mounce (SG/SF, 6’4, 2016) Mt. Airy HS (NC) Solid athlete with good bounce and quick hands. I really liked what I saw from Mounce and I think he has solid potential as a collegiate prospect. Has good size and length – will need to continue to add strength but is active off of the ball and really makes an impact. I will need to see more during the high school season but I already see him as a player that colleges should be definitely watching and scouting.
Derek McKnight (PG, 6’2″, 2015) Gaston Day (NC) One of the quickest crossovers I’ve seen all summer. What I like about McKnight’s game is how confidently he understands what he wants to do when he gets the ball. He never looks like he has to ponder over what move to make – his attacks look almost choreographed. One thing I rarely see from young players is the understanding that in basketball, there is a chess match at work – if your defender sags, you shoot over him. If he plays you close, you put the ball on the floor and try to push past him. McKnight always looks like he sees what the defense does and instantly reacts with the counter punch.
James Tillman (SF, 6’4, 2014) Kings Mountain HS (NC) Tillman is a high motor, explosive player who showed he’s been working on his outside shot as well. Tillman has already proven during his high school career that he is a banger who can finish with contact, but over the past year he’s shown a serious first step and and ability to finish above the rim. Makes excellent passes into the post as well. Add in the aforementioned shooting and motor and you can see why more and more colleges are making the trip to the his school on the NC/SC border to check him out.
Christian Adams (G, 6’4, ’15) Calvary Baptist (NC) One of the more underrated workers in the region, Adams goes full speed and has great patience, great size for his position. Strong, can handle the ball at the point, play off the ball at the 2-guard and even can can slide down to the 3 if needed. His strengths are his work ethic, decision making, ballhandling, passing, shooting touch and quick hands.
Zach Boggs (SG, 6’1″, 2016) Boggs has bulked up quite a bit and plays hard, non-stop. One of the complaints about showcase events that I always hear is how ‘nobody will pass the ball’, but then I see guys like Boggs, who are playing off of the ball, and yet find ways to be involved on almost every play. His play shows that conditioning, motor and awareness matter. Plays tough but under control. Can finish with contact.
Cory Hanes (SF, 6’5″, 2015) Hanes is incredibly strong, has great hands and loves to dunk on the move, especially if he can get both hands on the ball. He’s a banger but really suited to play the 3/4 at the college level. Plays through and absorbs contact like a football player, but plays under control. Runs the floor at full speed. Colleges who like hard nosed players (and who doesn’t) should be actively recruiting.
Bryan Rouse (G, 6′, 2014) Rouse finishes with contact extremely well, blasts up and down the floor and always seems to have his hands on the ball. Rouse finishes his plays in the paint with a move similar to one that I’ve seen Tyus Jones do so well- taking the contact, bouncing off of the defender, keeping his shoulders square and finishing the shot as the foul is called. Rouse is a solid athlete with good court vision. Recently committed to Wingate.
Brandon Roddy (PG, 6′, 2014) Monroe HS (NC) Roddy continues to improve, and I’ve been tracking him for about two years. What first caught my eye was his awareness – he’s got that great poise and patience, and he’s always sizing up what the defense is doing. He’s got point guard skills and at his height that’s where colleges will be looking to put him; however, it should be mentioned that he has combo guard ability in that he can play off of the ball, create his own shot on the move and understands defending different positions.
Spencer Scott (SG, 6’2, 2014) Charlotte Christian – Scott is the kind of player that coaches need on their team. You know the players you see who understand team ball, who will set a pick when it matters, who can knock down the jumper but also know when to pass it up, the kind of player who will be rock solid even if their name isn’t on the ranking lists. Scott is one of those guys. The biggest issues for guys like Scott is that in our world of mix tapes and prep-to-pros hype, college coaches need guys like him but ‘rock solid’, ‘reliable’, and ‘consistent’ don’t make headlines. Some smart college is going to get a smart solid player.
Lachlan Caple (G, 6’3″, 2016) First time seeing Caple, and I saw some flashes of passing wizardry and ballhandling that were impressive. Looks to attack with the pass into the defense with excellent vision.
Zach Hartle (SF, 6’4, 2015) Hartle has added bulk to make himself more of a presence in the paint. With a lot of 6’7″ and 6’8″ players on the courts, Hartle seemed to grab every loose rebound at times. I already know that he’s an adept passer and can shoot from deep, but the added strength make him more versatile in the paint.
Carson Mounce (C, 6’10”, 2015) Mounce looks like he’s gotten stronger and is still working on his post arsenal at this point. I would really like to see him develop more of a drop step and power, with a focus on footwork. He has good hands and a quick release, and with his size he should be able to develop his release into a reliable hook shot.
Sacha Killeya-Jones (C, 6’8″, 2016) Slender big man who has good length and is a developing shot blocker – does not go for fakes and makes it hard for smaller players to score in the paint. Needs to add strength but would love to see him work on developing his offensive post moves as well.
Jeff McIlwain (C, 6’9, 2015) Asheville Christian Academy – McIlwain is a half court post player with a solid frame and good hands. He works to establish position in the paint, seals well and asks for the ball. He does tend to put the ball on the floor too often – partly because he is a better ballhandler than most of the big men he’s going against, but I’d like to see him work on getting the ball to the rim with better footwork. Does not shy away from contact. Definitely a college big man, where he ends up will depend on his work ethic and how much strength he can add – his solid frame looks like he could continue to add quite a bit of muscle.
Harrison Burton (SG, 6’3″, 2015) The Rock Hill, SC player impressed me with his deliberate play on both ends. Really digs in on defense and plays with purpose on offense. Has good size for the guard spot. One of the few wings I saw who knew to run to the deep corners on the halfcourt.
Hawk Swearingen (G, 6’1″, 2015) Sedalia (MO) – I would call him a scorer but that really wouldn’t accurately explain his game. Swearingen is an assassin, yes, who shoots the ball like it’s a weapon, and he can do it in a variety of ways – from deep or going to the bucket in traffic. But he’s not the type of player who is bent on getting the ball and chucking it up – he works within the offense, throwing zip passes to open teammates, moving without the ball and passing up bad shots. So you might watch him for a few minutes and just see a guy content to defer to others, then the defense will sag and bang – he’ll scorch you. Don’t sleep – this kid’s a baller.
Spencer Wilson (PG, 6’1″, 2015) Bishop McGuiness (NC) Wilson is deadly going to his left and has a smooth ability to shake the defender, freeing up an open shot – which he can nail consistently. Crafty and poised, Wilson has great awareness of what the defense is doing and has a plethora of moves to get that deadly shot open. His passing is solid and he’s going to be the player driving the offense for Bishop McGuinness this season. Good length.
Hunter Seacat (C, 6’9″, 2015) Already has the build to play in college and looks like he will continue to get stronger. Runs the floor and plays back to the basket, good hands. Good offensive footwork and will continue to add to his low post arsenal. Bodies up on defense and plays through contact. Has a few college offers and will no doubt add several more this high school season.
James West IV (PG, 5’11”, 2017) Over the past couple of years, West has shown an ability to play with older players because of his quick release and solid shooting, both from mid range and from deep. Now he shows extremely quick hands and more movement without the ball. I’ve said this before, but some players have a knack for getting the ball and getting some shots up, even when they are not running the point, and West is one of those players. West is the player who will snatch the ball from a big man when he puts the ball on the floor, but his quick release is his calling card.
Ruben Arroyo (F, 6’8″, 2015) Deep Run HS (VA) Solid athlete with some upside. Needs to add weight but has great quick bounce off of the floor, finesse touch and has the hang time to finish after contact. Gets his shots off after the catch in the post without bringing the ball down.
Timmy Walker, Jr. (PG, 6’1, 2016) Christ School (NC) – Excellent first step and great court vision. Quick, beats his man off the dribble to get inside the paint.
Will Tibbs (SF, 6’5″, 2014) Winston-Salem Prep (NC) Tibbs is a wing player with great length and can shoot the deep ball. But he’s active, not just a spot up shooter – he runs the floor extremely well on the break and has great hands. He continues to work and has been overlooked after having a really solid season last year for Prep. Tibbs is a player who should have more college interest than he does but if enough colleges give him looks this year, there is little doubt someone can use a high motor wing with collegiate range and length.
Gerald Peacock (G, 6’1″, 2015) Very quick transition player who wants to run. Aggressive, likes to push the ball right to the rim and looks for breaking players. A great fit for coaches who want to get up and down the floor, has the fast break mindset and will burn defenders who trot back on defense.
Spencer Osborne (G, 6’3″, 2014) Solid guard with good size and build, pushes the ball hard and keeps the defender on his heels. Strong and deliberate with the ball, high motor. Hard nosed and makes an impact with the dribble or the pass. Colleges looking to snatch up a solid 2014 player should be actively looking at him.
Austin Collins (G, 6’2″, 2014) Winston-Salem Prep (NC) – Collins has a good hesitation dribble and should have a breakout year at Prep – he was always a vital part of their title runs but will likely take over more of the point guard duties this season. Excellent passer, fast, gets into the teeth of the defense consistently. Another 2014 guard that colleges should be actively watching and in contact with.
Matt Kalaf (SF, 6’7″, 2016) Nuese Christian Academy (NC) – Great length and plays on the wing, quick hands and good passing from the wing. Sharp shooter who is a match up problem for smaller wings, has a lot of upside and definitely a collegiate prospect.
Cameron Gottfried (SG, 6’3″, 2014) Broughton HS (NC) Gottfried is a smart, high motor player with a good deep shot, high release and excellent athleticism. Likes to get out on the break and can finish above the rim.
Players added to the watch list for the upcoming season:
Tucker Thompson (C, 6’10”, 2014) Huntersville, NC
Bryant Vucich (C, 6’8″, 2015) Morrisville, NC – actually the second time I’ve seen Vucich and his high release and hook caught my eye both times.
Marshall Macheledt (C, 6’8″, 2014) Greensboro, NC
Kenny Bunton (PF, 6’5″, 2016) Chattanooga, TN
Follow Marcus Shockley on Twitter