Cherokee basketball

Cherokee HS basketball

By James Blackburn

I was able to catch some high school basketball on Friday night in Cherokee, NC for a 1A battle between Cherokee HS and Rosman HS. Cherokee was able to control tempo and lead throughout the game to ultimately get the 95-76 win. This despite it being the third game of the week for the Cherokee Braves.

There were numerous college prospects that I was able to see in this one and I would highly suggest D2/D3 coaches take the drive up the mountain to check out Cherokee HS this season.


Cherokee HS

Justus Day, SR, 6’2″, PG

Terrific athlete who can score in bunches. Struggled tonight overall but you can clearly see his talent. Very strong with the ball- can take contact and finish. Can create his own offense and has a deadly crossover dribble to create space. Physical defender who bumps cutters, blocks shots, and stays in front of the ball. Shot selection needs to improve. D2+/LM prospect who will most likely go the JUCO route.


Josiah Lossiah, JR, 5’9″, PG

Solid pass first PG who gets the ball up the floor very quickly either with the pass ahead or the bounce. Changes directions and speeds pretty well- crafty. Fluid scoring at the rim. Needs to continue to improve outside shot. Highlight maker with the ball in his hands. Understands how to enter the ball to the post. Great playmaker on both ends- quick hands. Endless energy in this one. D3+/D2- prospect- would be better if he were a bit bigger.


Sterling Santa Maria, SO, 6’4″, F

Undersized post to keep an eye on. Is a big/strong body who is efficient around the basket. Soft touch and has good hands. Got into with a few players tonight so needs to stay engaged and keep his cool but is a player to monitor. Finished with 20 points.

Rosman HS

Deland Thomas, SR, 6’4″, SF

Could make an argument that Thomas was the best prospect and certainly the best player tonight in this one. Great endurance- played entire and didnt have any let down even at the end, despite this being only his 3rd game back after injury. Is a tremendous outside shooter with a high and quick release. Has a good frame that will allow him to add more weight and muscle. Utilizes jab and ball fakes. Can attack in either direction in straight line drives. Needs to continue to improve ball handling. Fundamental/throw back player who has tremendous footwork. Skilled but average athletically. Mid to high level D2 player.


ATTENTION! Just making sure whoever is reading this doesn’t miss this part. 8th grade is too soon to project a player for the college level, at least for the most part. Unless they are extraordinary, it probably isn’t ideal to make a projection. I understand that. With that being said again, don’t expect a projection in this player intro. However, don’t be shocked to hear plenty about this kid in middle school this year and in high school every year until he graduates in 2021.

Cole Gilbert is a 13 year old 6’7” (for now) 8th grader that attends Ocracoke Middle School in Ocracoke, NC. It’s a relatively small island on the coast. It’s typically known as a great vacation and tourist spot. However, it isn’t often that a kid with such immense size, work ethic and potential comes along in such a small area as such. Gilbert will be one to track in Ocracoke over the years to come.

On the court, as the case is with most young big men, Cole is raw. However, his knowledge of the game is there, his mentality to strive to be great is there and his work ethic is impeccable. Coach DeAngelo Spruill of Garner Road likes what he has seen from Gilbert during competition. “Cole is a big boy! He’s a willing worker, has decent footwork and he doesn’t quit. Has a work ethic.” said Spruill when asked his thoughts of Cole.

Ocracoke isn’t known as a hoops hotbed. However, over the past couple of years current high school Coach Dave Allewalt and a slew of others have been doing a wonderful job building up the sports programs on the island starting with the youth. Cole is one of those kids who has come up in the program and has been working extremely hard on his game and adjusting to his body. He could certainly in time make his mark and bring more attention to a growing Ocracoke basketball program.

He’s currently sporting a size 16.5 shoe, just 13 years young and rapidly growing. Size, youth and a great work ethic typically make for an excellent post prospect in due time. It’s going to be fun watching the development of Cole over these next few years. Remember the name.

You read it here first.


This is the 2nd of what will be 5 installments of the “A Way Too Early Intro” series. Stay tuned.

Yes. 8th grade is too soon to project a player. I hear you and I understand clearly. Making projections of kids in middle school is out of bounds and too soon. I get it. Now, with that being said, don’t expect a projection in this introduction. However, you can expect to hear plenty about this kid in middle school this year and in high school every year until he graduates in 2021.

Dontrez Styles attends Woodington Middle School in Kinston, NC. He is currently standing at 6’4” inches tall, with plenty of room to continue growing. He has good size for the wing, good length, budding athleticism and plenty of skill to compliment his size on the wing. Potential is there to develop into a productive player early on once he makes it to high school.

During the AAU season with Kinston Heat, he played up at several tourneys and showed the ability to create off the dribble, knock down shots, rebound the ball, get to the rim and used his length defensively to bother shooters. He did quite a bit of growing over the summer as well, so it will be interesting to see how his body has adjusted when the middle school season comes around.

His main strength right now would be his shooting ability. However, it’s apparent he’s had good coaching, because he doesn’t fall in love with his jump-shot as most young players tend to do at his size. Styles makes it an issue to attack the basket, mixes it up off the dribble and he gets after it on the glass. Some key things to improve on would be his ability to read defenses aimed to frustrate him and of course continuing to improve his rapidly growing body frame over the next few years.

Remember the name for future references. All of the tools are there for him to become a high level prospect over the next 5 years. If he continues to work hard, improve and produce, the sky is the limit. It’s going to be fun to watch how he progresses.

You read it here first.

This is the first of what will be 5 installments of the “A Way Too Early Intro” series. Stay tuned.

All photo credits belong to Buds Photography.

Rest assured, the Class of 2019 in NC has the potential to be an excellent class from top to bottom in terms of college level prospects. From point guards to post players, this class is loaded with potential high level players and there will undoubtedly be some sleepers as well. I’ve listed (in no particular order) a few players that caught my eye as freshmen competing for their respective high school teams and in AAU competition. Lock these names into the back of your minds.

(Name, High School, Height, Weight, Position)

Note: This list is not compiled in any specific order.

Tarik Adams, KIPP Pride, 6’2” 165, PG/SG

As a freshman competing on the junior varsity for KIPP Pride HS, Adams showed some serious game. He dominated the competition, averaging over 27 points per game and displaying strong court vision as well. Over the summer, Adams really begin developing his body and was developing his athleticism before an injury shut him down for the remainder of the AAU season. However, he’s expected to make a full recovery and should undoubtedly put college coaches on notice in the next few seasons.

Dominique Morse, Spring Creek, 6’0” 160, PG

Morse is an extremely athletic sophomore guard. He’s a multi-sport athlete and it shows on the court with his toughness and will. In his freshman season competing on the varsity team, Morse had several 20 point 10 rebound games despite playing the guard position. He was one of a few freshmen that saw big minutes for his high school team and should only continue to improve each season. Intrigue is there. He displays fundamentals, soft shooting touch and an overall solid feel for the game. Definitely worth tracking.

Imajae Dodd, Greene Central, 6’7” 200, PF

Imajae has all the makings of a big-time prospect despite being such a young sophomore. As a freshman he showed flashes of a young agile post that can play well above the rim and create off the dribble in spurts. He also displayed a surprisingly soft touch on his jump-shot. Defensively, he gets physical and has solid timing when it comes to blocking shots and rebounding. He possesses uncommon athleticism for a player with his combination of size and youth. Colleges have already taken notice of his talent in route to him earning several D1 offers over the summer. Should gain more as the season rolls along.

Dericko Williams, Kinston, 6’7” 185, PF

Dericko is the definition of an elite run and jump athlete. Arguably one of the most athletic players in the state. Williams was able to show off his athleticism with Kinston High School in the ECI tourney held in Jacksonville, NC this summer. He was all over the court showing tons of energy on both ends. Crashes the glass, protects the rim and gets out in transition for electric slam dunk finishes. Despite being relatively raw, his athleticism alone should allow him to have an impact as a sophomore. Has shown to have a solid work ethic, so he could very well develop into a high level prospect.

Shyquan Jones, Pope John Paul, 6’4” 170 SG

Pope John Paul HS in Greenville, NC has a hidden gem in Shyquan Jones. He was able to quietly average over 24 points per game despite being double and triple teamed consistently. Jones possesses great natural basketball instincts, a tightening handle, a great frame for a wing and wiry strength. Should college coaches begin making their way down to Greenville, NC to see for themselves, don’t be shocked to see Shyquan earn several Division 1 offers before his junior season. Should have another dominate season at Pope John Paul HS.

Darryl McCaster, James Kenan, 6’0” 160 PG

After a highly successful stint on the junior varsity team as a freshman, McCaster was moved up to the varsity where he would then lead his James Kenan HS varsity team in scoring as a freshman. He showed a natural ability to create for himself and others and proved to be a clutch performer knocking down several last second shots as a frosh. In a prime position to help guide his team to the top of their conference this season, providing scoring, defense and an uncanny ability to make shots.

Marcotis Hall, Kestrel Heights, 6’4” 165 SF

Marcotis plays the game of basketball with a great confidence and displays a high IQ. In the mid-range area is where he’s most dangerous. Hall is able to elevate over most defenders and shows a quick release on his jumper coupled with some crafty moves from the triple-threat position. In the post, when guarded by taller and longer players, he uses a variety of pump fakes, spin moves and some solid footwork to create space for himself to get a good shot. Being that he is the 2nd leading returning scorer, he’s primed to have a jump in his production and could really make some noise this season with Kestrel Heights in a bigger role.

Damian Dunn. Kinston, 6’5” 185 SG/PG

Damian Dunn (along with Imajae Dodd) really made a name for himself this summer on the AAU circuit playing with Stackhouse Elite as well as with his Kinston HS team as a frosh. He already showed flashes of a versatile player capable of playing multiple positions and scoring at each spot during his freshman season. His game is rounding out, displaying an array of hesitation moves, good shooting form and patience. He doesn’t force the issue. Should he continue growing, getting stronger and scoring at every level, he could become a high level recruit in absolutely no time at all. Holds several Division 1 offers with growing interest.

Donte Johnson, Greene Central, 6’5” 190, SF

Donte is loaded with potential. A lefty, Donte showed many flashes as a freshman that he could in time become a long, athletic and savvy do it all wing. Naturally, Donte crashes the glass strong and runs the floor hard to get easy transition scores. In the half-court setting, he gets good post position, digging into his defender and showing a target. Once he has the ball in the post or on the perimeter, he’s adept at making quick moves to the basket once he receives the ball. Also has a very quick second leap on rebounding attempts. Should have a much larger role this season as a sophomore due to the graduation of six seniors.

Marcus Harrison, Southern Vance, 5’10” 150, SG

Marcus is an athletic natural-born scorer. Despite being undersized for the position, he’s extremely hard to stop due to his natural ability to find the right spots on and off the ball coupled with his ability to make all types of shots from all over the court. This kid flat out knows how to play and how to score. He’s one of the leading returning scorers for sophomores in the state after averaging 16.5 points and 6.5 rebounds as a freshman for his Southern Vance Raiders. Don’t be surprised to see his name among scoring leaders in NC this season and in years to follow.

Over the course of the past few months, I had the opportunity to keep tabs on a few rising juniors on the eastern side of NC. Several of these players showed much improvement over the course of this year and have undoubtedly worked their way into bigger roles for the up and coming season. I also received tips on a few of these players and they have proven to be diamonds in the rough. Each player listed below has the skill, worth ethic and potential to become a productive student-athlete at the college level. Special thanks to Rod Bridgers and Tre Cordon for making sure I was aware of several of these outstanding kids.


(Name, High School, Height, Weight, Position)

(2015-2016 Season Statistics)

Note: This list is not compiled in any specific order.


Jadakis Bonds, Riverside (Martin) HS, 6’4” 175 SG/SF

(11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block)

Not many players improved over the summer as much as Bonds. He has shown a much improved jump-shot, handle, passing ability, defensive mechanics and physique. Colleges will without a doubt be keeping tabs on him this season. Could break out as the leader of what has the makings of a very strong team this season. Standing at 6’4”, he possesses good height, athleticism, length, a high basketball IQ and tons of confidence at the shooting guard position. Still relatively unknown, he should undoubtedly attract some serious college attention this up and coming season and lead his Riverside HS deep into the playoffs.

Rakilen Butler, Southern Wayne HS, 6’3” 160 PG/SG

(14 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.4 steals)

Rakilen is a quick, shifty point guard capable that can shoot the ball extremely well. He had multiple games in his sophomore season knocking down at least 5 triples. Butler also has sneaky leaping ability enabling him to get past long defenders and grab long rebounds out of position. In the up-coming season, expect to see an increase in his productivity all around the board. If he continues to shoot the ball extremely well, distribute the ball and get stronger, Butler should become a well-known name to many colleges at every level on the east coast.

Kris Wooten, Parrott Academy, 6’2” 170 SG

(16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 40% 3pt shooting)

Wooten is arguably one of the best pure shooters in all of NC. Has an effortless jump-shot from mid-range and from the three point line. Is comfortable shooting off the dribble and off the catch. Shows a surprisingly slick handle that enables him to consistently get into the paint where his innate ability to finish around the rim wreaks havoc on defenses. Will not be shocked to see a 20+ per game season with solid all around statistics to follow. Has also shown a revamped body while providing glimpses of rapidly improving athleticism. Will be fun to track as the season goes on.

Tyzhaun Claude, Cox Mill HS, 6’7” 190 PF/C

(10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks)

Tyzhaun is a young and solid wide-bodied post. He doesn’t venture too far away from the basket, for good reason. He has a soft touch in the mid-range capacity and creates ample space in the paint using minimal dribbles, drop-steps and finishing strong around rim. Very fundamental post player that doesn’t try overdo anything. Sets good screens, hustles and doesn’t back down from anyone. Makes the smart and simple plays on both ends. (Competed for Goldsboro HS in 2015-2016 Season)

Freddie Taylor, New Hanover HS, 5’8” 150 PG

(11 points, 8 assists, 4 steals,  4:1 ast/to ratio}

One of the best floor generals in the NC 2018 class. Freddie has one of the best pure handles in the state. Very shifty and crafty ball-handler that commands a team offense and makes defenders think twice about trying to get physical with him. Underrated jump-shooter. Knocks shots down from the perimeter off the dribble and coming off screens. Defensively, gets a ton of steals with his pressure defense. Can really frustrate ball-handlers and make them second guess themselves. Colleges that are more concerned about skill and production rather than size will love Freddie.

Jareem Lovette, James Kenan HS, 6’6” 185 SF/PF

(6.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks)

Jareem has loads of potential. As a sophomore he had his ups and downs, but showed many flashes of potential to become a solid wing/post player. He gets out in transition and finishes well above the rim. When he operates on the wing he is capable of beating his man with two or three dribbles using either hand and can finish with either hand as well. Entering into his junior season, if Jareem shows more of a willingness to attack the basket and utilizes his size more, he could present a unique matchup problem for his opposition night in and night out.

Nico Barnes, Tarboro HS, 6’7” 180 PF/SF

(17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks)

Barnes is a post player that coaches would be wise to keep tabs on. Standing close to 6’8” he hustles, does the dirty work, runs the floor well and can knock down three-pointers at a solid clip. Defensively he’s much of the same, staying active and using his length to disrupt shots. He has all of the tools to be a dynamic all-around player. He’s still young as well, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him grow a few more inches. It may be just a matter of time before colleges start sneaking their way to his games this season to see what he’s all about.

Janari Hill, Jones Senior HS, 5’9” 150 PG

(16 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 2.4 steals)

Hill is a great example of a confident and savvy player. Despite his size, he was able to lead his Jones Senior team to a 19-9 record as a sophomore and looks to continue building on that success in the up and coming season. Janari is an extremely quick and crafty lead guard that loves to attack and finish in the paint. He has a streaky outside shot, but keeps defenses honest. Uses fakes well to get defenders in the air and dishes the ball to open shooters.

Trevon Spencer, Columbia HS, 6’3” 165 SG

(13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 38% 3 point shooting)

Expect to hear a ton about this kid this season. Spencer is an ELITE athlete that will undoubtedly provide several highlight reel dunks this season. Using his quick first step, long arms and shifty handle, he gets to the rim very often and finishes strong. Defensively, he’s quick on his feet and plays passing lanes really well. He’s also an underrated shooter, very capable of getting hot and going on big scoring runs. With the graduation of 8 seniors (including their top 3 leading scorers), Spencer will be counted on to carry the bulk of the load for his Columbia HS team. (Averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists during his stint on the junior varsity)

Andreas Wilson, Louisburg HS, 6’0” 170 SG/PG

(20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.3 steals)

Expect to see this name amongst the top scoring leaders this upcoming season in NC. With the graduation of three key seniors, he will definitely be counted on to take on a bigger scoring load and become more of a ball-handler. This kid flat out knows how to score the ball, rebounds exceptionally well for a guard and makes shots from all over. Has a very creative ability to finish as well as very solid leaping ability. East coast colleges should take personal notes and begin their evaluations on him as soon as possible before others take notice.

Clifford Shaw, Northeastern HS, 6’0” 150 PG

(6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 37% 3 point shooting)

Shaw is an interesting point guard prospect. As a sophomore, he played his role very well as a secondary ball handler and as a scorer. He had several strong double digit scoring games for what was a very deep Northeastern High School team that was a game away from a state title birth. Fast forwarding to now, Shaw was able to put up some impressive scoring and shooting numbers in a few summer games while knocking down a high percentage of shots from downtown. Already a proven ball-handler and distributor, should he continue to knock down shots at such a high rate the sky is the limit for this kid and Northeastern HS.

Romeo Jordan, St. Pauls HS, 6’5” 170 SG/SF

(5 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 37% 3 point shooting)

Romeo is a long and crafty wing with loads of potential. While he didn’t put up staggering numbers in the 2015-2016 season, his skill level still was able to shine through, despite splitting minutes with several key upperclassmen that have now graduated. He shows a nice feel for the game and a soft touch from three-point range. His mid-range fade-away jumper looks very comfortable and he’s shown a nice mix of crossover moves. It will be interesting to see if he will put all the pieces of his game together and produce a strong junior season.

Taji Moore, Kinston HS, 6’0” 165 PG

(5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 36% 3 point shooting)

Taji has shown to be a leader. As a sophomore, he struggled to find consistency while splitting minutes for a Kinston HS team that featured 10 seniors. However, he still had multiple games where he caught fire and went on scoring tears knocking down multiple 3’s and getting out in transition. Over the course of this summer, he showed improvement while providing great leadership. Showed good patience while running his team. He communicates very well offensively and defensively, scores the ball and knocks down shots at a high rate. Could be a breakout season coming up.

Ta’Quan White, Plymouth HS, 5’11” 155 PG

(11.5 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals)

White is a crafty and natural born scorer. He uses floaters, step-back dribbles, fade-away jumpers, hesitations and a nice mix of spin moves to create space for his own shot and others. Must note, he has a deadly right to left crossover dribble and also moves very well off the ball. Defensively he has quick hands and good anticipation. Unquestionably should lead his high school team in several categories this up and coming season. Very deep shooting range and must be guarded well past the high school 3 point line. Will drain multiple deep jumpers in a row and takes deep shots without hesitation.

Younes Robidoux, South Central HS, 6’6” 180 PF

(2.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1 block)

Robidoux is a young and long prospect with great upside. Has a good motor, plenty of athleticism and a good skill level for his size. He still will need more time before he begins putting together good games consistently, but he is in a basketball program at South Central HS that typically brings out the best in their young players. Robidoux appears to be very attentive and coachable as well. Keep track of this kid as time goes along.

Liam Caswell, Ocracoke HS, 6’3” 160 PG

(13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.4 steals)

Liam is the younger brother of DIII power Susquehanna University signee, Evin Caswell. Liam is a long and intriguing point guard prospect from Ocracoke Island. Despite coming from a school that had a total of just over 50+ students, he was able to help lead his high school team to their most wins in a season the past 5 years. Liam is a heady ball-handler that does a solid job protecting the ball, getting in the paint and controlling tempo. As a sophomore, he averaged 13 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in a secondary role. Since March, he’s hit a growth spurt rising to around 6’3” and retaining the skills he had as a 5’10” sophomore. Liam could possibly reach triple double territory a few times this year. Place him in your players to watch list.

Dontrell Watford, Gates County HS, 6’1” 215 F/G

(15 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block)

Watford is an undersized but efficient post/wing that has quietly been racking up double-doubles two years in a row now at Gates County HS. He’s very strong and uses his body well in the paint to carve out space. Rarely surrenders his position on the block. Dunks the ball with relative ease despite his girth. Bulls his way to the basket in transition while being under control. Should his handle and jump-shot continue to improve, he could become a huge matchup problem, proving to be too quick for bigger defenders and too strong for the typical guard to contain.

Octavius Lacey, Greenfield HS, 6’5” 165 SG/SF

(10 points, 8 rebounds, 1.5 steals)

Long, wiry and bouncy. Lacey is an intriguing wing prospect that could develop into a very strong two way player. He uses his length to disrupt passing lanes and gets out on the fast-break, filling the lanes and throwing down some vicious dunks. Most of his success early on has come from being extremely active on both ends. As a sophomore at Beddingfield he showed several glimpses of a wing capable of affecting the game in a ton of ways even without scoring or having plays ran for him. Has all the intangibles you want from a wing player. Could be primed to breakout at any time next season.

By James Blackburn

I had the opportunity to attend one of Combine Academies recent practices in Charlotte and check out some of their talent on hand. Combine Academy is a prep school that currently has locations in Charlotte and Atlanta and field 5 different teams. If you are a college coach at any level, Combine Prep has a player for you.

Below are some of the standouts from their 2 hour practice. All of the kids are post grad players.

Artur Labinowicz (6’3″, SG)

Terrific athlete who can shoot the 3 ball with ease- has a pretty stroke and can get it off against anyone. Confident in his game. Really fast with the ball in his hand. LM/MM talent.

Tim Marshall (6’3″, SG)

Heady player who is very smart. Can do a lot of of things well. Good shooter from 3 point range. Plays hard and communicates. D2/NAIA schools should be all over him.

Jamal Deshields (6’4″, SF)

I have seen Jamal develop over the years into the player he is now. Good shooter with a high release. Plays hard and would be a steal for a D2 school who needs a tough slasher.

Tyler Cheese (6’4″, PG) 

High IQ player who is an underrated athlete with a quick 2nd jump. Terrific defender. Makes his team better and makes winning plays. Can score the ball at the rim. Lefty. USC Upstate has shown interest and is definitely a D1 player.

Leo Viitala (6’4″, G)

One of my favorite players in the program. The high IQ slasher from Australia is tough to stop going downhill and is smooth and versatile. Solid passer who has a quick release. Schools from all 3 divisions should watch.

Bart Schild (6’7″, SF)

Played on the Holland JR National Team. This kid is smooth and a sneaky good athlete with a good mid post game.

Bradley Pierce (6’3″, G/F)

Terrific slashing and athletic player who plays the passing lanes on defense and can finish with either hand. Leader and is confident in his game. Can score in bunches.

Phil Steffens (6’9″, F)

Stretch 4 from Germany with good length and a good motor. Active on the boards. Good right hook. Has potential. NAIA and D2/3 schools would all be good fits.

Kyle Bradshaw (6’5″, SG)

One of the best athletes I saw today and can light it up from the outside.

Derian Valdes (6’6″, F)

This do it all player from Canada was solid on both sides of the ball today. Good athlete who can attack the rim and can shoot the 3 with a smooth stroke. Can finish with either hand. LM prospect.

Treyvonte Diggs (6’5″, G/F)

All-Around scorer who can beat you on the drive and shot. Active.

Josiah Thomas (6’1″, PG)

True PG who can also score. Thomas is one of 3 players from Canada in the program. He is athletic, changes speeds well, is a good ball handler, and sets up teammates. Excellent on-ball defender and can hit open 3’s. LM+ talent.

Johneil Johnson (6’0″, G)

Stood out because of lock down on-ball defense and athleticism.

WyKevin Bazemore Winston-Salem State basketball

By James Blackburn

Game Scouted: Winston-Salem State vs Virginia State (CIAA Game)

WSSU wins 61-58

WyKevin Bazemore (F, 6’4″, SR)


34 min, 3-5 FG, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 6 TP


One of the best motors I have seen in a player this year in college basketball. Bazemore plays harder than anyone on the floor. He attacks the offensive glass relentlessly, he dives on the floor for loose balls, and he defends. A good mix of athleticism, length, and motor help him on the defensive end, where he can guard up to 3 positions. Does a great job of closing out with a high hand and also takes away driving lanes. Is routinely asked to guard players much taller and he does more than hold his own. For the season, he is averaging over a steal and a block a game- is a playmaker on this end. Terrific rebounder on both ends- makes contact w/ opponent and chases the ball with 2 hands. Rebounds outside of his area.

Showcased the capability to score from the mid-post area w/ some solid footwork and head fakes. Efficient player who can score around the basket. Aggressive slasher.

Has a high basketball IQ and is unselfish. Had a couple of nice assists tonights in critical times that lead to lay-ups for teammates.


Needs to improve ball handling, particularly his left hand and the ability to attack left. Jump shot has improved but needs to continue to get better. Needs to increase range out to the 3. Is a tweener for size and needs to be able to play from the 3 pt and in, shooting 3’s and attacking the basket from the perimeter. He is strong but would be best suited to add some more muscle weight especially since he is an inside player at this stage.


Down game statistically for Bazemore, as he entered the game averaging a double-double, but you could tell what he can do. Bazemore plays his tail off on both ends and makes winning plays. He is the type of player that every coach wants to have on his team. Good teammate and is unselfish, sometimes to a fault. Terrific rebounder and defender, who needs to continue to improve his offensive skill set. Is in excellent shape (played entire 2nd half)- capable of playing hard with no dropoffs. A player with Bazemore motor is going to be able to find success at the next level. His longevity ultimately depends if he is going to be able to make the jump from a primarily inside threat to more a perimeter swingman.




James Blackburn has scouted all levels of basketball, including high school, college and the pros, as well as international competitions such as the FIBA World Cup. Want more scouting notes from James? Follow him on Twitter @jamesjunior21, right now!

By James Blackburn

Greg Mangano Yale basketball

Greg Mangano

(C, 6’10”, SR)

Game Scouted: Yale at Wake Forest

9-21 FG, 2-3 FT, 12 reb, 3 blk, 20 TP, 36 min
Box score

Good size/build. Moves well for size and can run the floor. Played a team-high 36 minutes – unusual for the center to lead team in minutes. He is well-conditioned. Very good rebounder on both ends – active on offensive boards. Wake struggled to keep him off the boards early. Good shooting touch.
Struggled with his 3 ball today, going 0-5 from beyond the arc- but shot looks fluid and is consistent. He is shooting about 30% from 3 for the season after shooting about 36% from 3 last year. Shot a contested 3 off a jab step move in first few minutes that looked solid especially for his size. Good FT shooter as well. Loves the turn around jump shot from post- nice touch- made one from each shoulder this game. Showed ability at end of game to score over the double team. Main offensive weapon on a 8-3 Yale team. Had a nice weak side block with 13 minutes to go in first half, where he covered a lot of ground to block the shot. Finished with 3 blocks for the game.

Needs to continue to improve back-to-basket offensive game. Showed a nice turn around jumper, but need to see more. I felt like he fell in love with the perimeter a little too much against Wake Forest tonight, and shot too many perimeter shots instead of going to the post. He settled. Brought his man over into a teammates driving lane early in the game – bad spacing/positioning – should have stayed or gone over the top. Needs to improve body language – was jawing with fans or arguing with officials through out game. Also showed bad emotions, poor attitude when things were not going his way. Needs to set better screens – lower, harder – must improve in that area.

This is the first time I have seen Greg play. He impressed me overall. A 6’10” post that moves well and can shoot, you do not see this everyday. Played for Team USA at the 2011 World University Games in China and was second on the team in blocked shots. Is averaging 17.3 ppg and 9 rpg. Also leads team in blocks and minutes played per game.

He got shaken up/injured with 8:40 left in game and came back in about a minute later. Was quiet offensively most of latter part of second half, but came alive at end, to lead his team back into the game.

I was impressed with Mangano performance today against a long and athletic Wake Forest team. He was able to score and rebound over two 7’ from Wake and Travis McKie, who is one of the best rebounders in the ACC. I think he is talented enough to warrant a few invitations for workouts at the end of the season for NBA teams. Would not be surprised to see him play summer league and with a good performance earn his way to a training camp invite. Will probably end up in D league or overseas.

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By James Blackburn

Juan Fernandez Temple Basketball

Juan Fernandez (G, 6’4”, Senior)

Game Scouted: Temple @ Texas
Texas wins 77-65
Box Score

31 min, 2-8 FG, 4 assist, 2 steals, 5 TP

Good sized guard, strong, solid frame. Keeps his dribble until he passes or shoots- always seeing the floor in the process- very good passer. Not a playmaker in the traditional sense of breaking down defender with dribble and getting to paint and kicking, but a playmaker none the less. His size allows him to see the floor, cutters, and the open man. He keeps his eyes up and is constantly scanning the court. Makes the smart and correct pass. Made a behind the back pass off a pick and roll to an open shooter in the first half. Gives the ball to players in positions for easy scores, which leads to high assists numbers, leads team in that category. Takes care of the ball- doesn’t turn the ball over. High basketball IQ, smart, makes the right plays at the right time. Takes good shots. Uses body and size well. Efficient. Sees the play before it happens on both ends.

Good defensive player- puts himself in good position, jumps to the ball, good help defender, plays the passing lanes well. Good closeout, contests shots. Anticipates and is in the right place at the right time defensively. Smart and deceptive defensively.

Good 3 point shooter- can come off screens- gets feet set and lets it go. Also showed the ability to shoot the dribble pull up, although he is a better set shooter. Struggled shooting the ball today, but his misses were off the back of rim and straight. Good shooting form- elbow in, feet set.

Well conditioned, plays a lot of minutes (over 34 mpg).

Plays well without the ball. Sets up cuts well off screens, changes speeds, fakes one way and goes the other. Does a nice job of instigating contact with defender to create space to come off the screen, receive ball, or to get shot off.

Needs to improve ball handling-had to turn his back when bringing ball up court a few times. Can’t really create his own shot- doesn’t have the speed or athleticism to get by man or blow by defenders for lay-ups. Not a great rebounder, especially needs to improve offensive rebounding- only 1 all year on that end. Slow laterally on defense- would have trouble guarding quicker and shorter PG’s at next level- His IQ and size helps him compensate for lack of speed at this level.

Smart experienced guard- has been a starter since first game on campus. Can play and guard either guard position. Doesn’t have big time speed to blow by defenders, but changes speeds and size allows him to see over the defense and make the pass to the open teammate. His team is better with him on the floor, controls the pace, tempo, and flow of game. Is a great fit for this Temple team. Besides his shooting, scoring, and passing abilities, most of what Fernandez does for his team does not show up in the box score. Impacts the game in other ways besides scoring and makes others better. Reminds me of a combination of Jason Kidd now in his old age and Jaycee Carroll who played for the Boston Celtics summer league team last year in Orlando. Both players are good shooting PG’s with size. I see him taking a similar path as Carroll, may receive a summer league or training camp invite, but is likely to end up playing in a first league somewhere overseas.

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Derrick Williams basketball Arizona

Derrick Williams emerged this season not only as a solid collegiate player but a potential NBA lottery pick in his sophomore year. On the back of a stellar season, he’s helped the Arizona Wildcats solidify their return to the nation’s premier list of basketball schools with a return trip to the Sweet Sixteen.

In the Wildcats’ win over Texas in the round of 32, Williams was quiet for most of the first half, but came alive in the second half to show some of the prowess that has made him a draft prospect. Although we haven’t scouted Williams fully, there are some great takeaways from his game that will translate to the next level.

The first is his quickness. Williams moves like a small forward with the ball, or even a slashing style shooting guard. However, at 6’9″, he’s got NBA size and bulk. Although he’s not consistently the kind of player to put the ball on the floor to break down the defender, his agility and athleticism make him a match up nightmare for a plodding big man. He can definitely play facing the basket and looks like he could be extremely effective at the 4 spot.

He will have to use his speed to compete as a power forward in the NBA, but ideally, he needs to develop a mid range shot to be the most effective and make an impact. Right now his game is based on being faster and stronger than most of the players who are guarding him, and he can get a step on them in the lane to put up a shot. He’s a good free throw shooter, averaging 75% for his sophomore year, although he has a tendency to short arm his shot occasionally.

He definitely has the tools to be a starter at the next level, if he could add to his offensive range and continue to work on his ballhandling.

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