In today’s issue, we will take a look at the “Best of the Rest” from the Inaugural Reebok Showdown Tournament that was held the May 11-13th at the Gateway YWCA in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
6’6 2013 Stepehn Vassor- Brunswick, Virginia- Brunswick High School: Playing on the Raleigh Capitals 17U AAU team, Vassor is a physically mature athletic PF that had a productive tournament. His sheer physical strength is his greatest attribute and he used his power in the low post effectively, but also showcased the ability to step out and knock down 3 point shots. His pure athletic ability should garnish him plenty of D1 interest. We really liked his hustle, passion and ability to compete on both ends of the court. While he was undersized guarding bigger players in the post area, he did not back down from the challenge. Coach Mike Palmer of the Raleigh Capitals stated the following, “ Vassor is a tremendous athlete and challenged other teams at the rim on both ends. He also has 3 point range and is a kid with a really high ceiling,” and we agree wholeheartedly with his assessment. Without question, lower tier D1 schools should definitely be monitoring the process of Steven Vassor.
6’3 Jake Barrett- Rocky Mount, North Carolina- Rocky Mount Prep: Barrett also enjoyed a stellar weekend at the Inaugural as he consistently scored in double digits scoring and had a game high 17 points in the opening game. He has the blend of athleticism as a “wing slasher,” but consistently knocked down the perimeter 3 point shot in all three games. We really feel that Barrett has the ability to play at the Southern Conference level and potentially higher. Coach Mike Palmer stated “ Barrett is also a great on ball defender and did a great job defending every team’s go to player.” His ability to score and defense along with his athleticism should make him a priority of many D1 schools this spring/summer.
6’2 2014 Theron “Pickle” Noble- New Bern, North Carolina- New Bern High School: With three of the NC Xpress players not in attendance, Noble stepped up big time and help carried the load for the Xpress. He scored 18, 15 and 8 points in the three games for his team and the athletic combo guard showed he can play with the best the tournament had to offer. His confidence on the court was noticeable and if he continues to fine tune his perimeter skills, he will become a solid D1 prospect.
5’10 2014 PG Phil Owens- Virginia Beach, VA- NC Xpress 16U: While Phil Owens has more of a reputation of being the team facilitator and pass first PG, he showed he could score on various arsenal of offensive moves. At the Reebok Showdown, he scored 19, 19, and 15 points in the three games. We were impressed with his ability to get into the lane and utilize the tear drop floater. While he is somewhat undersized at the PG position, he was crafty and nifty around the rim and rarely had his shot blocked. We also like the fact that he was effective with the mid range dribble drive pull up along with the ability to knock down 3 point shots when left open.
6’7 2013 Michael Tillotson- Durham, North Carolina- Riverside: Tillotson is a mobile and versatile PF that runs the court extremely well. His strongest attributes are his excellent footwork in the low post area and “soft hands.” He has the ability to score around the basket, but also has the ability to step out and know down the 10-15 foot jumper! The next step in his development is to gain additional strength and with more time in the weight room could develop into a solid D1 prospect.
5’11 2013 PG Stephen Himmelberg- Chapel Hill, North Carolina- Chapel Hill High School: Himmelberg is a solid playmaking PG that plays the game the right way. He has a high basketball IQ and solid fundamentals. We really liked his ability to score from the perimeter and the heady and crafty PG picks his spots nicely in terms of attacking the rim. Himmelberg’s greatest attribute is his ability to get his teammates involved and run the team. While the NC Gaters were overmatched against the SEBL and WV Wildcats in the first two pool play games, they hung in there with an athletic and talented Team Cobras’ team.
6’1 2014 Scott Meredith- Pilot Mountain, North Carolina- East Surry High School: Meredith is another fundamentally sound combo guard that can simply shoot the cover off the ball. He averaged 15 PPG and this pure shooter was dialed in two of the three games we watched. He scored consistently from the perimeter, but also displayed a nifty pull up jumper for the Carolina Bearcats. He was very aggressive in attacking the basket and played solid on the defensive end of the court.
6’5 2014 Seth Brim- Pilot Mountain, North Carolina- East Surry High School: Brim enjoyed a solid weekend as he was able to score and rebound in double digits at the Reebok Showdown. He worked really hard gaining and holding position against bigger post players. He scored from the post, but also stepped out and knocked down the 15 foot jumper that makes him a more effective player. More importantly, he is a tough hardnosed defensive player and isn’t afraid to step in and take a charge. He leads by example and his play was on display.
6’2 2014 PG Justice Cuthbertson- Thomasville, North Carolina- High Point Westchester: Playing on the 16U Swish City Elite, Cuthbertson elevated his play in the 72-69 OT win over a talented NC Redstorm squad. First, he knocked down a last second 3 pointer to send the game into OT and was huge in the extra period. Cuthberston is a strong and physical PG that plays hard on both ends of the court. He has a physically mature body and is matched by his athleticism and overall skill set. He is an alum of the NC Phenom Camp and it has been fun to watch his maturation and development in the past one to two years. He is learning to be more of a team facilitator and values winning. We love the way he competes and will be one to watch in the loaded NC class of 2014.
6’5 2014 Phil Haynes- Raleigh, North Carolina- North Raleigh Christian Academy: The 6’5 wide body reminds you of a poor man’s “Charles Barkley.” He has the size, strength and girth to enable him to be an effective low post presence. He uses his body well and he maintains and establishes position beyond his years. He is a strong and powerful rebounder and grabbed the rebound forcefully with two hands. He rarely brings the ball down and plays taller than his current size.