Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Queen City Showcase: Part 1

The inaugural Queen City Showcase held at the Carolina Courts was a huge success for opening day of the July “live period.”  Over 80 teams participated and over 60 Division I coaches were in attendance. Without question, event organizer Trent McAllister deserves special credit for pulling off a well-organized and professional event. The coaches packet was one of the best I’ve seen in many years covering live events. Action started promptly and finished on time!  The competition was fierce and there were some hard fought contests between CP3 All Stars, Upward Stars, and Team United.

Below is list of players from Part 1 of the Queen City Showcase

Player: 6’2 2014 PG Marcus Stroman
City: Columbia, SC
High School: Keenan
AAU Team: Keenan
Evaluation: Keenan lost a hard fought contest to a well-coached and disciplined Charlotte Reign team by the score of 52-49, but the recent South Carolina commit had a solid showing in front of new South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin. Stroman showcased his ultra-quick cross over repeatedly as he had little to no problem getting into the lane. Eventually, the opposing team went to  a 2-3 zone to help stop his dribble penetration. Stroman has a nice arsenal of offensive moves and his “euro step” in transition is impressive. He has a solidly built frame and has good athleticism and plays taller with his long arms. His athleticism and skill set should be well utilized in Coach Martin’s up tempo style at South Carolina. The next step for Stroman is to develop a floater and mid-range game.

Player: 6’4 2013 SG Dustin Dodd
City: Charlotte, NC
High School: Hickory Grove
AAU Team: Charlotte Reign
Evaluation: Dodd is a throwback to the fundamentally sound player with a high basketball IQ. He simply knows how to play the game. He finished with 15 points and scored from a variety of spots on the floor. He is a deadly perimeter shooter and has excellent extension and follow through on his jumper. In addition, Dodd has surprisingly advanced ball handling and passing skills for his size and position and was useful in handling the ball against the full court pressure by Keenan High School of Columbia, SC. Dodd should be a target of schools in the Big South and Southern Conference.

Player: 6’6 2013 WF James Chapman
City: High Point, NC
High School: High Point Wesleyan
AAU Team: Charlotte Reign
Evaluation:  Chapman sometimes was the player that often got overlooked on his high school team that featured Montay Brandon (FSU) Theo Pinson, and JaQuel Richmond last season, but the long and athletic wing made some big time moves that intrigued many of the D1 coaches in attendance. Chapman is extremely active on both ends of the court and does have an effective mid range game. He has excellent lift and elevation on his jumper. Chapman has long arms and big feet and looks like he has plenty of room for growth height wise and physical growth. What you see with Chapman is definitely not the finished product, but many of the lower tier D1 conference should continue to monitor his progress.

Player: 6’4 2014 WG Charles Smith
City: Columbia, SC
High School: Keenan
AAU Team: Keenan
Evaluation: Smith a strong physical WG that plays with a relentless motor on the court. He has a blue collar work horse mentality and battles each and every possession. Smith was playing up a grade and his play did not indicate him being an underclassman. He finished/tied with a game high 10 points for a well balanced Keenan attack. Lower tier D1 programs should continue to monitor his progress.

Player: 6’4 2014 WG Mike Hughes
City: Winston-Salem, NC
High School: Winston-Salem Prep
AAU Team: CP3 16U
Evaluation: A quick and athletic WF that is excellent in transition. Hughes has the ability to grab a defensive rebound and go coast to coach with his advanced ball handling skills for his size/position. He matched his athleticism with a beautiful “euro step” in full speed transition into a reverse layup which may have been one of the nicest offensive moves all night. Hughes has tight handles and made solid decisions in all the games we watched.

Player: 6’4 2013 PF Sharwyn McGee
City: Raleigh, NC
High School: Upper Room Academy
AAU Team: CP3 17U
Evaluation: We have written about McGee on several occasions from our Phenom 150 camp to other exposure camp setting. The physically mature PF is like a bull in a china closet. He plays the game at one speed and that is with his foot all the way down. He is a blue collar  workhorse that simply gets the job done. While he will not overwhelm you with any single skill set, but at the end of the day you can count on productivity. He seems to be in double digits in scoring and rebounding almost every single game.

Player: 6’92013 PF/C Kennedy Meeks
City: Charlotte, NC
High School: West Charlotte
AAU Team: Team United 17U
Evaluation: Meeks plays marginal minutes in opening night of the Queen City Showcase.  With the busy June schedule that rivaled an NBA schedule, we were surprised and shocked to see Meeks play in the QCS. While his minutes were limited, one must give him credit for being there for his teammates. We wrote about Meeks at the Nike EYBL in Hampton and he simply put on a clinic against California Supreme and 6’8 Marcus Lee. Generally regarded as one of the best passing big men since Wes Unseld, Meeks is just as humble and polite off the court as he is physically noticeable on the court. We were able to get up with Meeks afterwards and he stated his top five schools were NC State, UNC, Georgetown, IU, and UL.

Player: 6’5 2013 SG  Sindarius Thornwell
City: Lancaster, SC
High School: Oak Hill Academy
Evaluation: Like Meeks, we didn’t expect Thornwell to be in attendance or much less play. While the game is centered around the individual play of so many young players, he is refreshing to see players like Thornwell and Meeks to be there in support of their team. This speaks volume and shows these young guys have their priorities in order. While Thornwell didn’t play a lot of minutes, it was the fact that he participated that caught our attention.

Player: 6’4 2013 SG Matt Howard
City: Columbia, SC
High School: AC Flora
AAU Team: Team United 17U
Evaluation: We have always been impressed with the play of Howard. Last night, he scored a team high 16 points from all spots on the floor. He has a smooth mid-range game but has the strength and athleticism to make impressive dunks in transition or off missed jumpers. Howard is the ultimate “glue guy” and seems to do all the little things needed for his team to be successful. He can be the team leader while Thornwell and Meeks are on the bench or assume the role of the perfect teammate and unsung hero. That being said, the talented and multi-skilled SG has a bright future ahead of him. He is an excellent student and the likes of Harvard and Stanford are schools in the hunt for Howard. Assistant Coach Mike Schrage of Stanford was front and center for his opening night game.

Player: 6’5 2012 SG Colton Ray
City: Lafayette, VA
High School: Lafayette
AAU Team: Virginia Venom
Evaluation: Coming into the event  Colton Ray had zero offers, but they may have changed after his outstanding shooting performance against a powerful Team United team. He tallied a game high 18 points knocking in 6 long distance 3 pointers. The slender and lanky SG has a smooth shooting touch with excellent shooting techniques  and fundamentals. In speaking with Ray afterwards, he stated there was a strong possibility of attending a prep school. Without question, he has the ability to play D1 basketball and if any school is looking for a dead eye shooter, need to look no further!

Player: 6’4 2013 PG Gregory Wilson
City: Waccamaw, NC
High School: Waccamaw Academy
AAU Team: Team United 17U
Evaluation: Wilson is a strong and physically mature PG/SG. He had a strong showing opening night and utilized the Earl the Pearl Monroe “reverse spin move” to perfection. He was very effective in utilizing his strength by getting into the lane repeatedly where he showcased a nice mid-range game. In addition, he played under control and showcased his leadership abilities. He could be a steal at the Big South level.

Player: 6’2 2013 SG Clay Byrd
City: Morganton, NC
High School: East Burke
AAU Team: Team United 17U
Evaluation: A smart and heady player that maximizes his ability to the fullest. The southpaw has a silky smooth shooting touch and showcased the ability to slash and attack the basket. A fundamentally sound player with a high basketball IQ that should be a high priority for  schools in the Big South and Southern Conference.

Player: 5’10 2013 PG Darren Williams
City: Red Springs, NC
High School: Flora MacDonald
AAU Team: Team United 17U
Evaluation: We watched Williams repeatedly in high school, but his most impressive performance may have come at the Nike EYBL in Hampton, VA when he went head to head against super sophomore PG Parker Jackson Cartwright. Williams picked the talented PG twice in the open court and won the individual battle plus his team pulled off the upset against California Supreme. Williams is a stout/strong PG that plays with a little moxy and has a bulldog mentality. His decision making at the PG position is improving and will probably be a strong MM prospect.

Player: 5’10 2014 PG Jaylan Robertson
City: Raleigh, NC
High School: Word of God
AAU Team: Team United 17U
Evaluation: Robertson is one of the most athletic PG in the country for his size. He has quickness and explosiveness that allows him to elevate quickly near the rim. He has many of the physical attributes and once his decision making matches his athleticism, his ceiling will only continue to rise.

Player: 6’4 2015 PG/SG Michael Baez
City: Huntersville, NC
High School: Hopewell
AAU Team: Queen City Thunder
Evaluation: Baez is a promising young prospect. He is physically mature and has a strong physique. He has solid fundamentals and plays under control and rarely makes mistakes. He has a soft shooting touch, but is best at the mid-range jumper. He is aggressive in attacking the basket and finishes well due to strong and sturdy frame. We loved his instincts on the court and his IQ is advanced for his age/grade, but also sports nice athleticism. He has advanced ball handling skills for his size and can easily transition into the PG. He played a lot of minutes at the PG position and we look for his stock to rise over the summer. We strongly feel he has mid major possibilities.

Breakout Performance

Player: 6’7 2015 PF Luke Maye
City: Charlotte, NC
High School: William Hough
AAU Team: Queen City Thunder
Evaluation: The Adam Morrison clone enjoyed a breakout performance at the Queen City Showcase on opening night against Team United and followed up with an even more impressive performance on the second day. We first watched Maye at the Dave Telep Carolina Challenge and his performance was marginal at best. That being said, he has improved and looked more comfortable in a team setting. Maye is fundamentally sound and has a high basketball IQ. He has solid ball handling skills for his size/position, but is advanced in his court vision and passion skills. He is an excellent perimeter shooter with a high release point and his range is uncanny. What separated Maye from many players his position, he didn’t float on the perimeter but rather worked hard on the interior for low post position. If he didn’t receive the ball in the low post, he was patience and then popped out to the perimeter where he is quite lethal. While Maye is not a high flyer or the most athletic player, he can develop into a high major prospect. Currently, he has a lone offer from UNCC but look for his offer list to grow this summer. South Carolina and Virginia Tech were on hand to watch his impressive performance.

Player: 6’5 2014 PF BJ Gladden
City: Charlotte, NC
High School: Kennedy Charter
AAU Team: CP3 16U
Evaluation:  The strong and powerful combo/forward showcased a game of strength and finesse in CP3’s win over SKG. He finished with 12 points and was the game’s leading scorer. He made two consecutive moves to the basket utilizing his weak hand making many coaches in attendance questioning which was his strong hand. Gladden is an excellent finisher in the lane and uses his girth and strength extremely well to his benefit. He is a hardnosed kid and plays with a sincere passion and purpose. He has a surprisingly quick first step and his extremely difficult to stop in transition. In addition, he is excellent in utilizing pump fakes on the interior and getting defenders off their feet to initiate contact. A borderline HM prospect, and if he can fine tune his perimeter skills his ceiling will continue to grow. Currently, he is getting some high major interest but with improvements in certain areas, the interest may turn into offers.

Player: 6’4 2014 SG LJ Peak
City: Gaffney, SC
High School: Gaffney
AAU Team: Upward Stars 16U
Evaluation: The nationally ranked SG probably was the leading scorer in the Queen City Showcase. He put up big numbers each day and showcased a solid all around game. Known basically as an athletic slasher, Peak was consistent with his perimeter jumper. While Peak doesn’t play with a lot of emotion, his game speaks for itself. He has a physically mature body and he utilized this full offensive repertoire both days and looked like he has fully recovered from a groin pull earlier in the summer. One thing is for certain, Peak plays under control and rarely gets frustrated or upset. One of his biggest attributes is his consistency and his consistency is usually at a very high level. We watched Peak play in two games and he tallied over 25 in each of the games. He seemed more comfortable from the perimeter and when his shot is falling from long distance, he is very difficult to contain. Peak is a no miss high major prospect.

About Rick Lewis

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