Thursday, April 24, 2014

In The Spotlight: Jaden Springer (WACG)

Name: Jaden Springer 

AAU Team: We All Can Go All Stars 

Position: Point Guard 

Class: 2021 

Analysis: When players enter my tournament with a lot of hype it makes me more curious to see them rock. Springer is one of those types of players. I read about his accomplishments from around the country and I must say he’s worth every bit of the ink he receives. This youngster has size and command of his game which makes him a top stud in this grade. He danced around defenders and either passed or scored with ease. In the finals Team Glory tried all the tricks in the book be he still led his team to victory. I agree that he's a Top 3 player in America right.

AC Showcase 6th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Ishmael Leggett (Team Takeover)

The 6th Grade Division of the AC Showcase was loaded with national teams and names. Here’s Part 2 of our look at the 6th Grade Top Performers. 

AC Showcase 6th Grade Top Performers Part 2 

Ishmael Leggett Guard (Team Takeover)- I pray for defenders that are responsible of slowing Leggett down because it’s a tough job. This kid is a tremendous scorer and player maker at the guard position. He flourishes in transition when back pedaling guards are trying to slow him down. I love his body control when scoring over shot blockers and his ability to score from all three levels. He pumped in a game high 20 points in their overtime thriller against GH Rising Stars.

Justin Lykes Guard (Team Takeover)- Leggett running mate can also fill it up quickly. He has a good stroke from the perimeter and the confidence to let it go from anywhere. Justin scored 19 points in the big win versus GH Rising Stars and torched Team Nation for 24 points including 4 treys. He’s accustomed to the Spotlight’s bright stage which is why he stepped his game up. He helped guide them to the final four.

Jamal Barnes Forward (Team Takeover)- Barnes had an impressive weekend. I like how his uses his length on both ends of the floor. On offense he was able to score in traffic and finish off the break in transition. On defense he uses those arms to play the passing lane and intercept passes. He looks to be a serious prospect down the road.

Kieves Turner Forward (RIP City)- The top newcomer had to be Turner. The versatile forward nicknamed Duece was a problem for everyone he faced. He displayed the total package in terms of size, scoring ability and feel for the game. He can grab the rebound and push the pill himself but making a great play. That means at this age it’s very difficult for anyone to slow him down. He had the best game of any 6th Grader when he dropped 35 points in their matchup with Team Glory. We will be keeping an eye on this kid.

Dimingus Stephens Forward (Team Glory)- You have to love the way this kid boogies. His size makes him a definite matchup problem on this level. He’s natural scoring guard but can shoot and pass over top of most defenders. When they played Team IZOD he came up big with 24 points in the loss.

Zion Harmon Guard (Team Glory)- Arguably the top 5th Grader in the country continues to dominate on the 6th grade level. He’s shown the ability the score whenever he wants but against Rip City he scored 18 of his 26 points from the charity stripe. This means they had no answer for his dribble penetration. He also finished with 20 markers against a tough GH Rising Stars crew.

Nashaun Holmes Guard (Team Nation)- Holmes showed off his mid-range pull up game at the AC Showcase. He’s tough to guard because he charges the defender and once the back pedal he will pull up on the dime. When he has that dropping he has takeover the game potential.

Trey Patterson Guard (Team Nation)- Patterson started the tournament with a spark as he blistered the Hilltoppers Heat with 20 points including two bombs from behind the arc. The smoothness of his game and poise on the floor makes me believe this kid will be one of the hottest names in years to come.

Lucky Dixon Forward (WACG)- The strong forward was a load to handle for anyone he faced. In his match-up versus IZOD he was a menace on the glass and made a living off put backs. He plays the game with high energy which usually results in good returns.

AC Showcase 6th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Hunter Jackson (GH Rising Stars)

The 6th Grade Division of the AC Showcase was loaded with national teams and names. Here’s Part 1 of our look at the 6th Grade Top Performers. 

AC Showcase 6th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Hunter Jackson Guard (GH Rising Stars)- No team had an answer for Jackson during the AC Showcase. The combo guard got wherever he wanted on the floor and scored at will. His money ball was the running floater in the lane or the pull up in traffic. Teams tried several different defensive schemes to no avail. He tallied 16 points in the championship game versus IZOD. If we gave out a MVP award he would have taken it home.

Trey Galloway Guard (GH Rising Stars)- Galloway has serious range and showed accuracy from behind the arc. He steps into the gaps when the talented GH ball handlers penetrate the lane. If he gets a chance to set his feet he’s usually money in the bank. This kid has a mean ratchet.
Brevin Jefferson Forward (GH Rising Stars)- Jefferson is a slasher that finishes with either hand. On defense he can guard any position from the one to the five. He’s the glue guy for this squad and had a very productive weekend.
Mike Saunders Jr. Guard (GH Rising Stars)- If you want some flavor in a guard look no further than Saunders. His skill set is legit and he loves the flair of the no-look pass or the double crossover. Lucky for him he has the weapons around him that can catch those passes and finish plays. He was very entertaining to watch. One of the highlights of his weekend was a half court buzzer beater to send the game into overtime against Team Takeover

Shane Dezonie Guard (Team IZOD)- Dezonie made the adjustment of playing with IZOD and has taken over. He displayed one of the smoothest perimeter games I’ve seen on the 6th Grade level. He can hit you with the mid-range pull up, deep ball or carry you to the cup. Shane scored 16 in their showdown with Team Glory and 18 in their semifinal win over Team Takeover  He was one of the main reasons they made it to the championship round.

Zion Bethea Guard (Team IZOD)- Bethea came up big for IZOD in their showdown versus WACG. The lefty took over the game in the second half and helped carry them to victory. He had a hot streak of scoring when the game was at a stalemate. Earlier in the tournament he went nuts on the Boston Titans with 22 markers. 

Elijah Everett Forward (Team IZOD)- We might be looking at one of the best 6th Grade prospects in the Garden State. The lanky forward is just developing but you can see that he does have some skill set. I like his touch on his turnaround shot and offensive rebounding ability. On defense he has good timing on his shot blocking and active on the glass.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

AC Showcase 7th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Khyree Temple (Team Final)

The 7th Grade Division has some serious ballers and some tight games. Here’s Part 2 of the top performers at the AC Showcase. 

AC Showcase 7th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Khyree Temple Forward (Team Final)- This season Temple has been performing well under the radar but after the AC Showcase I think his cover has been blown. The kid was a monster in America’s Playground while helping them to the final four. He was determined on the glass while collecting rebounds from everywhere. In terms of scoring he had a field day including a 28 points outburst against WACG in their featured pool play matchup. Not many players on this level can match his motor. It’s ironic he wears #33 because he reminds me of a miniature Antwan Jamison during his North Carolina days.

Shawn Johnson Guard (Team Final)- The linebacker looking guard used his strength to impact the game this weekend. He often carried defenders to the basket while finishing through contact. What makes him tough on this level is that he also hit the glass and helps on the boards. Johnson has some good wiggle in his game for a player his size.
Fahmir Ali Guard (Team Final)- Ali still marvels me with his ability to score. He’s not the tallest or the quickest but he gets buckets from everywhere. He now has the floater working in his arsenal which is important when the defense closes out on his jumper quickly. His feel for the game helps him stay afloat against the superior athletes.

Tyger Campbell Guard (WACG)- Yes Campbell got busy on the 7th Grade level while guiding WACG to the final four. This explosive guard takes more of a scoring roll with this group. He hit up the Hilltoppers Heat for 23 points and clipped Expressions with 17 markers. He just plays the game at a different speed then his peers in 7th Grade.

Lance Jones Guard (WACG)- Campbell’s backcourt mate also showed his had some game. I like his poise and feel for the game when handling the pill. He also can fill it up from the perimeter. He knocked down 4 treys on his way to 23 points in their loss to Team Final. He’s definitely a name I will keep in my prospect rolodex.
Shawn’Ke Knight (WACG)- Knight is an athletic bruiser inside. He rebounded with abundance and patrolled the lane for the Tennessee boys. He brings an intimidating attitude to this crew of players. The type of player every good team needs to get the job done.

Matt Cross Forward (Expressions)- Matt's size helped him impact the game against Team Final. He nailed 4 treys and ended with 20 points in their loss. I look forward to seeing how he develops over the next year. 

Dontae Scott Forward (Team Nelson)- Losing Mikeal Jones has hurt Team Nelson title collections but it has helped Scott turn into a promising prospect. He now plays the game more free and isn’t afraid to make a mistake. The lanky forward also has developed more leadership skills while understanding their success falls on his shoulders.

AC Showcase 7th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Justin Moore (Team Takeover)

The 7th Grade Division has some serious ballers and some tight games. Here’s Part 1 of the top performers at the AC Showcase. 

AC Showcase 7th Grade Top Performers Part 1 

Justin Moore Guard (Team Takeover)- The Moore effect was on display again in AC. His presence makes them a national championship caliber squad. This weekend Moore dominated the AC Showcase. His body control and scoring ability cannot be matched on this level. He plays the game at his pace and no one can speed him. Once he gets into the lane he’s strong enough to bust through any secondary defense and crafty enough to finish difficult shots at the rim. Right now there’s no 7th Grader in the region more productive than this kid.

Terrence Williams Forward (Team Takeover)- Williams had a solid outing in AC. I think the size of the court affected his game because he couldn’t draw the opposing big man away from the basket. But the lack of room didn’t stop him from being productive in the paint and hitting the glass. He averaged close to double figures in caroms for the weekend.

Anthony Harris Guard (Team Takeover)- When Harris enters the game TTO goes to another level on both ends of the floor. His penetrating style applies a lot of pressure to the defense because he can score or create for teammates. On the other end he’s a ball hawks with the strength to manipulate the movement of opposing ball handlers.

Josh Watts Guard (Team Takeover)- Watts showed me some spark especially in transition. He runs the floor like a deer and will finishes very quickly. TTO has a good group of prospects and I think this kid has a chance to be one of the special ones when it’s said and done.
Tyler Brelsford Guard (Team Takeover)- I expected Brelsford to be effected with the narrow court but he figured it out. He was smart enough to stay away from the double teams and still run the show. His clutch lay-up down the stretch helped them defeat rival DC Premier in the championship. He had an efficient weekend.

Evan Buckley Guard (DC Premier)- Buckley runs the show for this rejuvenated bunch. He rarely turns the rock over and does get involved with the scoring load. One of his weapons is his trey ball. If you leave him open he will definitely make you pay. His presence has helped the Mitchell twins turn the corner.

Makhi Mitchell Forward (DC Premier)- Makhi looks more comfortable on the perimeter and more aggressive with his play. This aggression had him lead the team in scoring including 17 points vs. Team Final, 18 markers against Metro Flyers and 15 points in the finals against Team Takeover. He has to be regarded as one of the wing players in this class.

Mahkel Mitchell Forward (DC Premier)- The other Mitchell twin did most of his damage playing defense and crashing the boards. He also has turned the corner in terms of aggression and discipline on the floor. His high scoring game was 15 points against a big Metro Flyers team.

AC Showcase 8th Grade Top Performers Part 3

Charles Pride (Gym Ratz)

The AC Showcase 8th Grade Division had some of the best talent in the country. Here’s Part 3 of the top performers and our final look at this grade level. 

AC Showcase 8th Grade Top Performers Part 3 

Charles Pride Guard (Gym Ratz)- This kid helped his team reach the finals and he continues to show he’s on an elite level. Pride was one of the top scorers in the tournament including a 25 point performance against WE R 1 and 26 markers against Expressions in the final four. He scores the ball from all three levels and will take the trey during the big moments. He has shown that he is a bona-fide scoring machine. He seems to be gaining more and more confidence each time he steps into a Spotlight event.

Mika Adams-Woods Guard (Gym Ratz)- MAW didn’t light up the scorebook as he did in previous Spotlight outings but his play helped them get to the finals. His slick ball handling and aggressive style enables his team to set the tempo. The lefty has established himself as one of the best point guards in the Northeast region. He really made a name for himself this season.
Naz Johnson Forward (Gym Ratz)- The intimidating force inside clears space for that dynamic backcourt to operate. He’s a workhorse inside and a capable scorer on the blocks. He stayed in the double digit department in the scoring column.
Shaquest Chavis Guard (Team Twelve)- This lefty has been known to get buckets in a hurry and Team DEMI can confirm that. He hit the New England squad for 30 points including 5 treys. When he is on it’s very difficult for anyone to slow him down. Chavis is just a natural scorer hands down.
Theodore Senior Guard (Team Twelve)- Chavis gains many open looks because of the play of Senior. Theo penetrates defenses like its second nature which gives is teammates open options. His speed is something most 8th graders are foreign to.

Alex Serrano Guard (We All In)- Alex Serrano played with We All In and made his presence be felt. The scoring combo guard collected 25 markers against Team DEMI and finished averaging near 16 points. He has shown over the years to be a legit scorer and he showed that this weekend.

Julian Howell Guard (Team DEMI)- Howell is a guard with a lot of offensive prowess but his defense it what stood out this weekend. He was able to lead DEMI’s pressure attack and cause several turnovers. His style of play ignites his teammates.
Tanahj Pettway Guard (Team DEMI)- Pettway had one of the best scoring outings of the tournament when he scorched We All In for 30 markers. He can hit you up from deep or get to the hole and score. The guy just gets buckets.
Devrae Burns Guard (Team DEMI)- Burns also contributed for Team DEMI. This guard showed the ability to really stroke the rock. In their matchup with We All In he knocked down 5 treys and made it look easy. He can really stretch the defense.

Jamal Whittlesey Forward (WE R 1)- The Delaware boys had a tough weekend as a whole but big Jamal continues to show strides in his game. What’s unique about his game with his array of post moves and passing ability from the blocks. In high school if he dedicates himself to his conditioning don’t be surprised if he emerges as a decent prospect.

Quashawn Lane Guard (Joey’s Angels)- Lane's crew won the Blue Division crown and the guard was a major part of their success. He handled the rock, knocked down a smooth pull up and finished with the floater. He has an air of confidence about his game that cannot be taught.

Reggie James Forward (Joey’s Angels)- James was Lanes sidekick in the finals. He’s the size of a forward but does have good play making ability. He was a match up problem for the Wiz Kids all in the finals. He was too versatile for the big men and too big for their guards. He managed to score the ball in a variety of ways. I’m hearing he will join Lane at Trenton Catholic Academy next fall.

NOTE: Devrae Burns, Tanahj Pettway and Julian Howell photos appear courtesy of 

AC Showcase 8th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Ja'Quaye James (Playaz)

The Basketball Spotlight 8th Grade Division of the AC Showcase featured some of the best talent in the country period. Here’s a look at Part 2 of the top performers from the AC Showcase. 

AC Showcase 8th Grade Top Performers Part 2 

Ja’Quaye James Guard (Playaz)- I wanted to see how James would hold up against the national heavyweights and he impressed me. I’m convinced that no grammar school player in the country can stop this kid from getting into the lane. He had the defenders on skates and led his team to a victory over G3IE, one of the top defensive teams in the country. Ja’Quaye also has picked up his scoring and isn’t afraid to challenge the giant trees in the paint. This boy has that rock on a string. Finally his court vision and pass first mentality is very throwback and a lost art. 

Justin Winston Forward (Playaz)- Winston was definitely in mid-season form for the AC Showcase. He showed a nose for the ball and I like his turn around baby hook on the lane. Justin showed a lot of aggression in terms of rebounding on both ends of the floor. His mid-range jumper was okay but he ran into a little trouble when he stepped out too deep. He has put together a serious campaign this year.

Markquis Nowell Guard (Playaz)- Nowell told me he was excited about playing at the AC Showcase and he showed it with his play. There’s not many in the country that has the scoring knack of Nowell. He will hurt you with the deep trey or climb into the chest of the shot blocker at the rim. I also noticed a tighter handle and better decision making on his part. His game is really coming together.
Armoni Sexton Forward (Playaz)- It was great to see Armoni back in action and he performed well this weekend. He played under control for the most part and was a beast on the glass. He’s a quick leaper and is relentless when trying to get the rock. He was a double-double machine this weekend. Keep up the positive work kid. You belong on the floor.
Kevin Easley Forward (G3IE)- His team had a tough weekend in the superior White Division but Easley made the most of his time. The high motor forward put together some decent showings and his 20 point semifinal performance almost sent home WACG. They lost that game 52-51. I like how hard this kid goes regardless of the score.

Dontay Dixon Forward (WACG)- Dixon plays opposite side of Bagley and handles the weak side rebounding. I like his length and touch from the perimeter. When Bagley is double team he can hit the jumper from the high post or slash to the basket. On defense he’s another legit shot blocker which allows the guards to be extra aggressive on defense.

DeShawn Jenkins Forward (WACG)- Jenkins is an athletic forward that comes in off the pine and sparks the squad. He’s good on help defense and attacking the glass. He does have some range on his outside and will run the floor in transition.