Name: Koraan Clemonts Class: Senior “2016” Height/Weight: 6’1” 165 High School: Weldon High School (Weldon, NC) Position: Point Guard AAU Team: Richmond Squires Projected Level of Play: Low Major D1 / D2 GPA: 3.2 Video Link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coGRLCYqOwU
Koraan Clemonts from Weldon High School is easily one of the most underrated point guards in North Carolina. According to MaxPreps, for the 2nd straight season, he’s leading the state of NC in assists per game and is one of the leaders in steals per game as well. He most recently had a monster game on the road against conference foe Southeast Halifax High School, finishing with a quadruple double! (see video below)
Playing for a small 1A Weldon High School is part of the reason he has managed to stay a virtual unknown, despite averages of 17.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 10.1 assists and 3.3 steals per game. Coaches should take a closer look at Koraan Clemonts. A year young for his class with loads of potential, he could end up being a huge steal of a prospect at the next level.
Passing – Koraan is very unselfish and always has his head up with the ball. He’s able to make pinpoint passes through tight spaces, convert solid post feeds, throws excellent lob passes and is an exceptional outlet passer as well. Even when pressured by multiple defenders, he’s able to slip passes through to open players in the paint and around the perimeter with great consistency. Currently leading the state of NC in assists again with 10.1 assists per night.
Quickness/Athleticism – He is extremely quick and strong with the ball. Only needs a split second to penetrate a defense off the dribble. Has a very minimalistic approach to getting into the paint, utilizing pass fakes, head-fakes to throw off defenders and jump stops. Extremely efficient with his quickness, rarely utilizing more than 3 dribbles before splitting defenses and going by defenders. Has a very solid hesitation and crossover with either hand and bursts to the rim off the dribble before defenses can react to him without fouling.
Defensive Tenacity – Excellent defender. Very aggressive approach on defense and harasses ball-handlers with little to no remorse. Possesses abnormally long arms and big hands for a 6’1” guard. His length allows him to really frustrate ball handlers in man-to-man as well as in zone defenses. Doesn’t seem to get tired on either end. Consistently wears out opposing guards and turns their frustrations into long passes and steals for his team.
Areas for Improvement:
Shooting – At this current stage, he typically drives all the way to the rim for a shot or lets it fly from 3 point range. He’s a decent shooter, but he’ll need to develop a better mid-range shot and improve on his 3-point shot to really be effective early on at the next level. (LM Division 1 or High D2) He has a solid form, so repetition will help. He’s shown in multiple games to be a clutch performer at the free throw line, but he could stand to work on his free throw shooting as well.
Strength – For a player that gets in the paint so often, he’ll have to get stronger or bigger defenders will continue to bump him on drives, throwing him off balance. He has a frame that looks well equipped to put on muscle. Has seemingly gotten more athletic as the season has progressed, driving to the basket for dunks now, so that is a promising sign. Already a solid leaper. Putting in the time to develop a stronger core, upper body and lower body could make him a nightmare physically for opposing guards on both ends and will help benefit him in the long term.
A year young for his class. A year of acclimation to college speed and physicality would do him well. D2’s definitely shouldn’t let this kid slip away.
Recruitment: Catawba Valley CC, St Andrews, Emory & Henry, NC Wesleyan, Randolph College
Projected Level of Play: D2/D3
Bobby is a rising senior that is somewhat under the radar at this point, after a solid Junior Season at Jacksonville HS he had a successful AAU Season with East Coast All-Stars. During the fall he attended the Eastern NC Fab 40 Camp with some of the top players in Eastern NC and was named Camp MVP.
Shooting- Is a knock down shooter from midrange and from the perimeter especially off the catch, has a good idea of what a good shoot and a bad shot is, doesn’t force shots at all. Has good form and lift on his shot which allows him to get his shot off fairly easily regardless of height of an opponent.
Defense & Rebounding– Takes the defensive end of the game seriously, is versatile enough on that end of the floor that he has the ability to switch and guard bigs inside the paint or defend wings. Boxes out just about every time he sees a shot go up which allows him to put himself in great position for rebounds.
Toughness- throughout the summer he dealt with numerous injuries that would have sidelined most players for an extended period of time, if you are one of them, experts now recommend the use of cbd products to deal with the pain and heal faster. However he fought through this injuries and played very well at numerous Team camps and AAU events over the summer, these days it’s rare to see a kid that will play through the pain to see his team succeed.
Areas for Improvement
Athleticism– At the next level at the wing position a large amount of players play above the rim and have a very quick first step, which is an area that we would love to see him add to his game. Even though he is a solid defender on the wing at this point, some more lateral quickness would make him an even better defender at the next level to the point where he could possible even guard PG’s.
Ballhandling- He has made very good progress in this department over the past year but to elevate his stock as a prospect he will need to continue to become better with the ball so that he can possibly handle the ball under heavy defensive pressure at the college level.
I was able to scout session 2 of the NC Phenom Camp held once again at Proehlific Park in Greensboro, NC. Tons of talent was on display including numerous D1 prospects. Here are my scouting notes on some of the players who stood out today broken down by class.
Aidan Richard (Gaston Day, 6’10″, C) Long player who showed good patience in the post. Caught a big dunk off the backboard in the 2nd game of the day. Needs to get stronger with the ball, but has D1 potential.
Landon Yarbrough (North Lincoln, 6’3″, F) Strong undersized big who finishes in traffic. Willing to set screens and bang in the post. Physical and tough. More athletic than one would think. Solid rebounder who is a lefty. D3 schools should give him a look.
Cheikh Diallo (Cape Fear Christian, 6’4″, PG)
Quick guard who showcased an excellent handle. Terrific crossover move he used repeatedly to get into the paint. Excellent runner. Needs to improve shooting consistency but showed he could create his own shot.
Hunter Dotson (Trinity Academy, 6’1″, G)Aggressive player who is a good slasher. Good use of the glass on bank shots. Loves contact and is strong. High motor. Needs to improve left hand and take better angles on the defensive end. Schools at both the D2/D3 level should watch him this season.
Justin Reid (Cardinal Gibbons, 6’4″, F) Athletic wing who has a good basketball IQ. Really played well here today. Underrated passer who can shoot the ball from the perimeter with consistency. Definitely a college prospect.
Emmanuel Ugboh (Elite Prep, 6’10″, C) – Was one of the top players overall in attendance today and top big in my opinion. Solid big man who takes up space inside. Solid athlete who had numerous 2 hand rim-rattling finishes on the day. Can score with his back to the basket but needs to continue to improve in this area. Footwork is a little raw but he does a good job of keeping the ball high. Strong and solid build. Good rebounder on both ends. Influences shots on defense. Does a lot with 2 hands- finishes and rebounds w/ 2 hands. HM prospect who will only continue to improve.
Ray Kowalski (Northside Christian, 6’3″, G) – Underrated athlete who can hit the set 3. Solid scorer. Needs to improve first step quickness and his left hand.
Quentin Jackson Jr (Carlisle School, 6’4″, G) Bouncy player who can catch and finish lobs. Can rebound the ball and push it transition. Good handle for size.
Malcolm Evans (Elite Prep, 6’7″, SF) Malcolm is an athletic player with a good wingspan. Is still raw in a few areas, but showed he can put the ball on floor for a dribble or two and finish above the rim. Needs to improve defensive intensity and shot selection. Showed good form on his jumper. Could develop into a MM+ prospect- has a high ceiling.
Josh Handy (North Rowan, 6’4″, G/F) Handy has a solid wingspan and is a good one on one scorer. One of the best looking one-dribble pull-ups I saw today.
Michael Melvin (Freedom Christian, 5’11″, PG) Unselfish player who runs the offense and controls tempo. True PG’s are tough to find, and Melvin is a PG who can play P/R and score the ball when needed as well. Did a good job of feeding the bigs on his team- unselfish. Schools at all three divisions should track.
Trejon Jacob (Millbrook HS, 6’4″, G) Long player who has the ability to handle the ball and made good decisions. Had a couple of nice bounce passes to the roll man coming off the ball screen. Has nice arc on his 3 ball and good footwork. Plays hard and understands the game.
Thank God Msughter
Thank God Msughter (Freedom Christian, 6’6″, F) Loved his game today. Explosive player who has a high motor and defends/blocks shots. Loves the spin move in the post. Rebounds and shows a ton of emotion on the court. D1 prospect.
Colin Molden (Apex, 6’0″, PG) Smart and poised player who is patient and waits for the ball screen before he puts the ball down. Excellent passer and ball handler. Best set 3 point shooter I saw today- great looking form. Does the little things- fundamental.
Eli Lake (Blythewood, 6’5″, F) Smooth and fluid. Good looking stroke from 3. Solid defender who uses his length.
David Caraher (Chapel Hill, 6’6″, SF) (Chapel Hill, 6’6″, SF) David was a top 3 performer on the day, regardless of position or class. He is an extremely versatile player who scores the ball, defends, and can handle the ball. Defends the ball well by moving his feet and he also had numerous blocks inside. Runs the floor and finishes in traffic with either hand. Unselfish player who understands the game. High basketball IQ. Good ball handler. Is a MM+ prospect in my eyes.
Kristopher Monroe (South Granville, 6’5″, F) Provided the best dunk of the day- a big poster in the afternoon segment.
Rashad Dixon (Southern Durham, 6’3″, G) Athletic slasher who moves well with-out the ball. Scrappy. Great frame. Needs to improve jump shot, has a little hitch in it.
Franklin Ugochukwu (Cape Fear Christian, 6’10″, C) Talks on the floor- most vocal player I saw/heard today. Big bodied player who rebounds. Unselfish. Needs to improve mobility and offensive skills, but is a college prospect.
DeVontae Shuler (Irmo, 6’2″, PG) Shuler is excellent in transition thanks his explosion and quickness. Athletic guard who can finish above the rim and also had a huge block off the backboard. Needs to improve shot selection some.
Morgan McKay (Christ School, 6’8″, C) Big man who showed good touch from midrange with a high release. Solid defender who can guard other bigs 1 on 1 in the post without the need to have guards or anyone double.
James Blackburn scouts players at the high school, college and pro level. For more scouting notes and insight, follow James on Twitter @jamesjunior21
For the last three years, the Triad High School All-Star games have featured some of the top players from the region (boys and girls), and has given some exposure to senior players who have just finished their high school career. The game is held in March, just after the high school season and playoffs have ended.
I can’t take credit for organizing the Triad All-Star games (which are very well-run), but I do submit nominees and have some vote on the players who should attend. I actually vote in more than one all-star game; I have some input into a couple of national all-star games as well. I don’t scout specifically for any game, but since I cover much of the Southeast it folds in well with the players I already am scouting, I support the Triad All-Star event as a way to celebrate the senior players; usually, I’ve been scouting the players in the game for 4 or 5 years already, so it’s great to see them playing their last, or one of their last, high school games as they head into their last semester before graduation and moving on to college.
For me, the All-Star games actually take place right in the ‘middle’ of the scouting year; which brings me to the point of today’s article, which is, from a insider’s perspective, what the yearlong basketball scouting schedule actually is. Basketball is, for me and others who cover/scout/coach the sport, a 365-days-a-year game. Right now the mainstream sports world is readying for baseball postseason action and is square in the middle of the opening month of NFL and college football, and I like those sports, but for me, I’m also watching basketball in gyms. There’s literally never a month where there’s no basketball to watch or cover, which is great if you love the sport but also somewhat unknown to most casual fans.
What I wanted to do today is provide a schedule for parents and players who are wondering how scouts find players, what time of year they scout certain venues, where they look, and what they might be looking for. I can’t speak for all scouts, but bear in mind we all do tend to scout in similar patterns, although the events may be different based on where the scout’s home base is. For me, the scouting ‘year’ actually starts in the fall, but since basketball is ‘year-round’, this is more just how I personally organize my time. Disclaimer:this is primarily just my high school scouting schedule, and doesn’t include college and pro games/combines.
In other words, if you are trying to get scouted, you should be aware of where the scouts are and how you can improve your chances. It actually isn’t enough to just play well in high school in most cases. You have to strategically work on your game, get in AAU reps, individual showcases and rest for the July period. It’s not easy for players; the goal for most players is, get on someone’s radar in early fall, play lights out during the high school year, get on more radars in March, April, May and June (while also improving) and hit July with enough interest that coaches, media and scouts show up and watch you play against top competition.
So with all of that in mind, let’s kick things off:
September-October: Fall Leagues, open gyms and individual showcases. Normally I scout high level fall leagues in Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Charlotte. This is where I usually first see players who I may scout during the high school season. If you want scouts to see you play, this is a good chance to get into someone’s notebook. Usually if a player looks good in fall league, I will be sure to watch that player if they are at an individual showcase like the Phenom 150 events.
Bear in mind that scouts are not just looking for finished products; we are looking for players who are still developing. Focus on using the fall leagues on getting better and work on your transition offense/defense for showcases. Players tend to think if they score 40 ppg in a showcase it will get them noticed, but as a scout I have to pay attention to rebounds, assists, turn overs, defense…everything. If you are playing in a fall league game and jacking up shots every time you touch the ball, I’m not really going to be impressed. Lebron James in high school? Yeah, I saw him. Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, I saw all of them in high school. Andrew Wiggins? We at Basketball Elite were the first guys to actually interview him on camera, when he was a relative unknown. I’m not trying to impress anyone with this, I’m trying to explain why I’m really not amazed by watching a high school player come down the court with the ball, never look at any of his teammates and plow right into two defenders while the rest of the team just looks on.
Sometimes I won’t mention a player or write about them but I will jot their name down in my notes because I notice they run the offense well or play lock down defense; this is because if I see that player during the high school season and notice him, it won’t be the first time, and that matters. You can’t really scout a player in one game, or in one setting. You’re looking at building an accurate assessment of a player over time.
November-February: High school and private school games. I split my time between high school, college and semi-pro scouting during this time because it’s the most active time of the year with live games being played. I find players during this time but I also work to watch the players I found in the early fall, because I need to see them in organized high school games. It’s at this point that I consider the most valuable scouting; but in many cases I will add/drop players from my notes because I want to know what I am looking for in the AAU season. This is where I also solidify who I am going to vote for in the All-Star games. This time period is also the most difficult, scheduling-wise, because I get dozens of scouting requests each week and most high school games are all played at the same time, on the same days. So I have to choose games close to wherever I am on those days and where I think I can find players. If this sounds hard, it is. People always wonder why ‘no scouts or colleges ever come to our games’ and this is why. The reality is that if even if you can scout 3 games in a single week, which three games are you going to pick? One in Washington DC, one in Florida, and one in Kansas, on the off chance you might find a prospect? Not really possible or even reasonable. This is also why more scouts show up at holiday tournaments, because we can watch 5-6 games (which is 10-12 teams) in a single day. While high school games may be the most valuable for evaluation, they are also the most difficult to see. Inside note:this means that when a college coach shows up at a high school game, they are probably already recruiting someone in the game. They usually aren’t there to find players, although it happens sometimes.
March:High school playoffs, all-star games, individual showcases. By this time, I’m pretty familiar with most, or all of the players when I see them at high profile events like the NC Top 80. Last year, we also broadcast several of the games for the NC Top 80 online. There are also conflicts during this time because of the NCAA tournament games.
April-May: AAU games. Here I may find players but normally what I am looking for is seeing the players I watched during high school in different conditions; I also get a chance to see players from other regions that I may not have been able to watch during the high school season. If I watch an AAU tournament in Atlanta, I may see teams I am familiar with from NC taking on teams from Texas, Florida, or Gerogia and that gives me a wider scouting reach as well as being able to compare players I am more knowledgeable about going against national competition. This is also where I solidify who I want to watch during the July live period and it’s where I really start looking for players who may be under the radar and who I would like to attend my Southeast Summer Showcase, normally held in June.
June:Southeast Summer Showcase (which I organize), NBA Top 100 camp, and usually I hit a couple of elite camps like Wake Forest, Chris Paul’s elite guard camp or another one if I can find it. With the showcase, I normally like to bring in some solid talent, some players who college coaches know about but then I like to bring in as many under-the-radar players as I can, so that they can show if they can compete against the ‘name’ players. This has worked well and last year we had more college coaches in the building than ever before, and we have had a lot of Division I talent come through the event during our first four years of operation. Also, hitting up the elite camps usually gives me a chance to see national players from across the country.
July: AAU live period. This is the time where everyone thinks basketball recruiting happens, and a lot of it does happen, from the EYBL circuit (sponsored by Nike), to the Adidas tournaments, to hundreds of other tournaments crammed into about a three week period. This is where I see the most college coaches, the most national players and really get to see top national talent. I do find players in this time but normally this is just an extension of what I’ve already seen; I’m generally looking at match-ups between top players at this point, such as if I’ve seen a regional point guard from Virginia and I want to see how he does against nationally ranked guards on both ends of the floor. This is sort of when ‘everything comes together’ for players, coaches, media and scouts. It’s also incredibly exhausting for everybody.
August: Most scouts ease off in August and there is very little coverage…except for USA Basketball, which plays internationally. This year, the USA team played in the FIBA World Cup in Spain and was covered by our own James Blackburn.
And then it’s September, and we do it all over again.
Terrific shot blocker- one of the best I have seen all year. His ability to block shots and keep the ball in play is game changing- ignited several fast breaks because of a block. He can block both his mans shot and shots from the weak side. Has terrific timing and seems to always be in the right spot/position to block or alter shots. Stays on the ground until offensive player releases the ball. Is a able to block and influence shots without fouling- which is impressive for the number of shots he attempts to block. Had 7 blocks in the 1st half tonight and finished with 9 blocks and influenced tons of other shot attempts.
Solid overall post defender in general who showed he could play behind as well as front the post. Closes out on players with high hands. Jumps to the ball defensively and knows where his man and the ball are at all times. Excellent help defender. Rebounds the ball decently on both ends when he grabs the ball with 2 hands.
On the offensive side of the ball he showed some decent patience in the post and a high right hand hook shot. Solid athlete who had a couple of big 2 hand finishes in traffic. Had an impressive straight line drive from 15’ for the And1 play in 2nd half. At his best FT and in on offense. Not a great shooter from the perimeter but is an above average FT shooter- shooting over 69% on the year. Has a simple, yet effective stroke with good ball rotation.
Defensively, there is not a lot to not like about Little. He does need to get stronger, particularly lower body. Allows his man to get too deep of post position on the block.
Still a little raw offensively. Needs to improve ball handling and ability to drive the basketball from the perimeter. Lost the ball several times in the post and needs to get stronger with it. Has a habit of drop dribbling the ball in the post. Loves to go over left shoulder- Can he finish with his left hand?
Needs to improve body language and not complain with the officials.
Averaging 15.1 ppg and 8.5 rpg on the season. Has school record for blocks in career in a single season and the career record as well. Set the school record this game for most blocks in a game too. Played well tonight, especially in the 1st half. Will be interesting to see how he improves on the offensive side of the ball between seasons. Has the potential to be a good player in Europe with his size and defensive skills. Plays the 4/5 at Catawba but will most likely be a PF primarily at the next level.
Excellent overall game for Gielo in the win. Gielo has a good frame with solid length. He should be able to continue add some muscle which will suit him well for inside the paint. Is fluid and highly skilled for his size. Versatile player who can play either forward position.
The lefty has an excellent FT stroke (86% on the year). He also showed he could knock down the open 3 ball and the midrange. Has good 1st step quickness and showed the ability to attack the basket in straight line drives. He even showcased a spin move in traffic and a reverse lay-up tonight- impressive for his size. Showed the ability to score in a variety of ways- shooting from perimeter, offensive put-backs, and lay-ups at the rim. He handles the ball well for his size. Is crafty around the rim. Good bball IQ.
Defensively he has the ability to guard the SF or PF, but is more suited at this stage to guard the 3. He can move his feet pretty well and his length makes it tough to score over. Solid rebounder as well.
Needs to improve right hand. Didn’t show ability tonight to drive hard with right hand or finish with right hand. Not a bad shooter, but shot tends to get flat and does not have great rotation. Shot becomes more of a push. Is a great FT shooter, but shot becomes less consistent at the 3-pt line. Is not a great athlete. Has had a few injuries in his career (hip/elbow) and will need to gain some more muscle weight especially when playing the PF position.
Is from Szczecin, Poland originally where he played on the U-20 Poland National Team. Definitely has a European style game. Is fundamental and skilled- can do things that players 6’5” here can do, but he is a legit 6’9” with length. He did show the ability to hesitate at the rim and changed directions on the drive, but always went back to his left. If he can improve his right hand over the summer, I think he will be a major sleeper for this Liberty team next year. Has increased his averages every year so far since his freshman year and this is probably due to him becoming more accustomed to the style of play here. He is averaging 10 ppg and 5 rpg this year so far. Going back to Poland to play professionally will definitely be an option for him once he graduates. After another strong senior season he will most definitely see those options grow.
Troutman rebounding ability is his greatest asset as a player. He rebounds the ball well on both ends, but is better on defensive end. Did a good job of tipping offensive rebounds out and keeping ball alive. Grabs rebounds with 2 hands when he can. Looks to make contact and box out when shots go up.
Showed solid patience in the post. Lucas has a good back to the basket game in which he has a variety of scoring moves- hooks, up and under, spin moves. Go to move is right hook which he can hit at a high rate. Is not a big time athlete but did have a couple of 2 hand dunks tonight in traffic.
Did a good job this game of handling the double team. Took care of the ball and found the open player. Did a good job of passing the ball this game. Strong player with good size and build. Gets deep post position.
Protects the rim well defensively. Is a decent athlete, but has really good timing.
Is an above average FT shooter -has good rotation/arc. Is shooting over 70% from the line this year. Does not look to shoot many midrange jumpers and did not attempt any tonight.
Although Troutman is a really good paint protector, he is a poor perimeter defender who needs to improve lateral quickness and overall defensive stance- is too tall, needs to get lower.
Doesn’t run the floor very well on either end and needs to improve conditioning as well. Seems to play hard for 4 minute stretches but needs to come out after that.
Showed the ability to use his left hand on one of the 1st few possessions of the game, but left hand is shaky- Is much better finishing with his right.
Plays less than 30 minutes a night but leads team in scoring, rebounding, and blocks. This is really good considering he plays in a guard oriented system that puts up a lot of 3-point shots.
Will better with pro rules allowing more physicality inside. Not able to use any arm bars to use his strength inside in college this year, but will be able to on the pro level.
Troutman has both the size and the skill to be a good European player and he should have multiple offers to play overseas as we approach the summer months. Teams love players above 6’9” that can hit FT’s and Troutman fits that billing.
Lincoln started off slow offensively, settling for a lot of 3’s early on. The game was littered was fouls and both teams played primarily zone defenses. South Atlanta handled Lincolns pressure defense well and led throughout this one. Seton Hall Commit, Isaiah Whitehead made it interesting with some big plays down the stretch, but it was not enough in the end, as South Atlanta held on for the 3 point win.
Derrick Byrd (2014, 5’11”, G)
Played another terrific game. Is a quick PG who does not turn the ball over. Has a really nice floater that he can get off over bigger defenders. Can reach the paint at will. Terrific ball handler- one of the best I have seen this year. Good passer- gets the ball up court in a hurry. Pressure doesn’t affect him, he can break presses and traps easily. Makes the right play when he gets doubled. Love his attitude/poise. Excellent on-ball defender with good lateral quickness. Good change of direction, shifty- plays at his own pace. True PG, could be a steal for D3’s and D2 schools.
Abraham Lincoln HS (NY)
Isaiah Whitehead (2014, 6’4”, SG)
The Seton Hall Commit struggled with his shot most of this game, before finding it late. Excellent looking stroke- perfect form/release- good elevation and arc. Has deep range on his 3. Is a tremendous on-ball defender with good energy shown on the defensive end. Great FT shooter. Not the fastest with the ball but is deceptive. Settles for too many contested shots, forces too much. Struggles to go left or finish with his left. Can create his own shot. Good rebounder who can rebound in traffic. Although he doesn’t have a great left hand, he is a good ball handler with an excellent crossover dribble move. Dribbles hard. Can make tough passes and is a solid playmaker. Needs to make the easy pass and play when he settles for the tougher shot or pass when he doesn’t need to.
Northside came out as the aggressor in this one taking an early, but Montverde find their rhythm soon enough and went into the 2nd quarter with a double-digit lead. Montverde seemed to answer every run Northside made from then on by making tough shots, forcing turnovers, and getting transition points. Northside did control the glass for most of the 1st half and went into half-time trailing 40-30. Northside showed a lot of fight, but in the end Montverde had too much size and depth and got the win. The sold-out crowd definitely got their money’s worth in this one, as there were countless highlights and above the rim finishes. The game featured over 10 D1 players.
Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (2015, 7’4”, C)
The 7’4” inside force only played a couple of minutes, but scored 9 pts and made his presence felt. He showed a decent FT stroke, good for a player his size. He kept the ball high on passes and finished with 3 dunks.
Jordan Caroline (2014, 6’6”, F)
Again Jordan was one of my favorite players this game. Southern Illinois got a great one in Caroline- a player who just goes out and does his job. Loves physical play and banging inside. Good rebounder who is explosive and tries to dunk everything. Very strong. Attacks the rim hard.
Ben Simmons (2015, 6’8”, SF)
Versatile, talented, and incredibly athletic. Simmons showed once again he could rebound in traffic and push it up-court- Very Jabari Park like in that regard. Good handle for size. Lefty who can hit the midrange and FT’s with consistency. Can make plays for himself and others in the open floor. LSU fans will love watching him in 2 years.
Desean Murray (2014, 6’5”, F)
Can finish with the best of them, contact does not effect him. Very strong- great rebounder. Terrific explosive athlete who has a quick 2nd jump. Love his shot blocking ability- one of the best shot blockers I have seen under 6’6”- excellent timing. Good offensive rebounder. Would be HM with 2 more inches.
Charlotte Christian struggled with turnovers through out this game which Ardrey Kell turned into easy baskets in transition. Ardrey Kell shot the ball and moved the ball extremely well and they had the game in hand entering the 4th quarter up over 25 points. With junior Santa Ana handling the scoring load for Ardrey Kell and junior big man Josh Freund controlling the boards, Ardrey Kell was able to get the first round win 68-41. Trey Phills is a D1 guard who did what he could by scoring the ball but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Ardrey Kell HS
Markel Pollard (2014, 6’4”, G/F)
Tremendous defender who stays between his man and the basket. College ready build with good length and high shoulders. Throwback player who plays well out of the mid post.
Steven Santa Ana (2015, 6’3”, G)
Good sized guard who can really shoot the ball from the perimeter- gets good elevation and can hit the 3. Does a great job of attacking the rim. Aggressive on both ends. Has a high motor is an active defender- drew several charges and blocked some shots. Not afraid to talk on the court- talked a few times to the opponents and to officials which I did not like. Has the potential to play at the D1 level when his HS career is complete.
Josh Freund (2015, 6’4”, F/C)
Undersized big man who does a good job of protecting the rim and rebounding the ball. Showed good patience in the post and is a good passer. Has a nose for the ball wand was the best rebounder I saw this game. Good motor and strength. D2 and D3 schools should keep an eye on him.
Trey Phills (2015, 6’1”, G)
Good quickness- great first step. Good passer and is an unselfish player. Not a bad shooter but needs to improve range a bit- has a high release. Is an excellent 1 dribble pull-up shooter going either direction, but when he moves out further he gets a little hitch in his shot. Played more off the ball this game. Smart player who gets in correct defensive position- good help side defender. Was asked to guard bigger players today and he did a solid job. Holds offers from UC Irvine and The Citadel as well as interest from a host from other LM programs. Would like to see him make the move to the PG position over the summer, which I think he can do. If he can play the lead guard successfully I could see him increasing his offers.
South Atlanta (GA) vs Montverde Academy (FL)
Montverde wins 98-39
Montverde entered the game with 7 D1 commits and a number 1 national ranking. They jumped out to an early 24-5 first quarter lead and never looked back. South Atlanta struggled with a half court traps and the overall size and athleticism Montverde presented. Montverde led 53-21 at the half and 85-30 after the 3rd before winning 98-39.
Montverde is up there as one of the best HS teams I have ever seen play. They are similar to a college program with their size and athleticism. LSU commit Ben Simmons has the potential to be a one and done player and its scary that he is only a junior. I was very impressed with Ohio State commit D’Angelo Russell. He has a tremendous feel for the game and is very smooth. He is a very good 3-point shooter with good touch.
Derrick Byrd played his heart out and was the most impressive player on South Atlanta’s roster. He is a true PG who is an excellent ball handler. He is an unsigned senior, but that should change soon.
Derrick Byrd (2014, 5’11”, G)
Undersized but extremely quick lead guard who has excellent footwork. Needs to improve his 3-point shooting. Might be the best ball handler in this game- has the ball on a string. Has the ability to break the press by himself. Active defender who has a ton of energy. Got to the rim almost at will- Changes speeds and slithers his way through traffic. Best player on his team and competed till the end even with the blowout score. If Byrd can get a little bigger and improve his 3-point stroke, he would be sure fire D1. He will be playing at the next level as a PG. I was very impressed with him this game. Finished with a tam high 9 pts. Byrd has zero offers at this point, D2 and D3 schools should be all over him.
Devontae Dean (2016, 6’2”, G)
Came out this game attacking from the start and was not intimidated with Montverde’s size and athleticism. Took the ball to the rim aggressively where he finished in creative ways and drew fouls. Good length. Only a sophomore, Dean has a ton of potential. Will be playing at the next level- which level depends on his development.
D’Angelo Russell (2014, 6’4”, G/F)
Ohio State commit. Has one of the quickest releases I have ever seen- great shooting touch. The lefty guard has the ability to make next level passes. Passes are direct and quick. His passing ability was probably was what I was most impressed about this game. Directs traffic and played both guard positions this game. Has a tremendous feel for the game and is smooth. Didn’t put a lot of energy in the defensive end this game- came out of stance too often. Does have extremely quick hands. Finished with 17 pts, 5 assists, and 4 steals in 21 minutes off the bench.
Makinde London (2014, 6’9”, PF)
Terrific length and athleticism. Might be one of the longest players I have seen this year. Active defender. The Xavier commit plays on both ends, but needs to improve his perimeter jumper. Settled for many shots from 3- needed to attack the rim more. Finished with 9 pts and 5 boards.
Jordan Caroline (2014, 6’6”, F)
Caroline was one of the most impressive players on the floor tonight. Is a bit undersized height wise for his position, but is very strong and physical. Work horse of the team. Loved his aggressiveness and explosion. One of the best finishers inside I have seen this year- highly efficient player. Southern Illinois got themselves a good one in Caroline, tough player who will contribute right away. Scored 19 pts on 9-12 FG shooting in 15 minutes.
Ben Simmons (2015, 6’8”, SF)
Best player on the floor tonight. Crazy upside as a player. Plays like a guard- is smooth and fluid. Can rebound the ball and advance it up court with the dribble. Plays the game above the rim- big time athlete. Runs the floor well. Although Simmons is a big time athlete, he must improve his finishing ability- he missed 3 dunks this game. Tremendous 2nd jump. Has NBA size and athleticism as he plays the SF. Good ball handler for size. LSU got a steal with this kid. Finished with 28 pts on 11-14 shooting and 6 rebounds in 19 minutes.
Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (2015, 7’4”, C)
Got limited PT but still managed to block 3 shots and grab 3 rebounds in 8 minutes. Excellent length. Needs to gain muscle but is mobile and runs the floor well for a 7’ plus player. Raw offensively but is a game changer with is size. HM prospect.
Olympic vs Victory Christian
Olympic wins in OT 63-58
Victory Christian and Olympic played contracting styles this game with Olympic wanting to speed things up and Victory wanting to slow things down. Victory did an excellent job controlling the tempo and running their offense. They took care of the ball and led at each break. The first half of this one was a little sloppy. Victory led at the half 31-21 thanks to some good outside shooting which continued into the second half. Olympic used full court pressure defense throughout and was able to pull within 6 after CJ Jackson starting catching fire from the field. The 4th quarter was back and forth and Olympic was able to cut into the lead several times in the 4th. CJ Jackson tied it up with a big 3 and then hit FT’s to put them up 3. Brenton Davis came down and buried a wing 3 to put it into OT. In OT it all belonged to CJ Jackson who was the MVP of the game in my opinion- he hit the FT’s needed to secure a 63-58 come from behind OT win.
Ebuka Izundu (2016, 6’10”, C)
Very good defensive player who defends well on the perimeter. Excellent length. Needs to get stronger but is a D1 prospect. Lefty who draws contact and got to the FT a decent amount. Needs to improve FT shooting.
Brenton Davis (2015, 6’4”, SF)
Smart and versatile player. Does it all on the floor- scores, rebounds, and defends. Good length. Good defensive instincts-communicates on the floor. Fundamental player who can really shoot the ball. Has a low release but is a knockdown shoot from beyond the arc. Was one of the most impressive players on the floor tonight. Excellent poise. Is in the right place at the right time. Can spread the court with consistent 3-point shooting. Can put it on the floor and score off the bounce. LM and MM schools should track. Finished with 22 points. Hit some big shots down the stretch.
Malik Constatine (2015, 6’5”, SF)
Malik entered the game averaging a double- double on the year. He is a good rebounder on both ends and has a high motor. He can hit the 3, but it needs improvement. Shot is simple but effective- shoots from side of the head. Versatile inside/out threat. D1 prospect. Finished with 13 points and 8 boards.
CJ Jackson (2014, 6’1”, G)
Big time scoring guard who can play either guard slot- played PG majority of this game. Perimeter shooting is streaky but when he gets hot, watch out. Shot was off this game but he still was able to get to the paint where he could score with floaters and pull-ups. Confident player who wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game. Made some huge shots and plays in the 4th quarter and OT of this one. Good FT shooter. Is always in scoring and attack mode and got to the line often in this one. Is very quick and athletic. Highlight reel with the ball. Energetic defender- good shot blocker for his size. I was impressed with his passing ability today as well. Has a tendency to get out of control at times and is TO prone. The unsigned senior would be a great fit at multiple programs and would be a steal for a D2 school. Finished with a game high 29 pts this game.
Arlington Country Day (FL) vs Northside Christian (NC)
Northside wins 100-90
Back and forth game in the 1st half. Northside was the aggressor and seemed like they wanted it more. They were excellent defensively and led at the half by 11. Northside pushed their lead to 20 in the 2nd half with transition points. Kevin Maura for ACD ignited a run that brought them back to 9 in the 3rd.
Northside led throughout and was in control from the opening tip to the end. They handled ACD full court pressure remarkably and really took care of the ball which led the 10 point win.
Arlington Country Day
Dante Buford (2014, 6’8”, F)
Oklahoma signee who was watched this game by an assistant coach from OU. Plays the game above the rim. Was all over the offensive boards this game. College ready build. He relies on his athleticism too much and needs to improve overall offensive skill set.
Ladarius Chester (2015, 6’1”, G)
One of the best leapers I have seen all day. Head was at the rim during warm-ups. Explosive combo guard who showed off several scoring moves inside including a floater. Can score with contact. D1 player.
Brandone Francis (2014, 6’6”, SG)
Excellent shooter with a good looking stroke. One of the best looking shooters I have seen today. Was a local leader on the floor too. Fouled out of this one. Strong upper body. Committed to Florida.
James Demery (2014, 6’6”, F) 25
Attacks the rim hard and is excellent in transition. Excellent athlete. Very efficient scorer inside. Good FT shooter who gets to the line at a high rate. High arc on his shot. Always in attack mode- aggressive. Moves well with out the ball and made him self available repeatedly to the guards . Sticks with his misses and has a quick second jump. Well conditioned player. Good rebounder who battles on the glass at both ends. Would like to see him improve his 3-point shooting, looks to drive every time. Looked great this game. St. Josephs got a steal with Demery. Looked every bit of a HM player this game. My pick for MVP of the contest.
Desean Murray (2014, 6’5”, F) 2
Explosive undersized forward who is a tremendous rebounder. Physical player who has a nose for the ball. Active player who really attacked the offensive glass nearly every possession. Energy player. Picked up his 3rd and 4th fouls in the 3rd quarter. Committed to PC.
Ray Kowalski (2016, 6’2”, SG)
Tremendous 3 point set shooter. Smart player. Needs to improve defensively but is one of the best shooters in his class. Is a player to keep an eye on as his shooting ability will get him college looks.
United Faith visited QEA for an early Friday night game. This one wasn’t close from the start as QEA used pressure defense to jump out to a 16 to 6 1st quarter lead. The Pharaohs didn’t look back and eventually got the 64-40 win.
Here are some of the standout players for both teams.
Ty Gadsden (6’0”, PG, 2016)
Was the most important player for United Faith tonight. QEA started denying him the ball starting in 2nd quarter. The lefty PG is quick and speedy in the open floor and has the ball on a string. He is a good passer who dribbles with his eyes up. He is poised and does not get rattled. Ty is a leader and an extension of the coach. Has potential to be a D1 guard.
Nehemiah Mabson (6’6”, PF, 2014)
Mabson struggled tonight for the most part, but is still a solid prospect. He showed decent ball handling abilities on the perimeter, but is still at his best on the block. Strong and physical player who is a tweener. Is unselfish and is an excellent rebounder. Has nice touch and is scrappy. Should be on most LM schools list.
Benjamin Bennett (6’4”, SF, 2015)
Good defensive player who has active hands. Can knock down the 3 and has a high release.
Ben Eke (6’7”, C, 2016)
Young and growing player with potential. Good length.
Jerrelle DeBerry (6’5”, SF, 2014)
Impressive game for DeBerry as he came off the bench to score 10 points in the win. Excellent athlete who had a huge poster dunk with the foul tonight. Very strong upper body. Already holds a couple of D1 offers and should probably have a few more.
Marsellis Purvis (6’6”, F, 2016)
It’s hard to believe that Purvis is only a sophomore in HS, because he is a beast inside the paint. He loves physical play and is very strong. He is an unselfish true back to the basket player who plays much bigger than 6’6”. He rebounds the ball well with 2 hands and showed he could defend on the perimeter with some surprisingly good lateral quickness. Has solid footwork and finishes inside. MM+ D1 caliber prospect.
D’Marques Tyson (6’5”, SG, 2014)
Best shooter in this game and one of the best shooters I have seen this year at the HS level. Has a D1 shooting stroke. Can hit three’s as well as the mid-range. Doesn’t force shots and defends as well. Had 10 pts tonight. LM target.
Ibrahima Diallo (6’10”, C, 2014)
Mobile big man who can finish above the rim. Controlled the defensive boards tonight. A player who D1 schools should familiarize themselves with if they aren’t already.