Jamie Shaw and I travelled to Greensboro Day, Saturday June 8th to cover the inaugural Diamond Day in honor of the Josh Level Foundation. Josh Level was a promising young prospect that always had a big smile on his face and a happy go lucky attitude. On February 19th, Josh was playing at New Garden Friends and collapsed while playing and later passed away at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. We had written countless articles on Josh and he was one of our favorite players. See attached links to Josh Level articles.
Before we get started, we want to thank event organizer and head coach Kevin Graves of the Karolina Diamonds for putting together this tremendous event for the Josh Level Foundation. Although CP3 AAU team was unable to participate, it was a joy and pleasure to watch the talented Karolina Diamonds and Team Felton face off for such a worthy cause. In our previous issue, we wrote about Team Felton. Today, we will take a look at the talented Karolina Diamonds. 6’2 2016 PG Dennis Smith Junior participated in the Nike Top 100 and did not participate in this event. We have written extensively about the players on the team but will take another look including the thoughts of Jamie Shaw.
Parker may be one of the most athletics players in the country for his size/position. His leaping ability is off the charts and is a You Tube video highlight waiting to happen. The majority of games we have watched, Parker has been more committed to driving and making dunks in transition or twisting his way through traffic. While noted as being a good jump shooter, we hadn’t seen enough of that talent until today. In the first half against Team Felton, Parker knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers at least a foot behind the line. In addition, Parker was lethal at the FT line and we really like his shooting touch. Jamie Shaw stated, “Parker has a way of gliding through the air. He really has some great springs in his legs. Parker is a shot maker more than a shooter. He loves to fade away and has ability beyond the arc.” Currently, Parker is tracking at a high major level. That being said, he doesn’t have a big body frame and will need to add strength over the next three years. Since he is a slashing athletic guard, he will attack the rim and will his body will be exposed to a lot of physical play and “unintentional bumps.” J Be sure to check out the below articles:
Be sure to check out Kwe Parker’s windmill dunk from previous tournament:
There may not be a better jump shooting PG in the state, region, or country than Graves. While he is a talented young PG, Graves has a textbook jumper and will surprise you with his athleticism and leaping ability. We really like the poise and calm demeanor he displays on the court. Jamie Shaw stated, “Graves possesses about as pure a jump shot as one can get. He has a high quick release with deep range. Graves shows the ability to get the shot off on the catch or off the dribble. He has a nice basketball IQ, runs the pick and roll effectively and has a nice pull up from the mid range to the 3-point line. He possesses straight ahead explosion to the basket and one can tell he is a coach’s son.” While Graves has sometimes taken a secondary ranking to Smith and Parker, we would advise people not to sleep on him. He looks like he has further growth, but his skill set matched with superb athleticism is tracking at a high level.
5’11 2016 Brandon Childress of East Forsyth HS in Kernersville, NC
The name may sound familiar since his father is former Wake Forest Randolph Childress and the old saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” applies to the younger Childress. He has a beautiful shooting touch with a quick release and can shoot off the catch or be creative in creating his own jumper. We were impressed with his stop on the dime transition jumper from the 3-point line that translates well at the next level. He has mastered the Tony Parker reverse spin move to his offensive arsenal. Jamie Shaw stated, “ Childress gets into the lane with a crafty, low to the ground handle and quick first step. He is able to knock down the 3-point shot with great consistency and range. Childress keeps his head up when in traffic and distributes at a high level. Childress led his team by making plays when needed and keeping his stars happy.” Childress has a huge foot and looks like he is ready for a serious growth spurt. Remember, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and while tracking at a mid major talent, don’t be surprised by his junior/senior year he is tracking high major.
When we first watched Overton back in April at the NC Showcase, he looked happy and content by “just blending in.” Fast forward to May and the Nike MDC in Suwannee and he took a gigantic step in his development and screamed loud and clear that “I have arrived.” The long and bouncy wing is gaining confidence as a proficient jump shooter while having the attack dog mentality. Jamie Shaw stated, “ Overton has a fantastic set of natural tools. He has along build with wide shoulders and a sturdy base. He also has a great understanding of his body and its movement. Overton has a soft touch from the 3-point line. He defends hard in the post, and rebounds well in and out of his area. He can push the break, attack from the wing, and post up his man. He is a very intriguing prospect with a high ceiling.” Since April, the evolution of his play has been tremendous. If he can continue consistency to his game long term, he will be a hot name with mid major schools.
As the old saying goes, you can’t teach 7’0 and especially when you are only a freshman. All Long needs now is court time to further gain confidence and improved skill set. We were impressed with his hands, which often is a sore spot among most young bigs. His skill set is improving and he is far from being the finished product. The best thing is Long has plenty of time and will be a completely different player 2-3 years down the road. Jamie Shaw stated, “Long is taking it upon himself to become a basketball player. He does an excellent job of keeping his hands high on defense and is no longer trying to swat every shot. He also rebounds the ball high and gets rid of it quickly. On offense, he again is keeping the ball high and developing a tight grip. The next step is developing his base.” Without question, Long is making the necessary steps and his determination and desire to be good is evident.
6’5 2015 Kylia Sykes of Greensboro Page in Greensboro, NC
Sykes has completely gone under the radar and that is a complete shame. Sykes is a bouncy athletic wing that plays with a high motor. He is a player/competitor and no one will outwork him. He is a workaholic and his full throttle approach makes him a favorite. Sykes is the most improved player on the team should be a high target of mid majors. His jump shot is developing and his skill set is catching up with his athleticism.
6’4 2016 Jalen Seegers of Southern Guilford HS in Greensboro, NC
It is easy for a player like Seegers to get lost in the talent shuffle with the talent laden Karolina Diamonds, but he is another player not to sleep on. Seegers has a physical mature body with good strength and athleticism. He is the ultimate team player and glue guy and always plays his role effectively. Seegers seems happy doing all the little things that are important in the course of the game. More importantly, he will always play within the framework of the game and not force issues.