Friday, July 1, 2016

The 7th Annual J.E.M. All Star Classic Set For August 13th

On Saturday August 13, 2016 the Basketball Spotlight will be presenting the 7th Annual J.E.M. All Star Classic. This event will bring together the rising 9th grade boys and girls in the region to celebrate the memory of Jonelle Elaine Melton. This event has always drawn the best of the best from the East Coast. Alumni include #1 NBA Draft Pick Karl Towns Jr., Isaiah Whitehead, Shep Garner, Isaiah Briscoe, Tyus Battle, Trevon Duval, Donovan Mitchell, Cameron Reddish, Nazi Reid, Jahvon Quinerly, Anthony Cowan Jr., Chris Lykes, Unique Mclean, Scottie Lewis, Cole Anthony, Bryan Antoine and many more. Stay tuned as we bring you players attending this year’s event and highlights from the past. 


NEO National Showcase Class of 2020 Top Performers

Khari Walker (California)

Basketball Spotlight traveled to Cleveland, Ohio for the Neo National Showcase and it was loaded with talent. Here’s our look at the top performers in the Class Of 2020. 

Neo National Showcase Class of 2020 Top Performers 

Khari Walker (Guard)- No one entered this event with a bigger rep or with more to lose than Walker. The California native took on the challenged and left this event as the best overall performer. Standing 6’5 with a physical frame was too much handle for most of the opposition. He’s able to get anywhere on the floor and create a clean look whenever he wants. If his jump shot if falling it will be a long day for defenders. In the open floor he’s very explosive while finishing above the rim with ease. But what makes him the most dangerous is his court vision. He is able to see plays before they develop and delivers the rock on time. This aspect makes it possible for him to transition into the point guard position.

Jordan Toles (Guard)- It’s clear to see that Toles has been working on his game. Previously it was all about his athleticism but now he plays at a smoother pace while picking his spots better. He uses an improved handle to get into the lane and also has added a legit pull up. I also like how he is developing as a play maker while seeing the floor. He’s definitely turning into a more complete player. Keep working kid I was impressed. 

Cameron Byers (Forward)- Byers took home ALL Star Game MVP honors by using his big frame to get the job done. He used a serious work ethic and power to score in the lane. He also did damage on the glass and gave a good effort on the defensive end. When he gets going he’s a load to handle.

J’yare Davis (Forward)- Davis was explosive all weekend. He showed supreme versatility and was a match up nightmare. He puts the rock on the deck with ease and shows athleticism when finishing in the lane. If he continues to work on his perimeter skills he projects to one of the top players in the country. His stock continues to rise after each event. 

Montorie Foster (Guard)- One of the highlights of the camp was Foster battling with Walker. Foster came ready to rock and was in attack mode. He scored the ball from all three levels and showed ridiculous range. He shows good basketball instincts and plays with passion. I can see the hunger in this kid’s eyes. Watch out for him. 

Jesse Laster (Forward)- This kid ran the floor like a deer. No one was probably quicker from rim to rim. He was an athletic finisher and plays the game with a very high motor. You can’t really peg him into a position as of yet which may not be a bad thing. 

Michael Saunders (Guard)- Saunders showed up Day 2 but quickly made his presence known. His quickness is the first aspect of his game you would notice as he darts through the lane like a blur. On his drives he combines fundamentals with a lightning first step. I also like his drive and kick game. 

Quentin Richardson (Guard)- Speaking of guards with fundamentals, Richardson comes to mind. He surveys the floor well, takes care of the rock and has a mean floater in his arsenal. Some high school coach will be happy with this kid next fall. 


Thursday, June 30, 2016

NEO National Showcase Class Of 2021 Top Performers Part 2

Caleb Furst 

Basketball Spotlight took the trip to Cleveland, Ohio for the NEO National Showcase. The Class Of 2021 was the deepest in terms of talent. Here’s Part 2 of our top performers from this grade level. 

NEO National Showcase Class Of 2021 Top Performers Part 2 

Caleb Furst (Forward)- Furst has grown a few inches since the Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp. He also added some speed and versatility to his game. He was too quick for the other post players and too big for guards that tried to guard him. I also like how he extended his game to the perimeter but hitting shots and putting it on the deck. If he continues to grow and develop he could become a big time recruit. He earned a spot in the Middle School All American Game and Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp.

Ryan Conway (Guard)- Conway is one of the best scorers in the country and he showed it again in Ohio. He has added more wiggle off the bounce which set up for him to use his quick release to get buckets. He can shot off the dribble or when receiving the rock from a teammate. Lastly he has the strength to score in traffic and through contact. He will be in Washington, DC for the Middle School All American Game and Spotlight Future Phenom Camp. 

 Jalen Blackmon (Guard)- Yes, there’s another Blackmon on the way. I wish I had this kid’s picture because he ripped the camp up. He’s a smooth operator when unlimited range and a unique feel for the game. He can create space when he has the rock and sees the floor which means he can transition to point guard. He showed supreme confidence and willingness to take the big shot. He also will be at the Middle School All American Game and Spotlight Future Phenom Camp.

Dylan Ingram (Guard)- Ingram is a versatile with a huge upside. He has good footwork and touch even facing the basket. He’s nowhere near done growing which opens up his ceiling. I think he’s a kid that we will hear a lot from down the road. Remember this name and where you heard it first. 

Jalen Dial (Guard)-Dial is mature strong guard that explodes to the rim when finishing. I like his size which allows to use a step back move to get his shot off. His stroke is good and he handles the ball well in the open floor. He has a chance to be a good prospect down the road.
Jackie Johnson (Guard)- The southpaw has a strong frame and handles the ball well at the point position. One of his main strengths is his ability to shoot the rock off the bounce or while setting up. I like his fundamentals and the pace he plays at. He picks his spots well. 

Michael Lucarotti (Guard)- One of the most versatile players at this event in this class. Michael has good height on his jump shot and can also post up smaller players. He’s capable of getting a good luck whenever he wants and pushing the rock coast to coast. 


NEO National Showcase Class Of 2021 Top Performers Part 1

Meechie Johnson (Ohio)

Basketball Spotlight took the trip to Cleveland, Ohio for the NEO National Showcase. The Class Of 2021 was the deepest in terms of talent. Here’s Part 1 of our top performers from this grade level. 

NEO National Showcase Class Of 2021 Top Performers Part 1 

Meechie Johnson (Guard)- Johnson was playing on his home turf and used this environment to his advantage. He’s added some height and strength since the Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp. Johnson added gifts made him more explosive and helped him absorb contact before finishing. He shows some point guard instincts he still loves to the score the rock. He can pull up from deep off the bounce while also dropping buckets from the other two levels. Johnson loves the stage and seems to perform better when the lights are bright. He will be attended both the Middle School All American Game and Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp.

Carter Whitt (Guard)- Whitt name has been ringing national bells recently and I can see why. I have a smooth handle and a mean ratchet. His poise and calmness with the rock can lure a defender asleep before he wakes you with a long range bomb. He showed us top notch court vision and sometimes appeared to be a little too unselfish. Once he gets into a flow he’s hard to contain. He earned an invite to the Middle School All American Game and Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp. 

 Noah Peoples (Forward)- The strong forward was a workhorse in the lane while finishing around the cup. The southpaw is little undersized to play with his back to the basket but uses a high energy work ethic to get things done. I do see a light at the end of the tunnel as Peoples does pat the rock and shoot the jumper. We will keep an eye on how he develops.

Juan Reyna (Guard)- Reyna was a fresh face on the scene and used this stage to make his name known. The lefty was deadly from all three levels and attacked the rim with confidence. He shook defenders off the bounce and used fundamentals to finish off plays. Once he got his confidence going he just continued to cook opponents. He’s another big time event away from becoming a national name. He earned an invite to the Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp and a Middle School All American Game nomination. 

Mehki Starks (Forward)- The straight lined forward is a high riser and excels in transitions. He’s a speed demon in the open floor and does pretty well as a slasher to the cup. One thing is certain is that he will play both ends of the floor like it’s his last game and he is relentless when trying to finish at the rim.

Colin Albert (Guard)- Albert was another pleasant surprise. As the under controlled guard used a crafty handle to create space for his shot. He also showed some floor general skills by setting up teammates while using a killer crossover to gain access to the lane. He has a quiet demeanor but has a star quality about him don’t be surprised when he blows up. 

Makail Cottingham (Guard)- The wing guard is extremely athletic and does possess a huge upside. He fills the lane in transition while scoring easy. He has a wiry frame that has a lot of room to expand. He’s nowhere near a finished product and we haven’t heard the end of this kid. Stay tuned. 

Rodriquez Gayle (Guard)- Gayle is another player that has a huge upside. He can play either guard position effectively while creating space off the dribble. I like how he sees the floor and will be able to complete more plays once he gets stronger. He’s definitely one to keep on our radar. 


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bates Stock Soars In Ohio!

Emoni Bates (Michigan)

Emoni Bates is now the hottest name in the Class of 2022 and for good reason. The rising 7th Grader is oozing with potential and he showed it at the NEO National Showcase. His rare combination of size, skill and upside makes him the most noticeable prospect in the building. Check out his video from the Class of 2022 All Star Game. Bates earned an invite to the Middle School All American Game.

NEO National Showcase Class Of 2022 Top Performers Part 2

Robert Martin (Missouri)

Basketball Spotlight traveled to Cleveland, Ohio for the NEO Youth Elite National Showcase. The talent was thick as we got a chance to see some stars of the future. Here’s Part 2 of our top performers for the rising 7th Grade Class. 

NEO National Showcase Class Of 2022 Top Performers Part 2 

Robert Martin (Guard)- Martin dazzled the crowd all weekend with his slick handle and play making prowess. He used explosive moves to get rid of defenders which allowed him to pull up for jumpers or finished at the tin. In the open floor his court vision stood out and he also was a hawk on defense. He made a name at the Future Phenom Camp last summer and now he has stepped into being recognized as a national caliber guard. He earned a Middle School All American nomination.

Jalen Hood-Schifino (Guard)- Hood-Schifino is a big guard on this level. He can score with ease at times on this level but takes the time to survey the floor and deliver nice passes. His mindset seems to be to become a pass first point guard which means a lot because you never know where he will end up in terms of size. He’s an impact player and showed it in Cleveland. 

Paul McMillan (Guard)- McMillan already has a national rep and didn’t do anything to hurt his status. When he has the rock he dictates the pace of the game by scoring or setting up teammates. He has a natural feel for the game and a strong frame that withstands contact when driving in traffic. He was one of the best I saw at this event.  

Joe Wolf (Forward)- The big space eater isn’t very athletic yet but he does carves out space to get rebounds. He has decent touch in close but is still developing in the footwork department. This kid really played hard and left it all on the floor. 

Everton Brown (Guard)- Brown has reclassified and proved it was a good move in Cleveland. He has point guard capabilities but was more of a scorer this weekend. He's very aggressive when attacking the basket and looked good in transition. He will be one to watch on the scene. 

Roderick Coffee (Guard)- Coffee was another guard with size. He handles the rock and surveys like a point but can also shoot at the drop of a dime. This made him a constant match up problem throughout the weekend. I see a bright future for this kid. He reminds me of a young Andre Miller type. 

KJ Robinson (Guard)- In my eyes this kid should have made the top 20 game. I was amazed at his skill level and heart to drive the lane. He could hit the outside shot and get pass defenders. I still wondering how he made it happen with his dreadlocks covering his face. I was very impressed with his play. 

Tavian Tatum (Forward)- Tatum didn’t care about scoring. Instead he did all the dirty work like rebounding, playing defense and running the floor. He was capable of finishing in transition. I like his motor and the energy he brought to the floor. 

Dominic Schmidt (Guard)- The crafty point guard has a high IQ and is a lot quick then he appears. He uses a quick crossover to get through the defense but dropping dimes or uses a floater to score. He showed good poise when he was pressured. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chandler Represents The 1st State!

Shaun Chandler (Delaware)

While many youngsters use the camp setting to show how they can score Shaun Chandler from Delaware used his court vision to get noticed. The floor general took pride in seeing the floor and dropping dimes everywhere. He possesses a drive, draw and dish game which including half court bounce passes. He was a total joy to watch during the Class of 2023 All Star Game. His play earned him a Middle School All American Game nomination and a trip to the Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp Check out his video below. 


NEO National Showcase Class Of 2022 Top Performers Part 1

Emoni Bates 

Basketball Spotlight traveled to Cleveland, Ohio for the Neo Youth Elite National Showcase. The talent was thick as we got a chance to see some stars of the future. Here’s Part 1 of our top performers for the rising 7th Grade Class. 

NEO National Showcase Class Of 2022 Top Performers Part 1

Emoni Bates (Forward)- It was clear early on the Bates was on a different level than his peers. The 6’4 fluid wing has a point guard handle and a serious ratchet from deep. That’s right 6’4! When you add in a natural feel for the game, motor and court vision you might know where I’m heading. On defense he’s an active shot blocker but will also head out to guard the perimeter. We will have a special feature on him later.

Sonny Johnson Jr. (Guard)- Johnson jumped into the national spotlight after destroying the Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp last summer. Now he entered the NEO National Showcase with a huge target on his back. Every other top guard wanted a piece of Johnson and he battled them all. His shot wasn’t falling as much as it did at Future Phenom Camp but he still was able to make plays and get where he wanted on the floor. He still has a sharp handle and good court vision. He’s now learning how it is to be the hunted. 

Turner Buttry (Guard)- Buttry shoots it from deep with accuracy. He found his range in the game of was watching. He likes spotting up and letting it go from beyond the arc. Shooting from the perimeter has become the new thing in today’s game so he seems ahead of the curve.

Jayden Pierre (Guard)- This was Jayden’s first appearance in his new class which is 2022 and he was very impressive. He prefers substance instead of flash and will attack any guard that stands in his way. When his outside shot is hitting his game goes to another level. 

Zaden Abuhamdeh (Guard)- The stocky guard is more light on his feet than expected. He has crafty ball handling and can score from various spots on the floor. He’s not the quickest but finds a way to get around defenders.
Khalil Luster (Guard)- The Ohio floor general stole the show during the All Star Game with his ball handling, scoring and play making. Luster is a pint size bullet with a crisp handle and the heart of a lion. He can dribble through a key hole and finds a way to convert in the land of giants or hit the jumper. He also sees the floor like a natural pg. He reminds me of a young Chris Lykes. 

 Jalen Brown (Guard)- The lefty has a unique scoop shot at the rim that allows him to score in traffic. He uses quickness to zip through the lane before scoring. His motor also translates on the other end of the floor as he pressures ball handlers and plays the passing lanes. 

Drevaughn Batey (Guard)- Batey looks for spots on the floor to let his shot go. When he sets his feet he’s very confident and usually has good results. Confidence plays a major role in his game.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pierre Puts The Country On Notice!

Jayden Pierre (Roselle, NJ)

Jayden Pierre reclassified into the Class of 2022 and used the NEO National Showcase to give the country notice. Pierre used his pure point guard skills and knack to score to finish as one of the top guards in the event. No he’s not flashy but his consistent play and poise in pressure situations helped him standout. His play earned him a nomination for the Middle School All American Game. Check out his highlights below. 

Click Here If You’re Ready For The Big Time 

NEO National Showcase Class Of 2023 Top Performers

Adisa Molton (Cleveland, OH)

Basketball Spotlight traveled to Cleveland, Ohio for the NEO Youth Elite National Showcase. The talent was thick as we got a chance to see some stars of the future. Here’s a look at our top performers for the rising 6th Grade Class. 

NEO National Showcase Class of 2023 Top Performers 

Adisa Molton (Guard)- The Cleveland native used the All Star game for his personal showcase. He dazzled the crowd with his ball handling, shooting and court vision. He actually enjoyed setting up cutting teammates while also nailing some timely treys. His willingness to compete was also on full display. He plays the game with great passion.

LA Hayes (Guard)- Hayes backcourt mate and fellow Ohioan used a quick first step and natural feel for the game to be effective. I like he could either fill the lane running the floor or also pushed the rock himself. He used his handle to get to the cup and score when given the opportunity. I also like how he plays the passing lanes on defense. 

Shaun Chandler (Guard)- In the All Star Game Chandler proved that he was one of the best passers in the gym. He lives for the drive, draw and dish game. His dime dropping made teammates very happy and when the defense backed off he showed he could bury the open shot.

Jahkary Towns (Guard)- I’ve seen Towns on numerous occasions and his game has definitely improved. He showed big time scoring prowess in the All Star Game. First of all his range is from anywhere on the floor. He launched a couple of 30 feet bombs with accuracy. I also like how could create his own shot and has a quick trigger for a youngster. He stepped up on the stage. 

Caelen Wright (Guard)- The smooth operator broke defenders down with ease. He possesses the strength to finish through contact while also being able to score from all three levels. He seems to have ability to take over the game if really needed. He’s definitely a kid to keep an eye on.

Aden Holloway (Guard)- The North Carolina kid was a total scoring machine. He combines a strong frame with superb ball handling and finishing ability. During the All Star Game there was stretches where he seemed totally unstoppable. He was especially a load to handle in transition. 

Jyles Brandon (Guard)- Here’s another guard that ran the floor like a deer. He ran the floor and finished off plays with ease. He also showed he could handle the ball and make plays to better his squad. Best of all he played both sides of the floor. 

Ju Ju Ray (Forward)- Ray showed versatility, he could score inside or launch an occasional a jumper. I also liked how he was willing to put the rock on the deck. He had some impressive moves in the All Star Game. 

Bryce Epps (Guard)- The lefty is a combo guard with a good skillset. He was able to get pass a few defenders and hit the open shot. I like his form and confidence when shooting.


Toles Takes Home Slam Dunk Title!

Jordan Toles Wins Dunk Contest

Basketball Spotlight spent this weekend in Cleveland, Ohio for the Neo Youth Elite National Showcase. One of the segments of this event was the dunk contest and Jordan Toles hit an eastbay to win the 2016 NEO Youth Elite Dunk Contest. The Class of 2020 prospect from the DMV is one of top players in the country and showed his freakish athleticism to defeat two other middle schoolers in an epic dunk contest. Stay tuned as we bring you more coverage from this event. CLICK HERE IF YOU GOT GAME!


Friday, June 24, 2016

Diary Of A Baller: Bryan Hall (Hartford County, CT) Entry #9

Trey Hall Working Hard 

What up Basketball Family? 

Welcome back for another week of my Basketball Spotlight Diary of a Baller. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Middle School All American Games Getting Early Committments!

The Middle School All-American Game returns to the nation’s capital and again will play host to the very best players in America. The schedule for the country’s most exclusive Middle School All-Star game as well as the area’s top rising freshman game, the Coach Francis Classic will be held on August 26, 2016. Game times and schedule will be announced in the coming weeks. The Head Coaches will be revealed in the coming weeks; but the staff again will boast some of the very best in the DMV just like those who stalked the sidelines last year! 

Commitments for this year’s game include names such as: 
Trey Patterson, 6’9, 2021, New Jersey 
Bryce Griggs, 5’9, 2022, Texas 
Ryan Conway, 6’0, 2021, Maryland 
Keon Henderson, 5'9, Michigan 
Jaden Bradley, 6’2, 2022, North Carolina 
Paris Dawson, 6’1, 2021, Arizona 
Quinn Clark, 6’3, 2022, Virginia 
Jarace Walker, 6’2, 2022, Pennsylvania 
Cameron Gillus, 2023, Virginia 
Skyy Clark, 5’11, 2022, California 
Jahkary Townes, 2023, Michigan 
Antonio Hamlin, 2022, Maryland 
Evan Young, 5’7, 2022, Utah 
Jaden Johnson, 5’7, 2022, Maryland 
Dee Morton, 6’2, 2021, Georgia 

As voting continues there are multiple players from the DMV in contention for spots! Review the voting process now at Player Nominations can be sent to: