The 2015 Southeast Summer Showcase was once again loaded with high level Division I and Division II talent, including Kris Monroe (SF, 6’6″, 2018), JP Moorman (F, 6’6″, 2017) and Andrew Zauzama (PF, 6’7″, 2017). Here’s a rebroadcast of the championship game.
Home (White Jerseys)
17 Marquise Green
116 Andrew Tauzama
Away (Blue Jerseys)
53 Tay Davis
102 Kris Monroe
114 J.P. Moorman
Preston Ross (G, 6’4″) College Experience: Winston-Salem State- Had a solid showing throughout the day, in drills and games he showed that he is a very athletic player that finishes plays above the rim in transition but can also play the game in a half court setting by using his strong frame to battle with players inside. Can knock down the elbow and short corner jumper with consistency and showed some ability to knock down the trey ball but looks even more comfortable when he playing inside the paint. He crashes the offensive boards consistently and is always looking for the opportunity to make a play off the rim or provide an extra possession for his team. Defensively I loved the intensity he brought and his willingness to take on any challenge of who he was going to guard whether if it was a post player or a wing player it did not matter. What I liked most about Preston is that he didn’t try to do too much or force the issue, if his shot was not dropping then he crashed the boards or impacted the game in some type of way. Also showed how good of a teammate he is by being unselfish, at the beginning of his first game he got off to a quick scoring start but once his offense slowed down he still competed hard and only attempted to get the win instead of being a ball stopper or attempting to get his own stats up.
|Vernon Payne (SF, 6’6″) College Experience: Campbellsville- was impressive throughout, brings a workman like attitude to the game, didn’t show a lot of flair or anything of that nature to his game but he flat out go it done. He has a very good motor so he’s constantly all over the floor, diving for loose balls, getting chase down blocks and do all the small things to come up with those 50/50 plays that can be the difference in a team win or loss. Has a very nice mixture of a long wingspan and athleticism that he uses well especially on the defensive end of the floor to come up with deflections, grab rebounds and play the passing lanes for steals. Vernon is the type of player that you do not need to draw up plays for and he still will end up with nice numbers, put back layups and all the dirty plays that some guys take off are plays that he loves to make. He is not the type of player that needs to dribble a lot to get points but instead moves with the ball very well he is a good shooter that knocked down shots when catching and shooting the ball, whether it was from a pass coming from out of the post or a pass from a guard the result was the same. Even though he does not force shots, he showed his ability to make difficult shots throughout the day, has a nice off balance floater that he makes pretty consistently.|
|Kyree Bethel (G, 6’2″) College Experience: Chowan- One of the best shooters at the event, was curious to see how he would perform play the PG position since he played off the ball quite a bit in college. Kyree was very solid throughout and played the PG spot well, didn’t try to over dribble and make the easy plays for his squad instead of trying to make the home run play. On defense he was constantly applying pressure and attempting to keep his opponent guessing as to what move to make next. On the offensive end he shot the ball from the perimeter very well and even had some plays where he got to the basket and finished plays without too much of an issue. Can be considered to have somewhat of a lean frame but plays pretty strong on both ends of the floor, especially offensively when getting to the basket and embracing contact. Has a good IQ for the game, and catches on to his opponents strength and weaknesses rather quickly, knows when to go over and under a screen defensively or even which defender would jump at a quick shot fake.|
Phillippe Harris (PG, 5’11”) College Experience: Fayetteville State- Does all the things you want from a PG, has very good ball handling skills and quickness that he uses to get wherever he wants to go at whatever time he wants to get there. Also has a very strong frame which he uses to finish plays and fight through screens that are being set by much taller opponents. He is a pass first type of guard that always look to get his teammates going first but can create his own offense when the opportunity presents itself. Makes very good reads and on point passes to teammates to put them in positions to score very easily, when he looks to create his own offense he is pretty efficient , Has nice form and lift on his shot and seems to be the most comfortable when shooting the ball from the midrange area. Defensively he was one of the best on ball perimeter defenders throughout the entire event, he applied constant full court pressure and came up with a high amount of steals.
Aaron Brackett (F, 6’8″) College Experience: UNCG- One of the better passing bigs at the event, he plays the game at his own pace and does not allow himself to be speed up by opponents. The patience that he displayed especially on the offensive end of the floor is what truly makes him such a special and productive player in my opinion, he also has the ability to stretch the floor and knock down the shot, as well as beat opposing bigs off the dribble for buckets. When he gets the ball in the post he not only looks to use one of his many post moves but also surveys the floor to see where an open teammate will be and which play will be the most beneficial. His ability to make good decisions very quickly is something that you don’t see very often, simply put Aaron knows how to play this game at the highest level and make winning play. He is also a high volume rebounder, although he’s not the tallest or most athletic he always finds a body to box out every time a shot goes up which gives a great opportunity to secure rebounds.
Curtis Withers (F, 6’8″) College Experience: Charlotte- Is a veteran player that really knocks the game and can stretch the floor, puts the ball on the floor well and is a gifted passer. Can score the ball, as well as facilitate almost as if he playing the Point Forward position, making plays for himself and others. Is very comfortable in the post, and makes good passes from all over the floor. Was constantly seen instructing players on where they should be and what do in order to be efficient as a team, which is an attribute that you love to see from payers these days. Curtis also does a great job of making himself a good target for his guards to get the ball into and knows how to seal off his man well. Although he didn’t display jaw dropping athletic ability he definitely was productive by drawing fouls and getting to the line at a very high rate.
Tony Gallo (G, 5’11”) College Experience: Coppin State - Another player that definitely has played basketball on the pro level, has a certain poise and confidence that you only see from guards that have played this game for a long time. Tony knocks down the trey ball at a very high rate and makes sure that the ball moves very quickly when he is running the offense. He is a very craft ball handler but does not use that as a reason to over dribble but instead uses this ability to beat defenders off the dribble and cause the defense to collapse. Is a low turnover guard that can play the game at multiple speeds and seems to be comfortable playing against intense defensive pressure. One attribute that I really like about Tony was his competiveness, he doesn’t back down from any challenge no matter how tall an opponent is, which is something you have to love in your PG.]]>
All-Star Game Rosters:
42 – Ja’Wan Davis
49 – Aaron Brackett
66 – Vernon Payne
70 – Tony Gallo
72 – Corey Raley-Ross
76 – Chris Calvin
80 – Antonio Bumpus
89 – Markell Lotharp
96 – Titus Robinson
98 – Preston Ross
104 – Louis Craft
112 – Trevor Flores
114 – Curtis Withers
115 – Mike Bland
Jalen Spicer C/O 2017 Team CP3, Point Guard- Jalen is one or the more underrated guards in the state for the class of 2017, although he is not the tallest player on the floor by any means, he clearly knows how to play the game at a very high level and how the Point Guard Position is supposed to be ran. Unlike many young players that look to score more than pass, Jalen is a pass first PG that looks to get his teammates involved before he begins to score on his own. He has very good ballhandling skills and kept his defenders off balance and guessing throughout the entire event, combine this with his solid frame and good speed and you have the type of PG that can play an uptempo pace or slow it down and be productive in a half court setting. It’s easy to see how Jalen can get sometimes overlooked because of how many things that he does for his squad that will go unnoticed to the untrained eye. He communicates well with teammates and coaches on both ends of the floor and is what we like to call a ‘‘ floor general’’, when things are not going right he doesn’t try to take over on his own but instead looks to make the correct plays at the correct times. Its pretty evident when watching Jalen play that he is a team first guy and that it’s not about personal accolades for him, hes all about playing the right way and getting the win. The question that I always have with smaller guards is if they can knock down shots consistently, throughout the event he shot the ball well and showed good form and elevation on his shot. Defensively he is constantly applying pressure, beating his man to spots, playing passing lanes and disrupting the offense in numerous ways. Recently he received his first scholarship offer from FIU and took an unofficial visit to UNC-G, don’t be surprised to see more offers come in July and in the fall for Jalen.
Michael Hueitt Jr C/O 2017, Team CP3, Shooting Guard- It is well known that Michael is one the best shooters in the State without a doubt, so to see him knock down four or five treys in a game was no surprise at all. Instead I was more impressed with how well he rebounded the ball and defended throughout the event, he has a very long wing span combined with nice athleticism which allows him to pull down rebounds on both end of the floor. It seemed as if he was definitely making an effort to impact the game by rebounding the ball just as much as he impacted the game by scoring. Defensively I was impressed with his effort that he brought, he showed that he is clearly stronger than he may appear to be, his opponents attempted to post him up numerous times but were unsuccessful in scoring after posting up. Michael’s overall game is continuing to progress and it will be very interesting to see him throughout the remainder of the summer and into next season at High Point Christian
Mikey Dixon Class of 2016, Diamond State Titans, Combo Guard- Mikey is one those players that you already know is going to drop 30 points before the game even starts, he is a natural scorer that has a very high amount of moves in his arsenal. Unlike some players that use the wrong move at the wrong time, Mikey know when to use which move so that he can put himself in a great position to score. It doesn’t matter if he’s hitting a defender with a quick crossover, splitting a trap or using a timely euro step, he uses the right move at the right time and makes the game look easy. There are certain player that almost seem like they were born to score the ball and Mikey is one of them, not only does he get to the basket with ease but he also knows how to get separation from his defender on the perimeter so that he can get his shot off easily. Mikey was clearly one of the best natural scorer’s at the event and turned a lot of heads, watch out for him in July , as we are definitely expecting to see more colleges to come aboard for this young man.
Lavar Batts, Class of 2017, Team CP3, Point Guard – Lavar is a Point Guard that likes to play the game at an uptempo pace, he has good speed and quickness as well as a long wingspan that allows him to push the ball ahead quickly. Once he gets in the paint he finishes very well above and below the rim and is what we would call a craft finisher, although his frame is slender and is still developing he embraces contact well. One of the attributes that stuck out to me about Lavar in this event is how well he reads the defense and makes the correct plays at the correct time. Even though he is a solid finisher, he doesn’t not allow that to give him what I like to call ‘‘ tunnel vision’’ where he loses sight of teammates that are open in the corners. If the defense collapses then he makes the right decision to kick it out or drop a pass off to a big in the post, on the defensive end he was very solid, using his wing span and speed to play the passing lanes and come up with steals
J.P Moorman, C/O 2017, Team CP3, Forward – J.P is a prospect that is starting to see his stock rise, he’s played against some of the top Power Forwards in the country throughout his H.S season which has been a great experience for him to test his talent level. One attribute that I love about his game is his attitude, this young man does not back down from any challenge at all and is not afraid to bang inside with players that are much taller than he is. During this event he displayed his perimeter skills by knocking down some outside shots and beating his man off the dribble to finish at and above the rim. On the defensive end he displayed a nice IQ, providing help when needed and protecting the paint, it was also impressive to see him find a man to box out every time the shot went up and even taking a charge with the opportunity presented itself.]]>
The NBA has talked about potential expansion into countries other than the United States for some time; as it stands now, that expansion only has included a single team in Canada, following the move of the Grizzlies from British Columbia to Memphis. However, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently told the Times of India that the league is actively looking at options outside of the U.S., including India:
“It’s premature to say that we’ll have a league on the lines of NBA… but it’s something we’re looking closely at. I have no doubt that over time, there will be a successful basketball league in India”
Silver commented on several items related to the NBA and even specifically the NBA Finals, but when asked again about expansion in India, he reiterated the league’s goals:
“It is critically important. I travelled to Mumbai in December with Vivek Ranadive, one of our owners who was born in Mumbai. We see it as an incredible exciting market.”
It is interesting that the NBA is looking specifically at India, but may make sense. Competition in England with the British Basketball League as well as Korean, Italian, Chinese and other established leagues could be more difficult. It will be an interesting story to watch. Travel would be an issue of course, so it’s not clear if Silver and the NBA are looking at putting an NBA team in India, or just looking at exhibition games.]]>
If you are looking for a basketball scholarship, please take a moment to read this.
First, let me back up and start at the beginning. Or, at least, a beginning.
A bit over five years ago, my good friend James Blackburn and I were sitting in a frigid gym, frustrated and fed up. After several hours of sitting on cold metal bleachers in overlooking courts with no heat in March, we’d scouted about 60 high school players in an open run style showcase. We scouted every single player at the event…but let me explain why we did it, and why it infuriated us.
When we walked into the gym, we never saw the event organizer (he never showed) and there were no college coaches in attendence. There were no media in attendance. There were over 60 kids who had paid $150 each, or about that much, to get scouted, and there was no one there to see them. We were the only people who showed; no media, no colleges, no scouts…nobody but James and myself. The players were basically left on their own to warm up, and eventually a few coaches and ‘referees’ showed up to organize the games, but the qualifications for being a ref were basically ‘have a whistle’. One ‘ref’ per court, and the ‘coaches’ at the event were texting on the sidelines, paying no attention to the games, as the players subbed themselves in and out of the game.
So James and I looked around and decided that these kids deserved better than to be scammed; we decided that if we were the only people who came to see the players, then we would watch them all and make sure someone actually scouted them. We sat down and watched basketball all day and we found several college level players. Time has passed and I can confirm that this is not speculation; over a dozen of the players we saw that day are currently playing college basketball, a couple have gone on to play at the Division I level.
Now, there are good individual showcases that exist…but this was definitely not one of them, and there are too many that spring up which just look to make money off of young players and naive parents who think they are going to show up to a gym packed with ACC coaches and national media. This is similar to why I rant about middle school rankings, but that’s a different topic. To be clear, there are a few showcases that are very good. I don’t want people to think I’m painting with a broad brush here.
So that day, after seeing all of those good players, I told James that we needed to put together a showcase that actually gave the kids what the bad showcases promised. We would bring in some players we knew could play and had name recognition, we would call some colleges we knew, we would try to sign up players who were under the radar and we would charge as low of a price as we could. We would get some of the best high school or AAU coaches we knew to interact with the kids. My goal was simple: every kid who came to my event would walk out a better player, even if that only meant he was more knowledgeable about the recruiting process or learned a new drill.
It was, in retrospect, a naive ambition; putting on an event is incredibly expensive. The week before our first event I barely slept, trying to organize and pay for everything without losing too much money. Kids would commit to coming to the event only to back out the following day. Colleges would commit to coming only to back out. I scrambled to put rosters together that would make good match ups on the floor. We met with coaches, we tirelessly contacted media we knew, we pitched sponsors. It took a Herculean effort, and by the time of the event we had about 40 players show up, a half dozen colleges, a TV news channel and some minor sponsors. I lost about $700 on the first event…but about two-thirds of the players who came to that first event went on to play in college. Four players who had no college interest were offered by colleges at the event. I suspect the coaches and staff that helped me put together the event felt badly for me, losing money on the attempt. I was ecstatic, and as I drove home in my SUV crammed full of camp equipment and Gatorade coolers, all I could think about was how good it felt to see a player who had almost given up being offered a college scholarship by a college coach. For me, it had been a resounding success.
Since that first event, we’ve grown tremendously; We landed on ESPN’s top 10 in 2013; we’ve had players who went on to become McDonald’s All Americans and had multiple players who went on to high major schools. We added Pepsi, Subway and Champion as sponsors (many thanks to their generosity) and added much more national and regional scouting coverage. MaxPreps has stated more than once that our event is one of the biggest on the East Coast and it’s much appreciated. Phenom Hoops and Rivals have been supporters of ours for some time and that’s greatly appreciated as well.
We accomplished this by sticking to same basic formula:
There have been pitfalls along the way as well. New people and organizations enter the grassroots scene all of the time, and some are fantastic people, but many are not. We’ve been called names, we’ve had derogatory things said about us and our event, and we’ve had people become angry because they thought we were playing favorites. Many of the people who have told parents not to come to our events are people I’ve never even met and certainly weren’t involved in grassroots or high school ball five years ago. There’s also the misconception that we are somehow making massive amounts of money off our event – my reaction to that is always the same: if you think it’s easy, there’s no one stopping you from trying it. If it’s reputable, I’ll even do everything I can to help you. But if you don’t know what you’re talking about, or you’re looking for a money grab, or you just want to spout nonsense, keep quiet. I’m not listening. It takes no courage to complain, because it does not leave you vulnerable. It takes far more courage to stand up and tell people about something you like, because people can attack you for it. So either stand up for something positive or step aside. I have no time for your silly braggadocio.
I honestly don’t know how much longer we will put on our event. It’s been a big success and I’m elated at how far it’s come. However, the work involved is immense and you never know when it will come to a point where I just no longer have the time to put in to make it run the way I want it. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. I’ve certainly made mistakes and I’ve worked to correct them immediately.
So what I’m saying is this: if you are interested in what we stand for at Basketball Elite, please consider attending our 2015 Southeast Summer Showcase. If we can help you in any way,now or in the future with your goals for college (or even your goals for life), we will. Honestly, even if you don’t attend to play but just want to come and talk with me or anyone on our staff, you are welcome to do so.
Check out the sign up information for this year’s event at Events.BasketballElite.com]]>
To say that North Carolina is a hotbed of grassroots basketball is an understatement, and one of the most pivotal and influential people involved in the AAU and high school scene is Rick Lewis, a nationally know basketball scout whose company, Phenom Hoop Report, organizes and runs dozens of events throughout the year. Rick and his partner Jamie Shaw cover the region thoroughly and people who have known me for some time or follow me on various social media know that I have long been a supporter of Rick’s events and his approach to the sport.
One of my favorite business books is ‘Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive‘ by Harvey McKay and that title certainly describes what it feels like to try and run a reputable, upstanding business (or even non-profit) in the world of grassroots basketball, and Rick has managed to do just that.
As a person who has organized my own Southeast Summer Showcase for the past 5 years, Rick is also one of the few people I can talk with about the issues that come up when running events. He and I have talked about our events over the years and he, like myself, is dedicated to constantly figuring out what his company can do better and improve it.
One of his more brilliant ideas was introduced last year, and I’d like to see it implemented in a lot more events. I call it ‘The Rick Lewis Rule‘ or even the ‘Rick Lewis Three Dribble Rule‘…I know Rick well enough that he doesn’t care about getting credit, but I feel it’s important to note the strategy, why he implemented it, and why I think more individual showcases should implement it. And if I’m going to ‘borrow’ (steal) Rick’s idea and use it, I feel I should at least give credit where it is due. I hope more high school coaches will use it in practices, too.
As a high school basketball scout, I need to see halfcourt offense, for multiple reasons. The primary reason is that once players get to the college level, they are going to have to play against half court sets all of the time – in fact, most of the time. In high school and AAU players who are extremely athletic can look very good because they get breakaway dunks and can finish in transition over smaller, more slow-footed defenders. However, when those same players are faced with an equally athletic defender in a halfcourt set, suddenly they can look pretty average.
The second reason is I need to see if a player can actually create their own shot, if they understand spacing, if they can shoot consistently against a close out, all of the things they will need to do as an individual to play better team ball – and one of the biggest part of being a valuable part of a winning team is being able to pass the ball. I love watching teams that understand ball movement. I get more excited watching a team whip the ball around the perimeter to the weak side for an open look than I do a transition dunk. And you know what? Players that know how to move the ball around are far more rare than athletic dunkers. Don’t believe me? Consider that Lebron is a good dunker but a Hall of Fame passer and you’ll understand. Lebron James is the best passing forward in NBA history – he won’t make the Hall of Fame because of his dunks (no one does) but he will in large part because of his passing ability.
Over the years I’ve watched thousands of guards play at the high school and AAU level and one thing is abundantly clear – players aren’t great at passing in general and there is an epidemic of guards who don’t understand how -or why- to throw an entry pass to the post. If you are a wing player, throwing and entry pass should be more common than a behind-the-back dribble, but teams will run multiple sets, several times up and down the floor, with the guards and wings never even looking at the post to throw a pass. The highest percentage offense a basketball team can have, and most players on the perimeter don’t use it. When running an individual showcase, it’s extremely common for the games to turn into track meets – the fastest wing players shoot the gaps, get steals and transition shots (often poorly chosen shots) while the post players are left to trail behind, never getting into the offense or even rebounding position. It’s a struggle to organize the games in such a way to facilitate real offense against real defense, which helps the players improve but also shows attending college coaches what the players can actually do.
Of course, there’s also the problem of players overdribbling, trying too much one-on-one, overlooking teammates…it all stems from the ragged style of play where there is no real team work or movement.
Here’s where Rick’s ‘3 dribble rule’ comes in. In recent events, Rick introduced a basic rule that players are only allowed 3 dribbles in the frontcourt or it would result in an offensive turnover. That one change dramatically alters how players can run an offense, and it’s for the better. Players are forced to move, pass and work as a unit to try and create an open shot. However, this did not eliminate enough of the transition ‘open court, no defense’ play that happens, so in a recent event, he added some additional rules as the games continued. In the players’ second game of the day he instituted a rule of ‘maximum of 3 dribbles in the frontcourt with a 2 pass minimum’ before a shot could be taken. This eliminates a lot of the transition game and forces players to wait on teammates. Finally, Rick wanted to address the overlooking of the post entry pass, and the last game of the day he added another wrinkle – players still had to make 2 passes but one of the passes before a shot could be taken had to be an entry pass to the post. It didn’t matter if the post had to pass back out, it just means that the pass has to go into the post at least once during the halfcourt set.
So, here’s what I observed as a scout after these rules were implemented. Suddenly very few players seemed to know what to do. They would dribble, pass around the perimeter, and dribble again, aimlessly. Meanwhile I watched as the center had already sealed his man on the blocks, only to watch his teammates overlook him and pass the ball back around and he had to slide across the lane and work to establish position on the other side. I saw players who had looked amazing during the morning games suddenly look like they’d never actually played organized basketball before. And I saw one player who completely understood what was happening and started yelling instructions to his teammates: “set a pick!” or “hit the post!”.
This is why I love the experiment and Rick’s rules: the player who understood exactly how to move the ball under the new rules suddenly helped his team start scoring; they built a quick lead. The center started getting touches and either scoring or passing out to an open teammate. It’s real offense. When coaches talk about playing ‘the right way’, this is the kind of thing they mean: doing consistent things as a unit that will improve your chances of winning, not just relying on luck or athleticism.
So as of now, I’m dubbing this ‘3 dribbles’ rule as the ‘Rick Lewis Rule‘. If you merchandise T-shirts with this rule on it, please send the royalties to Rick.]]>
You have to love the internet. Actually, no, you don’t. You don’t have to love it. Or, at least, you don’t have to love everyone on social media. Time for another round of “Mean Tweets” on Jimmy Kimmel, and just in time for the NBA Finals.
You do have to wonder what happened to all of the people who claimed Harrison Barnes was a bust in college.