After covering many different events this past spring, there is one thing for certain and it is not enough emphasis in recruiting is placed on winning. Do you win and make your team better relative to the overall talent?
In our coverage of the Nike EYBL in Hampton, Virginia last week, we tried to capture just that and not take the “cookie cutter” approach that is often seen today. Without question, our game summaries were a “grand slam” with our readers/subscribers.
One coach had shared this comment and it still stands out, “would you rather coach this kid twice a year or coach against this kid twice a year” and this comment makes perfect sense. But the best comment came from a coach that stated the following about the Phenom Hoop Report. “This is great stuff with heartfelt input. You are right; knowing how to win is a key component that is a lost art even by top rated players. They tend to focus on getting better and building the supporting cast around them better. I have read all of your material; you have a true eye for talent and a great sense of verbal expression that puts the reader in the moment.”
In addition, the Phenom Hoop Report tries to cover events at all levels, especially local and regional events like the 2nd Annual Southeastern Summer Showcase sponsored by Marcus Shockley and staff of Basketball Elite. The Southeastern Showcase was held at the beautiful campus of Forsyth Country Day in Lewisville, North Carolina. Over 75 players were in attendance and one thing was for certain, the high school prospects played with passion and played hard!
The best player in attendance and camp MVP belonged to 6’1 2013 PG Charis Fitzgerald of West Gadsden HS in Quincy, Florida. The town of Quincy is located in the Florida panhandle approximately 30 minutes northeast of Tallahassee. The trip from Quincy to North Carolina must have been a long journey for the relative nationally unknown player, but this young man is definitely a player division one colleges should monitor over the spring and summer months. While he may project as a mid-major level player, this young man made a big impression on us.
Listed at 6’1, Fitzgerald plays much bigger than his listed height. He has a physically mature body and long arms. He has a quick and powerful bounce to his step and he combines athleticism and skill that was head and shoulders above the competition. He has good open court speed and advanced ball handling and passing skills, but his biggest attribute is his ability to shoot the basketball. He was simply dialed in from deep and shot the cover off the ball. In one 5 minute segment, he came down in transition on three consecutive possessions and tickled the net which time. He was shooting threes of the dribble, off pick and rolls, you name it Fitzgerald absolutely loved the nets at the Forsyth Country Day School. In addition to his superb shooting touch, he was efficient in his pump fakes and jab steps, which is rarely seen at his level today.
One of the most improved young players in the 2014 class is 6’1 PG Colton Bishop of Forsyth Country Day School and is now getting serious attention from SoCon and Big South schools. Make no mistake about it; the “gym rat” list of schools will grow rapidly this summer and next season. Colton is a long 6’1 and also sports good bounce off the dribble. He is a very unselfish player and showcased his passing skills as he continuously made lengthy passes off the dribble (using both hands easily and efficiently) for nice pitch ahead assists that were dead on. He has been ability to stretch the defense with his accurate three- point shooting, and is excellent with his left to right cross over pull up jumper. In transition, he favored the one handed “inside-out” cross over move that would have made Bobby Hurley envious, but our favorite move was when he switched hands from right to left to make a beautiful transition layup against a bigger defender. The next step in his development is to become more vocal and learn the leadership role that comes with being a division one PG.
One of the fastest guards in the state of North Carolina is 6’2 2014 PG Larry Curry of East Forsyth HS in Kernersville. Curry has “jet like” quickness/speed in the open court and has good size, strength, and power for a young PG. It would be hard-pressed to find another NC PG with more end to end speed with the ball than this young man. While he is a lefty, Curry loves to attack using his right hand only to cross over to his left hand for his mid-range jumper or direct move to the basket. Another favorite move by Curry is the “euro step” in transition as the young and talented PG has strong body control. That being said, the one move that was even more impressive was his put back dunk off a missed shot as he elevated above the rim for the mix tape highlight jam. The next step in his development is to become a more efficient shooter from the perimeter to expand his overall value.
2013 6’7 WF Craig Hinton of East Forsyth of Kernersville, NC may challenge Donte Buford as the state’s best dunker. It seems to be old habit that both players have run out of closet space to house the many slam dunk contest trophies and the Southeastern Showcase was no exception. The explosive and wiry WF gets anyway close to the basket; you know he is going to “throw it down.” He will need to diversify his offensive perimeter skills to garnish a division one offer, but many schools are definitely sniffing around and don’t be surprised if his first division one offer comes sooner than later.
Other players that made an impression were 6’7 2013 PF TqQuan Biting of Mt. Tabor HS in Winston-Salem, NC. He looks more physically mature and has toned down quite a bit from the last time watching him play at the DTCC. Biting does post up well on the interior and gets good positioning with his feet. He did get wide and low and did a solid job of calling for the ball, but more importantly he was effective in knocking down the mid-range jumper from the free throw line that is appealing. He has good fundamentals and runs well in offensive transition, but would like the same effort in defensive transition. He has improved a lot since we first watched him as a freshman at the NC Phenom 150 camp and his improvement is steady and forward!
6’6 2013 WF David “Tyler” Rose of Calvary Baptist in Winston-Salem, NC is an intriguing prospect that showed good mobility and is versatile for his size/position. We were surprised by his handles in the open court, but more importantly has a soft shooting touch from the perimeter. With added strength, Rose could easily position him as a potential division one prospect.
6’5 2014 Corey Hanes of High Point Central was a surprise player. We were impressed with his hardnosed and blue collar work ethic on the court. He hustled on both ends of the court, but really handled the ball in the open court well. He has surprising athleticism and made numerous baseline moves with a quick bounce off the dribble for impressive dunks. He has excellent body control. We really liked his ball handling and passing skills for his size/position and if he fine tunes his outside jumper, he could elevate his status to a division one prospect. He could use a quicker release on his jumper.
6’4 Lepreece Lynch of Mt. Tabor HS in Winston-Salem is a smooth and athletic WG that is fundamentally sound. He has uncanny body control and rarely took a poor shot. He was patience on offense and loved his steady diet of pump fakes and jab steps to get defenders off their feet. More importantly, he was a solid defender and took pride in his defense which was impressive.
6’2 2014 SG Spencer Scott of Charlotte Christian is growing rapidly into a solid prospect. He has good strength and sports a feathery touch from 15-20 feet.
6’3 2013 PG/SG Oshon West of North Rowan HS in Salisbury, NC is a strong and powerful guard. He uses his strength well getting into the paint where he finishes with at a high rate.
6’3 2013 WF Trey Mitchell of Olympic HS in Charlotte is a wiry and long athletic wing that is outstanding in transition, but his ability to set screens correctly and properly along his overall team defensive understanding made a strong impression on us. He also was efficient at boxing out, again not a trait often seen at showcase events.
Last, 6’4 2015 Zaqwuan Matthews of Myers Park in Charlotte, NC has all the looks to be a solid division one prospect and his skill sets definitely matched his athleticism. While the 2015 appears to be a rather weak class in North Carolina, he just could be one of the more talked about rising sophomores in the state. Below is the All Star Roster produced by Basketball Elite. Congratulations to all the players who were selected.
Jameal Robinson, 6’3”, SG, 2013, Greer SC (Greer HS)
Daryl Myers, 5’10”, PG, 2015, Fredericksburg, VA (Oak Hill)
Ty’Quan Bitting, 6’7” PF, 2013, Winston-Salem, NC (Mt. Tabor HS)
Tyler Rose, 6’6”, SG/SF, 2013, Pfafftown, NC (Calvary Baptist)
Oshon West, 6’3”, SG 2013, Spencer, NC (North Rowan HS)
Lepreece Lynch, 6’4”, SG, 2013, Winston-Salem, NC (Mt. Tabor HS)
Craig Hinton, 6’6”, SF, 2013, Kernersville, NC (East Forsyth HS)
Parker Smith, 6’1”, PG/SG, 2013, Winston-Salem, NC (RJ Reynolds HS)
Charis Fitzgerald 6’1 PG/SG 2013 Quincy, FL (West Gadsden HS)
Colton Bishop 6’1 PG/SG 2014 Winston-Salem, NC (Forsyth Country Day)
Trey Mitchell, 6’4”, SG/SF, 2013 Charlotte, NC (Olympic HS)
Zaqwuan Matthews, 6’4”, SF, 2015 Charlotte, NC (Myers Park HS)
Michael Bowman, 6’1”, 2014, G, Spencer, NC (North Rowan HS)
Cory Hanes, 6’5 SF/PF 2014 High Point, NC (High Point Central HS)
Larry Curry, 6’2” PG/SG 2014 Winston-Salem, NC (East Forsyth HS)
Nehemiah Stafford, 5’11 PG/SG 2013 Fleetwood, NC (Ashe County HS)
Broderick Avery-Ellis, 5’8 PG/SG 2014 Cleveland, NC (North Hills Christian School)
Enoch Koudja, 6’3 PG/SG Charleston, SC (Christian Sports Academy)
Jalen Ford, 5’9”, PG, 2012, High Point, NC (Andrews HS)
Kendrick Stukes, 5’10 PG, 2014 Thomasville, NC (Thomasville Prep)
Jake Turner 5’10 PG/SG 2014, Clayton, NC (Clayton HS)
Michael Conner, SG, 6’1, 2014, Spencer, NC (North Rowan)
Nigel Williams 6’2 PG/SG 2012 Charlotte, NC (Queen City Prep)
Evan Peatross, 6’3 PG/SG 2013 Pfafftown, NC (Reagan HS)