By Marcus Shockley
Scouting notes from the 2014 Hoop Hall Classic in Springfield, MA, featuring Chicago based powerhouse Whitney Young taking on Oak Hill, coached by the legendary Steve Smith. Whitney Young is led by Jahlil Okafor, a Duke commit, while Oak Hill features Cody and Caleb Martin, who are committed to NC State.
Jahlil Okafor (C, 6’10”, 2014) Whitney Young – I always like seeing true centers and Okafor certainly falls into that category. He has a back-to-the-basket game and establishes position in the paint expertly. He has great – emphasis on great – hands and really solid footwork. Generally a below-the-rim style big man, similar to Jared Sullivan or Tyler Hansbrough, but a bit more explosive in transition and has quicker footspeed. Already has a good set of post moves in his repertoire and is extremely hard for high school players to defend. He still needs to improve on his ability to recognize and pass out of the double team, and some of his defensive habits will make him foul-prone. He had a couple of really powerful monster dunks on the move, but his real asset is getting the ball in the post with his back to the basket. Committed to Duke.
Trevor Manual (PF, 6’9″, 2015) Oak Hill – Manual was the player that I enjoyed seeing the most in this game; he is explosive, long, active, and has great timing. He needs to add strength but he blasts up and down the floor in transition and is a high motor, high flying athlete who has good hands and really has a lot of upside. Manual is the type of player that can excel at the pro level, and that’s his upside, but he will need to show some shooting touch to go with that elite athleticism and length. Really impressed with his play in this one. Has a really nice old school running hook that should be a go-to move. Wake Forest and Michigan State have both offered Manual, and I think he’s a really solid prospect.
Paul White (SF/PF, 6’9″, 2014) Whitney Young – White and Trevor Manual have similar builds and athleticism, but White is better at putting the ball on the floor and has much better shooting range. Has great length and a high, quick release, but was more effective when Okafor was in the game, which made White the secondary focus of the defense. However, he’s definitely a high major player who looks like he will cause serious problems for slow footed power forwards at the college level. Has a very consistent elbow jumper and he’s a good shooter. Committed to Georgetown.
Caleb Martin, Cody Martin (SG/SF, 6’6″, 2014) Oak Hill – every time I’ve seen the Martins play over the past few years, Caleb has played the 2 while Cody plays the 3, even though, like most basketball twins, their games are extremely similar. Both are deadly from outside, great shooters with high releases, and both are elite athletes who can play above the rim. Caleb’s handle is slightly better than Cody’s at this point, but both are able to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. They had trouble finishing inside against Okafor and White, but they are getting to the rim with ease and better than they ever have. Both are committed to NC State.
B.J. Stith (SG/SF, 6’5″, 2014) Oak Hill – It’s hard not to compare Stith with his father, who played at Virginia, where B.J. is committed. Like his father, Stith is an active and dynamic guard/forward, but B.J. looks like he’s a better deep shooter than his father was at this point. Stith is explosive and will scorch teams from deep, but has the ability to get to the rim and finish in traffic. He’s also a very good passer from the off guard position.
Rodney Miller (C, 6’11”, 2016) Oak Hill – Miller only is used sparingly due to the available upperclassmen, but he looks like a solid center prospect with great length and pro size. Still somewhat raw in the post, but looks like a player with a lot of upside – as in pro upside. Definitely a player to pay attention to.
Miles Reynolds (PG, 6’1″, 2014) Whitney Young – Reynolds was not shooting well in this one, but he’s a solid lead guard with a good handle and runs the offense. Defensively, he was very active and showed a knack for getting his hands on loose balls. Had a fantastic defensive block on Caleb Martin, which is impressive, as Martin is an elite slasher with several inches on him. Committed to St. Louis.
Terrence Phillips (PG, 6′, 2015) Oak Hill – With Shelton Mitchell likely out for the season, the burden of running the offense has fallen to Phillips, a very fast guard with a sure handle. Phillips is a pass-first point guard who shows a lot of potential. He does need more experience running the offense but didn’t turn the ball over and showed good awareness in transition. He showed excellent poise several times in the game by slowing the game down when Whitney Young started a scoring run.
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