The 9th Annual NC Phenom 150 Camp took place this past Sunday and our event is always a springboard for players under the radar to make a name for themselves. My counterpart Ryan Mattocks and I were center stage making thorough evaluations on over 120 players in attendance.
While there were some of the high elite level names at the camp, there are many new names to put in your SIM CARD.
Be sure to check out the below evaluations, you’ll be glad you did. Also, be sure to follow us on twitter at @coach_rick57 and @coachmattocks.
1. Player: 6’11 Youssoupha Kane
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
School: Word of God
Evaluation: Every now and then a kid shows up at a showcase event like the NC Phenom 150 who, for whatever reason, has managed to fly under the national radar. And Kane fits squarely into this category. Important to note – there are very few true post prospects in the game anymore – and even fewer that show up to events like this weekend’s that are owned by up-and-down guard play. When a quality big does appear, his name is usually the furthest thing from a secret to local coaches. When a guy appears seemingly out of nowhere and has the skills that Kane does, coaches’ eyes immediately spring to life and projections of his ceiling start to stir. This kid is an absolute high major D1 lock, imo. The Senegalese transplant via the SEEDS Foundation is beyond active in the paint on defense. His 6’11 frame combined with a formidable wingspan are somewhat commonplace amongst African immigrant prospects with aspirations of playing college ball. The difference with Kane is the 16 cylinder quad-turbocharged engine running this finely tuned machine. Right up there with the energy level shown at the same stage by Adjehi Baru (6’9 Ivory Coast native who frequented NC Phenom 150 events and subsequently garnered enough attention to turn himself into a Top-100 recruit and the most high-profile recruit to ever play in the Southern Conference [Coll. of Charleston]) on the defensive end, Kane did not succumb to frustration due to lack of touches on the other end. He battled relentlessly for boards on both ends and kept the ball high once securing it, made crisp outlet passers to his guards, or went straight back up in an attempt to score if it was an offensive rebound. His post positioning was surprisingly solid – sitting down in the mid-post to give him close to a 45 degree angle in the event he was to get a post entry and drop-step. Also impressive was his ability to re-post after any rare ball reversal. Not polished by any means, Kane’s open court ball handling is what propelled him to #1 on my list for the event. The youngster is fluid with the ball – there are no hitches or hesitation when accelerating off the bounce. Is he ready to lead the break at the next level consistently? No. Is he a reliable safety valve in a press offense situation that will not get stripped/panic with the ball around the timeline vs. game pressure? Absolutely. Passed the ball extremely well for a big in this setting – many times the lack of touches for these guys means whenever they touch it in the half court it’s going up. Kane found an open shooter for a three out of a double-team and hit a cutter for a give-and-go after somehow finding himself with the ball at the free throw line extended. From a coach’s perspective (well, mine at least), Kane is the type of prospect that makes the hairs on your arm stand up. No bad habits, more active than any post you’ll find this side of Buck Williams, great attitude, handles, alters/blocks a large number of shots, good outlet passer, willing passer out of doubles, and on and on and on. Oh, did I mention he runs the floor like a gazelle? He does. Without knowing anything about his background, I’d be willing to bet he either played a lot of soccer as a kid (strides like Kobe – doesn’t labor at all) or has hit a monumental growth spurt over the last couple of years (ball handling is so fluid). Biggest areas of concern right now are: lower body strength – it doesn’t matter how long/active someone is if they can’t stop the Jared Sullinger’s of the world from bulling their way deep into the lane. Offensively I’d like to see this kid OWN one move – just one. If I had him I’d make it a spin into the lane/finish with a half-hook with his dominant hand. Drop-steps are nice but his slight frame isn’t pushing many D1 posts off block position right now because his hips are weak. An up-and-under counter move would be gravy. If he had ONE move to consistently utilize at the next level he’d be ridiculously dangerous on ‘O’.
2. Player: 6’3 Troy Caupin
Hometown: Cosby, NCSchool: Cosby
Evaluation: First of all, don’t let the 6’3 listing fool you, Caupin plays MUCH bigger than that due to his freakishly long arms. The sturdily built lead guard did it all on Sunday – led the break and finished every way imaginable. Most impressively for the collegiate level was his knack at absorbing contact and finishing. Has the kind of body control/subtle movement while in the air off the bounce that simply can’t be taught. Many great attacking point guards have this. Troy also happens to be a kid that always looks like he’s smiling – he has a true love for the game and it shows. Range out to 20’, plays best with the ball in his hands but isn’t built like a typical PG. Would like to see him in some PNR situations or on an island defensively against a high major D1 guard, but these events are what they are. The X-Factor propelling Troy this far up the rankings was his tenacious rebounding. He went after missed jumpers on both ends all day. I was told by his coach at the event that he averaged 12 rebs/gm for his HS squad and it didn’t surprise me a bit. Playing off the ball, negotiating screens, and defending perimeter talent with that extra gear are areas for Caupin to focus on.
3. Player: 6’7 Jackson Kent
Hometown: Greensboro, NC
School: High Point Christian
Evaluation: The first of a handful of Carolina Challenge participants to appear on the list (held the day prior in Raleigh), Kent, ironically, did not crack my Top 25 list from that event while some others also attending the NC Phenom 150 Camp did. Firstly, the fact that Kent (and the other CC participants) made the effort to attend the event says a lot about his desire to be great. It also lends credence to the rising reputation of this quality event. Playing alongside Troy Caupin, the reclassified 6’7 G didn’t take long to unveil the improved areas of his game. Tightening up his ball handling was obviously a priority for the Division 1 prospect, but his dribbling with a purpose was what wowed me even more. In years past I’ve been a little enamored with the combination of Kent’s length and ability to handle the ball, but I noticed a lot of wasted dribbling. Not now. He attacked the rim relentlessly and turned the corner on defenders all day on his way to easy buckets. As noted in previous scouting reports I’ve done on Kent, his ability to eat space off the bounce is possibly the most tantalizing thing he offers to prospective college coaches. It’s two dribbles and he’s at the rim. Not the quickest cat in the litter, he’s good enough with the rock to draw fouls and earn easy points at the line. Wasn’t challenged defensively b/c of his size and undeniable position on the perimeter – none of the shorter guards thought they could do anything against him – so defense is a question mark. Son of a successful HS coach, Kent’s bball IQ and attitude are where college coaches want them to be. He’s got the size, enough athleticism, and ball skills to play at the Division 1 level. Question is what level within D1.
4. Player: 6’3 Patrick Rooks
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
School: Charlotte Christian
Evaluation: The deadly outside shooting lefty was noticeably fatigued from playing at the DTCC the day before, yet managed to show glimpses of why Brad Brownell was so eager to get him onboard at Clemson. Definitely not a one dimensional player (see our write-up of the 2011 DTCC!), Rooks has a tendency to rely on his laser-like jumper at times. Sunday he showed the ability to get to the rim off the bounce. Once in the lane, Rooks was not shy about finishing (or attempting to) above the rim. His explosiveness and strength in the open court vs. lesser competition is almost scary. Put it on the deck with the right hand enough to gain my confidence that he won’t turn into Gerald Henderson at Duke (i.e., never developing his rand hand). If Rooks can keep working on that right hand and hone a midrange game – one and two dribble pull-ups from different spots around 15’-17’ out – he’ll be one to watch in the ACC. Defensive effectiveness will depend more on “want to” than anything else. All the tools are there.
5. Player: 6’7 Cody Martin
Hometown: Mocksville, NC
School: Davie County
Evaluation: Ah, the Martin twins. Oh how badly I want to be able to differentiate between the two – how nice it would be able to definitively declare that one is better than the other. But, alas, I can’t. Caleb outperformed his brother on Saturday at the DTCC and Cody impressed me more on Sunday. They’re both very, very talented and Division I prospects, that’s for sure. Cody bulled his way to the bucket against undersized competitors in the action I took in. He hustled back on ‘D’ after a missed shot and disrupted a break enough to make the other squad pull it out, which is saying something for an event like this. He also finished with his left hand in traffic and got WAY up for a couple boards.
6. Player: 6’5 Aaron Carver
Hometown: Elizabeth City, NC
Evaluation: An interesting prospect at 6’5 because he’s strictly a post player at this time. The ‘interesting’ part to Carver’s game is that he competes for everything and manages to be effective vs. competition that may tower over him. Another high energy kid who will scrap for every rebound on both ends, play volleyball on the offensive glass until he gets the deuce, and dive after loose balls. A winner – plain and simple. The age old question of how much he’s going to grow applies here. With his current size and skill set he really doesn’t have a niche on a D1 roster. At 6’7 and 30 pounds heavier he could possibly scratch out a scholarship as an undersized PF. Otherwise, he’ll have to work tirelessly on his perimeter game and turn himself into a college ‘3’, which is what he’d be now if you’re just going by the eye test. Possessing a great attitude and humble demeanor, Carver will most likely be one of those players that’ll make it work wherever he ends up. He’s a basketball player and a darn good one. Somebody will be lucky to have him.
7. Player: 6’4 Deishawn Anderson
Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC
School: Quality Education Academy
Evaluation: The HS freshman took a little time to get acclimated, but once he did he put on a show. Has a SF’s game/body and isn’t afraid to mix it up with older players. Wasn’t spectacular in any one area but above average in most. Predictably, the matador defensive mentality surrounding these events trickles down to the younger guys in droves. Anderson was no exception – but that is the norm for these settings (as painful as it is to watch as a coach). With good coaching and a positive attitude, Anderson could morph into a 6’6-6’8 beast of a SF with ball skills who can guard 3-4 positions in college. The potential is there now. Best off the bounce at this point and adept at bank shots on the move.
8. Player: 6’7 Caleb Martin
Hometown: Mocksville, NC
School: Davie County
Evaluation: Just watching Caleb (or Cody) sky for a rebound alerts you to a simple fact: they’re future D1 players. The question for the versatile 6’7 SFs is how badly they desire to be great. Caleb played better than his brother on Saturday at the DTCC but cooled off a little bit at the NC Phenom 150 the next day. He forced his offense a bit in the early going. Also had a tendency to dribble aimlessly on the wing before making a move, which simply won’t happen with a 6’7 WF at the high major level. Vs. ball pressure, he’ll have to learn how to dribble with a purpose consistently, which he showed the ability to do. His two dribble pull-up from the top-of-the-key late in his first game was a thing of beauty. Interested to see the two develop over the next two years.
9. Player: 5’9 Alec Wintering
School: United Faith
Evaluation: The 5’9 dynamo, another prospect in attendance fresh from the DTCC, showed poise and patience during the two games I observed him in. His compact frame is rock solid from head to toe and it’s no secret why guards have a hard time staying in front of him. His first step isn’t lightning quick but it’s not far from it. His strength and quicks along with his ability to put the ball on the deck make it nearly impossible for most defenders to keep him out of the lane. He made winning plays. When someone was open, he found them. When his team was down 3 with under a minute to play, he demanded the ball and buried a game-tying bomb. Very sure of himself without being cocky, the only thing shielding Wintering from more high major attention at this point is his height. Can he guard guys his position who is 8 inches taller than him? It’s a legitimate question that college coaches may have and one that I’d like to see answered too.
10. Player: 5’11 Malik Pulley
Hometown: Rocky Mount, NC
School: Nash Central
Evaluation: If Pulley was 6 inches taller you’d be hearing his name within the next year. As it stands now (terrible pun, intended), the 5’11 sparkplug is busy busting his butt on every play. I have never seen a kid hustle more in a showcase game. Moves without the ball, pushed up on ‘D’, called for the ball when he was open, crashed the glass like a maniac and basically forced his way into every possible exchange he could. A coach’s dream. Didn’t see him with the ball in his hands enough to peg him as a candidate for PG or not, but at his size he’ll need to be able to handle the rock and play at different speeds to in order to free himself for looks. Moving off the ball and defense will be there. Kid is a tireless worker!
11. Player: 6’8 Stavian Allen
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
School: Word of God
Evaluation: REALLY intriguing prospect. Crazy length with above average athleticism. Biggest asset right now is his active motor. Nitpicking here – but his footwork on the jumper tends to negate how dangerous it could be. His feet sometimes are farther apart than the width of his shoulders, which effectively takes some of his height away. At 6’8, he could be a lethal weapon on the perimeter if his game heads that way over the next couple of years – because it’s assumed he’d be able to get his shot off over almost anyone. Maybe it was a one day anomaly, but stuff like shooting form doesn’t tend to vary day to day. Either way, interesting talent to keep an eye on.
12. Player: 6’3 Trey Carver
Hometown: Elizabeth City, NC
School: River Road Middle School
Evaluation: A real treat to watch. Four people asked me about this young man before I was finally able to catch one of his games – the very last contest of the day. It’s hard to quantify how valuable players are who have a nose for the basketball. When they’re post players who are relentless competitors, you have the makings of something special. That describes what I saw in Carver. If it was a 50/50 ball – it was going to him 100% of the time. Another trait in Carver I noticed immediately was his consistency in tapping the board after every stick back, post entry into deep position he finished with a layup, anything around the basket. On the break, everybody does it. But this youngster does it in traffic – that only means good things to come for coaches as he grows in height. Showed a fluid handle in the open court and is a PHENOMENAL passer.
13. Player: 6’4 Cory Hanes
Hometown: High Point, NC
School: High Point Central
Evaluation: Overall the most fundamentally sound player I saw at the event – and it’s not close. Crafty ball handler, good shooter out to the stripe, and NASTY footwork in the post. Most likely a kid who was taller than everybody at a young age and had to play the post. Now that everyone’s caught up size wise, he’s still got the skill set while his perimeter game is catching up. Can finish above the rim with two hands and does not shy away from contact at all. Projects as a college 3 at this point. With a couple more inches he’ll be able to post up smaller perimeter players in college. Not super-quick, but not slow either.
14. Player: 6’5 Bernard Taylor
Hometown: Monroe, NC
Evaluation: For around 6 possessions in the second half of Taylor’s final game of the day, he displayed the best on-ball defense I saw all day. With his length, he could play D1 basketball as a defensive stopper *if* he can maintain that kind of defensive intensity for an extended stretches. His offensive game isn’t remarkable, but he finished with both hands and looked good in transition. Thin frame could use 25 lbs. of muscle. My guess is he’s getting D3/D2 right now but the physical tools are there for more if the right coach can tap into it.
15. Player: 6’2 Camden Scott
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
School: Word of God
Evaluation: Scott endeared himself to me over the course of the day. First off, his body does not scream 6’2 – with his arms he seems 6’5 or 6’6 out there. He looks a lot like Derrick Coleman. He gradually started knocking down jumpers left and right. The next thing I knew he was finishing a reverse layup after blazing by a defender. Showed a competitive streak. Slow release on the jumper which will have to be tweaked to get his shot off at the next level.