Meleek Thomas, Lincoln Park Performant Arts: The 6’4 rising junior from Pittsburgh got on a serious roll in the game we took in where everything was falling for him. Thomas shot the ball well from NBA range during that time but also proved to be a tough driver, strong finisher and spent a lot of time at the charity stripe. He passes the ball well and gets plenty of rebounds from the backcourt. We recall seeing him as a freshman at The Battle at The Villages two seasons ago and were impressed then. Thomas certainly hasn’t rested on his laurels since that time.
Kon Knueppel, Wisconsin Lutheran: A 6’6 rising senior out of Milwaukee, Knueppel has earned raves for his tremendous shooting ability from deep. At the camp, he proved to be a much more rounded offensive player as he is a crafty finisher when driving the ball to the basket as well as a good passer and decision maker on the move. Knueppel is not afraid to play physically at either end of the floor and was able to hold his own against bigger players in the post.
Bryant Carter, Corona Centennial: A 6’8 rising senior from California, Carter only had three points in the contest we took in but he contributed 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and a steal. Maybe most impressive was his constant communication with teammates at both ends of the court. Carter has the ability to be a grab and go rebounder and does a solid job of running the offense from a point-forward position. He handles the ball well for a guy his size and looks for open teammates when heading to the hoop.
Trent Perry, Harvard-Westlake: A 6’4 rising senior from California, Perry proved to be a cerebral guard that got and kept his teammates involved. He made good decisions on the move and made a concerted effort to feed teammates in the post. When Perry did look to score, he was effective both as a perimeter shooter and as a finisher at the basket in traffic. He takes great care of the ball and plays with a high motor as well as a high hoops IQ.
Cayden Boozer, Miami Christopher Columbus: A 6’4 rising junior, Cayden proved he can be effective and impactful on his own. He did struggle a bit with his perimeter shot but found teammates for easy scores and scored well on floaters and mid-range shots. He is a strong defender that moves his feet well and is disruptive in the passing lanes.
J.T. Rock, Sioux Falls Lincoln: A 7’1 rising senior from the hoops hotbed of South Dakota, Rock is a skilled big man that runs and moves well on the court. He makes tough catches in the post and has some reliable scoring tools around the basket. Rock catches and completes lobs in traffic. He challenges/changes shots inside and despite being a bit on the thin side Rock doesn’t mind the physical play around the hoop.
Jalil Bethea, Philly Archbishop Wood: A 6’3 rising senior, Bethea is a natural scorer. He has a great feel for the game, NBA range on his shot, and smooth shot mechanics. Betha is athletic, runs the floor, finishes above the rim and scores through contact. He’s got some length to him and plays taller than his listed height.
Pape N’diaye, Trinity International: A 7’0 rising senior out of Las Vegas, N’diaye has supposedly only been playing the sport for two years. If that is so, he has had some very good teachers. He is a long and athletic rim protector that led the camp in blocked shots by a comfortable margin. N’diaye showed no quit when it came to chasing down rebounds at either end and swiftly changes ends in transition. His scoring tools are quite raw but he did impress with an ability to hit cutters from his post position. No doubt his best basketball is ahead of him.
Mercy Miller, Notre Dame: A 6’4 rising senior out of California, Miller was one of the better perimeter shooters at the event. He has a solid frame and knows how to use it to create space to get his shot off. Miller proved to be a respectable passer when teammates had better shots and he rebounded well for his size.
Ahmad Nowell, Philly Imhotep Charter: A 6’2 rising senior, Nowell plays with an attacking style that puts opponents on their heels. He is “Philly Tough” with a strong frame that overpowers opponents. Nowell makes good decisions with the ball and excels in the pick-and-roll. He knocks down shots on both sides of the arc and gets to the free throw line a lot during the course of the game. Nowell is also an aggressive and tough on-ball defender.
Isaiah Harwell, Wasatch Academy: A 6’5 rising junior originally from that other hoops hotbed, Idaho, Harwell had few scoring opportunities in the game we watched but did a host of other things. He was active on defense, garnering four steals and a block. Harwell was efficient from the field when opportunities did come his way, showing a smooth stroke from the perimeter. He is a good athlete and uses his physical gifts well when chasing down rebounds at both ends of the floor.
Robert Wright III, Montverde Academy: A 6’0 rising senior that is transferring to Montverde for his final year, Wright’s “camp story” is a bit unique. He was placed on a team that didn’t qualify for the eight team playoff. His team played in the 9 vs 10 game that final morning. He had 11 points and 8 assists in that contest. The last day of camp saw many players either injured, tired, or having to catch flights home. Consequently, Wright hooked up with another team in the semi-finals. Playing with teammates for the first time, he notched 13 points and 7 assists to get that squad to the final contest. In the finals, his third game in six hours, he put up 24 points, 6 assists, and 10 rebounds, all team highs, to lead that team to the championship. Wright proved to be hard to guard as he is quick and crafty with the ball to go along with excellent court vision.
Liam McNeeley, Montverde Academy: A 6’8 rising senior, McNeeley struggled a bit from NBA range ( as did nearly all the campers) but he impressed with his ability to adapt and produce in other ways. He displayed an enhanced ability to drive and score the ball at the basket as well as create and make his own shot from the perimeter. McNeeley made good pass vs. shot decisions on the move, got the ball to open teammates and took good care of the ball against harassing defenders. While he may not be the twitchiest defender out there, he moves his feet well and does a good job of anticipating the path his opponent will try to take.
Tyler McKinley, Link Academy: A 6’8 rising senior, McKinley puts in work and reaps the rewards. He is strong, athletic, and very productive on the glass. McKinley gets more than his fair share of putbacks, runs the floor and makes the open perimeter shots. He plays physical on defense but can also step out and defend on the perimeter.